Valve Works, by Rob Sherman (poet) and Sarah Ogilvie (artist) is the first book we’ve published to be simultaneously available both electronically and in print. Rob and Sarah originally produced a print version of their collection which they sell at various gigs and events. We created the online version of the collection on the understanding that Rob and Sarah would continue to distribute their own print version. As a publisher, I don’t have a problem with writers making their work available in other formats. If it means more people will read the collection, then great. The collection deserves to be read after all.
Valve Works takes the human body as its theme, with each poem based on a different body part – Heart, Kidneys, Brain, and so on. A couple of months ago, we published Rob’s short story, Gallstones, to accompany the collection. Here’s one major advantage of publishing ebooks: if the author wants to add something extra to the book (or, indeed, take something out), it’s possible to make the changes without much fuss.
This could prove to be both a blessing and a curse for some writers. There comes a point in every piece of work where you have to stop redrafting, and accept that the work may never be perfect but at least it’s finished. Once it’s published, that’s it. With online publishing, however, the writer is free to continue tinkering with the manuscript as much as they want. I expect this is the sort of thing that drives writers crazy.
A sample poem from Valve Works:
A sac-like enlargement of the alimentary canal.
Random House Dictionary
The greatest democracy curls beneath my lungs.
It greets the heavy politics of bread
And the haemorrhaged logic of satsuma
Equally and with aplomb.
The cardia opens like a crab’s jaw
And the forum within bubbles and shifts
To the offbeat of burp and spew.
Debate is done amongst hydrogen
And then, at the Pyloric door
The terraces of dark, the country, the scent of glue.
Read the full collection here.