The intertubes are sluggish these past few days, and I can’t determine if it’s due to all the chatter in regards to events happening around the world or an early demonstration of the lack of net neutrality with my ISP. Lots of spinning wheels of various colors and patterns. Opportunities, I suppose, to get out of the chair once in a while. I bought a Fitbit the other day, and have been both intrigued and horrified by what this tiny little device is telling me about my daily activity (or lack thereof).

Rudolph! went to the printer on Friday. What should have been a simple project consumed most of June and July, and I’ve spent so many hours staring at in during the last two months that I’m blind to whether it is any good anymore. I guess we’ll find out in a few months. It’s been a long time coming, in many ways, and if the last year has provided me with anything, it’s been this opportunity to finally get Rudolph! out in front of the world. Over the next week or so, I need to figure out what to do with posters Dylan Todd did.

Oh, I haven’t shared those here yet, have I? Silly me. Here’s a couple.




And there’s a few hours of updating websites to be done. That’s what happens when more content comes down the pipe. You need to keep making sure word gets out.

Listening to Gus Gus’s Mexico, Bonobo’s Ten Tigers, and Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite these days. Saw Guardians of the Galaxy and enjoyed it quite a bit, but it never wasn’t a comic book movie, which kept it from really elevating itself out of its origins. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but it’s one of the things that the Iron Man films have done well, in my mind. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll queue up for endless GotG sequels, but it would be nice if the antagonist was actually something more than a cardboard villain.

One Year In


Today seems to be the day that the recent WordPress and Drupal vulnerability really kicks in. I’m busy crawling the web for bookstores, and one out of three sites I hit are offline with the now familiar Drupal logo. Ah, the Internets. Never stop reminding us that you are still a young technology in the grand scheme of things.

Speaking of young technology, I just renewed the business license for Resurrection House. It seems a good a time as any to pause and take note. We’re now the third return on Google if you just google the two words of our name, which makes me very happy because, well, you can go look at the competition yourself and see why. Chimpanzee is leaving the warehouse, and we’ve just initiated our first street team game with Sticker Your Chimps. We’ve also gotten ourselves on Edelweiss, and I’ve been pleased to see how many booksellers and librarians are well acquainted with how the digital ARC service works. Heraclix and Pomp went to press last week, and we’re putting three more books in the print pipeline by the end of the month. And that’s our first season. It’s taken us a year and a not insignificant amount of money to get here.

In many ways, that was the easy part. Rather, that was the part I knew something about. This next part? Kind of uncharted territory for me. One of the charming aspects of being a writer/entrepreneur is that you get to work out of the house. One of the debilitating aspects of being an entrepreneur who needs to engage his customers is that I get to work out of the house. We can make the sexiest books in the world, but they don’t do us any good if they’re sitting in the warehouse (or in my garage). As much as I appreciate all my friends’ continued enthusiasm, there is a threshold beyond which they’d like me to have something else to talk about. Friends, in the end, aren’t really your customers, and at some point, you need to go find customers.

There’s no silver bullet in marketing, as much as we’d all like to dream otherwise. Memes are accidents that you can’t actively create or curate (in fact, doing either—in my opinion—is the sort of hyper-vigilant oppressive parenting that will kill a meme dead before it even leaves the nest). You can spend an inordinate amount of money on advertising, and get completely undone by a meme or some other bit of news entirely unrelated to your project. Marketing is awareness, and awareness comes over time. You have to build something that slips into people’s consciousness in an understated way. I want long-term customers, and the way to get—and keep—them is to do good work, over and over again. And never stop politely reminding them that you’re doing so.

So, yes, we’re a year in. Books are going to be on the shelves of bookstores near you any time now. If you see one of our books in the wild, pick it up and show it to someone else in the store. Maybe even buy it if it feels right in your hand. But tell people: “Yes, this is new and it is a good thing.” Because, years from now, we’re all going to get together and tell stories about how and where we first encountered Resurrection House.

And that will be a good thing too.

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?)