April 3rd, 2009

Alive in Taganga

So here it begins. With me sitting in the antechamber of a dimly lit hostel in Taganga, Colombia, tapping away at my computer while outside the sun is setting and dipping in the sky, while a big-ass lunky Swede asks the woman behind the desk sweetly for a cup of coffee. Because of the heat I am not wearing a shirt and thusly, deranged Latino mosquitoes are biting the hell out of my lower back and elbows. But none of that matters right now. ‘Cuz I’m a man on a mission.

About three years ago I set out to write a book about the most exciting and idiotic period of my entire life: my multi-year venture into the muck and filth of the sepulchrous sinkhole some call the titty industry: ie, Porno. It was a grand time marked by incredible naivete, unceasing horniness (hey, I was 24), and an unbelievable, seemingly bottomless supply of brassy, boastful, mildly maniacal supporting characters who couldn’t have been more ripe for parody had they been sent directly to my desk from casting central.

In retrospect, writing a book about my personal journey in porn was the EASY part. . .

Selling it was harder.

I hooked up with a New York literary agent in the fall of 2006, and man, you should have heard me shine. I thought I was two weeks away from twenty grand and a three-book deal. Hell, I was calling up friends and asking them for recommendations for illustrators. The balls on this kid, right? I knew I was on the verge of stardom. But then my agent wanted endless revisions (and he was right to want them); that slowed the process somewhat. Four months of revisions . . . I moved to Portland and got a job at a bottling factory. Which turned into a job at Wells Fargo, which turned into a job putting computers together . . but I swam through it all with confidence, knowing my book deal would come through and I’d be on easy street soon enough.

Finally, we were ready to submit, and my agent got the manuscript into the hands of several large houses. Time to wait some more as they consented to read it . . .

And wait some more . . .

Over the next YEAR and a HALF (!) I nearly sold the book twice, once to a A Publishing House I Cannot Name and then once to Another Publishing House I Cannot Name Though I’d Like To Because In My Heart I am Mildly Resentful. I aged. I lost my girlish good looks. I’ll admit, I was slower to smile. Something was leaking out of my life. I think it was confidence.

But I’m back, and for some reason, my confidence’s feeling renewed. If the big boys don’t want to play ball, well, I’m going to cut them out and go right to the street. Because I do think, in my heart, that the general public wants to hear the tale of a kid who loved porn so much that he decided to try to produce it himself. I do think, in my heart, that I can find enough buyers willing to pay $9.99 for the right to digitally download a book that outlines the saga of a modern-day Jewish Don Quixote, a big-nosed dreamer who thought he could take on the entire industry, and create a new kind of skin flick, one that challenged your mind. One that filled the screen not with glowing ejaculate, but with a hippie-infused, astrology-sauced “love-energy.” Oh, I was a goddamn failure in the porno game, right from the very beginning and in every way you could measure it . . . but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy story . . .

And so this blog is meant to chronicle my journey in attempting to hawk enough copies of this book to SURVIVE. Or “sobrevivir,” as I think they say it here in Colombia (my Spanish is god-awful; I’m drawing on high school, here.) This blog is meant to explain, on a semi-regular basis, my strategies for successfully selling an ebook. You will be treated to my strategems; you will be made into a Twitter co-conspirator and my own personal social marketing consultant. You will be asked to listen as I outline my progress; you will be asked to stand witness as I lament my setbacks.

You will be there when we rise.

And ha HA! What is up with my cocktail voice?? For some reason, whenever I get to typing for long enough, I fall into this saucy little “announcer” tone. I apologize for it, but there is no guarantee I can ever make it go away.

So that’s enough for now: you know what I’m here to do. I am here to make my presence known. I am here to sell some motherfucking books. I am here, in a hostel in Taganga, Colombia, half-listening to white people speak bad Spanish, as I try to get my life back on track — through the eventual success of a book I have chosen to call “Confessions of an Ivy-League Pornographer.”

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One Response to “Alive in Taganga”

  1. Amir says:

    I miss the hell out of you Sammy. As always, your writing brings a huge unfiltered goofy ass smile to my face. I wish you were here right now, or maybe tomorrow afternoon. We could carelessly mount two shitty bikes donning pastel colored trucker hats, ill fitting sneakers, and cut off plaid shorts. Then we could make our way to a deserted playground with a $9.99 plastic basketball balanced precariously on the handlebars and proceed to play several testosterone fueled games of sweaty and cramp inducing 1 on 1. Perhaps we might lay on the grass, look up at the blue sky and let the coolness of the earth seep into our backs while watching our breaths–weaving recklessly between sending rippling waves of friendliness from our hearts to all beings, and savagely deconstructing the unfortunate and absurd quirks of suffering beings.

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