Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where In The World Is Jacob Appel?

Blogging you from the airport today (Hope they don't confiscate my laptop).  I received this anonymous email from a clever LROD Mouser and wanted to share it with you:"I was wondering what happened to Jacob Appel, who has been AWOL for quite a while, when I suddenly stumbled upon this article, and now I know that he is Zelig. Or possibly YOU! If not, I thought that you would wish to know. I loved the part about the 4am email.--PeterPeter PipeCleaner (Not My Real Name)"

13 comments:

Lit J said...

Ever since you guys highlighted Jacob Appel, I see him in every single Literary Magazine or Literary Contest. I really mean everything single one. The picture of this post is appropriate -- he is Where's Waldo, except that he's not hard to find, as he never leaves a single mag untouched.

Actually, to be frank, it's getting to be a bit annoying. C'mon, man, do you really need your 121st literary contest finalist nod? Don't you think there are genuinely great writers out there who actually deserve a shot at some contests without you sticking your professional-submitting nose up in there? And do you not publish a book simply because you feel like you might be ineligible for contests, or win fewer contests because awarders might feel you're overqualified?

Honestly, I'd really like to hear Appel's motivations. It's beginning to get psychotic. Or pathological, perhaps. He's passing up Steve Almond for being the poster child of literary mags.

Maybe if he could explain it to me in a way that made sense, and wasn't entirely egocentric, I would stop resenting him. But his behavior certainly needs defending.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am really curious to hear why Jacob Appel hasn't yet published a book. It's clearly not due to shortage of material and I find it hard to believe he hasn't had offers... But maybe I'm wrong. Will he come back and talk to us again?

Anonymous said...

Jacob Appel is my god.

I find it easy to believe he hasn't had a book. Publishers and agents are very skittish about short story collections, unless there's a novel to place alongside the collection or one in the pipeline. Here's a guy who loves writing stories. Good for him, I say. And I don't find him annoying. He works hard, doesn't whine, and gets some recognition. And he's a working doctor. He's inspiring.

Anonymous said...

He has a story in the latest issue of Bayou (just came out).

Anonymous said...

"I find it easy to believe he hasn't had a book. Publishers and agents are very skittish about short story collections"

Yeah, but he shouldn't have that much trouble publishing a collection with a university or quality indie press, given his credits.

The Very Minor Writer said...

i think even with great creds it's hard to get a collection out from an indie or uni press. i've been publishing for a couple of years in big places, not the new yorker or harpers but a half-dozen short stories in the generally agreed upon tiers right below that, probably better creds than j. appel, and even chosen for very big, best-selling fiction anthology, and i can't get a sniff from mainstream, indie or uni publishers for my collection, so . . .

Anonymous said...

It's strange, too, that his collection hasn't won say the Flannery O'Connor Award or the Iowa Review Award etc. Every single story in the collection would have won a major award, so it stands to reason the collection would too.

Lit J said...

Hey Very Minor Writer,

Do you think the problems with your collection might be:

1. Houses are looking for something more commercial. (ie. are these experimental pieces?)

2. Your stories aren't similar enough to make a coherent collection.

I'm just really curious why it is you think that you've failed to grab a collection. (for my own education - I'm trying to publish a collection too)

And really? Better creds than J Appel? He has pubs like AGNI, Boston Review, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, and Missouri Review.

I mean, the only way to have better pubs is if you've published in Paris Review, Granta, Zoetrope or a glossy (Atlantic, Esquire, Harper, New Yorker).

Anonymous said...

I agree with LTJ. If you have "better credits" than Appel, then you must be published in the Paris Reviews and Grantas of the world, which really makes me wonder why you can't get anyone to "sniff" your collection. Your stories are either all over the map and wouldn't form a unified collection, or your credits aren't as good as you claim.

The Very Minor Writer said...

well, yes those that you mentioned. and i have to admit my stories are all over the place, though many of them are at least set in the same, non-North American continent. believe me, publishing in the paris review, granta and even BASS doesn't mean you can get a collection published. it will help you get an agent, but to get a collection you need to be seriously lucky, published in the New Yorker or viewed as really promising, ie. young.

Lit J said...

Well, Very Minor Writer, props for some serious credentials, and my condolences for the tough market out there.

But I read a lot of new short story collections, published by places like Graywolf and Dzanc and Nebraska Press and Norton and MacAdam/Cage and dozens of other small-to-mid-size publishers, and few of them have awesome credentials. Some of them have Jacob Appel level credentials, some far less impressive creds. Some have only published a few of the stories in their colleciton.

I guess it just means there's a lot more than mere good credits a publisher is looking for (READ: they're consulting the marketing department) when they purchase a collection.

And yes, age does play a factor. But look at Ben Fountain! (Brief Encounters With Che Guevara) He's always upheld as someone who emerged in the later stages of life.

The Very Minor Writer said...

If I remember my ben fountain history, he got an agent and his deal after publishing in Harper's, which is a credit well north of any mr. appel has, which is how we started this conversation. sure, if you get a short story in harper's, you should be able to make a move, but my experience has been that anything less and the credits don't matter. what matters is the material and how marketable the author might be. i weighed in because there seemed to be some folks here saying that appel could have published a collection by now if he wanted, and I was just pointing out perhaps not.

Anonymous said...

Do you also think that it often, sadly, comes down to the old adage about "who you know" counting for way more than it probably should?