May 12, 2018

Passings: Adam Parfrey

Sam Smith  - Adam Parfrey, publisher of Feral House books, has died at the age of 61. As Deadline Hollywood noted, "Hailed by one website as 'probably the most influential ‘underground’ publisher in post-millennial America; and called 'The Most Dangerous Publisher in America' by a Seattle Weekly cover story, Parfrey ran an unusual outlet in publishing. It was mostly the product of Parfrey’s boundless curiosity, and did not publish based on query letters or agent inquiries, the standard method of the trade."

The reason Parfrey meant a lot to me, however, was somewhat different.  In 2000 I sent him the manuscript of my fourth book, Why Bother? Getting a Life In a Locked Down Land. He rejected it and as had other publishers. In author land that would typically had been the end of that.

But as I wrote at the time,
"Your editor's latest work, one of the few books to have been favorably reviewed while still without a publisher, continues to have a life of its own.The book in question, "Why Bother? Getting a Life in a Locked Down Land," deals with a central but virtually verboten subject: the maintenance of courage, freedom, and will in a society that wishes from its people only consumption and compliance. The current hard copy edition of the Review contains a chapter from the book and, in keeping with the work's Sisyphian spirit, it will now have its own web page where editors, reviewers, and readers can find out more about what they're missing and what it's like trying to get ideas published in our post-literate age.

Less than six months later, I got a letter from Parfrey saying that changes in the political climate had made my book worthwhile and he would like to publish it. How many authors get that sort of reprieve?

No comments: