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New Books!

Rosello Cover Web

It’s finally time for new books from Publishing Genius!

This announcement has been a long time coming, and it’s been a slow pleasure to put this catalog together. We have a ton of different projects in the works, from these books listed below, to our Ebook Flights program, to Real Pants, the website for the new literary community.

Here are the offerings from Publishing Genius for 2015: Continue reading New Books!

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Get a Free Copy of Eat, Knucklehead


Today we are pleased to unveil the cover for Craig Griffin’s cookbook, Eat, Knucklehead. The photography was done by Deanna McCarthy, and Craig scratched out the titling himself.

Below, we’ll tell you how you can get a free copy of this 200+ page book.

So, here at the Publishing Genius offices we think this cover perfectly captures the story that’s told in this cookbook. That’s right—story and cookbook go together here. While Craig has compiled about 100 recipes, mostly vegetarian and some fish, Eat, Knucklehead also tells the story of an unnamed father and son as both of them grow up in their own ways.

We get to know these fellas by way of letters sent from the father to his recently graduated son, wherein he’s teaching the young man how to cook, and also sharing the often goofy antics that surround the food’s provenance.

Thus the cover, which conveys the title written on the cheap paper the man writes on, also includes a shot of whiskey (coinciding nicely with the chapter of hangover cures, “Drinking is Fun and Painful”), a wisp of smoke, an empty plate, and a framed photo of a boy we presume to be his son, the receiver of these letters.

The book, accordingly, is written for people like me, which is to say those of us unencumbered by any cooking ability. Craig writes out the recipes in an approachable and funny way. There’s a range of flavors, too, from breakfasts like the “Green Dragon Omelet” and wild rice pancakes, to snacks like “Popcorn with Lime” and (of course) kale chips, to a soup called “White Lightning” and a lasagna, an apple-brandied cherry pie, veggie pate and, of course, a whole chapter about cooking with weed.

About that free copy …

To get your hands on a copy of the book, which will be out later this year, read a chapter we just posted at Medium. If you cook something from it, let us know in the comments, or send us a picture by email, and we’ll send you a book when it’s ready, gratis, as a thanks for playing. Make sure you include a way to get ahold of you!

Go to Medium and read and cook!

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Publishing Genius 2014 Catalog

the author

In 2014, Publishing Genius has plans to publish 6 books of poetry and prose, plus 12 books in our new “eBook Flight” program. Here is information on the print catalog (and stay tuned for more info on eBook Flights):

cover: Alex Merto

Melissa Broder
Release date: Feb 25, 2014

Book Details:
6 x 9″ paperback
100 pages
List price $14.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-9887503-7-1

In SCARECRONE, Broder deepens her self-aware and dark brand of poetry, which The Chicago Tribune called “shrewd, funny, twisted.” Publishers Weekly said her work is “as funny and hip as it is disturbing.”


Cover by Erik Carter
Cover by Erik Carter

You Can Make Anything Sad
Spencer Madsen
Poetry / Other
Release date: April 29, 2014

Book Details:
5 x 8″ paperback
105 pages
List price $14.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-9887503-6-4

This book is a late addition to the catalog. It’s not exactly poetry, and it’s not essays or fiction, but it’s for real. It’s fun and famous and packed with a-ha moments.


photo by the author
cover drawing by John Dermot Woods

How to Catch a Coyote
Christy Crutchfield
Release date June 24, 2014

Book Details:
5 x 7.5″ paperback
200 pages
List price $14.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-9887503-8-8

“Christy Crutchfield writes like she’s been alive for centuries—and not just alive, but taking notes. This book is wise in a way I’d almost forgotten books can be, as well as vivid and real and solid and sad. I read it, I loved it, and I only hope that Crutchfield writes another one soon so I can read that, too.”
—Ben Loory


portrait by Rachel B. Glaser
portrait by Rachel B. Glaser

Mike Young
Release date July 29, 2014

Book Details:
6 x 9″ paperback
100 pages
List price $14.95
ISBN 13: 978-0-9887503-9-5

“Mike Young makes fun seem like work, makes work seem like love, makes love seem like slogan, makes slogan seem like poem, makes poem seem like loss, makes loss seem like more.” —BOMB Magazine


photo by Mike Wilkes
photo by Mike Wilkes

Valparaiso, Round the Horn
Madeline ffitch
short stories
Release date September 16, 2014

Book Details:
5 x 7.5″ paperback
200 pages
List price $14.95

How are we transported? Why do we believe each other? What is our tendency towards legend? How do we immortalize one another? What is ritual to the avowed non-believer? How can we feel such heartbreak about someone who died before we were born? Will we ever understand each other? Is there grace in misunderstanding?


