Below is the spiel I read at my book party:
There are present in this room former bosses, current co-workers, radical queer peeps, folks from the NYC arts/literary community (and lots from my specific Brooklyn-queer-arts community), a few of my fabulous blurbers, people from my therapeutic community/mental health support team, my sister from Madison, WI, my girlfriend, and everyone else — all who’ve turned out for this great celebration of the “official” publication of my book — and my 49th birthday! FYI, It’s also World Suicide Prevention Day, which I am very happy to be alive to mention.
Now for the thank yous: First and foremost my undying gratitude to my Publisher: Creative Evolution Press, especially: Michelle Colletti and Mary Ann Curto.
A huge thanks to Creative Evolution’s Main Funder: the Open Meadows Foundation and in particular board member Christina Foti. Without the generous grant from Open Meadows this project would have been next to impossible to complete. Also, I want to acknowledge anonymous individual donors along with our very kind and supportive vendors who donated time, services or gave us drastically reduced rates just because they wanted to be a part of this amazing project:
Julianne Chatelain, editor
Elizabeth Whitney, copyeditor
Meghan Donohue, photographer
Red Durkin, web designer
Kenny Funk of Coffee Cup Design Studio, book designer and layout
Monica Bryne & Leisah Swenson, Roquette Catering for the wonderful food tonight
AND—Linda Stein for this wonderful venue, the Art Club Tribeca
And now for the speech (just a short one!) To echo Michelle’s statement, my experience with traditional agents and publishers was that they wanted to whitewash my story, erase my natural voice, which has so many times been called authentic, along with the edginess and rawness of my story, which is the real deal. It’s my story, and the story big publishing houses wanted me to tell was someone else’s story.
Creative Evolution and other publishers such as Topside Press, (whose founder is here) are a much-needed answer to those who would silence unique and honest voices and leave our stories unpublished by shutting us out of the traditional publishing game.
Finding one’s voice as a writer is often difficult; finding a publisher who will then go the further step and publish what one has written when it is edgy, quirky, not formulaic, when you’re not a celebrity, etc, is almost impossible in today’s profit-driven industry-slash-world that doesn’t much care about good writing or good stories, only good money.
Here is a nice slide show of the party my publisher has on their site: