On October 15, 2021, I released my second book with local indie publishing house, GoldScriptCo. On that Friday, GoldScriptCo threw me a book release party at Mantra Coffee Company and B&B in Azusa (the very same spot of my first book launch nearly two years ago when Black Was Not A Label made its way into the world) for my newest baby: Count It All Loss, a chapbook of poetry. Serendipitous? Yes. Honestly, in more ways than one.
You see, I had no plans to publish a book this year. I didn’t have a manuscript and between work and pandemic fatigue, I haven’t been doing as much creative writing as I’d like. Despite this, GoldScriptCo and I collided in such an uncanny way that I’ve come to identify it as nothing less than divine. I became friends with one of GoldScriptCo’s founders, Alexa Johansen, through one of my students at the start of this year. Alexa and I talked poetry and writing and I soon learned she was working on a chapbook. We had scattered communication over the next few months and I didn’t get to really meet her until June when she was releasing said chapbook, a lovely collection of poetry titled Dear Girl.
At her backyard book release, I met the other founder of GoldScriptCo: Tony Acero, whose own chapbook was scheduled for release later in the summer. If you’re keeping track, this publishing house had just launched and already one book was out with another on its tail. When I say that GoldScriptCo is a machine, I mean it. But it’s more than that. In addition to Alexa’s book, GoldScriptCo was selling tote bags, stickers, and bookmarks all designed by Alexa herself (and all of which you can still purchase on their site!). Dear Girl is filled with her original poetry and artwork and their next release, Tony Acero’s Last Call (August 2021) showcases her amazing artwork alongside Tony’s endearing, sharp poems. A bartender and poet, Tony’s poems are inspired by his work and the stories he witnesses and experiences. Alexa’s chapbook is a love letter to herself, and truly speaks to the refrain she notes in every poem she writes and reads: “I wrote this for me and also for you.”
Adding to their above and beyond aesthetic, Last Call was released with its own unique bookmarks and some limited custom shot glasses (these are already sold out, of course). Long story short, GoldScriptCo has hit the ground running, and when I say we collided, it was indeed a sudden and unexpected crash.
In July and between their first two releases, Alexa and Tony approached me and told me they’d like me to be their next author. If you’ll remember, I had no plans to write a book this year. I didn’t have a manuscript of any kind, and to be honest, I didn’t think of myself as the strongest poet when they came to me. But then I thought, why not? Why not just do it? So, I talked with Alexa and she noted that anything I had, she and Tony wanted to read: poems from old notebooks and diaries, poems from my Tumblr days (RIP), poems from the notes app on my phone. So, I went digging, and I was amazed to find a quaint pile of poems that I loved and hadn’t shared, and some that had been previously published. I also started writing poems for the first time in a long while to add to this pile. I let them spill out and by the end of it all, I had about twenty-poems ready to send their way.
Now, when I sent these poems they weren’t in any order. They had no theme and nothing to connect them other than I liked them. A day or so after submitting my hodge-podge of a manuscript, Alexa and Tony had read through it, trimmed the fat, ordered my poems, given me notes, and showered me with some of the most uplifting encouragement I’ve ever experienced. Reader, I was sold and in no time at all, we were a team.
Throughout September, I identified my collection’s theme (loss), polished up my poems, created my own original artwork, and submitted my final manuscript. By the 15th of October, my fresh new chapbook was on their selling table and in the hands of my friends, family, and new readers.
That’s a pretty streamlined version of events, but it’s not too far from reality. Working with GoldScriptCo was invigorating, exciting, and so hands-on. They valued my input and, most importantly, my work and my voice. They championed me and the pieces I was afraid to share or thought weren’t good enough, and every step of the way, they showed my chapbook as much love and care as they’d shown their own books. See, one of the most beautiful things about GoldScriptCo is that it is quite literally a labor of love. Every single chapbook is printed and handbound in house. When they have an event, the whole team shows up and shows out. They’re kind, witty, energetic, and so talented, and honestly? I consider these publishers to be my dear friends. They’re just amazing people with an amazing mission and I want the surrounding community to love on them as much as possible. I adore GoldScriptCo and I am so honored to have my work in their hands.
As the new year comes closer, GoldScriptCo continues to grow, and with it are coming some exciting opportunities: they’re already booking readings and signing events for early 2022 where you can grab their releases (including my new book!), they’re looking to curate pieces for an anthology in the works (though I can’t say more on that just yet!), and they will soon be open for submissions. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to witness and be a part of their journey.
Keep an eye on their IG for the most up-to-date news on all things GoldScriptCo.
Kathryn H. Ross is the author of memoir Black Was Not A Label (2019, Pronto) and poetry chapbook Count It All Loss (2021, GoldScriptCo). She writes and edits in Southern California through her sole proprietorship, CreatedtoCreate, and she loves cats and naps. Read her prose, essays, and poetry at speakthewritelanguage.com.