Tayari Jones has set up an eBay auction to help out a mother/son combination in Dunbar Village that recently went through a truly horrifying ordeal (you can read the detail if you visit Tayari's post and click on the link she provides).
What Tayari has done, to keep things literary, after all, her blog is a litblog, is to get authors and publishers involved, and a photographer who takes excellent author photographs. While Dzanc is a bit late to the effort, we've put together a collection of, well, everything we've got:
Roy Kesey - All Over, Roy Kesey - Nothing in the World, Yannick Murphy - In a Bear's Eye, Steven Gillis - Temporary People (hardcover), and galleys of both Peter Markus - Bob, or Man on Boat, and Louella Bryant - While in Darkness There is Light.
You can bid on it, and the other things Tayari has put together (including having a story critiqued by George Saunders!, or Laila Lalami!, etc.).
Hard to believe that there's less two weeks left in 2007 as time has just flown by. Then again, with all that's gone on in this first full year at Dzanc Books, there hasn't been much time for looking out the windows.
A bit of a re-cap for those of you who are interested:
We published our first book, Roy Kesey's All Over, in October. Without any standard national distribution system, we were able to get All Over into Barnes & Nobles, Borders, Powells, Amazon, and independent booksellers all across the country. We had Roy come over from his home in Beijing, China, to do a 12 city reading and signing tour. The book has received great reviews from the Los Angeles Times, The Believer, Rain Taxi, Time Out ChicagoandTime Out New York, not to mention January Magazine, and Matt Bell's literary blog. Recently, Levi Asher, over at Literary Kicks, ended his comments with:
"All Over is one of the better books published in 2007."
The publishing continues early in 2008 with Yannick Murphy's In a Bear's Eye. This wonderful short story collection has already been excerpted at Critical Mass, reviewed very nicely by Publishers Weekly and has reviews slated for The Believer in February and Elle Magazine in March to name just a few places you'll be able to read about it.
Yannick's book will be followed by Peter Markus' Bob, or Man in Boat, a short novel, then the first annual Best of the Web anthology, Hesh Kestin's trio of novellas, Based on a True Story and Kyle Minor's story collection, In the Devil's Territory.
Our first DWIRP (Dzanc Writer in Residency Program) did wonderful at Community High School in Ann Arbor, MI. Author, Paul Toth, taught various forms of fiction to a class of eleven eager students. An anthology was put together of the work of ten of these students and a reading was set up at Shaman Drum Books where each of the students was able to share from their own work.
Dzanc currently has four DWIRP's in progress - a second time around at Community, as well as at The Mack Open School in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti High School in Ypsilanti, MI and the High School of Telecommunication and Technology in Brooklyn, NY. Dzanc has also set up smaller programs - one day workshops, or once per month workshops, at another handful of schools, completely voluntary upon the writers involved, that are doing similar things on a less intensive nature. Between the full-time DWIRPs and these other smaller programs, we've been able to bring the excitement of reading and writing to hundreds of during 2007 and plan to continue increasing the number of DWIRPs and students annually.
We've grown, as both OV Books, Black Lawrence Press, and Monkeybicycle have become affiliated with Dzanc - continuing to run status quo editorially while we will run things from the aspect of printing through distributing the works. This both bumps up the number of titles you'll see via Dzanc per year, and also brings poetry, non-fiction, and translation into the fray right away. We've also seen our future catalogue grow with plans for titles into 2009 and 2010 with Michael Czyzniewjewski, Suzanne Burns, Robert Lopez, Stefan Kiesbye, and at least one other wonderful young writer that we'll announce in early 2008.
The first Dzanc Prize was awarded, to Laura van den Berg, for her combination of an excellent fiction submission, and her literary community service plan to teach creative writing workshops in the prison system in New England. She's actually already begun her service, doing a poetry workshop in December and coming out to rave about the experience. Laura will be back inside the walls an additional 6 or 7 times in the first half of 2008 running similar poetry and fiction workshops and then will work with Dzanc to publish an anthology of work from the prisoners she's taught.
Dzanc has received some fantastic press along the way as well - online, many litbloggers have been kind enough to link to many of our PR announcements, especially Ron Hogan over at Galleycat. Wired.com had a large article about our ability to grow during this difficult year for independent publishers; Poets & Writers included Dzanc in their end of year profile on small publishers; and Publishers Weekly most recently had a full page article on Dzanc, referencing 'The Future of Publishing."
This first year has been a great deal of work, fun, and excitement and 2008 is already looking bigger. Thanks to all of you who visit here, support Dzanc both as a 501(c)3 and by reading our books, volunteering your time, or spreading the word - it's all greatly appreciated!
Over at Critical Mass, the blog of some of the NBCC members, they've posted the results of their survey on ethics. In the comments thread, the topic of self-published books came up and was debated back and forth. In one of the comments, Lisa Guidarini, whose own blog Bluestalking Reader should be a must read, had this to say:
"But there's not only the choice of big publishing houses and self publishing. There's a very important group in the middle, the independents. These are the presses (ex. Graywolf, Coffee House Press, Dzanc) who are taking chances on unknowns. These small presses very often catch some pretty big fish, some extraordinarily talented writers who haven't managed to get attention anywhere else. The quality of the writing they publish is as good as or better than the output of the major houses. "
(The bold and underlining was done by us, not Lisa)
Dzanc Books is set up to operate exclusively for charitable, literary, and educational purposes - especially to promote literacy and literary fiction, assist literary journals with the promotion of literature and literary publications, and to assist with the publication of literature and literary fiction. Dzanc Books plans on publishing two great works of fiction per year, helping to find a home for some of the amazing, talented authors out there.
While Dzanc operates as a non-profit, our authors will receive full payment just as any for profit house. More than anyone, Dan and Steve understand the needs of writers and Dzanc's plan is to provide its authors with every means of support to make their work a success on a national scale.
We plan to be up and running full steam ahead by October, 2006 and to publish our first title in Fall 2007.