For better or for worse for Anthony Doyle, I am/was his editor for HIBERNACULUM. I read it when it first came in as a submission, and I read it awhile back, probably pre-2021, and I read it again this year and part of last, as we got it (at long last) ready to go. Anthony is exceedingly kind and patient as we did all our DPP move stuff. And, in this case, I do think it served him as we’re a better publisher over on this coast than we were on the last coast. But that’s aLways the way. As I said to the poets of Old Scratch Press as they prepared to choose their first three books for publication, (more or less my direct quotation): the one who goes first gets his/her/their book done right away, which is a huge relief, and so exciting, and, as the press grows and changes and moves forward it will get (hopefully) better at everything, and so the later books will benefit from that.
Delayed gratification is a bitch; it is true, but it is also true that things usually improve when they have experience behind them to lead the way.
HIBERNACULUM now, is getting a better company than the company it found and signed up with. And I am glad of that.
As part of that, HIBERNACULUM is going to get some advertising, some paid, and some social. And today, for the social, I went back through the book again, looking for good quotations to make into ads. For me, that meant re-reading it (I’m a fairly fast reader), not the whole thing, but substantial chunks.
I collected a fair few quotations, by which I mean over 30. The book is so damn quotable.
Dave and I made a deal with each other a while back that if we were going to keep doing all the work associated with publishing people, we were going to have to love, like this: LUV!! the books.
Anthony’s writing would make the cut easily six times over.
And here’s the thing about this damn book.
It starts out like most books, neat, clean, crisp white pages, chapters, titles, headers, all nice and normal.
And it ends like this:
It ends on notebook paper, torn from a spiral notebook, and hidden.
The book is fiction, and there is all story there, and you get to know and love the characters very well and much. But Anthony digs in. And so, why would the world come to have places where people could go to hibernate? Why would we need human hibernation? The answers range, and include vanity, conservation, rest, but also poverty, desperation, and ending up on notebook paper. Which humans get which kind of hibernation?
And that’s always the question in life, which humans get which kind of life, right?
And HIBERNACULUM makes me cry a little, every time, and it’s not because it’s bleak, but because it’s such great writing. I mean, think of the genius of David Sedaris. He makes most people laugh, but he makes me cry too, because the writing is so damn good.
So I go on an innocent hunt through HIBERNACULUM looking for quotable parts, and I end up all welled up, and wishing I could just, gosh, when I was a kid I would take a glass of ice water and a book into the back yard and lay on an old webbed lounge in the sun, and read until I was skin-cancer red, and I wish I could do that with this book right now, take it out to the yard, to the beach, on a long subway ride, in a hot tub, somewhere with no one to talk to me, with the fuck-off I’m reading signals just beaming around me like a cone of silence, and just read, and read, until I had read the whole thing. Again.
Dave, my spouse Dave, that one, makes fun of me because I get so excited about the books we choose to publish, and also some of the ones I edit-for-hire.
Well, what can I say, it is true.
And maybe that’s why I’m not worried about AI, because, even without AI, people are out there self-publishing a hot lot of crap writing. And I can spot it a mile away. Tropes, cliches, interruptions to the flow, 8.9% dashes without knowing what the hell dashes are for, no semi-colons, predictable tripe.
This damn book, this HIBERNACULUM starts like a day at the spa, or MOMA, and ends on, well, not even on notebook paper, but I’m not giving it completely away. It sparks thought; it glows, and it swims in my mind, and I come back to it again, and again, and-
I want to say that I have been watching KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, the original series, for the first time, and Gordon Ramsey has turned up my obscenity settings, and they were already pretty high, but I just mention it in case because-
HIBERNACULUM, this is a fucking great book.
And Devil’s Party Press, a company started by an old lady and her reluctant? but talented spouse, may never be Random House or Doubleday.
But Doubleday and Random House didn’t get HIBERNACULUM.
And, if you like to read, if you like reading that sticks with you, that you’ll have to tell people about, I hope you choose HIBERNACULUM instead of some big bestseller that has all the breaks a guy like Anthony deserves, but couldn’t get through the noise to find. It would be a literary crime if this book wasn’t published.
HIBERNACULUM is on Kindle Vella right now, and it’s pre-ordering for July, with special goodies for folks who pre-order.
If you read it, would you let me know? I want to know which part really stuck with you… see if we match up.
What would my life have been like if I hadn’t started doing this? What would Anthony’s be like? Would his book have ever gotten out?
And it’s here, and HERE, if you want it.
And find the humble Mr. Doyle here. Tell him his editor sent you. 😉