Two years ago, I submitted well over 100 query letters to potential agents to review Shedding the Reptile. A number of the queries came back with standard replies: “Too many projects, but we wish you success.” “Not interested, but we wish you success.” “This is not the kind of project we are interested in, but we wish you the best of luck.” Some queries did not receive replies. One particular agent reviewed my book: Christopher Schelling, an agent who had and still may be representing Augusten Burroughs. In the end, he decided not to pursue my book, but I remain eternally grateful that he took the time to read a sizeable amount of my manuscript and to correspond back and forth with me. Maybe someday, he will reconsider, and while I doubt it, it was a great moment in the pursuit to publish my first book.
Ultimately, the book sat on a hard drive, and hard copies of the manuscript collected dust in my closet. As The Reptile found itself covered in more and more dust, I ended up having two wonderful children and landing a job working as government contractor.
Two weeks ago, I began contemplating a sequel to the book. I had let the manuscript marinate in a dark closet for long enough. I re-read the book.
Holy crap. This book is good. I generally re-read things I wrote and find that I am not the biggest fan. My writing has evolved, and while my voice and approach has changed significantly in the past 800+ days since I ended the book, I found the story to be compelling. A few days later, Meggie sent me a link for Kindle Direct Publishing.
Things happen for a reason sometimes. I used to think otherwise, and I even discuss this in Reptile.
So I published the book. Self-published. I figured I’d get a few sales. Maybe family, a few friends, etc.
Shit, I am astounded. The book is selling really well–far better than I ever anticipated. People are buying it. People I don’t know. People I never thought would have interest. It’s actually amassing considerable sales.
If you bought it. Thank you.
On a side note, I would like to comment on The Reptile:
It does not necessarily follow the standard “W”-style formatting of a story. In fact, the book may even follow the “M” format. Resolution is not something that is truly pursued in this book. Addiction is not happy. It generally does not end up happy. And even after recovery begins, there is not necessarily an immediate happiness. It remains gross for a bit. At least it did for me. For the purposes of the book, I wanted to take a slice from my life and present it. Unfortunately, the entire slice I serve up is bitter, nasty and rotten. The person in the book is a monster. He is selfish, sick, mean, rotten-to-the-core and very sick. He deserves no sympathy. However, he deserves your attention. To truly reflect the insanity and horror of addiction, I chose not to afford the man in the book a happy ending. I just gave him an ending, and the reason for this is the person who I am now started when that other person died.
I want the reader who chooses to pick up this book to see this monster and I want to leave the reader feeling filthy. Because addiction is filthy, scary and desperate.
Now onto other news. As I mentioned earlier, I am working on a sequel to the book. The first story was, as I stated, a slice. I want to offer up a new slice. I want this slice to be tastier. I want it to be more appealing. Tentatively, I have given the project a tentative title: Peeling the Snake, a fittingly more humorous title to reflect the surreal and often hilarious newborn experience someone has when they do shed the reptile of addiction.
Stay tuned, and if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of the book here