Thursday, February 17, 2005

Gerard rides again

If you haven't yet come across the amazing Gerard Jones then you really must be introduced. As a matter of fact, if you already have visited Gerard's site you should still go take another look, because he's done things to it.

A few years ago, Gerard set up a web site called Everyone Who's Anyone. To begin with, this featured publishers and agents to whom he had sent the ms of his book Ginny Good, a ms which, to a man, and woman, they firmly rejected. Gerard not unnaturally took a dim view of this (don't we all?) and he published their names and addresses, telephone numbers, and probably, in some cases, size of shoe. Some of these people had previously done their best to keep these contact details out of the public eye because they really didn't want to be bothered with people like you, me, and Gerard.

What was much more fun was that Gerard also printed the full text of the rejection letters that people sent him -- letters which, like many of those written in haste, often included some ill-advised statements that made the sender look foolish. So various rather pompous agents and editors (or possibly their 'interns') wrote in and asked Gerard not to publish their first letter; whereupon he published the second letter, and made them look even bigger prats than before.

In the course of time, however, I dare say a few lawyers' letters were sent, and Gerard's site gradually softened into a more orthodox list of about 2,500 agents, editors and publishers in the US, UK, and Canada; and, as such, it was undoubtedly useful to all sorts of people.

Now he has sent out a general email telling those of us who are listed, in one capacity or another, that he has already updated the site to include about 4,000 talent agents, independent movie producers and movie-studio executives. He has changed the site title to reflect this: it is now Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing and Tinseltown Too; it is up to its fourth edition.

In the course of time, Gerard Jones's book Ginny Good actually did find a publisher, albeit a new and small one: Monkfish books. What is more, the book has generated some genuinely warm and enthusiastic reviews.

Gerard spent something like eighteen years in writing and rewriting Ginny Good, and then sending it out. It is said that his rejection slips/letters total in the low thousands, and I can believe it because he has that sort of manic energy. Of course, it would be a mistake to assume, from this evidence, that if you just persevere long enough you are bound to get into print eventually; you might end up by getting nowhere. But by golly you have to admire someone who keeps at it that long.

In his latest email, Gerard kindly includes a copy of the letter that he has been sending to movie producers. This, as you would expect, is just as much fun as everything else. He is clearly a believer in the dictum that modesty is the enemy of talent. Ginny Good, he says, turned out to be 'the best book published anywhere in the world so far this century.' He is not, he says, 'gonna try to hype the book. You'll either read it and go gaga over it like anyone with any brains does and want to make a movie out of it or you won't.' It is also, he adds, 'one of the coolest, most significant, funniest, smartest, most honest, heartbreaking, edifying, illuminating books in all American literature going clear back to whenever whoever came over on the Mayflower landed wherever they landed.'

Gerard, I love you. Keep on doing it, man.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Grumps, I love me, too. Out of the 2,500 e-mails like the one I sent to you, guess how many responses I got? One. Some chick wanted me to change her title from "Editor" to "Senior Editor." Ah, humanity. I'm gonna be done with agents and editors today, then I'm gonna finish up with the 4,000 movie guys and "launch" the Fourth Edition in a few weeks. Of course I'll have to send all 6,500 agents, editors, publishers and movie guys another e-mail when I do in fact "launch" the sucker...along with a bunch of media geeks. They'll all like that, I'm sure. Thanks. G.