Peyton Marshall, Xeni F. & Jim Sidel were in town & we all met up & had drinks in the Burg, settling into the garden at Soft Spot before moving later to The Counting Room for some catch-up conversation & good times. They’re each still funny, which helps conversation that’s filling in the blanks of a decade (in Xeni’s case) that much easier & delightful. Peyton is here meeting with her editor at FSG for her first book, which I’m very excited to read: it’s about the propensity of violence in young boys. She once wrote a story about rabbits I liked tremendously, so I told her the story of Wendy’s father’s rabbit who had a stroke because Wendy’s father kept feeding it dog food & when the rabbit went to raise it’s ears, only one raised and the other flopped forward. The topics of our discussions varied but never kept too far from the black comedy we enjoy, which isn’t a generational thing. With good jokes, someone gets maimed. With great jokes, you know the person.
I’ve been working diligently each day the past two months on five books, which I will have ready for sale all before Christmas. The amount of work I’ve put into this endeavor has taken some minor tolls, but you gotta push yourself if you ever hope to produce anything of worth. The books will be:
Jared Harel – The Body Double
Alejandro Ventura – Puerto Rico
John F. Buckley & Martin Ott – Poets’ Guide to America
Jackie Clark – Aphoria
Laurie Filipelli – Elseplace
Aaron Sing Fox did the cover art for Jared’s book, & Jonathan Allen did Alex & John & Martin’s book.
I’m trying, for the first time, to experiment with Print on Demand by using both Createspace (owned by Amazon, run by Beezlebub, et al) & Lightning Source (similarly rent with QCS demons). Neither are known for the quality of their work nor their high standards of customer service. Both have legitimately enormous potential for changing publishing forever, but have chose to limit themselves in frustrating ways. If I use CS, I get to have my books immediately listed on Amazon, printed on demand for any customer, anytime; I get to order publisher copies for around $2-$3 a piece plus shipping; I get a PDF proof if I so choose; it costs me next to nothing to produce. They do not, however, do matte covers or lamination & their digital printers print at what looks at times to be 72 DPI, even though they swear it’s 300; plus, the covers feel & look cheap. Plus, & this kills me, if the book like most poetry books are over 100 pages, they will erase the spine elements (without consulting you) & refuse to print the book with any spine whatsoever. Lightning Source does everything CS does, but they do matte, which is awesome. They also have their own built-in distributor, Ingram’s, as well as the ability to list on Amazon & B&N.com right away. They also allow for spines on small books, if you beg, & assign you actual contact point employees to help you with your questions. The problem? Publisher copies run full price minus 10%. What? I use Small Press Distribution to help place my books with libraries & universities, & must have books shipped there directly, which means there is currently no economically feasible way to have SPD receive books I print with LS, which cuts bigtime into my profits.
I should begin my daily fiction writing habit now, but will return to this at a later date.