some explaining to do:
“Exploits of the Satyr is an experimental novel.”
This remark was said to me by a fellow writer after reading my manuscript. A statement that could be the claim of all novels. Since all writing ventures, to some extent, are exploratory. And “novel” is defined as being something strikingly new, unusual and different. I digress.
The reason I decided to publish this work of art (this being the fourth in a line of five, going on six, novels) was based on my instinct to act (aka, out of the box and out of viable options), encouragement from family, friends, and editors (out of love and respect for the writer, one would hope) and a bit of advice from a New York literary agent, Robert Cornfield, the only agent who read my work (out of kindness and/or as a favor to my sister whom he had met and befriended on vacation cruising to the Galapagos Islands). And yes, he said no to representing me. But, his rejection was delivered in a manner befitting something of a lost art – a thoughtful letter. Meaning, his reply was not a mass-produced scrap of paper, an item I had become abundantly familiar with since 1999, the year I began submitting queries on behalf of my novel idea that came to fruition after three years of work. I will paraphrase the essence of each of these form letters received: Thanks, but no thanks. Whereas Robert Cornfield graciously wrote:
Yours is the most ultimate challenging book I have come across: since it really belongs in a class of its own. It combines so many categories of fiction, and offers so many tricks of time and narrative devices that I sometimes kept at it because it enlivened my brain.
Publishers, and agents, think always in categories: categories of books and of audience, and your book subsumes so many that it would be impossible to “slot.” I think the best course would be to self publish, self produce, using one of the reliable services for this. It would be easier to show to a publisher in packaged form—to give it a semblance of reality, and maybe have already tested audience appeal. There are on line promotions for books that have been very effective.
It is the unusual, nature of your achievement, and your achievement is mammoth, that spurs me to suggest a “different” (and often successful) approach to the question of publishing. It is a work outside my own categories of agent, but I found it a fascinating read, and a true spiritual journey.
The optimist in me heard words of praise and encouragement. The pessimist in me – who lurks in the dark nadir of my DNA – heard these words as a cleverly crafted kiss-off. The coalition of these factions in me acknowledged a yin-yang balance of truth.
Yes, Exploits of the Satyr is a spiritual journey. Also a cautionary tale about A.I. technology. And, as the title suggests, a provocative story. But don't expect a trashy sex novel. This is a love story, channeled into the format of a psychological thriller. And, no, it is not perfect. So if you choose to take this voyage you will encounter some turbulence. Enjoyment too. It is an epic tale, mixing humor and terror. Ultimately a fun and thought-provoking read.