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Thread: Black Sparrow Books / David R. Godine, Publisher

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Black Sparrow Books / David R. Godine, Publisher

    Black Sparrow Press, and the publishing sector of City Lights Books have both expressed interest.

    Anyone have any experience with either?

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Yes, I am aware they have an internet website. Posting it doesn't really tell me anything.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPD View Post
    Yes, I am aware they have an internet website. Posting it doesn't really tell me anything.

    Thanks for sharing.

    The link isn't just for you.

    Whenever a new publisher/agent is added to B&BC, if there's a link available it's added to the thread so anyone who is looking at potential publishers/agents can take a look (or know what to look out for in the cases of the not so great ones.)



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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    So, aside from the fact that they have a website, no one has ANY info on them whatsoever?

  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Give it time. Your post hasn't been up for an entire 24 hours yet, and for the first twelve of them it didn't have a very useful title.


    Why did you submit your work to them?

  7. #7
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    They have a wikipedia page:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sparrow_Books

    Black Sparrow Books, formerly known as Black Sparrow Press, is a boutique book publisher founded in 1966 by John Martin of Santa Rosa, California. He founded this company in order to publish the works of avant-garde authors. He initially financed this company by selling his large collection of rare first editions. Typography and printing were the work of Graham Mackintosh of San Francisco, Noel Young and Edwards Brothers, Inc. Barbara Martin oversaw all of the designs, which are still unique today.

    Black Sparrow Press most prominently published the work of authors Charles Bukowski, John Fante and Paul Bowles, as well as Joyce Carol Oates, D.H. Lawrence, George & Mary Oppen, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Robert Kelly, Larry Eigner, Michael Palmer, Clayton Eshleman, Charles Reznikoff, Rochelle Owens, Edward Dorn, Jack Spicer, Cid Corman, William Everson and Diane Wakoski. These artists, now considered part of a contemporary 'alternative tradition', were first established and nurtured under the auspices of Black Sparrow Press.

    The Black Sparrow Press was sold in 2002 to David R. Godine, Publisher. At this point, John Martin retired. David R. Godine is the exclusive licensed distributor of Black Sparrow Books. Many of the top-selling authors' (Bukowski, Fante, Bowles, etc.) titles were re-printed with the Ecco insignia, replicating the original designs.



  8. #8
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    I posted a comment earlier, but for some reason it isn't showing up.

    Gist:

    1. Black Sparrow and City Lights? Congratulations. Wow.

    2. Money's unlikely to amount to much, but there's serious prestige attached.

    I also had two questions:

    1. What kind of a book is it?

    2. Are you working in the academia/grants/fellowships economy?

    The previous version was of course more graceful.
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  9. #9
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    1. What kind of a book is it?

    A novella.

    2. Are you working in the academia/grants/fellowships economy?

    No.

  10. #10
    Let's not give out too much information!

  11. #11
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    I posted a comment earlier, but for some reason it isn't showing up.
    Your earlier comment is in another thread.

    The OP posted asking about two presses, under the title "Feedback." I split that into two threads, one for each press, and retitled them to the names of the presses.

  12. #12
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Well, then.

    HPD, if it's a novella, you've submitted it to the right outfits. Only arty literary presses publish standalone prose fiction at that length. If they do make you an offer, the advance will likely be small to nonexistent, but you won't get better deals elsewhere.

    Black Sparrow Press produces nice-looking books.

    I asked whether you were operating in the academia/grants/fellowships economy because for people who are, high-prestige publication can be financially rewarding in other ways. All that means in your case is that some writers who are your competitors for publication there will have additional motives for getting published by those presses.
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    Today is your last day. FOTSGreg's Avatar
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    Their submission guidelines say they don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, essentially agented submissions only.

    They do appear to be reasonably legit, but somewhat esoteric which would fit with the avant-garde concept I suppose.

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  14. #14
    They do take unsolicited queries.

    Their submission guidelines aren't very good, leaving that part is buried within the wall of text.

  15. #15
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    Black Sparrow

    I am sure somebody else has already pointed this out, but just in case...Black Sparrow was the home of Bukowski. In my mind that's all you need to know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwallace View Post
    Black Sparrow was the home of Bukowski. In my mind that's all you need to know.
    I'm not sure what you mean. That statement could go either way.

    Do you mind elaborating?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HPD View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean. That statement could go either way.

    Do you mind elaborating?
    Bukowski owed his success to John Martin at Black Sparrow...as the story goes, Martin offered the down and out postal worker $100/mo. for life to quit his day job and write full-time.

    Martin pretty much converted Bukowski into a novelist and story teller, as opposed to writing mostly poetry.

    Black Sparrow is a legendary place, although I have no idea what the new ownership has done. I did a paper on the publisher about a hundred years ago...

    The statement could only have meant positive things...


    ETA:

    One of the great opening lines, from Bukowski's debut novel, POST OFFICE:

    "It began as a mistake."
    Last edited by colealpaugh; 07-04-2009 at 10:41 AM.
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  18. #18
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    HPD, what's the problem? You've been distrustful and unnaturally short with us since you got here. We're just trying to help you.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    HPD, what's the problem? You've been distrustful and unnaturally short with us since you got here. We're just trying to help you.

    I was just thinking the same thing....the tone seems really unfriendly, short and, quite frankly, pissy. Maybe it's just me reading into it, but since I've recieved such a warm welcome here, and in all the threads I see nothing but people trying to help each other, I was surprised.

  20. #20
    It's not just you. I thought it was obvious from his first response to James.

  21. #21
    I've Got An MFA In LEO smcc360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Sparrow Press
    Our submissions and query policy for authors and illustrators:
    Authors and illustrators should note that Black Sparrow Books does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, portfolios, or proposals. Authors and illustrators are advised to have their agent contact us if they would like us to consider a project. There is no need to address your letter to a particular editor. We prefer query letters rather than full manuscript submissions. If you still would like to send in unsolicited submissions for consideration, please address them to the Editorial Department, attn: Black Sparrow Books Submissions, at our Boston office.
    At the risk of flaunting my ignorance: Does Black Sparrow Press accept unsolicited manuscripts, or not?
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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    I interpret that as manuscripts, no; queries, yes. "Submissions" being query plus sample chapter or whatever, rather than full manuscript.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 07-05-2009 at 02:55 AM.
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  23. #23
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    "The statement could only have meant positive things..."

    I disagree.

    Bukowski was a very polemical icon.

    I have met many people who have hated his writing and everything he stood for. I have also met people who idolize him.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPD View Post
    "The statement could only have meant positive things..."

    I disagree.

    Bukowski was a very polemical icon.

    I have met many people who have hated his writing and everything he stood for. I have also met people who idolize him.
    OK, then how about Joyce Carol Oates and D.H. Lawrence? One would think their company would inspire some amount of confidence in the legitimacy of the press, at least under its' previous direction.
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  25. #25
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    David Godine is listed as the publisher. It looks like Black Sparrow is an imprint of his company.

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