On the last day of the year: a quick fly-by on Small Beer books. In 2016 we (on purpose) published the fewest number of books we’ve done for a while and an unusual ratio of hardcovers to paperbacks — it’s also hard to properly count them. We published two trade paperbacks (Jeffrey Ford’s A Natural History of Hell and John Crowley’s The Chemical Wedding) but did we put out three hardcovers (Joan Aiken’s The People in the Castle, Sofia Samatar’s The Winged Histories, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter*) . . . or four or seven — including the Kickstarter there were three hardcover editions of The Chemical Wedding. . . .
All but The Chemical Wedding received starred reviews and ended up on Best of the Year lists and I toast each and every author. (Or, I will tonight!)
* A moment to celebrate: Words Are My Matter was our third title with Ursula K. Le Guin after her translation of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial and her two volume The Unreal and the Real.
And even though we only published five titles (plus that fun but total time sink Kickstarter) I manage to be behind with so many things. Even when I reduced the number of books we published, I’m still behind. But! There are so many things to fill me with despair! So many interesting people on twitter! So many leaves to pick up on the walk to school. So many books to reprint — sneaked that last one in. I don’t think I’ve ever gathered in one place which books we reprinted in one year so here goes:
Nathan Ballingrud’s first collecton, North American Lake Monsters. Third printing — this book has legs! (Horrible things happen to those legs in at least one of the stories, but, still, legs!) The good news: Nathan is working on his next collection.
Naomi Mitchison’s novel Travel Light. Second printing. I read the first part of this to our 7-year-old who is part dragon herself and she really enjoyed all the parts with Uggi and the other dragons. She has the proper disregard for heroes, at least sometimes.
Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter. The first printing was in October and the second in December — could I have increased the first print run? Yes. But I am so good at overprinting, so ordering a print run that was 220+% of the initial orders seemed like a solid call. Ordering another 50% of that first run was fun.
— A reprint not of our own: The Unreal and the Real in one volume, not two, with one extra story by Joe Monti at Simon & Schuster/Saga as part of a raft of Le Guin titles that they will publish including at some point a Charles Vess illustrated Complete Earthsea book I am very much looking forward to.
Another reprint not our own: Ted Chiang’s collection Stories of Your Life and Others (aka Arrival) by Vintage. The movie of the title story has made $90 million in the USA alone and the paperback edition was on the New York Times bestseller lists for four weeks which translates into thousands and thousands more readers for Ted’s fabulous stories. Sometimes, no, wait, very infrequently, things go right.
Nicole Kornher-Stace’s YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2016 novel Archivist Wasp. Third printing, May 2016. A book that blew out the door and keeps on going. As with Nathan above, Nicole is working on her next book.
Greer Gilman, Cry Murder! in a Small Voice. Second printing, March 2016. The first of Greer Gilman’s Ben Jonson, Detective novellas. Dense, bloody, funny, fantastic. Wait, I see a pattern here: Greer is also working on her next book. Writers write!
I think that’s it: five new titles and five reprints plus the de rigueur two issues of LCRW — thank you writers, subscribers, and booksellers for getting behind the only zine named after a Brooklyn girl who moved to London, married a Lord who probably had the syph, and published her own fancy fancy literary journal.
Sometimes in the past I’ve posted year end Small Beer bestseller lists but I find them oddly hard to do: should I list books shipped from our lovely distributor, Consortium (now owned by Ingram)? But what about website and bookfair sales? Books shipped out from Consortium, can and will be returned, sometimes months later. Should I post Bookscan rankings? Bookscan only seems to capture about 30-50% of actual sales — which I always forget when I look at their reports, oops, but is very clear when I look at sales/return numbers from Consortium.
Either way, we sold a lot of books in 2016: thank you. In 2017 we have many books planned and — if all goes well — more reprints. No Kickstarter, at least, I don’t think so right at this moment in the middle of inventory and preparing for 1099s and so on. There is a Howard Waldrop project kicking around…. We’ll see. Two more issues of LCRW FTW. We will go to AWP in Washington, DC, in February and Kelly is teaching at Tin House in Portland in July. I just received an update (no real movement, but the possibility of movement) on a secret project we’ve been slowly trying to make work for at least five years — it may not work, c’est la vie in publishing: try and make something happen for years, sometimes it flames out, disappears, or ends up elsewhere but if it ever did come together, wow, what fun.
