Behind the Scenes
This is such a blog post
Just read a bunch of Sasha Fletcher and Dan Bailey’s thing “I’m Finna Start All Conversations Like This From Now Until Forever” at Pangur Ban Party. Very funny stuff, worth a click through.
There was one that went something like, “I’m finna kiss your mother’s insides
I sent files to the printer for the reprint of MLKNG SCKLS yesterday. Justin Sirois is a master designer but he effed up the bleeds and we had to go back and forth, back and forth. Seems like we got it straightened out today though. [NOTE: Now that I’m less exhausted I realize that someone considering using Justin as a designer might see this and be dissuaded from enlisting him. That would be terrible. First of all, it is not the case that Justin effed anything up in the design. More importantly, of all the many people I work with, very few are as responsive and capable as Justin.] It’s really a beautiful new design. It woulda been a book crisis if we didn’t know what the hell we are doing. Doing the printing with 48Hrbooks, in case you care. They’re a great company if you’re doing what I do, and I recommend them for small jobs. Today I sent out an RFP for the Mairéad Byrne book. It’s a pretty big order for poetry — 216 pages, 600 copies — and quotes are coming in higher than I thought they’d be. I need to go back and look at my budget. I will probably take out a loan against my 401k. Oh well. I have a pretty good job. I’m a buyer for an asset management company.
I’ve always thought fundraisers are kind of lame. I am going to go 501c3, though. Seems like PG is ripe for some grants.
I’ve invested in a CRM — Client Relations Manager — for Publishing Genius. This is a web-based application that creates a better way to track P&L — Profit and Loss — and keep track of contacts and potential buyers. When I started PG I couldn’t sell a book to save my life. Now I’m getting in a few orders a week and it’s actually become a thing that I need to become organized with. I always prided myself with my spreadsheets (I used pivot tables for a while!) but I think there is a high margin of error there. Like with Light Boxes: I had 600 copies printed but can’t account for about 75 books. That’s really frustrating.
Also, taxes: don’t pay em, don’t claim write-offs. But now with a CRM maybe I can. Feel like I should delete this ppg.
Powells is the best bookstore for ordering and paying invoices, at least the part of it that Kevin Sampsell runs. Seriously. Some other bookstores are very good, too, but Powell’s sells more for PG than any other, and their checks come lightning quick. Some bookstores are bad. One guy has owed me $60 for going on three years. Having a CRM seems official, so it helps me not feel like it’s me bothering people for payment, but a system that I have no control over.
At last analysis, which was in the summer, I figured out I’ve spent $5364 on PG and have recouped $4344. So the difference, $1020, isn’t too much to spend on a hobby. I don’t know how I’m going to pay for the 7 books I have coming out this year, though. Faith, I guess. That 401k loan won’t actually be enough. Oh! College loans! Yessss.
I haven’t paid an advance yet but PG has started to pay pretty standard royalties, and due diligence mandates that I have an effective bookkeeping system. It would be inappropriate to say how much money some authors in the stable have coming to them, but it’s a lot more than I thought it’d be. Burgers and beer for several weeks, anyway. If you need a loan, look at the PG catalog and hit up one of those authors.
I wrote a paper about the small press business, but it didn’t turn out as well as I’d have liked so I’m not going to share it. There is a section in it about that contest Blake had a while ago, though, which garnered $1000+ in prize packages. I think that is quite a big deal.
I’m emailing people every day about six different books that are currently in various stages of production. I haven’t been home before 10pm on a weeknight in the last two weeks. Brain? Fried. 15 or so PDF Chapbooks on tap, one by Howie Good that is just itching for you to read it next Tuesday.
I hate that PG isn’t accepting full-length manuscript submissions because I really want to be a place that writers can count on as an option for their work. But the fact is that if you’re trying to send me a manuscript, I’m sorry, but you got lapped last year. And I’m so wary of burnout that I’m traveling very slowly on what I’ll print in 2012.
Well, I feel bad about being closed, but I oughtn’t — mafuckas be sending shit anyway.
Started taking fish oil pills. Doing therapy. Michael Kimball is now my personal trainer on top of being my contract lawyer and official videographer. He told me about various workout routines I need to start doing, like this one where I just stand on my tiptoes. My therapist referred to PG as a newsletter.
A couple years ago all the writer/bloggers were saying, “Feel like I should delete this” at the end of their posts. Remember? Remember? This is the sort of thing that should be posted at my own blog. Why don’t I do that? This is like an introduction to a book: if you don’t want to read it, don’t read it.
I always thought Jimmy Chen was gay, but then he got married to a woman, I think? Can someone clarify this for me?
One person whose book I’m reprinting is Stephanie Barber. She was the first perfect bound book PG did and it actually sold out pretty quickly. Here is an excerpt from her piece, “the visit and the play.” We enter the scene during a performance by two wig puppets (one small [SP] and one big [BP]), then after the applause we hear the response of two audience members, who had been bickering earlier:
SP: At the linguistic arsenal last Tuesday I thought maybe I could extract that part of me which is given to morbidity and fear, but then I thought—no—no—it is part of my personality and there is far too much cosmetic surgery being performed these days. Best to keep my flaws around so people don’t stand so close to me in lines at the Rite Aid or waiting for movie tickets.
BP: You are a ninny and I will not be dragged down to your level.
SP: I am merely enunciating some thoughts. Some thoughts I had on Tuesday, and today is already Saturday, and these thoughts are now just conversation pieces, like woodcarvings or bruises become.
BP: Well, I’ll tell you it’s not right, not right the way you slut your little ideas around all painted up like floozies.
SP: [singing] Hume hum hum ohhh shit ohhhh shit, fuck fuck fuck shit shit
BP: [joining in with beautiful harmonies] Hume hum hum ohh shit oohh shit, fuck fuck fuck shit shit.
Our heroine and her psychic friend are heard over the applause and rustles of audience departure.]
L: That made me feel extremely creepy and alienated from art.
P: I thought it had a delightfully cognizant resonance.
L: Jesus, you’re as bad as that small puppet.
It’s a movie. The book is called these here separated to see how they standing alone or the soundtracks to six films by stephanie barber. It accompanies a DVD of six films called something like these now reunited to see how they stand with each other. I found that the experience of reading along with the films really, really enhanced the way I was able to understand them. The film “catalog,” for instance, is so dense that after seeing it several times, I still couldn’t rightly say what was being told. But when I read along petals unfolded and rose. The films have screened at places like the New York Film Festival, MoMA and Prague, which maybe are not the most impressive places for experimental film work (supposedly Rotterdam has a great program. She’s shown there), but they probably sound best to the htmlgiant reader who maybe isn’t invested in that sort of work.
Experimental film is an odder career choice than poetry. At least poets like poetry and there are a lot of poets.
Feel like I should delete this, or that it’s not appropriate for htmlgiant. Did you know that we htmlgiant contributors are pretty much allowed to do whatever we want? If I wanted to announce a contest right here, I could. If in this sentence I wanted to tell you that I’ll send a copy of Stephanie Barber’s book and DVD to the 37th commenter I could tell you that and make it so. So it shall be.
Probably the most difficult thing on a daily basis about PG is mailing stuff. It’s really hard for me to get to the PO. My distributor, SPD, is great. Clay Banes is remarkably attentive and patient with my questions. I bet he’s got people emailing him constantly, probably more than me, but he still responds within an hour. Even at, like, 11pm. I can’t say enough good things about working with SPD and Clay.
It’s weird to have a book coming out. I don’t get to pay enough attention to its promotion because of all the other work. I’m worried about that. Joe outsold me in preorders. Oh, if you’re wondering when you’re going to get my book, it should be in your warm little hands during the second week of February. Anyway, what I was saying is that it’s weird to have a book coming out. I compare the way I do things to the way Narrow House does things. They are awesome. Jamie’s edits? He did things like count the number of “I”s in the word CLAUDIIIIIIINE in the table of contents and made sure it was the same number as what’s in the poem on the page. They paid to have my portrait done. Justin understand the book in a way that he knew to put a baseball field on the back cover, even though there are only, like, 5 poems about baseball in the book. Anyway, what I was saying is its weird.
The release party for my book is going to take place during halftime at the Superbowl. It will be a live broadcast over the Internet as an alternative halftime show. I hope you can watch it. Links forthcoming. When your book came out, did you have a release party? Release parties are great for making money, but I don’t really have the energy to put them together. For Rupert Wondolowski’s book, we pretty much sold out of the first printing at the party. Can’t beat that. Who wants a copy of that book? Anyone reading this far deserves it, but I’m only going to give one to the 14th commenter. If you are the 14th commenter, email me. That’s the other stipulation — you have to be able to find my email address.
Some people think complicated things about how to succeed as a small press, but for me the formula is simple: do better, try harder, have good friends.