Mud Luscious Acquires Blue Square Press

Posted by @ 11:47 am on November 3rd, 2011

This week, J. A. Tyler’s Mud Luscious Press announced that they were taking over/buying out/merging with Blue Square Press, run by David Peak and Ben Spivey, as an addition to their imprint series. As Tyler says in the brief interview below, the deal gets BSP in on MLP’s distro (and more), while MLP gets to participate in the publication of more great books.

To celebrate the union, they are offering Jack Boettcher’s Theatre State and Ben Spivey’s own Flowing in the Gossamer Fold at a reduced price, here.

I asked the parties involved some questions, starting with J. A. Tyler:

When did you first start paying attention to Blue Square Press?

I reviewed Ben Spivey’s Flowing in the Gossamer Fold in Oct. 2010 for The Collagist and I was immediately in love with their sense of physical presence (their books are damn lovely), their wordly aesthetic (the first two titles are a really right balance between exposition and otherwise), and their slow-growth process was something I envied, being able to spend months and
months of focused energy on one single title at a time, creating a genuine nest for their authors.

How did the idea to join forces come about? Or as my mom would say, what was the urge to merge?

I bought a copy of Jack Boettcher’s Theater-State when it released just a bit ago and, as Ben and David and I were talking back and forth about a variety of small press matters, they casually mentioned that if Mud Luscious Press was ever looking for a little sister (their phrase) to join our already birthed Nephew series (our phrase) as an imprint, they’d be interested. Many conversations later and bam, Blue Square Press is an imprint of MLP.

What does that mean? Like what does BSP get out of it, and what do you get out of it?

The imprint status of Blue Square Press is a non-financial partnership, meaning that BSP still foots the bill for all of their work and keeps editorial control over every aspect of their titles, but now with the added bonus of the Mud Luscious Press distribution plan, customer pool, knowledge base, staff, and other resources always at their disposal. What MLP gets out of it is what we always want: to release more brilliant titles that we either don’t have the time or money to send into this world (like Sean Kilpatrick’s fuckscapes, M. Kitchell’s Slow Slidings, and Darby Larson’s Irritant, all forthcoming from BSP).

That is cool. So it’s safe to say that these are books you would have published yourself, if you didn’t have limitations like time and money?

Absolutely, yes. In fact, we read Larson’s Irritant awhile back and were really torn with that book in particular – it was a title we desperately wanted to pursue but couldn’t due to various timing issues – so when we found out that Blue Square Press had contracted it, that only further cemented the deal to move forward with BSP as an imprint.

This merger seems like some big time business stuff. It’s really neat. How do you foresee the growth of MLP over the next five years?

Very businessy indeed. Paperwork and everything. In the next five years, MLP will:

  • Work with Dzanc books to offer all of our current and forthcoming titles (including Nephews) in an ebook option
  • Publish another 5-10 Nephew titles, solidifying that already exponential series
  • Publish another 5-10 novel(la) titles, continuing to push the range of that prose/poetic genre
  • Bring about our Transduction Series – something we are so stoked about but can’t talk about just yet
  • Take Blue Square Press with us into a continually higher level of distribution and readership in all the untapped places of indie lit

Finally, on an unrelated note, why are you always telling people to choke on words? Doesn’t that seem mean spirited?

This is actually very related – thanks for asking! More than anything, I want people to read books that are difficult to digest – not linguistically, as in books that are impossible to read, but as in books that cram such vibrant and beautiful new language at us that we are choked up, cut off from all necessities, brought into a greater state of being by near suffocation from the norm. I strive for this in my own writing – my most recent book Girl With Oars & Man Dying  attempts to unwrite the story itself – and Mud Luscious Press seeks this in all of its titles and series – as with Robert Kloss’ How the Days of Love & Diphtheria our latest Nephew, which is a difficult book to read in both its emotional brutality and its linguistic shove but which is worth every bit of chokeable pageantry involved.

–+|[and then I interviewed David Peak and Ben Spivey, who run Blue Square Press]|+–

When did you first start paying attention to Mud Luscious Press?
DAVID: Probably around the same time I started noticing new writing on the internet. Back when HTMLGiant still had a pea-green background and people would say goodnight to each other in the comments section before going to sleep. It was the title of a chapbook by Shane Jones–“Black Kids in Lemon Trees.” I remember thinking, What the fuck is that?

BEN: With their first chapbook by Ken Baumann, Y2K.

What does being an imprint for MLP mean most to you? How do you foresee it affecting your editing and business practices?
DAVID:
I think I’m mostly thrilled to be a part of this thing that’s meant so much to me for so long. In terms of editing–we’re very much our own entity. Ben and I will always exercise full editorial control over what we do. That’s what makes us us. In terms of business, this can only make us stronger. JA and Andrew have an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge. We’re grateful to learn whatever we can from them–and put as much energy and support back into MLP as possible.

BEN: J.A. and Andrew are two great people who have a lot of passion for words. We get each others aesthetic. That’s what matters the most to me. When we started discussing working together and imprinting BSP it felt very natural and fluid. It’s actually something David and I discussed well over a year ago, how we felt we, even then, aligned with what they were doing. I’ve worked with J.A. on several different things throughout the past 2 years or so and we’ve maintained a healthy e-mailing relationship and he helped us out when we first started BSP and has always been supportive of our titles and efforts. Our editorial style won’t change much. Only positive things will breed as far as business efforts are concerned. Imagine if John Carpenter never teamed up with Kurt Russell.

J. A. Tyler said that the idea for merging came from you mentioning it during a conversation about publishing in general. So, after all the details were ironed out, do you feel like what you’re left with is about what you had in mind from the start?
DAVID: 
Yeah, absolutely. It’s been pretty amazing how it all worked out. Ben and I used to joke around about something like this. Then one day I said, “They already have a nephew–so how about a little sister?” For some reason that stuck and we decided to propose joining forces with JA. He responded positively, and we just went from there.

BEN: The end result is a perfect hand-shake.

Will you still be using the amazing David McNamara for book design?
DAVID:
Yes! David McNamara is the elder God–the eyeless Old One–lying dormant beneath a dreary, foggy kingdom. He sees beyond.

Where do you see Blue Square Press in five years?
BEN:
We’ll have a lot more books in our catalog.

DAVID: Publishing video games? If anyone is interested in that–in any way–please get in touch with us. Point-and-click adventure games. Books in code. Text-based adventure or role-playing-games-as-literature.

Other than that, I just really want us to keep publishing the kinds of books that we love.

What’s the next book you guys will be doing?
DAVID:
Next is Sean Kilpatrick’s fuckscapes. It is the Castlevania of books. After that, Darby Larson’s Irritant. Which is just … something else entirely. And then M. Kitchell’s Slow Slidings. All three of these are our children and they were manifested from intense rage and have no belly buttons.

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