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  1. #1
    Michael Hemmingson
    Guest

    Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm...

    1) I went to pick up my check at The Reader. The receptionist was on the phone: "Editorial...yes, he writes for us but he's not at this office...No I can't give you his number or address...yes, if you send something here in c/o this office, we will forward it to him." She hung up and said to me, "That was someone looking for you, Mr. Hemmingson." Hmmm. Now I've been wondering all day who it was, and why.

    2) An editor for Men's Health mag emailed me, saying he read the online version of my "Vollmann in San Diego" piece, said he is big Vollmann fan and wanted to assign Bill an essay on morality, if possible. I didn't want to give this editor Bill's home # so I gave him Bill's agent's #. Then I said, "Hey, I write magazine pieces too." He said, "Pitch me some stuff." They do pay top dollar...

    3) My plays Driving Somewhere, Erotic Scenes in a Cheap Motel Room nnd Milk will be published by Playscripts, Inc. next year.

    4) I may drop my agent for another one, or have a second agent for my other work. I dunno. Need to talk to my agent about this, I'm getting annoyed by a few things. There are a few agents I know who would be willing to rep me, including Vollmann's. More on this later as I sort it out...



  2. #2
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    I like your life better. Interesting things are happening all the time.

    Oh, wait! I actually had an interesting experience today. I met with the producer regarding the script my screenwriting buddy and I wrote. Had iced coffee. Yummy.

    Are you in Los Angeles, Michael? Or does every city have a publication called "The Reader?"

  3. #3
    Heather Brewer
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    When I lived in Omaha, we had "The Reader" as well. And why does my life lack such sparkle?

  4. #4
    SF Writer
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    Heather - not that I doubt Michael's prolificness - but I'd just say take anything you read on the net with a grain of salt. Though I hope it's all true and I have no reason to doubt what he claims, I feel certain your life does not lack sparkle. It's more like you have the good taste and discretion to know when and how much to share in a public forum. I just seem to recall another WN writer making a REAL big splash and she did not feel the need to brag about in such a... masculine way?

    Everyone wants to rejoice in other's successes, but a post like this makes me wonder, what really motivated it?

  5. #5
    Glen T. Brock
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    Hello folks,

    About twenty years ago I investigated the erotic industry, thinking it would be a way to make a quick buck. Bee-line books, one of the best publishers at that time paid about the best, which was a flat $600.00 per book (50-75,000 words). No royalties and no residuals came with that. An acquantance of mine, Andrew J. Offutt, jr., became quite prolific in that genre under the pen name John Cleve. From developing his style at Beeline he went on to a celebrated career in science fiction and mainstream novels.

    Blue Moon, when I was in the business, was just getting started as a strictly porno publisher, albeit packaged more professionally than most. I have not kept up with them since 2001 but I think they are still primarily a publisher in adult entertainment. The sophisticated adult industry has changed significantly over the years, becoming more of an established genre than the underground press it was origionally.

    As Mr. Hemmingson is heavily invested in the adult genre I wish him the best of luck with his career. Remember, Harlan Ellison wrote IMAGE OF THE BEAST and A FEAST UNKNOWN and survived the experience.

    Glen T. Brock

  6. #6
    Michael Hemmingson
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    Leslee -- That's The San Diego Reader. Many big cities do have "Readers" or some such giant alt-weekly. They pay me well, and they pay me weekly; I'm a freelancer and do my work at home and never have to go into an office. The only time I go in is to pick up my check.

    SF Writer -- you haven't an iota of an awareness re: what you're talking about. I wonder what made you motivate to question something that can easily be checked on (see my page here, run my name on Google or Amazon.com or even sdreader.com). And besides, I think I failed to convey irony in that this is a *slow* day for me.

    Glen -- Harlan Ellison was one of my early writing teachers, when I was a teenager (and running my own small press in L.A.) Yeah, he wrote some erotic novels under the name Paul Merchant, Ellis Hart; as well as many stories under many names and edited some men's mags. Blue Moon was started by Barney Rossett when he lost his stock control of Grove Press. Ever heard of Barney Rossett and Grove Press? He sold the compnay to Avalon/PGW a few years ago. Avalon has other imprints like Carroll & Graf, Thunder's Mouth Press, Seal Press...go see www.avalonpub.com. Run my name on that catalog. I'm the only Blue Moon authors whose books get reviewed in literary journals as, yes, "literature." But then again people like you, in the past, have sneered at Henery Miller, Anaias Nin, and DH Laurence, and have probably even justified their late stature as "surviving" certain genre forms.

    Oh -- Avalon/Blue Moon is cutting me a nice check next Tuesday for the delivery of Book II of the trilogy I'm doing for them. Every six months I get nicer royalty checks because my books (most of them) sell well and make the company some profit...so we're all happy.

