Posts Tagged With: Publishers Weekly

Hello in there: More From UT Press

PrineEddie“Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown” was published in the fall of 2012 as the second book in University of Texas Press’ American Music Series (following Don McLeese’s “Dwight Yoakam: A Thousand Miles From Nowhere”), and it’s taken a while for us to get it going. As originally envisioned, we’re supposed to be putting out four AMS titles a year — two every spring, two every fall. Some right fine books have come out on Merle Haggard in 2013 and the Flatlanders in 2014, but we haven’t been able to maintain that schedule. Finally, however, we’ve found our footing enough that the pace of publication is about to pick up.

First off, the next American Music Series book coming out will be “John Prine: In Spite of Himself” by my fellow North Carolina music journalist Eddie Huffman. The official publication date is March 15, and it’s our series’ first book to come out in a hardcover version (also, it’s the first with an actual photograph of the subject on the cover). I was one of this book’s primary editors and the process wasn’t always easy. As Eddie writes of me in the book’s acknowledgements, tongue planted firmly in cheek, “He and I are probably both glad he won’t have to ask me ‘How are the rewrites coming?’ next time we cross paths at Cat’s Cradle or the PNC Arena.”

UTPressLogoBut my peskiness and his hard work paid off with a book we’re all quite proud of. And so far, the early pre-release response has been gratifying indeed. “In Spite of Himself” picked up a very fine review in Publishers Weekly, which also named it one of this spring’s most-anticipated books. Kirkus weighed in with a nice review, too, and there are a number of other reviews and reading-type events in the works as well. Eddie’s blog will be the place to keep up with all of that, so bookmark it. I think Eddie did a fantastic job on this book, and I hope you’ll like it.

Beyond that, here’s what else is on the AMS schedule so far:

October 2015

“Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt,” by Kristin Hersh
“Los Lobos: Dream in Blue,” by Chris Morris

Spring 2016

“Madonnaland,” by Alina Simone
Mary J. Blige (title to come), by Danny Alexander

Fall 2016

T-Bone Burnett (title to come), by Lloyd Sachs

Spring 2017

Chrissie Hynde (title to come), by Adam Sobsey

To be scheduled

Tom Jones (title to come), by Jon Langford

The book on the list I’m most excited about is “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt” by Kristin Hersh, leader of the band Throwing Muses and one of Chesnutt’s closest friends. I was blown away when I saw her manuscript because it’s spine-tinglingly brilliant, the best book of any sort I’ve read in years. Seriously, it gave me chills. I’m thrilled to be a part of that one, and I can’t wait for everyone else to read it.

Meanwhile, you might notice that yours truly is not on the AMS schedule anywhere. But I do have a book coming out on UT Press in October, one I think turned out really well. It’s called “Comin’ Right at Ya: How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country, or, the Often Outrageous History of Asleep at the Wheel,” which I co-wrote with Asleep at the Wheel founder and guiding light Ray Benson. I’ll have more to say about this project later, but for now there’s a bit more about it here.

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Discouraging words

We all talk a good game and pretend not to care, but every writer (including me) is desperately insecure regarding negative feedback. It comes with the territory when you put stuff out there, and developing a thicker skin is a survival mechanism. I’ve been writing in public for long enough now that it doesn’t bother me much to get bashed over record and concert reviews. There are times when it’s so far over the top that it’s funny — like how worked-up some people got over a John Mayer review five years ago (Seriously, people? John Mayer?). And in 2010, a record review prompted a torrent of rage from people who felt I wasn’t nearly gushy enough. Alas, that review’s online comments seem to have vanished into the ether. But the one I remember best is something I had as my Facebook profile-page tagline for a while:

Who is this David Menconi f—-r?

Still, that’s the dayjob. When what you’ve put out there is a labor of love you’ve poured everything into, you can’t help but feel every jab — even the little ones. “Losering” is still early in the press cycle, and the only “official” review to turn up so far was a nice one in Publishers Weekly. And while it wasn’t a review, I also got a little shout-out from San Antonio magazine.

I was feeling pretty good about that, along with some of the feedback from people I know who have read the book. But humility is always just a mouse click away. Last night, I was seeking a link for one of my upcoming readings when I came across the following, which surfaced a few months ago on someone’s blog after the book’s excerpt went online:

Well, it sounds like this person might actually buy the book, so that’s good. Still, typos (?) and some not-very-stellar writing…That was, um, not-very-stellar to see, thank ya very much. My first bad review! Kinda. Yay? Still, as long as I’ve been slinging barbs, I can take it.

But do tell: Would it be catty of me to point out the grammatical mistake in this dude’s first sentence?

Meow!

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