ADVENTURES IN AUTHORING: ANSWERING NEGATIVE CRITICISM

A while back I was having dinner with my publisher, Tim Schaffner, when the subject of negative criticism of Lee Marvin Point Blank came up.
Don’t get me wrong, the overwhelming majority of reviews of the book have been largely positive and for that I am eternally grateful.

Paperback back cover of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK (designed by Jake Kiehle) highlighting some of the reviews.

However, the handful of negative criticism still stick in one’s craw. I can chuckle at it now but at the time, you can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be pummeled over something the critic claims authority over, yet in reality, knows nothing about….and then blames me!
What had bothered Tim was a review that not only raked the book over the coals, but also tore into what the reviewer thought was the awful editing of the book. Why did that bother Tim so much? He just happened to have been the editor! I told him I had read some other negatives too, but he emphasized to me in no uncertain terms that no matter how tempting it is: DO NOT RESPOND IN KIND. His point being that iit gives them a platform, brings you down to their level, and might even effect sales negatively in the long run if the review is believed.
He was right of course, but seeing as how this is my blog, to help support and supplement my book, run for cover if you are so inclined as I’m-a gonna fire back, once and for all. As James Dean said to Rock Hudson in Giant: “And there ain’t a dang thing you can do about it!”
Okay, Since I had told Tim I wouldn’t respond in kind, and to keep myself as honest as possible, I’ll just focus on two such reviews and I won’t be citing the source of the criticism. I’ll merely quote the inane comment anonymously and then show how frustratingly wrong they can be. Ready? I’ll start with the one that pissed off Tim so much. Here goes….

… Dwayne Epstein’s Lee Marvin: Point Blank isn’t anything close to definitive. A sloppily edited assemblage of interviews, it’s first-draft oral history in which readers with considerable patience can find Epstein issues several medical diagnoses derived from his own conclusions….Marvin fans who can get through all the throat-clearing tedium will find similar quotable bits in these underedited pages.

Heh, heh. Can you see why Tim, the book, editor got so pissed? No proof to back up their claim, no alternative response, not even an example of my ‘throat-clearing tedium,’ other than one sentence in which the quote is taken completely out of context. I hope the idiotic reviewer got paid well for his online rant because he may have kept a lot of well-meaning movie geeks from reading my book and discovering Lee Marvin for themselves. Sadly, it’s their loss.
And now, my personal favorite. There’s the one from a respected and long-in-the-tooth film journal that went to town on my facts. Strange scenario involved as well because the reviewer sent me the review and apologized as it was a last minute assignment for him, thus hinting that he may not have read the whole thing. Like a bonehead, I thanked him for his effort without reading the review first. Still kicking myself over that one. Here’s part of what bugged me….

Epstein does tell of Marvin—during the filming of Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One (1980), his last great role—taking the stage at a Roman-built amphitheater in Israel to recite a soliloquy from King Lear. That event is as surprising to the reader as it must have been to Marvin’s costars, as there’s no other mention in the book of Marvin having an affinity or aptitude for William Shakespeare or classical drama.

Hmm, do you think he may have missed the section in which Lee studied the classics at the American Theatre Wing (ATW)? Possibly. Then again, he probably also missed this image in the photo section (laid out by graphic artist Jake Kiehle), as well…..

Lee Marvin in LM:PB’s photo section shown in Shakespearean garb while attending the ATW.

I swear to you folks, try as you might, you just can’t make these things up!
Okay, enough ranting. Don’t go by my word as to the book’s value. Certainly don’t go by the word of an online movie geek or pompous film journalist, either. By all means, judge for yourself. Read the book. Find out about Lee Marvin. Rent or download some of his films. Then, do something revolutionary these days: make up your OWN mind.
– Dwayne Epstein

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LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK HARDCOVER GOING OUT OF PRINT

A recent conversation with my publisher, Tim Schaffner of Schaffner Press, resulted in the discovery that when the Lee Marvin Point Blank hardcover sells out of copies, it will NOT be going back for another print run. Matter of fact, he told me that he won’t be doing any future titles in hardcover. as all titles will be done in paperback.
By the way, if you didn’t know it (as I didn’t until my publisher told me), when you remove the dust jacket, there’s a pretty cool graphic added to it by graphic artist, Jake Kiehle, that is exclusive to the hardcover. Sort of the cherry on the sundae as my publisher called it…

Hard cover of LEE MARVIN: POINT BLANK minus the dust jacket.

