Monday, January 07, 2008

Brand New Day

I would like to take a few minutes out of your day to talk to you about the New Amazing. No, not the new Amazing Spider-Man, about that I could care less . . .

If you direct your eyes to the top of the left-hand sidebar, you will see a new advertisement, in the place of honor previously devoted to humping hamsters, "Rachel Ray Must Be Stopped" and the ever-popular "Have Fun Jackin' It". What you see has been in the works for quite a while, and I'm pleased to be able to bring the news to you now, in the first week of the year 2008.

"RAW YOUTH" is my book. It was finished, roughly, sometime in the year 2005, and it has waited patiently for the right time before being loosed upon the unsuspecting world. You might recall that for a while I was serializing chapters of this book on the blog - you can still find about the first fourth of the book, online, for free, beginning with chapter 1 and proceeding in order throughout chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Even though the book is now available for sale I have no plans on taking these excerpts offline, and will probably be placing permalinks to these preview chapters onto the sidebar soon.

After devoting a good year and a half to trying to find either an agent or a publisher willing to take a chance on me and my book, I've decided to kickstart the process myself. Accordingly, "RAW YOUTH" is being printed by the good folks at The decision to essentially self-publish was not one I made lightly. The book-publishing world is a different animal than comics, and while I would never want to be accused of making gross generalizations about an entire field, the fact is that for the large part of contemporary prose publishing history the idea of publishing your own work through some kind of "vanity" press operation has been seen less as a stepping-stone for up-and-comers (a description that could accurately describe the career trajectory of many popular comics creators in both the mainstream and alternative realms) than the ultimate destination of wannabes and dilletantes, the "not-ready-for-primetime-players" of the book world. The stink of the bush league has retained strong enough negative connotations that it is only very recently that we've seen these things beginning to change. The instrument of that change has been the internet. As recently as two or three years ago it would be inconceivable for a young writer, trying to make an honest stab at a career in the realm of fiction writing, to self-publish without casting serious aspersions on their abilities or potential (either critical or commercial).

But things have changed. I am in no way shape or form an expert on the publishing world - perhaps an expert of getting rejection notices on major-firm stationary. So I asked a few people I knew. The consensus seemed to be that yes, the invention of the internet had changed a lot of things, among them being the automatic assumption that self-publishing carries an automatic stigma for those trying to make a long-term career in the book world. (I'd like to especially thank John, owner of Bully and publishing muckety-much up at WW Norton [I believe?] for taking a few moments to answer my questions.) So, with that in mind, I took the plunge.

So - here's my book, for sale. I've got a copy myself - the first proof - and it looks pretty rad. I don't like the default font they used (I would have liked to use a nice Electra, the same font used for the Norton Critical Editions series). It costs a few dollars more than a comparable trade paperback from another house, but every copy you order is printed "to order", so none of the economies of scale that you get from normal book publishing apply. With all that said, I still think it looks pretty nice, myself. If you like my writing, or what I do here at The Hurting, you should really think about ordering a copy. Every copy of my book that gets bought means the world in terms of proving that there is a market for this book and my writing. And if you buy it, read it, and do like, don't be shy about it, either.

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