Episode 316: Neal Pollack on Working with Big Publishers, Indie, Amazon—and Everyone in Between

Jun 17, 2020

Neal Pollack, AKA "the Greatest Living American Writer,"  is the author of 11 books of fiction and nonfiction.

His latest, Pothead, covers his journey from drug-addled literary sensation to sober Austin dad. He's written thousands of articles for publications current and defunct, prominent and obscure. To continue with the randomness, he's a three-time Jeopardy! champion and a certified yoga instructor. 

Neal and I have known each other for years, with essays appearing in some of the same books (one of which I edited). A truthteller who reveals the often brutal reality of modern-day publishing, Neal is perhaps most brutal and truth-telling when it comes to himself.

In this conversation, we talked about what happens to Gen X midlist authors, what happens when you seek literary fame and how the most important thing to do when launching a book is to enjoy it.


 
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INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: 

Anna David:                  00:00                Here we go. So yes, I love that you just said you've had every kind of publishing experience because you've also written every kind of book. In a way, except a book of poetry.

Neal Pollack:                 00:12                Oh, I wrote a book of poetry.

Anna David:                  00:14                You didn't.

Neal Pollack:                 00:15                Well, I, yeah, but it didn't get published as a book. It ended up getting put out as a spoken word album, as part of my first audio book. So, so even though I didn't have poetry published, I didn't have any published in English. I did have poetry published in Dutch.

Anna David:                  00:31                That's true too?

Neal Pollack:                 00:33                Yes.

Anna David:                  00:34                It's hard to know when you're talking to a humorist, what's true? Especially when it's something that someone, when one of them says, my Dutch poetry was published.

Neal Pollack:                 00:42                I was in fact, and this story is in my new book, Pothead. I was the American representative to the national poetry day of Holland back some, some year in the odds of 2004, 2002. And you know, I did a lot of, it was Amsterdam. So I did a lot of drugs and really embarrassed myself and my country. And yeah, so, no, so I'm a published poet as well.

Anna David:                  01:11                Let's talk about your career because I find it fascinating and one could say that you were hip to this idea of what one needed to do to launch a book successfully, way before the rest of us. I think you're very savvy in addition to being a great talent. So your first book, let's talk about that. That was originally associated with McSweeney's, published by McSweeney's. So this is called the Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature. Let's talk about that.

Neal Pollack:                 01:43                Yeah, that was well, I had this character who I still published under, occasionally called the Greatest Living American Writer, and he was, he was launched on McSweeney's website, well, the first issue of the McSweeney's website in the late nineties. And then Dave Eggers wanted to start a publishing company and I was still on speaking terms with him back then. And I don't remember if he offered it or if I said, let's do it, or we just kind of came together and decided to make this book. And regardless, the Anthology came out in the Fall of 2000, so basically 20 years ago and you know, and Edgar was, well is, you know, a marketing genius and got this book, so he helped get this book so much attention and, you know, it was full page review in the New York Times. And you know, excerpt in Men's Journal and all that hype your average author will never receive and could never dream of receiving, but it was all very independently done.

Anna David:                  02:52                And so what did he do? He called in favors? Was it the way he was, who he was or how he approached it or both?

Neal Pollack:                 02:59                I mean, that was the height of his coolness. Right? I mean, obviously he's still extremely prominent and like, you know, you can pick up the phone and get Barack Obama to answer like, you know, there's nothing he can't pull off, but that was, you know, McSweeney's just super hip, it was like the toast of New York at that time. And so, like, anything involving McSweeney's was in the game. And I was the first writer to come out of that stable after him. So I got very lucky, you know, this was not an ordinary book launched and it was not an ordinary situation. It can't be replicated. The success to McSweeney's, it was, it wasn't the pre-internet, but it was like a pre social media and it can't, you know, and it was, the literary world was very different back then. It cannot be duplicated. So whatever I did to, you know, get my wedge into the literary world is, it will never be repeated

Anna David:                  03:58                Except you did it. They don't take you out of the literary world or did they revoke your membership?

