Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is having a rough, albeit semi-productive day after a rather sleepless night (certain fun but persistent bedtime companions (not the cats) snore a bit too much when they stay over.) Nevertheless, I was up early and in the studio to make some promo copies of a new release, to scan and manipulate an upcoming cover, and get some orders in their envelopes.  I need more week in my week, though. Another day or two to get done all I would like before Friday rolls along.  I'm looking at another Saturday making some books (which is actually fine since as soon as I  get home, laziness seems to seep through me like a sponge.) As such,  I've been vascillating today between tiny highs (yay! my fave soda in a vending machine!  yay! my pretty new bag arrived!) to general crankiness (You over there!  STFU right now before I hurl a stapler at your head...)

But instead I will post more pictures of pretty things, in this case, some small decoated tins I made up in December for ths shop and am just now getting ready to post.  They are just little desk tins with a pretty bird collage and filled with some paperclips and binderclips, but oh so adorable.  If they've captured your fancy, you can get your very own, here...

Monday, February 25, 2013

This is one of those weeks that feels like plunging into an ice bath after the weekend.  The weather is warmer, but reality after a couple days away from it, is terribly harsh.  I have a wealth of books to make this week, new titles to start proofing, the radio oculari project to finish up for release sometime in March, plus some poems in the new series I'm working on that has nothing to do with anatomy and landscapes, my two pet interests the last couple of months.  It's still fledgeling though, but the components are coming fast and furious, so it's a good thing.  I've been adding some of the older originals to the shop though, as well as some other pretty, sparkly things in the next couple days (headbands!!)  I have a stray bag full of earrings, as well, that will be soon manifesting as hair pins in the coming days if time allows. 

This weekend, in addition to lounging about unfettered by reality, I made another couple of spring dress purchases and this 1940's beauty above  (gotten for a steal of only $19 )Also in the face of reality, since my overspending has rendered me eating hot pockets for lunch everyday this week instead of my occasional take-out.  But who cares if I am poor if I have beautiful things.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

So I am enjoying my three-day hooky from the world vacation and not doing anything even remotely productive (okay, I may give my windows a good washing inside and out if it's not too cold, but before the creepy spiders come back in the warm weather), but otherwise, I am sleeping, lounging, making my way through the end of True Blood season 4 and not doing much of anything productive at all.)

Response was favorable to the landscape pieces at Thursday night's opening. I always get a little hesitant to reveal things when I'm trying something new, especially art related where I have absolutely no training, like maybe I am completely over-confident and clueless. But all went well. When they come down in the spring, I will make them available in the shop (and since they are so small, no doubt very affordably if you are interested in getting your hands on one.) I'll also scan the entirety of the series, which I didn't have a chance to do before they went up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

ghost landscapes

Some of the ghost landscape postcard sized collages are hitting the walls as part of the Art of the Library series which opens tonight. A small smattering of which can be seen here..These were fun, interesting experiments of sort in color and shading and texture. I'm curious to see where the accompanying text pieces go as I work on more of them over the next couple of months and I will probably eventually make a little postcardish zine of them.  (you can read a couple of the initial ones over at Projectile.)  I'm sort of enamoured of how watercolors work on paper and hope to be using them more in collage pieces in the future, more as a layering medium over text and other images.

Monday, February 18, 2013

a day in the life of a small press supervillainess...

(a few people have asked me IRL about my daily do-ings with the press and how it is I do what I do, so I thought I might share some snippets of how dgp titles come into being, what I spend my hours doing on a daily basis, how the magic happens, whathaveyou.)

   I'm a night owl who works at my day night job til 10 every night, so I usually don't get home and to sleep til around 2 or 3, so I'm a late riser, but on good days, I can get out the door by 10am or so and downtown to the studio by 11-ish. I usually start by processing orders, which involves scribbling out a list of things intended to go out with recipient and titles and then using Paypal's multi-shipping feature to create labels. Depending on book thickness and how many books are going into the envelope, I'll use my postage scale to determine weight (for single books of ordinary thickness, it's usually 3-4 ounces with the envelope.) I will process anywhere from 5 to 30 outgoing books on a really good day.

