A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Archive for June, 2011

The New Internet Writing “Experts”

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 30, 2011

Well, I guess this will be my first “rant” of my new blog. Maybe not a rant, but instead just a bitching session….

I’ve just finally got to speak up about a topic I first noticed popping up online here several years ago, and I’ve seen this topic and this issue and these people I’m about to address become more and more common everywhere I go online, no matter what blogging site or on Twitter or FB, Xanga, Blogger, and yeah, now even here on WordPress. The topic is the New Internet Writing “Experts.” The thing that once amused me and now irritates the shit out of me is that virtually NONE of them are qualified in any way to pass themselves off as writing experts in any sense of the word — and yet they do. Again, once amusing. Now, pretty much insulting to those of us who have put the blood, sweat, time and tears in, and who have actually accomplished something significant, thereby making US experts…. Yeah, insulting.

I first noticed this trend several years ago on a different blogging site. An online friend I’d never met IRL had just finished a graduate degree in English and knew for a fact that they were an amazing writer and were naturally, just like every other human being on earth, working on a novel which would, of course, be accepted by an agent and eventually published based on the reality of its immediately recognizable quality due to this person’s substantial writing prowess and gifts. Yep. Never had published a thing ever, but started writing more and more frequently about the art of writing, both poems and fiction. Novels. Amusing. Cute. Darling. Then, however, the blogs started to focus on the art of submitting work to agents, on how to find agents, how to get them to consider if not accept you and your work and ultimately represent you to publishers. Bear in mind this person had never even had an agent respond to one of their increasingly frantic and frustrated queries, let alone request an entire manuscript, let alone agree to represent this person. Never. Having had a damn agent and having had an agent represent me and MY ACTUAL REAL IN REAL LIFE BOOKS THAT GOT PUBLISHED IN REAL LIFE WITH ROYALTIES AND EVERYTHING IN REAL LIFE, I kind of felt like I knew just a tad bit more than this person did and kind of thought that they were being a bit presumptuous, even arrogant, in literally trying to pass themself off as an expert of sorts, never having accomplished what they were advising other people about. It was not a diary about their efforts, mind you. It was honest to God advice from someone who Clearly Knows What They Are Talking About. Uh huh.

I know I’m bordering on sounding very snobbish, but I’m going to get worse, so if you’re getting put off by my tone or attitude now, just move on, cause I’m about to get much worse.

OK, I kept following this person, remaining friendly, but getting increasingly annoyed, as they had no basis whatsoever for passing themself off as an expert in anything regarding publishing. None. However, just two or three years ago, I started seeing a few other people writing similar blogs. To my horror. On how to write novels. On how to write sci fi. On how to write horror. On how to get published. On how to get an agent. On the best publishers to pursue. And not ONE of them had ever had one single book published! Indeed, most — the vast majority — never even had an article, essay, poem, short story, novel excerpt — anything — published at all! That’s not ballsy, that’s galling! Fast forward. Go anywhere on Facebook or Twitter or any blogging site now and you’ll find what I see now every single day, and that is a Twitter feed or a FB fan page dedicated to some “writer” who dispenses wisdom and advice left and right, yet who has NEVER PUBLISHED ANYTHING IN THEIR DAMN LIVES!!! Excuse me, but WTF???

1) What gives these assholes the right to even THINK they can be viewed as experts and should be writing advice blogs, etc.? None of them are even successful at what they’re advising others on! Hell, if they followed their own advice, based on their personal results, they’d never get published and would remain frustrated novelist wannabees, which actually, is exactly the case.

2) Why would anyone listen to a literal non-expert, an anti-expert even, give advice on something they’re totally inexperienced at, a failure at, or have no idea what their talking about in general? The thing that has shocked me is how — and why??? — so many of the people develop large followings!!! I actually intentionally follow one of these people on Twitter. Recent college grad. Knows everything. Working on a novel. Soon to be as successful as Anne Rice of Steven King. Developed a huge following and even a FB fan page. And yet, she has NEVER published a damn thing in her young life!!! WTF???

3) If an aspiring writer were seeking writing and publishing advice, and seriously at that, why on earth would they go to an utter novice, if not a downright failure? Why wouldn’t they seek out experienced, successful veterans for literal, real world advice based on hard work, knowledge and success? I honestly do not understand. Yet I’m apparently in the minority on this, because in my exploring my new blogging world here on WordPress, I was saddened and then irritated to find So.Many.”Writers.”Giving.Writing/Publishing.Advice.Who’d.Never.Published.Anything.In.Their.Lives!!! Again, but WTF?

Listen to me people, especially those of you who think I sound an awful lot like some stuck up asshole right about now. I own a car. It needs servicing sometimes. When I go to the garage, I don’t tell the mechanic – who is trained and experienced – how to do his job, nor do I advise him on it. I furthermore don’t go into the waiting lounge and tell everyone else there how to get their cars fixed. Nor do I go online and dispense mechanical advice. I don’t do this because I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about, I’ve never done it before, and I leave the expertise to those who are actual experts. I also don’t assume others out there will want to come listen to me or read my advice on mechanics or advice on how to get their cars serviced or fixed, etc., cause I’m not enough of an idiot or asshole to assume I know what I’m talking about when I don’t, and frankly, I probably wouldn’t think too much of anyone who wanted MY input or advice on something I’d never done before! Isn’t that logical? It sure is to me. Ditto lawyers, doctors, stock brokers, etc. I went to law school, did you know that? I HATED it and dropped out before finishing (although I do have three other degrees in other areas). I’m not arrogant enough to sit here and pretend to be a legal expert and dispense legal advice on a blog or on Twitter or to even think about establishing some FB fan page. And if I did do that, it would not only be a disservice to those poor saps listening to me, but an absolute deep sign of disrespect to those actual lawyers out there who busted their asses putting in the time and hard work and competing with each other to actually succeed at their vocation. Doesn’t that make sense??? It does to me.

IMO, the same can and should hold true to writers. I’ve had 15 books published. I’ve had zillions of poems, short stories, essays, articles, etc., etc., published in hundreds of magazines in at least 26 countries and five languages. Because of this, I’m a longtime member of PEN and the Authors Guild, which are discriminating organizations, in that not everyone who writes a poem or manuscript can join or can/will be invited to join. You have to have proven yourself; you have to have accomplished something (ie, having had a book published, at a minimum).

Let me tell you something else. I didn’t go to college, get my English degree, sit down for the summer and type out “x” number of words per day for three months and then declare my novel finished and ready for obvious and immediate publication. Cause that’s not how it works for most anyone in the Real World. (Idiots!) After I got my undergrad degree, I moved from Knoxville TN to Phoenix to become a “writer.”  I learned quite quickly, as I was blissfully naive — like so many apparently are — that you have to sell a hell of a lot of poems and stories in order to survive as a writer! Indeed, if you don’t know this, you should, but the vast, vast majority of magazines — especially in America — don’t pay anything! You only get a contributor copy. (I’ve always had good luck with Irish and Australian magazines, in terms of them paying actual money…) So, this became my life, because I was dedicated to my craft. I found a job working at an insurance company. 12 hours a day, six days a week, plus one Sunday a month. Basically 12 hours a day for about 28 days a month. For $5.56 an hour. With my proud new English degree in hand. And it was a recession, so I was frankly glad to have a damn job! I worked my freaking ASS off 12 hours a day, 28 days a month for slave wages, and then I went back to my shithole apartment in the ghetto (cause $5.56/hour doesn’t go far), and I wrote. I wrote for a minimum of two hours per night, and then prepared submissions to magazines and publishers for an additional one hour minimum per night. My goal was 10 finished poems per night, 5 new magazine submissions per night — minimum. And those three hours of my night dedicated to honing my craft, at becoming a writer, at succeeding, at becoming published — those three hours were minimum!!! I can’t tell you how many times I stayed up for many, many hours writing and writing and writing, so that I got perhaps three hours of sleep per night, over and over. Yet during this time, I was writing hundreds of poems, some short stories, a few articles, etc., and I had my work submitted out to well over 100 magazines at any given time, and I kept seriously anal records of my submissions, because I also learned quite quickly how you can get blacklisted if you screw up (ie, send out simultaneous submissions and having the same work appear in two magazines simultaneously — yeah, that’s MAJOR and, yeah, a lot of “writers” don’t bother thinking about that…). So, I worked 12 hour days 28 days a month, and I wrote what was more realistically for about 5+ hours a day, seven days a week, holidays included, and I did this for DECADES!!! Even some years later, when I moved over to L.A. to go to grad school, cause I was sick of living in the ghetto and working for $5.56 an hour, even when I was a full time grad school student paying out of state tuition which required me to work THREE part time jobs of up to 20 hours each (such as tutoring in the writing lab), AND teaching writing classes (plural, not just one per semester) AND doing volunteer work to give myself legitimate resume “fodder” (ie, volunteer copy editing for the local newspaper), AND while I was in the process of getting married and all that entails, AND while I was finding the time and energy to go out partying with my new grad school pals, I STILL committed myself to writing a minimum of three hours a day, seven days a week, always and forever, so that two years later, when I graduated as the top student at the largest university in the state of California, complete with my 4.0 GPA, my scholarships, my grants, my teaching experience, my publishing and newspaper experience, my acceptances into four PhD programs complete with free rides (which I sadly did not take advantage of), I was perhaps most proud of the fact that I had by then had a solid 5 collections of poems published, all due to my busting my freakin ass every single day, about 35 hours a day (or so it seemed), and not taking anything for granted. I busted my freaking ASS! Fast forward. Good work, good job, good pay. Long hard hours. Including one still famous 150+ hour week I put in to win my company a contract resulting in 225,000 new immediate customers in one day! (I slept for one hour/night under my desk.) I just about killed myself doing that, and you know what? All that time (except for that 150 hour week) I put in my three hours of writing — minimum — per day, seven days a week. 10 poems a day, 5 new magazine submissions a day. I’m going to stop now, cause I hope you’re getting the picture. I did this every single day for some 15 straight years, and I have never pretended to be the best poet or writer out there — I know I’m not — but I’ll be damned if anyone was going to outwork me because I was determined to do whatever it took to become as good a writer as possible AND as successful (if publishing is your measuring stick) a writer as possible. So, I’ve put in my dues. And I’ve been very successful. And I know how to get published. I’m a better “getting published” writer than actual writer, if that makes any sense.

