An Email Exchange with “Publisher” Steven Jay Griffel

I was responding for a chance to talk about my writing, which I don’t often get to do, but I really should’ve checked out this guy’s website first. More fool me.

17 Nov 2016
by Gmail
from Steven Jay Griffel

Cantara Christopher,

Through Facebook I have learned a little about you and have read some of your writing, as posted on your website. [Me: What website? I don’t post my writing on a website.] Your writing is strong, clear, and interesting. [Me: Really, I should’ve asked him exactly what it was of mine he read.] Now that I have been named Publisher [sic] of a new literary imprint (a division of Stay Thirsty Publishing—a book-publishing [sic] company under the larger group of Stay Thirsty Media, which also owns Stay Thirsty Magazine), I have been contacting writers I know and admire. If you have an unpublished manuscript or are working on one—I might like to read it [sic].

Here is the Fall Issue of Stay Thirsty Magazine, an impressive collection of Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy winners—and more [sic]. All writers published under my imprint are interviewed in this international magazine and given the opportunity to continue as contributing writers.

[Inserted: URL for Stay Thirsty Magazine]

If you’d like to know more, please contact me at:

[Inserted: Email address]

Finally, I understand that you are having some current health issues—I wish you the best.

~Steven Jay

15 December
by FB Messenger
from Cantara Christopher


I see that your email was received on 17 Nov. Yes, I was in the hospital that day getting an MRI.

I am interested, but the only prose I’m working on now is a memoir about my experiences with the film director Rouben Mamoulian, which I think is going to be short, no more than 30,000 words. I do have that other book which is perpetually available in a self-styled ARC called A Poet from Hollywood, which is about my experiences publishing the poetry book of TV/film director Stephen Gyllenhaal (including my encounters with his wife Naomi Foner and their children, Jake and Maggie), which I’ve always thought would have a readership of no more than a handful of people. That one, I think, is 58,000 words.

Also, I’ve started notes for another long essay—right now I’m projecting about 20-25,000 words—called At Home with the Brontes, which should coincide nicely with their centenary, which is a big deal in the UK. I know everyone does the Bronte but of all my projects this might be the most publishable. It’s just my observations from 42 years of being a fan of all the Bronte writers—Emily, Charlotte, and Anne—and how their value, especially Anne’s, has been misunderstood for years. However, I started writing it in an informal style (as a letter to my son trying to persuade him to actually, you know, just watch the film Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukanaga) and I’m not in the mood to “academicize” it.

One last project-in-development: A memoir of my life in San Francisco, called My Year In Porn, which is about the time in the late 70s when my day job was acting in porn films while my night job was as a techie behind the scenes of legitimate stage theater, working with Michael McClure, Sam Shepard etc, as well as dozens of actors who went on to big things. Pre-AIDS SF is a place I like to revisit in my mind often; it’s another world, a freer world, and I would enjoy the hell out of writing about it.

So—let me know your thoughts.

A better email for me is [email address inserted here].

Also, if you want it, my number is [phone number inserted here].


15 December 2016
by FB Messenger
from Steven Jay Griffel

Whether fiction or nonfiction, I value narrative above all else. The subjects in the story—whether Charlotte Bronte or Sam Shepard or John Holmes—do not attract me one way or the other—they are all viable [word?]. I do not publish—as some do—[sic] based on subject matter. Whichever paradigm [word?] results in the best story—[sic] that’s the one I want to read.

I will make one suggestion: You might want to consider using your facts and experiences and developing one (or more) of the possibilities in a fictional mode—don’t let anything restrain you [sic]. You have chosen these events—decide which of them—at its core—is most elementally interesting to you—and go for it [sic] [sic] [sic] [sic].

For the record, I can publish a novella-length work.

My experience: if you’re doing a biography or a historically attuned piece—readers may want the history/zeitgeist, etc—to be spot on. If that’s your thing—great [sic]. But if there is some core dramatic conflict … some crucible … that is best explored … and resolved … then you really might want to rethink your players and your setting in terms of fiction [sic] [sic] [sic] [sic].

