Advice to Writers, Quotes, What
People Say and What I Say Back

Ginny Good, A Mostly True Story:

Read and/or Watch

July 3, 2023

"On or before July 14, 2023" the host of my website is bagging it for lots of exquisite reasons. So am I. You can see the last 20 years or so here: (stick in the box).

They're getting rid of my email address, too. Use this:

If you want to read my written stuff, click this:

If you want to see or listen to my video/audio books, click these or this and look around:

If you want to know how to write, click this:

Thanks. G.

Gerard Jones

Advice to Writers

June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to me! Here's an e-mail I just got from Merrie Olde England:

Dear Mr Jones, You probably get more email than most and so I hope mine doesn't get lost in the crowd. I wanted to thank you so much for your website. I found an agent through it, in fact I got 3 offers of representation and chose an agent who really loves my book. I find your website so compelling and I go back again and again. I've loved writing in fact I started to take it seriously when I turned 17, I'm 28 now and as my book is about to be published I feel good about having never given up blah blah blah. I guess I'm writing to you because instead of being really excited, I'm a little heartbroken. My work has been taken on by the kind of publisher you describe as selling schlock. I realise now that I changed my book and wrote the sort of book "agents like" and which "publishers publish" even the curse words are carefully placed and rationed. I've curtailed the bigotry so as not to offend the heterosexual blonde middle classes, and now the world is wonderful again. I know you don't know me, but I think you're the only person who would understand why I am so sad instead of happy. Everyone including my fiance is going nuts with my new "success" especially because I've been given my ticket to baord the Publishing PR express train. I wish I could warn other writers against what I have done. I'll play along and I'm sure I'll enjoy myself and of course I want to do well and become popular and I am excited by what's in store, but a part of me has died and I am ashamed deep down. You are a pure thing.

I'm a pretty pure thing, alright, but that didn't happen overnight. After you've gotten a little notice and publicity you might be able to write what you really wanna write but generally nobody wants to buy what anyone really wants to write and getting people to buy stuff is all that matters. Write what you want to write the way you want to write it without any hope in hell of ever getting it published or read and write what other people want you to write for money. That's just the way it works. Thanks. G.

December 4, 2005

Don't worry if you don't get many responses and don't count on getting many favorable responses, but all you need is one. Agents, editors and publishers are generally pretty self-satisfied and dismissive. Don't take it personally. Publishing is a business. Businesses need to make money or they go out of business. The business of publishing needs "product." That's where writers come in. Let them see what you've got. Give them a shot. All they can do is say yes or no or nothing. Count on nothing. Tell the truth as best you know it. Those who have ears will hear. Crack yourself up. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. And after you've tried all three or four thousand agents, editors and publishers on this little list, try them all again. It's a crapshoot.

When you get down in the dumps from getting dissed and dissed and dissed again, go to any of other websites in this directory and see what other writer's resources there are. There's all sorts of useful, uplifting advice and "success" stories. I don't have any, myself, but they're out there. When all else fails, write another book and start the process all over again. Or do something entirely different. G.

The formula for getting a good agent or a good publisher is simple. Good agents and good publishers don't charge up front fees, period. A good agent will recoup reasonable expenses out of his or her clients' advances after the sale of the book. That's standard and reasonable. If your agent doesn't sell your work, he or she eats the expenses incurred while trying to sell it. Get that language into any agency agreement you sign. If an agent doesn't have enough confidence in your work to take the chance that they're gonna have to eat their expenses if they can't sell it, they don't have enough confidence in your work to try to sell it in the first place.

There are exceptions. If you hit it off with an agent or a publisher and he or she is just starting out and your book can benefit from some editing or some reasonable expenses that may need to be incurred in the process of getting it published—and you trust each other—work with each other. Even Binky was once a little girl, too. The main thing you have to worry about getting from an agent or a publisher is his or her unqualified enthusiasm for your work. If you've got more money than the agent or publisher, give him or her some if you want to. That's usually not the case, however, so if you have any doubts whatsoever about an agent or publisher, DON'T SIGN A CONTRACT.

I make a point of saying that if anyone knows of any schlock agents on my little list, let me know and I'll get rid of 'em. I've gotten rid of a bunch. It'd like to have this directory include the best literary agents, editors and publishers there are, listed generally in order of how good they are, how successful, how ethical, etc. If they're schlock agents, I don't want 'em on my list. How simple is that? That does not, however, mean that if an agent, editor or publisher is NOT on my little list they ARE a schlock agent, editor or publisher. I discuss my criteria for inclusion and exclusion in the About This Directory section (toward the bottom):

So my question is, I suppose, that after your long struggles with trying to get people to see the beauty of your works that have come from the art inside you, would you consider it worthwhile, if you were a young man again, to still choose writing as your main focus in life? Would you write something more mainstream just to have easier access to agents and publishers? These are the questions that I'm entertaining as I've thinking on what writing project I'll jump into next. Thanks for any advice, and sorry if this it too serious.

Wait a minute, what do you mean if I were a young man again? Sheesh. No it's not too serious. Be who you are and do what you want to do is the short answer. I only wrote stuff 'cause the chicks I always had the hots for generally, to a greater or lesser degree, had the hots for guys who wrote stuff—there were other considerations in the mix, of course, but the way I wooed a chick was by writing stuff. The cooler the chick the better the stuff I wrote had to be. It didn't necessarily matter that there was any kind of mass market appeal for the stuff I wrote as long as the chick I wanted to like me liked it. Actually, the chicks I liked barfed all over books with any kind of mass market appeal so that was all she wrote for my "career" as a writer.

What people at their core want to do is make love, love someone who loves you and spend as much time as you possibly can making love with each other. Appealing to who you want to appeal to is what you want to do and that becomes a totally individual thing. Guys are all different. Chicks are all different. Some chicks wanna mess with Woody Allen. Some chicks wanna mess with Stephen King. Some chicks wanna mess with Kobe Bryant. I wanna mess with Eminem, myself, but I'm pretty sure that's just a passing fancy. Be who the chicks you wanna mess with wanna mess with. You wanna mess with a chick who wants to mess with Stephen King, write yourself some goofy vampire, howling wolf, cemetery bullshit. You wanna mess with a chick who wants to hang out at Hollywood parties, write some schlock Grisham horseshit. You wanna mess with some arty chick, write some Henry Miller stuff no one but she will ever read. If you just want to make money, write advertising copy or scripts about being dumber than dumb.

You are not ever in a million years gonna have a "career" as a novelist. Nobody has ever had a career as a novelist. There is no such career. Write books if you want to, sure, and if people want to read the books you want to write there are plenty of agents, editors and publishers looking for books they can make money buying and selling. That part of it is total happenstance; getting yourself in the right place at the right time. With a big advertising budget the most putrid piles of horseshit ever put down on paper can be "best sellers" overnight—go take a look at the New York Times list.

Agents, editors and publishers for the most part want to make money, period. Schlock sells. But it has to be genuine schlock. You can't fake it. Stephen King truly believes he's a good writer, that the horsepiss he writes is worth writing and reading. Ha! So do romance novelists and mystery guys and thriller guys and even "literary" guys. It's the job of agents and editors to determine what's gonna sell and genuine schlock sells. The criteria for good writing among agents, editors and publishers is whether it makes money or not...period, end of story, bottom line. Every now and then purely accidentally a piece of decent writing will make some money. Somebody told me that Eggers guy wrote a decent book. There's a guy named Earley somebody else said can write all right. Other people like what some chick named ZZ Packer writes but I think that's mainly 'cause she's a babe.

To my knowledge there hasn't been a good writer who's made any money since guys like Bellow and Updike and Malamud and Pynchon--Flannery O'Connor, Philip Roth, Joseph Heller, John Gardner, Salinger, Truman Capote (whose In Cold Blood is the same "genre" as Ginny Good, i.e., a nonfiction novel, by the way), those kinds of guys...but I admit I haven't read a book in awhile.

The best thing you can ever hope to achieve by writing stuff is confidence. The better the stuff you write is, the more confidence you're gonna get. Chicks like that, too—confidence, self-respect, self-esteem, all that nonsense—but you can't fake it. However you get it, that's what you want. If money gives you confidence, make lots of money. If writing good stuff gives you confidence, write good stuff. If writing shit that appeals to the demographic some marketing guy determines will buy gives you confidence, write that crap.

You're a young guy, what you wanna write might just totally fit the right niche. Write it and see, that's what I say. Does that answer your question? G.

Gerard, This is a great site. I'm trying to get my first novel published. Any tips on the letter that I will send to Agents?

Keep it short. I've been doing this long enough to know that no literary agent, editor or publisher can write a book, that they're dealers, marketers, advertisers, schmoozers, hype-meisters, that's it. How someone who makes the commodity can get intimidated by the guys who hype it I don't quite get. Kafka sold one story in his life. I wonder who his agent was? A good agent or editor knows who's the boss. You are. You're the writer. You're his or her client. He or she works for you. You don't go with your hat in your hand to get someone to work for you, do you? You let 'em know you're hiring, if they're looking for the kind of work you have to offer, they'll come to work for you and be glad you thought enough of 'em to give 'em the job. Ah, pomposity. Good luck. Getting a book published is hard to do. Getting anyone to read it after it's published is even harder...unless it really sucks, then it's easy to get people to read it. Thanks. G.

