This Writing is Making Me Thirsty

They delivered a mysterious box to the room today. Unmarked, just addressed to me.

Naturally, I stared at it suspiciously for some time before opening it–my publisher can be a cruel, inhuman organization, and there’s been an awful lot of mind games so far. The liquor bottles emptied and refilled with tea, the phone calls in the middle of the night, the deliveries from restaurants with nothing inside the foam boxes. They are trying to break me down, but I am strong. Or at least frequently drunk, which is just as good.

Of course I opened the box; I am far too weak to resist things like opening mysterious boxes. And you know what? Inside were Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of The Electric Church. Whoo hoo! They are like real books except uncorrected and unpolished. Like most of my writing, so who’s complaining?

I’ve never gotten ARCs before. My previous published book, Lifers, was published by a company so small they actually sent me a bunch of sales receipts so I could peddle the book myself when I went out to readings and such. I did get a bunch of copies for myself, of course, but nothing advanced, you know? Actually, I still have about 200 copies of Lifers in my mother’s basement. Poor Mom. Poor me. Literally–anyone want to buy a copy, cheap? I’ll sign it. Suggestively, for a little extra.

But I digress: These are my first ARCs, and it’s pretty amazing to think that this is what the actual book will look like. It’s heavier than I expected, it’s got a heft to it. I like that. I hate to admit that my own book buying often includes the tactile sensation of the book–if the cover feels rough, if the paper is brittle, if it doesn’t have a good heft to it, I am mysteriously turned off. I know that’s not supposed to be why we buy books, but it’s part of it, at least for me.

Believe it or not, folks, soon you will have to contend with my book. In actual book form. In actual stores.

In the mean time, I have so many writing projects I’m going mad. Most aren’t even paying me, which is really sad, and between the day job–which is paying me–and the zine (100,000 words a year) and the short stories (one a month come hell or high water) and the web columns on (precious few these days) and the columns in Xerography Debt and Brutarian and the sequel to The Electric Church and this damned blog, I’m spread kind of thin. I know writers who only work on one project at a time, and who sometimes take years to finish a single short story. I’ll never understand. There’s always time for revision (though with my drinking habits and tendency to step into moving traffic, maybe not) and I’d rather spend my time having fun and writing.

Oh well. In the mean time, I have to devise a way to escape from this hotel room using only the newly delivered books, the bedding, and the small number of roach traps I found under the bed. Wish me luck.


  1. Caren

    Yay! More of the glory of being published – ARC’s!

    By the way, I saw you and the Dutchess in the distance at the art and music fair…I think she was carrying you.

  2. jsomers (Post author)

    Hey! Yeah, the ARCs rock. I’m going to build a small coffee table out of them.

    Danette did carry me for a bit after my third Gyro. We looked for you at the HR table, but you weren’t there. What a great day, though–it was a lot of fun. I was stunned by how quickly they cleaned up afterwards.

  3. jason deas

    Tell your mom to dig me out a copy of Lifers. I would love a signed copy. I read the prologue this morning and was going to try and find it this afternoon at a bookstore – I want it now, but I can wait – I guess and read some of your short stories in the meantime. Your prologue reminded me of Charles Bukowski. Kind of stuff you read with your feet propped on your cooler, chain smoking.
    Let me know how I can send you some money – or if you are too busy, I will try the bookstores.

    Disclaimer: I was trying to find one of Janet Reid’s clients so I could say I read their stuff and suck up to her in my query letter. I am actually looking forward to my suck up plan now – Thanks – jason

  4. jsomers (Post author)

    Hey Jason,

    Hell, you can find it for a penny on Amazon, and I’d be delighted even if you went that route. But if you’re feeling generous, you can send me five bucks for postage (Jeff Somers, PO Box 3024, Hoboken, NJ 07030) and I’ll mail you a signed copy with a custom bookmark. Cool beans!

  5. Brooklyn Frank

    You’ve always been prolific, dude. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  6. Sean Ferrell

    Mr. Somers,
    This morning on the train I saw a woman, let’s call her “The Woman Reading Jeff Somers’ Book,” reading your book. I saw the cover (what a cover!) and your name (what a name) and realized that I knew it from somewhere. Turns out that we have an agent in common. As a fellow Jetreider, congratulations! I look forward to your book.

  7. jsomers (Post author)

    Hey Sean–thanks! We need a secret handshake. We should pool some monies, rent out a luxurious club room somewhere with cigars and sumptuous leather chairs, and begin the JetReid Club, members only. And finally we will be the cool kids.

  8. Sean Ferrell

    Re: the ecretsay andshakehay…

    (This is a whispering voice: Look for the signs for “jet” and “read”. I think they look good together, and will let us know when we approach that the other isn’t a threat. Also, knowing those signs will allow us to say “jet” and “read” to deaf people.)


  9. Scott

    Over from Sean’s blog. Great news on the book. I am writing a novel and go to a biweekly meeting with a published author (David Daniel) who brought in a handful of his ARCS. It was exciting for some strange reason. It one were mine…

    The book sounds like it’s right up my alley. Congrats.

  10. jsomers (Post author)


    I was hoping for something involving liquor, actually, for our secret handshake. We can work on it. Maybe some West Side Story-style dancing?

  11. jsomers (Post author)


    Thanks! Curious about your “biweekly meeting”–is it to discuss your writing or the writing biz?

    ARCs are strangely exciting, ain’t they. Can’t explain it either. I think it’s because it means the publisher has actually spent money on you and now *must* pub the book just to recoup investment.

  12. Sean Ferrell

    I’m all for the liquor handshake, and the West Side Story-style dancing. It’s funny you mention that because that’s how I walk into the office every morning (hunched low, snapping fingers, telling everyone to just “be cooool, boooy;” the security guards really love it).

  13. Scott

    It started as a class at UMass Lowell, Writing Popular Fiction. David Daniel is a mystery writer and has published in the neighborhood of 8 novels. The class was a mix, but only had a few serious writers. Me and one other managed to talk him into meeting us in private to monitor our works in progress, for a nominal fee. We meet at a coffee shop and read excerpts of what we are working on, and he gives us critical feedback, and makes suggestions, etc. I’m working on a novel that seems to have legs.

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