Lawrence Knorr is CEO and publisher of Sunbury Press, Inc., a trade publisher based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. We asked Lawrence about his upcoming participation in HippoCamp’s agents and editors panel. Also from the central PA region, he shares some advice for visitors in this Q&A.
HM: Without sharing any spoilers, what can attendees expect from your involvement on the panel?
LK: I bring the perspective of a trade publisher to the panel. We make our money by selling books—not by charging fees to authors. So, I am always looking for marketable ideas and can provide an opinion on the viability of a manuscript.
Who would benefit the most from your panel?
Authors seeking publishing opportunities would benefit the most. However, self-published/independent authors might also benefit from the many ideas that will be discussed. I’ve been quoted in the past, “It’s never been easier to publish a book and never harder to sell one.” There are so many low-cost methods for authors to get their work into the marketplace—and so many have. In fact, perhaps, too many have. Revenue share per author—especially for fiction—is way down. Fortunately, nonfiction has not had quite the same deluge.
Literary citizenship is so important today, and by being part of our conference, you’re contributing to the CNF community — why is sharing with others important to you?
I see this as a way to give back to the industry. Thirteen years ago, Sunbury Press was a tiny start-up. Now, 200 authors and 500 titles later, we are a thriving small press that is making a name for itself. We’ve had a lot of fun, and it has been quite a ride. Giving back is important.
Taking off your presenter hat, what are you hoping to learn as an attendee at HippoCamp?
Publishing is such a dynamic industry, there is always something new to learn. I hope to hear what others are doing to market their books. Traditional methods no longer work, and social media has been ineffective. How do you get some buzz going?
Lancaster is an amazing city – since you’re from the area, what suggestions do you have for those who haven’t been here yet?
The Lancaster Central Market is well worth a visit to take in the regional culture. On a break—or earlier in the morning, I strongly recommend a drive east on Route 30 to Paradise, and then take any of the rights or lefts onto quiet country roads where you might just have to slow down for a buggy or two.
What was a recent and memorable work of creative nonfiction you read – whether a book or shorter piece? (And what did you love about it?)
As I write this, I am in the process of wrapping up a biography of the 70s rock band BANG, who were like a real-life Spinal Tap. The juxtaposition of past and present, fleeting fame, and the thread of classic rock throughout drew me in. I hope it is a successful book. I recently became immersed in a classic nonfiction book I read for the first time—Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of Their Times. It has helped inspire me to write a baseball biography next.
What is Sunbury Press looking for these days? Is there a particular category or genre?
I like to describe us as generalist opportunists. While we publish both fiction and nonfiction, we have been shifting to more nonfiction. We are always looking for manuscripts we think we can sell. We love motivated authors and have had good success with local and regional nonfiction topics. If you are looking for a publisher, please check us out. While we receive over 1000 manuscripts a year and publish 50 to 70 of them, we do favor authors from the region.
Lawrence, we’re so happy to meet a fellow central PA literary friend, and we look forward to welcoming you to HippoCamp!