Neal Pollack:                 04:04                I've come and gone over the years. It's not like I, you know, I arrived and then I just kept on rising, you know, it's not exactly how it works. And then like, and then I don't know if part of that story is then the paperback of the Anthology, I then sold it to Harper Collins, which couldn't be any more different then independent publishing. And so they published this paperback edition and expanded paperback edition. You know, they were trying to like cashed in on the McSweeney's craze. And so they're like, Oh, you know, Neal Pollack is hip and cool, so we'll publish him. And they did a great job and they put out this crazy like four volume spoken word, like I was saying, I did the spoken word poetry. I recorded an album with Bloodshot Records that they put into it. I did like a long Q and AQ with John Hodgeman before he was who he was, you know? I very rare. I think it's still available on Amazon. I don't know. But you know, in a, it how should I say it? Again, it was like a unique phenomenon.

Anna David:                  05:15                Okay. But then when we're experiencing a unique phenomenon, do we know it's a unique phenomenon or were you like, this is just my life. This is what it's going to be like to be me?

Neal Pollack:                 05:24                Well, it was kind of both, right? Because I it was my life. But I don’t know, it's hard to say because I was kind of, you know, I was doing a lot of drugs so I wasn't and it was kind of caught up in the hype of myself, so I wasn't exactly sure what was going on. You know, I just, I just kind of, I was, all I know is that I was like the toast of the town, you know, I was touring all over the world and I was on these big stages and I was like, I was opening for, They Might Be Giant at the Bowery in New York. I've toured Europe with David Byrne, you know, this is all McSweeney's. This wasn't because like, you know, because like, you know, festival organizers in Belgium were like, well, we must get Neal Pollack. He's going to draw thousands, you know, but I, but I did all that stuff and I was on the stage with Eggers and with Zadie Smith and with Sarah Vowel and with all these musical acts, big time musical acts who were like part of Edgar's circle back then. And it was wild. It was absolutely crazy.

Anna David:                  06:27                And yet your biggest book came later. Wasn't Alternadad your biggest book?

Neal Pollack:                 06:33                Alternadad wasn't my bestselling book by.

Anna David:                  06:35                Interesting. So nothing compared to this first one?

Neal Pollack:                 06:40                In terms of the hype but not in terms of the sales, in terms of the sales, the, my, some of my novels that I published later on Amazon with Amazon publishing, not just self published, sold much more. Sold two to three times the copies of these other books that I was telling them, you know, they were being sold, you know, in these like Amazon bundles for like 99 cents, a 1.99, or as part of like this, you know, Kindle Unlimited stuff, you know, so it's, you know, I got a small advance for a bunch of books and I wrote a bunch of, this is later, years later, those books sold better, but they got, but they were not big because it was Amazon and Amazon is widely reviled by the literary elite. There were not reviewed, largely ignored. They weren't, some of them were reviewed some places, but they were, they were ignored. They weren't, they didn't get, you know, the Times wouldn't review them because they were published by Amazon. You know, they wouldn't touch anything related to Amazon publishing. You know, the one, I did a book about like sort of a Jewish history, alternative fiction novel about Jewish basketball players, that got some Jewish press.

                                    07:48                I wrote some yoga detective books that got some of the hippie press, but not a lot know. But those books, some of those books sold better and Alternadad. Well do you mind if I, cause after the Anthology came out then I did like some kind of weird independent publishing project with my buddy Ben out of his garage in Austin where I revived the greatest living American writer and we did a book of like fake war reporting about the Iraq war and 9/11 stuff I'd published in papers and stuff that, you know, that was like so Indy, yeah, we had to, we stuffed the envelopes and mailed it out ourselves. And I don't, I don't, I have a bunch of them here at the house, but I don't think they're available anywhere else. And then, but after that, I published another novel with Harper Collins called Never mind the Polics. I don't know if you remember that one or not, but that was book about punk rock and like making fun of rock critics and it sold a few thousand copies. But like, yeah, it had a very limited audience. Right. But Hey, you know, but, but I got it big advance for that book. Six figure advance, I'll admit it.

