A new year means a new dedication to the tasks we at Sullivan Street Press have set up to recruit and train a national sales force of Bookies. These are the people who will travel throughout their communities in order to sell the books of the independent presses they know and love and to talk about the new publishing paradigm.
::::::::It is so wonderful that the switch of the numbers on the calendar gives me a reason to write yet again about why this new jobs program we at Sullivan Street Press have begun is such a good and timely answer to the needs of jobless book lovers.
If you consider yourself one of those, then here is a question for you: Do you like to travel around your community, talk to people about books and create new connections to the people you meet that will lead to a future you cannot in any way predict? If you answer yes to this set of questions, then perhaps you are meant to be a Bookie. Perhaps in fact you have been waiting for us to come after you and suggest, in the kindest of ways, that the best way to participate in the economy is to be a Bookie.
So, what does this involve? It means that you will be asked to go and investigate the independent publishers and self-publsihed authors in your areas. Or from anywhere in this country. It means that most likely you are on some level an unemployed English major, someone who can talk about books, write about books and wants to spend a lot of time doing just that. It means that given the chance to spend an hour or so with a group of people in a cafe you could talk about a wide range of books that you would like to sell to them. It means that you are interested in listening to the members of your audience, asking them questions, lining up future dates to meet with them and then selling them the books you have with you.
After your successful time at this cafe, you have others on your schedule for the week or within the next week. You have a trunkful of books and your attitude after one of these performances is that you see why a reading public is necessary.
Now you begin to understand what it means to keep democracy alive and well. You see where the holes are in the reading of your audience and you intend to do the research to try and fill it. Or your audience has helped you to discover an author and you want to spread the word to other venues you visit about this new find.
Being a Bookie also means that at some point you might want something else to do with publishing than selling other peoples' books. You might want to write your own, or you have one buried in a drawer and you dig it out and decide to read it again.
In your estimation it is not so bad. And then you contact us at Sullivan Street Press and we talk about what you have written. The two of us as partners begin to figure out the best ways for you to become a published author and we work together to make that happen.
I am deliberately being somewhat coy about the publishing side of this new relationship between the Bookies and us. Not because I am a tease but because one can never make promises about books that are unread.
But for those of you who have been reading this set of writings I have been posting about our Itinerant Book Show and who have been sent off to read more about it on our website
I am sure you must realize that we are if nothing, completely above board on how we view the traditional publishing model. We find what the most traditional publishers have done to the book world another instance of corporate greed dominating what was never meant to be a place for millionaire artists to rule the world.
Life is too short, the stakes are too high to leave the world of book publishing in the hands of the greedy as we have left almost everything else we value in this world in the hands of the greedy. So, join us, in any way you can on this new experiment in book publishing and distribution. Write to us and let us know what you think.
A new year demands somehow a response from us. Not in terms of resolutions but in terms of real revolutions in the ways we think and act. And write and read.
Deborah Emin is the founder of the publishing company, Sullivan Street Press (www.sullivanstreetpress.com). She is also the impressario of the Itinerant Book Show as well as the program director of the REZ Reading Series in Kew Gardens, NY. Her (more...
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