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Ok kids, it’s story-time. Sit right down here at Uncle Ralphie’s knee and let me regale you of yet another tale of mystery and imagination (to steal from one of our greats) from the world of writing.


I had finally finished writing a book that was very near and dear to my heart. A non-fiction exploration and review of what I feel are thirteen overlooked 1970’s prog-rock albums; this tome was as much a labor of love as it was, I knew, far and away, from what I usually write and have come to sell (albeit slightly) and certainly in no way what this column is about, my usual output of erotica. But for what pumps deep in my heart, my connection to 70’s music, the songs I write, sing, and record, the full lot of being a musician as much as I am a writer of fiction/essays/blogs and plays speaks to what makes me me.


And I have indeed done a fair amount of music writing (check out if you are so inclined).


My long-story-short explanation here is that this new book meant a lot to me.

I also knew/know it covers a niche subject, and if I were/will find a publisher, I have to come across a press specializing in this sort of thing. And yes, there are some out there, but they are few and far between. It would also help, I knew, to exploit (in the best way possible) any relationships I may have made through my reviewing/musicical connections. And I did just this, contacting an author I quite admire, who seems to pound out music books (and long detailed ones at that) monthly. He usually tackles one subject at a time—a famous band’s history, an unusual off-shoot genre of rock—and because I have interviewed him for Vintage Rock and have had occasion to buy some of his books, we have emailed a bit in the past.


I figured, let me ask his advice about my new book. Did he know of a good publishing house I could drop my 30 thousand + words with? Anything really that might help pivot slightly in the right direction?


He category refused to help.


His email was cordial enough, but he actually said, “I don’t do that,” when I asked him to recommend a publisher and more or less told me my book was dead in the water (and I barely even hinted to him what it was about).


Ok, so that’s just one guy Ralph; what do you care?


I care because I care about you, gentle readers of this column (and if indeed there are any readers of this column, I just know you are gentle). I want to protect you, best I can, from what’s ‘out there’ poised for the unknowing novice scribe. You have seen (again, if anybody actually does ‘see’ anything I write here) my cautions in previous columns. I hope you do learn from my lessons and your way is made a little clearer because of them. But what I am imparting today is more a way for you to act if you don’t act this way already, as opposed to cautioning you against some publisher or practice.


When that big-time music author emailed me back in that way (and I still don’t get his, “I don’t do that.” Did he mean I don’t recommend other music book writers to possible publishers because I don’t want the competition? This dude is light-years ahead of anything I could ever possibly catch up to…and with one book even), it took me aback. Ok, we weren’t friends, he doesn’t owe me dick (there’s a word for this usually naughty writing column), but a little advice or encouragement would have been nice.






I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, and I will end this longer-than-usual column with this one word of advice and what I most wanted to imparted when I began scribbling this screed.


BE NICE. To whomever emails you. Say hello at a book signing (be you lucky enough to have one and it’s attended by anybody but your family and friends). Be cordial and give a moment of your time to someone who might want to gab a bit after your “How To Write Dirty Words” class at a kink convention.


This is not even a ‘don’t burn a bridge’ lesson, which is something I do completely believe you should never. I am just saying, BE NICE, for no reason at all other than to BE NICE.




And that, kids, is all I have for you today. Just BE NICE.


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