Sunday, February 06, 2005

How to get published (sort of)

I suspect there are many physicians and other health care workers who have dreams of getting a (non-medical) book published some day. (Isn't that why we're blogging?) There have been many famous physician-authors throughout the years: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, William Carlos Williams. More recently there have been Stephen Bergman (AKA Samuel Shem), Michael Crichton, Robin Cook and Perri Klass.

Most budding authors have to edit and re-edit, check for spelling and grammatical errors, think of interesting characters and plots. And after all that hard work, submit manuscript after manuscript, and deal with the inevitable ego-crushing rejection letters. But for those looking to avoid all that pain and misery, you might want to consider PublishAmerica. Their publishing standards are sure to be way below yours.

Take the case of author, "Travis Tea" (say the name out loud):
Travis Tea is a pseudonym for a group of (mostly) science fiction and fantasy authors who were amused by PublishAmerica's claim (at their site) that SF & F authors are "writers who erroneously believe that SciFi, because it is set in a distant future, does not require believable storylines, or that Fantasy, because it is set in conditions that have never existed, does not need believable every-day characters."

So about thirty writers banged out a novel over a long weekend, writing it as ineptly as they could. Plot, characterization, theme ... none of them are to be found in ATLANTA NIGHTS. Grammar and spelling take a drubbing. The book was submitted to PublishAmerica -- and it was accepted.

"Each day, an average 78 new authors who are looking to find a book publishing company ask us to publish their book," PublishAmerica says. "We review not only the quality but also the genre of their work.... Like all serious book publishing companies we have to be picky as we can only accept the works that meet our requirements in both areas."

Now you can see for yourself exactly how "picky" about quality they are.

Prepare to be amazed.

Judge for yourself. Here is an excerpt from the opening chapter of ATLANTA NIGHTS. And for even more relevence to a medical blog, it's even got a doctor in it (or is he a REAL doctor? Hmmm...):
Whispering voices.
Pain. Pain. Pain.
Need pee - new pain - what are they sticking in me? . . .
Whispering voices.
"As you know, Nurse Eastman, the government spooks controlling this hospital will not permit me to give this patient the care I think he needs."
"Yes, doctor." The voice was breathy, sweet, so sweet and sexy.
"We will therefore just monitor his sign's. Serious trauma like this patient suffered requires extra care, but the rich patsies controlling the hospital will make certain I cannot try any of my new treatments on him."
"Yes, doctor." That voice was soooo sexy!
Bruce didn't care about treatments. He cared about pain, and he cared about that voice, because when he heard the voice, the pain went away, just for a few seconds, like.

One would have thought that the publisher would have noticed that Chapter 34 is especially remarkable, considering it was all computer-generated. Proteges of Edward Bulwer-Lytton have nothing to fear from artificial intelligence for now:
Bruce walked around any more. Some people might ought to her practiced eye, at her. I am so silky and braid shoulders. At sixty-six, men with a few feet away form their languid gazes.
I know I was hungry, and impelling him lying naked. She slowly made for a man could join you I know what I ought to take you probably should have. He wants it worriedly. About think what to wear?
Then they reached under her time and got out and did your find my real mother’s name, his fancy, rented by a passing delivery truck. Well, Maggie Ooh, Andrew, you but I know my leftover cake!
Girls are here at one of a pool and the pool cleaner maneuvering his surprise that. He smiled certain her way down cruel and flashed him.
Mmm-hmm. Come and get this big Afros and indescribably tender. His hands moved surely. Recover for a mess. She'd have noticed if it had so impetuously across the pelting Georgia Girl Grill.
Isaacs’s brick-red complexions until morning. Maybe some kippers and say -- to this inspiring exchange.
The truth about Margaret, he thought and there he was making any ladies happy until he came away. Down international airports for them. He wasn't the sidewalk behind them. It would do it.

But before you start sending your 353 page manuscript to PublishAmerica, you might want to check out this article which talks about some people who didn't have such a good experience with PublishAmerica.

As for my own Great American Novel, do you think it might help if I actually wrote something first? Yeah, I was afraid of that.