Cheyenne, WY (June 11, 2016) — On June 10, 2016, Cow Eye Press author Adrian Jones Pearson announced on his Facebook page that he had formally renounced his literary citizenship. As publishers of his debut novel, Cow Country (2015), and as a party with a significant investment in his literary biography, we were shocked and dismayed by the announcement. While Mr. Pearson had informed us several months earlier that he was considering (and only considering) such a drastic and irreversible course of action, the fact that he ultimately went ahead with this step without our subsequent consultation or involvement, as well as the suddenness of the announcement itself, was not just disconcerting, but also a huge punch to the gut of an independent publishing house that had worked tirelessly to promote his title.
As a small publisher, Cow Eye Press struggles against the publishing and media establishments to bring its titles before the world and to give these deserving works a chance to find their audience. With no industry contacts, a lack of distribution options, and virtually no marketing budget to purchase ad space and/or favorable reviews in the major publications, we rely to a considerable extent on our authors to promote their own works. At the very least, this includes (but is not limited to): doing frequent readings in bookstores and coffee shops; holding signboards at busy intersections; giving author interviews in which reporters ask questions about your domestic animals; appearing at literary festivals so as to provide a tantalizing glimpse into your literary process along with your opinions on the sad state of American political discourse; contributing promotional blurbs (slobberingly exuberant ones, obviously) for other authors and their works; appearing on Jeopardy; writing guest columns in national publications where you illuminate the human condition through profound artistic revelations such as these; taking the requisite time to curate a reasonably attractive and reasonably functional author web page (as opposed to this abomination); providing, at the humble request of your publisher, an author biography written in the third person, along with a recent photograph of you (whimsical, pensive, vaguely mysterious, whatever) to be used for promotional purposes; and, of course, harnessing the power of social media, incessantly, to tout the personal benefits that readers will experience upon purchasing your work once it has come out.
In attempting to explain the importance for an author of doing all these things, as well as the consequences of not doing them, we specifically told Adrian that for his book to stand any chance of being accepted as a major work of fiction he would need to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to maintaing his status as an upstanding citizen of the literary community. We also explained that if he were to fail to do this, the repurcussions would be harsh and immediate, including: 1) Not being invited to do readings in bookstores and coffee shops; 2) not being asked to give interviews about your artistic process and its potential long-term impact on your domestic animals; 3) Not being invited to literary conferences and panels to appear with other novelists to discuss the decline of literary fiction, the demise of the printed book, the future of American political discourse, etc; 4) Not being blurbed by those authors for whom you have (or will have) written slobberingly favorable reviews of their work; 5) Not being taken seriously by reviewers, agents, literary prizes, and other industry insiders; and 6) Generally having a severely curtailed access to the perks and benefits of literary citizenship: money, fame, pussy, etc.
We explained all this to Adrian several months ago. And yet he refused.
And now it's come to this.
Going forward, we do not know what will be the relationship between Cow Eye Press and Mr. Pearson; nor can we envision how we can be expected to promote a work of fiction without the engaged civic participation of its author. But while we do regret this unfortunate turn of events, we nevertheless intend to exhaust the many other avenues that are available to independent publishers desiring to offer their books to the broader community of intelligent readers. Like Goodreads giveaways.
# # # #
CONTACT: Natalie Zeldner, Editor, Cow Eye Press firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT COW EYE PRESS: Cow Eye Press is a publishing house specializing in literary fiction with an intercultural focus. Its readers enjoy works that challenge the mind and enrich the soul by exploring the boundaries of culture and society. For more information, visit the Cow Eye Press website at www.coweyepress.com.