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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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Comment Preferences

  •  I just grabbed a chunk: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, MeToo
    who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
    on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
    & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
    of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
    fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinis-
    ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the
    drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
    who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap-
    pened and walked away unknown and forgotten
    into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
    ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
    who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
    the subway window, jumped in the filthy Pas-
    saic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,
    danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
    phonograph records of nostalgic European
    1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
    threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans
    in their ears and the blast of colossal steam
    who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
    to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
    watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
    who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
    if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
    a vision to find out Eternity,
    who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
    came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
    watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
    Denver and finally went away to find out the
    Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
    who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
    for each other's salvation and light and breasts,
    until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
    who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
    impossible criminals with golden heads and the
    charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
    blues to Alcatraz,
    who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
    My first chapbook was a feast of concepts and a wonderful stream of consciousness piece.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:15:55 PM PST

  •  How do I find out about a new book? Reviews. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Twodaiquiris, MeToo

    Display ads leave me cold. But I'm eager to read the book news in the dailies and in magazines. I listen to reviews on the radio and watch author interviews on teevee. And if I find something interesting, I search the title on Amazon and read some more.

    Before I posted here, I went to to see if I could find you a link on sending books for staff review. Didn't find what I was looking for but it might still be worth contacting the store to find out their policy.

    Portland is an exceptionally literate town and Powell's is a mighty force for generating buzz about a book and its author.

    Their collection of poetry and literary magazines is so good that searchers looking for the new, the old, or the obscure will find a fuller inventory here than most anywhere.

    Heck, if you can get Franco interested, or Blevins, Powell's does an exceptional job hosting book signings, which are insanely popular here in Bridgetown.

    All best wishes!

    I was a peripheral visionary. I could see the future, but only way off to the side. ~ Steven Wright

    by Bugsby on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:03:53 PM PST

  •  Thanks for posting this! I am not familiar (0+ / 0-)

    with this Mr. Franco you speak of, but Adrian Blevins is a kick-ass poet.  I loved The Brass Girl Brouhaha.

    A conservative, a moderate and a liberal walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "Mr. Romney, you must be lost!"

    by Twodaiquiris on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 07:30:21 PM PST

    •  Brass Girl. . . (0+ / 0-)

      I've known Adrian for years and have been after her since we started the chapbook series. We were so pleased that she had a small collection available at the moment we were ready to go on with the series.  Her work is bold, unflinching. She demythologizes motherhood. She's a southern gal but there's nothing shrinking about her. She's a tough one in her poetry.

  •  best wishes (0+ / 0-)

    I clicked over to the Hollyridge Press website. Looks good. I'll be back.

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