So, the question I’ve been asking myself is this. Why in the HELL would anyone, anywhere on earth want to willingly subscribe to blogs or follow tweets by twits passing themselves off as writing “experts” when so many of them have not accomplished a single thing of their own? Why aren’t they seeking successful writers out, like myself (but please don’t — that’s NOT an open invite!) and others who have labored under extreme conditions to achieve the level of expertise and success that they have? I don’t want legal advice from a law school drop out. I don’t want stock market advice from some ponzi schemer. Why do you want writing and publishing advice from a total loser? A failure? A reject? What’s the damn point? Where’s the logic behind that? Frankly, I’m at the point now where I do indeed get extremely insulted when I come across the blogs and websites of these so-called writers who claim to be writers based solely on the fact that they have written a manuscript — unpublished (or, now some of them are “real” writers because they do have books out — self-published on Lulu or other places, places where they haven’t had to compete against others, where they haven’t had to prove themselves and their talent — how convenient…) — where they have the audacity to pass themselves off not only as a writing/publishing “expert” but even as a writer in general. Cause I’d wager that, oh, about 100% of them have NOT put in the efforts I have, or even substantial efforts others have, who ARE successful and who have paid their dues and who do know what the hell they’re talking about! Yeah, it’s insulting to me and to my sacrifices I’ve made for decades, some of which are quite possibility contributing to seriously deteriorating health. I’ve frankly driven myself way too hard for far too long and while I have been successful, I’m now at a point where I’m weighing things in my mind — was it worth it? Was it worth these illnesses, these health “problems,” this quite likely shortened lifespan. And I’ve got to say, most of the time I say yes, it was worth it. And I’m sorry, but I am NOT going to give these fuckers who haven’t done crap in their lives to merit anything at all a free pass to allow them to have the nerve to give writing and publishing advice when I have dedicated and quite possibly even ultimately given my very life for my craft, for my vocation, for my profession, for my passion — not some damn hobby I take up during the fucking summer one year so that I can now say I Know It All and I’ll impart my wisdom to thousands of others. Yeah, it’s insulting. So, if anyone out there reads this and if you are man or woman enough to admit you are guilty of perpetuating this type of fraud, please stop to consider things, and please start to consider maybe putting in just one third of the time and effort I have over my lifetime to pay my freakin’ dues and to achieve success in this field. Please stop turning a cute little summer hobby where you have tortured your fingers by typing (I wrote longhand…) a few hours a day into some appearance of expertise and success.  Cause that’s bullshit. If you’re remotely capable of honesty, you’ll admit that and do more actual writing and do less writing ABOUT writing.

I guess that’s my rant for the day.

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New Poetry at Ray’s Road Review!

