Monday, May 07, 2007

Fire Plugs and Other Rest Stops

(NOTE: Coolness is always objective. There is the cool and the not cool, and any debate is specious. This weblog, with its incessant pimping of THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET, is cool. Plaid, Republicans, scented bathroom tissue, Rice-a-Roni, and most Clear Channel radio stations are not cool. Know the difference between cool and not cool and save time.)


THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET: AN OUTSPOKEN GUIDE FOR WRITERS WHO WANT TO PUBLISH by Sal Glynn is 96-pages of solid, practical, experienced, 'user friendly' instructional advice for authors in answering a series of fundamental questions about their work. When you finish the first draft how do you decide whether it’s really good or simply too flawed to submit for publication? How do you go about finding a good agent? Sal Glynn draws upon his years of personal and professional experience working as a managing editor for book publishers to demystify the common problems encountered by novice authors and experience writers alike. He presents a clear, accessible approach to writing for publication; offers practical 'first aid' for writers, details just how to stay sane and healthy while writing, and provides aspiring writers yearning to break into print with a strong and effective foundation for their present and future work. THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET is a welcome, thoroughly useful, and critically essential addition to any dedicated author's reference shelf.


“No complete son of a bitch ever wrote a good sentence.”

True, except after the good sentence and publication, many writers turn into whining brats from low sales figures. These show how many people have taken copies home to sit on the end table under the decoupage lamp and whether all the work means something, anything. Words I’ve used to mollify depressed writers sound dumb when I repeat them to myself. Mr. Detroit calls with immoral support:

“Hey, deadbeat. Where is the new THE DOG stuff?”

“I’ve had to crank out who knows how many proposals for clients, finish the two novels sitting on my desk for too long, and iron my hankies. Give me break.”

Truth is, I wallow in a slough of despondency over the book. Cynthia Frank, the publisher, is more than kind about the number of sales. Among regular trade publishers like Random House and Penguin/Putnam, three weeks is the maximum time given for a book to hit. Independent publishers hang on long after and pursue the audience, another gold star for these good people.

“I dropped into Barnes & Noble on Taylor Street in the city and found four copies. They are stuck spine out, but a place on the shelf is a place on the shelf.”

“Really? Really, really, really?”

The gloom lifts at the news, although given a choice between an independent bookseller and a chain store, I’ll take the independent. The people are committed, know a whole bunch about books, and the shelves are filled with surprises. Support your local bookseller, right now. Don’t even think of going online. You need the walk.

“Double your medication and calm down. I told you, Cynthia told you, and the grocer on the corner told you this was going to be a hard climb. Six companies in New York control the majority of American publishing, and buyers want to make their lives easier like the rest of us. They order from the big guys and the little ones get the leftovers unless a breakout book is involved. You haven’t broken out yet.”

“Sounds like acne. I’ve done speaking gigs and been nice to everyone I meet. A couple of weeks ago I did the San Francisco/Peninsula California Writers Club in Belmont. Forty people showed up and clapped twice. They even bought books.”

“Good for them.”

“I needed the money for food. Out of all the groups, they were the most responsive with a bunch of questions and no fear of being off topic to get the answer they needed. A swell bunch of folk, no fooling.”

“Keep doing the speaking events. Don’t tell me you went into this for fabulous wealth.”

I did. This may be wrong, but filthy lucre has its attractions.


“Writing Nonfiction To Publish, Not Perish” is a one-day workshop taught by me and sponsored by Book Passage on Saturday, May 12. The event will be held from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at:

Book Passage Bookstore in San Francisco’s Ferry Building
1 Ferry Building, #42
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 835-1020

This class is for nonfiction writers who want to learn the basics of book writing and publishing. Sal Glynn is a freelance editor and writer who has edited more than 300 books. Topics include first drafts, writing for clarity, sourcing, research, working with a writers group, writing book proposals, and working with editors. Sal is the author of THE DOG WALKED DOWN THE STREET: AN OUTSPOKEN GUIDE FOR WRITERS WHO WANT TO PUBLISH. The gig costs $95 (an outrageous bargain) and enrollment is through the Book Passage Bookstore in Corte Madera:

51 Tamal Vista Boulevard
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 927-0960
(800) 999-7909
Fax (415) 924-3838


THE DOG is in the running for the 11th Annual 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards. This means I have to beat out other contenders in the writing and publishing category like MISS THISTLEBOTTOM'S HOBGOBLINS and LET’S GET CREATIVE: WRITING FICTION THAT SELLS! Semi-finalist results for the Ten Outstanding Books of the Year and Best Regional Fiction and Best Regional Non-Fiction awards are announced on May 11, with final results for the entire contest on May 18. Gold, silver, and bronze medals will be claimed on Friday, June 1, in New York at BOOKS OFF-BROADWAY: A CELEBRATION OF EXCELLENCE IN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING sponsored by Desktop Miracles, Color House Graphics, and Combined Book Exhibit. Judges open to bribery should contact this space as soon as possible.

NEXT: Flea Bath Time



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