Dr. Joe Taylor is the creative writing professor at UWA. He has been at the university since 1990. Taylor holds a bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Kentucky and a masters and doctorate in creative writing from Florida State.
In 1992, he took over the Livingston Press. Since that time, it has grown tremendously. It graduated from publishing one book per year to as many as twelve books. In addition, the Livingston Press strayed from the original purpose of publishing Alabama poets and now publishes fiction from national authors.
Taylor is responsible for every aspect of book publishing at the Livingston Press. He reads and decides which manuscripts to publish. Then he contacts the author and typesets and edits the book. He also oversees the cover for the book as well as the distribution and printing of the book. Students also help with proofreading, typesetting, and designing covers. Dr. Taylor also maintains the website and Facebook page. In short, he does a lot.
Along with the Livingston Press, Taylor teaches two courses a semester, his favorite being an alternating class in contemporary fiction.
Taylor is also a published author, with three short story collections and two novels under his belt and another novel forthcoming. He describes his writing style as “mostly comic [with] a fair amount of fantastical elements.” His newest, however, is much more realistic and less comedic. His writing is influenced by Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, and “an Italian writer named Calvino.”
His goal for his writing is “like every writer — to have a big seller. A readership.”
For aspiring writers or publishers, he said two things: “Read a lot of what you like, write a lot, and don’t be afraid to use the delete button.” For publishers, “Book publishing is a really, really tough field now for three reasons: the economy because of changing readerships in America and because of changing format. Audiobooks and things like that are taking over.”
The impact he hopes to make on students is for them to have an open mind and a joy of reading. Some of his best memories at UWA are working with students in the Livingston Press.
Despite his busy schedule with the press, Taylor finds time to enjoy his favorite past times, such as reading books, lifting weights, playing guitar, and watching bad science fiction movies. He also has a lot of dogs to spend time with.
For readers who are wondering what he has crossed off of his bucket list, Dr. Taylor claimed, “Nothing,” which can be taken as proof that he is young at heart.