 I usually have a small stock of the newest titles already made up, which will usually last me through the author copies, review/promo copies, and the initial burst of orders, but anything older I usually have to print and assemble copies from scratch. I also have random assortment of titles at any given time (I try to keep at least one copy of each book in the studio for sale during our events.) If I don't have any ready to go out, I will start my printing all the covers I need, then the insides. Then folding, bone folding, stapling. Assembly time varies, mostly in terms of trimming time (some are done on one side, others demand all three)  Since I don't have a cool table top book press (though I covet one) I use a heavy circular base and some boards to smoosh the books. I'll leave them there overnight and then pop them into their envelopes the next morning usually. I'll also pack up any non-book things that have been ordered (paper goods, artwork, accessories). I try not to have to go to the PO unless it's absolutely necessary, so unless I have larger international packages, most things just go into the mail bin in the lobby.

I will then spend the remainder of my studio time laying out new books, cover designs, making correction to final proofs, or printing out a test run. I use this time also to answer e-mails, correspond with upcoming authors over corrections, cover ideas, tiny details. There are usally three books at a time in some stage of the process, so the releases tend to happen in clusters as things get squared away and we're ready to print. After I have the final version, I save everything as print-ready pdfs (I actually lay things out in word since I have access to that at every computer I might be on during a give day between the studio, home, and the library.) Before I'm ready to print, I will work on getting the webpages updated and the sales page up. We use ecrater, a great (and best of all) free e-commerce platform which allows me to just pop all the info into a template instead of designing a page from scratch. I also have to update the dgp mainpage with the new title and any additional details, at which point the book is officially released and available to order.

I admit what saves me is a pretty detailed system of alphabet coded e-mail folders with books and all correspondence, attachments, etc designated with coded prefixes that help me keep track of where we are with any given project. Over the years, I've grown pretty swift at doing layouts, choosing fonts, formatting documents, so that helps. I try to spend some time with each book again before we start the design process, thinking about what it might look like in terms of type, trim size, special needs of that particular book, etc. Different projects demand various levels of involvement on cover design, so I might be creating something from scratch (either making a piece of art or using found/stock images), getting artwork from an artist & adding text, or just popping in a ready made design we have worked out with an outside designer.  I also try to set aside some time each day before I leave out to do promotional work, which means dealing with the snarl of social media things (facebook, twitter, pinterest, good reads.) Sending out requested review copies, promo copies, amd thinking from more of a marketing standpoint. Also, ordering supplies, printer, ink, paper, envelopes, et. This is usually the last hour or so of studio time, during which I pull things together and also plan for my next day and what I might need to work on later on at work when its slow and quiet or at home or on the bus. I do alot of proofing offsite, reading galleys and tweaking, which is why it's good to have access to word everywhere on all computers.

Lately I've been trying to steal a little more time earlier in the morning or late at night for my own stuff, collages to make, poems to write, manuscripts to go over, stuff to ready for submission. As much as I like bringing other peoples books into the world, I get cranky when I haven't been getting to my own projects. I find it works if I block off some time at the beginning of the day to work on on collages, writing pieces, my own little books and zines.

 Then it's off to the day night job, where I spend the next 8 hours of my day where I am usually mired in textbook reserves, lost item invoices, malfunctioning office equiptment, and random library trivia much of the day, but if things aren't too crazy later in the evening when I'm on desk, I might do some proofing or manuscript reading or poem scribbling if its really quiet. After my library shift ends I usually go home, eat dinner, plan my next day, do minor household things, then waste time on the internet (youtube videos design blog reading, pinterst) until I'm tired and crawl into bed, and then 8 or 7 or 6 hours later depending on the season, start all over again. Weekends of course, are different and involve perhaps some craftiness, cooking, horror movie marathons, random social outings, hanging out, and possible drunkeness, but mostly, this is the routine. During crunch times or fulfilling large orders, I sometimes have to head down and get to work a little earlier. Or pull some Saturday time, which happens more and more lately. All in all, I'm probably devoting about 20-30 or so hours entirely per week to press work. And sometimes, it does feel like a part-time job in addition to my full-time job (and I hope one day soon, it might BE a full-time job all by itself).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Our annual winter zoo visit yesterday was very chilly but fun, and included the usual favorites, the Lion House, the slow lorises (lori?), the fennec fox, and the sand cat.  But also, a teeny tiny baby gorilla that was human baby-sized and just learning to crawl.  We sort of walked briskly between buildings and by passed lingering at the outdoor displays, but we survived the 20 degree temps and went to dinner afterwards.

 Today, I am library-bound, though it is very quiet and already I have written a piece for the new chap project I'm working on. I'm juggling between three different projects, possibly four, and still in a steady stream. While the other two are intended to be artists books, I'm thinking this newest one might be a good entry for some chap contests in the spring. (I still have antelope moon floating in the ether, but it's a little to short for contests.  I'm going to try a couple more places when they open up in April with it, but might end up just issuing it myself if no one bites. Either that, or just finding a journal that publishes larger groupings of poems all at once.  I've sent a few of them out there and am waiting on responses individually.  I'm trying to send off one submission a week and so far, have garnered good results thus far, so we'll see.

Last night, I spent hours looking for a dress, part of which was inspired by something I'd posted on polyvore a couple years back and partly which was in my head.  The original version was way too spendy and out of my price range and only seemd to be available in a small or x-small.  I finally found the above after much searching and wound up ordering it immediately.  Of course, I also found something else I just had to have and my paycheck from Friday was burning a hole in my pocket, so I will likely be eating ramen noodles by the end of the month, but at least I'll have pretty dresses for summer.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The NEXT Next Big Thing

{I've been tagged a couple times and already answered some questions about my next book of poems, girl show, due out this fall a couple weeks back.  Since I also have a collection of prose pieces coming out even sooner, and I need to start thinking of ways of talk about the book from a marketing perspective, I thought I would give it another pass.  Since I've already tagged some people in my first one, I'm going to issue a general tag to all my upcoming dgp authors, to talk about their projects.}

What is the working title of the book?

the shared properties of water and stars

Where did the idea come from for the book?

There are a number of things that created the sort of inspirational soup from which the storyline of this project developed, including marathons of American Horror Story, my love of Gregory Crewdson’s photography, a simultaneous fascination and aversion of logic/story problems, and a love of fairytales and animal myths/fables.  I started writing with an eye toward developing an overlapping narrative between several characters that is at times almost story problem like.  I am also intrigued by the line between domesticity and wildness--what happens in households and neighborhoods versus the natural world that teems at its doorway and nevertheless creeps in.

What genre does your book fall under?

short prose fragments.  (I would normally say “prose poems” but I feel like my more “poemish” prose pieces tend to be more self-contained and able to stand alone, where these are very much dependent upon being read in the context of the series.)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I was very careful to keep the characters more allegorical  and nameless, so I’m not sure that I really see them as people enough to make casting decisions.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A suburban fairytale in the form of prose fragments and story problems , the shared properties of water and stars explores the intersections of domesticity and wildness, between restlessness and action.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I worked on the book intermittently between 2008 and late 2012 in a pretty non-linear manner. Each piece of it was revised a few times before I called it finished, but the entirely of the mss. really existed in only one draft when it was solicited  for publication.  I have done a little tweaking and fine-tuning in the past couple of months since it was accepted, but no major renovations.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Initially, all I had was a title (which actually turned out to be completely different from the final one) and a general idea to write a sort of suburban fairytale and interwoven storylines.  I was also interested in the format of logic problems against the backdrop of illogical situations and how I could use those to form a narrative.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest.

There are some sexy parts, well sometimes sexy-disturbing, but sexy…

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

the shared properties of water and stars is due out from Noctuary Press, a cool new press devoted to innovative cross genre work, in April 2013.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

So tonight, I am writing more landscape poems, which seem to be flowing quite nicely. (You can see some over here at Projectile that just hit the interwebs yesterday.) mind you, I am supposed to be writing more radio ocularia things, but the landscape poems just keep showing up at my door instead. But nevertheless I am writing regularly, which is a rare gift indeed. Otherwise, I am running final proofs on chaps (books by Caylin Capra-Thomas, Sasha Siskonen, and Edward Smallfield & Valerie Coulton) updating wicked alice a bit more regularly, reading through submissions there, and in general, trying to keep systematic tags on my productivity and to do list. There are few final household things to finish up this weekend, as well as an annual winter v-day zoo trip to partake in, dinner with my parents, and then maybe some other crafty things things to get to on Sunday.
Incidentally, in book design news, I've noticed the covers I've been designing are brighter, and maybe it's just a longing for summer, but I'm also liking horizontal lines (maybe as an antidote to all of those circles.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

So the week has begun with more collages and amazing middle eastern food and journal acceptances and lots of poetry writing afoot (including a piece for radio ocularia, which had fallen stubbornly silent lately) But I do adore this little circle series and plan to make some prints for the shop very soon, and maybe some new notecards and such. I am also itching to make some journals to try out my Zutter Bind it All which has been languishing since Christmas. And more hairclips, and headbands, and earrings, oh my (so many plans and so little time to get them finished --or in some cases, started.)

In book news, I've been working on some covers for the next round of titles, and there are three others just about set to release in the next week or so. Since we are for the most part caught up in the schedule, the more swiftly we keep up, the more room we have to squeeze some additional books late in the year when we open again to submissions over the summer, which is a good thing. So I am holding steadily to the rails and making great progress. I am also spending 1-2 additional hours in the studio as such, which means some early mornings, but so far, so good.

Today was cold blustery day that shook the studio windows and has now left the grassy areas with standing water a glassy sheet of ice. In it's blusteriness, however, it felt a little like spring, so I am willing to hold on like a kite string, even if it's a very small thing.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The days continue to be wintry and grey, but I have my productivity down to a system, which seems to be yielding favorable results. Sometimes I feel like routine is this net that is holding everything all messily together. If it breaks, I am up shit creek. But still, we are moving into February, which means spring is this tiny glimmer just barely over the horizon and I have been writing full throttle on a new project (having abandoned the thing I am, again, supposed to be working on.) But there are also new collages and new studio buddies (see above) and the remainder of my houselhold projects from January (my linen closet and bathroom are spotless, which leaves only the bedroom to finish up this weekend). I am hoping to finish up all this stuff and turn my attention back to some fun, crafty things before the end of the month I've been collecting supplies for over the winter.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

sneak peek..

of the cover art piece for the upcoming the shared properties of water and stars, due out from Noctuary Press in April..

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Winteryness again, complete with sludgy sidewalks and bitter cold wind. Now is about the time when winter wears out it's welcome entirely (as if it ever was welcome). I am, however, making good use of the snow boots I purchased so reluctantly. This week, I have lunch dates to look forward to, new summerish dresses in the mail, library orders to get out, new books to design, and maybe some new poems. I spent the weekend working on the bathroom & linen closet, which are now sparkly clean and organized. Last week, I finally managed to get the bookshelves under control somewhat (I also managed to find a couple shrink wrapped books I'm pretty sure I got at AWP 2007 and then got lost in the morass.) For someone who works in a library and can pretty much access books anytime I want, I feel like I have too many, especially novels that once read, I'll probably never pick up again. I did however, dispense of some old obsolete reference tomes, which means I have more shelf space to fill on the poetry shelf, so I'll probably be less frugal in purchasing than I have been. Which of course, only makes things worse..