Meet the Girlboss: Deena Drewis // Nouvella



Hey Girlboss! Please introduce yourself and fill us in on your project.

I’m Deena Drewis and I’m 28 years old. I live in Silver Lake in Los Angeles, though I’m originally from Folsom, California (yeah, like the prison). I’m the founder and editor of Nouvella, an independent press dedicated to novellas, which is essentially fiction that’s longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. It’s a form that most major publishing houses won’t publish because it’s “unmarketable” (though Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Of Mice and Men, Brokeback Mountain were all novellas, to name a few examples). I started Nouvella in 2011 and in the three years since, we’ve picked up a National Jewish Book Award and an Amazon Best Book of December pick, and we helped launch the careers of New York Times bestsellers like Edan Lepucki and Emma Straub.

Tell us about your successful GIRLBOSS Foundation application - what did you submit/make/do?!

I submitted copies of our five backlist titles, which in addition to being stunning pieces of writing, are pretty darn handsome. They’re 4 x 6 inches with French flaps (!) and they have this really velvety cover finish. Daniel D’Arcy did the covers, and I’m lucky he’s a friend of mine because he’s kind of a big shot in the design world. I also put together an informational packet that provided a streamlined picture of the company, its history, and a detailed plan for 2015, which involves three new titles. And let me tell you—this was a real stretch with my InDesign skills (i.e. I have none), but I think it came out pretty slick. Lastly, I think the sprinkles on the whipped cream were: 1.) Including a tank top we released recently that says “Don’t be a lengthist” and 2.) A photo of me when I was 4, hamming it up in a power skirt suit (these exist for toddlers, apparently).

How will the GIRLBOSS Foundation grant help you achieve your goals?

The grant is going to be a tremendous help with the production and promotion of our three titles coming out it 2015. For the first time we’ll have a marketing budget, and we’re so excited about coming up with some innovative, out-of-the-box campaigns.

What's your ultimate dream?

I don’t think I’m ever happier than when I’m reading a book I love, and I hope to always be contributing to that process. I want to keep growing Nouvella and keep discovering exciting new voices in literature, and keep proving that just because the publishing industry, which has always been dominated by dudes, says the industry works a certain way, it’s not set in stone.

Your favorite piece of advice from #GIRLBOSS (the book) and why?

It’s the general tone of fearlessness that really stands out to me, and working everyday on the thing you want. There are so many things girls are taught from a very young age that are barriers to success, and to me, Sophia’s philosophy really speaks to go after exactly what it is you want—not an approximation or the next best thing. Also, I like this: “Bad bitches are taking over the world.”

Stay tuned to to follow Deena's GIRLBOSS journey!