Why Can’t We Get Our Novel Published?
Nearly 40 years ago, or maybe it was more, I was a photographer on an archeological excavation in northern Israel at Tel Akko.
It was there that I met Neil Silberman. That’s him on the left, me on the right. We were young then, just starting out careers.
He was an archaeologist, and would go on to write and publish more than 40 books on history, religion and archaeology, along with founding and running his own company based on preserving and restoring cultural heritage around the world.
I would trade in my still camera for a video camera and go on to design and build TV stations and networks around the world, as well as producing more than 8,000 hours of programs for various cable and broadcast networks, including some top rated reality shows you might have seen. I have also had three books about TV and video storytelling published, so I know how to tell a good story.
Now I am going to tell you a bad story.
About two years ago, Neil called me up.
“Would you like to write a novel with me?” he asked. He had an idea.
I had, it was true, never written a novel, but I have written tons of scripts for TV shows and a few movie scripts, so I thought, why not?
So over the course of a year, we wrote, what I have to tell you, is a great novel.
Here’s the synopsis:
Monte Levine, a 44-year-old, anxiety prone TV producer lives in his own private fantasy world. When his biggest hit — a raunchy reality show about adultery called Thou Shalt Not — gains record ratings but humiliates a Jersey mob boss, his dreams are suddenly ripped away. Narrowly escaping a planned hit, but one that brutally kills his assistant, he and his entire family are placed in the Federal Witness Protection Program in Mountain City, Montana, the last place that he would ever want to live
Monte’s job under a new identity, is Executive Producer of a low-rent Medieval Dinner Theater called Teutonic Knights. Enter Dr. Jerry Stewart, Mountain City’s brilliant but eccentric recluse billionaire pharmaceutical tycoon, with his own terrifying secret history. Dr. Stewart has a passion for knighthood, chivalry and… mass murder. Captured by Stewart, unconscious Monte is miraculously transported back to the violent, primitive Middle Ages, where he finds that King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Dr. Stewart’s icons, are not all that they are cracked up to be. A cross between uproariously funny Gary Shteyngart’s LAKE SUCCESS
and the shocking, hilarious, and brutal theatrics of Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, GOING MEDIEVAL will take readers on a wild journey of a lifetime.
We think it could be a great series for Netflix, but before that, we’d love to get it published.
Now, they say that the hardest part of writing a book is not writing it, but getting it published, and I can attest to that.
I have had three books published; Neil has had nearly 40, so it’s not like we didn’t know what we were doing, and it’s also not like we didn't have agents. We both did.
What we were not prepared for was the world of publishing now.
The rejection letters came in — they were great. I mean for rejection letters.
“Reads like a Tarantino movie!”
“Like Fargo, but better”
“Could not put it down…”
What they also could not do, apparently, aside from put it down, was publish it.
“Doesn’t fit our list…”
“Not where we are right now…”
Where are they? Well, you can take a look at the book review section of the NY Times to see where they are. The book, we have to admit, is not very ‘woke’, but it is really funny. Like Mel Brooks and The Producers. Also, not very woke — Springtime for Hitler, but funny.
“Sorry,” my agent said, “but funny just is not selling now…”
So, after a year, we have decided to publish on Amazon.
Maybe Amazon is the way to go?
Maybe the book publishing business is ready for a disruption.
Maybe a handful of editors at a handful of publishing houses should not be deciding what you get to read.
As AJ Liebling wrote in 1961, “A free press belongs to those who can afford to own one.”
Now, maybe this just sounds like a kvetch session. Maybe our novel just isn’t all that good. Could be? I mean, JK Rowling famously sent her manuscript to lots of publishers before Bloomsbury took a shot.
OK, so maybe this isn’t Harry Potter (it is, however, Monte Levine), but maybe it is. Maybe only you can decide.
So…. you can get it on Amazon here.
But, if that’s too much of a commitment for you, I tell you what we are going to do. You email us (Michael@Rosenblumtv.com) and we will send you the first three chapters free of charge — see if you like it. Try it out.
Maybe it isn’t the next Harry Potter…. But maybe it is.
Maybe in these very trying times, a funny book is just what is called for.