Recently Aqua Fox Press intern Floyd Barnes had a chance to sit down with Aqua Fox Press founder Benjamin Obler and talk mission statements. The plan was to brainstorm a word cloud, maybe consult the Ouija board, but then the idea shifted and they settled on an interview format, which both AFP team members believed would provide ample opportunity for keyword generation that would assist the company’s SEO metrics.

So here, we have it. The two met in the in Aqua Fox Press main conference room, on an overcast late-winter afternoon, Obler of course clutching a mug of black coffee.

F.W.

What’s the mission of Aqua Fox Press?

B.A.O.

Right now the most exciting thing about our mission is our plan to bring in other authors once the technology, design processes, and social media are all in place. But largely speaking, really, the mission is to be kind to myself, as I kind of learn the technologies and how to get things right. A lot of that has been accomplished as far as production workflow. So, it’s been a fun and challenging journey.  

F.W.

What about staff? Will you continue to do everything on your own?

B.A.O.

Well, I’ve never done it all on my own, strictly speaking. Nick Farriella has been acting as an advisor and consultant, supporter, and he in time is going to fulfill an editorial role. Which I’m very excited about. Nick brings experience from several really great literary journals such as x-ray and Barrelhouse. He’s a very lovable, amicable guy who writes largely in the short fiction form, and just brings a ton of heart, humor, and insight to his stories. I love his perspectives on anxiety and he does a lot of really innovative structural elements in his work. I could go on about him. He reads a ton and is a really student of the short form. So he’s someone who we’re really proud to have on board.

We can also consider my wife to have been in an advisory role as well. In her case, she’s been like Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a turban, if you will—advising me on spiritual conflicts, ethical matters in the content of my novels, karmic orientation in business, etc.

F.W.

Wow. And I thought she was just a life coach, yoga teacher, radio deejay and sound healer.

B.A.O.

She is all that too. Going back to Nick for a second, he also, amazingly, launched the Review of Uncontemporary Fiction in 2021. So we really have shared a lot of missions and right now he and I recognize this with a little badge on our websites, that says we are affiliates.

[At this time, the AFP offices experienced a power failure. When the talk resumed…]

Ed in Chief, or Ed for short.

B.A.O.

You know that would be cool? I’d like to create a independent publishing cooperative or something, if that’s not too oxymoronic. Wouldn’t that be cool? A collective where if other presses want to join powers with us, in a kind of loosely supportive way, they can. I’m picturing like, sharing solutions on production issues, and other hot takes on being a top-quality publisher. I’m perfectly willing to share, for example, the suite of WordPress plug-ins that is making everything work for us right now. That information could be really helpful to others who want to publish themselves and their crew. I think that would be amazing. There are no aesthetic requirements, but it if you believe in community and common cause rather than a market-domination model, then we’ll vibe just fine.

F.W.

A collective. Amazing.

B.A.O.

I’m picturing picnics at our headquarters upstate in the summer. You know, a chance to meet and greet and talk shop and actually have real relationships, perhaps, if people want that. If that’s not weird. You know, think of the whopping conference that the characters Damon and Wolf throw in my novel The Mombaccus Expansion. Does anyone really have an appetite for that?

F.W.

That’s what makes them so hilarious.

B.A.O.

Thank you. Anyway, networking, yes. Promotion, yes. But not some hugely corporate affair.

F.W.

Okay, you really lost the plot on Mission Statement. But that’s par for the course.

B.A.O.

I’m playing the part of Eccentric Visionary Startup Guy.

F.W.

How fun for you.

Thanks for supporting Aqua Fox Press.