Swallowdown, Chat, Stokers, Hype & Powell's Re-Restocked

This is the new custom logo for the micro-press I'm launching in May of 2006. Much thanks to Alan M. Clark for the design job and for coming up with the elegant and slightly disturbing image (that bird doesn't necessarily look too healthy).

Swallowdown Press is a Bizarro imprint- much like Carlton Mellick III's Avant Punk- that will release its own weird books while still marching to the communal lit tune established by Eraserhead Press. Inspired by the DIY ethos of guys like Ian MacKaye, Jim Munroe, and, of course, CM3, Swallowdown Press will strive to release underground books at overground levels of quality.

Basically what it is right now is a cool label that you'll be seeing on brand new weird work coming from me. Will it become more than that in the future? Perhaps. Some have suggested that the press name might also be appropriate should I decide to start releasing gay erotica. They were joking, but I've heard there's good money in that market, so we shall see (tweedling fingers and stroking waxed-and-curled moustache like a greedy corporate bastard).

Want to hear more about the upcoming books from Swallowdown? Make sure to come visit with me at 6:00pm PDT on April 24th, when I'll be doing a live chat at The Message Board of the Damned. I know I've been evasive about upcoming releases so far, but I'll be spilling all the beans and half a can of soda at the chat, I swear.

I can tell you that I should have some lovely cover art for EXTINCTION JOURNALS to show you by the beginning of next week. Oh, and here is the back cover copy, for folks who can't get enough of vague promotional text:

You can survive a nuclear blast.

All you need is some luck, and maybe a customized business suit coated in cockroaches. It could work. At least that's what Dean believed before the bombs actually dropped and his suit led him to murder a Very Important Man at the foot of a blackened obelisk.

Now D.C. is looking awfully empty. Life on Earth is pretty much coming to an end. All of which leaves Dean with a single question- "What now?" The answer to that question will take him on an uncanny voyage across a newly nuclear America where he must confront the problems associated with loneliness, radiation, love, and an ever-evolving cockroach suit with a mind of its own.

Dean's bizarre adventures mark the last chronicle of human existence, the final entries in our species' own...…

Extinction Journals
So there's that.
Some other news of interest- SIREN PROMISED has been officially nominated for a 2005 Bram Stoker Award (in the First Novel category) by the members of the HWA. The Stoker is like the Oscar of the horror world, so I'm very honored and excited to be included among the nominees (including Weston Ochse and Kealan Patrick Burke in our category, and lesser knowns like King, Palahniuk, Mieville and Barker in others). Clark and I won't find out if our little dark horse of a book will take home the prize until mid-June, but in the meantime I threw myself a burrito party- that's the kind of party where I eat a giant burrito(!)- just for being nominated. Here's a link to the Final Ballot to give you an idea of the kind of excellent writing that's up for the award this year.
Hype! I love me some hype! And thanks to some kind words and a Needle Award nomination from the incredibly cool Girl on Demand at POD-dy Mouth, I've been nearly coated with "the hype" for the last few weeks. No, I didn't win the coveted Needle Award, but just being a nominee sent a modest cavalcade of interested New York literary agents in my direction. Although most have agreed that ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE is doing what it's doing just fine, the real interest from New York has been in seeing a new novel from me. I can't fathom not returning that interest so I've already started work on a new book tentatively titled TUNING FORK.
That's all I can tell you about it right now, since the novel is only in partial outline form and I haven't officially signed on with any agents yet- but things are looking very interesting. Hopefully I'll have more info on this front soon, although I may not actually end up agented until I've written this new book, which I'm hoping to do by 3rd quarter of this year. Crazy...
Finally, I wanted to offer another big THANK YOU to the Portland people who've been heading into Powell's Books (1005 W Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97209) to pick up copies of ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE. It has already sold out once since I announced its inclusion as a featured small press title last blog. I love heading down there to deliver new copies (gives me a chance to loiter and check out a bunch of magazines while feeling like I'm doing "work"), so much love is due to the Portlanders who have been picking up the weird little book. One of the agents I was speaking with last week said Portland and Seattle are two of the biggest, most supportive literary communities on the planet, and I believe him.
I think that's enough info dump for now. On a personal note I'd like to offer my best wishes to my friend Kane who just joined the Coast Guard and is now somewhere in NJ learning how to be a military man. Glad we got to party, play poker and pool, check out Chappelle's Block Party and Slither, etc. last week. Sorry I never found you a Last Detail-style hooker with one eye to give you syphillis. Hope basic training's going awesome, man. You'll be fighting sea pirates and dope smugglers in no time!
Should have the EJ cover and more chat news next week...


gun street girl said...

I want a t-shirt with that logo.

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for you regarding the micro press. I can’t wait to see what you publish. And I’m hoping for a Stoker win for you as well. That would be so amazing and great.

Jackson Ellis said...


JRJ said...

GSG- So do I. I need to get some made. Once I get these next two books out of my womb and walking on their own I'm going to take a look at doing some sort of merchandise (t-shirts, bonsai trees, forks).

Thomas- Thanks for the enthusiasm, man. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, Stoker-wise, but the Vegas betting has Clark and I listed as the dark horse in the running. Still, the nomination is great timing...

Ellis- Yes, "agented." You can grammar cop me over at your mag but this is my territory and I'll violate the language as much as I want here.

Anonymous said...

what is the point of having an imprint if you're just publishing yourself???

JRJ said...

Anonymous-What is the point of making a comment if you can't own up to it with a name?

Like I hinted at, there are plans (well, hopes really) for it to become a more full-fledged press in the future.

First I've got to get it to the point where it's out of the red for me, and then I'll look at investing in other authors (I already have a few in mind whose careers I'm watching very closely). I wouldn't want to take on extra authors right now when I've barely got the time to make sure that the first books see the light of day- that wouldn't be fair to them, since I'd intend on giving them an advance like a real publisher and making sure I had time to help them find their place in the market.

Second, there are technical reasons for having a press name- it's required for the print method I utilize.

Third, it's good marketing sense and brand building and all that other corporate bullshit.

Fourth, I'm doing this because I can, and it's fun to have creative control over the product I release. I could sell my work somewhere else right now and cop half or a third of the royalties, but I'm trying to stay out of the cubicles I used to haunt.

There are more reasons, but you get the idea.