Salt Mine Press is a product of Leslie and Meryll's imagination. We wanted a name that would make us smile. Although some might think "high blood pressure" or "hard work" seeing the name, it reminds us of our dad. Each morning he awoke whistling and singing. As he left, he cheerily shouted, "I'm off to the salt mines." For years we thought he mined salt although he was dressed nicely in a suit each day. Eventually, we learned he sold couplings although Meryll heard "cufflinks" for many years. It wasn't a glamorous business, but our dad had a good time no matter what he did. In his spirit we truly enjoyed the work of writing and self-publishing.
"Self-published" is a bit of vranya. (See the book for definition). Many friends and many professionals helped. If you have any interest in self-publishing or just want to read more about the exceptional team behind us, here's a list.
Patricia Francisco is a developmental artist extraordinaire. Although neither Leslie nor Meryll trained as a writer, she welcomed us to the club with encouragement and wisdom. Most importantly, she allowed us to explore within the genre and respected and nurtured our creative process. She inspired us and believed in this sister team. Patricia serves as Artist-in-Residence at Hamline University's Creative Writing Program. She is the author of Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery, Cold Feet, and Village Without Mirrors.
I (Meryll) met Leslie in 1966 when she was my counselor at Camp Ramah. Our relationship didn't end there because I became close friends with Leslie's niece Lori Rosen when I moved from Columbus to Minneapolis. In the past few years Leslie and her husband Rabbi Miles Cohen have been house guests when they visit Minneapolis. When Leslie talks about her editing work, she lights up. It is difficult for me to imagine enjoying copy editing and indexing, but for Leslie it is far more than a job. When we were advised to make our manuscript as clean as possible before sending it to agents and publishers, Leslie's name popped up immediately. She was a patient teacher and pushed us hard to think from the reader's point of view.
Before we wrote this book, we had no idea what a book designer was. From all directions the name, "Patti Frazee" floated to us. We think of her as the midwife for the book. She readied the copy for publication including the design elements, working in the many photos, and exhibiting abundant patience. Patti patiently explained the steps and made so called "self-publication" a seamless process.
Before we had finished more than a chapter or two, we were speculating about the book cover. Then the revelation—we are not designers. We spent hours trolling bookstores and looking at covers. We examined the covers of the books in our own libraries. Once I (Meryll) received the book The Assassination of Hole in the Day as a parting gift from the Minnesota Humanities Center board, I knew I had found my favorite cover designer. We looked at Cathy's website and debated the etiquette of contacting her. She set us at ease with the first email reply and once we met her and she embraced the project, we knew we had chosen well. The cover is a far cry from the one I first saw, but it's just right for Jewish Luck. We feel like we found another friend working with Cathy.
Scott was highly recommended by independent authors and our developmental editor, Patricia Francisco. We needed to decide: should we contact a literary agent? Send the book to publishers? Self-publish? We needed a literary cartographer. He laid out the options in metaphorical language and offered an illustrated map of how to reach our goals. We followed the itinerary and it led us to publication.
Debbie is an entertainment attorney and she is, herself, a consummate entertainer. We knew working with her would be fun as well as efficient. She can turn on her New York City accent and rhythm and legal opinions fly across the room. She is generous with her time for both friends and philanthropy. She gives attorneys a good rep.
We tout local talent and everyone else on our list works and lives in the Twin Cities or is a Twin Cities native. Lisa and Giora are close to our hearts. Our cousin, Lisa, and her husband live in Modiin, Israel and develop websites. Who better to help us out than our honorary other sister who can fill in the blanks in our thinking and knows instinctively what we like and what we don't. In addition to designing our website, Lisa was one of our first readers and conscientiously sent us comments, chapter by chapter.