Placement of Character

Placement of Character JPG

“Sad, funny, misanthropic, adventurous, endearing, I can’t recommend it highly enough.” —Josiah Hesse, author of Carnality: Dancing on Red Lake

“Smart, funny, and super relatable.” —Micah Schnabel, author, solo artist, and singer/guitarist of Two Cow Garage.

“Polk writes well and understands how to make a story flow.” —Kurt Morris, Razorcake

A joint release between Suspect Press—a Denver publisher and magazine co-founded by Polk—and the author’s own YR Collective, Placement of Character tells the story of siblings Mason and Eileen Jarman, who lead seemingly directionless lives. The rebellion of their 20s gave way to the doldrums of their 30s, and they lack careers, children, and other symbols of status that legitimize their existence in polite society. After circumstances reunite them, Mason discovers the bizarre vocation of character placement—an industry that specializes in providing real life depictions of characters for fictional novels. Through his new line of work, he meets Sophia Cruz, a woman who challenges his notions of professionalism and romanticism. Meanwhile, Eileen encounters an author who helps rekindle the motivation to write a book of her own. Along the way, the Jarmans cope with death, the alienation of their religious grandmother, overzealous union representatives, the headless spirit of a Colorado miner who died in 1902, and a talking dog named Herman.

Brian Polk is the author of the novel, Placement of Character. His first book, Turning Failure into Ideology, was self-published in 2007. He has contributed to The Onion A.V. Club, Westword, and birdy, and began publishing his zine The Yellow Rake in 2004, which has released 30 issues over its existence. In 2014, he co-founded Suspect Press, a quarterly literary publication that celebrated ten issues under his leadership. Since 2009, he has played drums in the band Joy Subtraction, which just released its second album Hate Will Keep Us Together on Denver’s Sailor Records. And recently, he started another band, Simulators. Follow him on twitter: @brianpolk1234.

Buy a copy:

Or at these fine retailers:

Nooch Vegan MarketCity O CityMutiny Information CafeFancy Tiger ClothingKilgore Books, and Quimby’s Bookstore.

Get stuck in a click-loop: The Yellow Rake!

Book Updates

Buy it:

Release Party Information:

Saturday, March 11, 2017 at Syntax Physic Opera
The release of Placement of Character
Musical performances by:
Hangman’s Hymnal
Slim Cessna (solo performance)
Readings by:
Brian Polk
Charly “the city mouse” Fasano
DJ by:
Birdy Magazine’s
Jonny DeStefano
Christy Thacker


Orders start shipping:


Once again, buy them here:


Boxes arrive:


It’s always kind of fun to stare at a box full of the book you’ve made.


A copy of the proof:


A proof is physical copy of the book that serves as an example of what the finished product will look like. It’s my job to thoroughly peruse it to make sure there are no mistakes that slipped through the editing process. Once I approve the proof, the press will begin printing my order. I plan to spend a good three weeks with it before I approve the proof. You know, just to make sure.


Laying it out:


A listing of chapters/pages of my new novel, Placement of Character. It’s really happening! For some reason it’s necessary for me to write this out in order to make absolutely certain I didn’t make any mistakes (using the same chapter number twice, for example). Laying out the prose was another time-consuming part of the process of self-releasing a book.


Writing the book:


This is a rough screenshot from my iPhone. I tapped out the majority of this book on the “Docs” app. It was a vast departure from my first novel that I wrote entirely on my desktop computer. Writing on my phone was a great way to avoid having to make time at home. My phone went with me everywhere, so I was able to write no matter where I went. Even if it was a sentence or two as I took the lightrail, it allowed me to feel as though I was never wasting time in the seven months it took to finish. (Granted, I spent another seven months editing and revising it before I felt comfortable enough to think about releasing it.)