Friday, August 30, 2013

An Open Letter about Orthodox Sex Offenders

Rabbi Horowitz is this amazing rabbi in Monsey who, in addition to his actual job, fights against Jewish sex offenders and educates kids. He has a post today about how the D.A., Thomas Zugibe, and his office, are letting these people go under pressure from Orthodox Jews. I just wrote a letter to send some Orthodox Jewish pressure the other way.

If you agree with me, feel free to copy this letter (the relevant parts, anyway) or write your own. His email is info@rocklandcountyda.com. Ugh. Thanks for bearing with the break from writer talk, you guys.

Dear District Attorney Zugibe,

I just read a piece on Rabbi Horowitz's website about the reprehensible treatment of Orthodox Jewish sex offenders such as Herschel Taubenfeld, Shmuel Dym and Moishe Turner. (It's right here, and it's a very sad and powerful article.)

As a Hasidic Orthodox Jew myself -- and, more importantly, as the father of young children -- I want to protest this treatment. These men have been convicted as criminals under U.S. law, and should be locked away and forced to do penance under the justice system.

Please don't plea bargain with them or cave in to community pressure! Many of us support you, and we don't want these sick people returning to our communities and living around our children.

sincerely,
A Jewish father

Once again: info@rocklandcountyda.com.
(and thanks to Rabbi Fink for posting in the first place.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

How do you handle negative reviews?


A new-author friend just emailed me to ask about a negative review. (I'm not saying which friend, or which negative review {actually, it was more a not-entirely-loving review than a negative one, if you ask me...but I will be telling you about this book in the months to come and how amazing it is, so just stick around.) I should be embarrassed or chagrined by the question -- yes, I am your go-to guy for questions relating to bad reviews -- but by this time, I'm pretty okay with it, and besides, the sheer amount of amazing stuff that people have said about Kafka is reason enough for me to owe the universe some karmic feedback.

So, here it is, my advice for dealing with negative reviews.
  • get it out of your mind. see what i did, starting the email with something else? [note: I started the email talking about something else.] there is SO MUCH FREAKING STUFF going on in your life, and so many people are going to be reading your book and thinking good things that you won't have time for the naysayers. Get a jump up. Start disregarding them now.
  • make it drive you harder.So 10 people won't buy the book from reading that review. Write to a blog or a smaller site that passionately cares about your subject matter. Force yourself to do more publicity. Publicity is the most important part of bookselling, and it's the part authors hate most. Combat that feeling! Bring it on. 
  • Here's the thing about reviews: They don't matter. There was just this major study of books featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. They discovered, being featured only sold a couple hundred copies at most. Think about anything that's only reviewed inside. Think about anything that isn't the Times. Yeah, it doesn't really matter.
  • Way more effective: The aforementioned smaller sites with readers who are actually passionate about what you're writing about. And, like, PEOPLE. Ordinary people. People who aren't consumed by a zillion books every day. these are people who will love what you write, and who will tell their friends about it. love sells tons more copies than a review. even a good review. there are still people who care about books in this world -- not all books, but a few books -- and those people are the reason that books are still in business.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"His memoir reads like virginal masturbation"

Such an intense and flattering review of Yom Kippur a Go-Go on Goodreads. I asked, and received, permission to repost it.

I just came across the review today, and also came across this news, that the Lusty Lady -- the worker-owned co-op strip club which figures prominently in the book (but which I still haven't {and, well, never will} set foot inside), is closing. It's weird; one more element of the San Francisco I used to live in that won't be there anymore. I wonder what Armistead Maupin does about this stuff? Anyway. My skin still kind of crawls when I talk about this book, primarily because it's all about all the stupid stuff I did when I was younger (when a book is fiction, you can pretend that, well, it's fiction). But I've also never felt closer to it. Here you go, guys.

Nophoto-f-25x33Amanda said to you:
YOM KIPPUR A GO-GO

I spent all day devoted to Matthue Roth's memoir, in such a matter that I became him and when the book ended I was left in a deep sucking void. My own life is slow to raise up and greet me now, so I clicked on the computer and yes, sent him an email. A short email. I was inspired to ramble onwards, giving him my own memoir in return, but wrote three sentences and one Kudos.
Growing up, I've always read. I've adored books, libraries, the smell of musty pages, the quiet refuge, the chance of seeing more of the world than this small isolated town could ever offer. I've only wanted to really meet one other author out of all the books I've devoured soundlessly. My hopes are realistically dashed--Kurt Vonnegut will be dead before the planets align, and really, what would I talk about with a man so many years my senior?
But Matthue? I see myself hanging out with him, just another misfit in his cast of characters so profoundly opposite of everything he is trying to cultivate within himself. I'd delight in all the things he could teach me about religion, specifically about being a Jew and with the same amount of zealousness follow along into the genderfuck San Francisco scene.
His memoir reads like virginal masturbation, with such a sexual tension brewing with only self-release to be had. I can't believe he remained a virgin throughout his time in San Francisco, my age and innocent. It only added to the depth of his experience, to be a witness to such depravity and sexual embrace without fully understanding the complete release that sex brings.

Blog Archive