For the latest Last Light Studio news, please visit our shiny new website / blog at Happy reading!



Click on the thumbnail for a bigger view.

Erika Dreifus’ brilliant short fiction collection, Quiet Americans, is available for order! You can get it via Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Or- even better- order an autographed copy from Treat yourself to some great writing.

“…Packed with surprises that challenge us to reconsider what we know—or think we know—about good and evil, memory and forgiveness, survival and identity….A first-rate debut.” –Margot Singer, author of The Pale of Settlement

“… These stories gather unexpected force sentence by sentence, page by page. An several occasions during my reading, I needed to remind myself to breathe.” –Andrew Furman, author of Contemporary Jewish American Writers and the Multicultural Dilemma

“…a deeply affecting collection of short stories that displays all of the qualities that I admire in her (Erika Dreifus’) literary journalism….” -Jonathan Kirsch, The Jewish Journal (of Greater Los Angeles).

We’re not the only ones who think that “For Services Rendered,” the short story that opens Last Light author Erika Dreifus’s forthcoming collection, Quiet Americans, is pretty remarkable! This week, we were delighted to learn that the Pushcart Prize people agree with us: Erika’s story has received a “Special Mention” in Pushcart Prize XXV: Best of the Small Presses.

“For Services Rendered” was nominated by the editors of J Journal: New Writing on Justice, who published the story’s first U.S. version in spring 2009. Erika tells us that the J Journal iteration was significantly revised and expanded from the text that appeared in the U.K. in 2005, in Solander: The Magazine of the Historical Novel Society.

If you can’t wait until January 19, when Quiet Americans will be released, you can go right over to Erika’s website, where “For Services Rendered” is available for you to preview. And please join us in congratulating Erika on this recognition of her work.

aka Cross-Pollination-Publication-Publicity

er… or maybe we should stop trying to be clever and ask you to link over to Jane Roper’s crisp and keen interview with NY Times best seller, Jenna Blum, about her newest book, The Stormchasers. Join them for a conversation about tornadoes, twins, and (of course) writing.

Jane Roper’s Eden Lake is scoring high praise from some noteworthy authors:

“As a kid I lasted one week at summer camp, but at EDEN LAKE I overcame my phobia — I loved every second of my time there! This is due to the quirky, warm, funny, quixotic crew you’ll meet in these pages and the compassionate yet sharply observed story of a family examining and reassembling itself after a father’s death. I’ll be revisiting EDEN LAKE many times.”

Jenna Blum, bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

Anyone who’s ever experienced the sweet tumult of summer camp is hereby ordered to read Eden Lake immediately. In fact, even if you’ve never been to camp, this book should go on your must-read list. Jane Roper has written a wise, sexy novel that fearlessly probes the particulars of desire and loss. It’s a sheer delight — as irresistible as a s’more.

Steve Almond (author of Candyfreak, My Life In Heavy Metal, and Rock And Roll Will Save Your Life)

Photo of Ericka Lutz

Ericka Lutz

Last Light Studio is thrilled to announce the newest title in our line up, The Edge of Maybe by Bay Area writer, Ericka Lutz.

The Edge of Maybe is an edgy but bountiful novel that holds a bright and unapologetic light up to the modern, urban middle class. It’s got a loud heartbeat and irony to spare, and we’re going to have it in the market for you in 2012. (What to do in the meantime? Try picking up Bringing Ararat or pre-ordering Quiet Americans).

Ms. Lutz is one of those Renaissance scribes who has engaged writing in so many different ways including nonfiction, short fiction, teaching and a critically acclaimed one-woman show. And we’re just pleased as all-get-out to have her on board.

Picture of a webErika Dreifus, the intrepid Last Light author of Quiet Americans has unveiled her elegantly designed (and very handy) new website. It allows readers to easily follow both her blogs (Practicing Writer and My Machberet) as well as link up to Erika’s profile in Twitter or Facebook. Even more important, you can now find a link to pre-order her book via Barnes and Nobel (at a generous 30% off!). We’ve already pre-ordered ours!

Broken Piggy BankAmazon’s digital text platform (aka the “printer” that produces Kindle books) recently announced and implemented a major change in its royalty system. Previously the royalty pay out for Kindle books was 35% (so yes, when we sell a book for $2.99, we get about $1.00 back), but they have doubled that royalty rate to 70%.

Interestingly, some people in the publishing industry are not happy with this move. Here’s why: it only applies to books priced out between $2.99 and $9.99. So once your book hits $10.00, the royalty sinks back to 35%. Doing the math then, a book sold for $9.99 will get you the same royalty (basically) as a book marked at $20.00. Why would amazon exercise a $9.99 cut off?To keep prices low. In the same way iTunes has an interest in keeping MP3 album prices lower than the cost of a physical CD, Amazon has a vested interest keeping Kindle book prices below the price of trade paperbacks.

Some publishers, especially bigger houses, don’t like this model. They have a lot of costs and need to charge a certain amount to make money on a book. On the surface of the equation, you would think that the money they save by not having to actually print the book, and not having to ship a physical copy would allow them room for $9.99 Kindle release but it is our understanding (and correct me if I’m wrong) that for bigger houses, the actual printing and shipping fees are an afterthought. They print at such a scale that they can churn out books for a couple of dollars (or paperbacks for even less). Their major expenses lay elsewhere (marketing, overhead, advertising etc).

But because Last Light is soooo low-frills / no-frills however (if we were an airline, you’d hate us), the change in royalty actually benefits us royally! Our expenses are mostly locked up in printing and shipping and- like those garage bands releasing their videos directly onto Youtube- we benefit mightily from not having to produce physical copies. We welcome the Kindle book as MP3 model and, unless we’re totally off the mark, we think this move will benefit micropresses and their authors.

Click on the thumbnail for a bigger view.

Hot off the presses, folks. Quiet Americans will be out next January. We can’t wait.

When we set up Last Light Studio last year, we knew that we were going to be dealing with ISBN 13 codes; you know: those nifty little bar codes that you find in lower right hand of the back cover of most books? (Go check on your book shelf if you don’t believe us. We’ll wait for you to come back).

But little did we realize how weirdly fun the whole ISBN experience would be (Yes, we are aware that describing ISBN codes as fun makes us big publishing nerds. We’re happy being big publishing nerds, thanks very much.) and that these nifty little codes which, at first glance, seem to serve the sole purpose of making it easier for the person at the register to scan your sale actually have a lot more going on.

In light of this, we thought it would be fun (there’s that word again) to use today’s post to highlight the 13 digits of a book’s ISBN code and explain what they mean. Let’s use Bringing Ararat as an example. Bringing Ararat’s ISBN code is: 978-0-9827084-0-8. But what does it all mean?

978 is the standard prefix for books. This three digit code is assigned by industry. In this case, 978 is generally used for book publishing.

0 is a language/country designation. In this case, zero stands for US / English.

9827084 is the designation for Last Light Studio. Interestingly, the bigger the publisher, the smaller their ISBN publisher code. For example, the ISBN code for Penguin books is just 14. Last Light, however, being the tiny studio it is has a very looong code.

The next 0 is a book value assigned specifically to Bringing Ararat. It is book zero for our studio.

Finally, the 8 at the end is a validation number which (and we’re not even going to pretend to understand this) allows computers to generate some sort of algorithm that makes sure the rest of the code is a correct.

Put them all together and you get the 13 digit code.

We’ll have a quiz on this tomorrow!