In 2012 a small group of writers and editors living in the California Central Valley complained about how large publishers ignored experimental writers, writers with little platform, and most of all, writers who deserved to be heard but were denied a voice. What was a conversation about Draconian gatekeeping morphed into an all-nighter figuring out how to produce a book.
Within six months, a book was compiled, edited, and ready for print. It wouldn’t sell many copies, but it was the first step in a journey to figuring out how to build a small press. Even more importantly, that book launched a never-ending discussion on what a small press should be and do. Ultimately, a mission statement was drafted, and it was decided that Unsolicited Press would be a voice for the underdogs, for the award-winners, and for the underserved. The press would be different but not for the sake of being so—it would cooperate with the industry but raise a voice against archaic norms that continue to keep the writer and publisher last on the list of folks getting paid. It would argue against bookstores expecting full returnability of books in any condition without doing their part to effectively sell a book. It would market and promote authors to the best of its ability as a way of advocating for the author’s place in the book world. It would be a publishing company that uses all the profit to continue the focus of the mission.
During the first few years, it was rocky. We had no money to pay anyone. Everyone involved didn’t step into the mess expecting payment; work was fueled by passion for the craft. From day one, we knew money wasn’t the goal and thus it was decided that the press would be a volunteer-operated outfit. Any money we could pay to editors, designers, marketers, etc. would come after the authors were paid, the bills covered, and the coffers were filled for future publications. It’s still that way.
There were lulls of time between 2012 and 2016 where the team was acquiring books, figuring out how to deliver books to the market, learning the dirty secrets of the industry, and subsequently deciding to forge our own path that used only the best aspects of the publishing world. Many blunders were made, but one thing is true: we always got back up and we always corrected our errors.
As a team we found ways to use distributors and wholesalers to reach readers and bookstores, while sticking to our mission. That meant reaching out to independent stores to cultivate real relationships, the kind a distributor’s sales rep could never manage to create. The team decided that remote work would be most beneficial, both in terms of cost and in permitting staff to work wherever they needed to be. After all, a shiny office isn’t what makes a publisher superb; it’s the people and the relationships between people that matter most. Unsolicited Press made Portland, Oregon home base in 2016 given its outstanding support for the arts. Around 2018, we hit our stride, and that momentum has and will continue to keep this bad ass publishing program moving forward for as long as we can. Of course, we’d love to buy a farm-slash-bookstore-slash-office on the outskirts of town to hold readings, writing workshops, and residencies, but have you seen the cost of real estate here?
Of the original people who started Unsolicited Press, three remain. But the team is so much bigger than that: we have dedicated editors and designers who have been working with the team for years and while they may not have founded the company, they are members of this family—Jay, Kristen, Kathryn, Bekah, Taylor, Robin, and Nathan—thank you. Same goes for the authors who have been with us since the beginning: Mick Bennett, Anne Leigh Parrish, Emily Kiernan, Bill Alton, Nicholas Kriefall, David M. Harris, and Pamela Herron. These authors trusted us with their work during a time when we were little and had no idea what we were doing. We know what we are doing now…but every day offers something new to learn…every year a trend or technology disrupts what we thought we knew about the book industry.
It’s been eight years since Unsolicited Press was born. April is a month for rebirth and rejuvenation. What better month could there be for a business’s anniversary.
Do you love Unsolicited Press? Want to support us and sport a pretty awesome shirt? Look at our new merchandise. The t-shirt is available directly from our store and the sweatshirt is available through Amazon.
Remember digging your toes into the sand, the grains squished between those ten little digits, grasping for warmth as the river rushes past the tops of your feet; the cool feeling of water that seems to sate the thirst of the soul in need of refreshment? Giggles ensued between you and your friends--happy memories created that you can go back to time and time again during not so happy days. You can’t help but relax when you hear the indecipherable but comforting babbles of the river.
Revisit the river once again with Janice Keck Literary Award winner Sandy Coomer in her new poetry collection, Rivers Within Us. Sandy Coomer uses the river as the central image in her collection to help convey a theme that
“There are rivers within us --
galloping herds of horses, hummingbirds that beat
their tiny hearts millions of times between the bee balm and the sage.”
