Blog Post, My Works, Personal

Joy and Terror, and Donuts?

Last week, I quietly and independently published my first book-length work of literary criticism, FROM A WHISPER TO A RIOT: THE GAY WRITERS WHO CRAFTED AN AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION.

This publication follows a string of creative nonfiction essays, which have been more my style lately, and a scholarly article I wrote and published in Watermark back in 2016.

So, it was with some trepidation that I returned to academic non-fiction, and especially something of this length, when my focus has been short, creative work for the last few years. But today, I awoke to the news that my book is the #1 Best Seller in LGBT Literary Criticism. I’m sorry, but what!?

Granted, LGBT Literary Criticism is a small field, but still, I’m feeling overjoyed about it. That said, with the joy comes a bit of terror. I realize, now, that my work is out in the world, to be read, loved, torn apart, or ignored. It doesn’t belong to only me, anymore, and that’s something that will take some getting used to.

I’m now courting larger publishers who might be interested in acquiring the book, particularly after what seems to me a pretty solid early interest (60+ copies sold in the first few days plus a #1 ranking on Amazon is an okay sign, right?). I suppose I’ll have to wait for reviews to start rolling in before I have anything concrete to put in query letters, but who knows?

Anyway, after finding out the good news this morning, my plan was to go out and celebrate with a donut from an incredible vegan bakery in town. These are far-and-away my favorite donuts, and I’m not even vegan! Unfortunately, the bakery is closed on Mondays. So, I need a new plan. Where are the Girl Scout cookies?

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My Works, Personal

Happy Book Birthday to Me!

Today, I’m excited to share some awesome news. After two years of research and writing, and another two years of editing, revising, and revisiting, I have finally published my first book!

FROM A WHISPER TO A RIOT: THE GAY WRITERS WHO CRAFTED AN AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION is an academic text that covers gay American literature from 1903-1968, a period often ignored or overlooked. It is the culmination of four years’ work, and I have decided to move ahead with publishing it independently. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

First, academic publishing is brutal and, for my particular situation, not entirely necessary. I have been publishing other small pieces and feel satisfied with that avenue for creative work. This book, though, is the blood, sweat, and tears of years of graduate study and, ultimately, a dissertation and defense. I did send proposals and chapters to a few different academic publications, and while some of the responses I received were reasonable, even helpful, they helped me see that, what I really want to do is get this out into the public as I have envisioned it. I do not want to break the book into smaller articles. I do not want to market it for a particular course. I do not need wrestle with a University Press and its gate-keepers

This book is mine, and I want it to be available for others, as is. I believe I see something in it that some publishers are missing, which is that it is more than just a literary analysis and more than just a cultural history. It is both. These two pieces work together. The varied chapters work together. And I hope that any reader who decides to give a try will, in the end, see how all of it developed together, too.

So, I’m pleased to be in this position. The book is available in both print and e-book versions, via Amazon (and elsewhere, soon, I hope!). Even though it is an academic text, I think it’s pretty accessible. If you’re interested in American literature, history, and LGBT Studies, I think you’ll like this one. Or I hope so, anyway.

Onward!

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