The Dazzling Life of a Publisher


I’m sitting in a hotel room tonight, working on vetting a recent scan of a Jack Cady novel with a plastic bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and really awful cable television for company this evening. This is the gritty in the trenches life of an independent publisher. Terribly glamorous, I know. But sometimes you have to get out and visit your distributor and talk with the sales team. Visit a bookstore or two. See how other places shelve their books. And do some talking about books.

It’s a hard life.

At least I got some time at Aquarius Records. It would have been more satisfying if I hadn’t misplaced my carefully prepared shopping list this morning. But I did all right, regardless. One of the more interesting things I found today was a label called Khrysanthoney, which purports to be “black-pop,” as in black metal shoegazer pop. See? You didn’t even know you were missing it from your life until now.

I also found a used copy of Thomas Pynchon’s The Bleeding Edge at Shakespeare and Co. in Berkeley. The nice gentleman working there was surprised that a) they had a copy, and b) Pynchon was still alive. “They’re teaching a class now,” he said. “They usually only do that when the author is dead.”

For the record, the delightful people at PGW were very kind and supportive, and listened attentively when I ran through the whole Resurrection House spiel again. And then they gave me some preliminary numbers for orders for the fall season, which were in keeping with what I was expecting to hear. After that, they gave me marching orders: Blurbs to find. Galleys to make. Marketing to do.

Back to work.

(Why couldn’t HBO be re-running the first few episodes of True Detective on the few nights that I have access to HBO?)