Coomer’s collection is saturated with natural imagery that does an excellent job of showing aspects of ourselves that we may embrace, shun in embarrassment, or never realized existed in the first place.
In other words, her collection is about what makes us human. Coomer’s symbolic river comes alive and pervades the text and your entire being, even where no rivers exist, as if the narration is told by the river. This intense look into how dreams, death, and the connections we make are all aspects of our humanity that we have to learn how to navigate. Next time you’re digging your toes into the sand, you’ll listen to the sounds of the river with a new appreciation.
Be on the lookout for Rivers Within Us in December, which you can buy from unsolictedpress.com!
(Want to see what Unsolicited Press is up to in the coming months? Grab a copy of our January 2017 magazine that provides lengthy excerpts of recently published and forthcoming books.
This edition features excerpts from Timothy O'Leary's "Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face", Gemma Cooper-Novack's "We Might As Well Be Underwater", and many many more. Not to mention some delicious writerly advice and a master study.
Get it exclusively on Amazon Kindle. Free copies will be available for download for a limited time(from January 17-21 on Amazon Only). Click this link here.
In this series, we will be highlighting one of some of the great work from our authors. Our first book is Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria be Eleanor Levine
are more than the synthetic joints and toes
sightable apparitions that permit
the live skeleton to indulge in his existence
it is the infrared eyesight
the eschewed reality
of a Danish psychiatrist believing there is
sunlight in Winter
or a born-again Southerner acknowledging that God
is a bathroom seat
or a dog believing that a tissue is food
or a man thinking his mistress walks glibly
down the shopping aisle
that Allen Ginsberg was a misogynist
because he had several affairs with women
or that Kurt Cobain died for our sins
or that red nail polish will hide your dirty nails
or that mice droppings can kill people
and artificial limbs dangle from New Zealand trees
where a daughter cries for love from your heart
and another wraps those limbs from
the pavement because she’s afraid
or your friend, when he tells you,
he can get it up for 20 minutes
or the sister who needs a psychiatrist
tells everyone else they need one
or that Michael Jackson was really a woman
taking piano lessons
artificial limbs are our girlfriends who never kiss us
the homeless man who smells of urine and wants to be our friend
the dead fish, which, when thrown back into the water,
doesn’t come to life
and the snarled reflections of a dead prostitute
who thinks he’s literary
the quaky sound of an old British queen who wittily tells you
“crossword puzzles are the aerobics of the soul”
or that Henry Miller has a stop sign between clauses
and Norman Mailer was a literary genius
and Susan Sontag’s language is more visual than Leni Riefenstahl
and that amusing intellectual conversation
will redeem a thousand wounds
that by placing limbs in the arms of someone
or painting their house
you have given them a heart
it dies when you leave them up a tree.
What kind of images did this poem evoke?
What kind of person would you describe the narrator?
Who would you recommend this poem to? Why?
Who were the people mentioned in the poem? Take some time to research them and share your results.
What smells does this poem evoke?
about the book
In Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria, Eleanor Levine has crafted a collection of poetry that will challenge her readers to view their pasts through a new lens: one that is untainted by regret, shame, or fear. She invites her readers to reflect on the honesty in the desire, love, and pain that have driven their lives by following the journeys of narrators using the same lens to view their own lives. A daughter worries about her father buried deep in the ground, alone except for the cicadas that cover the ground every seventeen years. A mother attends Wagnerian acupuncture lessons and struggles to maintain the sanctity of her children’s Jewish heritage even as it slips into the cracks of passing time. A sister laments the monotony of her brother’s chosen lifestyle but wonders if the commotion of her own life merits any higher worth. A woman faces rejection and acceptance from the women she desires as sexual and emotional companions. The quiet moments of life are on display in this collection that refuses to accept that the past is something to be ashamed of. Deeply personal and joyfully candid, Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria is an invitation to look beyond the mistakes and missteps that lead us to believe our histories might be nightmares.
- See more at: http://www.unsolicitedpress.com/store/p92/waitress#sthash.7HTChrdU.dpuf
The swing to eBooks, online newspapers, and textbook PDFs is impossible to ignore. Across the country there has been a shift away from physical products that you can store on your shelf and towards texts that you can access from any mobile device. The ease of access and lowered price point is making eBooks not only convenient to the reader, but also a necessity for the modern author.