Hello, I don't know the number of e-mails you receive (how could I, that'd be impossible), but this one is going to be part praise, part inquisitive. I should think that you, being a person who sends out what appears to be dozens of e-mails, will understand how generally pleasant it is to have somebody read and respond to a correspondence, especially if they seem far away. Plus the fact that it's four in the morning should, I hope, prove that I'm not dicking around, even if I am in pajamas.

Basically, your website is fantastic. I can't even remember how I found it, but I never thought typing random search phrases into Google would give me such an accurate result of what it was I wanted to see. I'm not going to dick around and pretend I've read your stuff; I haven't — yet. If nothing else it's your anarchy to a (nother) system designed to be filled with bullshit which appeals to me. Actually, it's your successes with anarchy towards the system.

I need to write. I've written, but I need to get published so I can feel some sense of self-validation (and to shave this beard off my face; a stupid personal bet). If I told how you young I was, you'd might laugh and say I've got all the time in the world to get something out there. Utterly disappointed with the undergraduate University process, I cannot see myself doing all that over again for a graduate degree — finding myself near broke, with a lambskin degree that should assure people that I'm not crazy, and an even more disillusioned sense of the world.

I guess, the one thing I cannot figure out from your site, and the one thing I'm curious about, is if you ever got an agent, a "peddler" like you say, or whether your constant persistence to go one-on-one with publishers ever got through. I'm sorry if this information is available and I just haven't found it, but on the other hand, I'm not, because I want to hear directly from you. And I realize (as you must) that your story is one in a million, and your success at publication is one in a hundred million, but I'll take those odds. Is it worth it to submit to a hundred agents and publications at once? What the hell am I doing, exactly?

I have an agent, yeah, but she's pissed at me for calling Nazis Nazis. You don't want "self" validation you want recognition by the twits who run the media and entertainment industries. They'll generate publicity. You'll get rich, you'll get famous and what you write won't be worth having written. What the hell you are doing exactly is trying to please people who are only pleased by making money for themselves and their employers. Money isn't everything, it's the only thing. If that's what you think, too, keep trying. If not, please yourself. Thanks. G.


"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them."

Flannery O'Connor

"This miserable bartering of fame, this coveting of it, fighting for it, tearing it from mouth to mouth...this continual talking about literature in ignorance as if it were some sort of commerce; this constant criticizing, denigrating, envying, self-praising, exalting people and writings that deserve contempt—all this depresses me to such a degree that if I had not got the refuge of posterity, and the certainty that in the course of time, everything does fall into its right place, I would send all literature to the devil a thousand times over."

—Giacomo Leopardi

"Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death."


"Publication's a far cry from proliferation."

—Semolina Pilchard

"Bred to a harder thing
Than triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Where on mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known,
That is most difficult."

—William Butler Yeats

"'Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) 'You're nothing but a pack of cards!'"

—Walt Disney

"The train pulled in. I wasn't so sure of my plans once I saw the engine. I kissed Molly with all the spirit I had left...I was sad for once, really sad, for everybody, for myself, for her, for everybody. Maybe that's what we look for all our lives, the worst possible grief, to make us truly ourselves before we die...Good, admirable Molly, if she ever reads these lines in some place I never heard of, I want her to know that my feelings for her haven't changed, that I love her and always will in my own way, and that she can come here any time she pleases and share my bread and my furtive destiny. If she's no longer beautiful, hell, that's all right too! We'll manage. I've kept so much of her beauty in me, so living and so warm, that I've plenty for both of us, to last at least twenty years, the rest of our lives."

—Louis-Ferdinand Celine

"'Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!'"

—L. Frank Zappa

"Here enter not base pinching usurers,
Pelf-lickers, everlasting gatherers,
Gold-graspers, coin-gripers, gulpers of mists,
Niggish deformed sots, who, though your chests
Vast sums of money should to you afford,
Would nevertheless add more unto that hoard,
And yet not be content--you clunchfist dastards,
Insatiable fiends, and Pluto's bastards,
Greedy devourers, chichy sneakbill rogues,
Hell-mastiffs gnaw your bones, you ravenous dogs.
You beastly-looking fellows,
Reason doth plainly tell us
That we should not
To you allot
Room here, but at the gallows,
You beastly-looking fellows."

François Rabelais

"Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh..."

—Thomas Gray

"He began to doubt that editors were real men. They seemed cogs in a machine. That was what it was, a machine. He poured his soul into stories, articles, and poems, and intrusted them to the machine. He folded them just so, put the proper stamps inside the long envelope along with the manuscript, sealed the envelope, put more stamps outside, and dropped it into the mail-box. It travelled across the continent, and after a certain lapse of time the postman returned him the manuscript in another long envelope, on the outside of which were the stamps he had enclosed. There was no human editor at the other end, but a mere cunning arrangement of cogs that changed the manuscript from one envelope to another and stuck on the stamps. It was like the slot machines wherein one dropped pennies, and, with a metallic whirl of machinery had delivered to him a stick of chewing-gum or a tablet of chocolate. It depended upon which slot one dropped the penny in, whether he got chocolate or gum. And so with the editorial machine. One slot brought checks and the other brought rejection slips. So far he had found only the latter slot."

—Jack London

What People Say and What I Say Back

January 17, 2009

Subject: I couldn't believe my eyes

erard, I was browsing the net trying to do my part in defending the Palestinian point of view in the current conflict in Gaza against the flood of Israeli propaganda sweeping the US media. By chance I stumbled with your site and read the excerpt from Chapter Forty "Oprah's Dead Son" which was very surprising to me. To be honest I was not surprised of the contents. In the Middle east it's a given fact that the Jewish control of US politics and media is overwhelming and no one even discuss the issue or tried to undermine how strong the Jewish control is. But to read this from an American writer is something that I never dreamed of. But what struck me even more is that the US has like millions of people working in the media and entertainment business, how many out their who share your views, where are they? Is there honourable media key figures? Oprah? Barbara? Anyone? I've always thought of Oprah as being an honest and honourable person, have you tried to contact her to publish your book? I'm really interested in your response, I'm trying to contact Oprah myself to try to make her understand what we "the Palestinians" are facing to urge her to speak out. Regards.

Oprah won't "speak out." All media and entertainment in the US is propaganda designed to get people to buy things that make rich people richer. It's a closed system run by predominately Jewish agents and lawyers. They make money for themselves and their clients by making sure that the only things anyone can hear or see or know are huge lies. They con people into spending money to make their clients rich. That's how they make a living. Then they spend the rest of their time conning people into supporting and defending the State of Israel at all costs. That's how they con themselves into thinking they're living lives worth living. It's the best of both worlds; they make money and do "good" at the same time. Jewish agents and lawyers run the propaganda apparatus in the US the same way Joseph Goebbels and his Nazi buddies ran the propaganda ministry for Hitler's Germany. If you get paid to say something it has to be a lie that makes money for rich people or defends Israel or both. If you don't do those things you don't get paid and the only thing anyone pays any attention to are things that someone got paid to say. The more money you get paid, the more you lie. Oprah makes a lot of money, right? That's because she's one of the biggest liars who ever lived. She's wholly owned and operated by Jewish agents and lawyers. So is anyone else who makes money in media and entertainment. So is everyone in American politics. Agents and lawyers, at the behest of guys like David Geffen and Sumner Redstone, paid Oprah to hype Barack Obama. Now he's "their" president the same way every other president since Harry Truman was "their" president. You can't be anything anyone pays any attention to in America without the propaganda machine hyping you and Jewish agents and lawyers own and operate all the propaganda outlets that exist in America. The only reason I can say what I say is that nobody's paying me to say it. I could not in a million years get anyone to pay me to say what I say, but that's okay. I'd rather be right than rich. Thanks. G.

May 18, 2007

Here's an interview I just did, or, rather, an interview that just got did on me by Steven Augustine, about whom you can see plenty more if you click this and poke around the rest of his site:

IntraView #1: Gerard Jones

Me and Chauncey Mabe (Former Book Editor at the Sun-Sentinal):

What a charmer you are. I wouldn't think of asking you to remove my name. It's not as if every crank, kook, and would-be-author seeking a shortcut to publication doesn't already know how to reach me. Best wishes.

Thanks. Same to you. G.

Should you ever get another book published by a traditional royalties-paying publisher-- odds are against you there, too, I'm afraid -- please make sure I get a review copy. I promise coverage. And yes, I realize your present publisher qualifies.

Odds are against me 'cause I'm not a kiss-up and I don't write Nazi piffle, yes, but odds were against lots of immortal artists and in favor of thousands of forgotten, craven hacks. You're the one missing out on reviewing the greatest work of literary art of the 21st Century. The Audio Book of Ginny Good is on my website for free:

If you don't want to download it, I'd be glad to send you a two-disk set as .mp3 files...or you could get a review copy of the real book from the publisher. It's timeless literature which didn't go out of "style" during the two years since it's been published. Thanks. G.

