Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a running partner in dog form

Bolstered by the fact that I didn't get raked over the coals in graphic design class, I post! But not about graphic design. I went to see Jessica Blau read at my school. Her agent, Joanne Brownstein Jarvi, came along to answer questions about how a book gets from a weird itch in an author's head to an actual physical object, with a cover and such. There really needs to be a song covering this process. I mean, half the reason anyone knows how a bill becomes a law is because of Schoolhouse Rock.

Anyway, Jessica read some sex scenes, which sounded like bad/hilarious porn, from her latest book, Drinking Closer to Home, and then joined her agent for the Q&A. One story that stands out is Jessica being invited out for drinks by her publisher, which turned out to be her introduction to the sales team behind her first book. Awkward.

For the most part, people were curious about how much publishers actually read and how possible it is to squirm into the business as a new author, which is the standard line of questioning for events like this. It's good stuff to know, and Joanne was engaging and honest, but the whole process of big-league publishing comes across like a huge NYC cocktail party nightmare (and for the record, so does graphic design). For all of the small press community's warts, I'm really glad it exists to somewhat counteract that kind of atmosphere. Given that the odds of me actually succeeding at this line of work are, uh, slim, I'd much prefer a casual atmosphere in which to fail, instead of the desperate corporatism that major-house publishing inherited from the music industry.

WORMS reading tomorrow night. Working all goddamned day before that. It can be done, amigo.

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