Dan Wickett of Dzanc Books and the EWN once again rips shit up with a nice new epanel discussion on independent publishing, with a Q&A among publishers from several indies, including Underland Press, Ellipsis Press, Keyhole Books, Tyrant Press, Hobart Short Flight Long Drive, Rose Metal Press and Hotel St. George Press. They discuss all matters of what running a small press entails, from searching through submissions to marketing the books to sales and promo, just about everything you could want to know.
A great, great interview, and a fascinating read, esp. if you are in the market of trying to place your own book or start your own press.
As a particular favorite moment, here’s Eugene Lim of Ellipsis Press on the future of Indie publishing:
I’d like to think an indie movement is going on. Twelve years ago there was an issue of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, titled “The Future of Fiction,” and edited by none other than David Foster Wallace. In it, there’s a hilarious and dead-on piece by Dalkey head John O’Brien, which stated among other things that the “end of literary books in commercial publishing is a historical inevitability.” And so it has come to pass. The bigger houses will cease (have ceased!) to publish literary fiction. It is not profitable for them to market and produce a title that will sell to 5000 people (even if Rick Moody strong-arms a National Book Award for them). S’okay though. The old publishing joke goes, How do you make a small fortune in publishing? Answer: Start with a large one. And then you and your crony get to laugh bitterly together. But it’s the wrong question. A small and lively (and one hopes resurging) group of people care about the novel as art. And with the new methods of production and distribution, it’s getting easier for writers to connect with readers. The truth is there’s never been any money in publishing innovative writers (at least before canonization—for those lucky few). But now what’s being revealed is it doesn’t matter that there isn’t. This is parallel with the digital revolution in filmmaking, which Francis Ford Coppola famously predicted by saying, “One day, some little fat girl in Ohio is going to be the new Mozart and make a beautiful film with her father’s camcorder and the so-called professionalism about movies will be destroyed forever.” Similarly and importantly, the means of production and marketing for books have become much more affordable.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
September 30th, 2008 / 2:38 pm
Fence just announced a new fiction and poetry contest run in correlation with the Summer Literary Seminars, with publication and cash prizes for best poems and short stories which can be submitted through their website: here. No stamps or printing = nice.
The fiction side is to be judged by the badass Lynne Tillman, whose last novel AMERICAN GENIUS, is one of the most original and brilliant things I’ve read in years: about the Manson family and a woman in an asylum and encyclopedic recall and other beyond Pynchon shit. In the house.
In addition to being in Fence, winners get free tuition at the SLS, which looks pretty interesting, and includes a trip to either Italy, Lithuania, or Kenya. Jesus xox.
The economy doesn’t look good, but I have a plan.
I have $6 left in my PayPal Account Balance. I used to have more money, but I used that money to purchase many things: the first issue of The Open Face Sandwich, a chapbook from Octopus Books, some subscriptions to literary journals, Shane Jones’ novel from Publishing Genius, and stuff like that.
I would like to give away that $6 to someone or some press or some journal or something. It is not a lot of money, I understand, and I would like to receive something in return, preferably a chapbook, or a book, or some other neat trinket. I know that is a lot to ask for.
The idea is that I could then read that chapbook or journal back issue or whatever and talk about it in another post to promote literature and the economy and capitalism and other American things.
I guess this is like a reverse auction?
I am interested in these places:
I am going to stop listing things, because it is time for bed. I realize that $6 might not cover the full cost of whatever. I hope that is not an insult. It is all the money I have right now in the account. At least someone will make a sale?
At least one unit will move, I guess?
I am also up for suggestions? Please, tell me about a cool thing I can read that I might have missed, preferably something that looks nice and I can touch in a nice way as I read it.
Reading period is now open for the next issue of Sleepingfish, which in its new African incarnation will be web-based, a nice node on the face of internet’s reading life.
From editor Derek White:
Having relocated recently to Nairobi, the next issue might have more of a Kenyan or African slant, but not necessarily so. I do however encourage international writers, and writing that takes place outside of the contemporary American psyche, or in fictional places altogether. Despite this skew, Sleepingfish will still retain it’s same skewed aesthetic. If you are not familiar with this aesthetic, please browse some back issues or the recent print issue.
It will be nice to see how the translation occurs, and hopefully we will develop ex-American scourge from the new bruise. Yummy. Send some words, etc.
September 28th, 2008 / 2:50 pm