Autonomous Press is delighted to announce a special deal only for attendees of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication.
While Autonomous Press will not be selling books at this year’s conference, three founding partners of Autonomous Press, Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace, Michael Scott Monje, Jr., and Bridget Allen will be in attendance.
If you order any of our books online between now and 12:00pm CDT, Friday, April 8, and enter the coupon code HOTELDELIVERY, you get $3.25 off (the cost of economy shipping), and AutPress partners will deliver your books to you in person. Just enter your room number in the shipping information, or meet us during our “lobby hours” at a public location at the CCCC hotel or conference area.
Copies of Fading Scars and Defiant will have limited edition Lambda Literary Awards finalist stickers. Any books purchased with writings by Grace, Monje, or Allen will be signed by the authors. As always, your print books come with a free instant download ebook copy.
Coupon code: HOTELDELIVERY
Code works one time per email address. You can order multiple books, but make sure to buy them all at the same time/checkout.
Offer is only for attendees of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston.
We are happy to announce the editors for the second volume in the Spoon Knife Anthology series.
Dani Alexis Ryskamp is an editor and the Legal Coordinator for Autonomous Press and the author of “My Mother GLaDOS,” which appears in The Spoon Knife Anthology. Her research on neurodivergence and poetry also appears in The Hilltop Review. She actually wrote her own contributor bio for this post, which is a first.
Sam Harvey is a graduate student in rhetoric and professional communication at Saint Cloud State University. He begins his Ph.D. work in rhetoric and professional communication at Iowa State University in Fall 2016. Sam is also the author of “Journey to Self-Love in a Culture Demanding Self-Hate,” which appears in The Spoon Knife Anthology. He is feeling very odd writing his own bio and is going to proceed to go hide now.
The Call for Submissions
We are seeking submissions of poetry, fiction, and memoir for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber. This book will be the second in the series, following The Spoon Knife Anthology, released in March 2016 by NeuroQueer books. As part of the NeuroQueer family, Spoon Knife 2 focuses on neurodivergence and disability as they intersect and interact with queer issues. This includes queering disability and neurodivergence, as well as discussing how neurodivergence functions or fits with other aspects of a queer identity.
The phrase “test chamber” may be read in myriad ways: as an adjective + noun denoting a place (“the subject was placed in the test chamber”), as an imperative verb + direct object (“to find weakness, test (the) chamber”), as a compound verb (“test-chamber a round to check that your slide isn’t jammed”), and others not imagined here. These meanings are dynamic. That is, they coexist, interact, change, and complicate one another in various ways.
For the second volume in the Spoon Knife series, we seek to feature works that focus on one or more of the meanings of “test chamber” as it/they relate to neurodivergence, disability, and/or queer issues. What does it mean to be inside (or outside) the “test chamber”? To test the chamber? To test-chamber or to be test-chambered? More importantly, how do we approach the boundaries of neurodivergence, queerness, or both in a way that questions, subverts, blurs, or even embraces them – forcing ourselves and others to question the existence or permanence of the “test chamber” itself?
Or, if you prefer an alternate way in: play Portal. Write accordingly.
While we will consider any submissions that are on-topic and we do wish to solicit voices from a broad range of neurodivergent and disabled perspectives, preference will be given to authors who clearly identify as neuroqueer and whose work demonstrates a neuroqueer point of view.
Length and Format
Fiction and Memoir: 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header.)
Poetry: Up to 5 pieces of any length and style, provided they use the prompt above as a touchstone.
All submissions need to be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).
Deadline and Terms
Submissions are due by Monday, August 22, 2016. Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection no later than October 15, 2016. Please include a cover letter that makes it clear exactly how you are to be credited – we will reproduce these exactly, including punctuation and spacing. We will also need a 3-4 sentence bio for the contributors.
Hi everybody! Michael here, but I’m no longer your loyal leader of the NeuroQueer Books imprint. Nope. I got the thing up and running, but I’ve been saving a seat for my good friend and longtime editor (through Barking Sycamores, the journal that takes most of my work), N.I. Nicholson. My last act before moving behind the scenes to supervise our labor assignments and workflow on book production is going to be a good one, though: I’m giving you a sale, some pre-sales, and a song. First, the song, which celebrates everything I got into publishing to do:
AutPress Direct Overstock Sale
We do a lot of events and because of that, we wind up sending a lot of books out to make sure we have inventory. Over time, the extras make their way back to the press store from our partners, and as a result, we can accidentally wind up overstocked. When that happens, we need to recoup our storage space and make sure our books make it out into the world, and we’re doing that with an overstock sale. From now until St. Patrick’s Day (just because), we’re offering 40% off on two of our titles: Corbett OToole’s Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History and Michael Scott Monje, Jr.’s Defiant.
