Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Archive for ‘Publishing’

How to Not Get a Literary Agent

January 30, 2012 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Publishing

At the end of 2010 I decided I would write one story every day in 2011 and post them on a website called, appropriately enough, The Story of the Day. At the end of the year, I figured, I’d have enough material to put together a really entertaining book. By that time, word of my project would have spread across the Internetoverse. I would be feted as the next so-and-so (is it Mike Birbiglia now? Is that who we like?) and literary agents would be crawling all over each other to sign me up, like maggots on a tasty piece of rotten banana.

As so often happens with projects that are started for all the wrong reasons, this one flamed out rather quickly. It wasn’t an abject failure … I followed through in January and February, fell off a little in March, and then totally went to pot in the months after that. By June I’d posted 86 stories. That’s not a bad total, and some of those stories are pretty darn entertaining. But it’s still a far cry from 365, which is how many days there are in a year (in case you’re one of those people who doesn’t know about time and math).

The project wasn’t a complete waste of time, because out of it came a series I consider one of my finest creations – Professor Blowjob and the Storm-Fighters of Courage. (You can read the series for yourself starting right here.) Prof. Blowjob embodies everything I enjoy about writing – ridiculous characters, absurd situations, juvenile humor, and gloriously awkward turns of phrase. It is most certainly not for everyone. But the people it is for, it is so, so for. And those people are, in my opinion, a criminally underserved market of readers. (more…)

Digital Versions of Johnny Astronaut and I, An Actress Now Available

November 17, 2011 By: Category: Publishing, Site Notices, Videos

Hello. Jeffrey Dinsmore here, publisher of Awkward Press. Back in the mid-2000s, I wrote two novels – Johnny Astronaut and I, An Actress: the Autobiography of Karen Jamey. These books sold out their print runs and have not been available since then.

This made me sad. I worked hard on these books and I have a lot of affection for them. They are really, really funny. I’ve always wished they were still out there, lightening the world’s mood in these dark days.

Well, now, with the magic of the eReader, I am pleased to say these books are finally available again. What’s more, they’re chock full of extra material for you to enjoy. What’s even more more, they are only $.99 each!

Here’s what your $1.98 will get you:

Johnny Astronaut by Rory Carmichael
(Buy it at

  • the complete text of the original sci-fi-hardboiled-disco-dancing adventure!
  • over 70 pages of bonus musings from “author” Rory Carmichael himself!

I An Actress: The Autobiography of Karen Jamey
(Buy it at

  • the unedited author’s cut of the novel, including a never-before-seen chapter that was cut from the original pressing!
  • a special essay from Karen Jamey on the James Frey memoir scandal!
  • three short stories by Jeffrey Dinsmore, including cult faves “Faggy on the Streets” and “The Alcoholic Monkey Who Took Over My Mind and Turned Me Into a Cold-Blooded Killer!”


Awkward Two Cover Unveiled, World Weeps with Anticipation

July 15, 2010 By: Category: Awkwardness, Publishing

Do you want to know what the new issue of Awkward looks like? It looks like this!

Awkward Two: Front

Awkward Two: Back

Thanks millions to illustrator Aaron Newman a/k/a Baarbarian for the kick-ass cover illustration and designers Holly & Andy at Rumors for the amazing layout! Pre-orders will be accepted soon … get your credit card ready!

Awkward One … Now Available on Amazon

July 06, 2010 By: Category: Awkwardness, Publishing

I got tired of using the same damn cover photo every time I blogged about Awkward One. So here's a random page from inside the book.

This is a big day for us. We’re starting to gear up for the release of Awkward Two, which will be available on Amazon right out of the gate. But first, I had to test the system to make sure Amazon would accept our merch. And what do you know? They did!

From this moment forth, Awkward One will be available at Amazon for $9. Here’s the thing about selling merch through Amazon: they only take a limited number of copies before they have proof that they could make a profit. 1, to be exact. I just sent them one copy, and I’d love for it to be out of their hands before they even receive it. So if you haven’t bought your copy yet and need one more item to get the super saver shipping, toss this bad boy onto your order. If we sell the only copy immediately, they will know that Awkward Press is a force to be reckoned with and hopefully order up a buttload of the next edition. The future of indie-publishing rests in your hands! Order your copy right now!