Anna David:                  08:57                But wait. Yeah. Since we're talking numbers, this is fun. Did you get money for the first book? I mean, when Harper Collins did the paperback, you did like, let's talk numbers.

Neal Pollack:                 09:06                All right, fine. I got five figures from Harper Collins. Low five figures, you know, it was a reprint. It wasn't, you know, but when it was money, you know, and I got, you know, and I got money for McSweeney's. I don't know. I don't know. But McSweeney's and monies is an odd topic. Like, you don't know. I don't know if it was money I earned or Edger’s just wanted to send me money to keep me quiet or some combination of the two, but then, you know, but then Never mind the Polics, they gave me way more money than that book was ever going to earn back. You know, and you know, I'd say six figures. It was, you know, it wasn't like six figures, like the low six figures in.

Anna David:                  09:47                It wasn't 999,999.

Neal Pollack:                 09:50                No. But it was like, it was a nice, it was a good base income for a writer for two or three years, that's for sure. And you know, for a book that sold 4,000 copies and, you know, I think that that's maybe why I'm having so much trouble making money off my books now. You know, cause it's like, wow, this guy is big money loser. It wasn't my fault. I just took, you know, my agent was just very savvy in getting to be advance. Right. So I took it. And then, you know, then I did all this crazy stuff. Like I formed a punk rock band and I put out an album on an indie rock label and I toured, and I got Harper Collins to pay for my rock tour. You know, they didn't pay my musicians, but they paid for the, you know, the band and other, you know, very, it was a lot of work. But like it was, I didn't go, I didn't lose money touring an unknown band around the country. Right. But it didn't sell books. It was just this kind of weird drug fueled Gonzo adventure that I went on it. And then, you know, after that then came Alternadad. Which again, I got a nice advance for because that was a book with the actual, like mainstream potential, you know, it was like 2004, 2005 gen X was starting to reproduce. And there was this critic, I don't know if you remember hipster parenting.

Anna David:                  11:12                You created it basically.

Neal Pollack:                 11:12                Pretty much, well, I labeled it. I mean, I wasn't the only person doing it. You know, there was that website Babble. Yeah. You know, and there were other, you know, there were other hipster parenting kind of cultural brands going on at the time, but it was like basically like, you know, middle to upper middle class, white gen X parenting. Let's face it. And yeah. And so that book, so that was a very and it was like a, you know, and I had my point of view, which is that I wasn't going to give up being cool to be a dad and I was going to keep like partying and like doing my crazy stuff and you know, and I was going to raise the cool kid. So it sold and then it was, I sold it, but I didn't sell it. I sell it to a different publisher, published with Pantheon, which was like the, the house that publishes Tony Morrison and you know, like other lofty literary figures. And it was just kind of a bad match in a way, cause I don't think that, yeah, nice job editing it. And packaging and especially the paper bag. But I don't think that they were never really behind it, you know, they didn't, you know, and I, and also like I was like, I was doing a lot of drugs and I was confused and I had, I was, I wasn't like thinking clearly. And I was trying to start my own alternative parenting empire. Like I had a website that I was doing called Off Sprung where I was trying to publish all these blogs and I just lost focus and it didn't sell, and even though the reviews were pretty good, didn't sell that well. And yeah. And from there it's, then from there it's been kind of like a money-wise, at least kind of a downward slope.

Anna David:                  13:01                Well, but don't you think that's just the nature of publishing? I was going to say, how has, how has publishing changed over the last 20 years? And I would say the main thing is that they don't give out advances to anybody, but people with a lot of Instagram followers, I don't know. Is that what you think?

Neal Pollack:                 13:16                People with a lot of Instagram followers are the modern version of me, 20 years ago. People still are getting big advances from publishing houses, I think. I don't know. I'm not, yeah. There's still all this like Literary envy on Twitter, so I'm assuming, and they're not envious of me, but they're envious of someone. There are still people who are playing the game as Terry Southern used to call it the quality lit game. And there are people who are still playing it and they're still winning. They're still like have their sinecure you know, it's like there's always like just a few people at the top. You know, when I say at the top, this is like the indie top. I'm not talking about like James Patterson's and Stephen King's and actually successful writers as opposed to the hipster ones who like, you know, are playing the game instead of just succeeding.

