Monday, February 14, 2011

Out Of Hibernation and Into The Fire

It has been too long since my last update, but like many people, the cold weather, snow and ice has kept me tucked away in my cave. A lot has happened in that time and a few things have changed. Other changes are still on the way, but officially announcing things and adapting to them needs to happen first.

Papercuts Hurt

Due to financial restraints and creative differences, Papercut Books has shut down for good. This announcement is twice as disappointing, because of the time and work that went into Call of Lovecraft. CoL was ready to go to print, with a great collection of talent, but the inability to pay that talent has killed that project.

I spent a lot of time and energy on this book and I was really looking forward to seeing how successful if could be. As the editor and a contributor on this book, this recent fall of Papercut Books reminds me of my struggles with Forrest J Ackerman's Anthology of the Living Dead. That book went through several vanishing publishers and a lot of misfortune before it was picked up by Black Bed Sheet Books. It was my drive to get that book published, and Forrest J Ackerman getting involved, that got it published.

If Call of Lovecraft is ever going to see a publishing day, I will have to apply that same tenacity.

It is heartbreaking that Papercut was only able to publish two titles before going the way of the dodo. Things seemed to be turning around after the stumbling block, of a founding member leaving the company. A new benefactor joined the company, but do to another series of unfortunate events, he was forced to leave as quickly as he joined.

All of this left me holding the bag and bills for the entire company. We had ttwo books out, three books ready for release, a plethora of ideas, technical/ layout support and an art team, but zero ways to pay everyone. It's not a big secret, but I'm not a publisher. My job at Papercut was author/creative director. All that means is that I got to write books and come of with crazy ideas, then see if the group could flesh them out.

Like my other experiences in the publishing world, this has been an educational experience for me. I will keep doing what I'm doing an hope my agent can land me a real deal. I am focused on being a writer and not spreading myself as thin. This has also led to other reflections and changes...

They Killed A Mockingbird

When Papercut went out of business I felt like it was kind of a waste of time and energy. That was a familiar feeling to me because the bookstore, I opened in September, was also beginning to feel like that too. After only being open 6 months, it was clear that Vincennes was not the place to own a bookstore.

The first month was great, but it only took one month for the “new” to wear off and the customers became fewer and fewer. The rent on the building was reasonable, but when you put money a business everybody says “it takes time to start making money.” That is all well and good, but when we went nearly a week without a single customer and we didn't make a months rent in 4 month, it became a labor of love.

My frustration with the Papercut situation and other personal issues, were already twisting my nerves and the bookstore became just another headache. Almost overnight I didn't like the place. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to put more money into it and I was pissed off that a city can support 11 bars, 5 liquor stores and 4 tattoo shops, but not ONE bookstore.

So many people said “Oh we really needed a bookstore” or “This is really a great place, I'll have to come back,” but they never did. I'm not ungrateful for a few loyal regulars, the awesome events we had or to our volunteer help, but when it came time to focus on what really mattered I noticed that the store was on my list of what mattered.

My partner, B.C. Brown was feeling this same burden. She was the other Papercut author suddenly without a publisher, and the bookstore was a financial drain on her life too. On top of these pains, Brown was also trying to juggle full time school and work, plus time at the store.

To make a long story short, it just isn't worth it.

I understand there is a level or personal accountability here with the failure of Papercut and The Mockingbird. I may have been able to pour more money into both, but I'm not a publisher and I'm not stupid enough to go down a sinking ship.

I am a dad and author. That is where my focus is. I am a good dad and I'm already 117 pages into writing a new book. I've also already finished 3 short stories and outlined 4 more since the start of the new year.

These problems with Papercut and The Mockingbird could have held me down, but I'm not going to let them. I'm getting back on the road with Eclectic Collection and I'm planning to have a new publisher and at least two more books out in 2011.

The Goddamn Eclectic tour picks back up March 12th, when I join my friend Joe Schwartz for the St. Louis Public Library 4th Annual Author Shout Out!

Stay tuned there will be more dates, good news and announcements as early as next week. I'm working with a few people on some groovy projects and I have two leads on a new publisher. I still believe 2011 is my year and I plan to prove it!!!

- Travis