Monthly Archives: January 2016

Business of Publishing: What to Expect When Submitting Your Work

submitting your writingI wrote a book that I, personally, absolutely loved and felt like it represented everything about me as a person and as a writer. I submitted the hell out of that manuscript. After 68 rejections (too personal, too raw, too dark, too taboo, etc.), I just put the manuscript away and worked on other books. Two years later, I submitted an essay to a contest. The editor loved my essay (which won!), and emailed me asking if I had a manuscript. The one I was working on at that time wasn’t ready yet. I remembered the first book I wrote—the one I loved, the one that defined who I was when I wrote it. I thought, “What the hell? Why not send it?”. I sent it. She loved it. Nine months later it was published. I had found the right editor at the right time and presented to her the right manuscript, and behold! Most of the time that is how publication works. So submit away and keep submitting post-rejection! Your work is always one submission away from acceptance.

797 is a model of Boeing airplane. It is also the number of rejections that I’ve received over the past five years. During that time I’ve submitted my writing for publication 1,380 times. That’s a lot of Nos, a lot of Unfortunatelys, a lot of We appreciate the chance to read your work, howevers. And that’s okay. Rejection is a part of publication. Of course, even after we accept that, it doesn’t mean that rejections don’t hurt our feelings—especially if we’re totally in love with the publisher that we submitted to. Fortunately, rejection is not a death sentence and doesn’t have to be a confidence cut-down or a personal attack on the writer’s self-worth. Rejection is merely someone saying, “Not quite, but keep trying.” In many cases, the only problem is that the submission is simply not right for that press or publication.

I have been keeping track of the submission process and statistics from the results through the past five years. 


Total Submissions: 1,380

Acceptances: 121 (9%) (4 of which were books)

Rejections: 797 (57%)

Withdraws: 430 (31%)

Still under consideration: 32 (3%)


Only about 10% of my total submissions were accepted. There is no “normal” or “average” here as every genre or market is a bit different, but it seemed relevant to share here because writers tend to get so distraught after a few rejections and give up. Having a larger set of data over a longer period of time offers a much greater opportunity for creating perspective.

I’ve edited for a number of journals and magazines, and I have always hated sending rejections. It’s never a fun thing to do, especially if you really love the piece and believe in it, but you just published something exactly like it, or the story is good but the writing’s not, or vice versa, or if it’s an awesome piece but just doesn’t fit within the scope of what the journal or publisher promotes and represents. There are as many reasons as to why a piece is rejected as there are the number of pieces rejected.

This can seem devastating. Or discouraging. Or just flat-out shitty. So what, as writers, can we do to survive the rejections and keep our writing and self-confidence alive?

·   Do not try to argue your piece into publication. The manuscript itself is your argument. If you submitted and got rejected, don’t be personally offended by the rejection and feel like you have to fight for your manuscript or argue with the editor or publisher that they really have to publish this! If the publisher said no, it’s because s/he is saying no to the work you presented, not to you personally. If you think the publisher maybe didn’t get what you were trying to do in your piece and so you feel like you need to argue with her/him to get your point across, then what you really need to do is revise the way that you present your manuscript. The cover letter and work itself should make your best argument.

·   You are not your work. Yes, you might write really personal pieces and it can feel like your writing is yourself, but writing is a craft. Writing is a job. Do you define yourself solely on the job that you have? You are more than a job. You are a writer—but the actual writing is not you.

·   Say you wrote a kickass zine about how to knit cell phone cases using recycled materials. That’s great! But if there are dozens of other zines about how to knit computer cases using recycled materials, then your zine may not be needed or appreciated as much. It doesn’t mean your work sucks, it just means fate didn’t help you out on that one, and so off to another outlet or project you shall go to see if they, too, not only love your zine, but are looking for something along the lines of what you have to offer.

·   Rejection means that someone is reading. Regardless of what the response to your writing is, isn’t it kinda neat that someone is reading and considering your work in the first place? Writing is a lonely field, so even a rejection is a connection.

·   Multiple rejections are encouragement to work more on your piece. Even though you might love your writing, it may keep getting rejected all over the place. That just means that there’s probably something about it that’s not quite working or you are not reaching the right outlet. Set it aside. Work on something else for a bit. Come back to it. Rejection is feedback. Listen to it.

·   The fact that you’re even submitting—hell, that you’re even writing—is pretty fantastic! Remember that.