Anna David:                  14:14                Okay. So someone like me, my first book deal in 2004, I got $50,000 for a novel. I had no real following, cause that didn't even exist. That couldn't happen today, I don't think to a random good writer, it could, it was not surprising that it happened to me. It was like supposed to, it was happening to people all around me. You know, my advance was very low compared to a lot of the people I knew.

Neal Pollack:                 14:42                Yeah. There was there was just more money available for that kind of thing. There was less, you know, there was no Tic Tok, you know, there, there, there were YouTube celebrities, so like, you know, there was, people were still reading to some extent or reading about reading. You know. Yeah, maybe, but there's, there are still people who are getting that money, we just don't know them anymore cause we're, we're, you know, we're like, off or we've already been recycled.

Anna David:                  15:21                Say something depressing? GO ahead.

Neal Pollack:                 15:22                For the remainder bin. It's okay. It's okay. I'm fine with it.

Anna David:                  15:28                I mean, you could say all my books went right to the remainder. I was the remainder bin as I was coming up. So this is my list.

Neal Pollack:                 15:37                Mid list. They say mid list.

Anna David:                  15:38                Mid list. I remember someone saying that to me before my first book came out and I was like, I feel so bad for that person who's a mid-list author. Like I actually don't think my books hit the middle of the list. Like most of them.

Neal Pollack:                 15:49                You'd be surprised how little it takes to get to the middle of the list because the bottom of the list is nothing. And then the top of the list sells a lot. So we're all in the middle.

Anna David:                  16:00                Well, this is what I've learned. I've learned that, that I was not happy, nor was I making much money as a writer, but that you can be, well, what's happy today? It's really hard to know, but you can make significant money from being a writer. So that is what a lot of the clients hire my company for. And that's what I'm always preaching because I was, you know, six book deals in broke.

Neal Pollack:                 16:22                Yeah. Well, my current approach is that I continue to write books because it's the core skill set I have that other piece that, that majority of people don't like. I can put a book. And when I have the right idea, I can put a coherent narrative together within a few months. Like I can have a publishable book ready when it's time. That's not something everyone can do. So I still do that. But in addition to that, like I, you know, I'm just, I don't know, like I'm not feeling super entrepreneurial these days. I am the editor of pop culture website that does sort of book literary criticism and also TV and film. It's called Book and Film Globe. And I'm like a salaried employee of this company that does these micro blogs. And I, you know, I enjoy it. It gives me something to do every day and it allows me to sort of have a voice and work with other writers and get a weekly income that I, you know, and it's again, like am I making a fortune doing micro blogging?

                                    17:29                No, but I am working. I am a Working writer cause I have a journalism background too, so I'm able to sort of put that into play. And then on top of that, I have whatever book money comes in, which isn't much, but it's something. And then I have you know, it was freelance writing. The Greatest Living American Writer still pops up every now and then, or like I have occasional other side gigs and you know, I am, I'm content with that. Like I'm not, I was very busy trying to get rich and famous for many years and I wasn't very happy, you know. And I mean, obviously the world is a shit pile right now. But if you look at my individual situation, I'm sober. I am, you know, steadily. I at the moment have a job, which is a lot more than a lot of people can say. And you know I feel pretty in control of my life. And I wouldn't trade that for, I mean, I had a lot of fun during the height, but it was also pretty chaotic.

Anna David:                  18:46                Yeah. So let's talk about the sobriety and the new book, which is about that. Okay. And when you said a few times, like I was doing a lot of drugs, I was doing a lot of drugs, but wasn't it just pot? Not the pot is not, was it a lot of drugs or was it just pot?

