Monthly Archives: October 2005

The Wu-Tang Plan

Over the past three years I have used every spare moment writing, editing and trying to publish FUTUREPROOF. But the problem I kept running into when I started shopping the manuscript around is that every agent or editor I contacted said that, while the book was well-written, there wasn’t a market for it. The incredible response I’ve gotten from readers over just the last month are a direct refutation of these agents’/editors’ assertions. People like you and I have been reading books outside the mainstream for decades. Writers like Henry Miller and pretty much any of the Beat writers prove the industry insiders wrong. The recent success of James Frey’s books (A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard) prove them wrong. So I came up with a plan.

I call it The Wu-Tang Plan because it was perfected by the RZA from Wu-Tang Clan. Basically, RZA decided that he knew his shit was good, and he developed a marketing plan that would make him and his crew the #1 rap group in the world within 5 years. So he got them together, recorded a few tracks, and then pressed 500 copies, which they distributed on the streets to create a buzz–much like what I’m doing on the internet with FUTUREPROOF. After he started the buzz, he told all the record companies that were knocking on his door that he’d only sign a contract if they agreed to let all the members of the Clan have their own separate recording deals for solo projects, which could then be promoted side by side with the larger Wu-Tang projects, even though they would conceivably be on different record labels. This had never been done before in the history of the recording industry. So I got to thinking: Why hasn’t this been done in the realm of lit? True, most people aren’t the most voracious readers these days, but people DO tend to read in specific genres. I, too, tend to gravitate toward a certain kind of writing. I guess you could call it “Cult Fiction,” or more outside the mainstream, stories that are about people with ideas and thoughts on the world and human relations that are a lot like mine. And J.D. Salinger’s. And Henry Miller’s. And Chuck Palahniuk’s. And Colby Buzzell’s. And Hunter S. Thompson’s. You get the point. There’s a HUGE market for this kind of writing, and James Frey’s success with A Million Little Pieces (probably the most successful in the genre in years because of Oprah picking his book) just goes to show how successful books like this can be…..

so the point is…..What if writers of this kind of stuff–done well, of course–banded together in a sort of collective and toured their books together and supported and promoted each others’ books? That’s what I want to do. So that when you walk into Borders and Barnes & Noble you can see a rack with our books on it, so you don’t have to keep searching around for the stuff you want to read. This is my Wu-Tang Plan. We divide and conquer the whole fucking publishing industry by signing our own deals with whatever publishing houses we can get the best deal with, then band together for future books. This approach would essentially wipe out the competition we in the genre might feel pressured to endure, instead putting us on the same team.

But it won’t work if these other authors aren’t willing to do it, too. I’d already gotten James Frey to read my manuscript (I met him back in June at a pre-Oprah book signing), but ever since the Oprah thing hit three weeks ago I haven’t heard anything from him and now I’m sure he has to worry about people trying to take advantage of him and everything else that comes with that degree of success and exposure. Maybe eventually he’ll take me up on this, maybe not. But fuckin’ A, it’s worth a shot. My feeling is, with a writer like Colby Buzzell, who already has a book deal (My War) and a good amount of publicity (and very good timing too, since Anthony Swofford’s book JARHEAD is just about to be released in the theatre), the selling point has to be, “Look, with this idea, people that might not have heard about your book will know about it AUTOMATICALLY, just because of its association with Frank Daniels’ book or Henry Rollins’ or even bigger than that, James Frey’s.” This is a genuine goddam grassroots movement. All it takes is one author, one person with any kind of clout behind him to make this thing really take off. Then everything else will fall into place like dominos. The writers will have some degree of power and clout themselves. Then we could approach other well-respected but not necessarily well-know authors saying, you know, “[Insert author] is already signed on, join the movement!”

I gave a 2 page letter saying pretty much everything you’ve read here to Henry Rollins. He said he would read it. I’m still waiting to hear back from him, refusing to let anything stand in our way now. The proverbial ball is on the fucking roll. Let’s keep it moving.

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

ROLLINS

Tonight I’m heading downtown to catch Henry Rollins do a spoken-word performance. I’m hoping to get him on-board our project, mainly by explaining the ins and outs of my Wu-Tang Plan. I’ll post what exactly that plan entails over the weekend. In the meantime, wish me luck. Rollins is an intimidating sonofabitch, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to talk to him without sounding like a scared freak. Full update tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a nice little selection from H.R.’s book “High Adventures In the Great Outdoors.” Talk soon.