No thanks. One of the problems with publishing nowdays is the sheer volume of books coming out. I can't get to more than a fraction of the titles I'm already certain I want to review. While I subscribe to the theory that 90 percent of everything is crap -- that figure may be too low--that still leaves hundreds if not thousands of worthwhile new books each year. No publication can possibly cover so much territory. If you want my advice, and judging from the arrogance of your emails I'm guessing you don't, but here it is anyway: You'd do yourself a favor if you dropped the egomania and paranoia, which I suspect is as much an attention-mongering act as anything else. It makes you sound like a self-published crank. And self-published cranks never, ever get coverage in real newspapers and magazines. Oh, you might enjoy the occasional exception, but that's all it will be, an exception. Indeed, based on the tone of your emails, I was 99 percent certain you were self-published, or, at best, working with a subsidy publisher, until I checked with your publisher. I don't mind being vilified on your website. Vilification is my stock-in-trade as a reviewer and cultural journalist, and I can take it as well as dish it out. But you don't want to sound like an amateur. You're just giving editors reason to dismiss you and move on to something else. And you might consider devoting less time to hating those that reject you and more time to writing.

Also, no matter how good your book may be, it is most certainly not the "greatest literary work of the 21st century." And suggesting that all writers who have enjoyed better publication and review attention are "suck-ups" who write "Nazi piffle" -whatever the frack that is--is evidence of a coarse sensibility and an unsubtle mind. I suspect it is not an accurate reflection of your true nature as a writer and a person, but then, I don't really know you and it could be exactly who you are. In which case you'll want to conceal that to all and sundry if you hope to get anywhere. Finally, tearing down other artists is the wrong way to go about building yourself up -- unless, of course, you are a reviewer.

I offer this because I'm amused by your website, and because, to my immense surprise, your publisher turned out to be legit. But while I'm happy to entertain your reply to this note, I do not have the time to engage in a continuing conversation. Publish another book with a real publisher, alert me at least a month or three before publication, and I'll give it serious consideration for review. Meanwhile, good luck.

Don't engage me, that's typical and cool, but I don't lie. I don't have to; I'd rather be right than rich. The Audio Book of Ginny Good is the greatest literary achievement of the 21st Century. Listen to it and see. Or not. Stay brainwashed, that's fine with me, you've got lots of company. Thanks. G.

Let me know when you immigrate to the same planet I live on.

Don't count on it. Why would I want to live among people who rag on stuff they don't listen to? Remember Plato's cave? Of course you don't want to come out of the shadows to be blinded by the bright light of truth and beauty and art and charm and humor. It's all safe in your cave. Stay there. See if I care. G.

I mean, I take the time out of my crushing schedule -- you think I'm at the office on Sunday for fun? -- to write you a detailed email with genuine observations, and THIS is your reply? You don't need publication, bub, you need therapy.

Your crushing schedule is comprised entirely of meaningless silliness and recycled drivel. I'm in my office on a Sunday for fun. That which you hate, do not do. Your "genuine" observations were party-line claptrap and boilerplate. Physician heal thyself. G.

It's obvious now that you'd rather nurse your sense of persecution, and the false sense of specialness it gives you, than to make real headway. That's fine, no skin of my nose. Don't think that makes you a lonely genius, though. I've been reviewing books and writing about authors for 20 years. Your kind is common as grass.

Nonetheless. Should you ever publish a second book, with, as I said before, a real, royalties-paying publisher, then I'll consider it for review if I receive a review copy. If I made mental stability a criteria for the authors whose masterworks are reviewed in the books pages, I'd have very little work to do, indeed.

If you write in your blog about what a philistine I am and how I tried to hurt your feelings -- boo-hoo -- be sure and include the whole story.

You're not a Philistine you're simply deluded by what replaced the universal truths Faulkner used to talk about--money and celebrity and envy and ego and finicky nit-picking and Nazi propaganda. Why aspire to excellence when it's so much easier just to drag everyone else down into the hole you're in? It's not your fault. You read the same books and watch the same movies we all do. There's no other game in town, thanks to you and the fifteen thousand other people like you on my little list. I do appreciate your trying to engage me, however. Not many people do 'cause they get their heads handed to them like you just did. Thanks. G.

You know nothing about me. Clearly, you've read nothing I've written, or you'd know how pathologically misguided you are. I've criticized celebrity culture more than once, with gusto and joy, but I also have to work inside the media maw if I want to have a bully pulpit, and, oh, not least, make a living. Otherwise I'd be an embittered little irrelevancy like you. Criticism from inside the beast is not rare, by the way, which you'd know if you read any respectable cultural publication, from The New York Times, The Washington Post, or most any big city newspaper to Vanity Fair, Harper's, The New Yorker, the Nation, The New York Review of Books and many, many more. The good is often on the same page as the bad. Take Vanity Fair, for example. Its celebrity coverage is despicable and disgusting beyond what any decent person ought be exposed to. Yet its journalism and cultural criticism is of a very high order, and attacks exactly the kind of things you complain of: money, privilege, celebrity worship, excess of all kinds. Your hypocrisy, let me add, is almost as profound as your stupidity. If I'm such a freaking Nazi, why do you desire my notice? Oh, and your use of the term "Nazi" just underscores your ignorance. It's the wrong name for the disease you wish you had the wit to diagnose. Fascism is not the problem; it's corporatization and the suppression of diverse voices in the pursuit of every last cent of profit at the expense of every other value. In this email exchange, you've revealed yourself as an imbecile who has well earned his isolation. Grow the frack up and acquire a sense of irony. Otherwise, may you choke on your futile hostility, not to mention your laughable illusion of artistic purity.

If you could somehow manage to get over your prickliness you'd see we're on some of the same pages here and there. What if my book's as good as I say it is? Wouldn't it be a crying shame that nobody ever got to know about it? Thomas Mann had his books burned. There was some modicum of notoriety attached to that act, but what if books that are just as "subversive" simply get ignored? If you think I don't have exquisite reason to be pissed-off, I disagree. Oh, I read one of your movie reviews. Harry Potter, I think it may have been. You should read the reviews I sent you. They're not me talking. Thanks. G.

Too late, pal. I gave you a window and you chose to piss through it.

You sound like the Israeli government...a window to nowhere, but thanks all the same. You think if a "good" agent and a topnotch editor at an established publishing house spent a lot of money buying, producing and promoting a book that it's worth the paper it's printed on? Ha! They, like you, are all part of the same closed, incestuous system that has made nothing but money-grubbing schlock during the entirety of this century. Now that's something to crow about. If it weren't money-grubbing schlock it wouldn't get bought, produced and promoted and you wouldn't consider it "worth" reviewing. Get it? G.

Please. Not you again.

It's my inalienable right to crack myself up. Here's a mediocre chapter of one of my books that's better all by itself than the last ten books you've reviewed put together. G.

March 10, 2007

I so love getting e-mails from an adoring public:

Your website is helpful, but... It's great that you list the e-mails of literary agents. It's horrifying that you're an anti-Semite, and that you've chosen to post you're anti-Semitic ramblings on this otherwise useful site. You've never had relatives killed in the Holocaust (which, being an anti-Semite, you'll probably say never existed), so you have no understanding of what it means to suffer this kind of atrocious prejudice. There's free speech and there's hate speech. Yours is hate speech. Anti-Semitism is an ugly, very real and very horrible problem. How horrible that you have to embody that.

I'm not anti-Semitic I'm anti-Nazi and any Jew worth his or her salt ought to be anti-Nazi too, but unfortunately that seems not to be the case these days. Or maybe it's okay to be a Nazi if you're Jewish but it's not okay for anyone else. I don't like double standards, either. Hitler killed fifteen million mostly innocent, unarmed civilians, six million of whom were Jews. The Holocaust happened. It was more brutal and inhuman than anything you or I can possibly imagine. All I'm saying is that I for one don't want to see anything like it happen again to anyone, not to any race and not to any sect, and it is happening again. Nazism is an "ugly, very real and very horrible problem" and the only way it's going to be stopped is by it being recognized and denounced. Apparently you haven't read enough of what I've said (or I haven't said it well enough) for you to understand that. I'm still working on getting it exactly right. I'm putting the first draft on my site as I go, but from what I've figured out so far it appears that Jews are getting closer and closer to being the new Nazis. Read what I've got of THE BOOK OF ISAAC on my site so far. It'll never get published or publicized by any of the all-pervasive propaganda peddlers, no, but that's how you can tell it's worth reading and writing...propaganda peddlers never publish or publicize anything worth reading or writing. Thanks. G.

The very sentiment that "Jews are the new Nazis" is terribly anti-Semitic. I did read enough of what your wrote to see that. If you really want to understand what's going on in the Middle East, call the Israeli consulate and ask to volunteer. Palestinians were offered a homeland at the same time that we were offered Israel. They refused, because they did not want to recognize Israel's right to exist. Many Arab countries should open their arms to the Palestinians, they have plenty of land, but they do not take care of their own. The president of Iran is the new Hitler—he wants to destroy Israel. Read "The Chosen." Read about World War II. Get EDUCATED about what the real situation is, then we'll talk.