Neal Pollack:                 19:00                Well, it was mostly weed. I mean, occasionally I'd like, take a pill. If someone gave it to me or like do some kind of random hallucinogen but I wasn't, yeah, I wasn't like doing hard core. Maybe Coke a couple of times. I don't know. But I wasn't doing like hard drugs, you know, I was just, I was, but, but you know, marijuana is pretty powerful, especially when you're doing it in the quantities that I was, I wasn't just smoking a joint a couple of times a week before bed. I was like, I was mainlining it. I had a vaporizer at my desk and I was constantly stoned. And then as it started to legalize, I was eating it in vast quantities and very different forms. I was drinking it, I was vaping it, smoking it. And so I was, I was zonked, you know, if somebody had said, like, I had a bottle of wine by my desk and I was just guzzling it all day while I worked, you'd be like, well, that person's an alcoholic, you know, there's no doubt about it.

                                    19:57                So just because like weed has a better reputation and supposedly like cool and mellow in a health food doesn't mean it's not addictive. So, you know, and then it just kind of progressed. Like it was, it was constant and it was never, it was unchecked. And it just led me to like, I made some bad decisions. I just, you know, I just had a lot, I got into fights with people sometimes when I was wasted. I'd have these big public meltdowns intermittently. Most of the time it was fine and cool and I was just chilling out and watching movies. And then occasionally I would have these crazy blowups, all of which is in the new book. And so you know, it just got in my way. And I think I certainly think that, you know, when we met, I was living in LA trying to make it in the TV and movie business and I'm sure, I mean there were other problems, other reasons why it didn't happen, but I'm sure it got in the way. So I was doing a lot and missing meetings occasionally or like going to meetings high and, or just like not working intelligently, you know, or so. Yeah, so I don't know. I had, I kind of reached a low point in 2017 my mother died unexpectedly and suddenly and horribly and I witnessed it happen.

                                    21:17                And you know, and then I went on a just a crazy drug and gambling spiral for months and months and months. And it culminated with me having a huge public meltdown at the World Series of all places in Los Angeles. Yeah, yeah. Well, it's all again, it's in the book. Just like huge meltdown. I bought a ticket online to it, one of the Dodger World Series games in 2017 and it was turned out to be fraudulent. And like I had a huge meltdown at the gate and like I'm surrounded by security guards. I mean if I hadn't been white I almost certainly would have gone to jail, you know, given how I was behaving. Even so I was like, my eyes were like big and red and I was sobbing and I like had a big bushy beard, and I looked like a crazy, I mean I looked like an absolute lunatic and I was just, just for hours just wandered the grounds of Dodger stadium, blasted out of my mind on drugs, crying and screaming at people, you know, it was freaken ugly. I was by myself. I mean, I was like ranting about it on Facebook. I mean a big male meltdown on Facebook. And I was calling this attorney friend of mine in LA and screaming at him and then, you know, I was calling my wife and screaming at her and it was just, it was, I mean there were other things going on other than drugs. Like, obviously I hadn't been dealing with grief properly and you know, but I wouldn't, that wasn't the last time I got high, but it was the low point. And then like, about two or three weeks later I quit and I entered recovery.

Anna David:                  23:01                And does that mean 12 step? What does that mean?

Neal Pollack:                 23:04                I did. I mean I got a therapist, who specializes in recovery issues, like a dedicated therapist for that, and that certainly helped. But yeah, I, you know, I have a lot of, you know, well, you know, the pitfalls and the benefits of 12 stepping as well as anyone. But you know, it was helpful to me because, you know, it gave me a framework for kind of dealing with my character defects, and you know, and also like really coming to terms with who I needed to apologize to and why and what I needed to do to live my life with more integrity. That doesn't mean my life has been any less, you know, kind of random and weird since then, but it has been a little steadier maybe, and so the book is a is, you know, a lot of the stuff we already talked about is in the book sort of the highs and the lows and the crazy drug fueled rampages. And then the recovery too. And then, you know, and I found that and then my father passed away a little bit over a year after my mother did, which his death was more drawn out, more sort of I don’t know, more normal if there's a thing as normal as death, but, you know, he was sick for a long time, then he died. I was able to, in the sort of his final year be a responsible child to him and a responsible sibling to my sisters and it'd be more of a support for my extended family.

