I’m A Jerk
Yes. It’s true. I’m a jerk. Sometimes deliberately, more often without knowing it (I am a very stereotypical boy/engineer/moron).
There was one time I was a jerk with a publishing effort though. It’s pretty bad.
When I was living in California I saw a book called In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot. I picked it up and glanced at it and it struck me as very quirky humor that I loved. Fantastic.
A book I read about trying to get published recommended that, when I see a book I like or that I find similar to my style (whatever that is), I should look at the publisher and try to find the author’s agent in the acknowledgements section.
I looked and this book was published by Manic D Press, which was, gasp!, in San Francisco! This, I thought, is a sign. Seriously, I really thought this was a good omen. It’s a good thing I don’t live outside New York City (where there are about 5 billion publishers and literary agents) because I’d constantly be getting my hopes dashed.
Anyhow. I looked up Manic D Press’s site and I noticed that the quirky/fun/humor books were in the minority of their publications. Nevertheless, I thought I had a good chance with a small publishing house. I could write a sincere query letter that would get me noticed and they’d invite me up for an interview and find my awkward, nervous, rambling self charming for God knows what reason and … wha-la. Dream accomplished.
Manic D recommended people to read some of their published works, and talk about them in their query letter. They wanted to make sure your work jives with their overall style. Can do, I thought. I was in downtown Mountain View and I noticed Fears of Your Life by Michael Bernard Loggins.
If you know about this book you can go ahead and cringe.
I picked up the book, glanced through it, and loved it. It was yet another quirky, charming, oddball bit of humor. The author had, in his own handwriting, written fears he had for just about everything. I identified with a few of them, and it cracked me up. I bought the book and was crafting the query letter to Manic D in my head.
A few weeks later I finally got around to writing and sending the query letter. I wrote to Manic D about my haiku collection. I am proud of the haiku set, and I have a few that are San Francisco-specific, which I thought would be neat. Again, daydreams flowed about readings in weird little book stores in San Francisco.
Months after that I was at some sort of outdoor art and book festival in San Francisco near the De Young Museum. One of the tables was for Manic D, and my friend urged me to go talk with them. I declined and pulled her aside, telling her about my query letter and my big gaffe.
A month or so after I sent the query letter I was still waiting for a response. I was wondering if I’d made some obvious mistake on my query letter, so I re-read it. It seemed ok to me. I pulled out the books to make sure they were both from Manic D Press. For the first time I looked at the back of Fears of Your Life.
On the back of the book, in plain sight (whoops), is this: “Michael Bernard Loggins, an adult with developmental disabilities, battles his fears by listing more than one hundred of them.”
I change my mind, I’m promoting myself to an ass-hole.