News Round-up - The First 18 Months...

Posted on by Jordan Hurder

Here are all the news updates from the first version of our site (June 2008 to December 2009)

Relive the good old days when we had no idea what we were doing [we still don't] and think about how far we’ve come [not very]…

October 23, 2009: The Hines book is now done and behind us… the deluxe edition of this book was – all together now – More Work Than We Expected.  (Hey, I think I just came up with the title for our 10-year anniversary publication – assuming we make it to 10 years, that is.)  Deluxe copies are still available (for now), although, with the holiday shopping season coming up, we don’t expect the last two in stock to last very long.  Trade editions abound, so if you accidentally used your copy to wipe up a spill or to swat a fly, we can send you a fresh, new one stat.

Work is going forward for a mini-chapbook by Michael Phillips (of A Common Thread-introducing fame), which will be titled Flying Wedge no. 2236 – it’s either a sci-fi epic or a story about a guitar, although we believe in the post modern notion of letting the reader interpret the text, so you will have to decide which.  The book will be half the size of our other books at 4.25 x 5.5, and they will be cheap, since apparently the economy isn’t very good anymore (I wouldn’t know, since Chance Press somehow qualifies as an investment bank and thus got a pretty nice bailout from the BO-man (that’s investment bank-talk for Barack Obama, by the way)), and we want people to afford this one.

However, we will simultaneously thumb our noses at those people by offering a deluxe edition.  Details are still being finalized, but I know for sure that each copy will have an original drawing by the author on the cover.  One of the lessons we learned with the Hines project is not to offer one edition before the other, so it will still be a couple months before this book comes out.  The trade editions will be no big thing, but there’s a very good chance that the deluxe will be – wait for it – More Work Than We Expected.

July 25, 2009: Print mania at Chance Press HQ!  We’re about two weeks away from having trade copies of Stephen Hines’s new book available for sale.  It is titled The Confusion Will be Enough for them to Leave you Alone, and it is a very dense, powerful read.  Hines is pure gold for small press publishers, because he packs so much punch and depth in to every line he writes that the hours we spend laboring over publishing just a few of his poems in a little book become hours of necessary, vital work.

We will update the site with more detailed information about this book when it is available, including ordering information for both the trade and the deluxe editions.  At 80 copies (65 trade/15 deluxe), this will be the largest edition we have done to date, and we can’t wait until we can show the final product.  Stay tuned!

July 21, 2009: Justin Taylor, writer for The Believer magazine, has written a lengthy piece on our press. It can be found here.

July 11, 2009: Copies of the Serafini chapbook are flying off the shelves!  We’ve sold out half of the trade edition copies and are down to our last deluxe edition, so thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy.  Head over to the book’s photo gallery to see newly uploaded photos of the deluxe edition.  In other news, we’re hard at work on our other projects… we may be exhibiting at a book show in October, and if we manage to pull it together, we’ll be working day and night to try to finish a bunch of new titles in time to sell them at the show.  More on this as it develops.

May 23, 2009: Now that all pre-paid copies of A Common Thread have been mailed and we have only to sew up copies for family and friends, we find ourselves in a small lull while we wait for the How Pretty of Me illustrations and some more work from Stephen Hines.  It seems like a good time for a little pet project, so I’ve decided to revise an essay I wrote about my favorite artist, Luigi Serafini, and publish it as a Chance Press chapbook.  Justine and I have been brainstorming the design and layout, and I’ve been working on retooling the essay (previously published on my blog) and adding additional research that I’ve done in the year or so that it was originally written.

I am happy to give this essay the deluxe treatment, since I’ve put more work into writing it than any poetry or fiction I’ve ever written.   I have researched Serafini extensively, and my goal was to write an essay that went beyond just discussing his best-known work (the Codex Seraphinianus) and included some of his lesser known works as well.  Additionally, in a larger sense the essay is about the hobby of book collecting, and how a chance encounter with a rare book can have such a profound effect on the collector’s life.  In my biased opinion, the essay is for anyone who is interested in rare books, not just the handful of people who are familiar with Serafini.

The goal will be to advertise it for sale in around 6 weeks (by which time we should be ready to go into production with How Pretty of Me).  It will be limited to 40 copies and 10 special editions, and the price will be very affordable.  We’ll make a dedicated page for it when the first copies have been sewn up and we have some pictures and pricing available.

May 10, 2009: The first edition of A Common Thread is now complete, and we are beginning work on the second edition tonight.  There are still plenty of second edition copies available, including signed/numbered ones, so order them now while they’re still absurdly underpriced as $12 (trade) and $25 (signed).  We have learned a lot about how to operate going forward, and we want to take an opportunity to thank everyone for their patience during the process.  The idea that this would have been done by November seems pretty laughable in retrospect, but a half-year off isn’t that bad for first time publishers, now is it?

The good news is that our next two projects are significantly less complicated, and (here we go again), we hope to complete BOTH of them by the end of the year.  How Pretty of Me, Emily Robinson’s family collaboration of short fiction is coming together nicely.  Abbigail McCracken has signed on to do illustrations, and from what we’ve seen so far, we’re sure this is going to be a gem of a book.  Our tentative release plan is to be ready to ship copies in July or August, and we’ll post ordering information once we’ve made some mock-ups and know how much work we’re in for.

