Monday, August 3, 2009

The Aroma of Wet Blanket

At last, you’ve typed “The End.” Your novel A Million Little Pieces with Vampires is finished.

Go on . . . go ahead . . . relax! Fall lazily into that barcalounger and never lift another finger
in dismal labor ever again. Years of effort and hardship are reaching their final happy payoff. As
happened when we elected Obama, angels will parachute from on high bearing empty shot glasses, full scotch bottles, and a new 100-inch flat screen TV that will always be tuned to Turner Classic Movies, which will only only show movies you like (Up Goes Maisie), while you eat all the free gourmet pizza you want (delivered the micro-instant your mid-section emits the teensiest gurgle) and collect every single remaining Ennio Morricone CD--

“Not so fast, bubs.”

Oh-oh. That’s Reality, standing over the lounger, wearing an upside down face and a fire-freezing stare (may also be known as Skeptical Spouse, Your Mom, or the junior high student counselor who said you’d never be a history teacher because you didn’t know what Big Bertha was).

“You still gotta find an agent who’ll hook you up with a publisher and pray that the publisher will
(or can afford to) hook you up with an alert, talented editor who doesn’t wish he were editing
Turnips! The Tuber That Saved the World instead.

“And then you’d better pray the publisher doesn’t get bought out in a hostile takeover by Worldwide Widgets who’ll then fire your editor out the nearest cannon and replace him with an editor whose last book was Why Supernatural Novels Always Suck (and That Means Stephen King, Too).

“Oh, and while the agent’s searching for that publisher and also scraping his gluteus derma off for his other equally beloved and likely more profitable clients, he’ll probably have more than a few suggestions to help improve your book and make it more readable and saleable, (such as ‘it’s
spelled C-A-T’ and ‘Superheroes who wear Depends have limited commercial appeal.’)

“And while we interrupt your fantasies of palling around with Peter Straub in the West Eighties or fulminating with Alan Furst about the lousy scotch they serve in the south of France, consider how you may wind up doing most all of your own hollering and chest-thumping, buster. That advance you’ve been dreaming of? Consider yourself parked in dreamland if it’s $9,999.99 (minus 15% to the agent) and also remember this: many publishers these days may clip a little note to that check:


“Yuuuup! You design, place and buy the ads; you arrange the readings (if you can find any
bookstores left); you purchase the airline tickets and hotel and cab fare to the readings; you call
up Oprah (“No, really! It’s not a novel! It’s fact: Dracula lives in California! Just think of it! I’m the next James Frey!”) You mail it to the reviewers (and no paying book rate. You’ll die by the time it gets there).

“Meanwhile, you’re erecting platforms all over, like a fifty-band, rap-rock-hiphop mega-concert.
You got your weekly postings (those bits of B.S. you call ‘essays’ ‘cause you’re too much a goddamn fancy-pantsed Frasier to call them ‘blogs’) and now you have do them every . . . single . . . DAY, even if you don’t have anything more to say than “Best Western Keokuk, Iowa is the best darn hotel that ever was . . . superior to Best Western Weyawauga!”

“It’s back to posting ‘Me too!’ reactions to every Keith Olbermann-related article aggregated by
Huffington Post, even though you haven’t watched him since Obama won because he reminds you of your dad pitching a fit in a crowded restaurant.

“And while you’re posing proudly with your Pulitzer Prize in one hand, your World Fantasy Award in the other while the National Book Award wobbles on your bald skull ('I'm accepting my award and take THAT Mr. Pynchon!'), don’t forget: You Must Tweet.

“Yeah, you heard me. Tweet like the most fucking irritating songbird ever. Yes, your bathroom
behavior really is fascinating to the wider world. Count on it!

“’But Conan Doyle never tweeted about vacuuming cat hair off his carpet!” doesn’t mean you
shouldn’t. Go ahead. Google “Vacuuming cat hair carpet.” How many hits do you get? 522,000! If even one of those losers wants to read your novel, it’ll be damn well worth it, especially once you find your novel Portnoy’s Complaint with Alien Invaders sitting at the 4 million ranking on Amazon.

As for getting reviews of your own book, you'll do so much log rolling, consider yourself a lumberjack if you get the author of Spelunking for Claustrophobics to blurb you: ‘Boy, if I liked this kind of book, I might actually read it! Every page is numbered!’”

In return, of course, you have to blurb his latest tome: Penis: The Other Organ That Made the World. And you’ll call that the best book you ever read, too.

“Oh and before you haul yourself out of that chair, one more thing . . .

“‘Dog’ has only one ‘g.’”

(Photo and Bad Fake Web Page by Author)

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