Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday issue submissions wanted

The Thieves Jargon holiday issue is a tradition I enjoy quite a bit. We didn't do too much holiday-style last year, I must have been grumpy. Let's bring it back again this year. Consider this a call for holiday-themed submissions.

Holiday 2006

Holiday 2005

Holiday 2004

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The kid's game No Key Locks

A question for Andy Riverbed:

You reference, more than once, in that poetry book of yours, a kid's game called No Key Locks. I never played or heard of this game before. Can you explain how it went?

We used to play Mercy (where you would try to crush the fingers of your opponent) which sounds closest.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where you been?

Remember this guy?

New-schoolers won't, because the TJ weekly writer concept is a thing of the past. Old-schoolers probably tried as hard as they could to forget him. But to me, it's always good to see one of the old gang come back around again.


Zygote lives!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Simultaneous submissions

Since writers keep sending in simultaneous submissions, even though I make it obvious how much we'd rather they not, I'm thinking of changing our process around so that our editors don't need to reply to submitted work unless it's for acceptancecs.

How much would that piss you off?

How much would I care?

How much am I doing this for myself vs how much am I doing it for you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Film Adaptation

I knew it was only a matter of time before the film industry started to pick up work from Thieves Jargon.

Petting a Dead Cat.

Original source material, dated 2/25/2005.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

On Dollhouse Reviews

It’s not often that a book you published more than a year ago continues to pick up reviews, but somehow we’ve done it with Mike Boyle’s Dollhouse. One might speculate that because we’re running some of J.A. Tyler’s work in Thieves Jargon tomorrow, that there’s some sort of favor-for-favor grabass going on here, but you should just chalk it up to coincidence.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On Marketing

So you’re an indie publisher that just released your first book. You get thousands of hits a week on your web site, and you thought to yourself, if even ten percent of these people buy a book, we’re going to be in good shape, so you printed up a thousand copies. You held a book release, and it’s packed, and you sold plenty of books. Your author blogs, spreads the word to his or her extensive network, gets out and does readings, helps sell a modest amount of copies. You go to as many book fairs as you can, sell enough copies to cover gas and diner food, maybe a little extra.

However, here’s where the problems begin. As a first-time publisher, you can’t garner many reviews in places where more than a few hundred pairs of eyes will see. Your book is only carried in a handful of bookstores, and by the time they take their cut, you’re making less than 50% of the cover price, minus packaging and shipping. Amazon takes an even bigger cut. And all those people you’ve published, who have thanked you profusely for supporting them and publishing their work, you emailed each of them to let them know about the book, but you got more manuscript submissions and people asking you to publish their book than you got actual sales.

And you still have 850 copies sitting around in boxes.

What’s a publisher to do?

Here’s one guy who gets it:

For the entire month of November, Orange Alert Press will be offering free shipping on all orders of their debut novel Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine by Chicago author Ben Tanzer. The orders must be placed through In addition, the first ten orders placed in November will receive a signed copy of the book. All packages shipped in November will include a limited edition Orange Alert Press pin made by MidWest Love Art and Design, a chapbook from Kendra Steiner Editions, and a copy of Orange Pulp.

Merch is nothing new, and free shipping doesn’t necessarily make my heart race, but a three-spot of merch (which doesn’t count the signed book), including a chapbook and a CD that has indie music and spoken pieces from small press heavyweights Spencer Dew, Karl Koweski, and Aleathia Drehmer? That’s the way to do it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote for Jimmy Chen

In most circumstances, I prefer to avoid running fiction that features politics or politicians, but since it's election day, and we're all looking back at the fine job our country's done this past eight years while trying to figure out what's going to happen next (I'm pretty sure that Moslem's gonna win), I thought we'd break with tradition a little bit today. As such, "Voodoo Doll" by Jimmy Chen. In a coincidence, this also happens to be the 1250th piece we've run in Thieves Jargon.

Hooray for America! Hooray for Jimmy Chen! Hooray for Thieves Jargon!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

On Internet Popularity

You publish the same writers Thieves Jargon does, but the reason your journal sucks is because you only update once every three months. Since nobody is going to read it except for writers looking for someplace to publish their work, what you need to do to become attractive to those big-money advertisers is inflate your site traffic. The best way to do that, aside from embedding phrases like "hot young bitches" in your meta coding, is to have new content all the time. Other sites may feature more overall content, but you'll be able to say, "Commitment" and use an exclamation mark if you like. You'll get the same amount of total visitors, but they're going be checking in more often, and your numbers will go up.

But what I'm getting at here is Every Day Yeah just turned one year old. Check out their year one retrospective: Click here. That's 365 acts of creative graffiti from somebody who understands this important marketing concept. Very cool.