Nicely coinciding with the publication of my novella Sonny’s Guerrillas, Part 1 of my interview series Print-On-Demand and the Future of Independent Publishing is now up at PopMatters.com. This first of two installments is an interview with Matthew Stadler, co-founder of Publication Studio in Portland, OR.
Print-on-demand technology (POD) is reshaping the economics of the book trade and redefining what constitutes a commercially viable book. In this two-part PopMatters feature, I speak to a couple of the most interesting independent POD publishers and investigate how they get their books to readers.
I dabble in the POD game, too. I run an outfit called Sydney Samizdat Press which uses Amazon.com’s CreateSpace service to publish anthologies of classic writing (e.g. Jack London’s San Francisco Stories) as well as my own novellas as small chapbooks. Novellas—something like the literary equivalent of a rock band’s E.P.—are perfect for POD publishing. I like to write one every year. They let me cover pressing subjects I might otherwise store away for never-realized novels.
For my latest novella Sonny’s Guerrillas, I wanted to recreate the exciting milieu I encountered in Greece in 2008. I wanted to write about the political, artistic and erotic adventures of a multi-national twentysomething generation drifting through an unsettled globalized Europe. The story is about a young Australian composer hired to write the soundtrack for an ultra-low budget left-wing movie. The composer joins the cast and crew in a utopian filmmaking commune on the gorgeous Aegean island of Katastari. Their movie is a kind of Hellenic For Whom The Bell Tolls. But nearby Athens is aflame with the riots of 2008 and many in the crew are torn between their commitment to finishing the film and a desire to hit the streets with the protestors. The shoot goes to hell.
I feel about my novellas as Woody Allen does about his annual films—“not an event you make a big deal out of.” One terrific thing about POD technology (and e-books) is that a writer can make any kind of occasional work—novellas and stories, poetry, long-form interviews, diaries, journalism, collected blog posts—available for sale as soon as the work is done.
POD technology is creating entirely new models for quality—and profitable—independent publishing. Matthew Stadler is an author and the co-founder of Portland’s Publication Studio. This outfit produce their books on demand from a digital file using an Instabook POD machine (a device that combines digital printer, guillotine trimmer, and glue-binder). I decided to have a chat to Stalder to learn more about the Studio’s innovative approach to independent publication, distribution and, most importantly, the fostering of a readership.