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Annalemma’s Tilt-a-Whirl

Chris Heavener of Annalemma is talking about connections, community, & submissions. This is an important conversation (isn’t it?) & I’d love to know what the BigOther community thinks (we are a community, right?). Read up & hit us in the comments. Stir some of this shit.

5 thoughts on “Annalemma’s Tilt-a-Whirl

  1. Christopher and I have been doing a lot of chittering about this, and out of the conversations, both of us came out of it starting a new flea-market bookstore idea to promote small presses beyond the blogosphere.

    I think I’ve “Hell yeah”ed almost every single post he’s written about the subject recently, and the enthusiasm all spilled into various conversations I had at a reading last night, all talking about how much amazing and artistic work is being produced right now from the small press community, and how people outside that community are looking for it, even if they don’t know it.

    Everywhere I turn and everyone I talk to, everything cites the indie music boom of the early 00s and the wave that still continues to ride, facilitated by the internet allowing DIY bands to get their music out beyond the 2-4 hours most bands can drive to play one-off shows without going on tours. How the internet is playing and can play a similar role in the indie lit industry, but people need pointed to it.

    But, it’s not as easy to hook a new fan of a book as it is to play a show somewhere to 100 people who’ve never heard you play, and 50 of them start tapping their foot and nodding their heads and decide to check out your merch table after the show. More footwork is necessary in the lit world, I think, more people willing to go out to where people are who would really appreciate what the small press community is producing if they knew it existed.

  2. There is something a bit strange here thug. The real small press has been around since the late 50’s. From the way people talk on the internet, you’d think it was something new.

    For some strange reason, people love to compare it to music. But books and music are two totally different things. The only reason “indie” music ever “made it” was because popular culture was able to co-opt it.

    Is that something really desirable?

      1. No way. I’m thug life all the way. I even have it tattooed in old english arcing over my navel.

        For real though, I don’t think anyone really thinks small presses are something new. Moreover, I think the excitement is just the proliferation over the past few years because of the internet’s facilitation of promotion and community-building. I’d say Greg’s right, and there should probably be a distinction made. I can easily see how that excitement could be confused with people feeling like this is something “new,” and of course it isn’t, but the ways in which the internet has allowed for the growth of small press literature through promotion, community, and distribution is new.

        And not to be snarky, but saying books and music are totally different is really short-sighted, in my opinion. Having been a part of both the indie music and indie lit worlds, I can cite numerous similarities between the two–indie writers booking DIY reading tours to promote their latest book, sleeping on couches and in cars just for the love of it, chapbooks = EPs, collectors who cheese of signed copies off 1st press vinyl v. collectors who cheese off signed copies of 1st edition books.

        As for popular culture co-opting indie music, I don’t see why that wouldn’t be desirable. Sure, you can cite how some of the indie bands who’ve broken out have gone on to produce music of lesser quality, but I can cite just as many bands who’ve broken out without that happening (Explosions in the Sky, The Decemberists, Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens [sub-example: Sufjan not only continues to put out innovative and quality music, but does so on Asthmatic Kitty, an indie label that was able to grow and expand via the publicity garnered from the indie music boom {i.e. For ever person who hears Death Cab or Modest Mouse on the radio, there’s the chance they’ll be interested enough in this music to dig a little and stumble upon The National or Sufjan. Likewise, for every person who reads Light Boxes, there’s the possibility they’ll hear that it was first released on Publishing Genius, and maybe they’ll check out PG and decide to order Easter Rabbit or Pee On Water. It’s a matter of promotional trickle down.}]).

        So, in response to your question, I ask (in earnestness, not to be a jack) why wouldn’t it be desirable that a greater public be exposed to some of the incredible stuff being put out by the small presses? As an example, what is detrimental about Light Boxes being co-opted by popular culture by not only being re-released on Penguin, but also being made into a movie by Spike Jonez. That’s the very definition of popular co-option, but I see no reason why it would be undesirable. But, I am also completely open to the possibility that perhaps I’m being short-sighted, and would love to discuss this further.

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