The creation story and history of Dancing Moon Press
Back in 1995, Carla Perry was living in Yachats (a town of 400 on the Central Oregon Coast), editing and co-publishing Talus & Scree, an International Literary Journal, after spending a year circumnavigating the United States in a 1976 Chevy Campervan, writing and producing Wild Dog Literary Magazine. The yearning to settle down brought her to Yachats.
One of the authors published in Talus & Scree requested that she produce a book of his short stories, which she did. The endeavor was successful, led to other book projects, and necessitated formalizing the business. Night walks along the coast, where the moon’s reflection dances on the surface of the ocean, suggested the name of the independent press. A pen and ink drawing of that night’s crescent moon became its logo.
Technology for book and magazine production has come far since those days. Home computers were still a new concept, and only the most adventurous nerds were exploring a concept called email. But luckily and coincidentally, Carla’s co-publisher of Talus & Scree was a software developer who had a print shop in his living room. When book production began in earnest, Carla turned over cover design to graphic illustrators so she could remain focused on the editing, formatting, legal aspects, and business operations. Commercial book printers in the Midwest took over print production. Student interns were paid to proof files just before final versions were sent to the printer. Soon, Dancing Moon Press was producing paperback and hardcover books of poetry, novels, literary nonfiction, full color children’s books, and specialty books. And then eBooks were invented, and Amazon got into the book-selling business. Every new aspect and service had its learning curve.
During those years, Carla received several fellowships, grants and awards, including the 2002 Stewart Holbrook Special Oregon Book Award for her “outstanding contribution to Oregon’s literary community,” and the 2003 Governor’s Arts Award. She was the founder of the nonprofit, Writers On The Edge and the Nye Beach Writers’ Series. In 2014, Wanderlust, a collection of Carla’s poetry and photos, was published by a press in New York. In 2017, a full stage play, adapted from her novel, Riva Beside Me: New York City 1963-1966, debuted at the Newport Performing Arts Center.
Throughout those decades, Dancing Moon Press continued to evolve in order to meet the industry’s technological changes, and to perfect the quality of the finished book products. Thus far, nearly three hundred books have been produced by Dancing Moon Press, and word of mouth remained the main source of new clients.
By late 2018, Carla was ready to retire and devote the rest of her time to the writing, art, and photographic projects she’d been putting aside. Luckily and by coincidence, Kim Cooper Findling walked innocently into the scene, and a deal was made. Kim has the background, skills, and disposition to assume ownership of Dancing Moon Press and take it to the next level. The ride has been fun, rewarding, educational, and now, under Kim’s leadership, the journey of Dancing Moon Press continues…