  7. #7
    Glen T. Brock
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    Michael,

    I was around when Pendulum Press was the major player in adult publishing. I sold MY SECRET LIFE in twelve volume sets. Grove Press was the most literate of the avante garde botique publishers of the late 60s and early 70s. I am familiar with Henry Miller, Anaias Nin and all the others. I don't categorize D.H. Lawrence in the same league, by the way.

    Frankly, I could care less how you make your living. I congratulate your success. As noted in my post, I am surprised you can make a decent living with the spartan amounts the publishers pay for your work. I hope that has changed in recent years. With Liverpool and Beeline suing each other out of business along with most of the others, there has been a major shakeout of the industry. If I have a critcism of the sophisticated adult industry, it is that it doesn't pay worth a damn. Has that been your experience?

    I ran into Harlan Ellison way back in 1966. I wish I had some copies of IMAGE OF THE BEAST. I understand they are quite valuable as collector's items. Did you know that Frank Frazetta once illustrated adult novels for Midwood publishing company? They are quite valuable too! You can just never tell...

    Glen T. Brock

  8. #8
    Michael Hemmingson
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    Yeah, Midwood. Didn't they eventually become Midwood Tower and then Belmont Tower and then Leisure Belmont, et al? I'm an avid collector of Barry Malzberg's stuff; I have all his SF and crime books, and am working on collecting his erotic novels, which he did under many pen names. Have most from Leusire and Tower, getting to find his Olypmia Press books (under his name and 3 others)but his Midwood books are impossible to locate. Ellison's porn books go for like $500-700 right now. I'm sure many of these gem are tucked away in boxes of many attics, purchased as cheap trash, and the owners have no idea what they got!

    I haven't seen Ellison face-to-face since, oh, 1998, I think. I'm 37 now (38 next month -- so when you met him, I was being born) and he still calls me "kid." I talked to him last year about doing a reader/casebook like the ones I'm editing on William Vollmann (for Thunde's Mouth) and Paul Auster (for Univ. of Delaware Press), but he told me to wait until he was dead. "I'd be too much of a pain in the ass," he said, "and you won't have to wait long."

    I don't make a complete living off Blue Moon, it's perhaps 1/4 of my annual income. The other 1/4 are magazine/newspaper features (which often pay the same as an advance from Blue Moon), the next 1/4 from other projects, like for Forge and Carroll & Graf, and the last 1/4 from the little trading I do on my Ameritrade account. Blue Moon's pay is about the same as Leisure Books pays its authors, if you know how that goes -- not something to holler about, but it's cash; and each new contract yields a little more money and higher print runs.

    Speaking of Dorchester/Leusire, I may be doing something for a new imprint of theirs in the Fall, but I probably should not discuss it publicly until it's a done deal, and we won't know that until after summer...

    You sold MY SECRET LIFE?

  9. #9
    SF Writer
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    My point was not to cast aspersions on you...

    My point was that there are ways to share your success without coming off like a braggart, that's all.

    People on this site are at varying levels in their writing careers - though you seem to be enjoying an uncommon success (and believe me I think it's FANTASTIC!!!) it can be a bit overwhelming to read about when someone is still back on square one and trying to figure out where to send their first shaky query letter.

    That's all... Oh I did run your name - I know you're a for real kinda guy and from what I can gather a prolific writer of adult entertainment (as Glen calls it!). I'm just sure there's also more to every picture than you see at first glance too. I read Heather's post below your first one and it just struck a chord with me - can't say why. Maybe because I've felt like that at certain times in my own writing career.

    In any case, hope it keeps on raining money in your neck of the woods, or maybe that's a bad metaphor since you're in San Diego. :-)

    SF

  10. #10
    Glen T. Brock
    Guest

    Re: Today's Happenings in My Publishing Microcosm.

    Michael,

    Yep. I sold MY SECRET LIFE. I sold plenty of them! That was one of the first erotic best sellers of the 60s and it was terribly written. No wonder the author wouldn't take credit for it. The first version was a magazine formatted 20 volume series, the next was a 12 volume quality paperbound edition, published by Pendulum Press. Later, Grove did a one volume abridged edition and a two volume boxed abridged edition.

    I wasn't aware that Midwood was affiliated with Dorchester. I do remember that Beacon books was sued by Beacon Press, a religious publisher in the midwest, because of the similar names. Can you imagine getting a shipment mixed up between those two?

    My earliest memories of Harlan come from 1966, when he sported a ducktail haircut and wore elevated heel boots. He looked like a standin for WEST SIDE STORY, which possibly was a result of MEMOS FROM PURGATORY, where he joined a Jewish street gang in New York. One thing I have to admit; Harlan had panache! I guess he still does. His lawsuits are legendary. Although I can see similarities between SOLDIER and THE TERMINATOR, I don't see a clear similarity between BRILLO and ROBOCOP. But he was able to pitch them effectively to the jury!

    You said you were a student of Harlan. Were you in the Clarion Workshop project?

    Glen T. Brock

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