Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Home Is Where the Internet Lies

 In the ordinary scheme of things, finding a new home is not an easy business.  You happened to have been at the right place, which was Craig’s List, at the right time, which was half an hour before leaving to accept a dinner invitation with the individual who has become the academic equivalent of your boss at the university.

409 E. Sola Street was not home when you first entered its premises on January 1, 2011, but in a matter of minutes, you began to see possibilities to the point where you reached for your check book.

Barring any calamity or strange enhancement of fortunes, 409 E. Sola Street will remain your home in the residential sense, on into the indefinite future.

Due to a series of calamities and enhanced good fortune, you are now ensconced in yet another home, a literary home.  The calamities have to do with your most recent book by Write Works Press and the enhanced good fortune of it being acquired and reprinted by Water Street Press.  The tenancy there has already begun.    

Toward the third week in April, a new, enhanced edition of TFLC will appear bearing the Water Street Press logo.  At about February of 2013, your collected short stories will appear as Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night. In March or April, the project you’re working on now, solo, as your esteemed collaborator struggles for breaths in the hospice at Albuquerque, will emerge as The Dramatic Genome:  The DNA of Story.

You’ve a verbal handshake on yet another work of nonfiction, audaciously titled Studies in Classic American Literature, vol. II.  The audacity comes from the fact of volume I having been written by D. H. Lawrence.  You have been in over-your-head circumstances before, romantically, financially, and literarily.  Your version may fall flatter than a botched soufflé, but at least it will be done.

Then back to fiction, two suspense-type misadventures set here in Santa Barbara, one in an upmarket retirement home, the other the funky, south-of-State-Street neighborhood within walking distance from 409 East Sola Street.

These last two are things your agent wishes to reserve for the time being.  Water Street Press may continue to be home for these as well, emphasizing on your part a shift from the brick-and-mortar publishing ventures of your earlier efforts into the growing tidal wave of the future of publishing.

As you were coming up in publishing, both as writer and editor, book publishers were called trade publishers, and one of the major reference books was called The American Book Trade Directory.  Your first serious job in publishing was with a start-up.  You were thrilled to see the company being included in The American Book Trade Directory.  You were equally thrilled by the first appearance of a review in Publishers’ Weekly.  At the time, all book publishers were called houses.  If someone asked if you worked for a book publisher, you corrected them by mentioning your affiliation with a publishing house.  Such were the snobberies of the time.

With the exception of the ill managed and equally ill-fated Write Works Press, all your connections and associations were with brick-and-mortar ventures, meaning there was some office somewhere in which grown men and women plied the publishing trade.

Your home at Water Street Press is viral.  The executive editor lives and works from Healdsburg, deep within the California wine country.  Others of the staff reside in San Francisco.  At the moment, publicity and promotion starts in Ojai, within Ventura County, connects over conference calls, emails, and IMs.  Promotional materials will go viral when the Water Street web site springs beyond its beta version announcement of better things to come.

You have hitched your literary wagon to a viral star.

Home does not stop there; it reaches to the lion’s head logo at the top page of your own blog site.  Lowenkopf.  Lion.  Head.

The concept took shape, then grew from the editor wondering if you’d be interested in editing a promising package of stories from a promising writer, one that had already achieved a blurb from a major novelist and short story writer.

The conversation subsequently grew to a line of books to be published with the Water Street Press, plus the addition of the lion’s head logo: A      Lion’s Head Book, selected and edited by you.

Home was never like this.

Four books a year.

Start looking.

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