Andrews McMeel Publishing has moved quickly to produce and promote Lang Leav’s Love & Misadventure, a 176-page volume containing 75 poems, as well as prose and illustrations, in which the author ruminates upon the highs and lows that inevitably accompany romantic relationships. After acquiring Love & Misadventure at the end of summer, AMP released it on September 17 in trade paper with a 10,000-copy print run, as well as in digital format. It sold out of its first printing within one week, and 2,000 copies were sold in Asia purely through word of mouth. AMP will release a second print run of 15,000 copies for the U.S. market and another 5,000 for the international market.
Leav isn’t a typical writer, and Love & Misadventure hasn’t traveled a typical path to publication. The 33-year-old Australian poet and artist was born in a Thai refugee camp while her Cambodian parents were fleeing the Khmer Rouge. She has been posting her poems since 2012 on Tumblr and, to date, has a following of 100,000 fans there, many of whom repost her poems and add their own commentary. Her fans also post photos on Tumblr of themselves holding the book. Lang originally self-published a print-on-demand edition of the title in April, and it sold 5,000 copies by summer.
Kirsty Melville, president and publisher of AMP’s book division, said that as sales of Love & Misadventure began to grow, Leav realized that “it was bigger than she could handle on her own.” Writers House’s Al Zuckerman put AMP and Leav together. “Al felt that AMP would be a good home for Lang, based on his experience of working with us,” Melville said. “I felt Lang had a special talent that should be recognized, and that we could nurture and support her creativity, given our experience publishing creators of all types.” Demand for the book remains strong enough that a copy of Leav’s self-published edition of Love & Misadventure is currently available online from a reseller for $44.86.
“We rushed the book into print in two weeks,” Melville said, adding, “Lightning Source put together a lovely package.” An AMP publicist has just set up a tour schedule for Leav in Southeast Asia in November and December. The tour includes stops in the Philippines, where sales of the book have been particularly strong. Stateside, Love & Misadventure topped Barnes & Noble’s list of poetry bestsellers in the second half of September, before being knocked out of the #1 spot by Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs. Melville hopes to also, at some point, bring Leav, who lives in Sydney, to the U.S. to tour.
“Love & Misadventure is very relatable,” Melville said, explaining why a self-published book of poems by a young poet and artist who grew up in a town located 30 km from Sidney, with a depressed economy and a reputation for drug problems, would have such universal appeal. “People can identify with Leav; she’s very authentic and her poetry really speaks to young women.”