What Is Red Lemonade?

09Sep11

I still don’t quite get it. I went to their reading and launch this week with Kio Stark headlining. And I realize it’s a new way of publishing launched by Richard Nash, former publisher of Soft Skull Press. I signed onto their site, and it looks like you can upload your manuscript and have people comment. But I feel like I don’t quite grasp it. Is it a self-publishing format similar to Lulu.com? Is it something more? Maybe the interactive comments are what make it new. I’m not sure. It looks like Richard approves what the site will publish, but readers give feedback. Maybe “The future of publishing” marketing speak surrounding it has stunned me and I haven’t come out of it, yet.

From the “About Us” page:

Red Lemonade is a publishing community of fiction and highly narrative non-fiction. We avoid labeling what we do but it tends to be risky, socially charged, misbehaving stuff. Red Lemonade is for the writers other publishers are afraid of.

But Red Lemonade is also a pilot for a massively ambitious adventure, to create a new platform (part webapp, part business process) for independent publishing, combining the best of editorial judgment and publicity moxie with community input into acquisition and promotion, and combining the tradition publisher/retailer process with digital publishing and limited editions. That’s called Cursor and that’s the platform powering Red Lemonade—a wee bit more about Cursor below.

This is all a work-in-progress, including this very About page. So we want your feedback, both to help Red Lemonade writers and readers become better at writing and reading, and to help Cursor become a platform that will make many publishers’ lives easier.

So here’s what the site lets you do in practice:

Reading

To read a Red Lemonade manuscript, just start at the Library. There you will find an array of work by community members which you can read at your leisure and which you can annotate on comment on simply by commenting on the home page of the manuscript or by highlighting a word, or sentence of paragraph.

To read a book picked for publication by Richard Nash with the input of the Red Lemonade community, see our Featured Books. These are available to be read in their entirety, for free, on this site, but also downloadable from our store [coming soon!] and all eBook retailers, and purchasable as trade paperbacks from our store [coming soon!] and from most book retailers, and case-by-case available in fabulous artisanal editions we’ll let you know about as they become available.

Also available in our Library are a selection of excerpts from the Evergreen Review, perhaps the most influential cultural magazine of the 20th century, run by Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press. We offer these excerpts, by writers such as Samuel Beckett, Frank O’Hara, Marguerite Duras and so forth to give some context to our efforts to be creating and supporting the independent publishers of the 21st century.

Writing, a.k.a. Submissions

To submit a manuscript. Eventually every registered community memner will be able to upload their own work for members to check out and recommend for full publication by Red Lemonade. For the moment though, if we allowed that, the site would crash! That’s why we call it “beta.” If you have a manuscript in need of submission, simply become a member and notify Richard from your Write Now page that you’ve got something to upload. He’ll add you to the list.

Keep in mind, though, that it is by getting the community engaged with your work that your work gets better and gets noticed and gets published. Just as, in real life, going to readings, taking classes, reading book and lit journals and blogs is a part of getting published, so it is here. For really, being published is just a means to an end, that of connecting with readers. So it is all about doing everything you can to be a part of the writing and reading community. So don’t sign off and wait for Richard to tell you you can upload your work—be a part of the community now. You’ll be glad you did 🙂

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