As regular visitors know, one of the challenges I've given myself this year is to get more involved with the literary social community here in Chicago, specifically by getting out to a different live event hopefully every week from around now until around Halloween; and the first in this new busy schedule is this Sunday, over at The Whistler at 2421 N. Milwaukee Avenue (that's at Fullerton in the Logan Square neighborhood, for you locals), for Jason Behrend's Orange Alert reading series, this month featuring among other people CCLaP's own Mark R. Brand, whose novella Life After Sleep was recently put out by the center. Don't forget, I also recently picked up a new Kodak Zi8 HD video camera, specifically to take to these live events I'll be going to, footage from which I'll be cutting together into a new series for the podcast called "CCLaP After Dark," for out-of-towners who can't make it themselves; but for all you Chicagoans, the show starts at 6 pm and is free, so I hope to see you there!
Oh, and will you just look at what CCLaP is going to have available for the first time on Sunday as well! This is a secret little project that Mark and I have been working on this spring, which germinated from the question getting increasingly asked in the literary community -- of how exactly to sell electronic content within the context of a live event, either a local reading or a regional tour, given that more and more authors and small presses are now starting to turn to ebooks as their exclusive format for distribution. After all, no one wants to spend ten bucks at a bar in the middle of the night for an access code on a slip of paper; and that's if you even make it home without losing it or tossing it out, or forgetting the next morning that you bought it in the first place. Our answer, then, is to turn to those customized USB dangles you sometimes see being used as promotional items by companies at conventions and the like; specifically, ones the size and thickness of a credit card, with a USB interface that simply swings out and back again, and that can be screenprinted with whatever image you want on both the front and back.
We've loaded these up, then, with not only the book itself in its myriad forms (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) but also the podcast interview I did with Mark about the book, a super-cool "making-of" video explaining the real science behind the book's fantastical conceits (coming soon to YouTube), a sampler of other CCLaP books, a sampler of Mark's other books, a video commercial for the book, and all kinds of other goodies; and then this is what we'll sell for ten bucks at live events, either for Mark specifically or CCLaP in general, instead of a trade paperback. As you can see, it wouldn't make much sense to sell these online -- nearly everything found on these "BookCards" can be downloaded on the web already -- but if it works, this will hopefully be a great way to take all that ephemeral stuff and put it together in a highly convenient form for people who come across either Mark or CCLaP out in the real physical world. As always, I'll let you know how things go, for all you other small presses and self-publishers who might be interested in trying this yourself; but in any event, like I said, I hope to see all you Chicagoans at The Whistler on Friday, or perhaps another event around town sometime later this summer.