So….my book, “Pola Negri: Temptress of Silent Hollywood” is just about out. I got my free copies a couple of days ago. Needless to say, compromises were made on everything from the title to the size of the book. I will say I’m generally pleased with it, although it’s a far cry from the vision I had of a book about Pola Negri.
Lessons learned? Yep….get an editor before you submit your book for publication. Small presses like the one I signed up with will depend on you to edit your book–their “editorial staff” seems to be mostly interested in limiting the number of pages and making sure you don’t say anything outrageous. If you go with a boutique press, you will probably have to do the job yourself. I did–I’m no editor–and I was horrified on getting the galleys upon seeing in my opinion just how poorly written parts of my book were. By the time I figured that out, it was too late to change it. If I’m unhappy about anything, it’s the fact that I should have done a better job of writing it. I also didn’t get most of the pictures I wanted into the book. As I said, compromises….
It’s really weird seeing your book being sold on Ebay for outrageous sums of money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be on Ebay…it’s kind of a kick for me…but, Gawd, what they’re asking for it! I hate the idea of it reflecting on me–being seen as some kind of greedy bastard. I had no input into the book’s pricing.
Another lesson to be learned: always check out the other books your publisher puts out. I had seen both good and bad from my publisher…and I guess I thought they understood how I saw the book…but, as I said, compromises…and at least they went with my design for the book jacket. That’s about the one thing I won.
Will I ever see a dime for my efforts…who knows? Maybe a couple bucks. Getting the book published was all I wanted and I got that. I’m now more than a writer, I’m an author.
Funny thing thought, I got an email from someone who wanted to dispute some of the facts in my book. I answered quite politely, but I get the feeling that as a Pola Negri devotee, she’s going to hate a large chunk of it because I present a more than one-dimensional portrait of the Polish actress. That’s okay with me. I hope someone is annoyed enough to write their own book to contradict me. Go ahead. Reminder: the publishing company already has your money.
So what’s next? Good question? I’m going to do a book on exploitation film actresses from the 1950’s-through 70’s. Don’t have a working title yet, but I’m accumulating lots of photos on everyone from Susan Hart to Pam Grier to Roberta Collins to Pat Woodell. You probably haven’t heard of many of them–hence, the book.
I will also report that “The Ardent Admirer” didn’t get a bite from an agent. I sent out over sixty queries–got about fifteen rejection letters and that was it! I was going to self-publish it, but maybe I should spend my energies on another novel with more commercial potential. Okay, yeah, I’m selling out on my beliefs, but I really want to write full time and that won’t happen unless I can sell books.
I wish my muse was cooperating right now. I have two novel ideas right now that seem to want to go to place….just not to the end. In other words, I have bits and pieces of them that are fucking terrific….but after that they are black holes of train wreck despair. I don’t seem to have an entire story to work with and that bugs the hell out of me because I never thought I would be at a loss for a story. So, I’ve just about settled on an idea of mine that’s something of a love triangle between a guy, girl, and an old movie theater. It’s going to be a romantic fairy tale…I think.
That’s it for now. I’ll keep you posted. KEEP WRITING…NEVER QUIT.