Eraserhead Press Publishes Book Plucked From LitReactor Class
As the director of LitReactor's class program, it's always thrilling to hear that students have placed the essays and stories they've written in our classrooms for publication. And now, here's something really special: Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas, which was just published by Eraserhead Press, was plucked directly from one of our classes!
Earlier this year, Rose O'Keefe, the head of Eraserhead Press, taught a workshop for LitReactor called Bizarro Fiction 101. Before that class, I didn't know much about the genre, but I knew Rose had a great reputation, and the genre seemed to have a passionate community. As with any new class, I was worried it would be a tough sell—and then it sold out. Quickly.
As for the pickup, Rose said she didn't have any expectation that she would find something publishable, but that changed by the end of class:
[In] the fourth week of class, when teaching them about putting together a synopsis for pitching books to publishers, I decided to invite them to submit their pitches to one of my editors at Eraserhead Press, if they so desired. Pax Titanus was originally written as a short story by Tom Lucas in week two of our class, the week we focused on creating memorable Bizarro characters. His writing is smart and imaginative and I could see through his work in class that he was a good storyteller with a lot of enthusiasm.
Tom submitted not only that pitch, but two other book pitches to Eraserhead Press editor, Spike Marlowe. She was thrilled to received them and accepted Pax Titanus for our New Bizarro Author Series, which was published in November 2014. It's a fun exciting read that is both action packed and hilarious, but at the same time emotionally complex and layered. I highly recommend people check it out!
I asked Tom a bit about why he signed up for the class, and here's what he had to say:
First and foremost, I signed up for the class because I have had a suspicion that much of my writing skewed toward Bizarro, but I wasn’t entirely sure. I was hoping to learn more about the genre and in turn, how my writing might fit within its scope.
Secondly, and not something I announced when entering the class, I was treating the experience like a debut or audition. It was my intention to make a positive impression, in the hopes of being able to submit or pitch some time in the future, to either Eraserhead Press, or another Bizarro publisher.
The class was a rigorous four weeks and I turned out three different short stories, all of which I felt were workable drafts. In the final week, Rose opened her door to pitches and I wrote a pitch based on each of the stories. I didn’t know what might grab her interest, but I was excited at the prospect of writing any of them.
Turns out I wrote some decent pitches.
Let's all raise our glasses to Tom, and then go buy three copies of his book, which is about an alien construction worker who enters the greatest fighting tournament in the universe to save his kidnapped son.
This isn't the first time one of our classes has produced a publication credit. Plenty of short stories were cut in our classrooms. Chloe Caldwell's students routinely place their essays. Our first erotica class, led by Rachel Kramer Bussel, just ended, and it's already produced a sale: "Rain Dog" by LN Bey will be published in an anthology next year. But this is, to my knowledge, the first book that jumped directly from the classroom to print.
I try my best to keep track of this stuff, but if you've published something that came out of one of our classrooms, please share it in the comments!
And, heavens forbid I let an opportunity for promo go by: We've got a ton of classes coming up in the new year, plus one very cool class on novel structure starting Thursday. Check them all out here.
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