April 30, 2017
We’re delighted to officially announce the Pulpture artist line-up. Blemish Books would like to thank Sarah, Kermie Breydon, Angharad Lodwick, Nicci Haynes and Brook McEachern for devoting their time and creativity to turning our unsold books into art.
April 23, 2017
How do you end up with five hundred unsold books in your closet? You become an independent publisher. This is the story of five hundred unsold books that, thanks to a team of talented and dedicated artists, we intend to turn into thought-provoking works of art to be exhibited at Noted festival 2017.
For the record, three hundred of the books resulted from a printing error. This happened in 2010 with our second publication. We emailed the printers to let them know they had used the wrong version of the proof, and the print run they sent contained a typo. The printing company’s response: ‘We’re terribly sorry for the mistake. Another three hundred copies are in the mail.’
The typo was a negligible one – a single digit in the postcode of the Blemish Books address on the imprint page. The smallest, most trivial edit imaginable, yet it resulted in another six boxes of books landing on our doorstep two days later.
The extra books were an inconvenience, but we weren’t too worried. It wasn’t until I told a friend of the error and saw her frown with distress at the thought of three hundred unnecessary books now existing in our fragile world, that I started to appreciate how the issue extended beyond our closet space.
‘Couldn’t you have put a sticker over the mistake?’ she asked.
We could have. We should have. But we didn’t think to ask, and the printers didn’t offer any alternative. A lack of thought had led to a preventable waste.
It was then that the idea for Pulpture was sown. Now, seven years later, it’s being realised.
Not all the Pulpture books are the result of this mistake. Some titles are simply unsold stock. Three hundred is a standard Blemish Books print run. It’s a number we choose because we want to balance economies of scale with realistic sales expectations. In general, it achieves that objective. The stocktake I did for Pulpture revealed that, those extra three hundred books aside, we usually sell about two thirds of our print run. Some titles fall short of this number. Others exceed it. One title even sold out, and we moved to print-on-demand.
These sales figures speak primarily to the energy of our writers, who are critical in the promotion and sales of their books. Without their efforts to find and build audiences, and without the support of their families, friends, and networks, it would be almost impossible for a small publisher like us to sell enough books. To keep sales going, we also sell at book fairs, writers’ festivals, and online. Libraries are keen to keep their collections up to date, and a good number of books are sold to major library suppliers. And, of course, independent bookstores, whose support for local writers and publishers is unparalleled.
In conventional publishing accounting, unsold books are either an asset (potential dollars if and when sold), or a liability (in the form of storage costs). As we don’t pay rent for our closet space, the latter doesn’t really apply to us. It was a matter of being creative in our understanding of those potential dollars.
What is the value of a book? Is it only worth something when read? What other ways are there to ‘read’ a book?
It has been a leap of faith to place these titles in the hands of five amazing artists to create their own forms of Pulpture for the Noted festival. As a publisher, we are privileged to receive submissions from writers and poets of great calibre, both established and emerging. It is an honour to turn those words into books that can be sold, shared, and enjoyed. For this reason, we’ve embarked on this challenging process - to give these books an end that matches their creative and enduring spirit.
So, Pulpture is the story of our unsold books. It’s an acknowledgement of the complex implications and consequences of our publishing decisions, a commitment to finding the balance between impact and excess, and a celebration of creativity.
We’re super excited to see how our Pulpture artists reimagine these books and give them a second life. The artwork will be on display at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Hyperdome shopfront from 4th to the 6th of May 2017, and at the Black Box theatre at the Gorman House Arts Centre on Sunday 7th May 2017.
For details go to Pulpture.
March 26, 2017
A couple years back we published an excellent book of poems and photographs called Watching the World: Impressions of Canberra by Paul Hetherington and Jen Webb. We were super excited about it, but as luck would have it, our little boy was born two days before the book was released! Promoting the book got put on the back burner and we never got a chance to tell the world how awesome it is. Lucky for us, Alice Allan has recently written a fantastic and in depth review for Cordite Poetry Review, and it sums up the book better than we ever could. He's a sample of what it says:
It won’t surprise anyone familiar with Canberra to hear that the majority of these poems have a pastoral element. But before looking at Hetherington’s language more closely, it’s important to acknowledge the role of Webb’s photographs. Rather than offering a single answer to each poem, they act more as counterpoints, suggesting multiple interpretations of Hetherington’s lines. Human subjects are very few, with Canberra’s planned and unplanned landscapes the dominant theme.
You can the read the full review on the Cordite Poetry website.
March 7, 2017
Blemish Books is teaming up with Noted festival to produce ‘Pulpture’, a collaborative arts project designed to find creative ways to re-purpose unsold books.
We currently have approximately 500 surplus books in storage. Rather than pulp them, we’re looking to team up with artists to find interesting, creative, expressive, and meaningful ways to turn them into art.
