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Category Archives: Learning How to Be a Publisher

Our First Anniversary!

By | Learning How to Be a Publisher, Thoughts | No Comments
Poetry Entre Rios Books Seattle

A year ago today, we received our first check!

I keep saying being a book publisher is the second hardest thing I’ve tried— right after marriage. But even that would be close. Does it get easier? I hope so! At least, I am looking into project management software to create fancy charts that might help me feel better about the many interlocking pieces. My creative brain really struggles with some of the essential pieces of being a publisher: budgets, time lines, cash flow, cash, budgets, spreadsheets, budgets, forecasting, cash.

Here’s what we’ve accomplished:

  • We have published three beautiful books, all very unique. We’re heading into the sweet spot we want to be at with poetry in collaboration.
  • I’m getting sharper on book design issues, paper choices and understanding budgets, but we’re definitely still not even close to getting our books at a decent production cost.
  • We’ve had a few stellar events and are looking forward to hosting some more!
  • We’ve lined up an exciting group of project for 2017 and am learning why lead times are so long…we’re actually pretty sure we have our 2018 work lined up now.


  • Here’s what we’ve not even gotten close to:

  • We’re still building a community around our books and press. This is going to be key to success.
  • We’re still lacking a distributor and are not ready to go national, whatever that is going to mean.
  • I’m still learning confidence to say, “Yes, we publish poetry and BUY a book.” The making of books easy. The being in love with your collaborators and believing strongly in their work, no problem. The walking up to complete strangers or, even worse, booksellers and asking them to carry our books, OH DREAD AND FEAR BEYOND BELIEF!


  • People keep asking me, Do you enjoy being a book publisher? and the truth is, I am not sure. What I enjoy is having my brain taxed every single day with something new to learn. I love working with so many talented people. I like bringing that vision to life. But with so many difficult pieces, I can’t say “joy” is the emotion I feel. A steely resolve seems somehow a more fitting emotion for the upcoming year. That, and a bit of pride.

    Happy 40th, Washington Lawyers for the Arts!

    By | Learning How to Be a Publisher | No Comments

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    We were so honored to pitch in and sponsor tonight’s membership party for the Washington Lawyers for the Arts. While we’re new to group, as a long-time artist in Seattle I had always thought going to their legal workshops would have been a good idea. Well, nothing like finally having mostly boring book contracts to get done to finally get us to sign up! And fair use when when working with artists involved in collage and securing rights seems like a good thing to know more about, eh?

    Here’s why we support and are members of Washington Lawyers for the Arts:

      Every artist needs legal knowledge to grow and control their creative work.
      Every artist, regardless of ability to pay, deserves to have the best legal advice possible.
      The creative community of Seattle and Washington State is built and strengthened with this legal work.

    It is really that simple. Here’s hoping for another great 40 years! Happy Birthday!

    Here's the view from the party at the top of the Columbia Tower!

    Here’s the view from the party at the top of the Columbia Tower!

    At Our First PNBA Conference

    By | Learning How to Be a Publisher | No Comments
    BPNW PNBA 2016

    Here’s our books at the Book Publishers Northwest Table.

    Earlier this year, we joined Book Publishers Northwest. It seemed like a good pace to learn skills during their monthly meetings. What we did not realize is that it would also get us into the door for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association conference. For a new publisher, this has got to be the best $50 you could spend. (Membership information here).

    What I liked about being at the PNBA conference was being totally overwhelmed, totally humbled, and finally to get a bit of clarity about how we might sell our books.

    A funny thing that’s changed for me being a publisher rather than only a reader is that I no longer walk into a bookstore with a sense of anticipation and wonder, but rather dread and the wish that somehow there were no other books than the ones we’re putting out! How dare there be so many more interesting and gorgeous books taking attention away from our incredible books that everyone should read! Ha! Such is the life of the publisher as he walks to the counter with six books he intensely needed after he was done fondling his book on the shelf!

    “The After”: A First Look!

    By | Books, Learning How to Be a Publisher | No Comments

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    Always an exciting, as as we’re finding, a nerve-wracking day, our third book, The After, is back from the printer. Due to the complexity of printing Karinna Gomez‘ dark mezzotints, it was the first time we got to see all of it integrated. This may seem unusual, but there is a bit of leap of faith, at least for the new book designers, on how the book will actually feel. Will the size actually work? Will the pages feel good with the cover stock? With the paper finishes?

    We are thrilled to report that most everything we set out to accomplish with this book looks and feels great. The art has printed beautifully on Olympus Press‘s high definition offset press. The landscape format feels wonderful to hold, and the cover in a dull gray rough stock, while perhaps a bit less eye-catching than we hoped despite some printer tricks using white ink, is interesting to touch and contrasts nicely with the interior stock.

    We could not be more honored to bring out this somber, troubling work on the mass extinction currently happening around us and because of us. We are certainly humbled to be working with the talented folks who shared their creative energy with us and the printer’s team working on educating us on how to get the best looking books we can dream up on our challenging budgets and short runs.

    We are accepting pre-orders for The After. It will ship to arrive by Tuesday, September 27.

    The After Interior Page Karinna GomezScore

    The Birds of Rome

    By | Ephemera, Learning How to Be a Publisher | No Comments

    Birds of Rome Cover In addition to our books, we are working with the authors we publish to create a bit of ephemera for your briefest reading pleasure.

    This week, we received our first one back from the printer, “The Birds of Rome” by Melinda Mueller. Originally published in “Looking Together: Writers on Art” by the University of Washington and the Frye Art Museum, we are pleased to re-present this poem in this tidy format. We might recommend reading this poem with a glass of wine while watching the sun set and the shadows lengthen on rooftops.

    FullSizeRender

    Popular Songs: A Short Delay!

    By | Books, Learning How to Be a Publisher | No Comments

    We are sad to announce that we will have a short delay on Popular Songs: The Political Poems of 1819-1820 by our man, Shelley.  Alas, there was a glitch that can sometimes happen between paper stock (ours is luscious) and presses.  So while we work that out with our press, we can always look on the bright side and say, “We have seen the book and you will love it!” and we can also say, as new publishers might, “Wow. We did not see that typo before!”  I think the cliché being, Every dark cloud has a silver lining…

    We will update the shipping date when we have it, but we’re hoping April 22. Of course, pre-orders will be shipped the day this book arrives as we can’t wait to get this in the mail to you.

    Here's a bit of the interior spread, though in this picture you might also see the mechanical crease that won't be in the books we're shipping!

    Here’s a bit of the interior spread, though in this picture you might also see the mechanical crease that won’t be in the books we’re shipping!

     

     

    Our First Print Ad!

    By | Learning How to Be a Publisher | No Comments

    As a new publisher, it’s easy enough to make a book. It is just some paper stacked together, after all. The hard question is how do we make sure that we’re not just hoarding our lovelies in boxes in a far closet? We want our poets read and our artists seen!

    We’re excited to have our first print ad out this week in Poetry Northwest, announcing our summer and fall books!