                                    24:40                Whereas when my mother died, I was just this insane baby, late forties baby. And, you know, when my father died, I was able to like, you know, be more of a grownup about it. And you know, it was a long time coming. And so, yeah. So, that's all in the book, which is published by Central Recovery Press out of Las Vegas. They were I, we submitted it to mainstream publishers, but my track record was poor, sales wise and I, you know, I'd spent years getting published by Amazon and I'm sure that didn't help. And also like saying Amazon, publicly saying that I thought Amazon publishing was good. They didn't like that I don't think.

Anna David:                  25:23                Okay. So that was, cause that was going to be my question. When Neal Pollack decides he's got a new book in him, he calls his agent, like what do you, you've had so many different experiences in this publishing game.

Neal Pollack:                 25:33                You know, now things are, yes, I had an agent and then he suggested I self publish a novel and I did. And then he got me into, you know, we were with Amazon publishing offered me this deal, but he wasn't like, they weren't negotiating. And they had their terms and that was it. And then I just feel like you just kind of like, I don't know, the relationship with him just kind of, it deteriorated, not like terribly, it just kind of faded away. And so I hired a new guy and yeah, he sent my manuscript, you know, I tried one version of the manuscript that didn't work and then, you know, and then I published an article in the New York Times about marijuana addiction and that like perked up some ears and then we sent it around. So with my new agent and it's a more normal like agent, author relationship, you know, I send him things, he gives me editorial suggestions. He comes up with some marketing ideas, you know, we work, you know, it's, it's normal. It's actually a totally normal relationship. And you know, and then, was this a huge publishing deal? No, but it was like, they felt it was a normal process and I appreciated the normality of it. And I, you know, in Central Recovery Press definitely focuses on, you know, 12 step books, recovery books. They're not like, I'm not like the most logical fit for them, but, you know, it's been, it's felt, it's been the most normal publishing process I've had in a long time.

Anna David:                  27:04                Wow. I know when you told me that you, cause I know them, it just made me go thumbs up to them. That's a very smart move as opposed to like loving someone in recovery and like the other books that they do.

Neal Pollack:                 27:18                Well, you know, what I have found is that there are a lot of former gen X party people who are now in recovery, you know, because we're middle-aged. So when you become the middle-aged, either you drive off the cliff or you slam on the brakes before you drive off the cliff. And there are some people in that world who remembered me from when I was cool. The guy that edited the book, cause I've never met him. I don't think I even talk to him on the phone, but he's a San Francisco, a literary character named Bucky Sinister. I don't know if that's the name that you?

Anna David:                  27:53                I Freaken love, Bucky edited your book?

Neal Pollack:                 27:57                Yes.

Anna David:                  27:57                He's a good friend of mine. I had no, I love he, have you ever read Black Hole, his book?

Neal Pollack:                 28:02                No, I don't.

Anna David:                  28:04                He's a genius.

Neal Pollack:                 28:05                So, yeah. So he's my editor. Right, and he did a great job and we worked well together. And the main marketing guy has like a long history in indie publishing and you know, so he knows, in fact the only award I've ever received for writing was this thing called the Firecracker Alternative Book award for the Anthology. Like they, I won, I have it here on my wall because it's the only award I've ever won. It was like winner of the Firecracker Alternative Book Award. The Neal Pollock Anthology of American Literature. And he used to be in charge of that. So, you know, in some ways it's like a lot of ways it's a really good fit for me. You know, they're obviously like they're based in Las Vegas, which is not the center of the publishing industry. And they were small and independent and, but they have all the necessary relationships with Ingram and with the bookstores. And you know, they hired an outside publicist who's been terrific and we're doing a bunch of virtual events and, you know. Given that it's happened during a pandemic and what do you want to call what's going on, whatever the situation is that we're dealing with right now,

Anna David:                  29:16                The worst year since 1968 I read this morning, but yeah.

