Embracing The Accidental: A Book and Music Adventure on indiegogo
Two indie writers, a music maven, and a wily photographer take to the road to redefine the concept of a book tour.
Rami Shamir (TRAIN TO POKIPSE) and m. craig (The Narrows) are part of a new generation of writers who are creating different models of publishing and redefining what it means to be an author. They’re teaming up with Lynn Casper of Homoground—the premiere queer radio show that brings together the work of LGBT musicians—and Brooklyn artist Magda Rachwal—who will be documentating the journey—to break new ground in independent publishing.
A New Type of Author
Independent publishing, the unprecedented literary phenomenon by which authors are starting up publishing companies and taking on all responsibilities for their work’s printing, publicity, and dissemination, is quickly becoming an avenue for writers who don’t fit into the limited confines of conventional publishing. Unlike self-publishing—which in recent years has gained traditional acceptance (with a self-published title reaching the annual top ten list of legendary New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, in 2012)—independently published authors are molding a new Renassaince-style vision of twenty-first century authorship. Part publisher, part writer, the independent author relies heavily on strong community support and exacts an openness to experimentation that hasn’t been seen in publishing since the sixities.
Separately of each other, we coordinated teams to create our own presses—Underground Editions for TRAIN TO POKIPSE and Papercut Press forThe Narrows—and became independently published authors. Through consistently selling out at indie bookstores around the nation and garnering acclaim for our work, we’ve already shown that independent publishing is something that can be successful, and that there’s room in the culture for a new type of author.
With your support, we’re intending to embark on a two-month adventure that will go beyond the traditional book tour to include workshops on independent publishing and build a new distribution model based on personal connections with indie bookstores. Influenced by the established DIY spirit of indie music and looking to experiment with the conventional notion of a book reading, we plan to host queer dance parties and live performances with Homoground in select cities along the way. We’re currently booking for events in fifteen cities, including Durham, New Orleans, Austin, Kansas City, Bloomington, and Pittsburgh, as well as getting int ouch with the many bookstores that we’ll be stopping at in between events to expand the distribution network.
Workshops on Independent Publishing
In these workshops we’re going to talk about the nuts and bolts of becoming an independently published author. This includes practical applications in editing, business start-up, finding the right printer, book layout and design, guerilla marketing methods, assembling the right support team, finance, and distribution. We’ll also discuss alternative methods of DIY publishing and zine-based book creation.
Building a New Distribution Model
It’s time to establish a nationwide system of distribution that makes sense for indie authors. That system will prove to be very much like the one used by Barney Rosset and all the greats of American publishing—you get in a car and go build a relationship with the people at the bookstore in person. This tour has the potential to reintroduce a philosophy in the distribution of books and the dissemination of information, a philosophy that’s much more spirited in classic American optimism, where anything is possible and everyone is included.
Experimenting with the Conventional Concept of a Book Reading
Homoground will draw on its nationwide network of musicians to curate shows featuring local bands and DJs. Other than pairing with live performances, our readings will also be accompanied by puppetry and visual art by Magda Rachwal. Stepping away from the separation inherent in a conventional book reading, this is going to present us with the opportunity to bridge the gap between author and reader.
gas (based on 25m/gallon with gas at $3.8) – $1520
promotional materials – $560
food & lodging – $1000
emergency car repair fund – $1000
* Funds exceeding our goal of $4,080 will help us bring other authors and musicians to events in select cities.
Embracing the Accidental
In 1990, Barney Rosset—the famed founder of Grove Press and publisher of authors such as Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, and William S. Burroughs—gave a lecture at Syracuse University, where he discussed one of the driving forces behind his storied accomplishments in literary history: “I had wanted to publish Faulkner and Hemingway, but unfortunately other people were there ahead of me. I wanted to publish Norman Mailer, but he never offered anything to Grove, so I had to put in my paint box what accidentally came along. And so on to a pattern of the accidental. First, you have to set up for it…. eventually you can discern a pattern…. and finally you learn how to choose wisely…. The Autobiography of Malcolm X had accidentally fallen into our hands after Malcolm’s assassination. William Burroughs, Hubert Selby, and Jack Kerouac also had accidentally fallen into our hands.” In this spirit of openness, we are setting out to embrace the accidental, fortified by Barney Rosset’s example that if we are open to new possibilities, untold magic can occur.
One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.
Our warmest thanks to all the wonderful people in our community that helped us with this Kickstarter: Margarita Shalina, Anjelica Young, Carly Howard, Arthur Nersesian, Frances Rex, Allie Falco, Katie Anderson, Bryn Jackson, Jules Persaud, Kim Harris, Adam Void, Chelsea Ragan, Sarah Lerner, Amela Parcic, Tyler Phillips, Kai Cameron, Spoonbill and Sugartown Booksellers, Molasses Books, and Flown for recording a great song.