When people come into my house they often wander over to the bookshelves. I always pay attention as I'm curious to see what sort of books they end up gravitating towards. Almost without fail, the first book they reach for ends up being something that Bill Roberts has put out with Bottle of Smoke Press. His books are unashamedly brilliant. Strange and brave and beautiful and bold before you've even opened them.Then there's the writers A.D. Winans. Hosho McCreesh. Adrian Manning. Jenni Fagan. Dan Fante. Thurston Moore. The list goes on and on. The amount of great writers that Bottle of Smoke have put out is incredible. There have been times where I've wanted something new to read and I've blindly ordered things from the BoSP site - it doesn't matter if I'm familiar with the name or not. That's how much I trust the work they put out. I'm never disappointed.
BOSP has been running for over a decade now. Was there an original goal for Bottle of Smoke Press? The original goal has always been to put out books in the best way that I can of the work of well-established writers as well as writers that are not as well-known. My abilities as a printer and bookbinder have improved over the years, so now I am able to offer lower priced books as well as deluxe fine press editions.You’ve released some unique book designs over the years. To what extent are your ideas for the physical make up of a book dictated by the content? Are there any ideas you've had for putting a book together that you're yet to try? The content dictates the cover of the book, but most of my books are traditional style books. There are some times when ideas come to me for a different way to present the book. I often include a deluxe edition in clamshell case that includes things like paintings by the author or additional books/broadsides that are not available otherwise. My most over-the-top production is David Barker’s Death at the Flea Circus.A lot of great names have had work published by Bottle of Smoke Press. What proportion of those were people you approached versus how many came to you? Do you have a standard procedure for getting books together? It is probably even split. I have a lot of people contact me with book ideas. Many of these are from people that I have already worked with in the past. Bottle of Smoke Press has always been only me, so I can only take on what I am able to do well and in a timely manner. I work with authors for layout and design, but I am the one that picks the fonts, layout, cover design. Unless the author objects, we go with it.I noticed that in 2002 you started with an A.D Winans chapbook, and were still publishing him as recently as 2015. How did you first come across A.D Winans? I had read his books for years. I was talking (via email) to my friend, the publisher Gary Aposhian, who suggested that I start my own press. He said that he could put me in touch with Winans. I emailed him and he sent me some poems which became the first book from my press. In the way of production, it was a very basic book. Since then, I have published many books of his including his career spanning 400+ page book Drowning Like Li Po in a River of Red Wine.Finally, what was the last thing, book, song, artist, place etc that you totally fell in love with? I have been a BIG fan of Nick Cave since I got an advance promo of The Good Son in 1990. I have always loved reading novels, but have had serious memory issues, caused by Narcolepsy, that make it very difficult to read longer works.