Thursday, October 8, 2009

CIPHERS (book)

CIPHERS OF UNCOMMON ORIGIN - Poems By Ana Elsner, Volume I is Elsner's first book of poetry. It is a selection from Elsner's early work. Though modest in size with 28 pages, it packs a punch with compelling imagery, powerful message and meticulously crafted language.
CIPHERS has garnered only positive reviews from poetry greats like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Hirschman. You can find these reviews on the publisher's site (see link below). Other reviewers have joined in the chorus of praise.
"Ana Elsner writes from her heart, full of empathy for the fate of man. Hers is a sensitive soul which she is unafraid to lay bare. Her words ring true and hang in the air long after the page has been turned. Listen",
- Terry Tarnoff, author of The Bone Man of Benares

CIPHERS sports a bright yellow, modern art cover and easy-to-read print. It was published in June of 2007 by InstaPLANET Press as part of their Language Maker Poetry Series. The publisher's website states:
"InstaPLANET Press is an independent small press, established in 2007 in San Francisco, California. We are passionate about poetry. Here, the word is the poet's paintbrush. We specialize in publishing new and original collections of bold and multifaceted poems that contribute to the enrichment of the contemporary poetry scene."

A quote from the Wikipedia article on small presses:
"Since the profit margins for small presses can be narrow, many are driven by other motives, including the desire to help disseminate literature with only a small likely market. Small presses tend to fill the niches that larger publishers neglect. ..."

It is a sad but well-known fact that poetry is not a significantly commercial product. The market for poetry is minuscule compared to that of other literary genres. Therefore the large publishing houses shy away from taking a chance on, and incurring a considerable expense in, publishing it, with the exception of keeping up the well-established standard stock of textbook poets, mostly deceased, whose names assure 'brand name recognition' and a steady trickle of sales. That fact does not make contemporary poetry any less important in literary society, it does, however, curtail its widespread dissemination.
That is where small poetry presses come in: If you investigate their literary offerings, you will find them to be a vast reservoir of contemporary voices that are compelling and mind-broadening, albeit continuously marginalized.

Small and relatively obscure publishers like InstaPLANET Press are not just worthy of, but are indeed dependent on the literary public's support. That support must translate into the act of purchasing small press publications. This is the only way that their survival can be assured.

To purchase your copy of
see link below.

-:- -:- -:-

- Amendment to this article -

Ana Elsner made the following remarks:

"Thank you for bringing the subject of small independent presses to the reading public's attention. Yes, many small to very small presses cannot hold their heads above the swift current of insolvency. The idealism and ambition with which they started out may not survive the harsh realities of running a business, however small. They fold quietly without leaving so much as a ripple. I have seen this happen before. So what are your options.

First of all, let's be honest, the odds of your poetry being accepted for publication by 'the big guys' are slim unless you are a national poet laureate or have already established a foothold in the business of poetry.

By way of an alternative, you do take a chance when sending your work to be published by a small and relatively unknown press. In my case, I was swept off my feet by the fervor and dedication of the folks at InstaPLANET Press. At the same time, I was aware that they might not make it in the long run. However, I am not contractually bound and retain copyrights so that in the event that they go under, I am free to take my content to another press or incorporate it into another manuscript or do with it whatever I please.

Among the benefits of letting a small press publish your work is that they pay you a much higher share of the profits from sales, up to three times the industry standard. Moreover, after they recovered their initial investment in production and related services, InstaPLANET Press now lets me buy unlimited copies at cost+ % so that I can sell my books myself and can still give the buyer a discount on the full retail price. This works out nicely since I sell many copies at each of my readings when folks want them autographed.

You have to consider that my product is poetry, not exactly a best-seller. The volume of sales will always be limited even if I go with an established publishing house. Sure, they offer better marketing and distribution. But with giving book stores the right to return unsold merchandise and with royalty payments being very modest, I venture a guess that I am getting the same or maybe even more money by operating on a much smaller scale.

Of course, this might play out very differently for authors who produce novels, sci-fi, romances and works in genres that empirically have mass-appeal.

The reason I am sharing these details is that from my experience I can resoundingly recommend small presses to my fellow poets. The profit margin is higher, the cost of buying copies for your own purposes is lower, and you retain sole authority over the fate of your work,"
Ana Elsner

Buying versus Borrowing

A word about Public Libraries

Due to reliance on outside funding and the budgetary and space constraints that derive from it, and in light of a tremendous volume of books submitted, every entry undergoes the most stringent review process by professional librarians and departmental editorial staff before a decision is made to include it in the catalog and give it shelf space. The San Francisco Public Library and the Poets House National Library of American Poetry Books are two venerable institutions. The fact that CIPHERS was selected by both speaks to its significance in contemporary literature.

CIPHERS OF UNCOMMON ORIGIN - Poems By Ana Elsner is available for borrowing

on the West Coast at

The San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street (at Grove), San Francisco, CA, Third Floor, Poetry Collection (check shelf)

on the East Coast at

Poets House National Library of American Poetry Books, 10 River Terrace, Battery Park, New York, N.Y. (stacks)

: :

CIPHERS can be purchased directly from the publisher
by clicking here

Buy a copy today
and add it to your personal library.

-:- -:- -:-


1 comment:

Chuck said...

Just wanted to comment here that I ordered one by email and it arrived in record time. I like the poems. Friendly service - no problems: can recommend