Tag Archives: Publisher

In Need Of Some Spirit Glue

Well, that was a spirit breaker.

I don’t know if you dudes have noticed, but I’m a bit of a writer. (Perhaps you’ve heard of a little thing called A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook?)

Having worked as a newspaper reporter for the first part of my professional career, I equate writing with getting paid. I’m also a bit old so I’m a bit of a traditionalist. That means I want to sell my stories and books to an actual publisher (like Barry and I did with A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook) and get paid for it that way. I’m not all that into self publishing, although I do see it as a perfectly valid form of expression. It’s just not for me right now.

Because of that, I can’t just write something and toss it out to the public. I have to sell my work to someone in a publishing house, which means I face a lot of rejection. Seriously, dudes, I’m talking a lot of rejection.

Heck, compared to the writing career, my success with the ladies in high school and college was legen. . . . dary. That’s the level of rejection I and most writers tend to get from the traditional publishers.

Lately, however, I’ve been feeling pretty good. My critique group seems to like the book I’m working on with them. I managed to crank out a good-sized YA book in a couple of weeks and actually liked the result. I’m halfway through a middle grades book and also feeling good about it.

However, on Tuesday evening, I received an email from one of the larger publishers telling me, in essence, thanks but no thanks. What’s different about this one is that I was able to get my book directly into the hands of someone who works there, who, in turn, gave it to an editor.

Being rejected this time feels a bit more . . . solid.

In my brain, I understand this rejection is no different from any other. I know in my brain that not every story is for every person and I only need to find the right agent or publisher and they’ll love my work.

But, just for now, I’m feeling a bit like I’ve been wasting my time trying to write. That what I’ve just produced won’t be read by anyone but me. That I’m not going to succeed, by any definition of success that means anything.

Please, understand I’m not looking for sympathy. I’ll probably get over it.

My issue right now is that I’m pretty open with my young dudes. They knew that I was submitting a book to this big publisher. I’m going to tell them I got rejected, but I also want them to see me taking it in stride.

I have to set the right kind of example. I need them to internalize the idea that one setback (or 12 setbacks) isn’t enough to make them quit. Will never make them quit. I need them to know that the only thing that can make them quit is inside them already and they have control over that.

But, right now. . . It’s hard to set that sort of example. Knowing you’re good enough to succeed is a bit easier than finding the folks who will agree with you and can help you achieve that.

So I think I’m going to take a bit of a breather, get myself together before telling them about this rejection. I need to get my head in the right place so they can see I remain hard at work, that I’m not going to let this minor roadblock stop me. That I fell, but only so that I could learn to get back up.

After all, Tempus sanat omnia vulnera.

Share on Facebook

Creative Endeavor

Get your eyeballs away from the TV and go do something.

If you’re one of the dudes who follows the @dudesguide Twitter feed, then you know I’ve been a bit busy in the last couple of weeks. Well, a bit busy might be underselling the whole thing.

Over the course of two weeks, I managed to write a little more than 80,000 words, creating a long-thought-about young adult book. It’s a really fun idea, but you’ll have to trust me on this one as I’m trying to get it represented by an agent so I can sell it to a publisher and I wouldn’t want anyone to look at the idea and then do it better.

Not that I think you would do that, but, you know, that guy. Yeah, him.

Moving on.

It’s been an amazingly satisfying experience. I don’t know what happened or why it kicked off like it did, but I found myself sitting down at the computer, turning on some tunes for the background and then typing. I would literally look up three hours later (or more depending on the day) and find that I’d written five thousand (or whatever) words and didn’t remember anything else but the story happening for the past three hours.

It felt as if a mere tick of the old-timey analog clock second hand hadPoor goldfish. All for an idea bout colored shoelaces that no one will actually care about. passed, and, yet, it was three hours gone down the memory hole. Three hours and I’d produced another significant chunk of a world that only I knew, but that needed to be shared.

Now, I’m not saying that what I wrote is deathless prose or that it will change the lives of anyone who reads it (although I wouldn’t be against that happening, you know?), but this is something that, before three weeks ago, existed only as a notion in my diseased brain.

And now it’s a thing. I’m in the process of showing it to some friends who are going to read it and then give me some insight on if it’s any good or what I should change.

