We Come up for Air

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Over the last few months, the folks behind Blue Cactus Press (including myself, the publisher, our authors, intern and new conspirators) have kept our heads down and our hands deep in the weeds of publishing work. Today we’re coming up for air, and we’ve got big news to share with you, our much-loved community:

We broke-up with Amazon

Over the last two and a half years, we’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry, what we can do to conduct business ethically, and how best to support other businesses in the publishing chain. We’re still learning, but one thing we’ve known for a while is that when we utilize Amazon’s services – as a print-on-demand and sales platform – we aren’t serving anyone well. Sure, Amazon is cheap and fast, but every time we utilize it for publishing purposes, we take business away from printers and independent bookstores, no to mention severely lower profits for authors, artists, designers, editors, and our company. So, we’ve officially pulled our titles from all Amazon platforms. Doing this will allow us to better support other small businesses in the industry, including independent bookstores, printers, artists, designers and of course, authors.

You can still purchase BCP titles online, directly from bluecactuspress.com, or from independent bookstores like King’s Books, Browsers Bookshop, Orca Books and Open Books. If you’re not in the area, you can still order our books from independent bookstores across the U.S., as we’re now utilizing industry leaders like IngramSpark for distribution. For in-house and event stock, we’re working with a highly-recommended printer – Bookmobile.

We hired a bomb-ass podcast producer

Being over-worked control freaks running on very little sleep is no fun for anyone, so we hired an AMAZING conspirator: Austin Scheen. Austin is our new podcast producer, handling everything from music production to editing to mastering. You’ll hear his cool-kid music on the upcoming podcast episode, out next week! We’re stoked to have Austin on our team, as his skills in audio production far exceed our own. He also adds a wealth of talent to the fray as an accomplished DJ (find him on SoundCloud under DJ Alkemist), artist, and producer.

 

Our intern is now our publishing assistant

If you’ve met Carlisle, or read her work (find it in The Trail or online here at BCP) you know how valuable she is as a writer, editor, and publishing assistant. As her internship came to a close this May, we decided to keep this good thing going by asking her to continue to be a part of the BCP family. She accepted. Our lives are better now. We want to surround ourselves with good people doing good work, and Carlisle is one of those people. It’s that simple.

 

We simplified our literary calendar

Starting this month, the BCP literary calendar will only include events that Blue Cactus Press or our conspirators (authors, artists, designers, editors) are involved in. Why, you might ask? Because we’re tired and we value sleep and self-care. There are very few people behind the scenes at BCP, and we’d rather consolidate our efforts to bring you beautifully crafted books and highly curated events than spend our energy updating calendars in the middle of the night. We’re consolidating, and it feels good. Plus, now that we’re less busy drafting event listings about readings, we’ll have time TO ACTUALLY GO TO READINGS AND LITERARY EVENTS. Amen to that.

We’re leaving the country

But we’re coming back, promise. For the entirety of June, I, your trusty and tired publisher, Christina, am taking a much-needed, long-awaited trip to Portugal and Spain. I’m hiking the Camino de Santiago. I’m letting my mind rest and giving my body what it desperately wants: dusty roads underfoot, long miles under the heat of the sun, a pack pressed against my back. Today, I’m two months sober. I hope to return with three months’ sobriety under my belt and a renewed appreciation for the load my body can bare. I need rest, friends, and this is how my heart, head and body get it. They beg for it: travel, physical work, solitude. And I’m listening. See you in July, friends.

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Episode 6: Good-Ass Hot Chicken ft. José Olivarez and Britteney Black Rose Kapri

Earlier this month, Blue Cactus Press sat down with poetry giants José Olivarez and Britteney Black Rose Kapri for a live podcast recording at King’s Books! José and Britteney joined The Prickly Pear podcast host, Christina Butcher, and local poet Michael Haeflinger, in a discussion about poetry, creative influences, and life as teaching artists and working writers. We also spent a fair amount of time debating the worst best movie sequels of our time, mail fraud and good-ass hot chicken. Oh, and there’s a new emcee in town by the name of Vanilla Sexy …

This episode was live-recorded at King’s Books in Tacoma, Washington state. It was sponsored by Write253, as part of the fourth annual Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB)-Tacoma teen poetry slam festival. LTAB-Tacoma took place in March, 2019, and included youth poets from 13 schools in Pierce and Thurston counties of Washington state.


About Our Sponsor

The Prickly Pear Podcast is sponsored by Oakes & Alder​ day spa and apothecary. Each of our episodes is recorded in Oakes & Alder’s lovely space in North End, Tacoma, where you can partake in spa services and find natural skincare products and bulk herbs. Check the spa out on Facebook at Oakes & Alder or IG at @oakesandalder! To see it in person, head to Oakes & Alder, 2714 N 21st St, Tacoma, WA 98406.

Live-Recording ft. José Olivarez & Britteney Black Rose Kapri

PPP Live Recording

This March, the Prickly Pear Podcast welcomed poetry giants  José Olivarez and Britteney Black Rose Kapri to Tacoma for a live podcast recording! José and Britteney joined our podcast host, Christina Butcher, and local poet Michael Haeflinger, for a chat about poetry, art and identity at King’s Books on March 20th.

The live-recording was sponsored by Write253, as part of the fourth annual Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB)-Tacoma teen poetry slam festival (March 2019). The festival culminated in a youth poetry slam on March 23 at Alma Mater.

 


About the Guests

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was awarded the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize, and it was named a top book of 2018 by NPR and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he is co-editing the forthcoming anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods and a recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Poets House, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, & the Conversation Literary Festival. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. He lives in New York City.

 

Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a teaching artist, writer, performance poet, and playwright. She is the author of Black Queer Hoe (Haymarket Books, 2018). Her writing has been published in Poetry magazine, VinylDay OneSevenScribes, and Kinfolks Quarterly. She is an alumna turned teaching artist fellow at Young Chicago Authors. Kapri is also a staff member and writer for Black Nerd Problems, and a former Rona Jaffe Writers Award recipient. She lives in Chicago.


About Our Sponsor

The Prickly Pear Podcast is sponsored by Oakes & Alder​ day spa and apothecary. Each of our episodes is recorded in Oakes & Alder’s lovely space in North End, Tacoma, where you can partake in spa services and find natural skincare products and bulk herbs. Check the spa out on Facebook at Oakes & Alder or IG at @oakesandalder! To see it in person, head to Oakes & Alder, 2714 N 21st St, Tacoma, WA 98406.