Hey SPAM slicers,
Just a few notes on my writing adventures for your hot summer day.
At the end of the month I'll be headed to a famously outrageous NJ bookstore and music venue for an advance reading from my Frying SPAM memoir. For the first time in many years, I'll be pulling out my guitar as well to play a few flashback tunes from my two CD's. Here is the link to RSVP with the place and date and time and map and all the rest. I sure hope to see many of you that have been following my writing adventures of the years show up to support indie publishing. And of course, I'd love to meet you too. Perhaps you can even join me for an adult beverage after the show. The event is free and public, so invite all your friends on facebook. RSVP HERE
I'm currently putting the finishing touches on the manuscript and hope to have it off to New York City shortly. This revision is nearly double the length of the first version that I read at the Memories & Martinis event last fall. I've followed the suggestions of a sharp agent that is is very hot for comedic religious themed nonfiction. I'm quite happy with this version too. I am committed to seeing this through and have no doubt that you will see it bound soon. Check out the new webpage here with great new slices from all 17 Chapters!
Finally, my plan is to blow off this blog soon and move all Frying SPAM memoir excitement over to a facebook page. It will be more streamlined with everyone's activities and communications. So click here to 'like' the page and stay in the loop. And hey, I'm collecting cool vintage SPAM images, videos, and other SPAM junk there too. Show me what you got!
Stay tuned, cool things are rolling in..
just a quick one here.. i'm coming down the stretch on a final revision of the Frying Spam memoir suggested by a very important agent.. 25,000 words added.. 5,000 cut.. damn.. and i've been at it about 12 hours a day since may the 1st.. my ass is sore.. my back is sore.. my head is sore.. but.. soon i will have very good news.. and thanks for your support..
p.s. and oh.. i borrowed the tired kid.. not mine..
He said, "You're a nobody with a great book." And I said, That's good, right? I mean, I wonder about my book a lot. Especially after midnight and a bottle of wine. But I'm well aware of just how nothing I am. I could have used some encouragement there. But no.
Still, it was another really thoughtful rejection letter. "We had so much fun reading your manuscript... laughed our asses off... quirky and painful..." and bla bla bla. But about me? They said I wasn't big enough, well known enough. A rock star dropping the poop about how he was abused. As if that's different than a nobody dropping the abused bomb.
He used the word 'platform'. I've heard this before. Mentioned it in earlier posts. I don't have a platform. I need a platform, he said. A stage. A dias, rostrum, podium, soapbox. A makeshift elevated personality that would make me a marketing no-brainer. An easy sell for the suits and corporate hucksters.
Well, just what then is a nobody boy to do? As I've said before, it seems a published book builds the platform, not the reverse. But no doubt there is truth in having a dedicated pre-published fan base. My facebook fan page is growing, yes. You guys must be spreading my stuff around, because there has been a recent spike in "likes" from dozens of people from around the world that I don't know. It's encouraging.
And this then.. I'm wrapping up another revision soon of "frying spam" at the suggestion of another New York agent. Perhaps I'll throw in a couple more queries. Then I'll see what happens. But you know what? I've got some other cool ideas banging around in my head. Outrageously creative publishing ideas. It's still too soon to share. You should stay tuned. Definitely.
In the meantime, click over to my FAN PAGE.. like it.. then share it..
Sure nice knowing you all,
Having nothing at all to do with Earth Day, I heard from another high rolling book agent.. I guess he googled me.. and.. It turns out that I'm not famous! Really? Really. He means I don't have a built-in audience that a big publisher can just plug into.. It seems publishing is moving in the same direction as music did a few years back. No money to develop new acts, instead, they wait until a developed act comes along and reap the benefits. I thought it was the other way around. You get published then you get famous. And by famous I mean, sold out Barnes and Noble coffee shops coast to coast. Lines of fans winding all the way from the self-help shelf to the stack of Rachel Rays over by the bathrooms.
