Xi Draconis, an orange giant star, shines one hundred thirteen light years away from Earth in the constellation Draco, a serpent people of the ancient world saw slithering in the night sky. Of an average magnitude, it burns inconspicuous at the base of the serpent’s jaw, slightly obscured by stellar dust, another point of light among billions. And yet, this point of light, dim and old, still serves as part of Draco’s daggered mouth, with which the serpent battled the Olympian gods for a decade. Though at last Minerva slew Draco and tossed his body into the sky, a cold line of stars remains as testament to Draco’s rebellion.
Thus, Xi Draconis Books seeks to publish literary works of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry that rebel, that rail against social injustice, against hatred, poverty, hunger, privatization, the celebration of ignorance, objectification, racism, exploitation, sexism, and commodification. We seek works that explore how these perversions warp the human mind, that humanize, where our culture and society would dehumanize. We seek works that complicate, where biased groups would simplify. We seek works that empathize, where others would malign.
This rebellion may come in a variety of forms and voices. Both experimental and traditional techniques are welcome. Tragedy, satire, and things in between are to our liking. Works philosophical or minimal, hyperbolic or understated, are all of interest to us. Our one stipulation is that the work we publish must be socially conscious.
We rebel against the gods not because we are monsters, but because they are.
Though the work we publish does not follow any one political line, our ethos is that of the anarchist. We believe that both the state and the profit motive should be abolished. Forms of direct participatory democracy and free sharing should replace these systems, and laws should be enacted by all citizens of a community to safeguard equality and freedom. In addition, we believe that getting rid of the state also means getting rid of capitalism, as the two are inextricably linked. We are not libertarians.
Relevant anarchist readings include Bertrand Russell’s Proposed Roads to Freedom, Murray Bookchin’s works on eco-anarchism, George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, Peter Kropotkin’s The Conquest of Bread, Bakunin’s essays, Emma Goldman’s essays, and Noam Chomsky’s On Anarchism.
Again, though the books we publish are not necessarily anarchist, anarchism does inform our strategy as a press. First, we endorse the creation of a more democratic publication space. Currently, large publication houses and distributors hold sway over most of that literature to which the public has access. This is to the detriment of literature and to new authors attempting to find an outlet for their voices. Nor are such houses and distributors even necessary in the digital age. A simple list of links to publishers and authors, offered in a conspicuous place, would enable anyone to find any kind of book she wanted to read.
Second, we believe that publishers should act as sources of critical feedback for their authors, but this practice has lessened as literature has become commodified. XDB seeks to keep this relationship between publisher and author alive while rejecting the role of capitalist middleman. As such, XDB works with its authors to make sure that their manuscripts are in the best shape possible before publication and offers its books for free. If readers wish to donate to support the press, they can do so here, but we believe that placing monetary value on art tarnishes it.
We believe that presses should operate not as capitalist businesses but rather as curators, as stewards in the task of preserving and disseminating excellent literature. They should stop attempting to saturate the market with bestsellers by big-name authors and instead seek out as many new authors as possible. They should order smaller print runs so they have more resources to work with new writers. They should downsize and treat literature as part of the commons, not as a source for capital exchange. A community of tiny presses not beholden to business interests is the only way to achieve plurality—and that is the model that XDB attempts to follow.