There's some big news here at CCLaP that I've been sitting on for over half a year now, but it's finally time to make it public: we're going to start publishing full-length paperback books next year! And that's because, frankly, we've become a victim of our own success; for while our short handmade "Hypermodern" books did great for us back when only a few of them existed, now that there's 21 of them we can barely keep up with demand (as lots of annoyed customers with late mailings this year can attest), which is why I've decided to bring an end to the entire series once we reach 25 titles, currently scheduled to happen in October 2014. And meanwhile, there's only one way for us to go at this point, which is up; so along with these four last short handmade books, we're also publishing our first five full-length books next year too, all of them commercial novels between 60,000 and 100,000 words designed to appeal to NPR fans and traditional national press outlets.
And then along with all of these books, we're also publishing six full-length "in-house" paperbacks next year as well, titles that consist only of material that CCLaP already owns (most of which first appeared at this blog in the past), which we can afford to do now that we're with print-on-demand company Lightning Source, which charges very little upfront money to bring a new book into existence; and so that means a whopping 16 new titles from us next year, along with twelve new paperback versions of our monthly magazine, the CCLaP Journal (but see yesterday's announcement for more on that). And since Lightning Source has an existing partnership with traditional distributor Ingram, this will make all of our books and magazines available for order from chain bookstores and libraries for the first time; so with that combined with the more commercial nature of these new books, our hope is to be profoundly expanding in scope and scale next year, so that by next holiday season we will have finally developed a legitimate national mainstream following, with press mentions and sales that are appropriate to that. (Want to see a full list of all these books coming out with CCLaP next year? Make sure to keep reading to the end of this article.)
Now of course, with this upward direction in everything else with our publishing program, I thought it was finally time as well to bring in an actual professional graphic designer to start doing our covers, and to start getting a little more sophisticated with our font usage besides the usual Helvetica; so in news that I've also had to sit on for the last six months, I'm extremely happy to announce that Ryan Bradley has agreed to fill this new Art Director position with us, and you can expect all five of our original full-length novels next year to reflect his deft touch. If Ryan's name sounds familiar, that's because he's the owner of his own highly successful small press, Artistically Declined which has published many of our mutual friends over the years; and Ryan's in heavy demand as well as a freelance designer, so I feel very lucky to have him onboard as the exclusive cover artist for at least our next ten original full-length books. And just as a final shopkeeping note regarding all this news, please note that we will still be making handmade versions of all our full-length books as well; it's just that, by definition, they will be twice or sometimes thrice the size of our old short Hypermodern books, and will all be made from deliberately high-end material (including cotton sheets and faux-leather spines), and so will retail for the deliberately high price of $50, specifically so I won't have to make many of them, or have bookbinding threaten to take over my life again, like it has in the last year. And also note that we're not going to stop publishing short books either, once we do our final handmade "Hypermodern" book at the end of 2014; just that, starting in 2015, the short books will be paperbacks too, and will now need to be at least 25,000 words in order to fill enough pages.
So what's coming first? Glad you asked! Our first paperback is in fact an "in-house" book, just to get our feet wet, coming on January 20th; namely, it's a collection of all nine long-form interviews I've done on our podcast over the years with various science-fiction writers, finally transcribed into a 60,000 word manuscript for the first time. Then the next month, on February 17th, will be the first of our original novels, an extremely clever and funny absurdist adventure tale called Humboldt: Or, the Power of Positive Thinking, by Ohio author Scott Navicky. The synopsis can do a better job of explaining the book to you than I can, so let me just copy and paste it below...
The Iraq War? The housing market collapse? College football's concussion crisis? How can anyone be expected to understand such complexities, especially a "horticulturally dyslexic" farmboy with an eighth-grade education and a penchant for perpetually misunderstanding, misreading, and misinterpreting the world? Born on a farm in Ohio, Humboldt is content to spend his life "outside amongst the oxygen and unhurried hydrocarbons." But when his father's farm is threatened with foreclosure, Humboldt is forced to save it by enrolling in college, leading him on an epic absurdist adventure through Washington politics, New York performance art, Boston blue-bloods, post-Katrina New Orleans, multiple murders, and holy resurrections. Mixing the speed and structure of Voltaire's Candide with a heavy dose of Joycean wordplay, and a love of literary acrobatics worthy of David Foster Wallace, Scott Navicky's debut novel assails some of modern America's most cherished beliefs and institutions with the battle cry: "Ticklez l'infame!"
We start taking pre-orders for both these books beginning January 2nd; and then for a look at the rest of our schedule, see the titles and synopses below. It's a very exciting time around here these days, as we stand on the precipice of a major new expansion in reach and revenue in 2014; and as always, I'm grateful to have you as a part of that journey, and I hope you'll have a chance to come by regularly next year for all of the latest.
ALSO COMING FROM CCLAP IN 2014
March: Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas, by Fernando Flores (Austin TX)
(Short "Hypermodern" book: funny and charming related stories about a bunch of failed indie-rock bands in the same small southern Texas town)
April: Turtle and Dam, by Scott Abraham (Washington DC)
(Full-length original novel: A look at the rural youth of contemporary China who are being turned into the country's first suburban middle-class, and a black comedy about the problems of a journalism industry in a communist country)
May: The CCLaP Guide to Collecting Rare Books
(Full-length "in-house" book: Presented as a series of specific FAQ lists, with questions by CCLaP's staff and answers by Chicago book dealer Carlos Martinez and others)
May: Love Songs of the Revolution, by Bronwyn Mauldin (Los Angeles)
(Full-length original novel: A world-weary literary spy thriller set in the last days of Soviet Lithuania, 1989)
June: An Interpretation of Dreams, by Susan Pashman (New York)
(Full-length original novel: An edgy racial drama set in an Obamian creative-class melting-pot neighborhood in Manhattan's Upper West Side, and how it falls into crisis when a nerdy white child is accused of manslaughter, after accidentally knocking his black best friend down a flight of stairs)
July: CCLaP's Complete Short Work, 2013
(Full-length "in-house" book: Giant 600-page compilation of all seven short "Hypermodern" books CCLaP published in 2013)
August: The Wounding Time, by Hussein Osman (London UK)
(Full-length original novel: A deep character study of two trouble-making blue-collar British youth, seen through the prism of one's death as a soldier in Afghanistan, and the other's problem-filled trip there several years later to investigate it)
September: The CCLaP Guide to Creating eBooks
(Full-length "in-house" book: A detailed guide to the entire process of creating ebooks, everything from conversion software to hand-coding your own CSS styles)
September: To Be Announced
October: My Kind of Town, by Travis Fortney (Chicago)
(Short "in-house" book: Collected version of this CCLaP critic's essay series for the blog)
October: CCLaP's Complete Short Work, 2012
(Full-length "in-house" book: Giant 600-page compilation of all six short "Hypermodern" books CCLaP published in 2012)
November: The NSFW Files, by Karl Wolff (Minnesota)
(Short "in-house" book: Collected version of this CCLaP critic's essay series for the blog)
November: CCLaP's Complete Short Work, 2008-2011
(Giant 600-page compilation of all five short "Hypermodern" books CCLaP published in 2011, plus one each in 2008, 2009 and 2010)
December: Title TBA (The New York Stories Volume 3), by Ben Tanzer (Chicago)
(Short "Hypermodern" book: Our very last book of the handmade "Hypermodern" series, to mirror the very first book of the series being volume one of these small-town New-York-set stories by this popular local author)