January 23, 2017
It’s a new year, and we’ve made a big new year’s resolution – we’re going to start publishing again!
That’s right, after a quiet 2016 (sort of – we had a baby!), we’re back in the saddle and ready to rock 2017.
To get things rolling, we’ve given our website a facelift. We hope the new design will be easier to navigate so our readers can continue to discover our great titles – especially on smart phones and tablets (apparently they’ve become quite popular …).
We’re also hard at work on our first new release for the year. In the spirit of new beginnings, we will be publishing our first collection of short plays by Canberra playwright, Kirsty Budding. Budding has been making waves in the local Canberra theatre scene for the last few years with her witty and intelligent plays, and her independent theatre company, Budding Theatre. We look forward to showcasing her immense talent on the page.
We also have plans to start publishing more fiction, and to produce more digital only content. Our focus in 2017 will be on short fiction. Keep an eye out in the coming months for details about how and when to submit.
November 16, 2016
Two of our distinguished alumni writers, Nigel Featherstone and JC Inman, will be featured at the next Salt Room event at 7.30pm on Friday the 18 November at Gorman Arts Centre.
Presented by BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, the Salt Room is a showcase of the finest ACT, interstate and international writers and performers exploring the boundaries of the spoken and the written word.
The evening will also include performances by One Thousand Promises and Bela Farkas. Tickets are $10/$5 and are available at the door.
July 30, 2016
Each week in August on 666 Afternoons, Alex Sloan will select and feature one novel for the 666 Big Book Club and be joined by the local author who penned the work. The full list of authors include Karen Viggers (The Grass Castle), Robyn Cadwallader (The Anchoress) and John Clanchy (Six).
Nigel Featherstone’s The Beach Volcano is featured in week three of proceedings from 15 – 19 August. Featherstone will be live on 666 radio from 2pm on Monday 15 August, and there will be an in depth discussion about the novella from 2pm on Friday 19 August.
Alex Sloan will be inviting listeners and reviewers to call and text in during Afternoons with reactions and comments to add to the 666 Big Book Club conversations.
To encourage as many people as possible to take part, Blemish Books is taking 50% off both paperback and ebook versions of The Beach Volcano for the whole of August. Paperback copies will be on sale for $12.50 (plus postage), and are available from the Blemish Books website. The eBook (.epub) will only cost $5, and can be downloaded via our Payhip Storefront.
The 666 Big Book Club will wrap up with a panel discussion with all featured writers at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House at 2:30pm on Sunday 28 August. Free tickets are available via the Canberra Writers Festival ticketing page.
Be sure to also check out the other great events happening as part of the Canberra Writers Festival on 26 – 28 August. It’s sure to be wordy.
November 21, 2015
We were delighted to learn that Blemish Books’ latest release, Watching the World: Impressions of Canberra, by Paul Hetherington and Jen Webb, has received an excellent review on Whispering Gums.
Whispering Gums wrote:
“Watching the world is a quietly subversive work that looks at Canberra from an insider’s point of view – with a lot of affection but a willingness to cast an acerbic or questioning eye at times too.”
You can read the entire review at Whispering Gums.
Watching the World was launched on 21 July 2015. It can be purchased online from the Blemish Books bookstore or from the National Library of Australia Bookstore.
October 21, 2015
Love books? Love wine? Love a good chat? Then check out Winepress, an afternoon of conversation about reading, writing and ideas that matter.
Our good friend Nigel Featherstone (author of Blemish Books novellas Fall On Me, I'm Ready Now and The Beach Volcano), is a featured speaker, along with renowned writers Robyn Cadwallader and Biff Ward.
Winepress is on Sunday 25 October at Eden Road Winery from 5pm till 6:30.
June 21, 2015
Blemish Books is proud to announce the launch of Watching the World: Impressions of Canberra, a collection of poetry and images by Paul Hetherington and Jen Webb, 6.00pm on Tuesday 21 July 2015 at the National Library of Australia Bookshop, Canberra.
Watching the World is a collection of engaging and stimulating poems and photographic views of the quotidian and unexpected aspects of Canberra, while also including new perspectives on some of Canberra’s more recognisable vistas and landmarks. The poems complement the images, providing a shifting and reciprocal chemistry throughout the book—a fascinating and eddying dialogue between word and image.
Renowned poet Peter Rose says:
"… Paul Hetherington and Jen Webb—in this luminous volume—are equable and responsible … here is another most original artistic collaboration. Quotidianism in the authors’ hands is responsive, democratic and inspired."
Watching the World will be launched by Sarah Rice, visual artist, writer and lecturer in Art History at the Australian National University. Much of Sarah’s creative practice revolves around ekphrasis, or art forms responding to other art forms – in particular, poetry responding to visual art and design – giving her an unique perspective on the Watching the World collaboration.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or direct to the NLA at www.nla.gov.au/event/book-launch-watching-the-world
Find out more about Watching the World.
February 1, 2015
Good news ebook lovers, Blemish Books has just gone digital!
For a very limited time we are also offering a massive 80% discount on the electronic versions of Featherstone’s novellas. To claim the discount, go to the ebookstore and put the relevant code into the coupon field. For The Beach Volcano use VARLUDO4S6; for I’m Ready Now DTS1RW4H2L; and for Fall on Me AEBE9D5AE6. Discount numbers are limited, so get in quick.
All titles are in epub format. epub files can be opened in most eBook readers, such as the B&N Nook, Kobo Reader and Sony Reader. Many iPhone and Android apps also exist that allow viewing of epub files. epub files can also be read in your browser using the Firefox Add-on EPUBReader.
Grab a Blemish eBook today!
January 12, 2015
On January 4, Nigel Featherstone had an enlightening conversation with Evana Ho on FM 92.7’s Artsound program.
The interview gives great insight into the world and characters of Nigel's latest novella, The Beach Volcano, and also tells the story of how this bold and daring novella came to life.
More information about The Beach Volcano can be found in our bookstore.
January 12, 2015
2014 was another big year for Blemish Books, and we were super excited to end it on a high note when Nigel Featherstone's novella, The Beach Volcano, scored a Canberra Critics Circle Award in the 24th Annual ACT Arts Awards.
This is the second Canberra Critics Circle Award Nigel has won in the last few years. In 2012 he also won an award for his work as editor of the amazing online literary magazine Verity La.
Blemish Books would like to congratulate Nigel for his outstanding achievements!
November 14, 2014
Nigel Featherstone's latest novella, The Beach Volcano, now has a shiny new trailer! Thanks to the great work of James Hunter, you can now get a sneak peek into the troubled and turbulant world of former rock star Canning Albury.
November 3, 2014
Canberra has a thriving independent and small publishing scene. Unfortunately we don’t often get a chance to see them all together.
With that in mind Blemish Books is proud to be one of a number of local publishers teaming up to sell our books at the Gorman House Markets on the first Saturday of each month.
There will be a great range of books on sale including fiction, non-fiction, zines, biographies, poetry, essays and more. All of them are 100% locally published in Canberra.
Be sure to come along, have a browse, and maybe even buy a book!
November 3, 2014
Nigel Featherstone’s third Blemish novella, The Beach Volcano, was launched on 18 September 2014.
Here are some pics from the night!
August 30, 2014
Can't make the launch of The Beach Volcano on 18 September? Never fear, you won't miss out!
We are now accepting pre-orders through our online bookstore.
Order before 18 September 2014 and pay only $19.95 (usual RRP is $24.95).
Pre-orders will ship on 19 September 2014.
August 9, 2014
Nigel Featherstone’s third Blemish novella, The Beach Volcano, is set to be launched on 18 September 2014. Professor Jen Webb will be our guest speaker and launcher. Once again the amazing Electric Shadows Bookshop will be our hosts.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Electric Shadows Bookshop
Shop 2, 40 Mort Street, Braddon, Canberra ACT 2612
Please RSVP at email@example.com by 15 September 2014 (for catering purposes).
We hope to see you there!
June 9, 2014
After the success of Nigel Featherstone’s first two novellas, Fall On Me and I’m Ready Now, Blemish Books is proud to announce the immanent release of The Beach Volcano.
The Beach Volcano is the third and final instalment of Featherstone’s “Launceston Trilogy”, a collection of thematically linked novellas written while writer-in-residence at the Kingsbridge Gatekeeper’s Cottage, Cataract Gorge, Launceston.
It tells the story of Canning Albury, a revered and irreverent singer-songwriter, returning home for his father’s eightieth birthday after years of estrangement. But it's not just his father's milestone that's brought Canning home. He also carries a secret about his family’s murky and unchartered past—a secret that could be explosive.
Renowned Australian writer Andrea Goldsmith says "Nigel Featherstone’s new book plunges into the loves and loyalties, the secrets and outward appearances of the wealthy Albury family. This is an insightful and at times disturbing story. Assured and compelling, The Beach Volcano holds you to the last page and beyond."
The Beach Volcano is due for release in the coming months. More information can be found in our bookstore.
April 3, 2014
After being Highly Commended in the 2013 ACT Writing and Publishing Awards for Fiction, Nigel Featherstone's novella I'm Ready Now has recieved further recognition, this time being shorlisted for the 2013 ACT Book of the Year.
The annual ACT Book of the Year Award recognises quality contemporary published literary works by ACT writers and is valued at $10,000. 28 nominations were received for 2013. Only four books were shortlisted.
Blemish Books would like to offer a huge congratulation to Nigel. His "little book" continues to punch well above its weight.
To grab a copy of I’m Ready Now, head over to our bookstore.