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 27, 2011

Hey poetry lovers: the literary publication for which I am the poetry editor — Ray’s Road Review — has just published several poems by noted poet and author, Clifton Snider.  Very glad to have him on board.  Please go check his poems out at:  http://raysroadreview.com/poetry-2/clifton-snidor/ and while there, read Val Nieman’s poems in the current issue too.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also check out the archives, where the Spring issue’s poets are hiding — Alan Catlin, Corey Mesler, and Lisa Zaran.  Hey, check out ALL of the stuff in the mag — fiction, nonfiction, poetry and photography.  Then, feel free to consider submitting something of your own!  (Oh, maybe you could pass this announcement on to others who might be interested.  Thanks.)

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20 Questions

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 26, 2011

20 Questions

Delete my answers and substitute your own. Enjoy!

  1. I’ve come to realize that… I have taken far too many things for granted in my life, even when I thought I was not doing that. It’s a tragedy & I’m trying to remedy that.
  2. Reconciliation is… ideal, but not always realistic. This is exactly the opposite of how I have felt my entire life, but I have wasted way too much time over the years trying to reconcile (or even simply remain on the same friendly terms…) with various people for various reasons and I can count on one hand quite easily the number of times it was worth the effort. Move on.
  3. I talk… more than ever, if you can believe that. I have a lot to say. I spent the last 7+ years living with someone who really didn’t like to hear me talk much, but who preferred watching TV. Like 24/7. For years. Yeah, good times. I’ve got a lot to say and a lot stored up, so sorry….
  4. I love… one special individual more than anyone I ever have at any time in my life, to a shockingly higher degree than I ever knew was even possible. Yeah, I admit it. I also dearly love my parents, my kitties, and several of my good friends who have stood by me over the years. My list of friends I “love” has diminished greatly over the past two years. Pity.
  5. My best friend/s… are fewer than I thought in number, but are critically important to me and people I feel confident I’ll remain loyal to forever and who will be there for me forever. I’m blessed in this regard.
  6. Love… is a newly important word to me, as most of my life it was largely an abstract concept, outside of my loving family. In my middle years, I have been blessed to discover what I now believe “love” is and is meant to be, and I had no freakin’ idea this was a possibility.
  7. Marriage is… hit and miss. Usually a mistake. Usually entered into too soon and without sufficient forethought. A business partnership. Yeah, I’m jaded.
  8. Somewhere, someone is thinking… “I wonder what that whining, bitchy drama queen Scott is going on about now.” Seriously. You think I’m joking….
  9. I’ll always… remember times, places and the special people who have gone out of their way to save my ass in the biggest and worst of situations. Foremost among these are my parents and my best friend, Marcy. Emily, Jim & Eunice, Arnold & Sarah, and Ami have been there for me too. Many thanks.
  10. I truly relax… nowhere. I stopped being able to relax years ago and now I no longer know how to, which is pathetic, and I even feel tremendous guilt if I even make an attempt to relax! Therapy is clearly in order.
  11. My cell phone… is my life. I store everything in my iPhone. I’m not kidding. If that ever disappears, I’m more screwed than if my wallet disappears.
  12. When I wake up in the morning… I now thank God for allowing me to see the sun rise once more, to be able to draw a breath, to have friends and family (and kitties) who love me. I no longer take these things for granted.
  13. Before I go to bed… I talk to my special loved one for as long as possible in order to end each day on a positive, loving and blessed note.
  14. Right now I am thinking… that I have a lot more to be grateful for than I – or most other people – would typically realize, looking at circumstances.
  15. Babies… make me break out in hives. I’m horribly allergic them. Always have been, always will be. I find them quite distressing.
  16. I am committed to… doing everything possible to survive. And to love and live more strongly and sincerely than I ever have in my life before now.
  17. I miss… my cat Rocky, who died in August 2007. I also miss seeing and hanging with my best friends back out west, including Marcy, Celeste, Marc, Emily and Rachel.
  18. Tomorrow… is a hope and a goal, but not a guarantee.
  19. I really want to be… healthy enough to live long enough to have a quasi-“normal” life and a happy one, to whatever degree that is possible.
  20. I hate… people who don’t understand and who don’t even try to make a serious damn effort to understand.

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My New WordPress Page: MY BOOKS – CRAZY PRICES

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 25, 2011

Today I created and published a new themed tab — a WordPress “Page” — that I titled MY BOOKS – CRAZY PRICES. This page is about what I found some of my old published but now out of print books are selling for online, on places like Amazon and Alibris. I was surprised to a very large degree to see what some of these books are going for, so I made a number of screen shots which I embedded into my new tab/Page and I hope anyone remotely interested in such things will check it out. Naturally I’m biased, but I’m terribly curious about who would pay such wacky prices for old books of mine. I’m also curious about how these bookstores and resellers got their hands on “collectibles” in some cases, ie, autographed copies. I will probably never find out, and I guess that’s fine, but it’s still interesting for me to ponder, so please check that page out and feel free to leave any comments if so inclined. Thanks!