And at the very end of this year I signed a contract and sent of a check for a short story collection that has been a long time in the making — but more on that in the new year: more books, more cheer, and of course: more fighting for freedom, equality, and justice for all. Happy new year to you and yours.
Just in case there’s the tiniest chance you missed it, we at Big Mouth House — our imprint for readers of all ages — are once again celebrating Nicole Kornher-Stace’s debut YA novel Archivist Wasp which this weekend was announced as one of a very strong list of finalists for the Norton Award. Archivist hit a few Best of the Year lists, including YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Kirkus Reviews, Book Riot, Buzzfeed, and the Locus Recommended Reading list and is well into its second printing. It’s looking like a third printing will be called for soon — woohoo!
If you’re curious, you can start reading here.
How is this book doing? The second printing is flying out so we’d better start working on the next printing (such happy words). But how will we fit all this on the cover??
Kirkus Reviews: Best Teen Books of 2015
Book Riot: Best of 2015
Buzzfeed: 32 Best Fantasy Novels of 2015
ABC Best Books for Young Readers Catalog
Flavorwire: The 10 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels of 2015 So Far
LA Times Summer Reading
Locus Recommended Reading
Yesterday was a pretty great day for our books so, you know Wednesday, what are you going to do?
Tuesday started with a bang when the Book Smugglers released a 10/10 review for Archivist Wasp with this great quote”All of sudden, this book Mad-Max-Fury-Roaded me, like a boss.” Then Stephen Burt gave a tiny shout out to LCRW in a great no-really-why-do-people-start-lit-mags piece in the New Yorker (cough). And lastly Kelly posted a picture of the first copy in of our new edition of Geoff Ryman’s killer novel Was featuring cover art by Kathleen Jennings:
— kellylink (@haszombiesinit) July 8, 2015
Me? I have to run (ok, drive) to Weymouth and back today so go on internet, have your funs!
Nicole Kornher-Stace will be in New York City Tomorrow night to read from Archivist Wasp and generally celebrate at the excellent KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading Series. Wesley Chu is also reading.
And then later this week (really? eek!) Nicole will be off to WisCon to do panels and a reading (Sat. 1 pm!) and enjoy the fab city of Madison for the weekend. We’re hosting an Archivist Wasp celebration on Friday night somewhere on the party floor of the Concourse Hotel where we will have food of the damned, drinks from the underworld, or at least some local beer. Hope to see you there!
We haven’t been at WisCon for years and I’m very much looking forward to some of the things I know and love (political discourse! people talking about books, books, books! the Tiptree Bake Sale! the farmer’s market, the dealers room, the restaurants on State St.) and then the things I don’t: how it has changed!
“a jarring yet satisfying reveal, one that fully justifies the obscuring of truth and arrangement of clues that leads up to it. It’s also modestly, quietly profound. “We bring our own monsters with us” is a refrain in the book, and as pat as that statement sounds, it’s not used glibly. With understated skill, Archivist Wasp twists myth, fantasy and science fiction into a resonant tale of erasure and absence — and an aching reminder that regaining what has been lost isn’t always the answer.”
This post has been automagically set to go up on a Saturday while I am not online, woohoo! (US/Canada only, sorry: see USPS mailing costs!)
We just added Nicole Kornher-Stace’s forthcoming young adult science fiction novel Archivist Wasp to Edelweiss for booksellers, librarians, & reviewers of all persuasions.
Request copies here!
I love the simplicity of Edelweiss so much that I even did a panel on it once. I used to love Goodreads, but once Am*zon bought them I decided I didn’t want them to know that much about me — ok, all my reviews and so on are archived in their huge databases somewhere, but I wanted that slice of data to stop dead right around that point. But I have no particular dislike of social media, hello Twitter and Tumblr!, and given that I was on Facebook (another account I’ve since deleted!) I just opened another Goodreads account. This one I’m not going to list anything but Small Beer Press books, books by or edited by me and/or Kelly but I will be able to use it to do giveaways, so, yay for that. Check out my new profile (I officially have nae pals!) with a picture by Greg Frost of Tiny Me at Swarthmore College here.
But, anyway, this is really about Archivist Wasp. If you’re a bookseller, you might have gotten a copy in the mail and if not, there will be copies at the ABA’s Children’s Institute next month in Pasadena.
