Sans. PRESS – Interview with Paula Dias
By Kelly Hides and Sophie Everett
Continuing with our theme of projects, this issue we spoke to Paula Dias, one of the founders of Sans. PRESS, an independent imprint that focuses on creating themed short-story anthologies that encompass a wide variety of genres and styles.
Paula tells how the project has been brewing for a while, ‘my undergraduate studies in design brought me close to artists and artist fairs, and I saw a lot of indie production of zines, posters, graphic novels and books’.
The main push, however, came when the three founders, Sam, Paula and Aisling, worked together on the University of Limerick’s literary magazine, The Ogham Stone, ‘we had the first experience of working together in a project, and also got hands-on contact with all the necessary requirements to produce something similar. Our lecturer also brought some guest speakers from indie presses in, and I think that also shone a light on what could be done.’
Officially launched last June, with the first anthology, The Secret Lives, publishing at the beginning of this year, Paula explains how unique the process is, ‘we announced our title and cover art first, and asked writers to respond to them’ and expresses how ‘this was a great way to create a sense of artistic collaboration between the editorial team, the featured artists and the writers.’
However, like with any project, it has had its fair share of challenges, ‘the main challenges we have been facing are establishing a presence and making the project financially sustainable. We were disappointed to miss out on doing a physical launch event, which would definitely have helped out’. Luckily, digital copies can be found here, and physical copies available on-demand here. Paula also tells us the challenges they’ve faced because of the pandemic, ‘although we have never worked on Sans. in any other way, it can be hard to have to fit all we want to share in the scheduled Zoom calls, and there might be a delay in our response time, but all in all I think we have been managing the distance well. It’s also great to have this project as a constant reason to keep in touch with each other!’
As we’ve seen from previous interviewees, creating a project is all about connecting with something that we love, gaining experience and developing skills to aid us in our job search, and for Paula developing an online presence was a steep learning curve, ‘there’s a need to present consistency in our message and in our visual communication, and it needs to be a constant effort in order to be effective. But on the plus side, that has put me in contact with so many new literary projects!
We had some admin experience from The Ogham Stone, and I had previous design experience, but we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our process, and to find cool new ideas to try.’
Looking to the future, Paula’s main goal is to expand the readership, ‘it was incredible to find that our submissions featured writers from all around the world, and we are hoping to reach readers on that scale too!.’
Additionally, the team are looking for more efficient methods of funding the project and being able to engage with their readers in person, ‘we’re looking forward to taking Sans. PRESS to readings, fairs and live events as soon as it is safe to do so.’
Paula’s personal goal is working in the editorial department within a smaller imprint,
‘I love the cooperative aspect of it, and I’ve always been fascinated by language, and the depths of meaning that can be found in small details.’
When we asked what appeals to her about publishing, she answered, ‘I just love books, and for the past years, they have been such a constant in my life – as a reader, as a writer, as a designer, it feels like an ideal step to take. The publishing industry crosses that final step between the storyteller and the reader, and I think there’s such magic to be had in that process. The media, the presentation and the interaction with the story can give it new layers, make it more accessible, access different emotions, and this is something I never get tired of exploring.’
A huge thank you to Paula for taking the time to speak to us. If you’d like to submit a piece of work for the next issue of Sans. PRESS, Paula advises keeping an eye on their website and social media:
Website - sanspress.com
Instagram – @sans.press
Twitter - @PressSans