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The Best Contemporary Confessional Poetry Books

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 22, 2011

Just because I want to kick start this blog off and get some content out there, and even though I’ve got some topics in mind I want to write about, my time is quite limited these days, so this post will actually be stolen from an Amazon.com list I put together earlier this year. I introduce the list with these words:

“Of course I realize that ‘Confessional’ poetry didn’t just start circa 1970. I recognize the importance of Robert Lowell, Plath, Sexton, etc. That said, I think a great number of the ‘accepted’ mainstream poets considered to be confessional poets today are basically crap, so I’ve compiled MY list of what I believe to be the best, newer, confessional poetry books, written by some of the best poets out there. Enjoy!”

As a poet and writer who is both a confessional writer and lover of confessional poetry and writing, I’m biased and I admit it.  Still, I’m going to list MY top 20. I would love comments from anyone out there who encounters this post.  Disagree, discuss, add to the list — whatever you want. Oh, and I think I’ll add my descriptive commentary on each of these books after the list, in order of the list (if that makes any sense). Cheers!

  1. Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit by Charles Bukowski
  2. Love is a Dog From Hell by Charles Bukowski
  3. Factory (Pocket Poets Series) by Antler
  4. The Southeast Asian Book of the Dead by Bill Shields
  5. Firebird Poems by Gerald Locklin
  6. Stand Up Friend With Me by Edward Field
  7. What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems by Kim Addonizio
  8. Scream When You Burn: A Pound of Sacred Flesh from the Lap of Coffee Culture by Rob Cohen
  9. Stand Up Poetry: An Expanded Anthology by Charles Harper Webb
  10. The Doctor Poems by Lyn Lifshin
  11. Counting Myself Lucky: Selected Poems 1963-1992 by Edward Field
  12. Mad Dog, Black Lady by Wanda Coleman
  13. The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems by Charles Bukowski
  14. Lifetaker by Bill Shields
  15. North Beach Revisited by A. D. Winans
  16. Deep Red by Donna Hilbert
  17. Goodstone by Fred Voss
  18. MAKING LOVE TO ROGET’S WIFE by Ronald Koertge
  19. In Danger (The California Poetry Series) (California Poetry Series, V. 2) by Suzanne Lummis
  20. Alchemy of Opposites: Poems by Clifton Snider

My commententary:

  1. The first Bukowski I ever read, decades ago, and I still remember to this day how it just blew my mind. I have all of his books, but this poetry book remains my favorite.
  2. Aside from my admittedly biased Buk fav — Play the Piano Drunk… — I’ve long felt this book was one of his strongest books of poems.
  3. One of the most important poetry books in American history. That’s not merely my opinion. Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder & many other big names heaped massive amounts of praise on this book, and with good reason.
  4. While Shields remains controversial re his bio/reputation, his books — particularly this one — just hit you in the gut, over and over, until you feel like you’ve gotten the hell beat out of you, yet strangely you want more.  Massively intense!
  5. Locklin’s best, IMO.  Great book!
  6. Geez, this is a serious classic.  What can you say, really?  This book, from early in the 1960s, went on to impact countless numbers of poets and aspiring poets ever since.
  7. She’s the superstar, and this book shows why.
  8. One of the very best contemporary anthologies I’ve EVER read, focusing, yes, on the L.A. coffeehouse confessional crowd, but packed with incredible stuff (including Bukowski, I believe — oh yeah, and me too — am I biased?).  Get this!
  9. Similar to Scream When You Burn, but a bit more mainstream, IMO.
  10. My favorite Lifshin book, out of all of her millions of books.  She IS the most heavily published author in the history of the world, right?
  11. A wonderful, wonderful collection.
  12. Coleman presents a worldview that is slightly different than that of some of the other confessionals.  Find her classic Black Sparrow books.  Well worth the investment.
  13. My favorite posthumous Bukowski book.  Good stuff.
  14. Another Shields poetic beating, brutal and rough, but you emerge (if you still have your sanity) simply amazed at this poet’s talent.
  15. Winans — major underground influence on the scene.
  16. I like Donna, always have. Good person, good writer. I don’t know if this book would make everyone else’s list for this topic, but I feel it’s worthy of inclusion.
  17. The under appreciated Voss is like the poor man’s Antler, yet I don’t mean that in a critical way.  This book is good.
  18. Koertge. Shoot, any of his books will do!
  19. This is one of my two favorite books by Lummis.
  20. I’m not certain I would always categorize Clifton as a “confessional” poet, per se, but I do feel like this books lends itself toward that feel, and is worthy of making the list.

