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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
A sad comedy about the lonely, messy business that happens on the way to understanding and accepting one’s true gender.
Get it here
Back on the streets with a fresh new cover, it’s MP Johnson’s SICK PACK!
Fabulo’s six pack is hypnotic.
His abs can hypnotize people, and that’s why they appear on the covers of romance novels worldwide. He’s in-demand and life is good for him. But what about for his abs? Did he bother to ask them if they wanted the spotlight? Of course not. The truth is they’re sick of it. All the dieting and crunches. They want more out of life, so they vamoose, forcing poor Fabulo to replace them with something altogether different and altogether disgusting, an all new…
Get it here!
Our bizarro tribe is producing plenty of content across the net, and recently we’ve infiltrated the ranks of literature-loving Litreactor.com! First we have Christoph Paul, who is a regular contributor to the site, interviewing the founder of Hard Times, Matt Saincome. Fans of fake punk news should enjoy it.
Then our very own trans superhero MP Johnson gets interviewed by Litreactor about language, masculinity, and her latest zine, Trans Mess. Represent, girlfriend.
MP Johnson, author of many weird and wonderful books, has created a zine chronicling her journey coming out as a trans lady. And since I’m a regular guy, I’ll let her pitch this powerful piece of art in her own words:
For those of you who don’t know, I recently came out as a trans lady. I changed my name to Emma, although I’m keeping MP Johnson as my pen name, and I moved to Chicago. Anyway, this has all been a long time coming, but in the process I’ve been writing a lot about what’s happening, what’s led up to this and how I’m feeling about all of it.
I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think it’s some powerful stuff, and I put a lot of heart into it. Since I’m a long-time zine nerd (Holy shit! It’s been almost 20 years since I released my first zine), I thought a lot of this writing would really fit that format, so I created a zine called Trans Mess, which is available now. Here’s the cover:
This is a good companion piece to my book Nails, which is coming out in November from Lazy Fascist Press. That book is a snapshot of one weekend in my life from about 10 years ago. It’s kinda upsetting even when I read it now, just not knowing who I was or how to express my gender identity properly. This zine shows where I’m at now. It’s still messy, but I think I’m in a healthier, more positive place. Anyway, I hope you’ll consider reading it. It’s definitely some of my best writing.
Buy Trans Mess at MP Johnson’s store!
Bizarro author and editor MP Johnson got to sit down with Rue Morgue to talk about HYBRID MOMENTS, his anthology of weird fiction dedicated to the Misfits. You can check it out here, and if you’re feeling purchasy, head to Amazon for your own copy of Hybrid Moments!
The maniacs at Weirdpunk Books are putting together another anthology based on awesome and transgressive music. Last time it was G.G. Allin. This time it’s THE MISFITS.
You know the songs. They’re etched into every punk’s brain. Not just because they’re catchy, but because there’s something else there. Glenn Danzig’s lyrics evoke intense imagery. Beautiful, dark, monstery imagery. There’s poetry between the whoa-oh-ohs. There are stories in those songs. They just need to be told.
The guys at Weirdpunk Books have already put together an insane table of contents and now just need a little backing to get the project printed and distributed. All fans of weird fiction or devotees of the Misfits should seriously consider donating! Head to the Hybrid Moments Kickstarter to join the fun. Even the smallest donations can earn you some great prizes.