Neal Pollack:                 29:20                Or you know, one of the worst years in American history where like, you know, we've been trapped in our houses and our cities are on fire. Given all that, it's been good, you know.

Anna David:                  29:38                So, okay, this has been awesome. Now I'm going to just say, if you had to give three tips, like what, as we wrap up, what are your top three tips for successful book launch?

Neal Pollack:                 29:48                Oh my God. Well, I would say manage the expectations, right. Don't expect that you're going to become rich and famous off of it. Enjoy whatever interactions you have with whoever is enthusiastic about your work. And have fun because, that at the end of the day, like what else do you want out of life but to have meaningful interactions with people and to enjoy yourself. Because you can't expect that, it could happen, but you can't, you can't really expect that wealth and fame are coming. This is not, that's not what this is about. It's just about, you know, doing something you enjoy and hoping that it goes well.

Anna David:                  30:40                Yeah, I mean absolutely cause it's like I had many that were miserable experiences in terms of.

Neal Pollack:                 30:48                Well I always had fun even if like, cause I was all, you know, even if the sales weren't what they were supposed to be, there was always the, I'm an extrovert so I enjoy making people laugh and like speaking in front of crowds and signing books and like going out for whatever afterwards. So I always had a good time. Even if like, what would get my way were my expectations were too high.

Anna David:                  31:13                Exactly. Exactly.

Neal Pollack:                 31:18                Now I have zero expectations and I think anyone who's launching a book this year or next year or whatever should have zero expectations because, you know, I mean the world is a mess and you know, you're just, I mean whatever the thing is, your book could have bombed any year. So, you know, I published books during recessions. I've published books during presidential election years. I published books during the height of an economic boom and they've all done about the same, so why should a pandemic and a race war yield any different results for me? They're not going to.

Anna David:                  31:57                Well, and what I mean, a pandemic people studies are showing, people are reading more than ever. So there is that too, right?

Neal Pollack:                 32:04                I'm reading like maybe a book a week and I'm a reader, so maybe that's more than, that's about what I was reading. I don't know. Maybe, but you know, but then you add to that, then you add this other situation on top of it and it's like, yeah, maybe people are reading Twitter more than ever.

Anna David:                  32:21                Yeah. I think, I think when it was, when the only crisis in town was the pandemic ,reading was up, now that the world's burning, I don't fucking know if anyone's reading a book.

Neal Pollack:                 32:33                I'm reading a book before I go to bed at night because it's, you know, I've like, you know, cause it's something to do than like read about the fact that Los Angeles is closed.

Anna David:                  32:44                Yeah. Well Neal, this has been a delight. Let us tell people if they would like to find out more about you. Is Neal Pollack the best place to go? Obviously they need to get the book.

Neal Pollack:                 32:58                I better update my website cause I haven't done that yet. There's nothing about my, the book on my website yet. I think I need to hop on that this weekend. I also, I want to plug Book and Film Globe because BookandFilmglobe.com because that's the site that I edit. I write there and I want, you know, I'm really determined to see it succeed. And we've done fairly well even throughout the crisis. You know what, I think we publish fun and interesting and relevant stuff every day. So go there and you can buy Pothead, my new book, any online platform you choose, it's available at indie bookstores if they still exist and on Amazon, which definitely still exists. So you know, I don't know, I'm not that hard to find.

Anna David:                  33:44                Except unless in case you missed all these years of Neal Pollack, let's spell the name because it's not obvious. Not obvious to me.

Neal Pollack:                 33:53                N E A L P O L L A C K.

Anna David:                  33:56                Excellent. Well Neil, thank you so much for doing this.

Neal Pollack:                 33:59                Yes. Anna, what a pleasure to see you. See you, actually see you on zoom again and also like to hear your voice and yeah, know that we're both still hanging in there. Let's hope we can do this 10 years from now too.

Anna David:                  34:12                Gen X'ers still kicking around the publishing game. Oh God. That's just, I knew this would cheer me up. Okay, you guys, thank you for listening and please go get Neal's book, Pothead, and I will see you talk to you next week. Awesome.

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