April 27th, 2012
Last night we went to dinner at Bouchon in Santa Barbara. It’s one of our favorite restaurants anywhere as the food is consistently good and it’s always really charming. If we lived in NY, we would have any number of favorite restaurants, but in Los Angeles, we only have a few. Bouchon has sensational food and deserves all the stars it gets.
We had some time to relax in Santa Barbara. A good thing always.
Santa Barbara has changed since we have been coming here. We used to come to Earthling Bookstore and to the art galleries. Now it’s all fancy clothes and lots of homeless people. More homeless people than Santa Monica. Kids and older people sitting all over the streets. And little boutique stores and the Macys.
It’s still charming but I miss the art galleries and I definitely miss the bookstores. There used to be three and now none. The nearest bookstore is in Ventura. A bookstore is the heart and soul of a city or a town, and now bookstores have evaporated. I used to do all my meetings at Duttons Brentwood. Gone. I miss bookstores.
Now, my comment on the Huff Post piece on BlazeVox.
Independent publishing is a dicey business. It’s easy to criticize publishers who seem to have all the power but actually are actually just struggling to make it themselves.
I respect anyone who, like Geoffrey Gatza, has decided to make poetry live in the world. It isn’t easy. We need more publishers, not fewer.
The award money that publishers earn from award fees supports the payment of the award and the publication and promotion of the winning book.
I like Geoffrey’s certainty that he “has the support of the poetry community.” I think that’s extremely difficult to achieve. Mark and I work very hard with Red Hen Press and we have the support of a few people. I wish I could say that we have the support of the poetry community, but that’s hard to achieve. The poetry community is cagey, has a lot of sub cultures, and will turn on you in a heart beat. I wish Gatza the very best with his press. It’s a difficult business.
I got into this publishing because I am a writer and wanted to work with other writers. Working with other writers is a dicey business though.
There are more and more publishing models available, but some of them are still not widely accepted. For example, if you self publish a book or publish through Word Tech’s publishing programs which are: Cherry Grove, CW Books, Turning Point, David Roberts Books, and Word Press, those do not count to get you a tenure track teaching job or to become a member of a national literary organization like PEN because those are publishing models that include author participation in the funding of the book. Yet at most publishers, even the big six, the author is expected to participate in publicity and promotion of the title.
Publishing is a rapidly changing field. It helps to stay fluid and be nimble on your feet.