Fading Scars, if you have not encountered it yet, is a gripping, close-up autoethnography covering several important events in the history of disability rights, civil rights in the U.S., and disabled communities. It takes a close look at the way they have been constructed, the way research in disability studies impacts communities, and the way communities work to impact research that affects their lives. It is an important read for anyone who seeks to understand how the current landscape of the disability rights and disability justice movements came to be.
Defiantis part of my Shaping Clay series, alongside Nothing is Right and the soon-to-be released Imaginary Friends. In it, we join Clay Dillon shortly after he finally receives his autism diagnosis–at the age of thirty. As he seeks to navigate a professional life that finds his labor marginalized and devalued and a personal life thrown into turmoil by the collision between disability and a lack of access to basic medical services, Clay’s body begins to remember other divergences, and to force them into the foreground of his personal development. On top of its careful examination of the ways that adjunctification and workplace access impact disabled populations in the United States, the novel also takes an unflinching look at the violence that transgender individuals perpetuate against themselves when they attempt to deny their own nature.
Pre-Orders for New Releases
On top of our inventory reduction sale, we are also offering presales with instant ebook delivery for our U.S. customers. Like with our other titles, international customers are welcome to purchase the ebooks as long as they have a valid payment method, but we can not ship abroad. This March, our new releases include two anthologies edited by our new NeuroQueer Books coordinating editor N.I. Nicholson, as well as my (Michael’s) newest novel, Imaginary Friends.
Barking Sycamores published its first issue in the spring of 2014 and from the beginning, it dedicated itself to providing a medium for neurodivergent voices in literature and art. In partnership with Autonomous Press’s NeuroQueer Books, the journal proudly presents its Year One anthology. Collected in this volume are its first four issues, first published online in 2014 and 2015.
FEATURING WORK BY: Sarah Akin, Mikey Allcock, Samm Almester, Amy Barlow Liberatore, Matthew Brown, Cathy Carlisi, Ellie Castellanos, Tasha Chemel, Deanna Christian, Robin Como, Allen Davis, Melissa DeHart, Heather Dorn, fayola, Leila Fortier, Kimberly Gerry Tucker, Jessica Goody, Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace, Michael Lee Johnson, Duane L. Herrmann, Madison Kallisti, Jillian Koopman, Thomas Krampf, Craig Kurtz, Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, Chris McLean, Laura Merleau, David Mitchell, Michael Scott Monje Jr., N.I. Nicholson, A.J. Odasso, Emily Paige Ballou, Thomas Park, C.F. Roberty, Miss Roberts, Maranda Russell, Barbara Ruth, Giorgia Sage, Phillip Sroka, Lucas Scheelk, A.D. Stone, Bethany Tap, Jonathan Travelstead, Candy Waters, Angela Weddle, Christopher Wood-Robbins
In Imaginary Friends, “The strange and terrible saga of Clay Dillon begins with the books Nothing Is Right and Imaginary Friends,and also includes Defiant (which takes place when Clay is 30 years old). The whole saga should be required reading for anyone who works in any capacity with the sort of young people who are often described asgifted, disturbed, troubled, oppositional, defiant, or exceptional…
In a way, Clay himself is an “imaginary friend” to the adults in his life, insofar as when they look at him they don’t see him but instead see an imaginary child, a product of their own misconceptions and projections who has no resemblance (except in the external physical sense) to the real Clay Dillon. Every adult in his life is consistently one hundred percent wrong, all of the time, about Clay’s motivations, needs, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions… They can imagine neither the extent and nature of his difficulties, nor the complexity and sophistication of his thinking.
In this respect, Imaginary Friends constitutes a warning to any adults – especially those in “helping” professions – who are so arrogant as to presume that they can truly understand the realities of their young charges.” – Nick Walker, from the Afterward to the book
Last but definitely not least, The Spoon Knife Anthology collects the work of over 25 authors, including Autonomous Press partners, disability studies scholars, established prose and poetry artists, and emerging storytellers from a variety of backgrounds. Together, these writers deliver a series of meditations on compliance and consent that are simultaneously intimate and alienating.
“This jewel of a collection had me crying, laughing in parts, and becoming outraged. I hope that everyone in the care-taking communities of medicine and mental health reads these rare and wonderful first hand accounts for their own education.”
– Judy Grahn, author of A Simple Revolution, Another Mother Tongue, and Love Belongs to Those Who Do the Feeling
We hope you enjoy them! And I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with some announcements about our June books! You can check out the pre-orders and the whole back catalogue at shop.autpress.com!
