by: Jonathan Marcantoni
An interview with the Editor of Aignos Publishing reveals the “secret” to becoming a great writer….
THE #1 SECRET TO BEING A SUCCESSFUL WRITER NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT!! In this EXCLUSIVE interview with Across the Margin, author and Aignos Publishing co-founder Jonathan Marcantoni reveals the biggest issue keeping writers from achieving success. A MUST READ for anyone serious about pursuing a writing career……
ATM: Mr. Marcantoni, thank you for joining us today. We have been looking forward to speaking with you and sharing your story with our readers. As the Editor in Chief of Aignos Publishing you have, in a relatively brief period of time, signed over twenty authors. Many of them, most notably, Chris Campanioni, achieving large and loyal followings and numerous awards. Your work has appeared in both English and Spanish language publications and in Europe. You have built a reputation for promoting groundbreaking and boundary-pushing literature that we here at Across the Margin greatly admire, as we pride ourselves on bringing the avant-garde into the mainstream. You appear to have your finger on the pulse of the literary world, with quotes like this from your appearance at La Casa Azul Bookstore in 2013, when you proclaimed, “The publishing world is not dead, only 20th century publishing is dead and gone. We must embrace the New Era and become 21st century writers who follow a new brand of literature that will revolutionize the industry.” Could you give us more insight into this New Era revolution that you propose?
MARCANTONI: First, let me say that I am a great admirer of Across the Margin and the works of Chris Thompson and Michael Shields, two forward-thinking spirits who embody in more ways than one the powerful new paradigm presented to this New Era of writers. Via digital media and the widespread access to technologies that are making the world more outwardly connected than ever before in the history of mankind, they are both pushing and redefining the boundaries of what writing can be. You and I, I believe we are contemporaries, we grew up in a time when publishing was a massive, multi-billion dollar industry where authors could make good livings even with just modest successes. You may remember the time when an advance from a publisher could lift a writer out of poverty, but alas, that is no longer the case. The money has started to dry up, for both the author and the publisher. The breakneck pace of promotions online and twenty-four hour media in every format has made it necessary for publishers to rely on their authors as much, if not more, than on their own marketing departments. As a result, authors can no longer rely on the formulas that once brought them success.
ATM: Can you elaborate on this last point?
MARCANTONI: Absolutely. There was a time, not that long ago, when being a stuffy, monochromatic, monotone, and pretentious S.O.B. went hand in hand with literary greatness. Writers were not expected to be social butterflies, nor were they expected to be anything but writers. Back in Hemingway’s day, the expectation was that a writer was a journeyman. A man of the world who could fit into any role that was required of him. Then sometime in the 70s and 80s, the writer became a reclusive academic, shut off from the world around them. That is the image promoted in creative writing programs, which are built around an academic takeover of literature that turns our art form into formulaic garbage meant to stimulate audiences through cheap tricks and gimmicks. MFA’s need writers to be gods in order to hide the fact that most writers today are immensely boring people, not to mention unconscionable pricks.
ATM: If the old paradigm was overly clinical and emotionally distant, then is the New Era writer more of an actor, if you will? Are we returning to the Age of The Renaissance Man as writer?
MARCANTONI: You are very close when you say a writer should be more like an actor. Not just in the way an actor interacts with their audience, or forms a bond that is deeply personal and cathartic, but in an even more important way. The writer must be like an actor in that they must embrace the vanity of our age. We are not just a society of overexposure and constant stimulation, we are also a society of…this will be very controversial, what I am about to say. It is one of those dark secrets, talked about in whispers amongst the literary community. What I want to say is something that many people, I mean people in some of the biggest New York and London houses, fear to the point that serious conversations unfolding that might change the entire dynamic of publishing as we know it. You could call it the glamorization or Hollywoodization of literature, but in layman’s terms it essentially comes down to this, the number one, most vital aspect of being a writer in order to guarantee a successful career, or any career at all – it’s almost too much to take in, really. I want to be delicate here, a lot of people will be mad at me for saying this so bluntly but I feel it is only right that aspiring artists know what they getting into. I can take this risk, because I am of the avant garde, so the mainstream publishers pay me little mind. But my followers know that what I am about to say is true and hard as it may be to swallow, they will accept it as truth and thank me in the long run.
