What Now?

Founded in the belief that shameless self-promotion is a bedrock necessity for the modern writer.

I’ve just written my first book, and this is the first entry in my first blog.  Every aspiring-to-be-published writer surely has heard by now that he or she must demonstrate that they are ready and able to help sell the thing if they expect anyone to publish it.  And nowadays, aside from being the President of the United States or the Queen of England, or, even better, the perpetrator or victim of major sexual bad behavior, a blog is the sine qua non of book publicity.

The book is entitled “The Whereabouts of Mr. Mohammed”.  It is essentially a black comedy about an American software salesman who winds up in Baghdad a year after the US invasion.  He figures he is the ultimate hip war profiteer, but pretty quickly he’s in way over his head and consequently looses it.

Aside from starting this blog, I’ve done several other things to bring my novel to the world’s attention:

  • Written to an agent  about my book.  There are still a lot of agents who will accept a query letter.  I’ve only written to this one agent so far even though I know the odds are high that he will never even respond.  From what little I’ve read about him, he sounds very cool, like agents were in the 50s or 60s – eccentric, irascible, brilliant.  Despite the fact that his office is in Brooklyn, not Manhattan, he handles an impressive array of writers. He doesn’t need to be near the publishers; they come to him.  I imagine his office looks like Humphrey Bogart’s in “The Big Sleep”.
  • Converted two chapters of my book into short stories, one of which has been published in “5th Wednesday Magazine”.  I understand that if you can show any evidence of being able to get published, an agent or publisher is that tiny bit more likely to take a chance on you.
  • Become much friendlier on Facebook.  This is another indicator of how helpful I am willing to be in marketing my book.  It’s now very easy to become my friend on Facebook.

I would like to hear from anyone involved in this getting published struggle.  The rules of my blog are pretty simple for now.  As long as the comments at least minimally address the themes of the blog – writing, getting published etc. and wouldn’t be considered hate-speech by your average, somewhat liberal internet habitué, they are okay.

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9 comments on “What Now?

  1. Phil Stephens on said:

    Let’s hope, somehow, you establish face-to-face contact with the agent in Brooklyn. Whether he takes on your novel, or not, he himself sounds worthy of a compendium of anecdotes. Even though every memoirst [and I won’t lump you in with these twisters-of-the-truth] that I’ve read describes the agony of “Getting your foot in the door” with agents and publishers, it can’t be THAT difficult. After all, it is highly unlikely that the author of SEMPER FI: HOW TO RUN YOUR COMPANY LIKE THE MARINE CORPS knocked on many doors before someone capitulated to representing/publishing this masterpiece.

  2. Annie Deppe on said:

    Very cool, Larry! Big congratulations (we’re in the middle of a Stonecoast residency, so I can’t write more now, but to think I knew you “when”…)


  3. Larry,

    I am so excited about your book and your blog! I will try to read the short story, it isn’t on the front page of the website in your blog post, but I hope that with a little searching, I will be able to find it. Best of luck getting it published. Take care!


    • lspecht on said:


      Thanks so much for your enthusiastic comment. They never published the story electronically. I’ll send you a copy.


  4. Len Kruger on said:

    Good luck Larry! It’s a truly great novel and deserves to be published! The key is a great query letter and persistence.

  5. Phil Stephens on said:

    Is it safe to use the name “Mohammed” in ANY form in the title of your book? If I were you I would be paranoid and re-title my book “The Whereabouts of Mr. Ahmed”.

  6. lspecht on said:

    I don’t think using the name “Mohammed” in a book title is offensive to Muslims. Mr. Mohammed is a character in my book, and a lot of Muslims carry that name. What offends Muslims are insults to the Prophet Mohammed. I was in Yemen when the Danish cartoons appeared attacking the Prophet. I know many people in Yemen who are campaigners for human rights and who are also deeply religious Muslims. My friends in Yemen weren’t calling for attacks on the cartoonists or the newspaper that carried their work, but they were deeply hurt. The feelings of Muslims towards the prophet seem to go beyond reverence to include a deep affection.

    I’m not religious myself, but I respect the religious feelings of others particularly when those others share my own respect for human rights and democracy.

  7. Suzanne Strempek Shea on said:

    Wonderful to see this blog, Larry, and you at the top of it! Keep up the entries. Great to catch the new Yemen one. And keep us posted on the agent search. You know I’m rooting for you!
    xx Suzanne

  8. Mohammed Al-Asaadi on said:


    My name is as you can see “Mohammed” and I like it. I understand your concerns regarding using this name. It is very natural reaction by anyone who over time has developed an attitude, based on what one heard or just came to know about Muslims. Larry and I have been working together on and off for several years. We made great friends. He is a family to me in the US, I am to him when he is in town.

    Trust me ignorance of one’s another is the real enemy of humanity. Let’s bridge the gap of mutual misconceptions through knowledge and self-education. Wish you all great luck.

    Thanks Larry.

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