It is no surprise that eBook sales gained momentum after their introduction, but what may come as a shock is that eBook sales have been slowing since 2013 (Trachtenberg). In fact, in the first five months of 2015 eBook sales have been declining (Kozlowski). Instead paperback sales are seeing a boost. Could this be the end for eBooks?
Not likely. EBooks are convenient. Consumers can fit thousands of books into one device and access them anywhere. Authors too have taken to eBooks, signing contracts with big names like Amazon to get their name out or to continue a line of books that publishers are no longer interested in. EBooks have opened up a niche for authors to publish what they want to see in print with less oversight. So, there will be pressure from both authors and readers to continue eBooks.
The other side of the written word triad is the publisher, of course. And I think this is where we will begin to see the most change. Publishers have traditionally been the gatekeepers of quality, content and presentation. However, with more sources for authors to put out their product, publishers will have to race to keep up.
I expect a shift away from the big publishing houses, back to indie publishers that are willing to work with authors to see the book the author had in mind. These small publishers are already including eBooks as part of the deal. Authors want to write their content, not something diluted by what publishers think will sell, and indie publishers are giving them just that. Authors looking out for their fan bases can publish the next book in a series even if their original publisher isn’t sold on the idea. Smaller publishing houses will be the wave of the future, as authors find they no longer get caught up in the machine.
Publishing is one of the oldest industries in the world, but has staunchly refused to grow with each passing decade. The rise of eBooks was the first wave, but it was only a taste of what’s coming next. Authors have seen new outlets for publishing and they’re not willing to give them back. Gone are the days of the author waiting hungrily for their book to hit shelves. Publishing houses that can keep up with new ideas about where, when and what kind of content an author wants to produce will see dividends on the other side. These will be the houses that give us a new face to publishing, one that has been too long in coming.
Kozlowski, Michael. "E-Book Sales Plummet All Over the World in 2015." Good EReader EBook Audiobook and Digital Publishing News. Oakbranch Media Inc., 16 July 2015. Web. 07 Oct. 2015.
Trachtenberg, Jeffery. "E-Book Sales Fall After New Amazon Contracts." WSJ. Wall Street Journal, 03 Sept. 2015. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
What happens when you pair a poet and a thriving singer-songwriter together? You get the marriage of intellect, artistry and a damn good book in your hands.
If & When We Wake is the product of winters and springs. It has been buried under snowpack, thawed, cultivated, scorched by the sun, and buried yet again. The result is a book of poetry and art that shines light on the desperation, helplessness, and loss that everyone feels, and tries to find the beauty of acceptance and growth. It examines the necessity of finding meaning in life after experiencing death.
This collection is an attempt to crack back through the ice and rip out a life that emits a light and a heat. It is the woods. It is the grass poking up between toes and tiny bits of soil underneath fingernails. It is alive, and it will sprout and grow.
If & When We Wake is the poetry and Francis Daulerio and the art of Scott Hutchison. It will be released this coming April through the Unsolicited Press.
We will begin the preorder on March 20, 2015, the first day of Spring. A limited release of SIGNED books will be available to the first 25 buyers. The first set of released books will feature a post script poem written by Daulerio too. We intend to run out of this book. After all Scott's band Frightened Rabbit has way too many followers to count.
Emily Kiernan's book, released today, April 11, 2014 has sold out. While the print run was small, a mere 150 copies, her book whizzed out of here today in a hot fashion. Unsolicited Press has ordered the second run of books (200), but those copies will not be available for shipping until April 20th.
Don't want to wait for your copy? You can order your copy of Emily Kiernan's "Great Divide" through other major retailers. Currently, Amazon is the only retailer to have listed the book. Within the next two weeks, Kiernan's book will be available in all major retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Powell's, AbeBooks, and many other booksellers. Here is a link to her book:
This a great start for Emily and we hope that you support her by providing book reviews on Amazon or through our website. You can see her Author Page...a great place to start a literary dialogue about her book.
We Support Indie Bookshops