“In a state of delirium I dreamt that I came upon a female cockroach the size of a girl. She smiled at me and told me to come closer. She kissed me. The feeling of her belly scales against my flesh made me convulse and sweat. We made love. She wrapped her six legs around my back and pulled me close. Her antennas(sic) lashed my back. No girl ever made me feel like that, ever. By morning I was covered with sweat, blood and a noisome yellow-green mucus. She had my children (twenty of them). They were semi-human in form, could reproduce in weeks not years, and could life up to six times their own weight. We are breeding. In the alleys in the sewers in the back rooms and brothels. Not a day goes by where my children don’t grow in size and strength. We are everywhere. You try to kill us with motels and poison. This is snakc food for us. You will never rid the world of us. We will rid the world of you.”

Ahh, inspiration.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Apologies

Due to unforseen issues with Amazon.com being a fascist-run website, I’ve had to create a new email address and Amazon sign-in name. Seems that with my last sign-in they decided I was sending out too many invitations to reviewers and therfore have prevented me from continuing in the way I’ve already gotten you readers to come over and take a look at futureproof. So I apologize if you have receieved or recieve at some point in the future another Amazon invite from me. Now that I have had to create a new account with them I have no way of knowing who I’ve already contacted. Therefore, if you reviewed a Chuck Palahniuk book and I contacted you that way, you might also recieve an invite based on your review of “The Catcher In the Rye” (the book whose reviewers I’m contacting now). So…..here’s a preemptive apology. I hope you understand. ~NFD

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The OTHER Canon

Following, a list of books that I consider the classics of our time (and slightly before), in no particular order:

· William Burroughs (Junky, Naked Lunch)
· Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, Fever Pitch)
· Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors, Dry)
· Nicholson Baker (U and I, The Mezzanine)
· Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son, Resuscitation of a Hanged Man)
· Colby Buzzell (MY WAR)
· Dan Chaon (Among the Missing, You Remind Me of Me)
· Jim Thompson(The Killer Inside Me)
· Richard Wright (Black Boy, Native Son)
· Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting, The Acid House, Porno)
· Charles Bukowski (Screams From the Balcony, Tales of Ordinary Madness, Ham On Rye)
· Jerry Stahl (Permanent Midnight)
· Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke, Survivor)
· Daniel Clowes (Ghost World, Ice Haven)
· John Albert (Wrecking Crew)
· James Robert Baker (Fuel-Injected Dreams)
· Ralph Ellison(Invisible Man)
· Melvin Burgess (Smack, Junk)
· Dennis Cooper (God Jr.)
· Luke Davies (Candy)
· Brett Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction)
· James Fogle (Drugstore Cowboy)
· Hubert Selby (Last Exit to Brooklyn, Requiem For A Dream, The Demon)
· Hunter S. Thompson (The Rum Diary, Hell’s Angels, Fear and Loathing)
· Jack Kerouac (On The Road, The Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels)
· Poppy Z. Brite (Prime, Liquor, Exquisite Corpse)
· ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere)
· J.T. LeRoy (The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, Sarah, Harold’s End)
· James Frey (A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard)
· Joseph Heller (Catch-22, Something Happened)
· Dan Pope (In The Cherry Tree)
· C.D.Payne (Youth In Revolt: The Nick Twisp Series)
· Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare)
· William Kennedy (Ironweed, Legs)
· J.D. Salinger (The Catcher In the Rye, Franny and Zooey)
· J.G. Ballard (Crash, The Drowned World)
· Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
· Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
· Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
· Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
· Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City, The Story of My Life)
· SE Hinton (Rumble Fish, The Outsiders)
· Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
· Hermann Hesse (Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha)
· George Orwell (1984)
· Ray Bradbury (The Illustrated Man)
· Earnest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls)
· William Golding (Lord of the Flies)
· James Joyce (Portrait of the Artist)
· Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle)
· Walker Percy (Love In the Ruins)
· Albert Camus (The Plague, The Fall, The Stranger)
· Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
· Alex Garland (The Beach, The Coma)
· Frank Miller (Sin City, Ronin)
· Henry Rollins (Black Coffee Blues, BANG!)
· Charles Portis (The Dog of the South, Norwood)
· Gabriel Garcia Marquez (100 Years of Solitude, Love In the Time of Cholera)

Please leave any suggestions for additions to the list, complaints about someone who’s appeared here.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Grand Experiment

I’ve started this blog so that it will be easier to give updates on the progress being made in our quest for publication. And also so I can hear back directly from everyone on specific issues as I post about them.

