Drunk Juggling

Right now it’s 11AM and I’m drinking Bushmills neat and the dog is whining behind me for food she won’t be getting for another hour.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what a small press office in downtown Los Angeles looks like!


And I’m juggling! Not literally, of course. But trying to get a few things done that are time essential.
It’s that time of year again. The monstrously huge LA Times Festival of Books at USC. As a small press (and as just readers and book lovers), we have a love/hate relationship with the LATFoB.
It is pretty amazing to see that many people attend a book event. I mean, it’s crazy. And I’ve had fun attending in the past, so there is love for it. But to me, more often than not, it feels like I’m at an auto show or something, where I eat expensive pretzels and end up carrying two bags of full of flyers and catalogs that I’ll throw away as soon as I get home. But we still go and try to make the best of it.


As a reader, I try to make sure I check the schedule, zip in to the panel or reading I want to attend, then try to hightail it out of there.
As a small press, well, there really isn’t anything for us there. If we had an event coming up or something, we’d probably make a bunch of flyers and just hand them out to the masses. Other than that, it’s too expensive for most of us to get a booth and hard to sell books. I mean, it’s not easy to compete with such literary luminaries as Debbie Reynolds and Winnie Cooper (I mean, Danica McKellar). And Molly Ringwald. Oh, and those freaking TV chefs showing people how to make an unnecessary omelettes with all that caviar and truffle oil or something we all got collecting dust in our kitchens.
Not all is lost. We have a ringer at USC that has created a space that many small presses can take part in. Kaya Press is once again running the Smokin’ Hot Lit Lounge. And we are more than happy to take part in it.


This year, the plan is to create a literal lounge, with comfy furniture and all, inside their tent. People can come in, pick up books, take a seat and read. There will also be activities that involve interaction between us (the publishers), writers and audience, and if we can get the technical stuff figured out, something involving words such as hashtag, streaming, realtime, and social media.
The goal behind Smokin’ Hot Lit Lounge has been and will always be to give the attendees a place they can not only escape to, but to explore what they love about writing and reading and books and community. And I think this year will be spectacular.
Writ Large Press will have a block of an hour to program with readings, activities, and other cool things. We are teaming up with Mike the Poet and Tongue & Groove to put something special together.
DO check it out if you attend the Festival. Really, you don’t need to go to any other booth. Any. Just stay at Smokin’ Hot Lit Lounge all weekend.
The other day we got contacted by a company that produces audiobooks. They wanted to know if we were planning on audiobook titles.
We hadn’t, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like a good idea. Especially with the poets we have published.
You don’t really have to worry about hiring actors or anything. I know at poetry readings it’s always been important for me to connect to the poet and the way they read their own work. So maybe a poetry book is the ideal thing for our first audiobook project. We’re waiting to hear back on the cost and all that.
We’ve also been thinking about book trailers. Our first thoughts – we hate them. We don’t get it. We can’t imagine rushing out to buy a book because there was a cool video trailer for it.
However, we did come up with a great trailer concept for one of our upcoming titles, the debut novel from Robin Maguire currently titled 47 Men. (Her mother, who is somewhat of a big deal, hates the title so we may have to revisit it.) I mean, if I saw this trailer, I’d consider buying the book. IT’S THAT AWESOME!!!
The fact is, we’re going to be embracing all of it—ebook, audiobook, trailers. So might as well plan for it soon so we can start implementing our vision and our ethos into the way we approach these projects.
And from this mindset, I’ve started concocting a trailer for Ed Lin’s upcoming YA book…
We really have to rewrite our mission statement. I mean, we actually have to put it on paper so we can send it to some possible collaborators.
The tough part about this is that we’ve been constantly rethinking what we want to do, what we want to be, and jumping into projects left and right, that we haven’t taken time to sit down and clearly write up a one-sheet.
What is Writ Large Press as of April 2013? Who are we going to be?
It was so much easier back in the day when we could just say, “Writ Large Press, publishing the best of Los Angeles.” Now? We don’t even know exactly what we want the word publishing to mean.
By next week, I promise to have figured this out and worded it perfectly. And I’ll post it on this column to get your thoughts on it. If you have any idea what we are about based on what you’ve read about us on this here weekly, I’m all ears! Just post your idea in a comment below!
Well, it’s now time to pour myself another.
I mean WORK! It’s time for me to go back to work!

What are you looking for?