Head & the Hand Press Beginnings
Nic Esposito had a passion and noticed a problem.
Authors with book deals aren’t always necessarily better than those who didn’t have big publishing companies behind them. Some of the best writers in Philly didn’t have published works to their names. Local writers simply didn’t have the accessibility of New York to make those essential connections to get their books published.
Yet Philadelphia is a city of sharers, entrepreneurs and people who support their community.
As Esposito penned his first novel, he knew he could bridge the gap. Although paper book sales were overall decreasing in the Amazon Era, a publishing company right here in our city could create & distribute works of amazing writers. Head and the Hand Press was born.
When asked how Nic would define success for Head & the Hand, it was simple: he wants to publish some amazing works and share them with the community.
Seeds of Discent Book Club – recap
Esposito didn’t begin our inaugural book club by highlighting his favorite parts of his book, but instead with two criticisms as a now-seasoned editor. (For those who are curious: Reflecting on a three-year younger version of himself, he noticed the earnestness of his writing voice. Secondly, he would have edited this book differently now versus when he initially self-produced Seeds of Discent.)
To everyone else who has read Esposito’s book, we see the positive attributes: his narrative voice reflecting the uneasiness of society going through wars, an economic decline and unstable society. When we meet a group from West Philadelphia who are trying to save a vacant lot and create an urban garden, we can see the struggles of bureaucracy while trying to make positive changes. It’s also fun to read scenes straight from our city, knowing the setting as (the book club members are) residents living here.
Esposito chose to read a passage regarding litter, depicting the trash day scenes. As the excess garbage falls onto the street, it instead accumulates on sidewalks which we intentionally set out to the curb. As Philadelphians, we see this scene weekly and the continuation of litter as we walk our neighborhoods.
After finishing the passage, Esposito opened the discussion to a Q&A, where the book club asked him about Head & the Hand, Seeds of Discent & sustainability.
When asked how much of Seeds of Discent reflects Esposito’s own life, he mentioned that the majority of the book is based off of his own experiences and personal interactions. Many of Esposito’s journeys from New Orleans and South America were woven into pieces of the characters’ journeys. And although readers may peg the main character as Nic, we discovered his characters Dan and Luke were a split of his personality; Dan, his younger self and Luke, his personality traits.
Although Seeds is a fictional novel, Esposito’s next book is a collection of nonfiction essays. It will be interesting to see how the pieces evolve and compare the two.
Seeds of Discent’s Urban & Sustainability Themes
As questions evolved into urban gardening in Philadelphia, Esposito expressed his optimism about Mayor Nutter’s Greenworks plan, discussing the importance of public access of green space over urban gardening. Citizens with green space can connect with nature, and we should embrace how that important parks help mold one’s outdoor awareness. Our surrounding rural areas outside of Philadelphia are equally important to our local food system, rather than attempting to recreate our farms inside city boundaries. Esposito’s immersion into a variety of Philly’s neighborhoods through his day Parks & Rec job helped him understand this interdependence.
Managing a blog (alone) and a ‘day’ job has many challenges which I can vouch for. Esposito’s unique role as a city employee, book publisher & urban gardener allows him to see the differences yet many similarities of these roles.
As Esposito summed up, there’s many parallels between writing and gardening. When you look at man (and woman)’s history, People have been eating food and reading books for thousands of years. And neither profession tends to be well-paid, but are crucial to our communities. Yet, both of these passions have sparked bigger initiatives for Esposito, and can inspire our community in many ways.
Want to check out Esposito’s book yourself? Order a copy of Seeds of Discent from the Head & the Hand website.