Whatever you decide, I’ll be here.

Best to reach me: [email address inserted here].

~Steven Jay

15 December
by FB Messenger
from Cantara Christopher


I appreciate your interest but the aims of your publishing company are not my aims. Thanks for your interest though.

15 December
by FB Messenger
from Steven Jay Griffel

Best wishes, Cantara—whatever you write.

~Steven Jay

What a waste of time. I’ll know better from now on not to be sucked in.

12 Types of Blog Postings

  1. The Explainer (aka The How-To Post): This is a super-practical post that teaches readers how to achieve a specific goal. If you pick the right topic for your post, The Explainer has the potential to attract a ton of social shares.
  2. The Buffet (aka The List Post): This post is a collection of related points on a given topic or theme organized as a list. Every year many of the most popular posts on the web are list-based posts, so a Buffet post on the right topic always has the potential to go viral.
  3. The Name Dropper (aka The Egobait Post): This post celebrates a selected group of individuals for their notable qualities, talents or achievements. Designed to be shared by the people featured in the post, it usually performs well on social media.
  4. The Inquisitor (aka The Expert Roundup): This post is a compilation of expert opinions on a single topic or question. A good post of this type will attract shares from participants and also help the author build valuable relationships with them once the post is published.
  5. The Curator (aka The Resource List): This post is a carefully curated list of valuable resources relating to a specific topic or goal. Serving as a handy “index” to the best resources on a given topic, it’s great for attracting links and subsequently, search traffic.
  6. The Monster (aka The Ultimate Guide): This post is a long-form guide to a specific topic which is exhaustive in both scope and detail. Executed well, The Monster will quickly become the definitive resource on a topic and attract links and search traffic accordingly.
  7. The Illuminator (aka The “Why?” Post, Type #a): This post provides valuable insight on a tricky topic or thorny problem. It has a strong bonding effect with readers and also helps to establish the authority of the author.
  8. The Contrarian (aka The “Why?” Post, Type #b): This post makes a surprising but persuasive argument that intentionally contradicts the accepted wisdom on a topic. Again, this is primarily a bonding post–readers are drawn to strong opinions well-argued.
  9. The Insider (aka The Case Study): This post uses a real-world example backed by actual data to yield insights about a specific topic or goal. People love evidence so Insider posts often attract links and search traffic but also build the writer’s authority.
  10. The Jester (aka The Humorous Post): This post uses humor to explore a topic in an entertaining and sometimes provocative way. It’s perhaps one of the best ways to bond with readers but is also one of the trickier recipes to pull off.
  11. The Trailblazer (aka The Thought Leadership Post): This post uses the author’s insight and vision to change the way people think about a topic. The ultimate post for building authority, this is also a great “calling card” when connecting with other influencers.
  12. The Storyteller (aka The Three-Act Post): This post uses a powerful personal story to teach more universal principles and provide inspiration. The toughest recipe of all to write but one that can bond with readers like no other.

Why Self-Publish Literary Fiction?

For authors of literary fiction, creative control isn’t just a plus. Increasingly it’s becoming a must.

Novelist Jane Davis:

My first novel earned me the services of an agent, but not a book deal. My agent hadn’t had time to read my second novel when I entered it in a national competition for unpublished authors. I only admitted what I’d done when my entry was shortlisted at which point my agent said, ‘I think I’d better read it then.’ She absolutely hated it. On her advice, assuming I could never win, I totally re-wrote one of the main characters.

When I was told that I won the Daily Mail First Novel Award, the publisher insisted on my original version (the judges had loved the character my agent so objected to), but here are examples of the changes that were imposed on me:

  • Re-structure so that big reveal came in the penultimate chapter/new end chapter.
  • Title change.
  • Great cover, but totally inappropriate for the book.

In other words, when I held the book in my hands, it never felt as if it was mine. It was as if I was selling someone else’s book!

Read the rest here.