The Best Way to Support SSP

It is now close to Christmas and everyone asks you for money and support. SSP is no different but the pitch is different and better. Why? Because we aren’t asking you to spend any money.

Ask your library to buy our books

You read that correctly. Don’t spend a dime, but ask your library to spend the money it has to buy e-books and paperbacks and make sure that they buy the books that Sullivan Street Press publishes.

A big sale is going on right now

All our books are now on sale to libraries. They can buy them for 35% off.When you go into your library with the list of titles published by SSP, you are actually going in and saving them money.

Not a way to undercut bookstores

I know you are thinking that. Your mind is saying right now: If I go to the library and ask them to buy a book written by Mickey Z. or Deborah Emin or Paul Graham, I am hurting my bookstore. But you are not.

What you are doing is helping this publishing company to get its books into more hands than just yours. If you like any of our books, your trip to the library is a gift to this publishing company and to the authors we publish. If all the people who like our books went to their library and asked for the books to be on the shelves or available for digital download, this company and many other small publishers would be financially viable and able to publish more books and put into readers hands many more stories about this world that need to be told.

You could never buy as many copies of our books as the libraries can

Simple math, my friends. Think about it this way too. I can ask each of you to buy a book. I could even ask you to also contribute to our GoFundMe account. But with one visit to the library, you could order all of our books, not spend one penny and make sure that all of our books can be read and enjoyed by your entire community. How many times do appeals for help come this wrapped up with ease and sharing?

Thank you to all of you who will take me up on this project.

Here are the books, with their ISBNs, which the librarian will need to order the books. And if you are asked if our books are available for library purchase, say yes, and say by Baker & Taylor, OverDrive, 3M, and EBSCO. Your librarian will think you are very smart.

Occupy These Photos, by Mickey Z.//e-book ISBN: 978-0-9819428-9-6 Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9963491-0-9

Occupy this Book, by Mickey Z.//e-book ISBN: 978-0-9819428-4-1 Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9819428-1-0

Eating Vegan in Vegas, Second Edition, by Paul Graham//e-book ISBN: 978-0-9819428-5-8///Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9819428-2-7

Scags at 7, by Deborah Emin//e-book ISBN: 978-0-9819428-6-5  Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9819428-0-3

Scags at 18, by Deborah Emin//e-book ISBN: 978-0-9819428-8-9 Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9819428-7-2

E-Books, Print Books and Giving

Ah, it is that time of year again, no, not quite Christmas, but almost my birthday and Chanukah. Now my thoughts turn to snow, the cold and how you can support this publishing company I run, Sullivan Street Press.

Hear my prayers

First I pray that most of you will take it into your hearts to love and to read e-books. Whether you buy them for yourself, buy gift cards for your friends and family, ask your libraries to buy our books, there are so many ways you can both show your support for our e-books while at the same time helping the authors I publish get their stories into a wider world of readers. (To learn more about e-books, here is a recent blog post about e-books.)

Know our mission

I was talking to a new author today and I realized that I don’t outline our mission clearly enough. It is a lofty one, full of the need for more stories being told that will help our readers understand the life around us better. The authors I publish have all helped me to gain things I might not have even known I needed. Paul Graham’s book, Eating Vegan in Vegas helped me to become a vegan. Mickey Z.’s first book with us, Occupy this Book helped me to understand how to be an advocate and activist while his second book, Occupy These Photos was an eye opening series of photos showing activists at work from OWS to the #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations in NYC.

Coming Attractions

It is not seemly, some say, for a publisher to sell her own books through her company. My answer to that is simple: Who cares? The latest volume of the Scags Series, Scags at 30, will be out in May. (You can learn more about the earlier volumes here.)

Look to April for the Third Edition of Eating Vegan in Vegas. This latest edition will be a guide to vegan restaurants in Las Vegas but more than that it will be a resource for all visitors to Las Vegas who want to know what is going on in the Animal Rights community, how the environmental movement is shaping up in Las Vegas, where to go to find the artists and those working to help spread the word about a plant-based life in Las Vegas.

Starting a new poetry series, too

I had a vision in West Virginia of the sort of poetry books that SSP could publish. I know we now have the capacity, through our distributor, INScribe Digital, to make available both e-books and bound books that could have text as well as full-color photos in them. I had been thinking about Liza Charlesworth’s poetry and her photographs for a long time.

Out of these visions and memories, a new hybrid poetry book was born. Liza’s book, Why Happiness Makes Me Nervous, uses text as a trunk for her lyrical narrative of a girl growing into the world and uses photographs as visual poems that expose another set of emotional experiences similar to leaves on a tree that come out of the trunk, her poems. This will be a book to linger within for hours. Whether bought as an e-book or a bound book, it will be a beautiful addition to what we refer to as poetry but as a new hybrid form.Liza’s book will be out in April, in time for National Poetry Month.

Send good wishes, support and your money

SSP is in need of your support as we begin this new year with new books, new authors, new ways of producing books (which I will describe more fully in another blog post) and our continued commitment to see publishing as a creative act.

GoFundMe will gladly take your payments for next year’s work. Thanks in advance.

I Choose Every Book I Publish

No slush pile, no agents calling me up, no advances, no time spent reading manuscripts because the books I publish have not yet been written.This is a very risky way to publish but it is also the most creative way.

New ideas and new authors

It is also a very exciting way to publish. Each and every book becomes, in a way, a shared project and I am aware of how all the decisions were made.