To put it more succinctly, once the hardcover is gone, it is gone! That, by the way, is not an entirely bad thing.  It increases my royalties as the sales numbers pass a certain threshold amount. Also, when the hardcover sells out, it makes it a bona fide, one-of-a-kind collectible.
I’d like to be able to say that I was in a position to make some sort of promotional offer in order to help boost those sales but unfortunately, I’m not. I can, however, make another ‘kind’ of offer in an effort to boost sales. If you purchase the hardcover, I will personally send you the following: A sticker for the cover denoting the bronze “IPPY” award in the Biography category it earned in 2013, as seen pictured herein.

2-inch bronze foil sticker indicating LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK’S win of the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2013.

Since I can’t personally sign every Point Blank hardcover copy purchased, I can do the next best thing. Another give-away I can offer is a personally signed postcard. I was on the A&E biography of Lee (back in 2001) when I was still diligently researching his life and was given these promotional postcards after it aired. I will personally sign and send one to anyone free of charge!

Lee Marvin, shown on the set of THE DIRTY DOZEN, on the card used to advertise the Emmy-winning 2001 episode of A&E’s biography of the actor, featuring the author of LEE MARVIN POINT BLANK.

If you prefer, I have a bunch of other postcards I can sign from a book signing I did at a northern California bookstore called Loveable Rogue that unfortunately is no longer in existence. Of course, that would make it a collectible of a kind, as well. Just let me know which one you prefer and I’ll accommodate your request. Must act soon as I have a limited amount of stickers and postcards.

Front & back view of cards printed up for the “Loveable Rogue book signing in Novato, Calif.

 

 

The hardcover can be purchased on line on several sites, but make sure you’re ordering the Point Blank hardcover and not the Kindle or paperback. Links to such sites are highlighted here in blue and you can simply click on it and it’ll take you right to it.
The price Amazon is charging is $14.65, which is 48% less than the cover. Barnes & Noble is priced $18.95 which is 32% less than the cover price. The same with the Books-A-Million (BAM!) price.

  • One last reason to consider the hardcover. August 29th of this year will mark the 30th anniversary of Lee Marvin’s passing. Since he is no longer with us, I think there may be no better way to honor his passing than with the purchase of a book that will also soon no longer be with us. Just a thought.
    Anyone interested in taking me up on my offer can simply message me here as shown below. Thanks for looking and long live the memory of the great Lee Marvin!
  • -Dwayne Epstein
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NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER LIST

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER LIST!

The name alone is intimidating. More than that, it is the dream of every writer to make that list, whether are willing to admit it or not. To make the list at any point i ones career is impressive. To do so on one’s first effort is to knock it out of the park in Yankee Stadium at your first at bta on opening day!
I wasn’t planning on posting anything new about Lee Marvin: Point Blank until this weekend but when the Times themselves made the list public on their site, I just couldn’t contain myself. It was hardly a solo effort and required the hard work of many people, among them are my amazing agent, Mike Hamilburg, my visionary publisher Tim Schaffner, distributor IPG’s Lauren Klouda, NeoCon’s Mike Phillips (the guy who taught me how to do all this website nonsense), graphic artist Jake Kiehle, and several other individuals who can also add this accomplishment to their resumes! For their efforts, I humbly thank them all. For what you may ask? Take a gander at BOTH lists below, appropriately enough being seen on June 6th…..

NYT1

NEW YORK TMES BEST SELLER LIST 6/15/14

 

NYT2

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER EBOOK LIST, 6/6/14

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