Also upcoming is a poetry collection by Stephen Hines, and we know this one is going to be big, because we’ve been getting emails from Hines’s legions of fans ever since we hinted at it on our “upcoming releases” page.  Expect it to be earth-shatteringly good – we’re just nervous about designing a book that does justice to Hines’s work (not an easy task).  Look for more information this fall on that one.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that all Chance Press releases will include an extremely limited special edition.  These editions will be limited to 26 copies or less (sometimes as few as 5 copies), and they will contain special features, deluxe materials, and the signatures of everyone involved with the book.  Because we expect our special editions to sell out quickly, we encourage you to email us and ask to be put on our email list for notification about special editions.  Being on the list will not obligate you to buy one, but they will be first-come, first-served once we send the email blasts out.

March 22, 2009: As I sit here typing, Justine is hard at work sewing up the first edition of A Common Thread. Yes, we’re finally making this book, and after 9 months of gestation, we really feel like this one is our baby.  Head over to the newly created details page to learn more about this book (including how you can get a copy for your own personal library).

February 15, 2009: Yes, we know we’re well behind schedule. But we’re making progress! Making this chapbook has turned out to be far more labour-intensive than we initially anticipated (despite warnings from other, more experienced, book-makers). We’ll get there eventually, just be patient and bear with us.

A visit to the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Fair has given us a lot of inspiration to work with. A series of one-off miniature books may now be in the works… stay tuned…

In other news: we have another project lined up for release once this Bukowski poetry anthology is completed. In collaboration with author Emily Robinson, we will be publishing a chapbook of Ms. Emily’s ‘miniature family anecdotes’. Funny, weird and touchingly familiar, Emily provides the reader with tiny portals into her family’s personal history. More details will become available closer to the release date.

December 6, 2008: Head over to the recently updated “Published and Forthcoming Titles” page to see what we have planned for our first couple years as a small press.  There is some excellent stuff on board for next year and beyond, although I’m sure we’ll end up squeezing a couple other projects in there as we think of them.  In A Common Thread news, we’re now ready to release details about the book:
Edition size: 50 numbered copies + 5 Presentation copies
Edition features: hand sewn wraps, letterpress pastedown (printed by Bill Roberts of Bottle of Smoke Press), decorative endpapers, introduction by Michael J. Phillips; each copy signed by the editors as well as Phillips; each copy features screenprinted envelope containing signatures of all contributors.
Order information: Price is $9$12 domestic, $11$15* international; postage included.  All copies currently SOLD OUT, although please contact us if you would like one – some preorders may fall through, we may have some overruns, or if there is enough interest, we may publish a 2nd edition.
Release date: No firm date; we’re hoping now for mid-January.

*price increase: as we’ve progressed on this project, we’ve realised how much we underestimated the amount of work required, so the price has increased for the subsequent orders.

September 26, 2008: After only a week of accepting pre-orders, A COMMON THREAD is officially sold-out upon publication.  It is an incredible honor for us that so many people have chosen to support our little venture, as we thought 50 copies might even be too many.  Still, if you’d like a copy, send us an email to get on the waiting list (some pre-orders may fall through), or to express interest in a 2nd edition, which is certainly a possibility at this point.

September 22, 2008: Well, we’re almost ready to release the list of poems.  There are some amazing poets in here, and we can’t believe how lucky we are to have them be a part of our first book.  Also, since the first (and potentially only) edition of the book will be limited to 50 copies (including contributor copies), we’re now accepting pre-orders.  If you want one, please email books (at) chancepress (dot) com.  The price will be under $10 including shipping, so if you don’t order one, it means you’re a cheap bastard.

ALSO, we are planning an extra bonus that will make this little chapbook cooler than anything you’ve ever seen before (unless it was published by Bottle of Smoke Press, in which case that’s probably cooler).  But still… Details to come.

August 25, 2008: As expected, we’re now buried under submissions and will now begin the long task of reading them and making some tough choices. The book will be a collection of poetry by the members of, showcasing the diverse poetic voices that all come together around that singular thread. We’ve got some fantastic poems, as well as a fantastic introduction by the proprietor of, so it goes without saying that we’re damn excited to put forth this release.

We’re still fine-tuning the edition, but we’ve already purchased most of the supplies, and here’s what we know so far: it will be a hand-sewn chapbook with colored tissue endpapers, stiff paper wrappers, and a letterpress-printed title pastedown on Arches paper. The first edition will be limited to 50 copies, and if the demand necessitates it, we will print a second edition using more economical methods (although we both doubt that happening very much at this stage). Finally, there will be an as-yet-unknown number of special  edition presentation copies (5 or less) that will be distributed to friends of the press.

In other news, our second release is in the early stages, with a hopeful release date of February 2009. It will be a big departure from a hand-sewn poetry chapbook, fairly expensive, and of interest mostly to book collectors. We’ll probably lose money, but those who buy the book will be happy that we undertook the project… trust me. More news later.

July 23, 2008: Submissions are starting to trickle in for the first Chance Press poetry release… We should have a collection ready in about two months, with the final book being ready for sale by November. We’ll update progress and maybe even post some previews so you know what you’re in for…