Publish This Book (TP): The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold and Published This Very Book by Stephen Markley, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Publish This Book (TP): The Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold and Published This Very Book
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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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by Stephen Markley
     
 

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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

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.

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

" I found the book interesting, irreverently funny and candid." - British Bag Company

"I will say that Stephen Markley is a great writer. " - Ezine Articles

"Especially hilarious memoir." - Samixsamx333's Journal

"Had me in tears of laughter." - The Littlest Soapbox

"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

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.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402229350
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Pages:
469
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)

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.

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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