August is already happening and it isn’t August. I’m getting ready (laying out and printing a small book) for a reading on August 3rd with Amelia Gray at the Neptune. This is in Seattle and if you’re here, come! I really like what she has here. I’m looking forward to getting a copy of her book, AM/PM, at the reading.
I guess I’m a little nervous about the reading. I’ll probably bring cookies, like I did when I defended my thesis against my nervousness with more cookies than people were willing to chew.
Cookies. What else?
I got applied, and by some process was selected, for a scholarship to the Wave “three days of poetry” happening around here in August. The day before that begins, there’s going to be some sort of literary death match. Matthew Simmons, Ryan Boudinot, and Matt Briggs will try to match each other to death.
If you want an issue of Dewclaw and haven’t ordered one yet, send an email to dewclaw dot mag at gmail dot com with “DEWCLAW RAFFLE” in the subject line. I am not case sensitive.
Next Tuesday, that’s June 30, I’ll write your name on a piece of paper and put those pieces of paper in a pannier. I’ll find a stranger to reach into the pannier and pull out a name. I’ll send a Dewclaw to that person.
Dewclaw is here, Adam’s short post about helping edit. Also, a photo of me that includes panniers.
If you want to donate to Dewclaw, you can now do that from this blog. There’s a button on the right, under the “buy now” button. A donation can work like a subscription. If you’re kindof interested in that but aren’t sure, email me (dewclaw dot mag at gmail dot com) and I will convince you either that it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Your money will not be used by me to purchase gas, guns, or beasts of burden.
I’ll ship orders and contributors’ copies next week, maybe then also give away a few copies.
Thank you, contributors and orderers.
(One thing we goofed: we’d meant to lay out the illustrations so they’d face their titles, but instead, titles are on right pages and illustrations are on the next (left) pages. We learned from this, or, Now time for issue two.)
What bothers more than just about all else in the writing and publishing of words is the felt need (by some) for mystique, a backstage. When I’m in the audience I don’t like being pandered to or protected from what goes on in the making of the spectacle I’m there to engage. I guess because I’m not there to escape–where is there to escape to? What is there to escape?
Most of all I don’t want to contribute to the faking of mystique (unreal/unrealizable context) to surround objects–books are objects. I think that consumer objects and art objects are both mystified–consumer objects mystified by an absent context they seem to come out of, to you, bringing you into that context, and art objects by the mystery of their creation, their artist and his or her “inspiration.” (While I think that plenty in life is mysterious or outside of my understanding, I do not think that the mysteries inhere or gather or thicken in exchanges of product and $. They’re there in other ways.)
For those who want to know, what follows is as precise an account as I can remember the details of about the production of Dewclaw. I’m including personal details (like how much money I made in 2008) for context.
The first thing I did was make a page for Dewclaw on this blog, which Adam has helped me a lot with setting up and maintaining. Then I emailed some people whose writing I admire and which I thought would correspond when placed together in a book, asking if they’d like to contribute. All but one said yes and sent something. One person said they would have to see if they would anything to send me in a couple of months.
Duotrope soon listed Dewclaw and I got lots of submissions. I haven’t kept a count, but I’ll estimate that for issue one I had about 50, at least 50, unsolicited submissions, some of which I accepted.
I searched for a publisher. This part produced the most anxiety for me of any part of making Dewclaw.
I really wanted to use a local printer I could bike to and haul the books home from in a trailer–that’d be ideal, and it did not happen. In April sometime I called 1984, chatted with a nice person there, and said I’d call back after getting more quotes. In early May I called back and left a message, but they didn’t return my call until yesterday, by which time I’ve already hired a different printer. In April I also talked to Eberhardt Press in Portland, and while they seemed friendly the style of their books was not what we were looking for.
Then, at an HTML Giant reading in Seattle, I talked to Kevin Sampsell (of Future Tense) about the printer he used for Chelsea Martin’s book. That’s how I found out about Lightning Source, who we tried and failed to work with because they wouldn’t accept our files, the reason for that being, I think, that the files were converted to PDFs using an open-source layout program (Scribus) that they didn’t support (technologically, not ethically, I think). Adam went to the University of Washington’s library and used an Adobe program (Distiller) that Lightning Source recommended for making PDFs in a format they accept, and even after doing that, after we’d done what they told us to do, they wouldn’t accept our files.
