Today is finally here; Pub Day. My newest book is live, and I hope that somewhere right now, there’s an eager mind walking into the Jade Club, or remembering that they met David under the underpass last night on their way to the OTB. Or there’s a few people with that oh-so-giddy feeling that something neat is coming by post. ‘Cause all bills and junk mail just sucks, right?
For me, Pub Day is an irregular holiday. I’n a way, it’s like a birthday, but I’m not the one being born. It’s like my kid’s birthday, without the screaming, puking, burping and unconditional love. I wish I could tell you all how much goes into getting a book published. Fuck it, I will.
I’m not going to talk about taking your laptop and matching scarf into that trendy coffee shop and pretending you think best with an audience. I mean, shit, you might, but the writers I know that hit coffee shops are in it for the free WiFi and coffee they don’t have to make themselves. We’re talking people in the zone, man, like, crazy shit and search histories that would shock your kids. Seriously, we have to apologize to the NSA on Facebook so that hopefully they’ll keep our names on fewer lists. Writing can be the loneliest thing in the world, yet we endure our loneliness together, like we’re all getting the same torture, so it sucks, but hey, it’s something to talk about.
But it all means something when a publisher or agent says they want to see more. In my case, today, it was Chris Rhatigan, the publisher of All Due Respect Books, a purveyor of lowlife fiction, a rough track newly acquired by Florida-based scene starter Down & Out Books. Chris wanted to see a collection. He’d seen my jams before, and he was looking to throw a little heat out in the winter line-up. And I looked far and wide for a set of tales to give him. He’s a tough customer. But as I was collecting stories, I noticed they were all set (mentally) in the Capital Region. Which is weird for me, because usually, I’m all over the map. Needless to say, we got a short, quick snappy collection with just the right punches in just the right places.
But that’s really where another process begins. Editing; preparing the raw psychic explosion of storytelling into the refined communication that anyone picking up that story will flow through without any of the author’s arcane idiosyncrasies tripping them up. It’s laborious, and I had to make some hard choices, and bash my head against a wall once or twice (figuratively.) Because putting a book together is a team effort. I know a lot of people (and I used to be one of them) that think that they can do it all on their own, but that shows up in the finished product, and unfortunately, the writer will be the last to know, ’cause people are tactful before they’re honest. By the time this was truly ready for print, Chris Rhatigan (And Math Bird) had pounded it into something I could be proud of.
I will say that I was allowed to work on the cover. You can see it; I think it speaks for itself. It’s simple. But even that, I had many rounds with Chris, and Eric Campbell and Lance Wright from Down & Out. See, when people think of the indie scene, they may not realize the amount of effort and expertise that goes into fine details at some of the small, but known publishers. And they have pennies on the hundred-dollar bills that the big publishers have to do it.
So, Pub Day. I’m having a book launch, sort of. Auditioning Act Entertainment DJ Service, a company owned friend and all-around good guy Phil Sawyer, is having a Back to the Eighties Night on the island. I’m thinking, with a cash bar and a laser-light show and eighties video on the walls, I gotta end my Pub Day slinging books through lasers at “winners”, cause I see myself charging good party-goers when it’s too dark to read them there. But it will be fun, and books will change hands, and photos will be taken.
So this is Pub Day.