Friday, September 17, 2010
The Fall & The Rise: My Story: Bulleted!!
Here's how I first came to be published commercially in Big NYC:
-I wrote a novel called "The Innocent" about a prison warden wrongly accused of aiding and abetting the escape of a convicted cop-killer. It was based on a true story.
-I got an agent for the novel. Let's call him Slick.
-Slick sold the novel in two weeks in a deal totaling 230,000 clams. I loved Slick and dedicated the novel to him.
-The acquiring editor was a musician and a pretty smart lit guy who had also first bought Harlen Coben. Let's call him J. We became quick buds.
-J's only senior in the publishing house was a woman named L. She was the editor-in-chief I guess. She was a sweet lady.
-My publicist was young woman named V, whom I liked very much. Well, ok, I liked her a lot.
-There was a buzz about 'The Innocent' from the start. Publishers Weekly published two pre-pub pieces. A record Japanese deal was struck. DreamWorks was all over the movie rights. Dutch rights sold.
-I joined a band with J, called StrawDogs, and partied like a rock star. I also partied with V, and well, you know....
-Then something terrible happened. Talk of a corporate takeover infected the publisher's Times Square office. Suddenly everyone was worried about their jobs. Something new was about to be introduced to the book market as well. EBooks. Bookstore owners were in a panic.
-Too much time began to pass from contract execution to actual book publication. More than a year. As worries over takeovers and EBooks began to infect the publishing office, interest in The Innocent began to wane.
-J had to change the name of the book to As Catch Can because some author in a sister firm had published a book by that title a couple of years before. "As Catch...what?" I posed....
-A year came and went, and still As Catch Whatever hadn't been released. But they were working on it. The cover was finally completed, but it was rushed. No one really liked it, but too much time had passed, so it was used. It was an ugly green on top of illegible letters.
-Still, the book was published to amazing reviews like "Brilliant," and "The most arresting crime novel to be published this year." Maybe the reviews would aid sales!!!
-Barnes and Nobles took it off the shelves after six weeks. Big Commercial Bookstore Policy!
-Everyone at the publishing house was worried for their job.
-No one promoted "Catch." Not even V.
-The hostile takeover happened. So did EBooks.
-As Catch Can drowned in Big NYC corporate turmoil.
-Slick refused to do anything about it when J suggested we take the book to another publisher. Slick didn't care. He'd gotten his money. He was playing the stock market and onto something else.
-The new "hostile" publisher had to take me on, under the pretense of contractual obligation. They published my second novel, Godchild, in mass paperback, shit it out, and quickly forgot about it.
-My editor at the time told me in confidence, "The publisher is preventing you from selling books."
-I'd lost all control. My rights were locked up. My lit career was not only in a stall, it was about to crash and burn. All because of corporate greed. My life entered into a tailspin...
So what's to be learned here. Just because you land a big deal in NYC does not guarantee you huge success. In fact, it can spell disaster of major proportions.
So what's happened to all the major players?
-Slick is reputedly running for his life, his office shut down, his AAR staus revoked. Keep running Slick....
-The Editor-in Chief, L, is out of the business (I met her in the lobby of the Bertlesman Building, her desk lamp in hand, tears streaming down her cheeks. She sweetly kissed me, and uttered, "Good luck." But what she really meant was "Rest in Peace."
-J is doing cool things at MTV with pop culture books. He couldn't be happier.
-I never heard from V again...But sometimes I wonder what she's up to.
-StrawDogs broke up.
-The publishing office is now a brokerage house.
-Barnes and Nobles is about to go out of business.
-Vincent Zandri, is now a freelance journalist for global publications like RT, and the bestselling author of The Remains and Moonlight Falls. He's also the drummer for the punk band, The Blisterz.
-As Catch Can is now The Innocent again. It will be published by StoneGate Ink on October 1st in EBook and Kindle, and in the Spring in trade paperback. It's got a great new cover and a whole bunch of great reviews to fuel it toward the success it deserves in this brave new indie publishing world!!!! It will re-enter the publishing world as a major bestseller!!!!
-I've removed Slick's name from the dedication, and dedicated it to another person.