So about a week ago I started to look for a different printer.
I liked the quality of printing of Matthew Simmons’ book (A Jello Horse), so I emailed Adam (Publishing Genius) asking which printer he uses. 48 Hour Books. This morning we uploaded our Dewclaw files to their site, and this afternoon, our proof is laid out and ready to order. They quoted us a price of $715 for 150 copies (3 color pages), and 25 free copies. Adam and I are splitting the cost.
(Lightning Source quoted us a price of $4.84 per book for 250 copies with 3 color pages and a 4-color cover. They gave us a 20% discount for ordering 250 copies, which made the price $4.30 or something.)
To make back our money, which I’d like to do so that Dewclaw is sustainable, we need to sell about 72 copies. So far, 14 copies have been pre-ordered.
48 Hour Books is easy to work with so far. Our proof is on its way, and shortly after, so will be the Dewclaws.
Yet of course it isn’t perfect–
Here’s what Adam (not the PG Adam) said after looking at our proof:
48hrs’ application doesn’t give their files a usable filename when you download them, so you have to rename the files yourself. That’s annoying.
My gross income on my 2008 tax return, before taxes and adjustments, is $10,169. In 2007 I made about $16,000. This year, I expect to make something in between those two numbers. I don’t have health insurance. I don’t drive a car, though, which saves a bucket of money.
I like knowing where my objects come from, and what their makers need in order to keep making them.
We’ve decided to switch to a different printer. I’m glad to be switching, even if it does mean Dewclaw will appear slightly later than I had hoped. The printer we’ve been trying to work with, Lightning Source, is just so inflexible about how they want their files. If Lightning Source were a city, there would be spikes on every rail.
A bee update–
There are two dead drones in the photo above. Drones are males, and they don’t do any work. The other bees may have killed them. Isabella Rossellini’s short movie about bees is funny and, I think, accurate.
Dewclaw 1 has been sent to the printer. Because the printer’s website is a clunker and their layout instructions confusingly written (from a technical writer’s perspective), printing has been slightly delayed. Should be finished by mid-June, I’m hoping.
Once printing is finished, I think I’ll blog something about my experience with the printer we chose (Lightning Source) in case it’s useful to you, who might be contemplating publishing something. If you’ve used a different printer, I hope you’ll let me know how it went. I’m looking for a printer for issue 2.
Submissions for the next issue of Dewclaw will open the first day of summer, June 21, 2009. Here’s what I’m looking for, as posted on the Dewclaw page:
Submissions for issue two will reopen June 21, 2009. Please send words that move around the notion of “under” (sub-). Sub-dermal, sub-lingual, sub-textual, sub-marine. A cross-sectional illustration revealing the foundations of a city to be another city.
Issue two will be a guide book to the under-regions of other books. What goes on under there?
A copy of Dewclaw 1 will be given away in this contest of Blake Butler’s. What a good way to do a contest. No entry fee!
I want to let you know of a few things. First is that the list of contributors for the first issue of Dewclaw is finally final, and now Adam and I are going to be working on layout and settling on a printer. We’re trying to decide between two small printing shops each with at least one friendly, helpful person, and Lulu or some other print-on-demand.
The writing and illustrations in this first issue, well, you will see how good they are. I’ll let you know when you can pre-order an issue. Probably sometime end-of-April.
Another thing: I’m going to be interviewing Claire Donato and Amina Cain and I’ll be posting the outcome of that to the “interviews” page. My interview style has been described in the following way: “I have this crazy idea, have you had this crazy idea too?” We will see if this next round of interviews lives up to that description.
On the topic of crazy ideas: Adam has finished the hive where we’ll soon be depositing three pounds of bees, check it out here.
Adam is building a hive, and in April, we’re going to get bees from someone who lives outside of the city and put them in the hive, in the city. Bees are sold by the pound.
Are there people I know who will get tired of receiving honey at each holiday?
Humans swarm, too. I was reminded of that when I watched this video. (sorry if you have to watch an ad for starburst or something first.)
I think that the first issue of Dewclaw will be published in June. But more about that soon.
I’m going to have a story, “Mr. Gray,” in 30 Under 30, an anthology edited by Lily Hoang and Blake Butler. I’m really curious about what this anthology is going to be like. I’m also curious about what it will be like to be covered with bees. I think it will be loud and tingly.