It’s not like a book I can hold in my hands, but it is something I created by myself. I brought this into reality by conscious effort and directed intention. It is a wonderful, amazing feeling that more people should try to achieve.

Again, no. I’m not suggesting you all take up writing. Frankly, I don’t need the competition. But I do suggest you find something you like, something you can learn about, and then do it.

Create. Discover. Give birth to your ideas using your hands and your will. Feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from creation. Smile the smile of the dude who has done, and is getting ready to do again and again.

Stretch yourself. Find something that’s just a bit more complex than you’ve done before and then learn how to do it. Then do it. Improve your skills in whatever you choose, then follow your plans through to completion.

Dudes, there is nothing like creation. It is an unmatched feeling and it can be yours. Whenever you decide it’s time for you to get it.

So go get it.

Share on Facebook

Dude Review: Dhalgren By Samuel R. Delaney

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pinchon is one of the most difficult books I’ve ever tried to read. There are those who compare it to Ulysses by James Joyce in that the path does not follow a very linear narrative and the reader must work to even come close to understanding what’s going on.

I, however, am not one of those who compares those two books. To me, Gravity’s Rainbow most closely resembles (in spirit, alone, certainly not in plot or character) Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney.

Samuel R Delaney is one of the greatest living masters of the science-fiction novel, having written award-winning stories like Babel-17 and Dhalgren.
The man can certainly rock a beard, yeah?

One of American science fiction’s greatest living writers, Delaney has created masterwork after masterwork, each more controversial than the last, each examining racial, sexual and personal identity and how each relates to the outer society.

Often described as the most literary of science-fiction writers, Delaney isn’t fascinated by the economic impact that instantaneous, inexpensive teleportation would create. Instead, he’d rather look at the different ways in which the new technology allows men and women to indulge their more. . . slippery. . . impulses.

A man fascinated by the mechanics of the physical act of sex and the emotional aspects of love and hate, Delaney is one of those rare authors who can define or create a genre simply by going ahead and writing whatever the heck is in his head that day.

I’ve long meant to go back and try and read Dhalgren again, having run up against a brick wall the last time I attempted a read through. (Hey, I was in my teens and a callow youth. Gimme a break.)

So imagine my joy when I found out that I could get one of the first electronic copies of Dhalgren, made available through the good folks at NetGalley, which is a place where publishers can give out advance copies of their book in return for an honest review.

I got the book and the review is coming in just a second. After this, in fact. A quick plug that Dhalgren  and eight other Delaney classics are now available for the first time as electronic books, including the Nebula Award­-winning Babel-17, as well as Delany¹s Hugo Award-winning literary memoir, The Motion of Light in Water,  from online booksellers all over the world.

So. Dhalgren. This was a difficult read when I was younger. That, at least, hasn’t changed. Full of digressive runs and almost stream-of-consciousness narration, Dhalgren tells the story of the Kid, a mostly unknown ambisexual man, with very little memory of his past or his identity, recently arrived in the city of Bellona.

Bellona is located in the geographic center of the United States. The book opens some time after an unspecified . . . something happens that drives away most of the citizens of the city, leaving behind only madmen, criminals, the deliriously inane and the Kid.

As with so many young people, the Kid is searching for answers to the perennial questions of “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “What’s the point of it all?” Who, at one time or another, hasn’t asked those questions?

It’s possibly one reason that this book has such a demented pull on the minds of so many people. Despite the difficulty in reading this dense, interweaving narrative, there’s something about it that keeps drawing me back to it.

I did get through the end, although it wasn’t easy and I know I didn’t get from the book everything I should. The last part of the book consisted of “found texts,” excerpts from other texts, the equivalent of footnotes and other variations on traditional narrative take away whatever sense of temporal progress that had been gained earlier.

Dhalgren is without a doubt one of the most ambitious books published in many, many years. And, while I’m ready to admit to you dudes that it could be just me, I’ve the feeling that Delaney might have reached for something a bit to far for him to grasp this time.

Still, it’s not like I felt my time wrestling with Dhalgren was wasted. It wasn’t. I eventually made my way through Gravity’s Rainbow and managed to learn a bit about it with each attempt.

I have a feeling Dhalgren is going to be my next literary obsession, a book that I will return to and do battle with, over the next few years. It is a battle I anticipate with a great deal of excitement.

Share on Facebook