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The Book Launch

Literary Alchemy

It is Monday morning, a little past 7AM. It’s dark in here and even the dog is still sleeping. There’s only one thing on my mind right now (no, not whiskey…yet): to sit down at the computer and check the status on the shipment of our books for this Saturday’s book release. And the book releases for us, and to other small presses I’m sure, have been the most crucial part of running a publishing business. It’s where we get a good idea for how many books we’ll end up selling.
UPS says it most recently left Harrisburg, PA. I suddenly picture a map of the US in my head. My eyes go to where California is. Then to Pennsylvania. Back to CA. Once more to PA. Then I feel a strange burning in my stomach because my brain can’t quite process how anything gets from that end of the map to this end of the map, on the ground, by Saturday. And now is when I think of whiskey.
This is the week where it vacillates from moments of sheer panic and those of strange peacefulness, the kind of peace that only can come when something inside me realizes it is too late, everything is out of my control, and somehow all that will be enough for the universe to make the books arrive on time and the weather to be perfect on Saturday night.
I will now wake up our three-legged dog and take her out to the poop patch because I need to get some air.

The Book Launch

It’s 8:30AM now. Still Monday morning. Including today, we are 6 days away from the launch party for our fifth book, History of Butoh by Khadija Anderson. We are incredibly excited! And there’s still the proverbial shit-ton of stuff to do this week:
• As mentioned, RECEIVE BOOKS!
• Put in order today for the limited edition CD of the History of Butoh: an Audio Companion. It’s music that has been created by Flynn Joffray, the author’s son. Unfortunately, we had to wait to put in the order until today because we wanted to make sure our rent check didn’t bounce. Oh the life…
• Upload and promote the incredible woodcut prints that we commissioned from Melora Walters. She did 7 pieces, the stunning one for the cover, and six equally gorgeous ones inside the book as chapter breaks. Limited Edition sets of the prints will be available at the event. Melora Walters is a poet/artist we have published before. And, oh yeah, she’s a pretty fantastic actress, like here in P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia.

The Book Launch

• Pick up wine and beer and water for the event.
• Make posters.
• Check up on the location, make sure all is in working order.
• Pick up CDs and assemble book/CD because BOTH BOOKS AND CDS WILL HAVE BEEN RECEIVED!
• Reserve sound system.
Facebook and Twitter all week.
Saturday, October 20th. 8PM. Billy’s Coffee Shop. 114 W. 5th St. Downtown LA. PARTY!!!
I am sure there are already things I’m forgetting from the list and the other members of Writ Large Press, once they read this post, will remind me of these things. We have all been busy with not only WLP stuff, but with our individual work in our individual lives.
Peter has been busting it co-producing a staged reading of Jesse Bliss’s new play, Tree of Fire. It happened on Sunday night at Inner-City Arts and it was a huge success. A massive undertaking and now he’s got to turn it back around and focus on the book release all week.
Judeth was teaching all week and attending theatre education conferences all weekend.
Conrad has been hustling for the best CD duplication prices while dealing with this.
And I’ve been battling a most likely stressed induced case of the flu/cold/yuck.
Well, here we go. The home stretch week before a book release. As mentioned earlier, it’s an incredibly vital event for a small press because we sell a big chunk of our books at book release parties. Without a successful book release party, it’s often difficult to keep enough of a cash flow going to publish our next book. It’s sort of like the opening weekend box office for a new film. Sure there are films that survive a weak opening and have enough legs to continue selling a lot of tickets. But in our brief history, the opening has been a great measure for book sales.
Right now as you read this, it’s most likely Thursday. Hopefully, all four of us plus writer are still sane, haven’t killed each other, and everything is ready to go. And hopefully, many of you will come out and join us to celebrate. Until then, I will be trying to stay calm whenever I can by listening to The Phonetic Disasters, a band of teenagers who I’ve fallen madly in love with. Seriously, go listen to them. All of you. Here they are performing one of their beautiful songs…at their high school talent show.

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