Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pending Book Review!

The Beat Handbook has been accepted for review by Reader Views (scroll down to see it in the list). It's "waiting for an available reviewer." I'm not sure what that means, and I don't know how much traffic Reader Views gets, but it seems like a fairly developed site.

Anyway, it's something.

I'm trying to decide whether to fork over $100 and enter my book in the 17th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. It's certainly a marketing opportunity.

It all makes me wish I had an agent like Sterling Lord.*

*Obscure reference intended for Kerouac-obsessed fans only.


Crystal said...

Google, once again, meets my needs for informaiton . . .

Between 1951 and 1957, Kerouac tinkered with as many as six drafts in a desperate attempt to get editors to accept his work, according to Sampas. A letter from Kerouac to fellow beat writer Neal Cassady, dated June 1951, complains about a rejection from one publisher and mentions that Kerouac is shopping for an agent.

That agent was Sterling Lord, who says he was immediately taken with the power of Kerouac's unconventional tale.

"I didn't ever dream that this would be the huge seller that it has become — although I didn't think it wouldn't — but I felt that Jack's was a very important new voice and he ought to be heard," Lord says. "And I was totally convinced of that."

Lord pitched On the Road to publishing house after publishing house, only to be told the manuscript was "unpublishable." He says one of the book's biggest advocates was author and editor Malcolm Cowley, an adviser to Viking Press — and even he had reservations, expressed in an internal memo dated 1953, with a paragraph headlined "Faults":

"The author is solemn about himself and about Dean," Cowley wrote. "Some of his best episodes would get the book suppressed for obscenity but I think there is a book here that should and must be published."

Despite that endorsement, Viking rejected On the Road. It went on to EP Dutton, where it also languished, and Kerouac complained in a May 1954 letter to Allen Ginsberg that yet another publisher "is sitting on 4 of my pieces. All of the others are in my agent's drawers unread and dusting. What the hell is the use?"

And so it went, until the mid-'50s, when a new crop of young, receptive editors — and enthusiastic response to On the Road excerpts printed in The Paris Review — helped persuade Viking to publish it. They offered a $900 advance; Lord talked them up to $1,000, but the publisher, fearing the author would squander the money, insisted on paying it out in $100 installments.

"It didn't make any difference to Jack," Lord says. "He had a publisher."

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

You got it, babe! Thanks for being my number one blog fan - YAUTMIATW!!