Phillip Roth, Thank You.

At my job – I work for a compositor, we set books for publishers all over the country – I see, and marvel at, first books by young authors. I always wonder, how did this one catch the eye of an agent? And, subsequently, snag a publishing deal?

The answer has to be – through connections forged in a writing program, winning references from people with friends in high places. This is beyond most of us. Maybe Kris has connections, she teaches writing, I believe. The rest of us, that train has left the station.

But references go only so far. A book still has to sell itself. I handled a mystery a year or two ago, set in Boston, interesting to me for the local detail, I lived in Boston for twenty years. That author had been a consultant on a TV crime show, and had gotten a book accepted on that basis. I can’t remember the name, but I don’t see that it’s made waves. And I haven’t seen a second book in what was plainly meant to be the kick-off to a series. All the right moves, the big publisher, the front-sales touts, presumably, an actual advertising budget, and the market, apparently, has not come to Mahomet. The author, a former Boston DA, for all her sexy insider detail and her familiarity with Beantown’s mean streets, has not created another Friends of Eddie Coyle.

Some good news: At least we haven’t spent big money on an MFA, only to see our work submerge in a sea of cute. (“The powerhouse mother/daughter team has done it again, bringing you the laughter of their lives.”) Bestseller shtick is not my thing, for all its charm. (Haven’t read Scottoline, but I have to assume there’s something appealing there.)

How does one become a Phillip Roth?

From Wikipedia: “Roth’s work is known for its intensely autobiographical character, for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, for its “sensual, ingenious style” and its provocative explorations of American identity.”


* intensely autobiographical character * philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction * a sensual, ingenious style * a provocative exploration of American (in my case, catly) identity.

I’m there already!



6 thoughts on “Phillip Roth, Thank You.

  1. mimispeike says:

    I tried to change the point size to larger, it didn’t work, it all went small. If you can fix it, please do. I guess I agree about the title, though I still like mine: Phillip Roth, eat your heart out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GD Deckard says:

    Mimi 🙂 I was thinking about your omniscient writing style, where you sometimes interpose your author thoughts, when I remembered something delightful:

    In the old TV show starring George Burns and Gracie Allen, (CBS, 1950 to 1958) George would sometimes go upstairs and watch the show on TV to see what the others were up to when they didn’t know he was watching them.

    When it comes to omniscience, you are in good company, 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mimispeike says:

    Thanks. GD. I am playing with the format on my site, and doing tweaks to tenses. I still have fifteen-sixteen-seventeen, maybe eighteen to write, but I will shortly need information about a copyright notice. Any quick advice for me? I will research, of course.

    We have our own little chat room here. Where is everybody? Well, Curtis and Atthys are busy editing the anthology. I’m in a slump of light depression. The internet problems, the computer problems, the aches and pains from the garden, chapter fifteen.

    Every chapter is a struggle when you don’t know how it’s going to happen yourself. You just have to keep banging away at it until you see a path to the next chapter. Then you do it all over again.

    Liked by 1 person

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