No slush pile, no agents calling me up, no advances, no time spent reading manuscripts because the books I publish have not yet been written.This is a very risky way to publish but it is also the most creative way.
New ideas and new authors
It is also a very exciting way to publish. Each and every book becomes, in a way, a shared project and I am aware of how all the decisions were made.
Occupy This Book
When I learned about all the books that Mickey Z. had published, I went to the bookstores and began looking at his body of work. Then I read his blogs and articles. Then I went to his talks and watched him as he shared vital information and created teaching forums, all with a great deal of laughter and good cheer. To me, this all indicated he and I could work on a book together.
Screw ups and Missed Opportunities
I messaged Mickey on Facebook a few times but he kept telling me had a dentist’s appointment and could not meet. I backed off because I knew my wife and I would be leaving town soon and badgering someone to write for the press didn’t work anyway.
When we returned from our summer tour, I began the same process again, reading what Mickey wrote, going to hear him talk and then making myself known.
Eventually we sat down to talk at a restaurant in Astoria. It was a beautiful fall day, the weather was warm and we had the first of our 5-hour lunches. Talking to Mickey helped me to understand what kind of book he and I could put together and he, as always, was full of creative suggestions and ways to make these ideas happen.
For example, he was worried about Occupy this Book being too text heavy. He thought it needed to be opened up, so he had me reach out to a cartoonist, Rick Cole, who had worked with him on another book and Rick agreed to do the ‘toons for Mickey’s book and to draw the cover image.
Structure, Form and Titles
Mickey is a fast worker. He always asks for a deadline and then he beats the deadline by days. But I also wanted someone to write a Foreword for his book and I had no ideas at the time who that could be. Mickey reached out to his good friend, Cindy Sheehan, and she gladly sent us a wonderful Foreword with a great tag line that we have used to promote the book: “It’s a pleasure to be in the struggle with Mickey Z.”
It was a pleasure to struggle with Mickey to figure out the best ways to organize the text, where to put Rick’s ‘toons and how to title the book.
Occupy this Book, when it was finished, was all that I had hoped Mickey would produce. He was at ease on the page, teaching and sharing experiences, creating a format that was almost like a self-help book but was so much more. Every page, he encouraged activism in ways that matched precisely the talks he gave and the blogs he wrote–aware of the importance of being an activist and at the same time, aware of the amount of self-criticism and self-care that are required to make this a life time’s work.
It is a pleasure to be Mickey Z.’s publisher.