If you don’t know how to write a great query letter, you’re going to have a very hard time getting your writing published by anyone except yourself. The Book Doctors, was a little fun flair and savoie fair, break it down with simple easy-to-understand instructions. Start #amquery-ing right! Get published now!
Category: sex Page 1 of 7
Racism, color, cultural appropriation? Just another day in the life of a stupid publisher
The Book Doctors explain in plain & simple language, just why publishers are so stupidly stupid.
The Book Doctors interview master writer, epic researcher, novelist, best selling author and world-class talker Mark Kurlansky, who reveals the secrets to happiness, longevity and how to write a smash bestseller about a fish, and a condiment you find on every table in the world.
The Book Doctors talk about how important it is to build a writing community, and how to build one. And they do it from the Kauai Writers Conference!
I was a preofessional white asshole on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Will Smith was awesome. Here’s the clip.
The Book Doctors interview amazing author Brad Parks. He has so many useful & fascinating things to say about how to become successfully published writer.
The Book Doctors break down exactly what you and make an awesome query letter, and how to customize your query for submission purposes only
A dad explains how to play it cool in front of your big crush
When David first met Tyler Knight, he was blown away by the combination of insight, intelligence, articulation, and smoldering black man porn star sexuality. They’ve been friends ever since. And now that his memoir is coming out, we thought we’d pick his brain on what’s harder, getting into porn or publishing.
The Book Doctors: Why in God’s name would you do something as crazy as writing a memoir?
Tyler Knight: I had no choice. There was a story in me and it was bursting to get out whether I wanted it to or not. The irony is when I was a kid with little life experience, I wanted to write but I had nothing to say. Later, as a middle-aged man, I didn’t want to commit to writing a memoir, but the story inside me had other ideas. I read Jerry Stahl’s Permanent Midnight, Dave Eggers’ A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius, and Mary Karr’s Liar’s Club. Those books showed me that to write a memoir that was worth reading required deep introspection… Picking at scabs and old scars, and then write the truth about myself no matter how ugly… And I wasn’t sure I’d the mettle to do that, let alone share it with the world. I knew it’d be a Sisyphean task of writing draft after draft of a manuscript for many years in a vacuum with no promise that the book would ever see the light of day. I expected my manuscript would be rejected by scores of literary agents. Maybe I’d find an agent crazy enough to schlep a literary memoir, from a pornographer no less, from publishing house to house until he found an editor who loved it. And that’s precisely what happened. But I also knew that I’d have no inner peace if I didn’t do it.
TBD: David’s family didn’t speak to him for about five years after his memoir, Chicken, came out. Has there been any fallout, blowback, or madness as a result of you writing about your life in public?
TK: Well, I haven’t spoken with my father or anyone on my father’s side of the family since the ‘90s anyway, so there was no effect there. My mother’s side of the family… I can’t be certain if they know what I do for a living or not. It’s odd and telling when at Thanksgiving, people at the table never ask me how work is going. Sometimes the absence of conversation says more than the words that are said…
TBD: We are big fans of Rare Bird; they put out great books. Tell us about your process of getting this book published.
TK: My agent, Peter McGuigan, who co-heads Foundry Literary, was extremely hands-on with the editing process. I’d send him drafts, and he’d ink them up and send them back. Peter was my de facto MFA professor. Once we got to a point where the work was salable, he stopped shaping it… He knew it was important that whichever editor acquired the manuscript felt that they had room to put their own stamp on it. The feedback from some of the big houses was a lot of, “Right, he is a talented writer, but we need to make it more commercial.” That would have been more than just putting a stamp on the work. Peter showed it to Tyson at Rare Bird. We met in his office for a half hour meeting that stretched into almost three hours. We talked what I was trying to say, and he had ideas on how to clarify my vision. He got me. We came from the same planet. Books can take years to come out, so the relationship between editor and author is like a marriage. Both parties have to decide that they can work together for years to bring the book into the world.
TBD: While you’re at it, tell us about some of the joys and difficulties of writing a book about yourself and your crazy life.
TK: I come from a school of literary minimalism called Dangerous Writing. Its most prominent practitioners would be Chuck Palahniuk and Amy Hempel. It’s called Dangerous Writing because it forces you to explore what scares you… What about yourself would be mortifying if anyone else knew about it… And you go deep into those crevasses and linger until the feelings are exhausted, then move onto the next. It asks nothing less than absolute commitment to honesty from the author. It’s the perfect cypher for a memoir. Exacting my pound of flesh was the most alive I’ve ever felt in my life.
