Necessity Is a Mother Part I—Becoming a Fiction

January 2001
by Burt Levy

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I suppose I should start by plugging my books. Always start out by plugging your books. You may never get another chance. So here goes. The Last Open Road is a hopefully funny, worthwhile, and entertaining coming-of-age story about a 19-year-old New Jersey gas station mechanic set against the backdrop of postwar open road sports car racing in the Eisenhower 50s. It was originally self-published (in July of 1994) for one very simple reason. Nobody else wanted anything to do with it. “Oh, it’s a wonderful story,” as one particularly snotty and arrogant young lady in the New York publishing business told me, “but those people don’t read!”

I disagreed.

So, with my wife Carol’s trembling approval, we took out a second mortgage, formed our own publishing company—Think Fast Ink, and published it ourselves in July of 1994. Our necks were stuck out a country mile! If this thing flopped, our son might not be going to college. Fortunately, the book got great reviews (none, I might add, in the mainstream “book” media—more on that later), sold out two hardcover printings (about 12,000 copies at 25 bucks each), and became something of a cult classic on the old car hobbyist/motor sports scene. Or to put it less delicately, among those very same people who “don’t read” that the know-it-all New York publishing lady warned me about. Ultimately The Last Open Road attracted the attention of St. Martin’s Press, who bought the rights a…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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