Autonomous Press is proud to have Dani Alexis Ryskamp aboard as our newest editor and your future curator for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber. On top of her work in activism an blogging, Dani’s writing includes fiction, research and academic essay writing, and a variety of freelance genres. Joining our press isn’t her first job in the industry, and because of that, her experience will help us bring our mission into focus. For instance, when she says:
Your time, effort, and attention are valuable. When you focus them to produce a piece of writing, that writing has value. When you give that writing away without being compensated for it, you are giving charity. It’s a gift. And like all gifts, you are notobligated to give it.
Naturally, a lot of companies realize that simply asking people to give them charity doesn’t fly. So “write for us for free!” is often (though not always!) masked with other terms, like “on spec” or my personal favorite, “for exposure.”
Which is why we’re also glad that she was able to say this, without even having to prompt us to try it:
Autonomous Press, founded in 2015, has published only one book containing the works of disabled writers who were not paid cash money for their contributions. The writers were, h0wever, compensated with at least one physical printed copy of the book apiece (to my knowledge, The Mighty does not print copies of contributors’ submissions for distribution). Contributors to the press’s second compilation, The Real Experts, were paid with contributor copies and cash; contributors to its third, The Spoon Knife Anthology, will be paid in similar form. Every single-author book Autonomous Press has produced to date is also paying royalties to its respective author.
(Incidentally, AutPress’s payment to me for my own contribution to Spoon Knifeis the most I have ever been paid for a single fiction piece.)
If AutPress can produce physical, printed books with a four-figure startup budget and compensate our contributors, The Mighty has no excuse for running a digital-only realm on a seven-figure startup budget and not paying its writers. And as for “exposure,” a print publication outranks a digital one on a CV every time.
And that’s why we’re also happy to announce one last thing:
There’s a blog network coming. And we’re paying.
For now, please check out the rest of Dani’s post about The Mighty, along with her advice about spec work and “exposure.”
On behalf of Michael and The Puzzlebox Collective, the Autonomous Press partnership would like to invite you to read the rest of the post with the benefit of a soundtrack. The embedded video is electronica (seizure sensitivity warning), but it is more in line with a World style than a heavy, warbly Dubstep beat. The visual is simply the band’s album cover art, a distorted logo, and their name, Laibach. The video should not autoplay.
From the Introduction to The Spoon Knife Anthology, “What is a Spoon Knife?” by Michael Scott Monje, Jr:
The first question I got from my partners and blogging friends when I started talking about spoon knives was “What is that?” Every one of them had heard about Christine Miserandino’s “The Spoon Theory,” of course, and they could tell I was referencing it, but none of them seemed to be familiar with traditional woodworking tools, because they didn’t see that reference or its connection to activist work. Not at first, at least. Once I posted some pictures of various spoon knives and the bowls they were used to carve, the idea caught fire. …
… [T]he spoon knife, that old woodworker’s companion that looks something like the tool it is used to make, only sharp and nasty and quick. A spoon knife is used to carve the bowl, which makes it curved, like a melon baller. It shaves away the unnecessary parts of the wood in layers, too, so it has to be sharp and strong, to keep slicing and slicing until it has peeled enough to make a depression in an otherwise smooth stick. It looks thin, like something made from an old beer can, but in a master’s hands, it rewards patience and precision.
If we’re keeping with our extended metaphor, though, then we still have to ask the question: What is a spoon knife? We know what our symbol does, but what in our community is capable of doing that thing—cutting away layers of what shouldn’t be there, to leave us with the ability to do more, reach further, and nourish ourselves more successfully. What looks thin and weak, but nonetheless digs deep channels into reality?
My belief is that the spoon knife is a story. For some, it’s an expression of solidarity that refills our emotional reserves even as it bolsters the morale of the one who offered support. For others, it might be an example that provides the cognitive scaffolding needed to get out of an abusive situation, or even just to recognize one in the first place. It’s also possible for it to be a confrontation, a reality that will not yield to our need until we learn to wield it and to control its damage with unwavering precision.
NeuroQueer Books is proud to present the roster for the first volume of The Spoon Knife Anthology.
You heard that right, folx. First volume. In a few months, you will see a call go up for next year’s edition, and it will be edited by Autonomous Press’s newest partner, Dani Alexis Ryskamp. She currently blogs at Autistic Academic and managesNeuroQueer. Before we can start taking submissions, though, Dani has to select her out-of-press editor because the book needs 2 people on it, and then they need to write a specific call that fits the second volume’s title.