Israel's arsenal of unregulated and minimized nuclear weapons (which both Israel and America denies Israel even has) could kill two billion people tomorrow. Iran's nukes couldn't kill anyone 'cause Iran doesn't have any nukes and isn't bloody likely to ever get any nukes—and yet you and "popular opinion" are calling the president of Iran "the new Hitler." I disagree with you and with popular opinion. Sorry. That Ahmadinejad is anything akin to Hitler is so beyond absurd it's not even funny. Might makes right, my little Buckaroo. Ask the old Hitler. Ask the millions of dead and maimed, mostly innocent Arabs in the Middle East. Israel can kidnap and imprison ten thousand Palestinians and Lebanese with impunity, but if one Israeli soldier gets snatched, the IDF kills a thousand Lebanese kids in retaliation. What's up with that? When Jews in the Warsaw ghetto harmed a Nazi soldier, a thousand Jews were killed to teach 'em a lesson. Oh, I get it. Nazis were right; they had might. Now Jews are right; they have a million times more military might than Nazi Germany ever conceived of having. I have an open mind, see. You don't. All you've got is popular opinion shaped by the all-pervasive propaganda you hear and see and read all day every day. Popular opinion, as shaped by Joseph Goebbels and the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, got the people of Nazi Germany the Holocaust. What "popular opinion" is gonna get us is the next Holocaust. If you want to be a part of that inhuman crime against humanity, go for it. I don't. And I'm gonna say so, although I freely admit it's not gonna win me many friends or influence a lot of people in the modern-day propaganda and public enlightenment industries. Try something different for a change.
Listen to the free, fifteen hour Audio Book of Ginny Good for starters. Or go look at an excerpt from Chapter Forty-four of The Book of Isaac and what else I've had to say lately. Then click some other links and let 'em take you where they take you. Or not. Thanks. G.

January 28, 2007

Gerard— You are beyond funny, astute and wonderful. I adore you and I adore your website. Sadly, I have no money to send right now. But, of course, when I'm rich and famous (something, apparently, I will never be as a result of writing), I will send you boatloads of money. Because you deserve it. From Miss Magillacutty—wherever she is—and for all writers everywhere, thank you. A devoted fan,

Oh, I bet if you get that biomedical thriller packaged right you'll make some money writing but deserving boatloads of money is way more gratifying than having boatloads of money or so my dear dead dad always said...probably 'cause he never had a nickel to his name. Go listen to his story here. Thanks. G.

September 12, 2006

Hi Gerard, I applaud and admire your achievements - both the vast collection of reference material and the completion of your novel. I respect your defiance because this is a characteristic that has always appealed to me. I question your motives and rational for generalizing an entire field of professionals as similar in their motive and intelligence. Although I can understand your frustration with mainstream media, it is not exactly a great idea to generalize any group. Intelligence and talent hide and struggle in many stale environments for various reasons. What purpose does it serve for you to dismiss entire industries like this? I think there is talent within you. I was interested in one of the reviews that felt your work finished strongly. I might order your book so I can read it and see for myself. However, I wonder aloud as I finish this email. Perhaps it is easier for you to blame than to have to grow and develop your abilities. This is your first book. Do you want to write something memorable? Worthwhile? Focus and develop. It is ignorant, lazy and bitter to lay back and rest in the belief that there aren't any venues for talent with an original voice. Even Hemingway felt that he always found it curious that writers felt they should have some inane ability that is readily developed. He wrote the last paragraph of The Sun Also Rises 28 times before he felt he got it right. It takes hard work. It is a little delusional to think you have given birth to some sort of masterpiece. I certainly didn't sense that from my limited exposure to the beginning. Maybe you will in the future though. I don't know, Best regards,

To be great is to be misunderstood. I've given birth to several masterpieces and the audio book of Ginny Good is the greatest literary achievement of all time. Hemingway, pfssh. Listen to it and see for yourself before you mouth off.

"I might order your book so I can read it and see for myself."

Good plan, Stan. You won't do it, though, 'cause you're a snippy little prick who wouldn't know a good book if it bit you on the ass. I wrote the last paragraph of Ginny Good 280 times over a period of at least forty years. You can apologize when you've finished reading the whole book all the way through from its first perfect sentence to its last perfect sentence and I forgive you in advance. Thanks. G.

March 1, 2006

Hi Gerard, I wanted to run an idea by you. This may be something that's obvious to you, something you've already thought of and tried, or something many other people have suggested, but I wanted to mention it anyway. It seems to me that what you've done with Ginny Good is a natural PR story, and a big one. You took on the publishing industry single-handedly, and you WON. Everyone loves a good underdog story. You've done something unique and courageous and very admirable, and it's in an area that a lot of people already know a little bit about—there are thousands, perhaps even millions of aspiring writers who know how difficult it is to get published, how many hundreds of rejections you get with a new book, etc. It is a cliche. You faced this awesome obstacle head-on. Your open website publication of your own quest to do this is really something special; it's never been done before. You used the Internet as a tool (cutting edge technology), showed a new aspect of its application—I believe you single-handed have changed the way authors can go about presenting their books to editors and agents. I know this is so for me—I have marketed 5 different novels since 1995, and this most recent book is the first one that I've ever used an almost e-mail only approach...and all thanks to your website. (It works, too—I've had about 20 editors/agents request copies of my manuscript this way. And it's so much cheaper and faster than the old method of sending out SASE's, etc. through snail mail).

In PR, getting good coverage is about breaking new barriers—being the FIRST to do something. It seems to me you've broken at least three barriers—1) being FIRST to openly publish every step of your journey (your rejection letters, etc.), 2) your claim as having written—and published—a novel that was rejected MORE TIMES than any other novel in history, and 3) to have used the Internet as a new tool for authors to market their novels, faster, more cheaply and more effectively than the old way. This seems like a big PR story waiting to happen, Gerard. I can see you on TV and radio talk shows. Maybe even Oprah. All it would take would be one solid exposure, then suddenly a lot of the media would be after you for interviews, the well-known PR "snowball effect". This would be a great way to get Ginny Good read by many, many people, which I know is what you want. Anyway, like I said, this may be obvious to you, maybe you've already tried it or whatever, but it sure seems like it would work. All the elements are there.

Oh, yeah, it's crossed my mind, but in essence I'm doing it by doing it. Some other firsts are 4) I put a version of GG on the Internet in 1996, 5) put an Annotated version up in 2000, and 6) made the audio version and put IT on the Internet in 2005. But thus far my jihad vis-a-vis the publishing, movie and propaganda businesses has been anathema to people who promote stuff 'cause it's them that I'm "taking on." What's gonna do the trick is when (and if), despite their efforts to keep me and my work from getting any attention, I and my work start getting some attention. It's Zen and a challenge at the same time...'twixt two extremes, joy and grief, burst smilingly. That's the sort of feeling that constitutes art. I don't give a rat's ass about the silly, superfluous publishing, movie and propaganda businesses. I give a rat's ass about art, about truth and beauty and love and how all the money in the world can't buy any of those things. It ain't something you can exactly "succeed" at but not much worth doing is. When I get done with the Fifth Edition of EWA, I'm gonna go back and rewrite a book which pokes a little good-natured fun at Ms. Winfrey that will incorporate what I've "learned" about the mindless, money-grubbing propaganda apparatus that keeps truth, beauty, art, love and everything else worthwhile (and, by definition, subversive) out of the hands of brainwashed "consumers." Thanks. G.

March 1, 2006

Hey thar: I ran across your website and read with interest your numerous run-ins with Hollywood agents, manager types, etc. One question comes to mind. You seem to rail against the "commercial hacks" who run the Hollywood movie-making machinery, blasting them for being only concerned with money. Yet you know full well that is what Hollywood does. Ginny Good is a book. Why are you so hard-pressed to see it converted into a movie, unless there's a part of you who's also in it for the money (and lord knows, a successful film at the box-office is a HUGE boost for a book's sales). If you're only interested in writing for art's sake, as you seem to imply, you would be happy writing books and swearing off Hollywood for good. There are many good book authors who don't succeed in Hollywood (I can think of Michael Blake & Dances With Wolves for starters), good writers who are content to write good books for a living. So why don't you? Your interest and rage at the Hollywood apparatchik seems a bit disingenuous. I think behind all your complaints about Hollywood failing to recognize your "talent" lies a burning desire to make a boatload of money like other successful writers who've had movies adapted from their work.

The short answer is I write what I wanna write the way I wanna write it and say stuff the way I wanna say it and I want people to read it the way I've written it or hear it the way I've said it. People only pay attention to what someone gets paid to tell 'em to pay attention to. You can make art or you can make money; those two things are mutually exclusive. It has to do with "consumers" being born and bred to be nothing but consumers. Schlock sells, so good little consumers buy, sell and make nothing but schlock. All the money in the world can't buy us anything worth having, however. You're a kid. You'll know what I'm talking about some day. Or not. Thanks. G.

I'd probably have been more inclined to read your book if you hadn't started the email by insulting book critics. Sure, some of the books I read are assigned, but I and many of my colleagues also have pitching rights, having earned our credentials from our editors, who recognize our instincts for good material. I'm sure you're as gifted and talented as your prose suggests, and I'm sure that, unlike my sister, who also has completed a funny and wonderful book that she can't get published because she's not a celebrity author or celebrity TV figure (although I haven't heard her attacking critics for not publishing it), you will eventually find someone in the industry who believes in your book and will publish it, and then everyone will think your take on book reviewers is witty, remarkable and insouciant. I didn't notice anything in your email about your agent. Maybe you could put some of your energy into finding one, and then you can become the next JK Rowling or Jacquelyn Mitchard and rant about everything that's wrong with the world on national television and at book signings. Best of luck, and please take me off your mailing list.

