About BSP

Blank Slate Press was founded in 2010 to discover, nurture, publish, and promote emerging writers from the greater St. Louis area and beyond. In 2015, we officially joined with Walrus Publishing and our subsidiary imprint, Treehouse Publishing Group, to form Amphorae Publishing Group. Visit Amphorae’s site to find out more about the imprints and how to submit.

Blank Slate Press is looking for literary and genre fiction with a “literary sensibility”.  We do not accept poetry or unsolicited short story collections. Our focus is on historical fiction, mystery/crime, and contemporary/literary fiction. Our notable achievements–and those of our sister imprints–include:

  • The Samaritan, Blank Slate Press, our debut novel by a debut local author who has since been signed by William Morris Endeavor, was picked up by Picador for release Fall 2014 under the title The Heart Does Not Grow Back
  • The Samaritan also won the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book: Fiction and the USA Book Award in the Cross-Genre category
  • The Samaritan was also short listed for a UK Kitschie award along with The Night Circus and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  • Slant of Light and Dancing with Gravity, Blank Slate Press, were both long-listed for a Chautauqua prize
  • Slant of Light was runner up for the David J. Langum, Sr. Historical Fiction Prize, 2012; the winner that year was The Cove, by Ron Rash (Ecco)
  • Dancing with Gravity, Blank Slate Press, won the International Book Award for Literary Fiction and was named a regional Best Book 2011 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Never Hug a Nun, Blank Slate Press, won a Silver Ben Franklin Award from the IBPA in 2012 in the Humor category
  • Try to Kiss a Girl, Blank Slate Press,  won the Gold Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) Award for Humor
  • This Old World, Blank Slate Press, was a finalist for the M.M. Bennett Award in Historical Fiction
  • A Matter of Mercy, Blank Slate Press, won a Silver Medal from Independent Publishers (IPPY) for Best Regional Fiction: North-East
  • Agnes Canon’s War, Blank Slate Press, was a finalist for the 2015 WILLA Literary Award for Historical Fiction
  • Painting for Peace in Ferguson, Treehouse Publishing Group, won 2015 Outstanding Book of the Year from Independent Publishers in the Peacemakers category
  • Beneath Still Waters, Blank Slate Press, won the 2016 Gold IPPY from Independent Publishers magazine in the Mystery/Cozy/Noir category
  • Beneath Still Waters won the 2016 MIPA award in the Mystery category
  • Snow Globes and Hand Grenades, Blank Slate Press, was a 2016 finalist in the Humor category from ForeWord magazine
  • Snow Globes and Hand Grenades won the 2016 MIPA Gold award in Humor
  • Halfway There, Walrus Publishing, was a 2016 finalist in the GLBT category from ForeWord magazine
  • Behind Every Door, Blank Slate Press, won 2017 Gold from MIPA in the Mystery category
  • The Last Cadillac, Walrus Publishing, da Vinci Eye Award for cover design

Our team:

Kristina Blank Makansi, publisher/editor: Co-founder of Blank Slate Press (now an imprint of Amphorae Publishing Group) and Blank Slate Communications (an editorial and design service for authors), Kristina has a B.A. in Government from University of Texas at Austin and a M.A.T. from the College of New Jersey. She has worked as a copywriter, marketing coordinator, designer, and editor. Authors she has worked with on either the editorial or the design side have won numerous awards including Benjamin Franklin awards, IPPYs, Beverly Hills Book Awards, a da Vinci Eye award for FOLLY BEACH DANCES, the design category of the Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing. PAINTING FOR PEACE IN FERGUSON won a Gold Medal as one of the 2015 Outstanding Book of the Year from Independent Publishers in the Peacemakers category, and Kristina was recognized with a WILLA Literary Award for her editorial work on AGNES CANON’S WAR. She is the author of  ORACLES OF DELPHI and co-author of The Seeds Trilogy, including THE SOWING, THE REAPING, and THE HARVEST, with her two daughters. The Sowing and a The Prelude, a novella of the Seeds Trilogy, have been optioned for film by Big Picture Ranch, an independent film company whose films have won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, selected as a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and shortlisted for an Academy Award. Kristina has served on the board of the Missouri Writers Guild and the Missouri Center for the Book.



Elena Makansi, acquisitions editor: Elena graduated from Oberlin College where she majored in Environmental Studies especially as it relates to her passion – food justice. She also studied studio art and drawing and had her work featured in several college publications. While in high school, she won  numerous writing and poetry awards, was awarded a scholarship to attend the Washington University Summer Writing Institute and attended the  Iowa Young Writers Studio. She also won a scholarship to represent her Amideast cohort as the “resident” blogger during her study abroad in Amman, Jordan. She and her sister Amira backpacked through Europe together and share a passion for cooking, baking–and, yes, eating (and drinking). Elena maintains a Facebook Community page dedicated to her love of vegetables, works as a book editor and designer, and is a cook in a vegan/vegetarian restaurant. She was a co-author on the Seeds Trilogy as well as instrumental in designing the book covers and marketing materials.


amira 2Amira Makansi, manuscript reviewer:  Amira graduated with honors in three years from the University of Chicago. She earned a BA in History and was a team leader and officer for UChicago Mock Trial. She has served as an assistant editor and has read and evaluated Blank Slate Press submissions since the press was founded and is an avid reader and blogger who also has a passion for food and wine. Currently a winemaker in the Central Coast region of California, she has also worked at various wineries in Oregon and France and is approaching fluency in French. Along with her sister and mother (BSP’s editor and publisher), she has published the THE SOWING, THE REAPING, and THE HARVEST, the primary books of the Seeds Trilogy. She also wrote THE PRELUDE, a novella focusing on the backstory of one of the fan-favorite characters in the Seeds Trilogy. She blogs at The Z-axis.


Kathy J. Smith, manuscript reviewer: Kathy is a life-long reader, a world-traveler, and a retired nurse. She has spent countless hours on volunteer projects including medical missions and construction projects to Central America, the Caribbean, rural Appalachia, and the Gulf Coast. Upon returning from her trips, she has produced videos and given presentations telling the stories of the people she’s met and with whom her team has worked. At Blank Slate Press, she helps screen submissions and is the creative force behind our book trailers. She is also doing research for a historical fiction YA based in Southern Illinois.