Introducing Pliant Press

I’ve just launched the beta version of my “business” website at:

So in recognition of that, I thought I’d devote an entry to what “Pliant Press” is, and why I created it.

I’ve previously written about why I want to self-publish. I figured self-publishing would be my best shot at earning a living wage through comics. Or in the very least, I would walk away from the experience having learned more about the book business than I could by any other means.

But I certainly don’t have any allusions that it’s an easy path. There are a number of hurdles that stand in between an aspiring self-publisher and a successful one. Not the least of these is the stigma that surrounds the very notion of self-publishing.

Many view “self-publishing” as synonymous with “vanity publishing”. Not a legitimate business decision, but rather a final desperate measure undertaken only when all the “real” publishers pass on your book. In fact, many review publications have a blanket policy that they won’t even consider covering self-published books.

So if I sent a review package to Publisher’s Weekly, and it said:

Lars Martinson Presents:
Tonoharu: Part One
Written and drawn by Lars Martinson.
Published by Lars Martinson.
Media Contact: Lars Martinson

My package would probably be chucked in the recycle bin without a second thought.

My answer to this issue was the creation of a business identity, Pliant Press. As it is a sole-proprietor company, “Pliant Press” is nothing more than yours truly. However, “Published by Pliant Press” sounds a lot more impressive than “Published by Lars Martinson”, even though it basically boils down to the same thing.

To complete the illusion that Pliant Press is a “real” company (heck, I guess technically it is), I put my meager graphic design training to the test, creating the above logo (designed to fit nicely on the spine of a book) and the Pliant Press website.

One could argue that this whole thing is little more than a cheap act of deception. But what can I say? “Fake it until you make it” and all that jazz. And besides, all I really want is for Tonoharu to be given a fair shake; insofar as is possible, to be judged on its own merits. And I don’t see that happening if the book screams “self-published”; there’s just too much negative baggage associated with the term.

So anyway, hop on over to and let me know if you see any spelling mistakes, or have any criticisms or whatever. I’d like to work out the kinks before the book goes on sale in a couple months.

  • saw your review in the japan times, thanks for the encouragement. i think i will be taking your route regarding my erotic, ethnograpic memoir, which was written partly about japan during my 7 year stay here. im returning to the US on may 4th. hey, what was the process of starting the company? maybe you could school me on that.

    ps, heres a link to an interview i just did.