Split Lip Press, an extension of Split Lip Magazine, has now entered the bookmaking game. Founder J. Scott Bugher, a former top Nashville session musician, approaches publishing books in the same fashion albums are published in the music industry, which, if the music is worth listening to, is done independently. Musicians are very aware that the days of major label record deals have been reduced to only pop country and contemporary Christian, leaving a bunch of recording artists without a chance to release a record. So what did those victimized musicians do? They started their own labels and put out records by their friends’ bands. Problem solved.
Demo tapes were part of the record-deal-seeking process back in the day, but now having a demo tape doesn’t help anything. It’s not like people are going to buy dubbed cassette tapes at concerts. Instead, then, musicians have a CD to offer fans via their independent record label. Writers, on the other hand, still cling to demo tapes––their 8,5″ x 11″ pieces of paper taken to their readings. Those pages likely come from a full manuscript that’s in the submission queue of many publishers, and the writer hopes that a big publisher will take it. However, landing a deal with a “big” publisher is not probable these days. I’d advise one to take the small press option. Sure, the writer will need to do some promo work on their end, but small presses are passionate about promoting their writers. With both the writer and publisher seeking promo opportunities, books are likely going to get in the hands of caring readers. If the writer insists on seeking the big time while performing at readings with nothing to offer to their prospective fans, then all they’ll have are their demo tape sheets of paper and a group of listeners going home and forgetting what had been read to them. And they won’t recall what had been read to them since they didn’t have the opportunity to buy a book. Writers–– 2 things. You need books and you need a website, the latter of which would require an entirely new blog post.
So far, so good with Split Lip Press. In October, we released our first chapbook, Love & Sundries by poet Nicholas Reading. Two chapbooks are scheduled for a November release date: The Bear Who Ate the Stars by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach and Ice Children by Ed Harkness, both are short chapbooks. In 2015, though, we’ll release our first two full-length books: The Hook & The Haymaker, a collection of short stories by Jared Yates Sexton and What To Do If You’re Buried Alive a poetry collection by Michael Meyerhofer.