rural publishing

just arrived

The small literary novella imprint that Anik See and I run, Fish Gotta Swim Editions, is a continuing source of delight. Our fourth title, pictured above, arrived from the printer last evening. I’d been expecting the shipment all week, either by finding a card in my mailbox saying there were boxes to pick up at the post office or by hearing a courier van come up the driveway. When deliveries are via the latter, there’s usually a phone call first, someone parked in the lower driveway, wondering how to find me. Our neighbours use our lower drive to access their properties on Sakinaw Lake and when they’re not there, they have a locked gate at the point that our property becomes theirs. Because of complicated zoning, we share a street number, although technically ours is the actual number and their addresses have an A, B, or C suffix. Couriers never understand this subtlety and so once they arrive at the post with our number on it, they call. And we tell them how to find us. Last evening I heard a vehicle spinning its wheels on the turn in our actual driveway, the area with coarse gravel — we know to accelerate at just the right time to make the turn. I watched from the window as the headlights at the turn disappeared back down the driveway and then I heard the vehicle try again, faster this time. It was our neighbour. They’d come up to their house from another house they own elsewhere, just for a night or two, and the gate was open for an hour while they did some errands. When they returned, they found two heavy boxes by their front door. One of them was bringing the boxes to me, to whom they were clearly addressed, with my telephone number right on the label. This is rural publishing. In the past couriers have left parcels for us at the hardware store in Madeira Park, at the gas station 15 minutes away, and a couple of times they left packages for us at Harbour Publishing. Go figure. Luckily the Harbour Publishing owners are our friends and they called us with some amusement to let us know where we could find our delivery.

Anyway, the fourth title, the beautiful Susanna Hall, Her Book, by Jennifer Falkner, arrived unexpectedly via the neighbour last night. It was a funny moment, except it almost wasn’t. If the neighbours hadn’t used the door where the boxes were left — and they have a big house, with several entrances — and returned to their other home, then who knows when we might have put 2 and 2 together to possibly make 4: the 4th title. I received the printer proof about a month ago and Anik and I had a Zoom meeting, her in Dordrecht and me in the kitchen here, to go over the fine details of the production to make sure that everything was as it should be. Some tiny adjustments had to be made and they were and now the books are ready to go out into the world, some to the patient author, and some to people who ordered after receiving our newsletter in early April. You can subscribe to it if you’re interested. Go to our website — — and just fill out the form at the ordering/contact page. Read about Susanna Hall, Her Book at the Books page and by all means order one. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

It’s a lovely spring evening here after a day of clouds and rain. A hummingbird keeps hovering at my window. A pileated woodpecker is hammering down towards the lake. I’m going to take a copy of this wonderful novella up to my bed to read. I’ve read it several times, as an initial submission to our press, as a document sent back and forth to Jen for edits and small changes, as a designed book block, and then as a printer proof. But tonight it will be the book itself, with its elegant French flaps and the beautiful cover (designed by Anik, using an illustration from Elizabeth Blackwell’s Curious Herbal, an 18th century gathering of botanical cuts of plants used in the practice of physick) and Jen’s excellent writing. I know I will enjoy it immensely and I think others will too.

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