The Study

The Men Behind the Mustache

Okay, okay, you got us. This mustache doesn't groom itself. Unlike some companies that are 100% run by super-intelligent dronebots (that's a thing, right?), Dapper Press has a couple of real-life ne'er-do-wells pulling the levers and oiling the gears. We thought we'd take a moment to introduce ourselves and put the automatonophobes among you at peace.


Clayton Smith

clayton headshot.jpg

Clayton is a writer of speculative fiction living in Chicago, where he has become exceedingly good at cursing the winters. He writes novels, short stories, and plays, mostly. His work has been featured on the popular Internet site Amazon, and his plays have been produced rather mercilessly in St. Louis and New York City. 

Clayton tends to inject a healthy dose of magical realism into his stories, which distresses his characters to no end. One day, they will likely rebel against him, but for now, they’re all fairly busy managing various disasters, villains, and the occasional apocalypse.

The Gentleman’s Words:

I meandered my way into self-publishing after a perfect storm of rejection and inspiration. I've published two works on my own so farthe novel Apocalypticon and the short story collection Pants on Fire: A Collection of Lies (both of which are now officially Dapper Press books). I am so, so, so glad I decided to self-publish. I honestly don't think I'd do it any other way. (Unless there's a multi-million-dollar contract offer. That might be pretty persuasive. Get at me, rich people.) Self-publishing has been an incredible journey, one that's given me total control over my work, landed me maximum royalties on what I sell, and led me to meet an incredible assortment of creative geniuses in the self-publishing and small press publishing world, including writers, editors, designers, and amazing, passionate book fans. 

The major challenge with self-publishing is that publishing your own book is like running your own small business. Personally, I love that aspect of it. It feeds the entrepreneurial hunger I got down in my hunger space. But most writers aren't typically interested in starting a small business, which is why I think so many self-published books end up being produced with unfortunately low quality. It's hard to publish a book like the Big Five do it. It's really hard. And, technically speaking, self-publishing is easy. It's really easy. A lot of writers default to the easy-but-low-quality path because they don't have the resources to make their books sparkle with that professional shine. That's really my impetus behind starting Dapper Press. "Good writer" doesn't always equal "good publisher," and it shouldn't have to. "Good writer" should equal "good writer," and there should be a company on hand to manage the ins and outs of publishing. That's really what Dapper Press is all about: helping manage the self-publishing process so writers can focus on writing. The end result, fingers crossed, will be an overall elevation of the collective self-published product!

You can follow me on Twitter @Claytonsaurus or reach me at! 


Steven Luna

Steven Luna leapt, but no net appeared. He claims to have heard the sound of one hand clapping; those who know him best have their doubts. He’s the semi-literate author of the Joe Vampire dark comedy series for full-grown adults, Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing for young adults, and various other works for readers whose ages are frankly none of his business, thank you very much.

The Gentleman's Words: 

My adventures in publishing began with a foray into the jungle of agent submissions, wielding a manuscript for a middle-grade novel I was certain would set the literary world on fire (it didn’t…but I still really like the story it was telling.) Daunted by what I dubbed The Thousand Levels of Approval required just to get my manuscript seen, I opted for self-publishing with my next novel, which was subsequently picked up by a small-press publisher. Even considering that stroke of amazing good fortune, I’ve remained enamored of the enterprising spirit and buoyant enthusiasm that pervades the self-publishing community. I love the happy energy that comes from do-it-yourselfery, and the prospect of helping others achieve their publishing dreams makes me kind of giddy.

With a few years of negotiating the highways and byways of books in the 21st century, I’ve come to understand the array of challenges and opportunities present in the publishing process. For me, the idea of cooperative self-publishing captures the best of all worlds: harnessing the expertise of a team who knows their way around a manuscript and are eager to help enhance the craft and elevate the concept of self-publishing. My intention as co-founder of Dapper Press is to ensure that the good folks of the indie publishing community have solid go-to services that they can call upon to help ensure that their work can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the big guys, while holding firmly to an infectious sense of fun from beginning to end.

Find me on Twitter @TheStevenLuna or email me at!


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