Writers Should Stay Home

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Once, yes, I did give in. I went on the Today Show and was interviewed by Matt Lauer. That’s when Indecent Proposal first came out. First my novel, then the Paramount movie.  When I watched the replay I kept referring to myself as “That guy.” As in, “Who is that guy and what is he talking about?” I wondered why “he” had no eyebrows. Was it the lighting? I came in with eyebrows!

 

Why is “he” not more glib? He is awfully glib at home. Where is the wit? Where is the wisdom? Where is the charm? I had it when I left the house.

 

My agent at the time and all the rest them said I did “beautifully.” What they meant was – I did not make a COMPLETE fool of myself and that makes it “beautiful.”

 

I mean it – writers should stay home. We have no business going out there to market. That’s why God invented salesmen. That’s why we write. So we won’t have to sell. It’s called – or used to be called – the gift of gab. We should have it for the typewriter, but not for the camera or the microphone. Most of us – novelists – are grumpy and moody and that’s no way to make a sale.

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JACK ENGELHARD’S “SLOT ATTENDANT”

By John W. Cassell

My copy of Jack Engelhard’s SLOT ATTENDANT came this afternoon.  As I was reading another truly engrossing novel at the time and NEVER read more than one book at a time, I set myself the modest goal of reading chapter one today, then finishing the other book tomorrow, thereafter reading this long-eagerly anticipated story solely until completion.

You know what happens to the “best laid plans….”  Likely you do in Gaelic as well as English.

What happens is, here it is almost 2AM and I just finished SLOT ATTENDANT.  I could NOT put it down.  I could not stop until I knew as much as the author cared to tell me about every absorbing subplot, as well as learning heaps about both casinos, in which I have a certain rooting interest, and the world of writing and publishing…a world so important to me and many people I deeply care about…. not until I learned the outcome of protagonist Jay Leonard’s desperate battle to regain both confidence in and respect for himself.

Having lost both myself once upon a time, I found myself quickly empathizing with his brilliantly orchestrated struggle.  I FELT for this man…Jack Engelhard is that kind of writer…superlatively combining personal experience, the experience of others, and a truly vivid, thoroughly grounded imagination to paint this compelling portrait.

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The Art of Pushing Books

By Jack Engelhard

 

The trick is to get yourself a good publicist, a publicist, as I was once told, who would kill for you. Well, that’s going too far, don’t you think? I haven’t had a publicist since that one time back then. After that it’s been me and you and where are you? I must learn the art of persuasion, public relations, backslapping. I should go to the right parties. I should do lunch at Elaine’s. I should get out more. Must get on TV. Better yet, get my own show.

 

My guess is that I’ll become rich and famous after I die. That’s how it usually happens. Success (for artists) usually happens after it too late.

 

I have no idea why I’m complaining. Most people have it worse. My gripe, I guess, is why we need all that marketing and the trickery that goes with it and why it is that TV personalities have all the apparatus and all the luck – when real writers  are stuck at our computers without a paddle.

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Salinger Alleges Indecent Rip-Off

  Indecent Proposal 

 

By Jack Engelhard

Someone has come along with a “sequel” to JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.” Salinger is suing to stop publication and distribution. He calls it a “rip-off.” Don’t look at me to get into the legalities. But I do know how it feels.

I wrote nothing as popular as “The Catcher in the Rye” but popular enough to be translated into more than 22 languages and to be made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore – “Indecent Proposal.” (The movie’s box office was about $260 million worldwide.) The novel’s concept (“what would you do for a million dollars?”) was mine and the title was mine. This was original and it was my baby.

My novel sold about 4 million copies worldwide and still sells (through Comteq Publishing) even after the movie has run dry.

Salinger’s novel is still going strong after sales of 70 million.

Around the house, following the publication of “Indecent Proposal,” we used to say, “No matter what happens, they can’t take that away from you.”

Really?

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Stereotyping Oursevles

By Jack Engelhard

The New York Times reminds us that Philip Roth is into his 50th year as a writer. His first book was “Goodbye, Columbus.”

Roth is an Establishment figure, a media darling. Our culture honors Jewish writers – and Jewish artists in general – who are not happy being Jewish. This theme runs through most of Roth’s works. This is a man running from his faith; uncomfortable in his skin. For that, he is celebrated.

The Jews in Roth’s novels are usually whining and groaning – objects of ridicule from clothing to behavior. There is no love of Jewish roots, no love of Torah. If Torah is mentioned, it’s done so in derision. Always there are complaints about being Jewish. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – That’s not writing. That’s kvetching.

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Sneak Peek This Novel!

 By Jack Engelhard

   The Girls of Cincinnati Sometimes it pays to get out of bed in the morning. THIS morning, there it was, Amazon’s “Look Inside This Book” feature for “The Girls of Cincinnati.” The book was published not even a month ago by Amazon (through its createspace subsidiary) but it takes some time to get that sneak-peek feature up and running, but here it was and here it is, something of a thrill for a writer and maybe (hopefully) for a reader.

I don’t mean to do any sucking-up, but I do so appreciate this quick, professional work. Where – reading and writing fans – would we be without Amazon?

Amazon came along just when writing and reading were dying. Book stores were closing and writers who were not Dan Brown had no shot.

Oh – yes, some call it Print on Demand. I don’t. I call it Bypass Literature. This lets writers bypass the snobs who pay Hillary Clinton Eight Million Dollars for a “book” of nonsense. Some bad books get published POD but here’s a secret – plenty bad books get published by so-called conventional publishers. Plenty good books get self-published, beginning with Walt Whitman.

The most famous small book of all time – Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” – was first self-published by William Strunk, Jr.

We will never know how many great books never got published due to the clubby, chummy, clueless world of (conventional) editors and publishers.

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We’ll Always Have Typos

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Don’t know about you but as for me, I always catch my typos when it’s too late, like when I’ve already sent something out, or even after I’ve had it published — all that even after I’ve done the re-writing and re-reading a hundred times. I don’t let anything go until it’s perfect. But it’s never perfect!

 

Typos happen, usually overnight when you’re not watching.   

 

Though it’s already available on Kindle, I’m having a new novel published in paperback (“The Girls of Cincinnati,”) and in fact it already IS published though it won’t be up on Amazon until a couple of weeks. Before I gave it the okay, I had the proof copy for proofreading and found no mistakes, which makes my point, once again, that I’m a lousy proofreader – as are most novelists.

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Writer Burns Her Own Book

[Intro from Jack Engelhard: We’ve all endured this frustration about a book we’re trying to write – but it just refuses to happen.  I met Orit online. I ran into one of her pieces at israelinsider.com and was taken by her brutal honesty and her cool style with words. I’ve been a fan ever since. She is also a knockout in the looks department and I promised to cast her when The Bathsheba Deadline goes Hollywood, a promise I intend to keep. But enough from me. Here’s Orit.]

I Burned my Own Book

By Orit Arfa

Beware any society that burns books–it is one that leads to a dictatorship. To name a few: China’s Qin Dynasty, Nazi Germany, Ray Bradbury’s fictional America in his novel Farenheit 451.

So what does that say about me? I just burned a book—my own. Have I become a one woman dictatorship?

Actually, I felt like I had to burn my book so that I stop becoming a dictator—over myself.

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Computers

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Well, it finally happened. My computer crashed. All my works in progress – gone! Fortunately, most of my novels are already published and listed on Amazon and elsewhere, so that’s good, and as for my journalism, well, that’s also preserved here and all over the Web.

 

I’ll bet I’m not alone in this. This has happened to everybody. We’re all at the mercy of technology and technology is not perfect. Stuff happens.

 

For some reason I equate all this with the economy, which also crashed, and I equate it even more with something almost cosmic, that our entire civilization rests upon the mercy and the good graces of a power higher up, beyond us mortals – in other words, we are all plugged in and, just like that, someone can pull the plug and plug us out.

 

Is this religion?

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