·   Also remember that you won’t ever get anything published if you don’t submit it. Post-rejection, revise if needed and keep submitting! To come full-circle: rejection is a part of the publication process, just like submitting, just like waiting, just like writing. Keep at it. Always.

Chelsey Clammer is a creative nonfiction writer in Minneapolis building a diverse and prolific body of work while utilizing the power of spreadsheets and metrics.

 

Daily Cosmonaut #12: Making What’s Familiar vs Making What You Want.

Stamping our logo on a piece of paperIn 2014 at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) trade show, as Microcosm was debuting Erik Spellmeyer and Jamie Floyd’s Brew It Yourself: Professional Craft Blueprints for Home Brewing. A woman came up to us excitedly, saying, this is exactly what my customers want, something that tells you how to design your own beers rather than how to recreate a popular beer recipe at home. “Great!” I exclaimed. Many other store buyers echoed these sentiments.

Admittedly, I had never given the issue much thought. Microcosm had distributed a series of very successful zines about how to make your own beers but they had been focused around how to save money or how to use beer as a fundraiser or how to make very simple alcohol in your cupboard without any experience. When Erik started working in sales at Microcosm, he was an experienced brewer after his years working at Ninkasi. He had more technical knowledge about fermentation and brewing than anyone else at Microcosm so he reviewed the zine that we were about to republish. He called me, concerned.

“Joe, we can’t publish this. There’s a lot of information that’s incorrect. It’s just not…coherent. I should just talk to [Ninkasi founder] Jamie Floyd and we’ll write a new book.”

It was a good idea so I accepted. What I hadn’t counted on was just how many books existed about how to brew beer and how many of those were “official” books from a certain brewery or another. Ours was the only book that was designed to give the reader the necessary information to design the kind of beers they wanted based on their tastes. And I realized in that moment at PNBA that a vital aspect of Microcosm’s mission had always been to give readers enough information for them to make the choices about what they wanted instead of replicating their favorite familiar flavors.

Daily Cosmonaut #11: Looking Successful vs Being Successful

Microcosm tabling setupIn 2007 while Microcosm was at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, a couple approached our table during the last hour minutes of the final day. They pawed around through our displays for a few minutes and then, looking concerned, before finally asking “Hard times, huh?”

It took me a few minutes to figure out if I was more confused or offended at that assessment. How could they know. Ironically, 2006 had been Microcosm’s most successful year to date and sales had grown 20-50% each year. They offered me $1 for an $8 paperback and I declined. They explained that they were looking for a publisher for their own book but clearly we were in not qualified.

I stewed on their words and then steamed on how it was insulting. Before long I realized that the problem was that they had no appreciation for our grassroots approach or the economy of not having an elaborate stage-show of a booth. From talking to them, success was implied by Porsches and diamond rings, fancy displays and prestigious awards. Microcosm had always been focused on saving time and money by ignoring award submissions, finding event displays in the trash, and investing the savings into our mission and staff salaries. But it takes a certain kind of person to understand interpret that, let alone appreciate it.

 

It’s our inherent punk rock nature that communicates these values to a peer. But this experience at the book fair was the first time that someone vocally interpreted it to me as an outward sign of failure or cutbacks.

Within a few hours my pride was restored as I realized that this was what I wanted to project. This is who are we are in a genuine sense and what the world should know about this. Of course not everyone will understand but then again we aren’t Penguin Random House. And that is true for every reason.

Daily Cosmonaut #10: Slogging Through Intellectual Property

 

 

Crusties decipher ipr

Across the turn of the millennium I would enjoy my days of biking for hours, conceiving of slogans and designs to put on stickers and t-shirts. I would edit the text and image in my head until it was bulletproof in terms of meaning and impact. Over the years and as my health waned, my skills faltered because I simply wasn’t incorporating my biking creative time into my work schedule, which became more and more about staring at a blank screen in an office and being forced to be creative on demand while dealing with all manner of bureaucratic nonsense and logistical problems. The result was that good ideas were no longer stemming from my brain like they once had and I began to rely more and more on my work from five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years ago.

I had never thought to protect my original work partially because I trusted people and partially because I lacked the self-confidence to claim it as my own. But over time, the Internet became a vast grabbing ground of ideas and mine lay dormant there for the taking. At first it was incredibly flattering to see dozens and later hundreds of bootlegs of my work popping up all over the world and to run into a street vendor in Medellin, Colombia selling homemade bootlegs of my work or glossy websites in Japan doing the same. But gradually this began to impact our sales, coupled with the recession and the newfound digital ability to freely print your own bootlegs one print at a time via numerous websites. When the City of Portland produced a bicycling evolution image nearly identical to my own and the designer claimed coincidence, I was confused. Surely he’d seen my original. There were nearly 100,000 prints of it circulating around the globe, not even including the bootlegs! Many other people recited misconceptions of the law to me over the years as a justification to steal the work of others or to plead for people not to use their work.

But when a lawyer in Austin became indignant, claiming that I was “harassing” her for using my work to promote her company, it was the final straw. I filed for my trademark protections. And one by one, bootleggers became licensors and there was a clear path to see that the work originated from me. Having this experience across twenty years informed my own way of dealing with other artists’ original work. I’ve done the reading to understand the limits of creative control and fair use laws, the ability to recontextualize an artists’ work in parody or for educational use. It’s been an incredible learning experience and a maze to witness the horrors of the loopholes in the law. Sometimes a tasteful nod to someone’s style, like Tom Neel did in the Henry & Glenn short stories can be an homage. It’s about been tasteful. These lessons led me back to a better-informed version of what I believed in as a teenager: You don’t have to fuck people over to survive.

Daily Cosmonaut #9: Learning Through Writing

Daily cosmonaut

 

The process of writing GOOD TROUBLE: Building a Successful Life & Business with Asperger’s was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. I’ve heard this same thing from authors many times before. It speaks to the unique way that looking at a situation from a nuanced distance and some objectivity and research challenges our conceptions and memories of events. Like traveling, writing in this capacity forces us to look at our lives from a different outside perspective and actually hardens or changes our perspectives. I think this is a very powerful and healthy thing. Often in talking to our authors I feel like how someone feels about this is a good litmus test for assessing their future as a writer. 

 

Part of writing a book is facing the critical reception that all books undergo and discovering that no reader looks at the events in the same way that the author does or finds the same details to be as relevant, interesting, or revealing. Indeed, Microcosm sent out about 500 advanced reader copies of Good Trouble to people that Taylor, our publicity person, thought would be interested in them. When it’s my own writing that we are promoting, I have to take more of a backseat in the decision making since my opinions are anything but objective; I’m just too close to the subject matter. Nonetheless, it’s been exciting and heartwarming to see how outsiders read the book and what they take away from it. And it doesn’t hurt that the first two reviews have both proven to be incredibly flattering and really “get” the core of the subject matter: that Asperger’s, throughout my life, was both my greatest weakness and my best strength. Once I learned to harness its powers, the former began to fall away and I was left with some of the best of both worlds.

 

Both reviews and the podcast interview are from people from the creative world, one from a fellow publisher and one from a woman with a similarly creative background. I’m really excited to see more critical reception, good and bad, especially from people who have training in psychology and those outside of my subcultural world. It makes me look at my previous work in a different light–not that I don’t like it anymore but that I could have pushed myself harder. Because that’s how this book helped me develop deeper understandings of events close to me, even those from five, ten, twenty, and thirty years ago.  

 

 

Meet the Microcosm Staff!: Cyn Marts, sales associate

Cyn started out last year as an especially-committed intern, and is now is the newest member of our staff, our sales associate, working with Thea to get our books into stores and figure out new, mind-blowing ways to make google spreadsheets do our bidding. I asked her a few questions about her job, her hopes, and important matters of character and morality—like snacks. 

cyn with snack1. What do you do at Microcosm? What parts of the work you do here (and used to do as an intern) are the most entertaining?

The short description that I really like is that I keep Microcosm fresh in people’s minds and remind them that we exist and make awesome stuff! Whether this is achieved via stuffing envelopes with catalogs and awesome stickers, emailing retail stores when we have new titles, or tracking down obscure sales leads. I imagine this will eventually lead to my becoming Microcosm’s unofficial mascot (second to Ruby, of course), as I spread the word and get Microcosm titles onto every bookshelf.

I have to say my favorite thing to do, though, is proofreading. Maybe that’s what everybody likes to do, but there’s something about getting to read a brand new book and help shape it for readers that draws me in every time.