the author
the author

Eat, Knucklehead
Craig Griffin
Release date November 4, 2014

Book Details:
7 x 10″ paperback
140 pages
List price $16.95

Eat, Knucklehead! is a series of letters from a father to his 20-something son, a guy who hasn’t learned to cook for himself yet and is spiraling on fast food and microwave dinners. The father gives him some recipes, and tips, and shares stories from his own twenties.



cover: Adam Robinson
cover: Adam Robinson

Our Primary Focus:
Interviews on Publishing and the New Business of Books

edited by Adam Robinson

Book Details:
(140ish pages)
List price $8.95

A collection of interviews about small press culture, featuring talks with Hobart’s Aaron Burch, Ugly Duckling Presse’s Matvei Yankelevich, Submittable’s Michael Fitzgerald, independent booksellers like Karen Lillis and much more.

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Sneak Peek of Craig Griffin’s Eat, Knucklehead!

This is Craig's drawing of our friend Bill having a beer.
This is Craig’s drawing of our friend Bill having a beer.

PGP is putting out Craig Griffin‘s cookbook, Eat, Knucklehead! next year. The concept of the book is that it’s a series of letters from a father to his 20-something son, a guy who hasn’t learned to cook for himself yet, so the father gives him some recipes, and tips, and shares stories from his own twenties. I’m looking forward to this book because, at 36, I still haven’t figured out what to eat.

Craig just sent me an update. Now he’s going to illustrate the book from the perspective of the guy’s mother. He also sent me a list of subjects that he’s including in the book. They look at least as funny as they are appetizing. This is a very early, unofficial sneak peek—there are about twice as many headings in the works, and things are subject to change, but here are some highlights from his long list:

  • Drinking is fun and painful. Cooking with booze and for a hangover
  • 420 Degrees. Baking with grass and awesome stuff to eat while zooted
  • Goin’ camping. Stories of the outdoors and cooking over a campfire
  • And now cook her breakfast in bed, dammit
  • Nothing says I’m Sorry I Love You like this food
  • Halftime better than the Stones. Cooking for the Big Game
  • Impress the In-laws for the holidays
  • Cookin’ with the BLUES

An excerpt is coming now posted in the December issue of Everyday Geniusa food issue edited by Amy McDaniel.

Craig Griffin lives in Chicago, where he works as a freelance illustrator and likes to cook. He designed the cover of Matthew Savoca’s book, I Don’t Know I Said.

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Drawing a Book Cover for the Esteemed Adam Robinstein


craigI’ve known and been friends with Adam Robinson for going on fifteen years now. Though I’ve been drawing all my life, I cut my indie art teeth with him drawing fliers promoting various college parties we hosted, or t-shirts advertising our basement speakeasy, long before I ever had designs on making a full-time gig of sketching and coloring. We go back a long way. And ever since Publishing Genius sprang from his head, I’ve hoped I’d one day get a call to design a cover for one of his books. Be careful what you wish for.

[Before you read on, here’s a DISCLAIMER: Though I’m close friends with Adam and he counts as one of my near-and-dearest, parts of what’s to come might paint him as overly critical or vacillating. I hold his eye for detail and his vision for the final product in the highest regard. I learned a lot throughout, and am more than thankful to have worked with him on this cover. Maybe I just get to be droll because I love him so much and know he won’t be sore. Don’t you try it. Or, if you do, watch your back.]

So, while g-chatting about a play we’ve been writing together for years, I read the question I’ve longed for since I got my copy of the awesome El Greed by the even awesomer David NeSmith in the mail: “Would you be interested in doing the cover for Matthew Savoca’s book, I Don’t Know I Said?”

Though I’m new to slogging my wares, this wasn’t my first rodeo. When Adam asked me, I was finishing a t-shirt run for this great new band. In that process, I’d sketched a few ideas, the band and I discussed them, I submitted a final design, they approved and we ran with it. Ah, the simplicity of musicians. (Sweatpants was obviously a hobby for Adam.)