I have no interest whatsoever in foisting upon the public some bullshit celebrity “I’m-just-like-you!” zeitgeist memoir that risks nothing, asks nothing of its readers, and leaves them just as clueless as to who the author is as a human fucking being when they started reading. I declare the airport memoir dead.
TBD: You have such an incredible way with words, you really make us feel like we’re right in the middle of your life, with all the sights, sounds, and yes, smells that accompany this life. How did you manage to do that?
TK: Thanks, David. That’s a technique of Dangerous Writing: Going to the Body. You sprinkle details about sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch all through the story that, by themselves may not seem like much, but the cumulative impact by the end of the story is nothing less than visceral. My Bukkake story was the first time after many attempts where I finally got it right.
TBD: David gets writing from all over the world that revolves around sex. Most of it is really bad. What approach did you take to writing about sex?
TK: Yeah, most sex writing sucks because their authors love their metaphors and adverbs, and fail to grasp the concept of less is more. My approach was to show, don’t tell. Again, that’s both Going to the Body, and another technique called Recording Angel… You show the reader details without judgement (no labeling anything as good, bad, sexy, whatever), and let her unpack the details and reassemble them in her mind as she reads. Trust the reader to come to her own conclusion… To take ownership in the creation of the scene and story as she reads it. Far more powerful that way.
TBD: What made you decide to use a quote from Moby Dick in a book about your life as a porn stud?
TK: Moby Dick is my favorite novel, and the Knights and Squires section spoke to me… The conflict of good and evil wrestling for possession of a working man’s soul… Dignity in whatever your station in life may be… Faith and moral courage…
TBD: Which was harder, breaking into the adult film industry, or the publishing industry?
TK: Publishing, by far, is more difficult. So, you’re a good writer. Who cares? You still must do the work. Even then, your work may be rejected based on your query letter (basically a sales letter to agents about your book which doesn’t contain a single sentence of your actual book) by a 22-year-old intern who screened and deleted it before anyone in the position to say “yes” to you ever reads it. It happened to me. It happens to everyone. At least with porn, if you are not hideous and you can do the job, they’ll find a place for you. Don’t get me wrong, porn is by no means easy to get into, and it’s far from a meritocracy, but you will get judged on your ability to perform from the get go, sink or swim, rather than a being judged on some letter you wrote describing how good you’d be if you just had a chance.
TBD: What, if any, are your plans for writing?
TK: This is it. Burn My Shadow isn’t a vanity project for me. I’ve pushed my chips all-in with writing books… I can’t imagine a life without writing. I have a novel in its third draft which has nothing to do with pornography.
TBD: We hate to ask you this, but what advice do you have for writers?
TK: Lookit, I broke every rule and piece of advice that writers should follow, from not sticking to a disciplined writing schedule, to writing a memoir entirely in first-person, present tense. The world already has every example of how a book should be written. What the world doesn’t have is your take on things. Tell your story however you damn well please. The more specific it is to you and your truths, the broader its appeal to the world. Just write, man.
Tyler Knight, author of Burn My Shadow: A Selective Memory of an X-Rated Life, is an adult film star who has starred in over 500 films. In 2009 he won the Good For Her Feminist Porn Award, as Heartthrob of the Year, and was a Playgirl Spokesmodel. In 2010 he was nominated for the Urban X Award for Performer of the Year. He has also been nominated for eighteen AVN awards and has won three. Tyler lives in Los Angeles.
Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company that has helped countless authors get their books published. They are co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2015). They are also book editors, and between them they have authored 25 books, and appeared on National Public Radio, the London Times, and the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE MORE INTERVIEWS AND TIPS ON HOW TO GET PUBLISHED.
When donkeys attack!!!
My dad describes, as only a tightly wound Englishman can, how to have sex.
My daughter is a slacker. She lays around doing nothing while I work my ass off, so she can have cable, pink Uggs & American Girl dolls. I’m sick and tired of it, so I decided to lay down the law and teach her a lesson about hard work, sweat & sacrifice. Everything that makes America great!
Being young is the coolest thing there is. First installment from show about what today’s youth is thinking about.
“I picked up CHICKEN on a Sunday morning. The plan was to browse and come back later if it was interesting. I was still reading at lunch. I was done by dinner. Sterry’s prose has a hypnotic, jazzy spontaneity. He makes everything feel immediate, writing disturbing episodes with lots of honesty and no sentimentality. His ear for vernacular and impish sense of humor keeps the story rollicking along. Pick it up—but don’t peek until you’ve got a clear schedule.” – David Busis
“I walk all the way up Hollywood Boulevard to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre: past tourists snapping shots; wannabe starlets sparkling by in miniskirts with head shots in their hands and moondust in their eyes; rowdy cowboys drinking with drunken Indians; black businessmen bustling by briskly in crisp suits; ladies who do not lunch with nylons rolled up below the knee pushing shopping carts full of everything they own; Mustangs rubbing up against muscular Mercedes and Hell’s Angels hogs. It’s a sick twisted Wonderland, and I’m Alice.”
This is the chronicle of a young man walking the razor-sharp line between painful innocence and the allure of the abyss. David Sterry was a wide-eyed son of 1970s suburbia, but within a week of enrolling at Immaculate Heart College, he was lured into the dark underbelly of the Hollywood flesh trade. Chicken has become a coming-of-age classic, and has been translated into ten languages. This ten-year anniversary edition has shocking new material.
“Sterry writes with comic brio … [he] honed a vibrant outrageous writing style and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“This is a stunning book. Sterry’s prose fizzes like a firework. Every page crackles… A very easy, exciting book to read – as laconic as Dashiell Hammett, as viscerally hallucinogenic as Hunter S Thompson. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing all within a single wrapper. What more could you possibly ask for? -Maurince Newman, Irish Times
“A beautiful book… a real work of literature.” – Vanessa Feltz, BBC
“Insightful and funny… captures Hollywood beautifully” – Larry Mantle, Air Talk, NPR
“Jawdropping… A carefully crafted piece of work…” -Benedicte Page, Book News, UK
“A 1-night read. Should be mandatory reading for parents and kids.” -Bert Lee, Talk of the Town
“Alternately sexy and terrifying, hysterical and weird, David Henry Sterry’s Chicken is a hot walk on the wild side of Hollywood’s fleshy underbelly. With lush prose and a flawless ear for the rhythms of the street, Sterry lays out a life lived on the edge in a coming-of-age classic that’s colorful, riveting, and strangely beautiful. David Henry Sterry is the real thing.” –Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
“Compulsively readable, visceral, and very funny. The author, a winningly honest companion, has taken us right into his head, moment-by-moment: rarely has the mentality of sex been so scrupulously observed and reproduced on paper. Granted, he had some amazingly bizarre experiences to draw upon; but as V. S. Pritchett observed, in memoirs you get no pints for living, the art is all that counts-and David Henry Sterry clearly possesses the storyteller’s art.” – Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body – Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body
“Like an X-rated Boogie Nights narrated by a teenage Alice in Wonderland. Sterry’s anecdotes… expose Hollywood at its seamiest, a desperate city of smut and glitz. I read the book from cover to cover in one night, finally arriving at the black and white photo of the softly smiling former chicken turned memoirist.” -Places Magazine
“Snappy and acutely observational writing… It’s a book filled with wit, some moments of slapstick, and of some severe poignancy… a flair for descriptive language… The human ability to be kind ultimately reveals itself, in a book which is dark, yet always upbeat and irreverent. A really good, and enlightening, read.” – Ian Beetlestone, Leeds Guide
“Brutally illuminating and remarkably compassionate… a walk on the wild side which is alternatively exhilirating and horrifying, outrageous and tragic… Essential reading.” – Big Issue
“Visceral, frank and compulsive reading.’ –City Life, Manchester
“Sparkling prose… a triumph of the will.” -Buzz Magazine
“Pick of the Week.” -Independent
“Impossible to put down, even, no, especially when, the sky is falling…Vulnerable, tough, innocent and wise… A fast-paced jazzy writing style… a great read.” -Hallmemoirs
“Full of truth, horror, and riotous humor.” -The Latest Books
“His memoir is a super-readable roller coaster — the story of a young man who sees more of the sexual world in one year than most people ever do.” – Dr. Carol Queen, Spectator Magazine
“Terrifically readable… Sterry’s an adventurer who happens to feel and think deeply. He’s written a thoroughly absorbing story sensitively and with great compassion… A page-turner… This is a strange story told easily and well.” – Eileen Berdon, Erotica.com
“Love to see this book turned into a movie, Julianne Moore might like to play Sterry’s mum…” – by Iain Sharp The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland, New Zealand).
My mini-documentary of my childhood hero, a great American legend who was a combination Mark Twain/Richard Prior & Michael Jordan: Leroy Satchel Paige, born July 7, 1901, then again in 1903, 1904, and finally in 1909.
When I was seven I fell under the spell of Leroy Satchel Paige. I don’t remember who he was playing for, or who he was pitching against, I only remember Satchel – ridiculously old, impossibly leanlanky, and sooooooo slooooooow as he jangles in from the bullpen with the bases loaded and two out.
As the crowd whips itself into a frothy frenzy, I’m hypnotized by this magical man, this cross between Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle. Those long, loping, can’t start the game without me strides are comical, but they’re also majestic: King and Jester, Warrior and Clown, an ageless wonder of the world.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
Well, by the time the Ol’ Satch actually reaches the mound and warms up, the whole stadium erupting all around him, the poor dumbfounded flummox of batter looks like a balloon with the air all leaked out of it.
Sure enough, Satch goes into his syncopated, whirly bird, interpretive dance, scatty jazzy be-bop of a wind-up, swinging out that long lean leg and easy as you please, his arm whipshotting a teeny tiny pea homeward, the whippersnapper batter freezes like a duck on a winter pond.
“STEEEEEE-RIKE!!!” screams the ump, as strike one caresses the paint on the outside of home plate lightly like a long lost lover.
Let the ball flow our of your hand like water.
“WAAAAAAAAHHHH!” the crowd wails.
“STEEEEEE-RIKE!!!” screams the ump as strike two strokes the inside of home.
“OHHHHHHHHHHHH!” goes the crowd.
Just take the ball and throw it, home plate don’t move.
Same wind-up, same whipshotting right arm, only this time the ball floats slow, slower, slowest, the snailiest change of pace I’ve ever seen: Uncle Tommy.
Uncle Tommy’s slow, but he gets there.
The hapless whippersnapper waves feeble before the ball even gets there, his Louisville Slugger transformed into an overcooked 33 ounce piece of linguini.
“WOO-HOOOOOO!” the crowd screams in full-throated roar, raining down thunderbolts of joy on Ol’ Satch as he saunters off with a doff of his cap.
We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing.
Black and white, sons of Klansmen, and ancestors of slaves, all raised their voices as one with me, and I understood in a way I could not express at the time that Satchel had made us all color blind. And happy. From that minute on, he was my hero.
As I got older I discovered Satchel’s humor.
Age is a question of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
And his brilliance: Nolan Ryan holds the record for no-hitters with an extraordinary 7. Satch threw 55. Cy Young: 511 wins, Satchel, 1,934. Shut out the Red Sox for three innings. When he was 60. Or somewhere thereabouts. I memorized Satch’s 6 rules for staying young.
Avoid eating fried meats, they angry up the blood.
If your stomach disputes you, pacify it with cool thoughts.
Keep the juices flowing by jangling gently as you move.
Go very light on the vices such as carrying on in society, the social ramble ain’t restful.
Avoid the running at all times.
And of course, don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.
Baseball has turned me from a 2nd class citizen into a 2nd class immortal.
When I got to college and studied Socrates, I laughed when I read in his writing: “The wise man knows he knows nothing”, because it sounded exactly like Satch’s,
I don’t know anything.
And as I got older, I understood his humanity.
I is with you.
When I found out he was the highest paid athlete in America in 1945, I started to think about what it must have been like to be the Tiger Woods of your day, but not get to compete in any PGA events because you’re black. To have to watch from the sidelines as the best white players get riches and glory, while you’re denied your rightful place on the center stage of America. But they didn’t have Air Satchels back then. The NO COLORED ALLOWED sign was still hanging over the door.
I marvel at this man I idolized as a boy, and how he triumphed with such grace, humor, and dignity over decades of bigotry and intolerance.
Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common.
But nothing will ever match that tingly feeling of the six year-old boy moonstruck by that great artist of the diamond.
Satchel, I is with you.
T’ree Joizy Goils tawk about how dey gotta dumb dawtah, a dead dawg, & no cawfee