Review in The Chicagoist

By on December 7th, 2012
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12/7/12 A great review appeared in The Chicagoist for A Greater Monster.

Some highlights: “This is a psychedelic-Burroughs-dream and an aggravated-Lewis-Carroll-nightmare, a world in which we must continuously re-adjust our bearings….The brilliance of his imagination aside, we must also consider that this novel is a lot to absorb….Yes, the novel is difficult to read at times. Yes, you will have to read certain passages more than once and often read them in various ways. Of course, your face will start to hurt from the perplexed look you’ll be wearing over the duration of the book. However, you will be refreshed with new characters and situations every few pages–all of which will be other-worldly. You will stumble onto sparks, which will snowball into a catharsis more than once. Most of all, you will be challenged as both a reader and a thinker. If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then David David Katzman might just be your new favorite author.”


It’s go time

By on August 5th, 2011
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(Read that title in the voice of an ironically written CIA agent character.)

The next month is going to be nuts. I’m shooting to get my book to the printers by the last week of August or first week of September, which leaves me feeling like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland … can’t stop, can’t stop, I’m going to be late, going to be late!

So, yes, I’ve decided to end my search for a publisher. I evaluated three last options then called it quits. The acquisition editor of the press that almost picked me up (see previous blog entry) offered to let me use her as a reference to get in with another press. And she recommended three presses that she was connected to personally. I evaluated these presses: their websites, their books on Amazon (how many reviews, style and subject matter), and, finally, I reviewed their contracts/author policies. I also spoke with an author who had been published by one of the presses, the one that looked the most promising of the three. My conclusion was that they would do almost nothing for me that I couldn’t do myself and would take most of the profits. They offer authors 10% of cover price, and they insist on design control of the cover as well as interior. I would have been comfortable with a collaboration, but the upfront “we control it” attitude put into writing left a bad taste in my mouth. Worse, the straw that really sucked the interest out of me was when I learned from the published author that he had actually been required to buy copies of his own book from the publisher in order to mail them himself to reviewers. Screw that.

So where things stand: I’ve been a bit delayed in the design of my book because my book designer broke his right forearm in a moped accident. He’s lucky to have survived the hit and run. Poor guy, I do love him, but why wasn’t he wearing a goddamn helmet? But we’re back on track now. I got a bid for cover art from a painter I met at the last Comicon in Chicago but decided to have my book designer do the cover art in addition to the interior design. That way, the design will be integrated with the cover text. $300 for cover art, btw.

Other actions I’ve taken so far: I purchased a set of 10 ISBN numbers and barcodes ($250), Library of Congress Number (free), and requested quotes from 10 printers. I’ve been sorting through the responses and am collecting the best bids. It’s going to be pretty expensive because I’m committed to using 100% recycled paper. But I’m willing to invest the extra money in order to feel better about stamping ink on 384,000 pages of paper. (That’s another reason not to use a small press–almost all of them do Print on Demand now, and most POD printers like Createspace or Lulu do not have a 100% recycled paper option.)

Still left to do: Create the CIP data—that’s the cataloguing data for libraries. It’s actually quite complicated, and I’ve visited two libraries so far and the reference librarians were not helpful. Any librarians out there want to help me??? I’m in the process of collecting potential reviewer names and websites. Need to find a distributor. Create some postcards. Collect a list of all bookstores in Chicago and other indie bookstores around the country. Setup PayPal and Google checkout accounts so people can buy copies directly from my website and prepare the updates for my site when the book launches. Prepare an ebook. Continue recording my audio book version. Set up a book release party. And so many more little things…I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.

Next blog entry: A taste of the pre-release promotional blurbs I’ve already lined up for the book.


The paint dries

By on November 27th, 2010
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I’m in the waiting room of Operation: Get a Publisher. I sent out twenty query letters to small-to-medium-size presses and emailed four literary agents. All were contacted on September 17. Two months later, where do I stand?

2 literary agents said, “Thank you, it’s not my genre.”
1 literary agent never replied (I just emailed a follow up.)
1 literary said, “Sounds interesting, send me the first 10 pages.” That was on. 10/6. Nothing since. (I just emailed a follow up.)

12 presses sent me no response whatsoever. Not a word. Nada. Bupkis. Zip. Silent treatment. Cold shoulder. I’ll just shut up now. (Like them.)

2 presses sent me a polite, “Thank you, this does not fit our interests at this time.”

2 press sent me a polite, “Thank you for submitting, we’ll get back to you.”

1 press (Soft Skull Press) sent me an email on 10/15 saying, “Thanks for submitting. We changed our policy (and closed our New York office). We no longer accept un-agented submissions.” Skull-fuck you, Soft Skull. Just kidding.

1 press said, “We’re sorry, we’re not considering new books until 2013.”

1 press said, “We’ll take a look, but just so you know, we’re now looking at books for 2012.”

And 1 press responded on 9/22, “Thank you for your interest in XXXXXX Press. We’d like to take a further look at your manuscript. I love fairytales, and psychedelic ones are even more exciting. “ I’m censoring the name because I don’t think it would appropriate to publicize it here, but…yeehaw!!! I consider this quite a victory. Even if they don’t publish it, I’m still quite pleased that I got past the query letter with one of the presses. They indicated that they take about six months to evaluate a book so I won’t hear back until March.

In the meantime, I’m living up to my recommendation that a writer should never sit on her heels while waiting to hear from a publisher. I haven’t started my next book, but I am following the self-publishing path just in case I don’t land a publisher. I’ve managed to come to an agreement with a designer to design my novel for publication. He’s a friend who also designed this website. I got a friend discount, but at the same time, my book will be quite complicated to design because there are multiple fonts, visual text poetry, images, and a couple scenes where several conversations are occurring simultaneously. So it will be a bear to design. But if you’re wondering how much it costs to hire a talented designer, I’m paying $1500 in three installments—each time we’re done with 1/3 of the book, he gets $500. My book will be roughly 300 pages long, but I would assume for most authors interested in self-publishing, they could probably get a cheaper rate if they don’t have fancy formatting.

My goal is to have the book ready to send to the printers by May. If I haven’t gotten a solid bite from a publisher by then, I’ll be ready to pull the trigger and my book will be out by the summer. A great beach read. If you like to trip balls at the beach, that is.


So it begins …

By on November 1st, 2009
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Dear friends,

As I approach the end of my second novel, I’ve decided to begin a blog. Many authors blog about politics and art, culture and books, philosophy and genitalia, and whatnot. As Carl Sagan would say, there are beelions and beelions of blogs out there in the world—what are the odds that one of those blogs will contain life? Errh, forget that metaphor. What I mean to ask is—why should you waste precious minutes of your life reading my blog when you hate blogs or/and read too many blogs already? Email me if you have an answer to that.

Oh, here’s one possible reason: I’ve chosen a singular topic that may interest a few Goodreaders. I’m going to write about the process I follow to publish my novel. The ins & outs, ups & down, and side to sides. My successes & failures. You’ll get the unvarnished experience as it happens. Gradually. It will be the exquisite pleasure of watching paint dry.

I will place some hope in the theory that unpublished authors, self-published authors, those who might want to publish in the future, and those who are intrigued by the publishing process might find some value in the exposition. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but perhaps even my stumbles will be useful. If this sounds interesting, please go to my profile and set your profile to “Follow” my reviews, and you should receive an email every time I post a new entry (along with any other author’s blogs you follow).

I promise—I will keep my posts fairly infrequent and rather concise. At least for me. Along the way, if you have any questions or suggestions, by all means, fire away.

Next up: My strategy

Ps. The word blog kind of makes me nauseas. Seriously.