Publish This Book (TP): The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold and Published This Very Book

( 9 )

Overview

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.1

Here's the problem, though: I can't even describe this book, and I wrote the damn thing.

Basically, it's like this: fed up with the Byzantine quest of trying to publish a novel, I decide instead to cut to the ...

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Publish This Book (TP): The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold and Published This Very Book

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Overview

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.1

Here's the problem, though: I can't even describe this book, and I wrote the damn thing.

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 it3 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 drawer4

And finally, but most importantly, it's about those tumultuous early years of adulthood—the years when hope and fear and rage boil 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 ending5

1What'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.

2It is not really about that last one.

3And then later makes you write your own back cover copy even though you clearly do not know what you're doing.

4Although I'll dodge a bullet there because I totally left that story out of the book.

5Except for what happens to the puppy at the fertilizer plant. I admit, that part is kind of a downer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
""[A] sprawling, self-referential account of [Markley's] efforts to sell a book about his efforts to sell the book he's writing at that very moment... compelling, emotionally resonant passages."" - Publishers Weekly

"Markley seems clever and funny, but it may be his "fire" that ultimately makes him worthwhile." - Literary Chicago

"I love Stephen Markely's writing. Smart, funny." - The Web Town Observer

"The very concept of the book to me is genius, and Stephen's exploration of the boundaries between life and work are riveting." - Blur of the Unsung

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

"So far, it's the most self-indulgent, self-absorbed, self-congratulatory memoir I've ever read... and I'm loving every minute of it." - Las Vegas Weekly, Clever Boy

"It is ambitious and entertaining. " - Blue Muse Views

"Markley's voice is honest, sarcastic, intelligent and dirty." - WarningLiterature, a readers corner

"I found the book interesting, irreverently funny and candid.
" - MelvilleHouseBooks

Literary Chicago
Markley seems clever and funny, but it may be his "fire" that ultimately makes him worthwhile.
— Alba Machado
The Web Town Observer
I love Stephen Markely's writing. Smart, funny.
— Terrence Mccarthy
Blur of the Unsung
The very concept of the book to me is genius, and Stephen's exploration of the boundaries between life and work are riveting.
— Meg Sung
Boyfriend News & Reviews
Publish This Book is funny and weird and clever and very entertaining.
— Meg Wood
Clever Boy Las Vegas Weekly
So far, it's the most self-indulgent, self-absorbed, self-congratulatory memoir I've ever read... and I'm loving every minute of it.
— Rick Lax
Blue Muse Views
It is ambitious and entertaining.
a readers corner WarningLiterature
Markley's voice is honest, sarcastic, intelligent and dirty.
MelvilleHouseBooks
I found the book interesting, irreverently funny and candid.
Samixsamx333's Journal
Especially hilarious memoir.
— Sami
The Littlest Soapbox
Had me in tears of laughter.
— Mike
British Bag Company
I found the book interesting, irreverently funny and candid.
Ezine Articles
I will say that Stephen Markley is a great writer.
— Del Boland
E. Christine
Markley has crafted a story that will have you laughing, crying, and laughing until you cry, from the "back cover copy" through the acknowledgments.
— E. Christine
Publishers Weekly
It doesn’t matter what problems you’ve got with Markley’s sprawling, self-referential account of his efforts to sell a book about his efforts to sell the book he’s writing at that very moment—he’s already anticipated your criticisms, from the imperfect echoes of writers like Dave Eggers and Chuck Klosterman to the preponderance of dick jokes and other forms of frat boy humor. “Of course, on a basic level, the book is a stupid idea,” he admits early on; later, he concedes, “I’ve just been winging it, and it shows.” He might have been better off cutting down some of the more self-indulgent sections, like a minihistory of his tenure as a “political sex columnist” for his college paper or an exploration of the fake memoir phenomenon featuring made-up conversations with Chicago drug dealers and underprivileged high school students. But there are compelling, emotionally resonant passages, too: a reflection on what it’s like to shake loose the influence of a literary mentor, for example, or a best friend’s realization of just how much an unplanned pregnancy has changed his life (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402229350
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2010
  • Pages: 469
  • Sales rank: 1,457,548
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

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.
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Read an Excerpt

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 something about what kind of book this would be.

Something like:

One day in college I was sitting in my room, when my roommate Scott burst out of the bathroom, half of his face still covered in shaving cream, and declared, as if he had just figured out time travel, "You know what they need to invent? A machine that lets you shave and take a shit at the same time." I stared at him for a moment, my mind racing as I envisioned all kinds of complicated gizmos (my composite notion included some type of suctioning tubing and a robotic razor arm), before

I realized that what he was describing could be "invented" quite easily by building a sink and mirror facing a toilet. Despite being two members of Miami University's elite honors department, this was the typical level of intellectual discourse in our apartment. Whenever I hear politicians say something trite about how our young people are the future, I think of Scott.

So that was one option. My second choice would be something stark, bold, and declarative like:

"My name is Stephen Markley, and I'm a writer."

Obviously, I had trouble deciding which way to go, so here we are nearly half a page later already feeling like this is the beginning of some epic disaster-the Iraq war of book openings.[1] Let me try one last time:

My name is Stephen Markley, and I call myself many things-son, brother, friend, Cavs fan, erudite,[2] liberal, incompetent,

Buckeye, OSU fan, emotionally distant, Blazers fan, sexually adequate well over 40 percent of the time-but first and foremost, I call myself a writer.

