Despite repeated rejection, Maulucci continued to seek publication for his literary novels with commercial publishers and received encouragement from several editors, including Robert Giroux at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, but no sales. He also tried several small presses, but soon discovered that they had their own specialized areas and the work he was doing did not seem to fit with any of them. Only recently has he come to the realization that being an Italian American author means not belonging to a convenient ethnic category acceptable under the paradigm of multiculturalism. It was after several years of knocking on their doors that Maulucci became disillusioned with both privately-run small presses and corporate-owned commercial publishers and made the important decision to form his own press to publish his own works. After reading about the early self-publishing experiences of now-established writers such as Walt Whitman, Anais Nin and Virginia Woolf, Maulucci was inspired to form his own book publishing venture and Lorenzo Press was born in 1994.
Owning the means of production to publishing one’s own work is tremendously empowering. All authors want complete artistic control of their work. The only way to have this freedom is to print and distribute one’s own books. As a publisher/author, one is free to create literary work without compromising its integrity.
If you believe in your book and have worked hard to create an honest, artistic work that comes out of your heart and soul in your own original voice, then why not make it available to readers in book form? Publishing a book yourself allows readers to gain access to your writing and make their own decisions about its literary merit. There should be no stigma attached to this process. If a book has artistic merit, it matters nothing at all in the long run whether it was published by Knopf or your own company. Playwrights stage their own plays, painters exhibit their work in their own studios, filmmakers produce and distribute their own films, and musicians start their own labels. Why shouldn’t authors own and run their own publishing companies?
Being a member of an ethnic minority that does not fit the paradigm of multiculturalism in America adds another dimension to the struggle to be published and recognized. My decision to become an independently published author was influenced mostly by the need for artistic freedom and it is only after publishing three books that I have realized how dangerous it is to openly declare oneself an Italian American writer devoted to countering the stereotypes with stories about the real Italian American experience. In a sense, I am a re-born writer in that I have found my voice and my material in my cultural heritage. This has been a truly liberating experience. I need no longer struggle to belong to the mainstream culture — I can openly declare and celebrate my uniqueness in my marginality. I am not from the mainstream, I am from the margin, and there lies my strength, my unique perspective, my distinctive vantage point. However, in order to write this way I must also be willing to publish my own work and, eventually, the work of other Italian American authors.
In addition, I came of age in the 1960′s and was deeply influenced by the arts counterculture and the grass roots political movements for world peace and civil rights. After many years of struggling to adjust to the cynical persona I had adopted as a professional writer for the mass media, I realized this was not who I really was — I was a romantic and an idealist and I would never belong in that world. After leaving New York, I then experienced a resurgence of faith in Christianity and in the philosophy of my most formative years: live simply, be as self-sufficient as possible, avoid commercialism and consumerism, remain true to your artistic principles, and circumvent the corporate powers-that-be whenever possible. Therefore, I prefer to deal directly with my readers and have chosen to be an independent publisher in order to facilitate this process.