Publish This Book

ISBN: 9781402229350

By: Stephen Markley

Published: 03/01/2010

Basically, it’s like this: fed up with the Byzantine quest of trying to publish a novel, I decide instead to cut to the chase and write a memoir about trying to publish a book—this book, to be precise.

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Dear Reader- This is called the “back cover copy,” and you are no doubt familiar with its purpose. It describes what the book is about, so you can decide if you want to read it. Here’s the problem, though: I can’t even describe this book, and I wrote the damn thing.(1) Basically, it’s like this: fed up with the Byzantine quest of trying to publish a novel, I decide instead to cut to the chase and write a memoir about trying to publish a book—this book, to be precise. Of course, now you’re saying to yourself, “That is stupid,” which is fair. But then you’ll read it, and you’ll say, “Damn, that was actually pretty good.” Because obviously it’s about much more than just publishing a book. It’s about life and love and friendship; politics, pop culture, and basketball; sex, drugs, and mild, inoffensive, slow-tempo Christian rock.(2) It’s about the pitfalls of narrating your life as it unfolds, freaking out when an agent actually (spoiler alert!) takes an interest in this bizarre experiment, and the surreal shock you undergo when a publisher actually buys it(3) and you suddenly realize that every secret drunk, drug, and sex story you’ve related will now be required reading for your parents, aunts, ex-girlfriends, and thousands of strangers who—you were kind of hoping—would never find out that you once accidentally shut your penis in a dresser drawer.(4) And finally, but most importantly, it’s about those tumultuous early years of adulthood—the years when hope and fear and rage broil together and the promise of youth still holds the capacity to inspire awe. This is a story of those struggles—to find your true voice in your work and in your life. And the best part? You pretty much know it has a happy ending.(5) 1 What’s beside it on the shelf? Something with a sexy vampire? If you’re looking for sexy, I do full-frontal nudity in Chapter 11. 2 It is not really about that last one. 3 And then later makes you write your own back cover copy even though you clearly do not know what you’re doing. 4 Although I’ll dodge a bullet there because I totally left that story out of the book. 5 Except for what happens to the puppy at the fertilizer plant. I admit, that part is kind of a downer.

About the Author

Stephen Markley

Stephen Markley is one of the featured columnists for the Tribune Company's RedEye newspaper, which is targeted toward a twentysomething audience and is the largest weekday newspaper in Chicago. Markley graudated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Miami University in 2006. He lives in Chicago, IL.


Table of Contents

One: The Gist, 1
Two: Where to Begin, 11
Three: Chicago-Based Freelance Writer, 29
Four: The Parts of This Book that Belong in the Toilet, 51
Five: Nick Hornby Must Be in This Book, 69
Six: Forget This Book, 83
Seven: Autobiographical Digression #1: Leaving Behind the Skin from Your Knees, 99
Eight: How to Get Rejected, 119
Nine: And in the Meantime Life Goes On, 135
Ten: Chicago Cold, 155
Eleven: And the Good News?, 173
Twelve: The Call, 193
Thirteen: Autobiographical Digression #2: Confessions of a Campus Firebrand, 219
Fourteen: Whose Opinion Counts, 247
Fifteen: Please Don’t Fact-Check This Chapter, 269
Sixteen: Expansive, Self-Critical, Honest, Jumpy, Surprising, Self-Confident, Cynical, Smart, and Very, Very Funny, 299
Seventeen: Wrong-Headed, Condescending Toward the Reader, Self-Involved, and Unintentionally Revealing, 311
Eighteen: Never Start a Story with Dialogue, 327
Nineteen: The Chapter I Called “Wildheart,” 347
Twenty: The Footnotes, 373
Twenty-one: So You Know What Happens with This Book, 381
Twenty-two: Autobiographical Digression #3: Why We Write, 403
Twenty-three: This Book, Published, 435
Epilogue: The Wrap-Up, 451
Acknowledgments, 463
About the Author, 471


Excerpt from Chapter One: The Gist

I had two ways to start this book. In the first, I would tell a completely irrelevant and unnecessary anecdote that would nevertheless say somethi


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Publish This Book is funny and weird and clever and very entertaining.” - Boyfriend News & Reviews

“ I found the book interesting, i...

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Format: Paperback

Length: 8.5 in
Width: 5.5 in
Weight: 20.16 oz
Page Count: 480 pages


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