Follow the Flying Fish
Anyone who writes knows about looking for some way to publish their work. In the U.S. the accepted route has been to buy one of those big books about submitting to publishers or agents. Unpublished authors walk around quoting those big books like the bible. What impressed me more then anything about this whole culture of unaccepted authors is the rules they believe to be etched upon the fabric of nature.
These big books talk about rules for submitting to publishers, or even rules about how to ask if you can submit to a publisher. Not to mention all the rules surrounding agents. I hate those rules. I hate them so much I could spit on them but I save my spit for things that matter to me. Those rules exist in my contempt and may never escape from thence.
I never identified myself as an author, I always said, “I write.” This denotes the fact that I write books, but I do not expect to make any money at it. I would print out my stories and give them to people if they wanted. That was that.
As fortune would have it, I stumbled upon a couple running a small printing press. Rob and Georgia Buchert at Tryst Press taught me how to bind a book and stood beside me every step of the way. Though I have the drive to accomplish many things, without Rob and Georgia I may never have realized that making my own books is possible.
Because I can. I am beholden to no one, I am limited by only my physical and mental capacities. Everything in my books is from me, part of me, chosen by me or created by me. Hold it in your hand and ask me a question, I will answer, because I know everything there is to know about this book. This book is a possibility that existed, suspended in air and I hacked it out of the nothing with only the tool of my will. Every word and phrase and thread and drop of glue is mine. When I place it into your hand you know where it came from, all of it.
What I wanted for my readers is a book that is as lovely to read as it is to own. I wanted a book that can be set on the coffee table and admired in passing. A book that shows imagination and craftsmanship in physical as well as literary construction.
Hand made books cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They tend to be filled with poetry and I don’t know why. Perhaps no one can commit to a novel length work that people may not want to buy. I wanted to do something different, I wanted to make affordable hand made books. So I streamlined the process and came up with a way to make it work. I don’t make money, but it’s not really about money.