Another Lamentation


As some of you know, I am trying to get a novel published. At least those of you who actually read my stuff. And I’m not talking about those of you who just click “like” on whatever few lines show up in your WordPress feed before you move on to the next schmuck.

And as you know, it’s not been going well. I haven’t had this much rejection since the 7th grade dance. And I’ve not just been sending in drafts, I’ve actually stalked some agents on the Internet and even gone to Manhattan to sit around some of the finer bars and “accidentally” bump into the agents. And I’m not so crass as to run around with a manila envelope, either, and thrust it at them while they try to talk to their friend Donna from Accounting. I try to make nice, pour a few drinks in them, show some interest in what they have to say, and spring it on them back at my Air BNB. At least that’s the general plan for those in that 35-45 age range, decent dye job on the greys and all. Even a few hours of ol’ Finnegan’s company hasn’t gotten me an agent.

All that aside, I am just completely confused by what goes into getting a book published. Let me tell you the latest puzzlement. On a recent trip of mine, I ended up listening to a Jason Bourne book on CD. Yeah, I know, I could just do Audible, but I’ve sworn off the smart phones. They’re loaded with spyware, and they’re the prosecutor’s best friend. But anyway, it was “The Bourne Dominion”, by Eric Lustbader. Read by Jeremy Davidson, and produced by Hachette Audio. I provide this information, not because you give a sh1t, but because this probably now qualifies as a book review as well as a lamentation, thereby building my street cred as a serious literary figure.

Overall, the book was entertaining, and it kept me from going completely batsh1t on a 13 hour ride. When I got to {CITY REDACTED}, I was on the last CD, and drove around a bit to listen to the end. Even though I had to piss like a racehorse. So I liked the book, a lot, but it sure had some WTF moments. The first when was a character was explaining how a secret society, the Severus Domna, brought together East and West, blah blah blah. But this person erroneously said that Iranians were Sunni, and most Arabs Shia. I’ve got reading glasses, but I don’t yet need hearing aids, so I’m pretty sure that was what was said.

Next, a female character had scars on her delivered by a margay that was protecting its young. What is a margay, you may ask? Per Wikipedia, it is an EIGHT POINT EIGHT POUND OCELOT* that inhabits South and Central America. Now, this vicious mauling took place in Colombia, so the location is at least plausible. But there are twelve pound feral cats in my neighborhood, and few of them could maul a squirrel or large rabbit, much less a grown woman.

Next it turns out that the woman who was mauled, who by all appearances was a young native woman, is actually a blond Swede who uses wash-out hair color, skin bronzer and has a temporary tattoo on her ear. And it seems her long-term lover somehow did not notice. I’ve heard of sweat-proof bronzer before, but I mean did he never see her shower? Never get it on with her and at least occasionally get some friction on? And they lived in a jungle…where do you get a never-ending supply of hair color, bronzer and fake tattoos in the middle of a jungle?!?! And how does the character speak English with a slight Swedish accent, but not speak Spanish with a slight Swedish accent?

At that point I just totally WILLED myself to have a willing suspension of disbelief, as the alternative was listening to the radio and changing the station every 5 minutes from country to revival to bad hip-hop. The reward was listening to Jason Bourne beat numerous Russians and secret agents to a pulp, while the Secretary of Defense is being seduced by one of the triplet sisters of the Swede who fought a Margay (don’t ask), and Severus Domna is trying to destroy America’s only source of rare earths, and… on. It did make sense at the time. And yes, Jason Bourne did save everyone’s ass in the end.

But I ask you, what the h3ll is going on with the editing process? Obviously Eric Lustbader is a wildly successful author, has published 47 more books than I have, and I couldn’t hold his jock strap. But wouldn’t someone at some point have suggested a panther rather than a margay? Or checked Wikipedia for the main religion of Iran?

There may be a lesson here, but damned if I know what it is.

And here endeth my lamentation.



*For my international readers, the translation into metric is FOUR KILOGRAM OCELOT.

p.s. Lustbader, if you’re reading this, no offense meant.  I’d be willing to discuss this over coffee with you next time I’m in the city.


14 thoughts on “Another Lamentation

  1. i’d say (if you haven’t already) write something shorter than a novel & go about getting some of them published in journals. get you name in a few journals & publish some on the blog. then incrementally move toward novel publishing. & be patient. i am in a similar position to you, though i don’t think i’m in such a hurry to be published, but that is a wild guess. i am content for now to build my blog readership up, get some journal publications & makes some pals in the know. just my two cents. you’re writing is good, but even geniuses these days don’t get swept up, they probably have to put the graft in. that is how it goes: play the game or face obscurity. you can hate it, but the reality is that you meet & talk with some pretty cool people & get to read some good work on the way.
    i don’t know as i’ve ever read a Bourne book review. it sounds like a hoot. i am kinda curious to read one now just to experience their stupendous awfulness first hand. i don’t know if i should thank you for this as of yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DPM, awesome comment with a lot to digest. Guess it’s time to stalk the journals now!

      And the Bourne books are kind of like Westerns, except the bad guys have accents instead of wearing black hats. Excellent entertainment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. good luck. but i think stalking unnecessary, could send the wrong message. i recommend, if you don’t already know, the etiquette on submitting— it may seem superfluous, even daft, but it will get your work read by editors. there are plenty of online help here. there is nothing too strenuous, but there is a formality involved,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. i have done exactly as you did so long but from a different angle: i was so self critical i didn’t think i’d written anything of value to publish. took me 10 years to think i was someone who wrote anything of value. because of this i had to learn all the submission protocol & research all the journals, which i could have been doing years ago if i’d seen value in Contemporary poetry & thus sought the journals out. i could have been at least meeting & learning from people those years, but instead was stubbornly doing my own thing. good job i’m only 31 & realized with ample time to spare.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I had the faintest idea of what advice to give, but I’m barely learning the ins and outs of how to self-publish a poetry book. I have heard from other who are publishing that the traditional publishing process is absurdly long. I’m also pretty sure rejection is highly common and part of the process, so hang in there…the right eyes will see it if you are persistent. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve written a 70k word manuscript which is supposed to be the first part of a series. I’m brushing it up before I send it to a publisher or literary agent. I’d recommend that you make a book review, talking about your target audience and how publishing your book will be beneficial for the publishers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sir, this is a great idea. When I was young and naive, I somehow imagined that you finished a book and its spirit would rise up like a Phoenix and spread its wisdom and usefulness far and wide. Now it seems it’s a whole NEW job that I didn’t know existed until finishing a book…sigh…but thank you!


      1. Well, we authors think all about creating the story, developing it. It’s like building an entire world on your own imagination. The publishers don’t have that emotional investment in it. They’d be investing money, so they look at what will sell. Think a bit about which sort of people will like your book. Like for instance if it’s a sad romantic story, people who enjoyed fault in our stars might like it. Reference it to other books. That way the publishers know you have a clear plan and would be more confident on putting their money in you. Unfortunately, good story is never enough. You have to get into the marketing side as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Plausibility requires too much work, when you can just grow your own and hope by the time your audience gets to the grass in the other side they’re sold on the dire straits of the characters, more than the local cuisines they are battling.

    Liked by 1 person

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