2. You’re really passionate about publishing. What’s the story there?

I have no idea. Pretty much any bibliophile can tell you how great it is to just hold a book, and how the smell of libraries and ink and old books just feels comfortable and right. I’ve always loved books and writing in most forms. My dad read The Hobbit to me when I was a kid, and I remember spending a lot of time growing up with kids’ fantasy books and angsty teen dramas.

Books were something to do and something to connect to on a very personal, emotional level. I wanted to write, too, to tell stories, but I always felt like I lacked motivation and discipline. At some point, though, I realized that whether or not I wrote books, I wanted to be a part of making them. It’s this industry founded in expression and communication and language, throughout history, and I felt like I needed to be a part of it and help good books get to the people that want and need them. Along with that, holding a finished product that has so much context and history—that I got to be a part of making—is kind of amazing. It became the only thing I really, really wanted to do in my life other than travel.

3. What do you like to do when you don’t have to be at work?

Right now I’m kind of too busy to do anything, but when I can, I like to eat crazy foods from around the world and spend time with my husband and dogs. We moved to Portland last spring and once we both got jobs we stopped being able to explore the city. I’d like to go back to doing that when I have more time. Right now… we mostly watch a lot of tv.

cyn with family in car4. Favorites!

– What’s your favorite Microcosm book? Non-Microcosm book?

The easiest answer is This Is Portland, because it was the first book I bought when I moved here. I didn’t even know it was a Microcosm book until I sat down to read it! In a similar way, though, Velocipede Races will probably always be special because I think it was the first book I proofread here, and YA stories are a soft spot for me, so it’s exciting to be a part of this newer chapter of Microcosm’s titles.

My favorite non-Micro book…. well, I love pretty much everything by Francesca Lia Block because she writes such poetic narrative, but lately I have also been incredibly addicted to Joe Hill; Horns and Heart Shaped Box really brought me back into books at a time when I had lost passion for reading.

Favorite snack food?

I probably love food too much to have a favorite…and I don’t eat that much junk food… Well, I love sushi, Indian, and Ethiopian, and I’d rather have any of them than a snack any day.

Favorite place in the world? Place in Portland?

So far, New York City is kind of my favorite place in the world. For a million reasons mostly having to do with diversity and variety and the intense big city feel. In Portland, I love when you’re on one of the bridges headed east, and you can see Mt. Hood and it’s huge and snow-capped and all-around amazing.

5. Anything else I ought to be asking?

My dogs names are Kaylee and Leelu. I feel like that says a lot about me. That’s about it.

Wait! I lied! My favorite snack is marshmallows toasted in the oven! I can eat like a bag at a time.

Daily Cosmonaut #8: Meet Our New Fence

The fenceOnce upon a time Microcosm was located in a church basement on Ivy Street. We had two and later three adjoining offices. We had a lockable accordian-style door that sectioned off the crawl space under the stairs and a few shelves for warehouse storage. We added a separate room across the building when the boxes were stacked so densely that we could not add one more. We filled every inch of our office and its closets with boxes and then I began filling up my basement at home. When there was indisputably no more room and the landlord raised the rent, it was time to go. We lived holed up in various staff members’ basements and a series of too-small walk-in locations from 2007 until 2010 when we dumped it in all in a big drafty industrial building and signed a deal with a trade distributor to warehouse about 50% of our books.

 

So imagine our zeal when we moved into our current location in 2014, a mere three blocks from our former church basement, with room to spare. At least it felt that way for a few months. Before long, we were receiving pallets of returns and getting new books every month until offices were turned into storage rooms and we again filled every inch of the building. We tried to work with the city to add more capacity and they said that while they would approve construction of, say, an apartment building or condo on our property, they would not approve any visible on-site storage. Any additions to our building would force us to add an elevator and other expensive zoning standards for new construction.

 

More fenceSo eventually we found a solution that would work: a fence. Within the height limits and distance from the sidewalk, a fence can create a little privacy and allow for more storage. So over the past 18 months we’ve been steadily under construction and hopefully as a result, we should have enough room for the next two years. This process has forced us to be much more careful about what we publish and how many copies we print. We’ve been teetering close to our tipping point for many years but often that tension can be energizing rather than collapsing.

Who would have thought that such a simple solution could accomplish so much?

