local, organic, artisanal literature

Everyone knows that the best-tasting holiday cookies are the ones made from scratch with fresh ingredients and a lot of love. The same goes for gifts. Southern California’s indie presses are cooking up unique, reasonably priced poetry and fiction appealing to almost every taste. Check them out online or visit an indie bookstore, and enjoy the warm holiday feeling that comes from knowing you supported local artists and businesses instead of overseas sweatshops and multi-national retail chains.

Here are a few presses and stores we recommend.

Southern California-based Presses:

  • Angel City Press: nostalgic yet cool illustrated books
  • Arktoi Books: poetry and fiction that give lesbian writers access to “the conversation”
  • Cahuenga Press: poetry that honors creative freedom and cooperation
  • Cloverfield Press: books as visually beautiful as they are intellectually and emotionally stimulating
  • Dzanc Books: literary fiction that falls outside the mainstream
  • Gorsky Press: risk-taking books that encourage readers to re-examine society
  • Green Integer: essays, manifestos, speeches, epistles, narratives, and more
  • Les Figues Press: aesthetic conversations between readers, writers, and artists, with an avant-garde emphasis
  • Make Now Press: contemporary works of constraint and conceptual literature
  • Otis Books/Seismicity: contemporary fiction, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and translation
  • Red Hen Press: poetry and more by writers whose work has been marginalized
  • San Diego City Works Press: local, ethnic, political, and border writing
  • Santa Monica Press: offbeat looks at pop culture, lively how-to books, film history, travel, and humor

Independent Bookstores in L.A.:

Happy holidays from the Future of Publishing Think Tank*!

*The Future of Publishing Think Tank is an ad hoc group of writers and representatives of independent publishers and bookstores, nonprofit literary organizations, and producers of public radio. Our task: to consider the changes occurring in publishing, distribution, and marketing of literary work and to envision new ways for writers to engage readers and build audiences for their work. Groups who that have been involved include 826LA, Arktoi Books, GuerrillaReads, the HeArt Project, Hol Art Books, “Indymedia on Air” (KPFK), the Lambda Literary Foundation, Les Figues Press, Poet Joi, Poets & Writers, Red Hen Press, Skylight Books, and Writers at Work.


Reader survey results: advice for writers

Earlier this year, the Future of Publishing Think Tank surveyed readers to find out how and why they choose the books they read and buy. Armed with that information, we have some recommendations for how writers, publishers and booksellers can promote their work and connect to readers. Here’s a short video summarizing the basics. To see the full slideshow with all the results and recommendations, click here.

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To embed this short video in your blog or website, you can grab the YouTube version here. If you want to embed the full slideshow in your blog or website, contact us for details.

If you have ideas on how writers, publishers and booksellers can promote their work, add your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Writer at Work short story published

I’m a proud member of Writers at Work‘s Tuesday night group, One Page at a Time, and I have some great news. My short story, “Cola Hard Cash,” was just published in the online literary magazine, The Battered Suitcase.

Click here to read the story.

If you can, please help me get the word out about Cola Hard Cash. Of course the best way to do that is to read it and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you. You can add your comments below.

In addition, you can

  • Digg it. Just click the yellow Digg icon to the right of the author bio and follow the instructions.
  • If you have a blog, Facebook, MySpace page or other website, add a link to the story.
  • Share the story with anyone you think would be interested.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Cola Hard Cash

P.S. Thanks to Terry and all my fellow One-Pagers for your feedback and advice.

Joan Kelly’s new project

At the Writers at Work 10th anniversary, Joan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine, read from her current book project:

If you don’t see the embedded media player above, click here to download the mp3 file.

To get your own copy of The Pleasure’s All Mine, click here.

The Pleasure’s All Mine

Calla Boulevard

Cheryl Klein, author of The Commuters and creator of Bread and Bread blog, read from her current book project, Calla Boulevard, at the 10th anniversary. Listen here:

Or just download the mp3 file here.

To buy a copy of The Commuters, click here.

The Commuters

Wisdom Walk

At the 10th anniversary event, Sage Bennet read from her nonfiction work, Wisdom Walk:

Don’t see the media player above? Click here to download the mp3.

To buy the book, or to learn more, click here.

Wisdom Walk

The Master of Seacliff

Author Max Pierce read from his gothic mystery, The Master of Seacliff, at the 10th Anniversary. Listen here:

Click here to download the mp3 file if you’re having trouble.

To buy your own copy of The Master of Seacliff, click here.

The Master of Seacliff