Heliotrope Books is a conduit for emerging voices and for seasoned authors who have taken risks with new materials. An indie press based in Lower Manhattan, Heliotrope aims to publish the smartest, tastiest under-the-radar titles out there—those that encompass more than one sales category (such as “literary and commercial,” or “memoir and cookbook”), valuable books that might otherwise fall through the cracks of traditional publishing.
Heliotrope is a Greek word, meaning “turn-to-sun”—sun being Helios. While heliotrope is a plant of the borage family (genus Heliotropium) that is known for its small and fragrant purple flowers, heliotrope once meant “flowers that turn to face the sun.” As a book publisher, we shed light upon hidden or unknown areas, notably expressed in our Memoir Noir category. We also aim to “lighten” our readers’ lives with intelligent humor, insight, and guidance.
A Joyce literary scholar with whom we are acquainted provides more background on heliotrope: “That’s so cool that you named your press Heliotrope—as I said, a major motif in Finnegans Wake (‘I always had a crush on heliotrope’ (FW 461.8-9), ‘when served with heliotrope ayelips’ (FW 533.2), ‘a windaborne and heliotrope’ (FW 561.20-1), ‘In snowdrop, trou-de-dentelle, flesh and heliotrope’ (FW 265.L), ‘Heliotrope leads from Harem’ (FW 610.36-611.1) to name a few). Also, in Greek mythology, Clytie was a sea-nymph who fell in love with Apollo and was changed into a heliotrope; she also appears in the Wake as ‘two antesedents be bissyclitties’ (FW 284.22-23). As Bergen Evans explains, because of Apollo’s indifference ‘For days she sat desolate, following with her eyes the sun on his journey until the sun god changed her into a heliotrope or sunflower’ (Evans 79) (Dictionary of Mythology).”
An indie press, we’ve experimented beyond the confines of traditional publishing. In 2015 we published the world’s first “marijuana memoir.” We’ve published a “typographic novel,” narratives with recipes, a teaching memoir with classroom exercises, a “novel in suites,” and an ambitious series of inter-connected novels.
Over the years, we’ve successfully cultivated a synergy between the unique voice and indie publisher. Our authors have been excerpted and reviewed in outlets like the New York Times, the New York Post, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, People, Teen Vogue, The Daily Beast and other national media. We’ve helped launch careers of Heliotrope authors who teach, speak, and have sold subsequent books to bigger presses.
As a New York City-based press, we feature local authors: journalists who wish to reveal their own story, novelists who’ve set their fictions in our city. While we do not publish New Yorkers exclusively—some of our authors now live in Israel, Nashville, Hawaii, and California—we have focused on material from the Tri-state area. Heliotrope Books was founded and is managed by Naomi Rosenblatt, a native New Yorker.