 

Business of Publishing: How to Ship Books So They Arrive in Good Shape

Many years ago, Canada’s then-independent Doormouse Distribution sent us a brilliant guide on how to pack a box. It was well-designed and fit conveniently on a single sheet of paper. We hung it on the office wall. You would not believe how many times we referenced that sheet over the years for best practices of how to put books inside of cardboard. Eventually these methods could be explained and committed to institutional memory, forever securing happy, healthy books arriving in their new homes.

Double wall

 

A few weeks ago we sent some books to Ebullition Records for the first time in a few years and they shared their own version of “how to pack a box,” which we now know to be accurate even if it’s laden with awesome and moralizing punk-speak and asides. But it brings an important point to the fore: it’s so sad when books arrive in terrible condition and the situation was completely preventable.

The irony, of course, is that the largest distributors and wholesalers we work with don’t follow these very basic and effective best practices. When a company becomes large enough, it’s cheaper to replace books, especially if they belong to a client, then it is to purchase proper packing material and train the staff to pack the boxes correctly every time. If you are reading this post, then you are likely concerned about your books arriving in good condition rather than having the hassle of sending replacements or having copies not arriving in salable condition.

Broken box

Next, stack the books face-up in the box from largest to smallest. Never pack a book sitting on its spine unless it’s okay for it to become damaged in transit. Fill the box completely. If the box is larger than the number of books that you are shipping, you can either 1) cut along the four edges of the box and fold them over to make the box smaller. If there is excess material preventing the box from being able to be folded shut, cut it off or 2) completely fill the remainder of the box with packaging material. If you do add packing material, move the valuable content into the center of the box and put the packing material on all sides and above it to cushion it from impact.

If you use an inadequate amount of packing material on the top of the box, the contents will rattle around, damaging your books. If you use an insufficient amount of tape, the loose contents will burst the top or bottom of the box open in transit.

Broken edge

A properly taped box will appear shiny and seem to be excessively taped. But tape is cheap; much cheaper than replacing your contents. If there is an adequate amount of packing material, the box will appear a little bit bulbous once it’s taped. This packing material adds further resistance any potential abuse that the box will undergo at the hands of the shipping company. Properly packing and taping a box also allows it to be reused on the receiving end.

When shipping too few books for a box to be practical, use a padded envelope. Similarly, the books should not be able to shift inside the envelope. If they do, add some packing material.

Insufficient packing material

You have many options when shipping. There’s a certain loyalty in the publishing industry to UPS but it seems to be shifting gradually to FedEx, especially among larger companies that can bargain for bulk discounts. But for the little people like us, it’s really best to ship via the U.S. post office, using media mail. It can take a week longer to arrive and take a bit more of a beating during that time, but if you pack it properly, this should not be an issue.

A well-taped box

If speed is a concern, the U.S. Post Office also offers flat rate priority mail and express mail flat rate envelopes and boxes. These are priced competitively against UPS or FedEx and while priority mail is not guaranteed, it almost always arrives in two to three days. The envelopes and boxes are available for free from the Post Office or usps.com but they are also quite thin. But sure to package the books correctly to avoid damage. Getting there on time does no good if they aren’t in good condition. Stacking two books side-by-side vertically to fill the box or envelope does a good job of preventing the books from shifting in transit. Putting styrofoam or cardboard around them should sufficiently protect them as well.

Congratulations on completion of your quest and avoiding future headaches of poorly packaged boxes. The time saved by not having to replace damaged books will quickly create new efficiency!

Daily Cosmonaut #7: Is Microcosm Sustainable?

Due to Microcosm’s unique history as a record label and peddler of photocopied publications based out of milk crates, we’ve been equally ignorant of and immune to the changing culture and climate of more mainstream publishing houses. When innumerable peers and beloved presses were going under due to lack of distributor payments or collapsing financial support during the recession, we wondered why this wasn’t affecting us more. Don’t get me wrong, we were undeniably harmed and had to adapt by major changes in the U.S. economy, but to the tune of 20% of our income, not 50-90% of our income like the horror stories that we were hearing.


