How to Get Published is a continuing feature at The Book Bin where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories. Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them? Did they start with an agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish? What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?
Today’s guest is Gregory Earls, author of the general fiction novel, Empire of Light (Simon and Fig).
My wife was born and raised in Milan, a city based in the north of Italy. The first Christmas we spent together here in the states, I wanted her to feel at home. So one night I took her to see a movie, Gomorrah, a critically acclaimed move that took place in Naples, which is based in the south of Italy. It was about half way through when I asked her if she was digging the film.
She replied, “Ma dai! I don’t understand what these people are saying. I’m going to sleep.”
What I didn’t understand at the time was that even though Italy shared a common language, Italian, the dialect and local colloquialisms between the north and south were just unusual enough to make the inhabitants of these two regions feel like they lived on different planets. My wife needed an interpreter.
After years of hustling in the film industry, and banging out scripts, the literary world seemed just as bizarre to me. For example, after years of being confined to one hundred and twenty pages, I couldn’t wrap my head around the freedom of writing a novel. What the hell was I going to do with sixty-five thousand words? You know those chickens who spent most of their lives trapped in cages, then suddenly an hour before their beheading, they’re released into the a fenced yard so they could be stamped “free range.” Envision a chicken’s brain trying to comprehend the idea of space.
That chicken was I.
Luckily, my good friend, Stacey became my interpreter in this new world. She was a published author who had volunteered to help me edit my manuscript, and then point me in the right direction when the time came to find an agent and, hopefully, get published. I had just begun sending out inquiries to publishers and agents, when Stacey was blessed with an epiphany, and decided to launch her own small press, Simon & Fig. She took a chance on my novel, Empire Of Light, and thank God she did because after a scant month of mailing inquiries and I was about two rejection letters away from stuffing my manuscript down some agent’s throat.
About a week before Stacey offered to publish my book, a major Hollywood agency showed mad interest in the book, a colleague informing me that I had made it pretty far up the pipe before they finally dropped it. Screw them. Simon & Fig had my back and I hope I can reward their faith by giving them an acclaimed book. Some black in their ledger would be nice, too.
So please hit up Amazon.com and support the cause, and enjoy the read!
When Gregory Earls isn’t eating at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, he pays the bills by taking up space at 20th Century Fox in the Feature Post Production Department. He’s a proud graduate of Norfolk State University and the American Film Institute, where he studied cinematography. He’s an award-winning director who has amassed a reel of short films, music videos, and (yes) a wedding video or two. Steadfastly butchering the Italian language since 2002, he hopes to someday master the language just enough to inform his in-laws how much he loves their daughter, Stefania, who was born and raised in Milan, Italy. Gregory currently resides in Venice, California where he goes giddy every time he spots that dude who roller skates and plays the electric guitar at the same time. During football season, he can be found at the Stovepiper Lounge, a Cleveland Browns bar in the Valley where he roots for the greatest football team in the history of Cleveland.
Visit his website at www.gregoryearls.com.