My Norwescon 35 Schedule

As I do every year, I will be attending Norwescon in SeaTac. This year, I’ll be at the convention on April 6th and 7th. If you’re in the Seattle area, come to the con, find me, and say hello.

Friday, April 6

11am — From Synopsis to Novel
A novel synopsis isn’t just a marketing tool. Find out how to use a synopsis to develop your story before you start writing.
Mary Rosenblum (M), Jak Koke, Irene Radford

2pm — Jak Koke Reading
My story “Love’s Light Wings” shows how we live and love in a collapsed future with near immortality and forced off-planet teleportation.
Note: the con program states that I will be reading from my forthcoming novel, Blood Sisters. However, that novel hasn’t been written yet.
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Per Aspera Press Reboot

There’s an old joke among publishers. Question: “How do you make a small fortune in publishing?” Answer: “Start with a large fortune.”

We didn’t have a large fortune when we launched Per Aspera back in 2003. We started with time and determination, but not much else. We funded our lives and our nascent press on credit cards and the belief that what we were doing was worthwhile. We wanted to publish books that were overlooked by traditional publishing for one reason or another, and prove that they could succeed both artistically and commercially.

We also maintained hope that one of our books would break out and float the whole operation.

By any objective analysis of our business back then, we failed. After releasing two books as print-on-demand trade paperbacks, we placed a huge bet by launching a line of cloth-bound editions, first with Singularity by Bill DeSmedt and later Steel Sky by Andrew C. Murphy. These were beautiful books with gorgeous interior design and great covers.

They sold well, but not well enough, and we had to close down. We laid off staff (some of whom were already working for free) and went into a state of torpor. That was in 2008.

Why Reboot?

Even though our books did not make enough to keep the business running, we did end up with some degree of creative and professional success. Singularity in particular was so well-received that I now believe all the effort and debt was worth publishing that one book. Several big-name hard SF writers gave it glowing blurbs. The novel garnered several awards, a number of ‘best-of’ mentions, and a whole slew of favorable reviews.

It’s still somewhat of a mystery why no larger publishers decided to buy Singularity. Thousands of mediocre books are published every year, and hundreds of good books are published that are not as good as Singularity and Steel Sky. They are published because enough of them sell. For the most part, publishing is a business and not an exercise in artistic integrity.

My intention when we shut down was always for the company to restart at some point when things were less busy and more financially stable. Karawynn and I were able to pay off the business debt a while ago, but the economy has been less than ideal and it’s emotionally hard to step back into a situation that has burned us in the past. No matter how much we loved doing it.
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