But these experiences leave us with a question: How sustainable is Microcosm? We’ve written about this a bit in the past, like in our 2014 annual report, when we first got back on track, but let’s look at this a bit further. In this article about comic shops, you can see a particularly bleak and skeptical view of selling paper in brick and mortar. We created these graphics to further illustrate the point that where you shop does matter when you are supporting authors:

Because of this, we have a loyal and supportive following that would rather support us than the Big A and are interested and invested in our mission and what we publish. As you can see on the chart to the right (especially if you click on it), the kind of channels that a book is sold through make a major difference in how many you have to sell to support yourself. In our case, the money that comes in each day is the same as the money that we pay out to our authors, our bills, our printer, and our staff. Admittedly, we run a pretty close game most months on our $34,000 in monthly operating expenses and have spent the last few years adjusting the pie so that our staff can get paid more in an increasingly expensive city. And also admittedly, if we did not have so many successful backlist titles, we would not be able to publish new books every month. Our roughly 25 bestselling books pay for everything we do. So we are here for the long haul but mostly because we closely watch our data and are responsive to a changing industry. Wait, scratch that. We’ve often been ahead of the industry in changes and that is probably the number one reason we are still here.

Train-hopping and zine-making: An interview with Railroad Semantics author Aaron Dactyl

Aaron Dactyl’s Railroad Semantics zines have flown off the shelves, racks, and rummage boxes since we started carrying them. They were so popular that we began to publish them as books. The fourth book just came out, and after a lot of work and design and effort, all four are now collected in a brand new box set, Railroad Semantics: Better Living Through Graffiti and Trainhopping.

an original railroad semantics zine1. How did Railroad Semantics, the zine, start? How did they end up becoming books?

There were a lot of factors that played in to seriously making a zine. I guess the main thing is that I was doing all this really extensive traveling and had all these amazing pictures and stories and I wanted to make something out of them rather than just keep them to myself or within a small circle of friends. And I wasn’t really a writer at the time but I decided to learn. I came across an older train-hopping zine one day and sort of mimicked its layout, putting all the things together from my most recent trips. It took about two weeks to compile, and I started selling them at books shops in Portland. They sold fairly well and people seemed to like them so I made a second one, over the summer, at bit more ambitious than the first, and I eventually submitted that one to Microcosm and a couple other distributors. It was a big deal for me when Microcosm accepted the zine for distribution. Several years later, after I’d made several others, Microcosm contacted me about opting to publish each issue successively, and I went back through and re-edited them, which is a process that is still happening. 

very legitimate zine tabling

2. We did a signing together at a book fair last year, and it was cool to see the number of people who were excited about your books. Would you say you have a prototypical reader? Who do you end up connecting with about this stuff?

Ya, that was a first for me. It was interesting to see the wide array of people there. And as far as having a prototypical reader goes, other than just a general younger demographic, I hope not. It’s not that exclusive, I don’t think. I don’t play into the train-hopping or graffiti scenes at all and I’ve always wanted RR Semantics to be its own thing and to stand on its own. I consider it to be travel writing so I suppose if someone’s interested in the genre then it would appeal to them.

3. A lot of people see graffiti and think of it as either as expressive art or senseless vandalism. But it seems like there’s more to it than that, it’s quite political. Can you give a basic primer of what that is all about?

graffiti in action

People’ve always had a love-hate relationship with graffiti. While it’s criminalized by society and prosecuted by the law, that same institution turns around and uses to promote the non-profit youth centers, political campaigns, and advertisements. Everyone wants to control it in their own way, and you can’t. Even on the inside, the people who do it turn into vigilantes and don’t want you to do it, or don’t like the way in which you do it. Graffiti’s an all inclusive sport (albeit, probably more of a bourgeois sport), and it goes back a long, long time—everybody knows this—to the Oregon Trail, Native American petroglyphs, and long before that. Only in the last hundred years or so did people start coming up with more creative monikers to express themselves, and pictures to go with, and in America, freight trains, because of their extensive range and high level of visibility, spawned a subculture that defies label. It’s not just hobo and train-hoppers that draw on train cars, it’s rail workers too, tramps in general, artists, punks, the whole gamut. And yet still certain people involved want to regulate that and for everyone to behave under a strict code of conduct because the rails are sacred and this and that. But that’s ridiculous, and egomaniacal.

4. What’s your next trip?

riding the trains

I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling over the last couple years outside the U.S., which was a first for me. Traveling in Southeast Asia for four months was a revelation, and a summer spent traveling across South America changed things for me completely. I have a couple of writing projects regarding those trips that I’m trying to get out of the way right now before I do any more serious traveling in the futures. But I may try and make it to Hawaii this summer. That’s a trip that’s been long overdue.


This has been an interview with Railroad Semantics author Aaron Dactyl. Our last author interview was with Velocipede Races author Emily June Street.