Optionally, if you’ve already read Awkward One and loved it, please click on over to Amazon and give us a review. The more the merrier!

Next stop, the Kindle! Awkward Press is taking the Internet by storm!

Super Secret Awkward Book and Film Project No Longer Super Secret

June 21, 2010 By: Category: Publishing


It’s been almost one year since we put out our first publication, Awkward One. A lot has happened in that time. Kyle had a movie at the Sundance film festival and wrote a well-received musical with Duncan Sheik. Clay had several plays open, had a story selected for Akashic’s Richmond Noir anthology, and wrote the book for a musical with Bruce Hornsby. I made two YouTube videos and a baby. A successful year for the founders of Awkward Press, all the way around.

When we first came up with the idea of printing a bookazine called Awkward, we decided to do 26 issues from A to Z, each of which would feature 5 short stories based around a unifying theme. The theme of the first issue was “Awkwardness,” natch. “Hey!” we said, after the first issue came out and became an international bestseller and the focus of several investigative reports by 60 Minutes, “Let’s shake things up for the second issue!” We determined that the theme of the second issue would be “Brevity,” and that it would feature short, short stories by 25 different authors. After all, rules are meant to be broken, right? Even when they’re rules that have never really been properly established and are of concern to absolutely no one except the poor book designers (Holly and Andy at Rumors! Holla!) who had to reconceptualize the entire publication.

And then along came the iPad, and suddenly, Everything Changed. Those paper-filled things we once called “books” are now confined to the trash heaps of our imaginations, and also the trash heaps that are not imaginary. People no longer want to waste their time painstakingly leafing through burdensome collections of dead trees to ingest the printed word. Now, we can all simply fire up our hip-screens and dive into words in a far-more engrossing and efficient manner. No longer do we have to struggle with the physically demanding act of turning a page. Even hands have become obsolete; a single finger is all most people need to get through their days. (more…)

Last Laugh Goes to … Mark Twain!

May 25, 2010 By: Category: Publishing

Well played, Mr. Clemens.

James Franco Totally Deserves that Book Deal

March 26, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Publishing

James Franco and Seth Rogen: Friends Forever!

Far be it from me to criticize other people for wanting to write. I like writing. I like reading. I like people to write good things that I can read, and I hope that I can return the favor every once in awhile with my own writing.

However, there comes a point when writing is so egregiously bad, that an intervention must be staged. Such is the case with James Franco.

Now, I have always had a soft spot for Franco. I’m pulling for the guy. He seems like a good guy, he’s a hell of an actor, and I love that he does whatever the fuck he wants to do. We need more actors like him out there, unconcerned with climbing the weird Hollywood ladder in which starring in a Roland Emmerich movie is the pinnacle of success. I love that he took a role on General Hospital, just because he could. And I love that he put his career on hold for awhile to get an MFA in writing from Columbia. That is a very respectable, decent thing to do if you are interested in pursuing a career as a writer.

Franco is still in college, but unlike most people who are still pursuing their MFAs, he already has a book deal with Scribner. Because he has an amazing agent. Because he is James Franco. See how that works? But no snark: I’m still pulling for you. We all use our connections to get what we want. And if I had as many connections as James Franco, you can bet to fuck that I’d have the best agent in the world.

But here’s the thing: if the story he just published in Esquire magazine is any indication, James Franco does not deserve to have a book deal. I have no problem with someone using his celebrity to publish a book if he has worked his ass off and learned how to be a writer. But here’s a bit of cold reality that your friends and family and book agent-with-comical-dollar-signs-in-his-eyes will not tell you, Franco: you are not ready. Maybe if you keep writing for a few years, you’ll hone your craft. You are clearly not without ability. But you need more guidance than people seem willing to give you, and you need it NOW.

Since apparently Scribner cannot afford to hire editors, and apparently Columbia’s MFA program does not offer much instruction, here are a few tips from a guy who’s managed to successfully make ALMOST MORE THAN $20,000 PER YEAR for at least 5 years now. In other words: a professional. (more…)

Awkward One Special Holiday Price

December 10, 2009 By: Category: Publishing, Site Notices

Awkward One: Now only $7!

Awkward One: Now only $7!

If you’re like me, you spend every waking moment in December lying on the floor in a fetal position, wracked with indecision over what to buy your friends and family for Christmas or whatever other quasi-religious festival of consumption you celebrate. You dream that someday someone will come along and alleviate your pain with the perfect gift idea, but your mental anguish has left you so incapacitated that all you can think to do is pull up your laptop computer and refresh over and over again, hoping beyond hope for some kind of sign.

Consider this your sign, friends.

For a limited holiday time only, we’ve reduced the price on Awkward One to $7! That’s less than 9 cents per page for a fantastic and handsome collection of short stories that most of the editors’ mothers agree is “readable!*” With prices this low, we should be in jail!

Awkward One is soft and bendy and compact and it adds a lovely dash of sophistication to a Christmas stocking or holiday candy sock. It is absolutely impossible to swallow and makes a wonderful teething tool for infants. Hell, rip it apart and use it as wrapping paper … we don’t care! At this price, you’ll still save money!

*not an actual quote

Order your copy now! Now now now now now now now! No, wait … okay, now!

Visit Lit Drift for a Free Copy of Awkward One!

October 30, 2009 By: Category: Press, Publishing, Site Notices

Still waiting to purchase that copy of Awkward One? Well, if you play your cards right, you might not have to! The good people at Lit Drift will be giving away ONE COPY AND ONE COPY ONLY of our precious gem of a book as part of their ongoing “Free Book Friday” contest. All you have to do is comment and you’ll be in the pot.

Even if you have already picked up your copy, Lit Drift is a great book site run by wonderful human beings and you must check them out right now because your life depends on it. Seriously. Lit Drift or death. What’s it gonna be?

If you enter the contest and are not picked, don’t despair. You can still totally buy one here. We have, like, 3 or 4 copies left.

Awkward On the Shelves / Submissions Announcement

October 02, 2009 By: Category: Publishing, Site Notices

A "public option", good sir? At long last, have you no decency left?

A "public option", good sir? At long last, have you no decency left?

Yes, I’ve been away for awhile. It probably won’t get much better for a couple of months. I’ve been furiously slaving away on my Green Jobs book. Which has nothing to do with Awkward, but everything to do with whether or not I will be able to eat. Well, maybe not eat, because I’m not really that poor. More like it is has everything to do with whether or not I will be able to afford the HD channels in my cable package.

Speaking of, how about this healthcare thing, huh? Crazy. I don’t really care what kind of “package” we end up getting, just so long as the status quo is maintained. If there’s one thing about our country that’s great, it’s how I have to spend two hours on the phone arguing with my insurance company every time I go to see a doctor. That’s how the founding fathers would have wanted it. There’s that great story in The People’s History of America where Thomas Jefferson goes to the doctor and he’s like, “what is this? You bleed me without asking for recompense, sir? Back to England with ye!” (Little known fact: Thomas Jefferson was part pirate.)

I haven’t rapped at ya’ about Awkward for awhile, but we are still very much alive and needing your support. Sales have been pretty slow since our party in New York, I think partly because I have stopped talking about it incessantly. If you have not bought a copy yet, I truly recommend doing so. Not just because I have a hilarious and mind-blowing story in the collection, but because it is a cover-to-cover masterpiece that children of all ages and mental abilities can enjoy. To that end:

1) We’re in a store! Just one. The one store that I happen to walk past on my way to work every day. Skylight Books, the best independent bookstore in Los Angeles, now has 5 copies of Awkward One. If you live in L.A. and don’t own a copy yet, please stop in and buy one so they will think we’re popular! If you don’t live in Los Angeles, buy it here! Now! Now now now!