Occupy This Book

When I learned about all the books that Mickey Z. had published, I went to the bookstores and began looking at his body of work. Then I read his blogs and articles. Then I went to his talks and watched him as he shared vital information and created teaching forums, all with a great deal of laughter and good cheer. To me, this all indicated he and I could work on a book together.

Screw ups and Missed Opportunities

I messaged Mickey on Facebook a few times but he kept telling me had a dentist’s appointment and could not meet. I backed off because I knew my wife and I would be leaving town soon and badgering someone to write for the press didn’t work anyway.

When we returned from our summer tour, I began the same process again, reading what Mickey wrote, going to hear him talk and then making myself known.

Eventually we sat down to talk at a restaurant in Astoria. It was a beautiful fall day, the weather was warm and we had the first of our 5-hour lunches. Talking to Mickey helped me to understand what kind of book he and I could put together and he, as always, was full of creative suggestions and ways to make these ideas happen.

For example, he was worried about Occupy this Book being too text heavy. He thought it needed to be opened up, so he had me reach out to a cartoonist, Rick Cole, who had worked with him on another book and Rick agreed to do the ‘toons for Mickey’s book and to draw the cover image.

Structure, Form and Titles

Mickey is a fast worker. He always asks for a deadline and then he beats the deadline by days. But I also wanted someone to write a Foreword for his book and I had no ideas at the time who that could be. Mickey reached out to his good friend, Cindy Sheehan, and she gladly sent us a wonderful Foreword with a great tag line that we have used to promote the book: “It’s a pleasure to be in the struggle with Mickey Z.”

It was a pleasure to struggle with Mickey to figure out the best ways to organize the text, where to put Rick’s ‘toons and how to title the book.

Occupy this Book, when it was finished, was all that I had hoped Mickey would produce. He was at ease on the page, teaching and sharing experiences, creating a format that was almost like a self-help book but was so much more. Every page, he encouraged activism in ways that matched precisely the talks he gave and the blogs he wrote–aware of the importance of being an activist and at the same time, aware of the amount of self-criticism and self-care that are required to make this a life time’s work.

It is a pleasure to be Mickey Z.’s publisher.

For more information on where to buy Mickey’s books (Occupy this Book and Occupy These Photos, both published by Sullivan Street Press) go to this link.

E-Books for Every Occasion and Reader

Sullivan Street Press began life as an e-book only publisher. Caught up in the excitement of a new publishing paradigm that would allow for a democraticization of the publishing process, the company and I began to test out new ideas for ways that all writers and readers could benefit from this marvelous technology.

I began my publishing career in 1978 and learned how to produce bound books at my first job for a now defunct publishing company that was more interested in creative financing than was healthy for them.  Yet, their creative ways allowed them to publish translated works of real value that would not have seen an American audience or been found on bookstore shelves because of the ways in which the business was structured in those days.

Fast forward to the 1990s when major publishers were not open at all to the idea of e-books or what they were in those days, pdf files on your desktop. An inventive and far-sighted publisher was put out of business by the major publishers for daring to suggest that out of print books, in other words, books no publisher was interested in any longer, might find a new market in the digital realm of our computer screens. But, as I said, this individual was driven out of business and litigated to death over a format that we now all find old fashioned, yet was the very format that Barnes & Noble used in their early versions of the NOOK.

Today, we read constantly that e-books aren’t doing as well as the predictions of analysts who seem to be more concerned with turning profits than reading books. Yet, one company has been allowed to post deficits for years, until just this year in fact, because Amazon of all the players in the e-book world has not been tech adverse in its business model. Its business model is based on a much deeper understanding of the technical world in which we live (with the attendant bad and good that means) and has profited from the sale of e-books in ways that publishers never can. It takes a moment to understand why Amazon has invested so much money in their book business.

If you stop for a moment and think more about what it is that Amazon knows about you, you will begin to comprehend just how their business is predicated on being a one-stop purveyor of all things you need. Over the 2 decades that they have been in business, Amazon has been collecting data on all its customers and creating a data bank that allows them to know how to sell almost anything we want. No one except them has access to this data, oh, except the government of course, and even publishers who could do a much better business if they had this information are not allowed access to it.

Their technology for e-books, which is theirs alone, no other e-tailer can use or does use the proprietary software that Amazon designed for the e-books that they distribute (Mobi) and while we are speaking of their unique practices, you also don’t own the e-books you download onto the Kindle, they do. And at any time they can delete it from your devices.

Yet, for all these problems and the complicated history of how we arrived at this moment of e-books and their place in our libraries, I am still a huge fan of them for practical reasons (I can take a library with me when I travel and I travel a lot) and I think environmentally, we stand a better chance of preserving the resources we have, given though that we understand what resources are necessary to manufacture our devices and how they are obtained. (I will write further about this issue in coming posts.)

We are all called upon to take seriously our libraries and bookstores, to support the writers and publishers who are producing the literature we need to make better choices and to lead more informed lives. Books are treasured by so many for these reasons but also because within the process of reading them, we are transformed as the writer who wrote them was also transformed in the process of building those stories and finding the words to say exactly what she meant to say.

E-books aren’t as some would like you to believe all that cheap to produce. The same, very same, efforts to make the text the best it can be is necessary for both bound and e-books. What is different is that e-books can be produced more quickly and made available across a variety of markets in ways that bound books cannot be.

Ride the wave of e-books and experience the freedom to read anywhere at any time almost any book you want to read. Share almost all content with your friends, quote it directly into your emails, your FB page, onto a Twitter post, however the words move you to share them; that too is your new ability given the ways in which e-books are formated.

All the books I publish are available as e-books and you can find out all about them here.