Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mischief + Mayhem

Here is a press release and launch party invite from our friends over at Mischief + Mayhem:

New Writers Collective Joins Forces With OR Books
in an Alternative Approach to Publishing

Novelist and critic Dale Peck, blogger Choire Sicha among those collaborating with OR to launch Mischief + Mayhem imprint

Meghan Daum, Nick Flynn, A.M. Homes, and Joseph O’Neill are among the noted writers joining forces on the evening of Sept. 28, 2010 to launch Mischief + Mayhem, a new imprint affiliated with OR Books, the alternative publisher that made headlines and bestseller lists in 2009 with Going Rouge, its controversial anti–Sarah Palin polemic. The event will feature burlesque dancers, live music, a raffle, and an interactive literary game involving more than thirty writers from around the world.

Mischief + Mayhem’s noteworthy founders are Lisa Dierbeck (One Pill Makes You Smaller), Joshua Furst (Short People, The Sabotage Café), DW Gibson, executive director of Ledig House and Sangam House, Dale Peck (Martin and John, What We Lost, Hatchet Jobs), and Choire Sicha, co-owner of The Awl, whose first book of nonfiction is forthcoming from HarperCollins. Utilizing OR Books’ groundbreaking publishing methods, the collective intends to promulgate fiction that is formally inventive, socially irresponsible, and sometimes just plain reckless without having to worry about pleasing conservative editorial boards or corporate bookstore executives. It will also help writers earn a living wage without compromising their radical aesthetics.

“Mainstream publishers are more risk-averse than ever,” said Peck. “Instead of courting a mass audience with formulaic, commercial books, Mischief + Mayhem will look for weird, wild voices and writers of idiosyncratic, even skewed, vision. We don’t just want the new, we want the strange, the unsettling, the scary.”

The imprint’s lead title, Dierbeck’s The Autobiography of Jenny X, forthcoming in November 2010, has already been hailed as “Fast, funny, and twisted,” by Netherland author Joseph O’Neill, while Pagan Kennedy, author of The First Man-Made Man, dubbed it “Baader Meinhof meets Marvel comics.” Dierbeck’s novel will be followed by DW Gibson’s debut, An All-American Field Guide to the Outside World. Other writers on the M+M docket include Calvin Baker (Once Two Heroes, Dominion), Helen DeWitt (The Last Samurai), and Mike Heppner (The Egg Code, Pike’s Folly).

Like OR Books, Mischief + Mayhem’s titles will be produced only in electronic or print-on-demand editions, and will be available, initially at least, exclusively for purchase online from the publisher. This arrangement avoids the enormous waste of the current publishing system, which ships books to stores, fails to promote them, and then sees many of them returned, unsold, to the publisher.

The company’s publishing mission is supported by Wild Rag, a blog and webzine whose regular contributors include such well-respected writers as New Yorker editor Ben Greenman, journalist and editor Zia Jaffrey, and New York Times art critic Martha Schwendener, each of whom will offer a challenging, rambunctious perspective on things literary, cultural, and political. Additionally, the company plans to host readings, performances and other social gatherings in order to build a literary community in the real world as well as online.

“Reviews for Sale”
Launch Party Sept. 28

To coincide with the launch of the imprint, Mischief + Mayhem invites the public to join them for a celebration featuring tequila, burlesque, graffiti, rock and roll, and, of course, literature on Sept. 28, 2010 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Room Service, at 35 E. 21st St., in New York City. The evening’s centerpiece will be a massive literary exquisite corpse, a collectively written story that dramatizes what can happen when writers work together for a common goal. Between thirty and forty writers from around the globe are expected to join in; as of this writing, participants include Taylor Antrim, Rebecca Brown, T Cooper, Meghan Daum, Helen DeWitt, Tishani Doshi, Nora Eisenberg, Ben Greenman, Daniel Handler, Mike Heppner, Kaylie Jones, Jim Lewis, Lonely Christopher, Lauren Mechling, Sigrid Nuñez, Joseph O’Neill, Donald Ray Pollock, Irina Reyn, Julian Rubinstein, Ben Schrank, Owen Sheers, Jim Shepard, Karen Shepard, and Amy Sohn.

Also on the agenda: a burlesque dancer with a dress made from the pages of a book, a live band (TBD), and the first-ever Mischief + Mayhem Read-In, which champions reading in any environment, no matter how loud or drunken. Speaking of which: guests are invited to sample the Mischief + Mayhem cocktail, a shot of tequila with a whole habañero pepper dropped in. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

The evening’s final lure is a raffle whose prizes include a graffiti kit (stencils, spraypaint, and a wild rag to conceal your identity), a half-case of wine from Tinto Fino, a free dinner at Tipsy Parson, and a photograph by acclaimed artist Matthew Pillsbury. In keeping with the collective’s mischievous spirit, the grand prize is a review-to-order by Dale Peck---good or bad, of (virtually) any author the winner chooses. Who knows, perhaps the Hatchet Man will end up slamming himself?

“No Book Printed Until It's Sold”
A Bold New Way to Publish Books

“No book printed until it's sold” is the unofficial motto of OR Books, which will publish the Mischief + Mayhem list. A genuinely new type of publishing company, OR sells direct to the customer in print-on-demand formats and e-books. There is no warehouse, no returns, and no waste. The savings this makes possible enables unprecedented levels of marketing, both online and through regular channels. Once momentum has been created behind a title OR looks for rights deals with conventional publishing partners to make the book available in bookstores.

OR was created by John Oakes, who co-founded the independent publisher Four Walls Eight Windows and has published Andrei Codrescu, Sue Coe, R. Crumb, Abbie Hoffman, Gordon Lish, Harvey Pekar, John Waters and Edmund White, and serves on the board of PEN America; and Colin Robinson, the former publisher of New Press and Verso, who, among many other accomplishments, made an upscale edition of The Communist Manifesto into a bestseller. Writers Robinson has published include Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, Mike Davis, Norman Finkelstein, Lewis Lapham, Rigoberta Menchu, Sheila Rowbotham and Jann Wenner.

“We’re excited to be working with Mischief + Mayhem,” said Robinson. “Their zest for adventurous, intelligent writing and enthusiasm for seeking new ways of reaching readers chime very closely with our own approach.”

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