But to be serious, if I want to interest top level publishing people, or any publishing people for that matter, I'd better get busy on building a better network of "frying spam heads".. meaning, i'll be begging all you guys for a hand up.. that is as soon as I finish the revision that I've been working on over the winter.. and yes.. the revision is coming along.. I should be another month or so.. then I'll be in touch..
In the meantime.. here's a new unedited excerpt:
Just what was I to be grateful about? Grateful for? He never said. I could only guess I was to be grateful I had both feat. That I didn’t have to push myself to school in a wagon, in three feet of snow, uphill, both ways. It would be many years before I’d have an understanding of my ungratefulness. But I knew about the piano in the basement. I knew it was the one Dad didn’t touch. I’d never seen him play it. The piano he played when he was a sinner. Said it was out of tune now and needed hammers.
But I begged for the story. I liked it when he scratched his head, stuck his belly out and laughed and told all about the devils music and how he’d played swing and bop with his big dance band, the Kings of Rhythm.
“Never drank a drop of that swill. Not one drop,” he said. “The girls? Yeah, sure. They’d come around at all the dances and sit up there on my piano wearin’ –well— not much I’ll tell ya that. And if it wasn’t for that chicken wire up there, I’d have gotten more than one concussion. And boy-ol-boy, getting to dance halls in that big Packard. Around corners on two wheels. That was some whoopee. Some girl put her foot right through the guy’s bass drum. It’s wonder I’m alive.”
For the past few weeks I've been pecking away at some add-ons and revisions to frying spam. In some spots I realized, at the encouragement of agents, that perhaps I should go deeper in the family psychosis. Even more graphic. It's no fun. It's dark thinking, my friend. I didn't even want to admit that I came from such a place, let alone sit and brood on the crazy shit in front of a roaring fire till the small hours of the morning. Many a night I was convinced I'd lost it. I've nearly consumed my winter stash of firewood already. A bottle of wine only works for a bit, until the desired effect takes hold, after which I put my mac to sleep and step to the porch for a blast of cold mountain air on my head.
So, I'm not sharing much with you all lately. And that's okay by me. I've been living deeply with the book. I'm not certain anyone is paying attention anyway. Regardless, perhaps in another few weeks I'll be ready for yet another round of agent queries. Then I may have some stories to tell and rejection notices to announce. I'll leave you with a bit from a new chapter.
And that’s how I learned that we got things. How everyone got things. First you prayed, and then you prayed a lot. Every day until God lets you know in a dream when it’s coming. Then, like Mom and Dad, you pray some more until the day it comes. It might show up on the porch, in the mailbox, or maybe in the offering plate on Sunday. It was magic for me, just like the magic quarters that disappeared from Uncle Jim’s hand. Sometimes you even get things from God you don’t want. Lots of rain water in the basement or mice in the closets. Even when my sister sewed her finger to the sewing machine, sewed a great big needle straight through her finger, God was teaching her something. Bad stuff happened so we can learn good stuff, like how to pray harder.For now,
and please share..
On Christmas day no less, I received an email from a N.Y. agent I admire to a great degree. He has a great sense of humor and an impressive roster of clients and contacts. He'd asked a week or so before to read my manuscript of frying spam. Even though he let me down gently, it was fantastic news. Unlike the dozen or so terse "no fit" rejections I've received so far, he offered an assortment of compliments for this often discouraged writer holed up in the mountains in the dead the winter. The short of it is what he called "a close call." But "almost" is certainly a pile better than rejection, especially when the "almost" is constructive. Along with praise, he offered insight on what tipped the scale. And too, the communication is open to some degree should I decide on another revision. I also heard from another great agent. He wanted to read frying spam too. That was a month ago. I'm still waiting. So, doing yet another revision is looking more interesting by the day, especially since the winter has made a bear of me. The sun is pitched low, the trees are naked, the fireplace inviting, the wait is as numbing as it is cold outside. But the possibilities look like spring.