The book's been published for a year. It was the editor of January Magazine's only pick as the best nonfiction book of 2004, was named best autobiography/memoir by some Independent Publisher place and has been recognized as a bona fide work of art and literature by a bunch of people who know a good book when they read one, but didn't get a single blurb and wasn't mentioned by any "real" book reviewer so not many people, including bookstores, libraries and colleges know it exists. All they know about is what the smarmy, snotty, snippy, mindless, talentless, money-grubbing goons who review books tell 'em about. My agent's on some Greek Island at the moment. Take your head out of the sand and go listen to the free audio book I'm making out of Ginny Good. Or not. I don't have you on a list. I wouldn't be the next JK Rowling for a billion dollars. Thanks. G.

You need a new agent.

Nah, I like my agent...she's not a money-grubbing airhead. I'll be all right in the long run, don't worry. G.

Your site is the funniest AND saddest thing I've ever read. The funniest, because it finally shows SOMEBODY with balls out there, to simply say it like it is. The saddest, because a lot of those rejections and reactions you put up there confirm the fact that most people within those industries (the ones who can't write more than memos) are no longer there to actually put out a good product, but rather seem to gather in a giant circle jerk, telling each other how great "War of the Worlds" (the movie, not the book) or Harry Potter 27 was.

In the meantime, less people buy books (they're going to the movies), they watch less movies (they're waiting for the DVD), buy less DVDs (they're illegally downloading it. Right? Right?) and the best those folks on your list can come up with is: let's hike the prices! Let's sue P2P sharing networks! Let's sue our audience! I'm wondering when they come to realise that the folks out there are smarter than they give them credit for. They are. They're leaving the building, ladies and gents. I've pretty much left the building, and I've considered myself pretty much their core audience. I own over 20,000 books, about 3,000 DVDs and used to watch at least two movies per week in a theatre. The people who "write" those things don't deserve to be called either creators or writers. They are assembly line bees with no single creative thought. They're manageable. They can be substituted. They write things for a shrinking, but controllable market.

I want to read things that challenge me. That think outside the box. Way outside the box. I want things that surprise me. I've read Ginny Good. It did that, so of course you had a hard time. It's difficult to put your writing into a drawer. Label it. Put the marketing additives to it. It ain't Big Mac literature. And the last time I enjoyed something so much, gee, that was 1995, the man was called Matt Ruff and he wrote a book called "Fool on the Hill" I'm STILL wondering how he had that published.

People with something to say are gonna find ways to say it that will (eventually) be heard; people with nothing to say are gonna make money if and when a publisher or movie company invests in the hype and buzz that "sells" stuff. Readers and moviegoers are for the most part kept in the dark and fed horseshit. That's the way they like it, uh-huh, uh-huh. I'm all up into doing the free audio book I'm making out of GG now. It's making me happy. The best things in life are free. G.

Congrats!! You've managed to come across as an ingnorant douchebag. As a writer working in Hollywood myself, I know many of the people listed on your site personally. Almost without exception they are hard-working, decent, and generous people who don't deserve your scorn. You bitch and moan about them not reading your book? Welcome to the club. It's called life, you whiny little bitch. Each of those people have stacks upon stacks of scripts, books, and manuscripts by far more successful writers than either you or I that they drag home and plow through each and every weekend. And now, they're saddled with the added task of deleting all the spam that your self-centered, ego-driven website generates for them.

And don't try to pass yourself off as someone who's trying to create a resource that other writers can use. Most of your information is grossly out-dated (as a quick flip through the Hollywood Creative Directory) would show you. You place your failure on them, but the truth is you are harrassing and caustic. With your attitude, I wouldn't pump gas in your car if I worked at Mobile, much less read your book. Check your attitude. You're the reason people don't accept unsolicited material to begin with.

My ass, the reason people don't read scripts is that they're money-grubbing twats who're afraid they might lose a nickel or two to some other money-grubbing twat. It's you and them who are missing out on something worth reading by not reading my book. I wrote the fucker. That was all I wanted to do. Now I'm making it into a free audio book 'cause I want to do that too. If you've got more accurate information than I do, let me know what it is and I'll include it in my free directory. As for the rest of what you seem to think you have to say, blow me. G.

Blow you?? I think I'll pass. You must be used to hearing that by now...

Oh, I am, sure. So was Kafka. So was Van Gogh. Y'all just keep thinking you've got something worth saying to say and I'll keep knowing I do and you don't. G.

Because here I am in Rabat, in Morocco, reading Kerouac and walking my way through this country and stressing over "how the fuck do I sell this book and fund the next leg of the walk" and hunting like fuck for an agent which I don't want anyway and then I find you, and I think: and that's okay now.

It is. Thanks. Hey, here's a clip of Kerouac talking:

Dear Gerard, Stand up job with the website. I haven't read the book yet but I have read the site. Most of it anyway, I think. Nice work. What comes through and has to be commended is the attitude. From my estimation, nearly ninety-percent of what you're claiming is accurate (plus or minus three percent for wind conditions). What most writers need in the publishing and film arena is what most of them currently lack in large degree: balls.

Back in the day, this used to be part and parcel of being a writer. Burroughs, Hemingway, Bukowski, to name the obvious few. In fact, it used to be understood that it took balls just to choose writing as a way of living, and that was kind of half the allure. No more. Especially when you talk about most screenwriters. These are, generally speaking, meek people. I hate to say it. It is no small coincidence that writers are the low men on the pole in Hollywood. This is the position they accept. Sending in query letters to attorneys and four-year grads and bankers and asking, what do you think? Am I worthy? It's horse shit in the mildest of terms.

The majority of these people are not, and never were, capable of making decisions regarding quality, content, execution, and the like. They can however choose nice automobiles. Which is about the level of critical thinking I have to believe they bring to scripts. They've learned about four tricks and they apply them a hundred times a day. They throw in whim and personal fancy, and something that resembles personal taste. After making these brilliant decisions, they pat each other on the backs and make toasts. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these souls haven't lived long enough, been trained well enough, or understand proficiently enough what comprises good work. And even fewer of them possess the rare and innate talent needed to make good choices, let alone personal and original ones. They work from menus handed down from generations of the creatively-challenged. They plug in answers from multiple choice options. Sometimes they're lucky but usually not. The proof is in the fact that less than one percent of films made annually are worth a damn. This means something. And it can't be subjugated into the simplistic category that they make what the audiences want. How would they know what audiences want? Because they measure this year's annual gross against last year's and conclude that because it's within four percent they must "still" be satisfying their audiences? (This helps them enjoy those rides in their cars.) What else do they measure? And why the creative well has seemingly run so dry that we're practically running out of seventies and eighties television shows to clone. Forget the fact that most of these shows can't work as films to begin with based on their natures and content, and shouldn't work, and aren't worth spending a hundred million dollars and the talents of many artists to make work. Forget that. They're names! They're familiar! Goddamned, we know these names. But the undeniable point is most movies suck, period, and the majority are getting worse. Granted, making a film is very difficult, contains many elements, and even the greats with great ideas, support, and ability often come up short for many reasons--but this is a separate issue. The rare few know who they are. We're talking about ninety-nine percent. Eighty-five percent. Whatever. The majority. They're shit, and the studios know it. Or, possibly more accurately, and far more frightening, is that they don't know it. They think they're GOOD. In either case, the result is based on lack of judgment, lack of know-how, and lack of general talent and artistic sensibility. Not to mention taste. I can't really comment on the publishing world much as I gave up reading most novels and short stories a decade or so ago. It's tragic really, but that's a separate issue. Maybe it's just easier to sit through a bad movie than read a bad book. I'm not sure what this says, or the implications if it's true. I'll leave it there for now.

In any event, your site is outstanding. Keep up the good work. The future of literature, film, and art is ultimately in the hands of artists, not bankers. We all just need to remind ourselves of this fact and then stand our ground. Which, as I said, requires balls. So I'm really not holding my breath for the script-writing brethren I know. Then again you never know. After all, it only took a child to reveal to the town that the Emperor had no clothes. Your site is a fine step in that direction. I hope this e-mail finds you well.

Oh, I say all over the place that the love of money is the root of all evil. Here's a little thing some guy over in England wrote about me and my stuff today: Gerard wins and Speaks.

Check out the comment I left. As long as people and ideas are valued by how much money they're worth you're gonna get yourself lots of shitty people and lots of shitty ideas. It doesn't take balls to tell the truth, all it takes is not being for sale for money. I talked about that notion in this little column I did awhile ago. Thanks. G.

Dear Mr. Jones, Well, what a stunning breath of fresh air you are. In fact, to continue the metaphor, you blow me over. A friend told me about you and after years of query letters and rejections, I am writing to those on the last pages of your listing of publishers, while the silence of publishers, having finished agents last week. I got very kind notes from many of the publishers, while the silence from the agents is enormous. I can only hope they are reading my sample chapter with great enthusiasm, planning on how to receive the rest of the stuff and have not thrown it all into the waste paper basket, as they usually do. The whole experience has been fantastic what with your comments and the comments you received, all of which have inspired me to better queries and stronger self images, to say nothing of the hope that it all has given me.

And now it is time for some more tangible thanks than just a letter. I am embarrassed to ask, can you use $100? I seems so little for so much, but it's all I can spare right now. Not that I have found an agent yet, but I am having this feeling that SOMEONE has GOT to take a chance soon. Until you came along, I had very little hope and had self-published my first book to have something to take with me to the cemetery, but now—well, we'll see. I've got a second chance, thanks to you.

You are really something else. Forgive me if I liken you to John the Baptist, another fresh wind yelling in the desert. People need you as they once needed him. Keep it up. May long life and great energy continue to bless you. Thanks again, more than I can say.

Gerard, Just stumbled across your website. What an incredible piece of work! Sincere thanks for sharing both your ongoing story and your vast resource. I am sure that this sentiment would be shared by all those who - following the urge to tale a tale - have put pen to paper, voice to microphone or fingers to keyboard. Yours gratefully, Ireland

It was precisely partly for that kind of acknowledgement that I made the thing. It's sort of a book all by itself. My real books are way better but people seem to pay more attention to the website than the books. That'll no doubt change someday when I'm old and grey. Wait. That was yesterday. Thanks. G.

Thank you for the website. I've taken heart. Now, I have a question for you. I am a New York Times best-selling author. I have 8 books published by Random House. I have a following. I have fan clubs throughout the US. I have books still in print. I have baskets of email from readers begging to see more books from me. What I don't have is an agent. I cannot get an agent to even look at my stuff, and when I do, it comes back to me 6 - 8 months later not ever having been read (the pages aren't even ruffled nor smelling of cigarette smoke). I have some amazing contacts...none of which have proven to be worth anything. I was wondering if I'd been black-balled or something. Now that I've read your website, I realize it's happening to a lot of talented writers--even those with a great history. Here's the Big Question: Why?

I have absolutely no idea. If it's any consolation, so am I. I get zero response from agents, editors, publishers, book critics, booksellers, teachers, librarians, bloggers, columnists and media guys in general. My guess is that egos have something to do with it. Maybe you don't kiss-up enough. Maybe you kiss-up too much. I've even given up on the law of averages. What I've got going for me now is readers and word of mouth. Those two things don't mean much these days, however. People buy what they're told to buy by agents, editors and the marketing departments of big publishers through their various contacts in the media. Getting anything read anymore is mainly a function of advertising. The Toledo Yellow Pages would be an overnight best seller if it got enough hype and buzz by the media boys and girls who do that sort of thing. The best books ever written are never gonna get read without the hype and buzz big publishers buy. Please yourself and trust to posterity, that's what I say. I looked up some of your stuff. It seems to be pretty honest. Maybe that's what's wrong with it in the eyes of agents, editors and publishers. Maybe they're just looking for more escapist crap. Thanks. G.

Dear Gerard, I e-mailed you last year (I think it was), and actually sent you $20. I said then and I'll say again now, your website is BETTER than any dozen (or 1000) BOOKS selling at steep prices what they claim is information equivalent to yours, but in fact is not. Anyway, and again as I mentioned in an e-mail to you, I got great use from your site. I managed to get actual responses from Senior Editors at more than twenty NY houses, and who knows how many agents. As long as these people continue to respond to e-mail (why on earth they do I still have yet to figure out), and don't erect some sort of firewall, your website will remain the standard.

The manuscript I was trying to sell came away with many close but no cigars (you know the feeling), and is actually still out with one last house. I was close to despair for a while, but I got over it. But thanks to you I built a lot of bridges, with agents and editors for the next one. I am shortly going to that Amazon paything, to get that autographed $30 copy of Ginny Good, portions of which I read before, and enjoyed. My old novel is available on Amazon for $16. I offered to send you a copy, in gratitude for your site, but you told me you don't read anymore. Believe me, I understand, with the crap that gets printed today (though now and then I find a good one, usually in popular fiction, and never in academically-controlled MFA-Literary Fiction). Like you with Ginny Good, I am trying to sell the reissue on my own, while I whittle away at new projects. Anyway, keep up the good work.

I do remember, actually. I get so few twenty buckses I remember 'em all. It's not that I didn't want to read your book, I just don't read books anymore period, and haven't in thirty years or so. I skim some. This TC Boyle thing called Drop City, for example. It purports to be about hippies. Ha! My book kicks its ass, but wasn't published by Viking. Those rats. It was edited by a guy who was Kesey's editor at Viking for a long time, though. I had totally given up on ever getting GG published and the publisher was initially interested in the Oprah book, but I didn't want to deal with any of it and turned it over to my agent and the only book she had an agreement to sell was GG. Then I worked on it for another year and it got really good and I got interested again and forgot all about the Oprah book. I'm not trying to sell anything anymore. They can come to me if GG does okay and I'll work on whatever anyone buys. That's my plan. I'm mostly getting off on doing marketing stuff now, pissing off book reviewers instead of editors. But the point I'm making is that you might do well to just leave things alone on the book you're trying to sell and see if something doesn't come out of the woodwork. That was what happened to me. My little list is way cool, I know. Thanks. G.

Dear Gerard, Your website is the most useful tool I have at hand for my quest of a literary agent for my novel. I hope that one day I will receive a few positive answers to my queries and then one agent or publisher will pull all of the stops to publish my book. I owe you so much and if my book is published I will donate $1,000.00 to you as an acknowledgement of your outstanding effort to create something useful for others. Best regards.

I only did it 'cause I had fun doing it. I like that it's worth whatever it's worth, though. It's tricky getting stuff published, I know that for a total fact now, which I guess might have been partly what it was worth to me. Thanks. G.

Mr. Jones: I just wanted to thank you for your website. It really helps. If I had money to give I'd send it to you. If I hit it "big" some day I'll will definitely send you something as it is so difficult to get published and your site helps at least point us novices in the right direction. I find it ironic that seemingly every newspaper and magazine in publication has written articles decrying the current status of the publishing industry and how if this industry wants to survive they need to bring in "new blood" and invest in the undiscovered/new writers. Yet they keep going back to the established writers who keep providing the "same old-same old" and most agencies won't look at new talent. Frustrating. I spent over six years writing and researching my work, test marketed to various readers (actual readers, not friends and family) for over two years with very positive reviews and yet I still get the "don't think it would sell" or "not interested" despite the proof otherwise. But I believe I am preaching to the choir on this one as you've had more than your share of frustration; that is why I am so glad that you are now PUBLISHED!! God Bless you and continued Best of Luck.

Hey, I agree with you a million percent. It is frustrating if you think about it as something to make money from. I don't. I think of it as something to soothe my sin-sick soul. Thanks. G.

Hi Gerard, I just sent you $35 via Amazon. I would love, love, love a copy of your book, if you're still doing that. Sign it to me. Your website is the best. I know you did it to crack yourself up, but you've helped a lot of writers, including me. Thanks.

I'll send it out today, you should get it by Thursday. I'm getting sick of my stupid website, but it's fun to fiddle around with what's happening with my little book on it now, too:

Oh, man, those are reviews, though, maybe you shouldn't look at 'em 'til you've read the book. Thanks. G.

Dear Gerard. thought I'd let you know that I almost pissed myself laughing at your pages. Excellent stuff, please keep up the good work. I've been going through the motions of hawking a manuscript around various UK agents. Pretty close to calling it a day after having collected a respectable stack of rejection letters, while trying not to take life too seriously. Agents and publishers definitely seem to be a breed apart, but I'm sure they say the same about writers.

I would never in a million years try to slog through the piles and piles of really bad books agents have to look at. That's why the good ones have assistants, though. They're the ones I feel sorry for. Glad you like my little site. So do I. Thanks. G.

Best of luck with Ginny Good. I hope it sells by the truckload and proves the lot of them wrong...

Me too. I wanna get a UK hardcover deal. "Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country." Ha! Blab it around to all them editors at all them pubs you hang out in over there. Thanks. G.

Gerard, you are a great man! You have done more to liberate us poor authors from the tyranny of snobbish agents and arrogant editors than anyone in the history of Western Civilization.

Hey, that sounds like kind of a slick little blurb, maybe I'll use it as an epigraph, but I think I'll say Danielle Steele said it. Thanks. G.

The other outstanding revenge site is Everyone who's Anyone. This is American and was set up a few years ago by Gerard Jones. Mr. Jones, like many another ambitious and unpublished writer, attempted to kick-start his career by submitting stuff (how else?) to publishers and agents. After a while it occurred to him that the letters he was getting back were - how shall we put it? - full of shit. So he decided to publish them on the web, illiteracies, contradictions, absurdities and all. This did not make him popular. People wrote and asked him to desist. So he published those letters as well.

Mr. Jones's site has changed a bit over the years and I have the distinct impression that it is not as much fun as it used to be. No doubt some of those fine people in publishing - awfully nice, but they do tend to be self-important and lack a sensayuma - maybe they've hit him with a writ or two, because they are a frightfully litigious lot over there. Some of the fun stuff seems to have been deleted. I note that Mr Jones says on his latest front page that he has added a new section called Advice to Writers. 'But,' he adds, 'I wouldn't take it if I were you.' God, don't you just love the world of books?