I guess that designation depends on how you define a "writer."

Hell, plenty of people write-maybe in a daily journal or a blog or perhaps they fiddle with poetry or simply jot down notes and amusing anecdotes. Basically everyone occasionally records something for posterity.[3]

Most people, however, do not consider a person who simply writes to be a "writer." No, I am a writer in the sense that I want someone to pay me for my unrelenting genius. I want some poor bastard to plop down between seven and fifteen dollars for my sentences because I've demonstrated the mesmerizing ability to match nouns with verbs and, occasionally, adjectives. If you're reading this, then that poor bastard is likely you, so I thank you for spending money on my humble insights, my analysis of the human condition.[4]

[1] Too soon? That was probably too soon.

[2] I didn't actually know what that word meant when I wrote it. Thank you,

Microsoft Word thesaurus tool...

[3] I don't want to get too philosophical here, but once you commit a thought to paper it takes on a separate life from the organism it was while living inside your head. While in your head, this thought is like a high school dropout taking bong rips in his parents' basement. Once committed to paper, however, this thought becomes a college graduate with a degree in marketing, a thought who has even begun to date a respectable girl. In other words, this thought now has a future.

[4] I apologize in advance for the profanity, violence, pornographic digressions, and for calling you a poor bastard just then. That was definitely out of line.

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Table of Contents

1 The Gist 1

2 Where to Begin 11

3 Chicago-Based Freelance Writer 29

4 The Parts of This Book that Belong in the Toilet 51

5 Nick Hornby Must Be in This Book 69

6 Forget This Book 83

7 Autobiographical Digression #1: Leaving Behind the Skin from Your Knees 99

8 How to Get Rejected 119

9 And in the Meantime Life Goes On 135

10 Chicago Cold 155

11 And the Good News? 173

12 The Call 193

13 Autobiographical Digression #2: Confessions of a Campus Firebrand 219

14 Whose Opinion Counts 247

15 Please Don't Fact-Check This Chapter 269

16 Expansive, Self-Critical, Honest, Jumpy, Surprising, Self-Confident, Cynical, Smart, and Very, Very Funny 299

17 Wrong-Headed, Condescending Toward the Reader, Self-Involved, and Unintentionally Revealing 311

18 Never Start a Story with Dialogue 327

19 The Chapter I Called “Wildheart,” 347

20 The Footnotes 373

21 So You Know What Happens with This Book 381

22 Autobiographical Digression #3: Why We Write 403

23 This Book, Published 435

Epilogue: The Wrap-Up 451

Acknowledgments 463

About the Author 471

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    A scam filled with childish crap and F bombs

    I thought this book would be more about publishing an actual book as I am assisting a TRUE writer and wanted more direction. Instead, this "book" turned out to be a messy collection of immature school and college stories of sex, drugs, drinking and nothingness. If you can get through all the F words filling every page, you only find political rants (don't read this if you are a conservative or Tea Party member because it will only tick you off)and inconsiderate blubbering.

    What a waste of money and a joke. (I'm so glad that I only checked it out from the library and did not buy it).

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Like one of the anonymous reviewers below, please do ignore La_T

    Like one of the anonymous reviewers below, please do ignore La_Tiger and his or her sadly obtuse review. This is book is wildly hilarious, intelligent and and in some places insightful. Markley is one of my new favorite authors and I will definitely be buying his other books is the very near future. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    Please read but please ignore La_Tiger's deliciously ignorant re

    Please read but please ignore La_Tiger's deliciously ignorant review. I secretly believe that the tiger is really Stephen Markley himself. :-)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2010

    So glad they did....

    This book made me socially awkward in a dozen different situations. I would literally burst out laughing, and everyone in the room would turn and look a me. But I didn't care, because I was only halfway done with the book. Buy this book. I promise you will not regret it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Funny, youthful memoir

    The concept of this book is interesting in itself, but the book goes much farther than just the process of publishing a book. Markley has a great sense of humor that is both youthful and random, and his style of writing had me laughing, as well as reading to find out what would happen next. I finished the book much faster than I expected to; it definitely garnered my attention. I was able to connect to the book and the humor, and enjoyed that I was reading a book written by someone close to my age, which isn't always the case. Overall, I found it to be a funny, youthful, memorable memoir.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Funniest book i ever read

    This book is freakin HILARIOUS! I laugh out loud constantly (so beware if you're in a quiet place--the folks at the DMV looked at me like I was crazy), and it's insightful, touching, silly, and damn fun. Hell, I was hooked after just reading the back of the book cover. I wanna hang out and have a beer with Stephen Markley...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2010

    For the love of God, buy this book.

    I literally could not put this book down. This book had me laughing out loud just about every chapter, to the point where I had to literally fight from keeping myself from calling friends to read certain passages aloud to them.

    This book is so much more than just being a book about publishing said book, it's a love story, a tale of growing into adulthood, and what it really is like to be a struggling writer.

    For the love of God, please buy this book so that he can write another one. You won't regret it.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    Read This Book!

    Stephen Markley puts it all out there in this hilarious and insightful memoir. If you are between the ages of 18 and 40 and have ever tried to define yourself in this world, you must read this book. Markley puts himself out there and shows that being an author is not always the way we imagine and life still plays its games with you even when you think you are on your way.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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