origbeargatorProbably the most satisfying aspect to this process was reading Savoca’s book. I’m not sure if that’s something folks designing better covers than me normally do, but it was integral for finding my starting point. Once I’d finished the book, which is about a guy and girl in their twenties trying to figure out their lives, I sketched five ideas. I drew a couple designs with a lamppost, a motel room scene, a landscape with a car and lightning striking, and as a joke, I drew a bear and an alligator dancing. Scan Adjust Click Send. The next morning I awoke to a message from Adam. He liked the motel room scene, thought the lightning was cool but maybe too intense, and sure-enough-and-shoulda-known, his favorite was the bear and the alligator. Something I’d done wrong with my saving the files to Dropbox had distorted the images, so he told me to work on some new sketches trying different positions showing more of the gator with the dancing bear and maybe throw in a more vicious version, with some teeth.  I should say that prior to this project my relationship with Dropbox had been, um, romantic in a very adolescent way. This girl I was sweet on dropped some songs in there for me to listen to. I put some in there for her. Adam’s given me a brand new appreciation for the wonder of this service. Dropbox rules. So I stuck a few drawings of bears and alligators in there and Adam chose a couple he liked. I added color to those.

thumbnailAn extended email conversation followed that can basically be boiled down to:

“Are you sure?”

“I think so.”

“But are you really sure?”


Somewhere during that exchange Savoca’s opinion was sought, and much to my surprise, he approved. “This is really happening?” I thought. I crossed myself and sat down at my table.


gatoreyeI pounded out an inked drawing in a night that I thought captured what Adam had liked in the sketches and with the idea. It also satisfied my high expectations for my work, so bonus. I scanned the drawing into my computer, colored it in Photoshop, adding streaks in the background that I thought brought some intensity, sat back and admired, and dropped it in the Box. I went to bed content with and proud of myself and Adam was all like, “What the hell happened to the original idea? Where are the colors? Why’d you change it?” Deflated, I reopened the file, “IDKIS Cover ART.psd” and got back to work.


B color check
screenshot color checkWell, “IDKIS Cover Art” went through versions 2-5 before it became “IDKIS Cover ART hopeful final.” Then came “Bear Hinted Alligator,” which went through versions “a,” “b,” c,” “d,” “e,” “c2,”“abcde,” “2abcde,” “again,” “again again,” and “again with text.” Adam never saw the files titled, “If it were my cover,” and its numerous versions. All the while he was tweaking his criticism to address the sometimes-small-sometimes-very-large changes I was making to the drawing and design. Suggestions as simple as an adjustment to the gator’s color and as bold as removing the gator altogether were considered and addressed. What had started as a personal goal of completion of nine days was stretching into the third week. Finally, we reached a series of designs we thought we could approach Matthew with, but Adam rightly sought the opinions of folks in the know out east, while I showed what we’d come up with to our mutual friend and my roommate, Bill. Bill said, “That looks more like an alligator than that does.”

2nd Guess eARCG
The file, “Second Guessing Myself” was born. Then came “a” “b” “bAR” “bARCG.” More opinions were sought. “That looks like a croissant,” someone who was hungry said. On the font: “It looks a little haunted house.” Six versions of that file later, I think we’ve settled on a cover.

You tell me.


Check out more C.W. Griffin at his Tumblr.

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Winter Walks

craigs drawing

Being my diary of the Bad Freaking Idea Book Tour
– (which was conducted in January of 2011) –

Joe and I left Baltimore on Sunday morning and arrived in the late afternoon at Benji and Sarah’s house. We ate tortilla chips with homemade salsa and stood around in the kitchen while Benji and Sarah prepared a roasted chicken that they knew. I think Benji had plucked the chicken earlier that day (perhaps not that particular chicken, though he had plucked other chickens and even a duck that afternoon. He had a bag of them). After dinner and cleaning the dishes, Benji and Joe and I went for a short walk in their small town of Bluffton, OH. Sarah stayed home with their amazing young children, Ellie and Josiah. Then the kids were asleep and we all played a couple rounds of Bid Tricks together and drank some of the apple cider Benji had messed with.

The next morning Sarah made us sausage that had been in a pig that they used to hang out with and eggs from a chicken that gives them in particular eggs. In my coffee I put cream from a jug of milk that was in their fridge. Benji scooted out for work and Joe and I hit the road for Chicago, IL, a five hour drive. We tooled up a state road for much of the trip and I thought, “Yes, this is the REAL AMERICA.” I ate a double decker taco in Indiana. When we arrived in Chicago we picked up Craig right there on Michigan Avenue and we went to the Billy Goat Tavern under the bridge downtown to wait for John Dermot Woods, who was coming in by air.

John having arrived shortly afterward, we drove up Lake Shore Drive to snatch up Bill and our Chicago gang was complete. We visited with Sarah (different Sarah) there in Sarah’s Rogers Park apartment and drank a beer and petted Bill’s very large dog, Hamlet. I think the dog is named Hamlet because it is the size of a small town — or because it’s a Great Dane. Then we went to the reading at The Whistler but it was closed so we went to the bar across the street and had a couple pitchers. Zach Dodson showed up looking nice. It was about 6 so we went to the reading.