Next year’s edition will be called The Spoon Knife Anthology 2: Test Chamber. After that, we plan on rotating the editorship until every NQ Books editor has a chance to take on at least one volume. After that, who knows? It all depends on you, our readers and writers.
Here is the list of contributors:
Athena the Architect
Dani Alexis Ryskamp
Elizabeth J. Grace
Kassiane A. Sibley
Marcel Price, a.k.a. Fable the Poet
Michael Scott Monje, Jr. (ed.)
N.I. Nicholson (ed.)
Samuel T. Harvey
The Spoon Knife Anthology: Thoughts on Compliance, Defiance, and Resistance will be available March 15th from NeuroQueer Books. Stay tuned for preorder and early ebook sales on the AutPress Direct store.
[Image description: Mechanized flesh and architecture combine in a dystopian landscape that evokes depersonalization and desolation in this art from Selene Depakh. Over top, the title of the anthology and the editorial credentials stand in stark white.]
Hi there everyone, Michael here. I’ve been talking to Corbett, and she thinks that we need to do something to help people who are just discovering us through The Real Experts, to give them a little extra incentive to check out the rest of our store offerings. After putting our heads together with the other partners, we have set up a few deals for you. These sets and bundle packs will only be available at these prices until December 13th, and they will be fulfilled in time for delivery on or before December 24th.
Each pack also comes with our complimentary ebooks for the books you purchase, and the ebook-only sets are available too. Just remember that our downloads are .zip archives, so you need to open them up to extract the ebooks in the format your device uses.
If you’ve been waiting to check out what our press has to offer, or if you’re looking to see more from an AutPress author you like, here are your chances. We’ve got three specials for you:
Recommended Reads from Autistic Activists is a 2-pack that includes both Typed Words, Loud Voices and The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children. It shouldn’t be too surprising that you’ll find a lot of overlap in the writers between the two, and both feature outlooks and discussions from a variety of autistic standpoints. You can check out ordering options for that one here.
Serial Fiction by Michael Scott Monje, Jr. is a complete set of every individual book Michael has put out so far, at a deep discount that you won’t find in other venues. These selections include Nothing is Right, Defiant, Mirror Project, and A Waking Narrative. If you’ve seen Michael in Barking Sycamores,Neuroqueer, our anthologies, or if you follow Imaginary Friends on the Shaping Clay blog, here’s your chance to get caught up on what came before. You can grab the bundle at this link.
AutPress Holiday Press Pack features all four releases from our first year together: Fading Scars; Defiant; Typed Words, Loud Voices; and The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children. Ordering information is here.
TASH UPDATE for Wide Release: Autonomous Press and TASH had a very encouraging meeting this morning on the topics of Communication Justice and research. TASH reaffirmed their powerful commitment to human rights and quality of life for people, which puts us clearly on the same side, and so we look forward to a fruitful partnership. Stay tuned for more detailed news about future developments soon. – 11/27/15
Following the statement from TASH regarding their official stance that they will not support or directly endorse facilitated communication, the partners at Autonomous Press have decided that we cannot do business with the organization or any representative acting in their capacity as such while this policy is in effect. As a press started by a majority autistic partnership, one whose own members type to communicate frequently, we do not feel comfortable attending, selling at, or promoting this organization or their events in any way.
We make this decision with a heavy heart. Many of us have friends on the board. In addition to that fact, though, one of our editors on Typed Words, Loud Voices, our groundbreaking anthology of typers, is herself an FC activist. She has presented at TASH to specifically address the ways she communicates and barriers caused by false and ableist skepticism leading to poorly designed and agenda-driven “studies.” We can only imagine the strain that this institutional decision has placed on her, implying as it does that TASH does not stand behind those that they invite to share their knowledge and ideas.
It is out of a desire to make our commitment to representing voices like hers, and not to privilege some forms of accommodation and some forms of communication over others, that we make this move:
Until TASH officially embraces FC and the right of all disabled persons to communicate with the methods they choose for themselves, Autonomous Press will be forced to avoid the TASH conference, withdraw outreach funding from any travel grants being used by TASH presenters applying for our assistance, and withdraw our memberships (for those of us who are members). The partners are also asking that AutPress authors who wish to present at TASH during this period, however long or short it is, do so without promoting the books they have published with us or directly tying them in to their abstracts (casual mentions are fine).
We are happy to fully embrace any organization within our community that supports and embraces our mission and the authors we represent. When an organization leaves itself open to the idea that the books, presentations, and other intellectual work by facilitated communicators are not genuine, that is the same thing as stating that they are open to the idea that we have created false or counterfeit scholarly work. It’s unfortunate, but we cannot have a relationship with organizations that take such a position and declare it to be principled.
