I must have been thinking about gender issues, because Dead White Male (the initial title) turned out to be a male version of feminism. At least that’s how I construe the reaction of the first editor I sent the first thirty pages to, a woman from the old publishing house, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. She immediately wrote back wanting to see the full manuscript. I complied, but sometime afterwards, she sent me a fine rejection letter, which I seem to have misplaced. She followed up with a phone call—this was long before the Zoom phenomenon—telling me that my novel was “outstanding” and better than most books HBJ were then publishing. She also suggested that I send it to another publisher, a small house in Denver, and that if they published it in hardcover, she’d be in a better position to bring it out in paperback. (It might have been the other way around.) This I did, but apparently the gentleman running the outfit was not a fan of my take on the gender wars.
So I ended up self-publishing it with Amazon. In preparation for this venture, I got a review from Kirkus. The reviewer, however, found that I hadn’t prepared the reader for the novel’s resolution. I think I had, but in a way that only a subtle reader would understand and appreciate.
I ended up not making the changes he or she had requested. Instead, I merely changed the title, adding “Just Another” to “Dead White Male.”
For whom is this novel written? For the subtle reader, one who can recognize that the book is moving in the direction of the experimental.
A book for the veteran reader.