Wait, Pasadena? I lived for a short time in South Pasadena in a tiny apartment with a Murphy bed (loved it!) and worked at the Rizzoli bookshop (now RIP, I think) in Pasadena. Now and then we’d have “lunch” at the Gordon Biersch brewery across the way and when the World Cup was on in 1994 the Italian owners came over to see Italy play in the final. We all felt very bad the next day that we’d been dancing in the streets with all the celebrating Brazilian fans. Oh well. Before that I worked at an Italian restaurant making salads. If you ate a not-very-well put together salad in Pasadena in the early nineties, I apologize.
So anyway. I cannot keep it on track today. If you do go to Pasadena, hope you get a good salad and a copy of Archivist Wasp from the fine folks at the Consortium booth.
“Archivist Wasp turns destiny on its head, and it re-invents the world you know to do it. Strong. Fast. Addictive.” — Darin Bradley, author of Noise and Chimpanzee
The drums keep beating for Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp. It’s her first young adult novel, it comes out in May, and this week we had two pieces of good news:
First, an excellent response from an early reader:
“Sharp as a blade and mythically resonant, Archivist Wasp is a post-apocalyptic ghost story unlike anything else I’ve read. Trust me, you want this book.” — Karina Sumner-Smith, author of Radiant
And, second, the first trade review came in and it’s a STAR! Here’s a line from it, please do go read the rest of the review and if you feel like it, clickity click one of those sharey buttons:
“A ravishing, profane, and bittersweet post-apocalyptic bildungsroman transcends genre into myth.”
— Kirkus Reviews
How do we know Archivist Wasp is getting out there?
Because Elliott Bay Bookstore and their lovely bookseller Justus Joseph, all the way over there in Seattle, was tweeting at us today about it, that’s how! Yeah! We sent copies out to some of the best indie bookstores around and they are reading it and loving it. The book came to us on a hot tip from Ysabeau Wilce and we are very happy to be sending it out into the world this May.
Also, because we’re getting a cracking response from early readers!
“Archivist Wasp is a gorgeous and complex book, featuring a deadly girl who traverses an equally deadly landscape. Wasp won me over, and she’s sure to find fans among teens and grown-ups alike.”
— Phoebe North, author of Starglass
“A tremendously inventive and smart novel. Archivist Wasp is like Kafka by way of Holly Black and Shirley Jackson, but completely original. Highly recommended.”
— Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy
“A gorgeous, disturbing, compelling book with a smart, complicated heroine who bestrides her post-apocalyptic world like a bewildered force of nature. Reading it was a wild ride and a thoroughly satisfying one.”
— Delia Sherman, author of The Freedom Maze
“Brutal post-apocalypse meets sci-fi techno-thriller meets a ghost story for the ages in this astonishingly original novel from Nicole Kornher-Stace. You’ve never read anything like Archivist Wasp, but once you have you’ll be clamoring for more.”
— Mike Allen, author of Unseaming
“One of the most revelatory and sublime books I’ve ever read, Archivist Wasp is a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction. Kornher-Stace is a genius, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!”
— Tiffany Trent, author of The Unnaturalists
Here’s a large part of it: 4 new books for early 2015! Two of them are from Ayize Jama-Everett, The Liminal War (June) and The Entropy of Bones (August). You can read about how the covers came about today on Tor.com. The covers are both by John Jennings, check out his tumblr which is full of excellent art. You can read the first three chapters of Ayize’s first novel The Liminal People here. The books are all connected, but can also stand alone. More on these two pageturners soon-ish.
Two more books! First, another translation of an Angélica Gorodischer novel! Prodigies (translated by Sue Burke) is considered by the author and many others to be her best novel. After Sofia Samatar reviewed Kalpa Imperial so thoughtfully we asked her to have an early look at Prodigies and this is what she said:
“Gorodischer’s rhythmic and transparent prose reveals the violence underlying bourgeois respectability. Prodigies is both incisive and incantatory.”—Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria
The fourth book is the first Big Mouth House title of 2015, Nicole Kornher-Stace’s debut YA novel Archivist Wasp. It’s a dark, thrilling ride (wait, did I really write that? Yup. Sorry! But, you know: true!) set in a deeply imagined future. Just wait. Here’s a better description:
“Goes off like a firecracker in the brain: the haunted landscape, the sure-footed, blistering prose — and, of course, the heroine herself, the most excellent Archivist Wasp.” — Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble