When you're trying to get a little attention for your book and find yourself in a street fight with authors who have actual publicity budgets and are backed by powerful corporate publishers, any victory is a major victory. Which is why when a book like Beaver Street, published by Headpress, a small London-based indie, finds itself in the much sought-after real estate of the “Hot Type” section of Vanity Fair, it’s cause for celebration.
But there Beaver Street is, in the April Vanity Fair (Julia Roberts on the cover), on sale today in the US and UK. “Robert Rosen dives into Beaver Street (Headpress),” it says. And I suppose I do—dive into Beaver Street, that is.
So, look for Beaver Street on the Web or in a bookstore near you on March 28. In the meantime, virtual high-fives all around.
A year ago tomorrow, I flew to London to begin promoting the UK edition of Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, a process that I hoped might go on for a decade or two, if not forever. The book was published in England in April 2011, and if you look at the right-hand column, you can see some of what the critics had to say about it. Yes, words like "Enormously entertaining," "Entertaining, insightful, and hot," and "Shocking, evocative, and entertaining," did, indeed, help to sell a couple of books, thank you very much.
Now, here it is a year later, and I’m sitting in New York, awaiting the publication of the US edition of Beaver Street on March 28. The new cover (right), features one significant change: It says “Vanity Fair Hot Type Pick,” and Beaver Street will be in the “Hot Type” section of the April issue. But there are other changes, too. The critical response to the book made the editors at Headpress realize that Beaver Street is more a work of literature than journalism, and therefore, to give the book a more “literary” feel, the photo section has been removed. (If you want to see the photo section, e-mail me and I’ll send you a PDF. Or hurry up and buy a copy of the UK edition while they last.)
Then, of course, Beaver Street will be available on Kindle, Nook, and all the other formats that e-books come in. So, if you prefer reading books on your tablet or telephone, hey, be my guest. (The cover, incidentally, looks beautiful on the Kindle Fire and color Nook.)
And finally, I’m going to be doing Beaver Street events pretty much any place they’ll let me. There’s already a reading scheduled for Book Soup in LA on May 12, and I’ll be announcing more readings in other cities in the next couple of days. So, if you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a copy of Beaver Street, the wait’s almost over. And if you’d like to meet me, please come to one of my events. Because I’d like to meet you, too. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to talk about.
Headpress has posted on their site a Beaver Street "flip book" containing five full chapters. Click here to check it out.
Available now in the UK in trade paperback and Kindle editions, Beaver Street will be published in the US on March 23 as a trade paperback and an e-book in all formats.
Big thanks to everybody who’s already bought Beaver Street, and especially to those who’ve posted reviews on Amazon.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the big Kendra Holliday launch event in St. Louis, and the publication party in New York, at the Killarney Rose(n) on (naturally) Beaver Street, dates to be announced.
I received word from Headpress the other day that Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography will be published in trade paperback in the United States on March 23, 2012. It will also be available as an e-book in all formats, including Kindle.
Beaver People, start your countdown! It's only six months to springtime.
I’m especially excited about the Kindle edition. Over the past few months, Kindle (and other e-readers) has reached a tipping point in New York. Not only do I see more and more of them on the subway, but when I tell people about Beaver Street, their first question is often, “Is it available on Kindle?” Indeed, people have told me that they will only buy a book if it is available on Kindle. (Yes, I know, you love your Kindles.)
I’m also aware that a certain segment of the reading public prefer not to be seen on subways and buses reading a book titled Beaver Street. Well, with an e-book, nobody can see what you’re reading. But please, promise me, when strangers inquire why you’re laughing out loud, you’ll tell them it’s because you’re reading Beaver Street.
Okay, then, I’ve got six months to prepare for the big day. All I can tell you at this point is that I'm going to have a publication party in an appropriately sleazy bar on Beaver Street, in downtown Manhattan. You’re all invited.
There's no question that this blog can often seem self-obsessed, but, really, if I don't promote my work, who is going to promote it? That's just the nature of the book business, where it's every author for himself. And in city like New York, where everybody is self-obsessed, and the book-publishing industry is not exactly known for its generosity of spirit, it's a survival strategy.
Which brings us to my fellow New Yorker Shade Rupe, author of the Headpress book Dark Stars Rising. Shade, whom I’ve spoken to on the phone and occasionally communicate with on Facebook, but have never actually met, has managed to get my attention on two occasions this past month. The first time was when I was buying tickets to see Tree of Life at the Sunshine Cinema on East Houston Street. There was Dark Stars Rising on display in the box office—the first time I’d ever seen a book of any kind on sale in a movie box office. “Well done,” I thought, happy to see the Headpress logo in such an unexpected place.
The second time was yesterday, when I saw Dark Stars Rising in the window of Shakespeare’s, the independent bookstore on Broadway, in Greenwich Village. Having never looked at the book, I went inside to check it out, and was greeted by a Dark Stars Rising poster hanging on the wall, near the entrance. But the book was sold out, except for the copy in the window, which a clerk retrieved for me. I didn’t have time to thumb through all 568 pages, but I did read part of Shade’s interview with Divine, which was compelling.
So, Shakespeare’s, what are you waiting for? Order more copies of Dark Stars Rising. There’s money to be made! And again, well done Shade and Headpress. Can’t wait to see what happens when Beaver Street lands on these shores in 2012.
Yesterday, Headpress, the publisher of my book Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, began running this blog, The Daily Beaver, on their site. So, as of this morning, I’m now communicating with a new audience—the Headpress audience who, I’m told, is global, literate, edgy, and well outside whatever passes for mainstream these days. This perhaps explains why Headpress published Beaver Street in the first place.
