I was recently given an ARC, and I really want to tell you about it. Oh, and don't let the title throw you. Or, maybe you should? Maybe it does titillate the consumer exactly as intended.
American Male Prostitute by Wilfried F. Voss is a work of fiction—I emphasize this because that's really important. The story, I must say, is a subject near and dear to my heart: The trials and tribulations of trying to get published with a “traditional” publisher.
In American Male Prostitute happily married man, Stuart Martin Berry, is given 3 months to find a publisher for his book. His wife gives him full and free rein “to do whatever it would take to get a book deal. Her only request was not to share any details of how I got there.”
This story is for anyone who has tried in vain, again and again, to hook an agent, even though you have bought every writing magazine, every book on “how to hook an agent,” or “how to write the perfect query letter,” etc. We've got someone in Stuart Berry to root for. It may be a work of fiction, but to a point it is all very much true-to-life in this respect.
We realize early on that Berry will have to stoop to by using sex, lies and deceit, as he attempts getting audience with his target publisher. Many of you out there might say, “No. This would never happen.” Well, it does, and not just huge cities where this story takes place. Believe me, the subject was breached with yours truly, once, a very long time ago. I wasn't for it, and let that person know it. Would I have been published by now? I guess I'll never know.
But here, in American Male Prostitute, the fantasy of using people who are just as deceitful takes shape and unfolds as our aspiring author, Berry, goes on the hunt for that book deal, moves to New York, and goes to work on shamelessly promoting his book. He does have an agent, but she's rather unproductive, and he learns is really disliked by the publisher he is really after. He realizes soon enough that nothing short of BS-ing his way into the arms of secretaries will get him audience. But the story woven is intriguing, with the expected titillating situations required. It's woven with realistic places, parties, money, and people in power, and publishing moguls—all believable characters and situations woven throughout.
If nothing else you do come away with better knowledge of the “disturbingly dysfunctional world of writing and publishing”, as Berry pulls off the blinds—or sheets as it were—of the publishing world and what actually may entice them better than just a well written query letter.
Author Wilfried F. Voss has done an exceptional job, if only to have the guts to tell such a story. He gives us aspiring writers something to think about as we wonder why the hell a query letter, or a pitch isn't working. You wonder about it. You really do.