1. As many of you may have gathered by now, I’ve found the great majority of potential readers through reviews posted on Amazon. I bring this up only because I didn’t want it to seem like there are just mass mailings going out indiscriminately. That is not the case. I targeted only reviewers who have read and evaluated books that I myself appreciate. I feel that these reviewers would be the best candidates for appreciating my book, for obvious reasons. If the emails I sent out seem impersonal, I’m sorry. Yes, much of what is in each email is pre-scripted so that I don’t have to keep typing the same thing over and over. But there’s really no other way. For every 100 or so reviewers I try to contact, only five or ten respond. But every single person that writes me at my email address gets a direct, personal response from me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Several of you have even exchanged lengthy, numerous emails with me, discussing everything from the plight of the unpublished author to the craft of writing to the art of persuasion. Point is, I’m trying to reach as many readers as possible, in the belief that there truly is power in numbers. My personal goal is to get 500 people in the guestbook saying that they’d like to read more of FUTUREPROOF. I feel that that number is a pretty solid guarantee to grab any potential agents’/publishers’ eyes. And we’re getting there, pretty quickly, I might add. But I hate waiting as much as the next guy (my Achilles’ heel is most definitely lack of patience), and so I’m hereby formally asking you guys to tell your friends about the book and the site.

2. After we get the FUTUREPROOF 500 together (FELLOWSHIP OF THE FUTUREPROOF?), I’d like to repay everyone who has signed on at this early stage. When the book is published, I plan on including each and every one of the original 500 supporters’ names in the acknowledgements of the book. This might take a few pages to do, but I think this is the least I can do to repay the good faith a generosity of time that everyone has shown thus far. Maybe, if the deal is right, I’ll be able to give the FP 500 a completely free signed copy off the original print run. I’ve also thought of possibly creating a specific mailing list, so that when I (hopefully) get a little success with FUTUREPROOF, I will be able to finance small print runs of stories and the like that will be sent exclusively to you early supporters. If that sounds pompous and pretentious—then shoot me. I’m a writer, for god’s sake. These are the kinds of fantasies writers harbor. So while I might be getting ahead of myself, I say fuck it. This entire enterprise is based on an idea that could just as easily have fallen on its face as turned into what it has. In fact, before I tried emailing potential readers directly, I had 2,000 fliers printed up that were strategically placed in book and record shops around the country. The reaction was…non-existent. Money down the drain. This was back in February or March. The fliers didn’t work to bring people in. I was at my wits’ end. In fact, I was ready to just throw the book in a drawer and leave it to rot. But mysterious shit happens sometimes that seems almost fateful, and suddenly a whole new realm of possibilities is opened up before you. And that’s where we are now. The emailing of reviewers is turning up some great people, people who I hope to one day meet and talk with in person. YOU guys. I mean, shit, without you there would be no way for this thing to even have a prayer of getting off the ground. I’m very thankful for all of you. So please, if you haven’t left a comment in the guestbook as of yet, do so. And when you do, leave an email address so I can contact you at some point and get correct spellings and locations down and all of that. If you’ve already left a comment but didn’t include your location or email address, send it to me: nfrankdaniels AT hotmail DOT com. I am not going to be satisfied unless I have every one of your names (or aliases) in the acknowledgements of FUTUREPROOF.

3. I wanted to address the ending of the book—or rather, the rest of it. Some of the comments in the guestbook have made me want to pull my hair out. I cannot STAND having people question whether this or that is going to happen, to have a possibly negative judgment passed on an incomplete work. But I really have no other options. I think I’m probably pushing the limits already having as much of the book posted as I do. Fact is, nobody’s going to want to publish a book that’s already been completely revealed to the public. That sucks, but that’s how it is. If you’d like me to tell you what happens, drop me an email and I will, though I think that sucks to just be given a summary rather than actually reading it. SPOILER ALERT: Bruce Willis is dead the whole time in The Sixth Sense! The chick in The Crying Game is really a dude! You get the point. Anyway, suffice it to say that the book is not all gloom and doom as some have hypothesized. There IS some light at the end of the tunnel (and elsewhere throughout).

4. I’m hoping that this blog will turn out to be a good forum for questions, discussions of a literary/cultural nature, possibly even a thought or two about this approach to getting published. I’m sure I’m not the first who has tried it. Or maybe I am. Point is, I feel like this is a great way to bring a book to people and I hope I’m not the last to do it. Because if you think about it, every single thing you see in the bookstores for the most part was picked from literally tens of thousands of hopefuls by a very small group of people. Maybe now, if more writers start trying to go after individual readers as opposed to throwing themselves on the mercies of agents and publishing houses, then more books that we all want to read will make it to the bookstores. Or maybe I’m just lost in a grandiose world of make-believe. We shall see.

5. Next week I begin seeking out agents again in earnest. I’ll keep everyone abreast of the developments as they happen. Thanks again for all the support. Talk soon. ~NFD

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized