Publicity on deck and recent wins

This week especially has seen a lot of movement on the publicity front for my novel coming out next week. I booked my first two publication events at restaurants for early July, and I’m working on getting some events at bookstores for later in the summer.

My first of two author interviews got published:

https://www.inheritthenight.com/author-interviews/blog-marksalzwedel

I also received my first sort-of review in a quick roundup of summer reading from a gay newspaper in San Francisco:

https://ebar.com/arts_&culture/books/n//316380/summer_books_round-up,_part_2

And I got my first mention in a national publication, in Lambda Literary’s June “most anticipated” books:

https://lambdaliterary.org/2022/06/junes-most-anticipated-lgbtqia-literature/

Things are starting to happen. Don’t miss out on it. Order your copy today.

The marketing and publicity phase

With the release of my first novel only a little over 2 weeks away, I’ve been at the marketing and publicity for a couple of months now. My publisher is mostly doing the distribution, so most of that responsibility lies with me. I managed to make it in time for the June blog for Lambda Literary, a gay book review, but I was too late for Publishers Weekly and Locus, who require proofs months in advance.

I’ve got one interview publishing next week, and 2 or 3 reviews should be coming out soon too. I’ve scheduled my first two events, signings/readings in Brooklyn on July 9 and in the West Village on July 12. Let me know if you might attend either.

And I’ve started to put together a small East Coast tour, hitting Albany, Boston, and Washington DC. If you have any contacts in any of those places, please let me know.

THE LEVER, publishing June 21

So the novel I wrote for one gay publishing house got rejected when they realized I wasn’t kidding about the premise and plot. When the world’s standard of living rises to the point of decreasing the population, children and young people are rare. Almost no one has a sibling. And so one of the greatest employers of young people, the Army, might just be tempted to hack some youthful DNA and then abduct them to serve in a secret gender-exclusive unit on a space station. Especially if they thought Earth might be in the process of being invaded.

The first publisher didn’t like the idea that sexuality could be altered, so they passed on the book. I had an agent for two years who loved it but couldn’t sell it after that. Then I finally broke it off with the agent, participated in a Twitter pitch fest, and of all my novels, that’s the one that got a full manuscript request. The editor loved it and I had a contract two months later.

I should say that kizmet was really working in my favor, because the editor was likely desperate to find a manuscript like mine, because his imprint was new, and the publisher specializes in discovering new writers. Gay sci-fi is still a small market, but its fans are ardent.

THE LEVER, LGBTQ sci-fi at its best

The novel is also space opera, and for a lot of the fans of that subgenre, having a gay cast of characters and a gay plotline is more likely to be a feature than a drawback.

So the novel, THE LEVER, publishes in a month, and I’m working on getting reviews, interviews, and events lined up to promote it. If you have any suggestions of places looking for my kind of content, let me know. And if you’ve loved my writing in the past, you can always preorder my book and wow my publisher.

THE LEVER is getting published

So about two years ago, a gay publisher rejected a novel of mine they liked because only supporting characters were gay, not the main characters. I had just finished a short story that was begging to be a novel with an all-gay cast of characters, and I outlined the plot for the editor. I delivered exactly what I promised 5 months later, and they got cold feet, fearing the suggestion that we might be able to influence sexual orientation in the future through covert genetic manipulation would upset too many of their readers.

After two years with no sales, I finally ended my contract with my agent and participated in a Twitter pitch contest, #DVpit, which was for “different voices.” So being a member of a minority group, I qualified to participate, and I only got one manuscript request. It was not from an agent, but directly from a publisher I had seen from time to time but didn’t know well.

Mark cuts to the chase: The editor loved the full manuscript and offered me a contract. I have now done some minor rewrites that have been accepted, sent in my author bio, my author photo, and my back-cover blurb copy, and I’m awaiting some cover concepts to review.

Sorry I’ve been absent from posting here. I haven’t felt much like writing stories during the pandemic. I’m slowly allowing the creative part of my mind out to play again. I will post more updates on the novel’s publication as well.

The Serpentine Promenade

Most people know Riverside Park on the Hudson River in Manhattan.

Riverside Park, Manhattan, New York

But not many beyond us locals know about a spot where there used to be railroad tracks between the current Riverside Drive and Westside Highway. It’s one of my favorite park spaces in the Metro area, the Serpentine Promenade.

The two ends of the Serpentine Promenade

It runs along the eastern edge of the West Side Highway, but that only provides background white noise for the promenade over 100 feet above it. You can reach it from Riverside Drive almost anywhere from 79th to 95th Street, but it actually extends from 83rd to 91st Street, and the most scenic entrance from the riverside path is at 83rd Street, which after you go through a tunnel under the highway, gives you a choice of going right up the stairs to the southern end or left up the ramp to the middle.

The winding path toward the southern end of the promenade

One of the best features of the promenade is all of the flowers, carefully planted to have something in bloom throughout the entire spring and summer.

A fraction of the flowers currently in bloom

And at several points along the path, you can peek through the trees and see some of the widest parts of the Hudson River below.

The Hudson River and the Jersey shoreline

The promenade is fairly broad, long, and uncrowded, so it is really pleasant walking under a canopy of trees, passing by a dog run, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and Hippo Playground.

The southern end of the promenade

The promenade is also beautiful in the early evening, lit by a series of old-style lamplights.

A lamppost

There are lots of benches where you can relax in the shade on a hot day. It can be fun to stop at the dog run and watch the puppies romp. And it’s easy to get to from the 1, 2, and 3 trains.