Publishing Genius Sales and Stories (vol 1 of 7): Cheryl Quimba’s “Nobody Dancing”
Publishing Genius has been a bit quiet for a couple months, as I spent a while getting married to Amy McDaniel and, uh, merging our publishing operations (which I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday).
But now we’re back! And to commemorate being back, I’ve set all the PG books to 50% off, including free shipping, for the next week. And every day this week I’ll be talking a bit about one of those books at our Facebook page and here on Real Pants too.
At the end of the week I’ll have a special announcement or two, maybe, so stay tuned. And if you want to buy a book as you read along, simply go to the Publishing Genius bookshop, find some books, and use the coupon code backagain at checkout.
The first book I wanted to bring to your attention is Cheryl Quimba’s collection of poetry, which came out last December (and can be purchased now for $7.50, with free postage, remember: backagain).
Cheryl, who lives in the Buffalo, NY area, where she works for a small press (and now co-hosts our “Movie Times” podcast), sent her manuscript during our open reading period a couple years ago and I instantly fell in love with it. Kaia Sand calls it a “language world of gorgeous sound and perception,” as it it filled with intensely crafted poems, sometimes with extremely short and air-filled lines and sometimes appearing as regular poems, and sometimes as prose poems (which describe empty boxes).
Readers of smart, mildly “experimental” poems will LOVE this book.
In terms of editing, working with Cheryl Quimba was so easy. I didn’t really need to change anything, and she didn’t require a lot of feedback—she knows her work well, and she was clearly familiar with the publishing process, too. That always makes things run smoothly.
But here are two anecdotes about bringing the book out into the world:
1. When I first tried to get the book printed for ARCs, the printer rejected it because of those empty boxes I mentioned earlier. They thought readers would think the boxes were a printing error. I thought that was an editorial judgment and it made me mad that they were imposing themselves that way. I skulked a bit about it. I’ve never had a printer give me such guff before. (Maybe I should have promoted the book as one that almost didn’t come out because of censorship, like with Tyrant Books when the printer wouldn’t do Marie Calloway’s book.)
2. The book description at SPD—our excellent distribution team—reads:
Here is a book of poems by Cheryl Quimba. The book has five sections in it. There is a lot to read and think about. I like this book. It features her hit poem, “Baltimore, You Are a Pocket Full of Copper Nails.”
… I confess that’s a pretty bad sales pitch, and my rep at SPD emailed me to be like, “That is really bad sales pitch, don’t you want to rewrite it?” And I kind of did, but Cheryl was okay with it, and to be honest, it seemed more honest to me than a more typical description of a poetry book.
I guess Cheryl Quimba’s poems are hard to describe. What makes a Cheryl Quimba poem? You know it when you see it, and if you’re like me you love it, too.