Friday, September 13, 2013

The Pitch

Hey, ya like this? When I was a kid, we used to say stuff like this was "ill". Do kids still say that sort of thing? I have no idea, but I think we should bring back the term, if for no other reason that we could maybe hear You Be Illin' on the radio again. Ah well, one can always dream...

Speaking of dreaming, the truly hard work has commenced as far as the thesis is concerned. It's done, but at the moment, it's still just a PDF sitting on the hard drives of myself, a few friends, family, and Fordham (who will eventually make it available here). What good is that though?

So I've begun poking around looking for someone to publish this thing. One of the first problems I ran into was that many journals have word count limits. Public Art Dialogue, which was suggested to me by the fellow who runs Vandalog, for instance, has an 8,000 word limit for submissions to theirs. When I did a word count on my opus, I came out with 41,186 words. Yowza!

Now, granted, this includes appendixes, the bibliography and a whole chapter on 5 Pointz that can easily be cut, as it's more or less bonus material. But still. How the HELL does one cut that down to 8,000 words? Forget cutting to the bone; that feels like I'd be cutting it down to a shadow.

Then there's the issue of who would want to publish such a thing? It's a scholarly piece of writing, but not in the strictest sense, as I've been told my tone is much more colloquial than what is expected for peer-reviewed journals. But also it's not really the kind of work you see in popular publishing either, as it's not a picture book. Well, it does have nearly 80 pictures, so that helps!

Since this is all so new to me, I've been reaching out to as many people as I can think of who might know someone who knows someone who might be willing to have a peek at my work. If I can whittle it down to a fifth of what it currently is, I will submit it to Public Art Dialogue. At the suggestion of Eric Felisbret at @149th St, I e-mailed four publishers; two never responded, and one said they really only do visual books. But another actually responded Wednesday (I'm not going to name them, lest I jinx myself) and asked me to submit, as part of a formal proposal:

-Table of Contents or outline
-A proposed introduction
-A few pages of text
-Six or so sample illustrations


Oh wait, I feel the need for a break here.
So yeah, it's very exciting. Also, predictably scary. I've been writing professionally for 15 years, but this is the first time I've put forth something this big. Given how many terrific books there are about graffiti and street art, it's easy to wonder where my work fits in the existing canon.

I've cut and pasted the Brooklyn chapter, the intro and a slightly pruned down table of contents into a proposal, and will throw in a few images from that case study, and tweak it all so it all seems to go together seemlessly. Then it's back to the old "What do you think of this?" query to a few trusted sources to see if it makes any sense.

Then, who knows? Maybe a book? Stay tuned.

Oh, and for what it's worth, the preceding images are courtesy of the Bushwick Collective and nearby surroundings. Do check them out. It's jaw droppingly good out there.

P.S. If you'd actually like to read the thesis, drop me a line at pverel(at) I'd be happy to send you a copy.