We look forward to communication justice becoming, once again, a priority for TASH, and await a new institutional statement showing it.
Hi everyone, Michael here again. It’s been a busy week at AutPress world headquarters, and that means good things for you. First things first, this is what it looks like when you have a whole case of The Real Experts sitting on a shelf in your closet:
That’s right. We got out copies early. If you’ve already ordered, we will be shipping copies starting on Monday, and it will take us a few days to get them all out in the mail. If you’ve been waiting, you can order now and we will ship your copy as soon as we get to your spot in the queue.
That’s not all we have for you, though. My first two novelsare both in stock and ready to ship. In Nothing is Rightyou will experience Clay Dillon’s search for his first friend as he navigates gradeschool for the first time and runs up against the expectations and special education screening procedures found in public education in the late 1980s. This book introduces Van, the cyborg who plays such an integral role in Imaginary Friends, and it also sets the stage for the struggle the character faces in Defiant.
Mirror Projecttakes you into an alternate universe where you are on the other side of a computer screen, witnessing the first artificial intelligence to develop the capacity to broadcast its presence. As she describes the ways in which her human creators tried to limit her experience and dictate her identity, the reader must ask: Do I trust what she says about herself? And if I don’t, what if I’m wrong?
Both of these titles were originally self-published, and Autonomous Press will be selling their first editions until we are ready to roll out reprints with new critical introductions and redesigned covers. Those titles, along with our existing listings, are all in stock and ready for you too. Don’t believe me, though. Check out my closet:
Remember, our books come with instant ebook copies, and orders of 3 or more books get free economy shipping.
Hi everyone, Michael here. As most of you know, I’m the coordinating editor for NeuroQueer Books, which means I manage the calendar and help shepherd our releases through production, making sure we have the art and other resources we need when it comes time to publish. Today, I’m happy to announce that two out of our three March books have their art in place already, so I’m going to show them off for you.
First off, we have my next novel, Imaginary Friends. For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, the book follows autistic protagonist Clay Dillon as he begins the second grade and navigates the complex family dynamics that come with both religious education and the coming of a new sibling. Along the way, Clay’s powerful imagination brings his lessons to life. Sometimes this brings him a new understanding that allows him uncommon insight into the people around him. At other times, it produces such overwhelming thoughts that he is unable to do more than cope with the output of his brain as it wrestles withe multiple immediate perceptions.
For the cover, the artist (Chris Henry) chose to craft Van’s helmet. Van is one of Clay’s most immediate imaginary creations, and he played a big role in both this book and my first novel, Nothing is Right. In the background, we can see the skyline of Clay’s LEGO fortress in silhouette, so it doesn’t give up its details. To learn more about the story, feel free to start reading the rough draft as it finishes up on my blog. The chapters will stay up for about a month after the serial concludes, and then the fully edited final cut will be ready for you in March.
March also brings us our first NQ Books collection, The Spoon Knife Anthology. I’m editing this one with N.I. Nicholson of Barking Sycamores, the literary journal for the discussion of neurodivergent literature and craft. Our third release for the NQ Books launch will actually be a Barking Sycamores collection that will bring together many of the writings from the first four issues. That book is set to be a fundraiser for the journal, and we hope it allows us to build a long and fruitful relationship with the outlet while helping the editors gain the funding they need to develop the publication further.
The Spoon Knife Anthology is no fundraiser, though. Instead, it is our first literary collection, and the first paying collection under our anthology funding program. As we’ve explained elsewhere, this program works by paying writers a work-for-hire rate for their work in collections and then setting aside the 15% that would normally be paid in royalties, putting it into a special fund. That fund then becomes the pool of resources for future books, ensuring that each passing anthology helps to make the next one bigger, better, and better paying for our writers.
Our first volume will pay out at 1 cent per word, with a guarantee of a $5.00 minimum for each accepted piece. This was the highest rate allowed by our funding from Typed Words, Loud Voices, and it is a method of payment that makes it easier for us to control the book’s length and guarantee both quality and diversity in the selections.
To the right, you’ll see the art for The Spoon Knife Anthology. While the cover was put together by Chris Henry, the cover artwork was sourced from Selene Depakh, a neurodivergent artist with a longstanding reputation of community involvement and beautiful concepts in stunning execution. The piece we chose to license for the anthology is one in a series of PTSD-inspired creations, and its contorted, cyborged, and blended approach to the concept of mechanizing the self really resonated with both N.I. and myself. We’re happy to be working with Selene and with the rest of the people who are contributing to the anthology, and we will have a roster of contributors ready within a couple of weeks. Thank you! – Michael