The cult section of the literary world

Farewell to Lazy Fascist Press

Lazy Fascist Press, purveyor of the very best in strange literature, has shut its doors. Everyone associated with bizarro fiction along with many others throughout the literary world owe a great deal to Lazy Fascist and its editor Cameron Pierce. Below you’ll find his parting words.

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I’m proud to announce the release of Nails by MP Johnson, a sad comedy about the lonely, messy business that happens on the way to understanding and accepting one’s true gender. It’s a bittersweet announcement because this is also the final release under the Lazy Fascist Press label. There couldn’t be a more perfect book to close out the press.

After seven years and over sixty books, this was among the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make. The purpose of an independent press is to cultivate risky and challenging voices by providing an opportunity to be heard. I feel like time and again, books in the Lazy Fascist catalog were heard. Our reach far exceeded our meager beginnings as an experimental literary imprint with zero budget overseen by a twenty-two-year-old. But through persistence and hard work from everyone involved, along with a little dumb luck, Lazy Fascist grew into something bigger than I’d ever intended it to be.

I’ve chosen to close LF for a number of reasons:

  1. We reached that awkward level where it’s too late to scale back, but the resources for further growth are unavailable. The imprint is simultaneously too large and too small.
  2. One of my primary aims with the press was to help develop authors’ profiles to increase their appeal to larger presses. This year and next, authors who published early books with Lazy Fascist have titles coming out with HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Soho, Night Shade, Soft Skull, and other larger presses. This isn’t to take credit for their talent and hard work, but to say that many authors in the LF roster have left the nest.
  3. I’ve become increasingly disillusioned by Amazon’s strangehold on the publishing marketplace and, more personally, the changing availability of our books in recent years. Amazon has always been a necessary evil. For a number of years, we benefitted from their system. We no longer benefit much from Amazon.
  4. When I established the press, my long-term plan entailed shifting focus back to my own writing at some point. That shift is overdue. I’m ready to write again.
  5. Until this month, my writing and editing income has always covered my home mortgage at the very minimum. It’s a great feeling, but also a scary one. Pretty much every writer who has ever mentored me warns of market crashes and consequent financial fallouts. I’ve sensed for the past couple years that we’re heading toward one of those due to #3 on this list, and so last year I decided to pursue another dream career working in the craft beer industry. Almost two years in, I love my new career and look forward to going to work every day. Now, if or when there’s a publishing crash, I won’t have to worry if books can keep the lights on.
  6. The name of the press was always a humorous, hipsterish jab, but for me it was a jab at gentrification and the polite forms of control found in Portland, Oregon, where the press was founded. The name was meant to start conversations, and it did start some fruitful ones. But the political climate has changed, and what was once a funny name for a transgressive, left-leaning press is now simply inappropriate. I’ve considered changing the name for the past year, but I also knew the press had reached the end of the road in other ways.

I look back at the books in the Lazy Fascist catalog and think of the sweat, love, tears, and pain that went into each of those books. Middle of the night phone conversations with authors, twelve to fifteen hour work days, the near-constant chain of messages with Matthew Revert over cover design, witnessing our books pop up in an increasing number of bookstores across the country, working with idols and debut authors alike, seeing translation rights and audiobook rights and movie rights sell, hosting some kickass readings and parties, scheming with other likeminded publishers, connecting with readers, discovering rare gems in the daily onslaught of manuscript submissions. My years operating Lazy Fascist were basically a collage of greatest moments, with the occasional crisis thrown in because this is publishing and we’re all crazy.

Our titles will continue to be available and sold in all the usual places, and you’ll still find them at events where our parent company, Eraserhead Press, is representing. You’ll find me around at AWP, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association tradeshow, and other events throughout the year. You may also see the press name shortened on book covers to the more apolitical “LFP” on several titles.

I want to thank everyone who made Lazy Fascist what it was. The authors, the readers, book reviewers, the interns, everyone at Eraserhead Press, my family. I’d name all of you individually, but the list would stretch to over a thousand long. Suffice to say, when I say thank you, I mean you. To everyone who ever contributed in any way, to everyone who demonstrated their supported, and even to those who told us to fuck off or said we’d never make it, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for seven great years.

Now go buy Nails by MP Johnson and In the River by Jeremy Robert Johnson. We may be sailing gently into the night, but we saved our best for last.

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