The Whistler is a very handsome bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park. Already several shining literary luminaries were there; it was like a mini-AWP. I wonder if that is what it’s always like in Chicago? I don’t know if I would be able to handle it. The reading went well in spite of all the bars and beers — I opened up with a few poems then introduced Zach Dodson. Man, I love Zach Dodson on a stage. He knows what an audience wants and has a keen sense of what an audience is going to do; before I got on stage he said, “Don’t worry, people pay attention,” and then he owned the room. Kathryn Regina read delicate poems, one by herself and one by Chelsea Minnis. In many rooms, I think, it might have been difficult to hear a poem read as quietly as she does, but I think Kathryn could still a biker bar. I want to attend the Kathryn Regina School of Poetry Reading. Then Joe and John read and Bill heckled them. Then there was something called Movie-okey and that was amazareehing. Zach pretended he was the dog from The Neverending Story, dig?

A stranger who was just a friend we hadn’t met yet let us crash at her apartment. Sarah had arrived and Bill had taken my car back up to her place so we spent the morning (and money) trying to find it. Then we scooped up John in a nearby suburb (he had bailed early, with a friend) and spent a couple hours trying to find the way to another suburb to hang out with some more dogs and get Craig’s stuff so he could come with us on the rest of the trip. At one point Craig, who did all the driving, pulled into a parking lot to turn around and I leapt from the car and upchucked four times. That was the low point of the trip and it was out of the way early and Craig drove us on to Milwaukee where we went to Beans & Barley, an old fave where I met up with Jon Burks who made me a smoothie with Source of Life and I was healed. John had Source of Life too — he said he couldn’t turn that down.

Then we went to Fuel for coffee and then we went to a new hip restaurant called Honey Pie and I ordered Mac n’ Cheese but I could not eat it. So basically for the past 36 hours I had eaten a double decker taco and lots of beer and a smoothie with Source of Life. I was feeling about 60%. After dinner we went back to Sasa and Dimitri’s house, which was a house I had lived in from 2000 till 2001. The phone number has my name in it; I forgot about that. At Sasa’s house we played a couple rounds of Bid Tricks and looked at pictures with Sasa and it was just a great and calm place to be. It was so comfortable after the strange day trying to get out of Chicago. We went to sleep and I woke up refreshed.

We went to Comet and I ordered two eggs but could only eat a little bit. Then we went to Woodland Pattern and looked at the amazing books. They had fronted a copy of my book, and Mike Young’s and Stephanie Barber’s. It really made me happy to see that. I sold them some more and met Carl Saffron and Chuck Stebelton and felt happy. Then Craig and Joe and John and I went for a walk on Brady Street, in Milwaukee’s east side, then we went to the Uptowner for $5 pitchers. Then it started to snow lightly and we walked to some place that used to be Onopa and had microbrews. Then my old bandmate Joe Riepenhoff called and we went and checked out his art gallery studio that was down the street. I was impressed and motivated by their work; the show at the gallery was lovely and Joe’s little recording setup was an inspiring use of space.

Then I dropped Joe and John and Craig off at Riverhorse and went to pick up Toby, my old good Milwaukee friend that was meeting up with us for dinner and to go to our reading at Salacious Banter. Toby and I went back to Riverhorse and Scott, the owner, was standing rounds for us. That was a real treat and an honor. He bought all of our books. I remembered instantly why I loved Riverhorse. Also at the bar there was Bad Leave Steve, whom we met earlier at Uptowner. He was running for Alderman and kept telling anti-Catholic jokes. I challenged Bad Leave Steve to a game of pool and had a hard time letting him win and I am a bad pool player. Finally we picked up Sasa and went to a crappy diner in Bayview for gyros. The reading was nice; I was happy to see John Riepenhoff and Paul Druecke and Robert Baumann (and his girlfriend). The room was the opposite of Chicago. Well, no, not the opposite. It’s just that it was always quiet, not just when people were reading. At this reading, John and Joe and I had to carry the full weight of the show because no locals were with us. We read for a longer amount of time. No one laughed at my jokes. I am not sure they knew I was making jokes. But this was Joe’s favorite reading. We are indebted to Mike Hauser for coordinating it for us. After hanging out at the bar there for a while, we moved to Nessun Dorma where they had $2 16oz cans of Bitburger and then at bar time we retired to our hotel, which Toby had arranged for us. That was the nicest night of sleep, the only one during which all four of us had a bed. However, I dreamt that John said the pillows smelled bad and the night was restless for me because of that.

The next morning was Thursday, January 6. We left immediately for Minneapolis and arrived at Bryan’s house in the late afternoon. He showed us around the new place, a small place, and when his wife Kim came home with a six pack of beer we each had one except Bryan, who doesn’t drink. Back in the day he also didn’t drink, but he was still invaluable at parties. He always had good ideas for things to do and his laughter can get pretty loud. After we drank a beer we all went for a walk to the Mississippi River which was right there in their town. We walked Henry, their hound dog, to it. People in Minneapolis put ice rinks in their yards. It gets pretty cold and snowy there, you see.

After the walk we hurried off to meet up with the other reading people for dinner. We ended up going to 331, a very comfortable, black-painted room that did some interesting things with lamps. It was nice to meet Anne Shaw of Providence (formerly of Milwaukee) and Lightsey Darst of Minneapolis (formerly of Tallahassee, FL, if I’m not mistaken). I ate a bratwurst, some chips and two pickles; I was back on the eating thing. Then we hurried a few doors down to Rogue Buddha Gallery. MC Hyland was there already and had set up a wonderful reading in a handsome gallery space. There was a cooler of PBR’s which is the best kind of cooler. Laura Brandenberg read first and had a really fetching style. She seemed punky and was funny and danced a little when she read. Then Lightsey Darst read the heavy poems from her Coffee House Press book. She kept saying they were heavy poems, and they were, but they were not unenjoyable. She gave the audience sidelong glances. Then I read and I opened up with a bit of standup comedy. There was some laughing. I sat down and Craig made me feel like it had been my best reading, as if he was surprised with how good it was. He only drew one picture of me. All along he had been drawing pictures of me in his black book. Anne Shaw read and John read some more and so did Joe. Then we all went back to 331 and Kim brought us several beers for the table because there were no pitchers. That was great.

When we got home I fell on the floor and tried to make Henry the hound dog cuddle but he was too skittish. Then I was asleep. In the morning when I woke up I realized Craig and John and I had done that 3 Stooges thing where we slept head to toe. Bryan was awake making coffee and we talked about apps then everyone else woke up and we all talked about apps. Then we went to the Seward Cafe and I ate half of the Green Earth and after that we left for Madison. Snow had fallen during the night and there were cars all over off the road. Some were flipped over all the way. One was on its side and you could see the driver in it and I thought of the movie Weekend by Godard. It was like that for a while then it cleared up an we arrived in Madison to cows and the best homemade pizza I’ve ever eaten.

That was at Fred and Bethany’s beautiful farm house, which is heated by woodstove. The pizza was so good it bears repeating: it was the Best Homemade Pizza I’ve ever even heard of. It was also incredibly filling and I could only eat half of it but I struggled through to the crust and then ate that except I gave a little bit to Georgia the white dog and a little bit to Harper, the yellow lab I used to hang out with back in the day when Bethany and I were roommates in her palatial Kankakee home. Then we drove into Madison proper for our reading at Avol’s Bookstore. Ron, the owner, was a gracious host and conversationalist, and I picked his brain a little about operating a bookstore. Our reading there was, again, just the three of us and we all were practiced hands at it. We all read different material that night, too, and I dedicated my first three poems to Craig.

We went back to Fred and Bethany’s and played Cranium, which I don’t think anyone in the world has played since 2007. It was fun; Craig and Joe and I beat John and Fred and Bethany in a come-from-behind battle. At about 12:15am I asked John what time it is and he said 12:15am about and I said, That’s good right, and he nodded his head so I went to sleep. A few hours later Craig and Bethany, drunker now after having played darts for a while, came and put whipped cream all over my face. They tried to put my hand in warm water so I would pee but I resisted. The water was nearly scalding. The three of us climbed into Craig’s guest bed and Craig kept trying to cuddle with Bethany so she left then he and I talked about going on a cruise and he finally fell asleep. Then I fell asleep but he was snoring loudly so I woke up and took a bath. Then Fred woke up and made the most amazing pancakes known to man. They had onions and wild rice in them, and nuts. No one man or woman born has eaten better pancakes. We all drank a lot of coffee, too.

At about noon it was time to take John back to the airport in Chicago, so we did that. Then we met up with Kathryn Regina one last time on our way out of town. When we got just passed Merrilville, Indiana it was snowing terribly hard out and we couldn’t see anything so we got a motel room and watched the end of the Jets game. Then we woke up and drove back to Benji’s house and watched the Ravens kill Kansas City and Joe and I left and got home at just after midnight yesterday morning, Monday, January 10, and that is how everything went on our The Bad Freaking Idea Book Tour.