“Once upon a time, there was a playful little boy whose internal organs were the size of a giant’s. His insides had grown to these inconceivable dimensions simply by association. That is, by eating off the giant’s plate every day and by playing in the giants house. In a nutshell, by hanging with the big boys…”

Known to be a maverick in his field, Derrick Brown of Write Bloody Press is at the forefront of his peers in the Independent and Small Press category of book publishing. The common question and stigma key phrase asked of authors when signing with independent and small press publishing companies is usually,

It’s small press honey, what do you expect?”

Well, there is only one answer: Write Bloody. Expect Derrick Brown and WriteBloody.com. Derrick Brown is President of Write Bloody Publishing He’s working on a new music project, “Night Reports” about a haunted baseball team and his latest new venture, poetrycruise.com where he Captains an actual harbor cruise with wine and poetry for hire by the romantic and avante garde.

If others in small press would make the leap like Brown has, well, perhaps the category might one day finally become big press or at least medium press. Providing of course that they have grasped the reality of the Internet and observed how the net has affected every Industry known to Industry, and simply just …get with it, like Derrick Brown has. and providing as well, that they believe they can, and stop already with the “It’s small press… blah blah blah”.

The record Industry was at first devastated by the Internet until the record industry embraced it. To quote music business entrepreneur David Codikow when interviewed by Frontline,  “The way I look at it is that the music business to me is fairly healthy. It’s the recorded music business that may not be as healthy as it once was.  …there is a tremendous amount of downloading. Sometimes I believe that downloading is good. I think in certain respects, in certain limited respects, if you really have a tremendousmendous buzz, …  there’s incredible promotional opportunities through viable marketing on the Internet.

It’s with this open minded mentality that Derrick began the journey
toward becoming probably the first of his kind, a maverick in Independent Literary publishing where every one of his authors go on tour, and enjoy the otherwise unattainable pot of gold: global distribution. Brown and his company Write Bloody Publishing, are an independent and small press company that is easier fathomable as a small playful boy with the internal organs the size of a giant’s whose insides grew to these inconcievable dimensions by swallowing what the giant did every day and playing in the giants house.

No one told Derrick Brown it could not be done, and if they did, the small boy listened not and set off instead, skipping even, with his hands full of truly magic beans. As a poet, he is quick, clever and all of charming. He’s funny with boyish good looks and he truly is Jack of Jack & the Beanstalk fame. Except, our Derrick Jack Bean Brown doesn’t aim to trick the giant into falling off the beanstalk, well first of all, he’s a poet. Poets hardly carry ill-will toward freaks of nature, rather they would feel it their duty to make others see the plight of the giant and eventually utilize the giant into marching in the anti-war fight against big oil.

In this scenario, it seems our Jack just wants to play in the giants house. And why not? Great things are much bigger there! Yummy things. Bigger. Golden things. Bigger. The end of the rainbow from the giant’s perspective? Closer. Playful little Jack wanted to acquaint himself with the ways of the giant in hopes that one day-  and it seems likely that they just might, eventually become playmates, without the constant fear of the small boy getting squished during game time.

If the level of playmates is attained, what a great thing, if not, Jack will still play in the house of the giant, that’s what he came for in the first place, remember, where things are bigger, better things are closer. And, Brown encourages and requires his authors to think likewise, “Be all that you can be, follow me and let’s go climb the beanstalk!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Derrick Brown of Write Bloody Press:

•    When did you know poetry was your calling?

When I got out of paratroops my attention span was so short I couldn’t finish any novel. I was drawn to the quick punch of poetry.

•    Who are your poetry influences, dead or alive?
Anne Sexton, Bob Hicok, Tony Hoaglund, Thomas Lux, Jeffrey McDaniel, James Tate

•    What was the seed behind the brainstorm that formed Write Bloody Press?
Our philosophy is born out of a small record label philosophy which is you have to tour. You must tour,  you must have a website. You must build a fan base. You must be unashamed to push your merchandise after a performance. the fan base is everything for each author. We also push making the books, posters and T shirts look good. It’s worth the initial investment to have an amazing website and book for longterm revenue down the road.

•    It must have been quite a journey breathing life into Write Bloody, what’s the story?

I was touring my butt off and meeting these amazing underground authors. I thought, “Wow”, I have more access to raw talent than any literary talent can ever get their hands on, I wish I could get these folks into the limelight.” I was just very naive and started it up in 2001 and spent my nights pushing to learn everything hands on for progressing. I asked bookstores and literary agents a lot of questions.

All of your poets tour. How do you get your writers on the road?
We have our own booking agency based off of my years of touring and building contacts. A great man in Seattle named Adam Bates runs that just for our authors. We have two levels of touring, Level A which is colleges and theaters and level B which is coffee shops and living rooms?

•  You also have global distribution, which is quite conscientious of you btw, as an independent publisher.  Your distributors?
We use SCB Distributors and they are picky and super friendly. It took us years to get accepted by one of the top 3 distributors.

•    What’s the longest you have been on tour? The best location? I feel like I’ve been on tour since 1996. the best country is Germany. There are 8 large monthly poetry shows in Hamburg alone.

•    Talk about the Poetry Cruise found on your website, and, you’re a licensed Captain then? Talk about the vessel? It is a 37 foot fishing vessel called the Sea Section.  I take folks out, give them wine, read ’em poems and people can witness sea lions and sometimes dolphins in the moonlight of the Pacific. (rates are at poetrycruise.com)

•    How many titles do you currently have on Write Bloody Press? Almost fifty.

•    You have an awesome website, credit? Josh Grieve used to be a skateboard designer and then we worked on a kids show together called Kidmo with other brilliant designers and illustrators like M. Carver, B. Lyon and J. Keckley. they all worked freelance at some point for us.

•    What’s on the horizon for Derrick Brown, the poet? Where can we catch a reading? I will be hosting a benefit Dec 5th 2010 in New York City at The Bowery Poetry Club with Fred Armisen of SNL, David Cross of Arrested Developement, Amber Tamblyn of House, Authors Sarah Vowell and Matt Cook. On Jan 29th I’ll be at Beyond Baroque with the brilliant author and rapper, Idris Goodwin who won many awards for his album, “Break Beat Poems”. WriteBloody.com

And let this tale be a lesson for you little ones out there. Fairy tales and the power of myth. The power of believing and beliefs creating realities. With the question, “This is small press honey, what do you expect?” There is only one answer: Derrick Brown and Write Bloody Publishing.


* This article also in Examiner.com /Los Angeles Poetry Examiner
 Interview with Derrick Brown 

About Yvonne de la Vega

Poet & Thinker. Joker. Laugher. Part time safe trickster. Visionary for Peace On Earth, Favorite quote: Love is all we need Message: Visualize Peace Visit my website at http://www.yvonnedelavega.com

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