Archive for the ‘Book news’ Category

The Emma Press has launched a call for poems about UK politics in the run-up to the General Election, as well as a call for poems about voting.

The poems about UK politics will be published as Campaign in Poetry and the voting poems as The Emma Press Anthology of Voting. The independent publisher is calling for poems about ‘the Coalition, MPs, party politics, party leaders, the election campaigns and the rise of UKIP and the far Right’ for Campaign in Poetry and ‘poems about the history of voting, its present role in people’s lives across the world, and about voting in all contexts’ for The Emma Press Anthology of Voting. The independent publisher hopes the call for submissions will elicit poems written from a wide range of viewpoints.

Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘Contrary to what Jeremy Paxman believes, contemporary poets are very engaged with current affairs and I’m confident that we’ll get some fascinating responses to both of the briefs. The title Campaign in Poetry is inspired by a quote from New York politician Mario Cuomo, who said ‘You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.’ We hope our own Campaign in Poetry will be a statement against disaffection, providing an alternative perspective on the political landscape of our country, and The Emma Press Anthology of Voting will be a fascinating exploration of attitudes to democracy across the world.’

The Emma Press has recently published anthologies of poems about motherhood and fatherhood, and anthologies about homesickness and female friendship are forthcoming in the autumn. For more details about how to submit to Campaign in Poetry and The Emma Press Anthology of Voting, visit the Submissions page.

About The Emma Press The Emma Press is an independent publisher dedicated to producing books which are sweet, funny and beautiful. It was founded in 2012 in Winnersh, UK, by former Orion Books employee Emma Wright and the first Emma Press book, The Flower and the Plough, by Rachel Piercey, was published in January 2013. The Emma Press was awarded funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England to run the 10-date Mildly Erotic Poetry Tour around the UK in Autumn 2013, to coincide with the publication of The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse. Read more about The Emma Press here.

The Emma Press has formed an alliance with Valley Press, another small publisher, and from now on we will be sharing a blog! I will continue to update the ‘News’ section of my site with bulletins about Emma Press books and events, but for more detailed updates and musings please head over to the brand-new Emma Valley Blog. Valley Press publisher Jamie McGarry and I will be posting about our respective businesses, books, and opinions about publishing, as well as some book reviews.

You can read more about our union here, or read about how it all came about here.

I launched my call for submissions to The Emma Press Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse in February and have since had the pleasure of being introduced to people at parties as an ‘erotic publisher.’ After two years of seeing faces drop or go blank in response to ‘ebook production controller,’ this comes as quite a relief, and the work that goes with it isn’t bad either. I’m never stuck for something scandalous to read on the train, and the acronym ‘NSFW’ has lost all meaning for me.

But setting oneself up as an erotic publisher is not without its pitfalls. . .

[Read the full article on the Erotic Review website]

I’m very excited to announce that the ebook for The Flower and the Plough is available for purchase now in the shop, both on its own and in a bundle with the printed book. If you’re used to buying your ebooks through online retailers with proprietary devices, you might not know how to load ebook files onto your devices manually. Hopefully the instructions below will make things clearer, but if you have any problems feel free to send me an email, preferably with some screenshots to show me what you’re seeing.

Files

You will receive a .zip file which you’ll need to extract/unzip before the files work correctly (some computers let you see inside the zipped folder, but the files won’t function properly). This folder contains two folders:

One labelled ‘iPad or tablet,’ containing a .epub file which should work on iPads, Kobos and generally most non-Amazon e-reader devices. This is the best-looking file, I think. Reading poetry on an e-reader is never ideal, because the variable screen- and font-sizes can make the line structure more fluid than is desirable, so to get the best experience start off with the screen in portrait orientation and with a smaller font size, so you can see how the poems ought to look. One labelled ‘Paperwhite or Fire,’ containing a .mobi file which should work on all later Kindles, from the 3rd generation onwards.

The third option makes the folder too large to upload on my systems, but if you email me after your purchase I can send it to you too, if you want it:

One labelled ‘Old Kindle,’ containing a .mobi file which is intended for the 1st- and 2nd-generation Kindles (see the Wikipedia page for more details). This is the most basic file. E-reading devices

If you have a physical device, you can load the appropriate file onto it by plugging the device in, opening the folder and dragging and dropping the .epub/.mobi file into the ‘books’ folder. Or, if you have email set up on the device, you can send the appropriate file to it via email and open it up within the device.

If you don’t have a physical device but would still like to look at the ebook, there are many options available to you. These are the three I’m familiar with:

Adobe Digital Editions, which you can download here. Once you’ve downloaded this, the icon next to your .epub file should change to the ADE icon and when you double-click on the .epub it will open up in ADE. The main thing people find confusing about ADE is the registration screen which appears when you first open it up. This asks if you want to sign up or register, and (unless you want to have ADE managing your ebooks on your computer) you can just skip this step. Kindle Previewer, for if you feel more comfortable with Amazon products. You can download it here. Once you’ve opened the screen, just drag the .mobi file onto it and it will open up. The whizzy thing about this (for me) is that you can view the file as if in the various different devices. For my ebooks, definitely use the second .mobi file and select Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Fire for your viewing options.

 

Calibre, which you can download here. Again, once you’ve opened up the program, you can just drag your .epub straight into the middle of the screen

 

So, give it a go, and if it doesn’t work or you have problems with the files, send me an email at editor [at] theemmapress [dot] com and I’ll do my best to help.

NB: there’s no DRM on my files, and if you’ve bought several copies of the book and given them away as presents, you can of course give them the ebook as well.

 

I often find myself zoning out at poetry readings. A terrible habit, and partly a hangover from attending early-morning lectures at uni, but I think it’s also because I absorb dense text better visually. I wish they’d project the words onto the screen behind the poets so I could engage more with the text, and with that in mind I’ve created a video for Symbiosis, one of the loveliest poems in The Flower and the Plough. I’ll be showing it at the launch next week, but I’m so excited I want to share it on my website right now. I hope you enjoy it!

If you want to see more of The Flower and the Plough, you can read the knockout poem Bonfire here.

Turns out it’s hard to get a book by an unknown author from an unknown publisher into bookshops, and it doesn’t help if the author’s a poet and the book doesn’t have a spine. I didn’t expect booksellers to be clamouring for copies of The Flower and the Plough, but it still made quite a change from seeing five-figure orders coming into the production department and being able to identify most of the books on the WH Smith’s bestsellers wall as from Orion. I felt like a trained corporate administrator reduced to the status of a bum.

After many rejections from some nice independent bookshops I’d approached, things started looking up when the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford agreed to take a couple. The Albion Beatnik is exactly the kind of place I’d imagined the book in: cosy and full of obscure titles and character. It’s the kind of bookshop you’d visit if you just fancied buying a book, any book.

I also sent some to Quimby’s, a very cool-sounding bookshop in Chicago which specialises in ‘unusual publications, aberrant periodicals, saucy comic booklets and independent ‘zines.’ I like the idea of my first publication going ahead to places I might visit one day. If I’m ever in Chicago I’ll definitely swing by Quimby’s, because it looks like a treasure-trove; check out this statement from the founder:

“I really want to carry every cool – bizarre – strange – dope – queer – surreal – weird publication ever written and published and in time Qvimby’s will. Because I know you’re out there and you just want something else, something other, something you never even knew could exist.”

I salute you, Steven.

*

My friend Helen then suggested I try florists, which was a complete masterstroke. It’s not as though I expect every shop in the country to stock my books, but I do really want The Flower and the Plough to have a real-life presence. I want it to attract people who might not usually make a beeline for the poetry section of a bookshop, and until Rachel or I are household names the only way people are going stumble across this book is if it’s displayed in shops, facing forwards. It’s a tactile, beautiful object and the poems are so fantastic that I think my main hurdle is getting people to pick the book up in the first place; once they’ve looked at a few pages they’ll see how wonderful it is.

I emailed some independent florists asking if they’d like to sell a book of love poems alongside their flowers and a few replied saying yes, they would love to give it a try. Libby Ferris Flowers is a gorgeous, friendly shop in central Norwich, which my aunt recommended to me. Daisies is the fanciest flower shop in Oxford, up in Jericho. I remember going there once as a student in a frantic search for red carnations. Zita Elze Flowers is a magical greenhouse-style grotto near Kew Gardens, which looked all the more magical when I went to deliver the books in the snow last Friday.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I went into Magma in Covent Garden, where I used to go on my lunchbreak when I was looking for birthday presents. I was lucky enough to speak to a man who turned out to be the owner and he agreed to give it a go too, and to display the book in the gift shop instead of in the Magma bookshop where it would just get lost.

*

So I’m thrilled. I count my blessings like Pokémon and I feel very lucky that the Emma Press’s first book is on sale in six real-life shops. What’s more, these are six gorgeous, independent shops run by people who are passionate about their business and willing to take a chance on a small, hopeful, poetry press. The best kind of shop, then, so if you’re passing by any one of them, do go inside and take a look.

I love all the poems in The Flower and the Plough, but this has been one of my particular favourites from the start. What I love most about it is the way it captures the sensation of falling utterly in love but leaves it open as to whether this is a good idea. The reader can bring their own experiences to the poem and remember those same feelings with fondness, or want to scream ‘You little fool! Protect yourself!!’

There are so many lines that just sing out and float endlessly around in my head. ‘I’ve got my toes lined up,’ I think when I’m pulling my socks on. ‘When you spit out glass / though you only got sand,’ when someone says something nice about my work. ‘I think it’s worth it‘ pops up several times a day, whether I’m contemplating a matter of the heart or wondering whether to buy some fabric on Berwick Street. ‘Because when I feel the silk / I think it’s worth it / And when I imagine it going with that other silk / I think it’s worth it.‘

My initial idea for an illustration was a bonfire with a stack of limbs burning away. Then I realised I’m not great at anatomy and also that this would be too literal, as the illustrations ought to give the reader room to form their own interpretations. That’s another thing I like about the poem, though – the visceral, brutal depiction of devotion and the physicality of being in love. It’s hopeful and romantic as well as alarming and far too much, and I just think it nails passion. I hope you like it as much as I do, and do let me know in the comments what you think. Bonfire, by Rachel Piercey

I have felled all the trees in my wood to keep you going,

thrown old faithfuls and flimsy, startled saplings into your

hot ears and come- to-bed mouth. Then all that was left

was the pointy scent of gum and the bellow of an oak.

So I hacked off my hair with barely a second thought,

and both ears were carelessly slung in, then my thumbs

with their crucial opposability. I’ve got my toes lined up

and my unaccountable hips and my knees are ready too,

so please give me more of your particular brand

of alchemy. Because when you temper scraps into treasure

I think it’s worth it, and when you spit out glass

though you only got sand I think it’s worth it. Because I could

spot you a mile away on any frightening night

and when I got there you’d soften me. Because I hope

that when I’m down to just my heart in the open air you’ll keep it warm.

This poem is taken from The Flower and the Plough, which is on sale now in the shop.