Hey, Grumpy Old Book Man, thanks for sticking a link to my little everyone who's anyone website on your funny blog. I'm having as much fun as ever, by the way. I got rid of some stuff people asked me to get rid of, sure, but only 'cause that makes 'em seem even sillier and one can easily surmise what they said by what I said back to them, which I did not get rid of. People own the copyrights to their own words no matter how stupid those words may be. The whole project is a thousand pages of thoroughly useful, scintillating stuff. I like it. I couldn't tell for sure whether you liked it or not, but I still do, either way.

Awesome site! I'm sending a check tomorrow. No mail today--I think. I've been up all night rather than at the shindig across the street. Couldn't stop reading, howling, nodding once I got into it. I'm a writer down here in San Diego who has been peddling and pitching good stuff for about the last year. Have also collected the spot-on praise, form rejections, requests for the whole mss followed by silence. But we push on--and laugh. My day job is lawyer. Partner in big firm etc. You can check me out on the web too. I loved your retorts to the stuffed shirt editors and agents who want to abridge the freedom of speech and roll back the Internet to teletype in hard wires. Keep it up as long as you and your sister have the time and energy.

Push on and laugh, that's the ticket. I hope you sent me enough money to get yourself a free copy of GINNY GOOD when it comes out in the spring. You'll like it. I poke a little lighthearted fun at lawyers here and there. Thanks. G.

OK Gerard, I agree with you about the value of your website. $40 sent via Amazon. That's $21 which is the price of Jeff Herman's directory from Amazon, and the rest for the entertainment value of your website. When my novel finds an agent, a publisher, and hits the New York Times bestseller list I will probably send you more, unless I've forgotten or I'm feeling impoverished or just plain mean by that time. Don't worry about sending me a copy of Ginny Good. If you send me an email when its available, I'll order it myself and raise your Amazon sales count by 1. Best wishes,

Hey, nineteen bucks for entertainment value? Wow, I must be funny. Or tragic. There's a fine line. If you change your mind about getting a free signed copy of the book when it comes out, give me your address and I'd be more than happy to send you one. They're gonna be like collectors items. Your heirs can take it to Antiques Roadshow and be amazed by how much it's worth. Thanks! G.

Dear Mr. G: First, I mailed you twenty-five with the promise to send more as soon as I sell my novel. Do not send your wonderful novel, as I intend to buy it in the bookstore, recommend it to my large book club, write a glowing book review for our local newspaper and thrust it into the unsuspecting hands of all patrons of our local Barnes and Nobles. You are, hands down, the absolute greatest--like a gift from heaven. Normally sending out query letters is the dreariest of work, often soaking up weeks of my time, the whole insane process so f-ing slow as to drive me stark raving mad, or force me into my best Buddhist type behavior, a mode of being that is not really natural for me. Using your web site, I just mailed my query letter to almost everyone through sections one and two and within twenty-four hours I had over twenty positive responses. I could shout for joy! Did I mention you are the greatest? Going for broke, I got to section three when I realize you listed in order of ... importance. So I just stopped. Twenty is enough; someone important will want to represent it. Also, seeing the responses to your queries and writing was bone tickling funny. I passed on the site to all my writer friends. Really I can't say enough nice stuff about you. Your BIGGEST fan

Dear BIGGEST: Thanks, man. I totally wang the whole thang. If you change your mind about the free book, give me your address and I'll send you one. And sure do reviews up the wazoo, and send the URL to anyone you want. There's still a bunch of good agents after page two, but twenty of those guys is a lot of good agents to be looking at your stuff. G.

Gerry, I'm going to give you money because your website has been invaluable. I have been trying to get my book published for the past year, a damn good detective novel, and had no luck. I bought The Guide to Literary Agents which was shit, and then I found your site. I was always apologizing for bothering these people (agents) even though about twenty people have read my book and couldn't put it down. I began reading your correspondence with agents and suddenly I could write to them with confidence. Within one week, Gerry, I have had five requests for my MS including *** at WMA and *** at ICM. I actually believe I'll sell this damn thing now. I poor, but I'm sending you twenty-five bucks anyway. Thank you and see you around.

Hey, did you send it through the Amazon gimme money thing? Give me your address and I'll send you a free book when it comes out in the spring. Mind if I quote you on the The Guide to Literary Agents being shit? Thanks. G.

You are not insane! A bit crazy perhaps...but then aren't many writers? I tell myself to keep up the work because after all writing is my art form as opposed to sculpting or some other form, and Vinnie V.Gogh had a bitch of a time while alive when it came to selling his stuff. I thought you'd enjoy scanning one of my recent works, especially the parts about the American Publishing business:

Publishing, like entertainment, is a very incestuous industry. Perhaps nepotism isn't as rampant in the book business as in films and TV, but most publishers wouldn't recognize a good manuscript if it bit them in the ass. There was a well publicized caper back in 1975 when Chuck Ross typed up some 20 pages of Jerzy Kosinski's "Steps" which was the National Book Award winner in 1968. He sent these excerpts to four publishers including Houghton Mifflin which was Kosinski's publisher at that time. Each rejected the work. Later, in 1979 he did the same thing with the entire manuscript and sent it out to 14 publishers and 13 literary agents. Each of them rejected it and not one of them recognized it as Kosinski's work. On the other hand I speculate that if he had sent out a work which dealt with raising butterflies, or the sex life of Nepalese tribesmen and attached Kosinski's name as author that they would have escalated it to the "buy" list at the publisher's office.

For every Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code) there are a zillion other books that at best could only be classed as trivial and of no current nor enduring value. But with some good jacket design, some groovy blurbs on the back, and some promotion they can be sold to the public who either read them or give them as stocking stuffers to others who won't read them either. I am totally convinced that a publisher could make a fortune by selling a cookbook featuring recipes for outdoor (cave) cooking by Osama bin Laden, or Texas Bar-b-Q made Easy, by Dubya.

Your publishing analysis is good and funny and true up to a point, like Dan Brown is a total hack, for example, but even the players have no clue who the owners are...and the really funny thing is that not even the owners know who the owners are. Who are the critics? What's the criteria for the prizes? How are the facts of history selected? I've been to the mountain top. I've seen the stadium and the players and the owners in their sky boxes; I know the rules of the game and the rules of the game within the game. That's the one I mainly watch. It's pretty exciting. I'm slowly writing another book about it in my own careful way, along with a book about stuff that truly DOES matter, if you can imagine such a thing. Politics doesn't have much to do with it, though—so your other stuff about Bush and all that superfulous nonsense I couldn't really get into. Thanks. G.

Hey Gerard, You'll remember that a couple of months ago, May I think, I asked how come you don't do a directory for short story writers and you asked how come I don't do same. I've just made a directory, at:

and though it morphed etc. such that it does not appear related to yours it certainly is. Congratulations! You have a bastard child! All around my directory is much boringer than yours. Still it's worth linking to, don't you think? Cheers, Brian Kimberling, Editor, The Writer's Directory

Hey, Brian, so where is it? My bastard child's been kidnapped! Wait, wait, never mind, I found it. It's not in no search engines yet, is all. It's gorgeous! I'm a proud papa!

Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy law
My services are bound. Wherefore should I
Stand in the plague of custom, and permit
The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines
Lag of a brother? Why bastard? wherefore base?
When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true
As honest madam's issue? Why brand they us
With base? with baseness? bastardy? base, base?
Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops
Got 'tween asleep and wake?—Well then,
Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land:
Our father's love is to the bastard Edmund
As to the legitimate: fine word—legitimate!
Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base
Shall top the legitimate. I grow; I prosper.—
Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

I'll totally stick it up somewhere easy to find. Thanks! I gotta go get cigars. G.

Keep it up, Gerry. No matter what anyone says, this website must remain. I've been able to contact more people, personally, on this one site than probably all the other sites and writer's books combined. No bullshit, G, because I'm no bullshit artist or ass-kisser. I'm no saint, but I am honest, and I'm telling it straight. Keep the site alive, if you can. Some writer out there will probably get famous because of it someday.

Your website is the reason writers have a reputation for being self-important pricks. Your book might very well be brilliant, but acting like a jerk isn't going to win hearts or minds and you're making it much harder than it has to be by having that nasty attitude. You have collected a following of bitter, cynical people. The fact that they can't get published is partially because of their entitlement mentality. Oh yes, you're brilliant it's just that everyone else is too stupid to realize it? Please. Put all that energy into creating something life affirming or at least interesting. If somebody asks you to remove their e-mail address, you should remove it. I wish you luck with your writing but I hope that at some point you can rediscover the joy of not being a cynical, bitter, dark reject. Sincerely,

What's wrong with being a self-important prick? Why should I support and defend and kiss-up to the status quo when the status quo sucks? I'm perfectly happy with who I am and with what I've written and with how I've chosen to live my little life. I have no money and no job. I support myself exclusively by the kindness of strangers and the small advance I got for the one book I sold after spending forty years and hundreds of thousands of dollars of my time writing it. If you think I'm bitter, you're wrong. Money ain't my criterion for success or failure, that's all. As long as how much money a book makes or a man makes or a woman makes is his or hers or its only measure of success, you're gonna get yourself stuck with a lot of stupid, ass-kisser men and women and books that appeal to the lowest common denominator of a morally, ethically, spiritually corrupt society. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If you want to keep your heart in a vault at Citibank, knock yourself out. I'm perfectly sane and strong and healthy and I totally crack myself up. I hope you can say the same for yourself someday. And as for the e-mail addresses, I found them somewhere, right? I didn't pry them out of anyone's cold, dead fingers. All I did was make it easier for other people to find them, too. Nice letter, by the way. Thanks. G.

Dear Gerard, I reread my e-mail. It was probably a little harsh. I apologize if I offended you - that wasn't my intention. I guess my intention was to voice my opinion that the game is not rigged, it's worth playing and playing well. Money is not an evil or immoral goal, as you make it sound. I hope that your book does fantastically and you make a killing. There's nothing wrong with that. You said that you spent X dollars on writing and sending out your book. So have I. So have lots of people. The fact is, that is the cost of doing business. If you open a restaurant and cook fattening or bad food, you can't blame the customers for not giving you back a return on your investment. See what I'm getting at? One thing you said that really horrified me was:

"I support myself exclusively by the kindness of strangers."

You're not supporting yourself. Others are supporting you. By allowing others to pay your way in life, you really can't complain about what you get. Whatever your talents, this kind of relinquishment of personal responsibility speaks volumes about your outlook on life. In any case, I do wish you the very best. Sincerely,

The game is the game. I play it my way, you play it yours. I don't want to make a killing; I want to like myself. I do. People give me money 'cause they want to give me money, not because I force them to pay for the valuable stuff I've created. Why isn't that supporting myself? If I charged you $389 a year like the LMP will charge you for crappier information than I provide, would I then be supporting myself? I could make all kinds of money by clogging my little website up with tons of advertising and popups. I choose not to do that, 'cause I'm not a money-grubbing jerk. When you go buy Jeff Herman's book for fifty bucks or whatever it is, he's supporting himself off you, right? And yet when people choose to give me ten bucks for a way more valuable resource than Jeff Herman ever dreamed of making, I'm not supporting myself? What's up with that? Give me money; or not. I'm happy either way. If I die of starvation in the gutter, far out. I make things worth making, not necessarily things worth making money off of. You may never understand. That's okay. I do. Thanks again. G.

Hi Gerard, You have an absolutely awesome site. I have really enjoyed - and laughed at - the many responses you've given. I'm amazed at how many folks have wanted to read your stuff. That's great. Keep up the good work, lad. I'm gonna slip you some $$ as soon as I'm finished feeding my three daughters. Your site is worth ten times the price of these crappy, quickly-outdated paper guides.

Thanks for the encouragement. Feed your three daughters anything they want, and put a little something aside to buy them prom dresses. G.

Hi, Gerard, A friend forwarded a link to your website. I thought it was absolutely hilarious, and I loved your irreverent responses to the numbskull gatekeepers of the publishing world. I also write funny novels, and know all too well the sting of rejection. I did sell one a few years ago (to a publisher who only paid me a fraction of what he owed me, and ultimately went out of business), but have over the years collected a huge stack of rejection letters. I don't know the answer, Gerard. "Mainstream" publishing is simply besotted with celebrity and fluff--as you have so ably observed. I hope your website generates a huge amount of interest, and is itself ultimately turned into a book that brings you much deserved publishing success. Best of luck. It's a tough game.

I like a tough game--makes it more fun when you win (even though I admit I may have had to redefine the object of the game along the way in order to do so). Thanks. G.

Dear Gerard, As a sometimes published, sometimes screwed writer I think your page is A) funny as hell, B) very sad and C) useful. I'm letting my friends know about it.

I'll take funny, sad and useful in the same sentence any day. Thanks for passing it along. G.

Dear G. Why should a writer bother? In truth, he or she shouldn't. No agent or publisher is picking up anything that isn't written by a celebrity. The business is dumbing down to zero. The chances of being picked up is virtually zero. I should know - I've been in the business years. Writers should stop dreaming now - they will never be published, never be represented - it ain't gonna happen. The business of publishing is the most crass and pompous in the world - full of self importance. For example, I had a novel which British agent *** (a biggy) demanded exclusive access to for 8 months - I eventually got a brief note flogging her own book" From Pitch to Publication" - what an insult! There is only one choice - write and publish for fun, cut the crap about writing a great novel - you might as well ask Polydor records to release Beethoven as a single ­ it's passé - bind a few for friends and family and a few more for passers by - and get a cushy part time job to pay the rent for your garret. You should replace the entire site with the truth "It ain't gonna happen" and put those poor aspiring bastards out of their unpublished misery! PARIS 2004

Hey, I agree completely, but so what? Use the publishing industry for your own amusement, crack yourself up making fun of the twenty-five billion dollars of Twit Lit they pump our every year, like me. That's what it's there for as far as I can see. Thanks. G.

Gerard, your directory website is awesome. I wish I were in writing mode at the moment, and not sculpting mode, because without question I'd pay bucks to access that information. I think it ought to be password protected! It's truly an achievement, and any writer with any brains would realize you were saving him an incredible amount of legwork. I'm peeved you've done all this when I can't use it personally, but I'll still send you $50, if I can access it somehow, someday-- even if it becomes outdated (ie. editors, agents moving around as they're wont to do) the personal perspectives would still be invaluable. Long term I wonder if you'd be able to keep it up because after a while wouldn't they simply stop responding to you? Or might you begin to use pseudonyms to keep things current? If you could continue, I'd also send you $50 a year to keep the info updated-- that's paltry when one considers the time and effort required to do so oneself. It seems to me you've got a goldmine of an idea: the trick is to figure a way to make it pay, no? What I like most about the letters is your personal style-- it keeps on shining; you're 100% yourself, true-blue, lock, stock, and two smoking barrels. :) So how do I send money? And how may I use what's up there now some day in future? Truly, I'm blown away by the work you've put into it. It's a grand achievement.

Thanks, man. It's gonna get awsomer. I like it being free, though. Send it around to all your writer buddies. I just throw shit at the wall and see what sticks. As agents & editors move around, if I get wind of it I'll follow them. It hasn't been up long. I might need to move it to another server 'cause the one it's on now is the one my sister has her web-design clients on and when people complain to the server I have to take them off but when I get it on my own server I can just tell them to go fuck themselves, sue me. Don't give me no money, dork. Send it to rich guys and let them give me money. It's a labor of love, but don't tell the rich guys that. G.

Gerard, If your books are HALF as funny as your website, you deserve to be at the top of the NYT bestseller list and a kajillionaire, to boot. Thanks for the great laugh! I have my share of rejections from many of these agencies, too. It's nice to see so many of the things I've thought expressed so well and so publicly. (Especially about the Writer's House using my SASE to hock their book!) Looking forward to seeing your books in print.

I love your website but I don't have any money. Still, if I did, you're the kind of person I'd share it with.

Which would I rather have, love or money? How dumb of a question is that? Thanks. G.

I just read the correspondence between you and *** and laughed and laughed.

He had the hots for some old girlfriend of mine was the only reason he wanted to read the thing in the first place. I'm sick of people at the moment. That will change. G.

A friend and I—and we have both been published by major houses (as well as by ***, both of us)—are working on a children's book we are going to publish ourselves. We are both pretty fed up with publishing. Have you considered doing that? It's not a no-no anymore.

I've considered everything. I'm really doing exactly what I want to do—which is mainly splatter stuff around and see what sticks. The whole industry is in big flux and I'd rather just wing it on my own terms & see how it all shakes out. G.

Dear Gerard. You're the best. Love and kisses from a formerly published and now struggling like everyone else writer.

Anonymous love and kisses, my two favorite things ever. Thanks. G.

And I also sent you money. L.

Holy Crimeny, anonymous free love, anonymous free kisses and anonymous free money, too? How happy am I? Very. Thanks. G.

Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies:

Dear Gerard, first I would like to tell you that I am not an agent or publisher, just a writer, like you. All I wanted to say is that I wish you all the best, and don't give up, it's not worth it. My favourite writer is Franz Kafka, and he only published one short story in his life.

I ain't giving up, I'm just getting started. Is that true about Kafka? Wow, are people ever dumb. I know he didn't publish his novels until that Max Brod guy got them published after he was dead. Posthumous is okay by me. I like writing the suckers. Van Gogh didn't have a lot of commercial "success" either. I've had fun fiddling with this little directory thingy, now I'm back to just writing my unpublishable books again. Thanks. G.

Gerard: Your website is depressing; however, the concept is novel for the world of the struggling artist. I don't know her name, but a comedian saved all her answering machine messages from her neurotic mother, and she is selling them. They are hilarious—I choked on food and almost died. Your website reminds me of how this comedian took something unpleasant in her life and shared it with the rest of the world to laugh and cry at. Anyway, I too am a struggling writer and have seen the same ol' boring, cookie-cutter responses from agents. Groan. Sorry I won't be sending any money. I like it in my own pocket too much.

I mainly just did it to crack myself up. It worked. Thanks. G.

How can you stand getting all those rejections? I've only gotten two so far, and if it wasn't for the fact that I don't want to deprive my kids of the joy of visiting me in the Alzheimer's home twenty-five years hence, I would have shot myself through the head after reading them.

Well, you get used to it, and you realize that the ones what rejected it are looking for ways to waste paper, so you take it as a compliment that they rejected it. G.


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