For those of you who’ve not read this blog before, let me be clear about its purpose: I put a lot of effort into writing Beaver Street and then finding somebody to publish it. Now that it’s out there, I want to bring it to the attention of the widest possible audience. That would be you. So, if you’ve already read Beaver Street, thank you very much. If you haven’t read it, then I urge you to buy a copy—directly from Headpress. (I hear they still have a couple of signed copies in stock.)
If you’re not familiar with Beaver Street, then please check out some of the press material on the Headpress site, or on my site. The critical response has thus far been extraordinary, which makes me feel—Dare I say it?—hopeful.
But this blog is more than just a vehicle for self-promotion. Beaver Street is investigative memoir that shows the history of the late 20th century though a pornographic lens. It’s a personal journey through sex, politics, economics, and culture. And much of what I write about remains relevant to today’s headlines. The centerpiece of the book, for example, is an exploration of the Traci Lords scandal, which began 25 years ago this month. Lords, the most famous porn star of her generation, revealed in July 1986 that she’d been underage for her entire career. The fallout from the scandal nearly destroyed the adult industry.
Yesterday, The Seattle Weekly ran a piece on their website about how Amazon is selling old issues of High Society, Oui, Club, Stag, and Penthouse containing images of an underage Traci Lords—the very images that had nearly destroyed the industry 25 years ago, and remain illegal “child pornography” today, even though Lords is now middle aged.
I, for one, can’t wait to see how this story plays out, and will update it here as information becomes available.
In Beaver Street, I discuss putting together a pornographic style sheet that covered “stylistic and syntactical issues not covered by the bible of publishing professionals, The Chicago Manual of Style.” One of the common mistakes I noted was the spelling of “anilingus.” Writers misspelled this word nearly one hundred percent of the time: “analingus.”
The other day Headpress sent me the July issue of Bizarre magazine, with my interview, by Ben Myers. Thumbing through the mag, I came upon a profile of Woody, a “deviant” tattoo artist. As you can see from the photo, Woody is unfamiliar with “The Beaver Street Manual of Style.” Which just goes to show, even “inking icons” need a good proofreader.
Headpress has posted the Beaver Street layout from the July issue of Bizarre, the popular British lad mag, which goes on sale tomorrow in the UK. It’s an amazing piece, written by Ben Myers. And it makes me wonder if I’m the first writer in the history of Western Literature whose work has been endorsed by both Bizarre and Vanity Fair. (Not to mention the Erotic Review.)
In part four of my conversation with Kate Copstick and Jamie Maclean of the Erotic Review, we talk about how anybody with a video camera, a girlfriend, and an Internet connection can become an instant porn star.
Beaver Street is going fast on Amazon UK. But you can always order it directly from Headpress.
When Headpress released Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography in the UK last week, it immediately sold out on Amazon, and many people who ordered the book are still waiting for delivery. The good news is that more copies are on the way, and you should be receiving your Beaver soon. In the meantime, you can order the book online directly from Headpress, Blackwell's, and Langton.
In the third part of my chat with Kate Copstick and Jamie Maclean of the Erotic Review, we discuss the collapse of pornography as a viable business. And as we continue to wait for the online booksellers to replenish their stocks, please order Beaver Street directly from Headpress.
Here's the second part of my chat with Kate Copstick and Jamie Maclean, in which I discuss working on both sides of the camera in the adult entertainment industry. You can order Beaver Street directly from Headpress as we await the online booksellers to replenish their stocks.
Beaver Street, my first book in 11 years, has been published today in the UK and already it's sold out on Amazon. But copies are still available directly from Headpress. Click here to order. And check out this very British interview with Kate Copstick and Jamie Maclean of the Erotic Review.
An excerpt from my new piece on John Lennon's diaries, "Transcriptions from the Universe," has just been published in the online edition of Headpress 2.2. You can read it here. The complete 28-page article will soon be available in the printed edition of the journal. Stay tuned for more details.
My most recent Nowhere Man interview, in English and Spanish, which ran the other day on 10 Mathew Street, a Spanish website devoted to the Beatles, is a good example of why I've been struggling for the past six years to learn to speak Spanish. I want to be able to communicate with people who are this enthusiastic about my work. The interview also marks a transitional point in my career--it's the first time I've spoken in detail about my new book, Beaver Street, which will be published in the UK, in October, by Headpress.
A few days ago I posted the above image on my home page. It's going to be part of the promotional campaign for my new book, Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, which will be published in the UK, in October, by Headpress. The drawing was done by a young German artist, Mark Kaufman, a big fan of my previous book, Nowhere Man. The energy and skill that he put into the graphic is a beautiful example of what I've come to call "The Beaver Street Literary Insurgency." Simply put, a literary insurgency is when people spontaneously embrace the work of an author they enjoy reading. I hope someday you, too, will join us.
“Enormously entertaining... Beaver Street captures the aroma of pornography, bottles it, and gives it so much class you could put it up there with Dior or Chanel.” –Jamie Maclean, editor, Erotic Review
“Whatever twisted... fantasy you might’ve had, you can bet that Rosen once brought it to life in print.” —Ben Myers, Bizarre
“Shocking… evocative… entertaining… A rich account that adds considerable depth and texture to any understanding of how the pornography industry worked.” —Patrick Glen, H-Net
“Beaver Street is a surreal, perverted mindfuck.” —Kendra Holiday, editor, The Beautiful Kind
“A confessional for-adults-only romantic comedy with a rare, thoughtful twist... riveting.” —David Comfort, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Well researched, smartly written, surprisingly funny… a one of a kind tour through a fast-disappearing underbelly of American popular culture.” —Matthew Flamm, Amazon
“An electrifying journey through porn’s golden age.” —The Sleazoid Podcast
“Beaver Street is funny, sad, disgusting and hopeful in equal measures.” —Synergy magazine (Australia)