April 4, 2013

Say hello to CCLaP's newest book, David David Katzman's "The Kickstarter Letters!"

The Kickstarter Letters, by David David Katzman

Hey, so whaddya know -- it's time for another CCLaP original book to be released! And in this case I'm especially happy to be doing this announcement, because this is a book we've literally been working on for nine months now, and that was supposed to be available to the public way back last Christmas. Yes, that's right, it's the fabled story collection The Kickstarter Letters by Chicago author David David Katzman, which people have been getting glimpses of at Facebook and Twitter over the last five months, and that around 75 lucky people now have paper copies of, but that is now finally getting made widely available to the general public starting today.

The whole story starts back in 2011, when the surrealist author Katzman decided to self-publish his latest novel, the award-winning A Greater Monster, and to run a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed for its unusual print run (including an entire section of the book done in comics form, as well as a gorgeously garish color cover by local artist Mike Wilgus); and one of the rewards of that campaign was that David would hand-write people an individualized stream-of-consciousness letter based on their name or another suggestion, a perk that a total of 128 people chose to take advantage of. And I was one of those people; and after seeing how delightful the stories themselves were coming out, I suggested to David that CCLaP do a new book just of these letters (well, 52 of these letters to be exact), paired with two dozen brand-new illustrations by Wilgus (five in full color again), including lots of little handmade gimmicks like scanning in some of the handwritten versions and gluing them into the book as little fold-out scrolls, and to run yet another Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed for that book. (See the embedded video above for more about the actual fundraising campaign, which we were lucky enough to have featured on Kickstarter.com's main recommendations page.)

The Kickstarter Letters: The Hypermodern Paper Edition

The Kickstarter Letters: The Hypermodern Paper Edition

The Kickstarter Letters: The Hypermodern Paper Edition

The Kickstarter Letters: The Hypermodern Paper Edition

So we did, last November, and the campaign was a big success, and the book turned out really nice, as you can see in the above photos. But unfortunately I made a major mistake when planning this project -- that what I thought was going to take about twice as long to make per copy as our usual small books instead turned out to take around ten times as long, so that the last of the 75 copies owed to Kickstarter donators, which were supposed to be finished by Christmas, didn't go into the mail until literally last week. (And my many humble thanks again to those Kickstarter supporters, not a single one of whom complained about what turned out to be ridiculously long delays in their deliveries; we had no right to expect our customers to be that forgiving, and it was a gratifying experience to have them be so anyway.) And then for the last couple of weeks I've been putting together the equally complicated ebook versions for the first time, so now finally five months after we started, the book is ready for the general public to enjoy!

The Kickstarter Letters poster

As usual, the ebook comes in four versions -- PDFs for American (8.5 x 11) and European (A4) laserprinters, EPUB for most mobile devices, and MOBI specifically and only for Kindles -- and while each version features all of Mike's illustrations, the PDFs also feature the complicated "Raygun" style graphic design of the paper version, all of them released under our usual "pay what you want" system (including now a one-click link to the free version). And speaking of which, the paper version is an especially good choice in this case for those who take their literature seriously; there's a very good reason, after all, that this particular book takes ten times as long to make per copy as our usual paper books, and it's a must-have for anyone who's a fan of the idea of books as art objects unto themselves, or for people like me who are beginner rare-book collectors, and who want something extra-special for their growing collection but for a relatively small amount of money (US$40 plus shipping, or $60 with shipping included for international customers). Of course, as usual, there's a version at the Amazon Kindle Store for $4.99 (available internationally), for those who like the convenience of having their book delivered directly to their device; and like all our other 2012 books, there's a 16 x 20 inch poster version of that crazy Wilgus cover available over at CafePress.com, for US$20 plus shipping. Oh, and as always, I hope my fellow Goodreads members will have a chance to add the book to their library there; David's an even bigger user of the service than I am (and I'm a pretty big user of the service), so it would mean a lot to both of us if you could add the book and especially then share your thoughts.

I won't lie -- this has been a huge nightmare to put together and finally finish (and be aware that it still takes a week for each paper order to be finished and mailed); but in my entire 25 years in the arts it's one of the things I'm most proud of, a truly outstanding craft project and a funny, thought-provoking book just as a reading experience. I encourage you to check it out as soon as you have a chance.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 11:59 AM, April 4, 2013. Filed under: CCLaP Publishing | CCLaP news | Chicago news | Literature | Literature:Fiction | Profiles |