It's Lauryn Allison Lewis day at CCLaP! And that's because we're celebrating today the release of her new novella with the center, the dark and surreal post-apocalyptic fairytale solo/down. This is Lauryn's full-length literary debut, after the self-published and cultishly popular chapbook The Beauties in 2011; I like to think of it as fully in the same vein as other David Cronenberg and J.G. Ballard "body-horror" tales, although ultimately it defies easy classification because of being so darkly poetic and textually dense as well. It's quite a departure from the usual "slackers in love" stuff you're used to from most small-press work, and is definitely not for the squeamish nor children, just to give you fair warning. As always, the electronic version is being released in four ways -- as PDFs for printing out at home or reading on your computer screen (one 8.5 x 11 inches for Americans, one A4 size for Europeans); an EPUB for almost all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, Sony Readers, B&N Nooks and more; and a MOBI specifically for the Amazon Kindle, which you can load via your USB cord. (Or if you want to save a couple of steps, you can also just buy it at the Kindle Store for a flat five bucks and have it wirelessly delivered.) Just like that sneaky Radiohead, this book is being offered on a "pay what you want" scheme, with "pay nothing" being an entirely valid option that frankly most of our readers choose; it's more important to CCLaP that Lauryn has as big an audience as possible than it is to make every single penny we theoretically could, so I encourage you to download guilt-free if you're merely curious about the book but are not sure if you really want to spend any money on it.
Of course, if you want to help make up for all those people downloading for free; or if you're a lover of finely-done art objects; or if you're a beginning collector of rare books and want something really showy for not much money; of if for any other reason you might prefer the feel of paper to that of a hunk of plastic, I encourage you to order the "Hypermodern" paper edition. Each copy is handmade by me here in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, and shipped out Etsy-style via USPS Priority Mail a day or two after your order; they include hard covers, whimsically decorated endpapers and spine threads, interior stitching, and a specially commissioned color illustration by Blake Lewis, and cost US$20 plus shipping for one with recycled paper, five bucks more for one with cotton sheets. And if you like that illustration that Blake did, why not order a 16 x 20 inch poster version, or perhaps a 2 x 3 inch refrigerator magnet? This is new to the center this year, specifically because I wanted to show off these visual artists we're commissioning to do all our covers in 2012, and is my first (and so far very happy) experience with print-on-demand company CafePress.com. I own copies of all this merchandise myself, purchased just like any other customer would, so I can attest that they really do look great for the price being charged. (And in case you're curious, CCLaP receives 40 percent of the retail price you pay there, split in half between the center and Lauryn.)
Oh, and we've got some supplemental stuff going up today as well, including a new "passing the torch" essay by Sally Weigel, our last published author; a new half-hour interview with Lauryn all about the book, serving as episode 85 of the center's general podcast; and coming tomorrow, an "apologia" (or deliberately all-positive critical essay) on why I signed this book in the first place. And of course, I encourage all my fellow members of literary social network Goodreads.com to add the book to their own libraries there, and especially pretty PLEASE to post a few kind words there once you've gotten done reading it! Like almost all small presses, word of mouth is hands-down the number one way CCLaP manages to increase sales from title to title, so your small positive mention online (no matter where that is) can and does make a huge difference in how much money Lauryn directly receives from writing this great, unsettling book. This is going to be a special one, a CCLaP book you will remember for a long time, so I encourage you to start the downloading or ordering process right this second if you have the time.