Thursday, July 31, 2014

Conjunction, Junction: What's Your Function?

I did a quickie search and found that Martin is Martin Dibner, author of The Admiral, which was published in 1967.  However, Conjunctions magazine was started in 1981, so maybe not. I'm not sure. Also, there are no search results that I can find for a story titled "The Jesus' Paradox." Is that what it says? Can anyone shed some light here?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You Won't Believe What W. Somerset Maugham Did To Sell His First Book!

Novelist W. Somerset Maugham, famous for his book Of Human Bondage, had dismal sales for his first novel, Liza of Lambeth.  His publisher had no interest in advertising the book. So, he cleverly placed a few classified ads in a few daily newspapers in London. It said:
Young millionaire, lover of sports, cultivated, with good taste of music and a patient and empathetic character wishes to marry any young and beautiful girl that resembles the heroine of W.S. Maugham's new novel.
Within 7 days, the first edition of his little known novel sold out. It went on to get critical praise and popular sales. Here are some other first novels that made it big out of the gate:
  • Ralph Ellison's only novel Invisible Man
  • Janet Fitch's White Oleander
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise
  • Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe
  • Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain
  • David Guterson's Snow Fall on Cedars
  • Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees
  • Jhumpa Lahiri's The Interpreter of Maladies
  • Harper Lee's only novel To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Jay McInernay's Bright Lights, Big City
  • Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind
  • Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar
  • Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things
  • Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones
  • Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray
Just sayin': Good things are possible.

Even Gordie Lish Rejected Ray Carver Once in A While

Well, competition for space at The Quarterly was "ferociously tough," after all.  It can't be a win every time.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Petition Against Book Bullies (AKA: Everyone's A Friggin'Critic)

Mice: I am in the midst of sending out queries to book bloggers and reviewers and book clubs because it is only 22 weeks before my book is released. Okay, that sounds like an eternity, but nonetheless, it's good to keep on top of these things and get as many outlets to agree to review the book as possible, or so I'm told.  Speaking of book reviews, there appears to be a petition going around at change.org against the nasty unwashed book bullies at Amazon. Among the many signers of the petition: Anne Rice. What can you do?  It's like Jules Renard says: "Writing is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to those who have none.” That said, just for fun, how about a little look-see at some funny book reviews of classic novels as written by some geniuses on Amazon (presented by the Huffington Post).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Never Did Get An Agent, But Sold My Novel Anyway

Remember this catastrophe of agent rejections, mice? Well, it never got any better.  In fact, my novel got published because I entered it into a small press first novel contest. It didn't even win, you know, but it did get chosen as one of the four books the teeny tiny press puts out there in the world.  The publisher says, "Basically because this deserves to be a book." And that's that. Of course I do have an agent for the more commercial enterprise of mine, but that book is still being written. Why is it taking so long to get it right, the commercial book? I don't know. Maybe that's just not the kind of Girlie Man I am.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Lost in the Jungle of Complaints and Worry

Luck is a strange thing when it comes to books. My first book comes to mind: the editor quit/was fired almost as soon as the thing hit the bookstores. It was news  not shared with me for weeks. Finally, I heard about it on the street and I have to say I was furious at how it was handled. But what can you do? That was the end of that: book dead in the water. Orphaned books are generally not well promoted books.

With my novel due out November 11, 2014, I learn that the publisher/editor of the little press is pregnant: baby due in December, a few weeks following the birth of my novel. This is incredible happy news, and I am glad for the budding family. Also there's an illness in the family of someone closely related to the book. This is just life, I know, life and death.

Here's the long and short of it; I used to say that if my manuscript ever made it into a book I would be eternally grateful and humble. So be it. For now, I say thank you for the book, and I will shut the fuck up. Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Feeling Down? Rejected? Dejected? Think You're a Literary Wash Up?

Remember this author, this book, this victory? Right then. So you can keep at it, friends. Some people take longer to get to the goal than others. No shame in that. Some books have longer gestational periods and some books are rejected for, say, a decade. This "experimental" novel won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, the Desmond Elliot Prize, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, and the Goldsmiths Prize. A very small press published it.  Hooray for small presses! Hooray for persistent artists! Writes the Telegraph:
McBride began sending her manuscript to publishers in 2004 but its experimental style – with no commas or speech marks - made it a difficult sell. She endured rejection after rejection, and all but gave up hope that the book would ever see the light the day.
Right on, yo. Write on!