ATM: Please! The suspense is too much.
MARCANTONI: Okay, allow me to let you in on a secret and tell you what is on the lips of every major and minor press in not only this country, but the world – the biggest secret that will revolutionize the publishing industry is:
NO MORE UGLY WRITERS!!
ATM: Whoa!! We certainly didn’t see that coming. A bold statement to say the least, one that could offend a lot of people. It could also potentially destroy the careers of millions.
MARCANTONI: Precisely, which is why I feel it is so important to share this information. But more importantly, I have the answer. It has worked for several authors, including, dare I say it – the man we know as Chris Campanioni.
ATM: What do you mean? Isn’t Chris one of your closest friends? Someone whose works you have celebrated for years now?
MARCANTONI: The Chris Campanioni you know is a fraud.
ATM: Come on Mr. Marcantoni. Are you sure you want….
MARCANTONI: Yes, Goddammit! Listen, Chris is prepared for this, he knows what I am about to say. As painful as this truth is, we care more about others than about furthering a profitable lie. The man, in Chris Campanioni, who wrote all those poems that made you feel like the world was transposing itself into the chiseled, immaculately angular face of a Cuban-Polish-American Jersey boy. The writer who penned the novel that revived your dreams of experiencing a midlife crisis while getting sucked off by a Brazilian whore was, in fact, an illiterate, crack-addicted runaway discovered at age eighteen by Dave Goldstein.
ATM: The arrogant, homoerotic director from Going Down?
MARCANTONI: That arrogant piece of shit just happens to be a genius, thank you very much. A literary-fucking-genius who suffered from severe acne as an adolescent, and to make matters worse, he inflicted third degree burns to his genitals while re-enacting the pie-humping scene in American Pie. If that weren’t bad enough, he has an untreated cleft palate. The man is so ugly he blindfolds himself when he masturbates in order to avoid catching his reflection in a mirror. For years, he followed the fashion and culture industry, attending parties, filming in the background, writing poetry of all the conversations he overheard but could never participate in. He also had a penchant for picking up male street urchins to spoon with him, the closest thing he could have to affection without causing extraordinary pain, and that was how he met Chris. He took one look at that chiseled yet emaciated face, and knew he had a way out of his misery. Instead of cuddling with Chris, he talked to him. They got to know each other and Dave helped Chris go through detox and during his recovery, taught the middle school drop out how to read. He cleaned him up and took him to a modeling agency, and from there he guided Chris’s career. The more educated Chris became, the more ambitious he was. First it was modeling, then journalism, then becoming a damn professor. All the time, Dave was there, documenting it all, calling himself Chris while injecting his outsider reality into a persona so creepy, so off-putting, that no one would believe that a character who more closely resembled a serial killer would in fact be the artist behind the book. It was so convincing, how Chris had embodied this persona Dave created for him. He was truly a smart kid, and a good guy – he oozed charisma and this won Dave’s work fans. Nobody would have given the nearly-deformed Dave Goldstein a chance, no one would line-up at bookstores for his autograph. Gay men, cougars and coeds wouldn’t touch themselves at night over his photo, but for Chris they would. On top of it all, they’d buy his book, maybe even read it. That is the power of having a public face for a private genius. If writers want to be successful, they need to jump on the good looks bandwagon and unless they are, at the bare minimum, fuckable, the first call they need to make before finding an agent is to contact a modeling agency. Model representatives are the future of publishing!! The literary world cannot just produce stories of greater relevance and stylistic daring, it must also market an image, a beautiful, perfectly proportioned, fantasy-inducing image that will be dreamy enough to make audiences disregard all the heady, intellectual, socially-conscious blah-blah-blah that the ugly people who wrote the actual books wish to convey in their all-so-important literary masterpieces.
ATM: But what if the models take on a life of their own? What if the author can no longer control the image they have created for themselves?
MARCANTONI: Then that is the price one must pay for fame. In the end, what would you rather be, a visionary artist nobody knows about, or a visionary artist people actually read and want to fuck!!??