The following is taken from Brian Burnes' Readorama column today in the Kansas City Star:
Readorama: For the lesser known, book buzz is elusive
Ivan Goldman published his fourth novel this spring.
“Isaac: A Modern Fable” concerns the biblical character who, once spared being sacrificed by his father Abraham, wanders forward through time until he falls for a college professor in contemporary Los Angeles. Her name: Ruth.
Booklist called the book “compelling;” Publisher’s Weekly declared it “entertaining.”
So what’s not to like? Just this: Not once has Goldman seen “Isaac” on a bookstore shelf.
“Sometimes I think we have 2 1/2 bookstores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the independents,” Goldman said recently from his Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., home. “Sometimes it’s just difficult to get a buzz going for a book.”
Goldman has a track record.
A reporter for The Kansas City Times in the late 1960s, Goldman went on to the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. One nonfiction book he co-authored, “L.A. Secret Police: Inside the LAPD Elite Spy Network,” was a best-seller. Another nonfiction book, “Sick Justice,” about the criminal justice system, should appear next year.
Goldman is pleased that “Isaac” was published by Permanent Press of New York, a well-regarded independent. But he wonders if the marketing clout of the larger publishers crowds titles issued by other houses off the shelves.
“A book has a very short time to make a splash because there are people with books right behind you. It’s like you’re in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I feel very lucky to be published at all, but it’s hard to spend a year of your life writing a book and have nobody ever hear about it.”
All this would represent a cautionary tale if Goldman meant to warn people away from the writing life.
But he’s writing another novel.
“I just want to keep writing novels as long as my mind will allow me to,” said Goldman, 69. “I think every novel I’ve written was better than the one before. I think ‘Isaac’ was the best one I ever wrote. I think the next one will be even better.”
For more about “Isaac” and Goldman, go to redroom.com/member/ivan-g-goldman.
Causes Ivan Goldman Supports
American Heart Association
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Beit T'Shuvah Recovery Program