The Deixis Press Weekly - Issue #29
For anyone concerned about my small son after the end of last week’s issue: it turns out he had just gone off to the kitchen to get a snack. He is playing Roblox as we speak, probably.
This week has been very much a matter of doing as much as I possibly can before Christmas comes. I’m winding down the year while winding up for next year—an odd feeling.
Monday, 6 December
Today came the always nerve-wracking moment: sending my files for Chocolate Cake for Imaginary Lives off to the printer, and getting them online for Amazon. We really want to get the hardbacks ready to send out to potential high-impact reviewers in January.
Hardbacks for this book (and for all of my books going forward) will not be available for general purchase, at least at first. The first edition hardbacks will be a limited print run available only through moi. I may re-evaluate my position in 2022. After 2022, I may even start doing the thing where the hardback comes out first and the paperback comes out later. Classy.
It’s not just the hardback today, though. It’s also the paperback, which has two versions (one for Ingram Spark, one for Amazon). And it’s also not just Chocolate Cake—I’m also getting all that stuff done for The Transfer Problem too. And, for both, I’m also generating digital ARCs for NetGalley as well as the ebook files. So today involved a lot of careful, meticulous work, double- and triple- and quadruple-checking everything. I really REALLY hope I got it all right.
Tuesday, 7 December
I couldn’t rest on my laurels today, naturally. Gotta keep busy.
But … what did I actually do? I’m sitting here at 11:57pm having worked my tail off all day, and I have no memory of literally anything I’ve done. It’s all been just administrative stuff I have been putting off.
I did learn today from one of my longtime author followers that Waterstones failed to deliver his copy of Some Rise By Sin. Their excuse is that their supplier doesn’t have copies. That’s got to be Gardners, right?
Coincidentally, I also heard from a press I very much admire regarding some advice I had requested. They said I need to build a relationship with Gardners. But I’ve tried that. Gardners is just not that into me. I feel depressed about this entire subplot, which has developed on its own in my story without my permission.
(Speaking of stories, I heard back from my own helpful, kind editor who is looking at my fledgling work. She was tactful about how bad my recent chapter was. We’re going to continue working on it.)
I also heard back today after several, SEVERAL days—so many days I thought they had ghosted me—from an industry-adjacent job I had applied for, one that pays really well and would have no problem with my continuing with my own press. But the process has been so long (I’ve now been invited to interview 3 of 4) that I’ve kind of gone off the idea; I’m not sure it really fits what I want for my life right now, and I think they’ve been hinting I would be in charge of some incredibly difficult managees. Also, I think they want too much from their editors and authors. So I think I’m going to decline the THIRD interview. If this paragraph remains in the newsletter, that’s what I’ve done.
Wednesday, 8 December
Today I again managed a bunch of admin. It isn’t really living, is it? Most importantly, I got to the post office, my customers will be glad to know.
Thursday, 9 December
A long time ago there was a philosopher called Hegesias of Cyrene who argued that happiness was impossible, and the goal of life should be to avoid pain, so everyone should commit suicide, ideally by starvation (yeah, no thanks).
Around the same time there was another philosopher called Epicurus (who is better-known, for obvious reasons), who argued that people should try to achieve a kind of stable/sustainable contentment/pleasure, but the really important point for him was the absence of pain—that is, he advocated hedonism, but not in a destructive or necessarily selfish way.
Later, the Stoics came along and argued that virtue by itself is sufficient for happiness—but some Stoics (like Plutarch and Marcus Aurelius) said that suicide was preferable to a life of misery.
Much, much, much later, Kierkegaard argued that the only honest response to the reality of our meagre existence on earth (for an atheist, anyway) is either suicide or hedonism.*
Who am I to argue with these epic thinkers?** I chose hedonism decades ago. The only problem is that I’m not a heavy drinker, or a drug taker, and I don’t sleep around, etc.—basically my only real vice is delicious food, and even with that I don’t want to overdo it.
I’m going on about all this because tonight I got to be OUTout with a bunch of creative types at a cool bar with all kinds of shenanigans going on, and I felt like I was back at HOME.
I hate this stupid virus and the way it’s made even the mildest hedonistic pursuit feel like a revolution. Tonight I got to talk to all kinds of people who seem to feel like I do about life and publishing and so many things, and I can’t help but whinge that that kind of meeting of the minds should be an everyday event, not something remarkable that I feel the urge to write about in a newsletter when I get home at 2am.
I mean, humans became humans only once they collectively gathered around fire. The philosophers I mention above were only able to develop their ideas collectively, in the agora, or, much later, in coffeehouses. Our brains only work properly when we are together.
This week a lot is in the press about individual sacrifice for the common good (which I believe in), as well as the selfishness of people who won’t make that sacrifice (which I also believe in), but I genuinely believe that humans are harmed and traumatized by limited access to pleasurable company, and we need to be careful about how much we agree to sacrifice, and how we define and balance “selfishness” versus “need.”
* It’s probably important to note here that Kierkegaard was not an atheist, and he was extremely depressed.
** When it comes to philosophy, I identify as a person who cherry-picks the parts she likes best. I know it’s tempting to think of me as one of the greatest minds of the 21st century, but it’s very possible that I’ve badly misrepresented Hegesias or Epicurus or Plutarch or Marcus Aurelius or Kierkegaard here. I look forward to your angry replies.
Friday, 10 December
Ok. Major stuff left to do:
Sorting out a bigger and better marketing push for #somerisebysilver for next week.
Getting Jessica Gregson’s book, After Silence, put together and submitted to prizes with early deadlines.
Finally doing some proper editorial work for Marc Joan, who has been sitting patiently like my best-behaved, worst-neglected child while I yammer on about the other three books I’ve got coming out in 2022. You guys, the scale and ambition of Marc’s book, Hangdog Souls (which I’ve currently got down for release in June), is indescribable—you’ll have to read it to believe it. Epic literary Indian horror? You better believe it, buddy. You’ll read it and you’ll love it and you’ll wonder where Marc has been all your life.
Best get hopping.