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.”


A Greater Monster lives!

By on November 30th, 2011
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Dear Friends,

A Greater Monster cover

After nearly eight years of labor, I’m proud to inform you that my second novel is now available for purchase. You can find it on Amazon here. And on Goodreads, of course, here: [book:A Greater Monster|12480602]. It is also available in Chicago at Quimby’s Bookstore, Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago Comics and Sandemeyer’s Books. At some point in the next couple weeks I hope to make it available via PayPal on this site, if you would like a signed copy.

My book release party was a great success! There were about 45 people in attendance, and the crowd was quite engrossed in my reading. Eight people actually showed up as we were closing down! Drinks were imbibed, and good times were had by all. A few snaps here:

A Greater Monster release party pic1 A Greater Monster release party pic2

 A Greater Monster release party pic3 A Greater Monster release party pic4

 A Greater Monster release party pic5

In the meantime, I’ve been hard at work on my Kickstarter project rewards. You can still watch my amusing video (about the book. I pre-sold 120 copies through this project and all the pre-orders have finally been mailed out. I’m also halfway through writing stream-of-consciousness letters and emails that were included in the rewards. It’s quite fun but also a bit exhausting to write 125 emails and letters and keep the inspiration going.

On top of that, I’ve been trying to make the rounds to the bookstores in Chicago. Sadly, there are so few independent new bookstores left. There are numerous used bookstores, but they won’t carry any new books even on consignment.

I’m still working on landing a national distributor for the book as well. Was turned down by Small Press United, which was my first shot. They sent a form letter rejection without explanation. C’est la vie. The point of having a distributor, for those who don’t know, is to provide bookstores a way to order your book when a customer requests it. It will show up as available in their system. Ingram is the top distributor, but they are hard to break into. Some of the smaller distributors will network with Ingram. Createspace through Amazon supposedly gets you into the system—but then you need to accept the quality of the job they do and the large cut they take with each print-on-demand book.

A good distributor will also notify bookstore buyers that your book exists via some sort of catalog update or a sales call in an effort to get some orders. (Createspace doesn’t do that as far as I know.)

Next steps are to visit more bookstores in Chicago and begin sending out review copies and interview requests to bloggers. As well as finish all my Kickstarter rewards. I’m a busy boy.


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.


In Hunter-Gatherer mode

By on January 3rd, 2010
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I’m reading (and reviewing)
• Four books on self-publishing The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual 16th Edition, The Self-Publishing Manual Volume 2 and Indie Publishing: How to Design and Publish Your Own Book
• Two books on finding publishers or literary agents Give ‘Em What They Want and The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit

I’m tracking
• Steps I need to take to self-publish by creating to-do lists, short and long term (3 pages so far)
• Authors who might like my book—from whom I will request promotional blurbs if i can reach them
• Publishers of surrealist, experimental fiction and literary speculative fiction
• Artists for cover art
• Expenses (anything writing- or publishing-related is tax-deductible)

I’m scribbling
• Hooks…the first sentence of my query letter.*

I’m surfing
• Research sites for writers and self-publishers. Some great ones include: SelfPublishingReview.com (tips and advice), duotrope.com (for identifying smaller publishers), Poets & Writers (pw.org), writersmarket.com (for identifying publishers, but does require membership fee – $39.99/year)
• Publisher submission policies on publisher sites
• Joining online small press organizations (Independent Book Publishing Association at ibpa-online.org and Self-Publishers Association of North America at spannet.org)
• Publishing blogs and self-publisher message boards (such as the Yahoo Self-Publishing Group, which seems to have much more activity than any google publishing group I can find at http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/Se…)

The quest continues.

Coming soon: The Query Letter in detail

*For those who are unfamiliar, a query letter is a one-page letter typically sent to literary agents and/or publishers to land representation. They are intended to grab their attention, convince them your book is worthy of consideration, introduce your credentials, and gain a request for your manuscript.


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.