I've mentioned previously that one of the things I do is run a small literary press in Venice, California. We have a chapbook series and nearly two weeks ago we released two new chapbooks, one from award-winning poet, Adrian Blevins, and the other from actor, director, writer, James Franco. These are the 20th and 21st chapbooks in the series and we continue to be excited about it.

Because we're so small, our promotional efforts have severe limitations. We were able to send out about 100 advance review copies. We secured an email list of subscribers to poetry journals and sent an email blast to them. We have our own email list that we sent an e-postcard to. We sent out a national press release via Biz Wire, and we sent smaller press releases to targeted group of journalists. We made announcements on Twitter and continue to tweet any news items that appear about the books. We do the same on Facebook. We're contemplating some display ads but these are very expensive and the word is always that they're the least effective form of promotion.

I relate all this in the interests of discussing how anyone finds out about a new book.

More after the colophon. . .

Though we were able to publish a first poetry chapbook from an actor who has a significant cultural presence, the world is not waiting for another book, especially another book of poetry. The same is true for the other chapbook, though Ms. Blevins is an award-winning poet.

How do you properly time a release? We came out November 1. Too close to the election? Too close to the superstorm? Would a month earlier have been better? A month later? Will we get any holiday buying or will we have faded from memory at that point? These are all considerations in any kind of promotion but especially at a small press with small resources.

A lot of the time I feel as if I'm waving my hands in the air and shouting, Look, look here at these books.  I think it says something about the culture, too, about the difficulty there is in raising awareness about good books.

Here is more information about the two new chapbooks.  

Adrian Blevins' chapbook, Bloodline, deepens her ongoing exploration into the subjects which have always been the focus of her poetry: babies, mortality and an anxious kind of mother love. In language that is by turns, celebratory, edgy, stylized, sad, and sassy, the poems riff on the irreconcilable differences between the speaker's love for her children and the worried, death-obsessed uproar that love can't help but bring. Blevins wades into sacrosanct regions declaring, "I'm not saying this was my incarceration / because I was too devoted" even as the poems draw a topography of grief for a life arrested by the speaker’s procreative powers.

In James Franco's chapbook, Strongest of the Litter, a vision of power is at the center of these poems.  It's a power both generative and frightening, self-consuming and bracing. The chapbook is the story of an artist's power of self-making using the collective memory of Hollywood along with specific memories of the poet's own past. The poems are beautiful and spare and leave echoes of empathetic longing.

You can find both chapbooks at Amazon:


Strongest of the Litter

Or at the Hollyridge Press website: Hollyridge Press

Originally posted to ibar88 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM PST.

Also republished by DKOMA and Readers and Book Lovers.

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