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  • Russell Jaffe

Interview with Gary Beck

On April 22 of this year, I got an email that was different from my usual submissions and reminders from Wix to pay more money for their many apps and painfully, somewhat sweetly dated pleas for me to sign up for a Wix email address. It was this: a press release for a forthcoming book by author Gary Beck.

Sudden Conflicts A Novel by Gary Beck

For Immediate Release

Author Gary Beck once again captivates with his newest novel, Sudden Conflicts. Three brilliant college roommates, from disparate backgrounds, aspire to join the world of high-tech super giants. Armed with newly-earned PhDs, they share a tiny New York City apartment. Humor, and years of deep friendship help them endure long months of searching for rich investors.

While the trio fights to gain millions of dollars from entrepreneurs, threats, hackers, and intrigues build to a climax. When TJ and Pete start dating two lovely young women, danger escalates, FBI agents become involved, and a Chinese businessman makes an offer they might not be able to refuse. The friends are forced to make hard choices when revenge and morality present opposing pressures.

Sudden Conflicts is a 298 page novel. Available in paperback with a retail price of $15.95, and an ebook for $2.99. ISBN:1945646136 Published by Lillicat Publishers. Available now through all major retailers. For information or to request a review copy contact:

Sudden Conflicts Video:

What really grabbed me was the cover image:

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 2 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines & Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing). Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). Virtual Living will be published by Thurston Howl Publications. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing) and Call to Valor (Gnome on Pigs Productions). Sudden Conflicts will be published by Lillicat Publishers and State of Rage by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

I reached out to Gary to ask if I could interview him about this. I don't usually get press releases of any kind, so maybe talking to him could illuminate the world of writing today: hustling, being a writer and promoter, using various forms of social media and video interfaces to increase awareness. It seemed like an interesting alternative to just being a cavalier cool person on Facebook, an Instagram poet with links to a Tumblr where you can buy their self published books or broadsides, or being on a major publishing house that has a team sending out review copies and press releases.

It got me thinking about the role of a writer in 2017. Is it like being Inspector Gadget? Are we our work, our process, and our production in one catch-all figure that springs into go-go-gadget action?

Was Gary Beck a DIY publishing house for himself? Is this really what we all are, but in myriad ways? Aren't we all writing our own press releases, branding ourselves with language, sometimes even email updates about our lives?

He wrote me back. Here are my questions:

-talk a little about your promotion process. What you do, how, how you send. Do you feel submitting--promoting--is part of the journey?

-it seems like the poet of today is a one stop shop: artist, promoter, PR rep, critic, reviewer! Do you agree with that? Have you seen the landscape of literature and lit promotions change?

-in the case of this one, where do you find your images? What attracted you to it?

-same goes for the videos/previews. Where do you find or make these?

-do you think the purpose of creating art is to document yourself, the human experience, somewhere between those things?

-Do you have an agent or a team? Or is this all you?

-do you know that I continue to teach your essay "not your everyday homeless proposal?" Can you speak to what being anthologized did for your life/career/etc?

GO NUTS! Talk your life, your bio, your hopes, your dreams! I want to craft a profile of your unique work and presentation/promotion! Pictures welcome, too.

GO NUTS! Yr pal,


His response:

Hi Russell,

For better or worse.

Unfortunately I have virtually no promotional skills. My brother is my literary manager. He researches and selects book and magazine publishers. I pick the submissions and he

Sends them, primarily email and submittable, with the occasional snail. This is a burdensome part of the journey for me, but we've developed a large mailing list and we send press releases for every book that includes description, video trailer, bio and

Publishers info.

Since there is little public recognition and less monetary reward for the poet, each poet must do according to his/her ability and need. With the advent of thousands of emags

And electronic reading devices the landscape of literature has unalterably changed.

Hard copy will disappear faster and faster.

I outline the concept of the video with my video producer who prepares a rough cut that

I revise. It's a tool that I keep hoping will attract attention, but with hundreds of thousands on YouTube...

For me, the purpose of creating art is to improve the human man condition.

My brother [Robert--ed.] is my team.

The homeless essay was included in a college textbook. I hope it reached some. I can't

Quantify what anything has done for my career, but I'm getting published extensively,

So something must be working.


Robert finds some sources on Duotrope, as well as general searches on the web.

The video trailers have mostly been a minute or so. The poem is the script that I voice over. I outline the visual concept and the producer makes a rough cut. I suggest revisions, then we go to final. (I was a video documentary and short film maker, so the

Process is familiar).

The textbook author read my essay about homelessness in a lit mag, was suitably impressed, got her publisher to arrange a contract that paid a fee for several years.

The plus for me was having students read the essay, which proposed solutions, and

Hopefully be inspired to think about the terrible problem.

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