Well, thank you for letting me “cheat” with some stuff I’d actually already done. I hope this list will find some new readers here and perhaps will encourage someone to read a poet previously unknown to them.

Finally, off topic, I just found this out this afternoon while nosing around Amazon, and I did go ahead and add it to my post from yesterday, but I’m just so stunned at seeing this (for so many different reasons) that I want to mention it again. As of this afternoon, Amazon.com is showing that a new copy of my 2004 book, Cells, is available for purchase through a reseller for $164.13!!!  Craziness! Who the heck would pay that for my book??? I remember thinking it was crazy when a used copy of another one of mine, Artifacts, was for sale at one of these online bookstores for $137 earlier this year. Seriously? I’m not Bukowski or Ginsberg people!

Here’s a thing that honestly irritates me though. It’s not like I made a ton of cash off the royalties of these or any of my poetry books. Truly. So, since I’ve seen a number of my old books for sale online over the past few years for over $100 at a time, there must be some demand somewhere for Holstad poetry collections, right? Yet, because these are sold used, or in this case of Cells today, new via a reseller, I’m not getting a penny from any of this! Yeah, that kind of irritates me. When my books were on sale new for $7 or $12 or $21.95 or whatever, I was damn lucky to get my standard 8% of the gross, which didn’t amount to much. Now that some of my old books are selling for hundreds of dollars, apparently, yeah, I wouldn’t mind getting a cut of that — they’re MY damn books and my words and my poems and my experiences and someone somewhere is making a sweet profit in selling these for those silly amounts. You know? Just my main thought on that topic….

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Some Interesting Tidbits About My Books

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 21, 2011

I made a list of my 15 books of poetry I’ve had published over the years for this new blog. Just for the heck of it. Well, it’s all good to see titles and publishers and dates and so on, but I don’t know about you, but I’m always curious about more details — the stuff you don’t see and are never told. I’m going to try and provide some of that here for you now, about my books.

  • Largest press run: Places — 2,000 copies
  • Smallest press run: Distant Visions, Again and Again — 100 copies
  • Most press runs: Dancing with the Lights Out went through five press runs. Granted, they were small….
  • Fastest to go out of print: Artifacts — less than two years (?)
  • Longest to remain in print: Never-Ending Cigarettes, an excellent little collection, lasted quite awhile, but to my knowledge, Hang Gliding on X is still around. Indeed, a copy was just donated by the publisher, Lummox Press, to the California State University Long Beach library.
  • Best selling book: Places
  • Worst selling book: Cells
  • Hardest to find now: The Napalmed Soul
  • Used copy going for the most money online: Artifacts ($137.00)  [Wow! As of the day after this post was written, Amazon.com is showing a new copy of Cells is available for purchase through a reseller for $164.13!!!  Craziness!]
  • Book with best reviews: Places
  • Book with worst reviews: I got slaughtered for Grungy Ass Swaying.
  • Most disappointing book review: My hometown newspaper, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, gave Places a very lukewarm review, the only non-glowing review that book received.
  • First bookstore to sell one of my books: Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe AZ
  • Most “famous” author to give me praise, which ended on the back cover of one of my books as a plug: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Number of book publication invitations I have turned down from publishers: At least eight
  • Number of actual written, signed book contracts I have torn up while waiting for an advance: Two
  • Most well known university publisher to come “this” close to publishing one of my books: The Ohio State University Press
  • Most well known literary publisher to come “this” close to publishing one of my books: It’s a tie between City Lights Press (home to Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kerouac, etc.) and Black Sparrow Press (home to my main muse, Charles Bukowski).
  • Publisher to reject one of my book manuscript submissions most quickly: Carnegie Mellon University Press
  • Publisher to accept an unsolicited book submission the fastest: Mulberry Press, for Street Poems
  • Publisher that took longest to respond to a book submission: New Directions (I swear, I think it was some 14 months or so…)
  • Number of my books that were solicited by publishers to publish: Eight

I guess that’s about all I’ve got for the moment. If anyone reads this at all and comes up with interesting questions, comments or ideas, please leave a message and I’ll try to address them.

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