Saturday, November 10, 2012

Indie Spotlight- 3:AM Press

Imagine waking up to find your literary magazine gone. Completely and bizarrely... just.. gone. Without a trace. As if it never was. Such was the story of 3:AM Magazine. Yet, rather than freak out about losing everything they had created (like I would have done!), out of the empty space that was left behind, 3:AM Press was born.

Christiana Spens, Producer and Creative Director, and author, is here to shine the spotlight on this new little press and tell us the story of how it came to be:

The Story Behind the Stories:

3:AM Press is a very young publishing company, and was conceived at a time of panic and crisis earlier this year. I had been involved with 3:AM Magazine for some time, and from about February this year, they had been serializing my novel, “Death of a Ladies’ Man”. However crisis struck when the entire online magazine just disappeared overnight. I remember meeting the Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Gallix, for a drink, somewhere in Montmartre, when he explained that the server had just disappeared, and so far all attempts to trace the owner of the server were winding up nowhere. It was at that point that we came up with the idea of 3:AM Press. Or rather, it was that point we decided to actually get it up and running. There had been talk of starting 3:AM Press for some time, but this particular crisis was the impetus we needed to really get started.

A week later, and I had the website up and a provisional list of authors. I had known Adam for a few months already, through slightly roudy drinking sessions that Andrew had organized but not actually attended (the other regulars were Gavin James Bower, Gerry Feehily and Karl Whitney). I read Adam’s book GREY CATS over the next week or so, and adored it, so that was one of our very first titles. Andrew also thought we might as well publish DEATH OF A LADIES’ MAN, since the website had disappeared before it had all been serialized, and that seemed to make sense. After that, Andrew introduced me to the philosopher Dylan Trigg. We all met in Montmartre a very hot June day (one of the few very hot June days in Paris that summer) and ended up chatting for hours and hours about his previous books and research, (and phobias) and of course the book he was to finish for us, BODY PARTS. 

By this time, 3:AM Magazine was luckily resurrected, after the owner of the server was tracked down to some tattoo parlour in the Mid-West, and he agreed to put the website back up. And I had a lot of work to do for the Press, with the help of Susan Tomaselli (an Editor for 3:AM Magazine) and graphic designer Will Stewart. Lee Rourke also got involved, with his collection of poetry, VARROA DESTRUCTOR, as well as a few as yet unannounced new authors. There have been a few moments of panic since we decided to launch 3:AM Press – a number of random technical problems, minor artistic differences, and a huge amount of admin – but mostly the launch has been an enjoyable learning curve. And my sisters are always around, should I need some help with PR or whatever.

That Parisian June seems very distant now, but I hope to go back for a reunion (and some readings) soon. Everybody has worked very hard to make the Press work out, and certainly I feel very lucky to be involved, and working with this particular group. There is a real sense of freedom and camaraderie – which is of course what indie publishing is all about. As a writer, publishing books can often be quite a lonely and disconcerting experience, but I think 3:AM Press avoids that, simply because everybody is involved. I always used to wish that publishing was more like film, in the sense that it can be hands-on and collaborative rather than solitary, and I think that’s pretty much what we’re doing here. On a personal level, I’ve enjoyed working on all the other aspects of book production, rather than simply panicking over my own sentences. It’s been exciting to shift from ‘writer’ to ‘director’, and to feel just as excited when the others’ books are finished, as I am when my own are done. I just hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I do. 

Christiana Spens is the author of “The Wrecking Ball” (Harper Perennial 2008), “The Socialite Manifesto” (Beautiful Books Ltd., 2009) and “Death of a Ladies’ Man” (3:AM Press, 2012), and has also written for Art Wednesday, Flux, Architectural Design and Studio International. She studied Philosophy at Cambridge (BA (Hons)) and is now studying for a Masters in Terrorism and Political Violence at St. Andrews. This may or may not be research for a spy novel.

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