First order of business: Some Congratulations to Rebecca Schumejda, a tremendous poet you should all be reading, and the winner of the KEEP BOOKS DANGEROUS totebag giveaway.
Now, if you're truly heartbroken over not winning, just know that you can get a totebag of your very own over at my Society6 page HERE.
You didn't know there was a giveaway going on? There's really only one explanation: you haven't joined my NOTIFY LIST...often the ONLY place to get word of things like this, plus advance warning for any limited print run/special editions of any new projects. If you wanna be one of the cool kids too, you can sign up HERE.
Now, as for the State of the Avocation: 2017 was a rough year here at Hosho McCreesh HQ. I invested a lot of time banging my head against the wall of a traditional publishing route (read as: searching for an agent) in hopes of finding an industry advocate for my first novel, Chinese Gucci. It didn't go well...which, when you've written exactly the book you set out to write, feels shocking. Of course, the book isn't for everyone -- something I have made my peace with. Still I thought it might be for someone...
In the hard, cold, and sober light of dawn (merits of the book aside) I begrudgingly admit it's not an easy sell...which, in my enthusiasm, I neglected to consider. Because traditional publishing is built around sales, around that fetid corpse of multi-quadrant pictures and cross-promotional whatever-the-hells. The business of this art isn't art, it's business...selling selling selling. In fact, André Schffrin wrote this all down following his ouster from Pantheon years ago. The business of publishing is, now more than ever, only concerned with bottom lines, and bean-counting. There aren't too many folks in New York (save THESE FOLKS, and surely a few others) publishing books for art's sake.
I get it. Times are tough. The competition for peoples' attention is ferocious -- with books (and the hours it takes to read them) going toe-to-toe with Network TV Shows, Cable TV shows, Superbowls, Binge Netflix-and-Chilling, Podcasts, movies in the theater, movies at home, or or or or or... Still part of me dies a little when I think of how important books have been for the civilization of mankind (present uncivilized version aside), and the fact that not everyone is invested in their future survival.
So what am I on and on about here? Just the future of publishing. Not publishing publishing...but publishing for me.
There are beautiful things out there to discover, made by people who still absolutely care.
Here's some more.
These are, for me, the things that matter. These are the things I want to be involved in making. So the future of publishing (for me) is a lot more hands-on, a lot more limited in scope, and I truly believe it'll be a lot more rewarding. I will certainly keep publishing with folks like the aforementioned whenever opportunities arise, but I will also look to bring back out some of my out-of-print stuff, and doing so in a manner more befitting the tastes of small press connoisseurs like you all. After all, this is the thing that small presses can do far better than any big press -- and that's limited, artisan, hand-made projects with personal touches on each and every copy.
For me, it's the only thing that makes sense. I don't want to paint, or make collage that is concerned with margins and bottom lines, market appeal or strong genre indicators. I don't want to write books for everyone. I want to write books for all of you. And I want whatever mad vision I had for each book to be free from the compromise and uglier trappings of commerce. I want to make it, then make it available -- and never have to twist anyone's arm over it.
So, anyway, that's this year's State of a Avocation. No I just need to figure out how to do it all!