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April 9, 2012

The Forgotten Fake

Several years ago, as I watched the burgeoning self-publishing market grow in both popularity and quality, I came up with a brilliant idea: what if I created a small press so convincing, nobody realized it was 100% fake? What if I made a charming, professional-looking website, created book covers for nonexistent novels, and then buried my own, actual writing within it? Operating under the theory that as long as a con looks convincing, the mark won’t look too deeply at it, I invested in a domain name, whipped up a nice-looking web design, and then got to work on the artifice of the actual company.

The Backstory

I decided the company, Idle Valley Press (named for the elite town Raymond Chandler modeled on the San Fernando Valley in The Long Goodbye), would be based in Lafayette, Indiana, founded by bitter Purdue grads looking to make their mark. Their first decision was to purchase the entire back catalog of an obscure, long out-of-print author named Greenfield McKenna. Who is Greenfield McKenna? Somebody I made up, inspired by the words I hear when Lafayette native Axl Rose squeals “Down in the gutter” in “Back Off Bitch.”

The focus of Idle Valley Press was satirical novels — social satire, political satire, literary satire — to coincide with my own satirical agenda and the fact that I found very few small presses that would publish humor novels. In that spirit, McKenna was a Beat poet who had a sense of humor and was ostracized by his San Francisco community because of it. I’m pretty sure the founders of Idle Valley Press only liked him ironically, but their strategy of reprinting his old books paid off and gave them enough seed money to take on new projects.

Over the course of five years, they developed a reliable stable of writers. In my ideal life, I would continue to perpetuate this company’s existence and write all the books I made up and ascribed to these fictitious writers. I didn’t spend much time or energy on spewing out these ideas, but I kinda started to fall in love with them, especially when I started writing the excerpts.

Read "The Forgotten Fake" »

Posted by D. B. Bates on April 9, 2012 9:42 AM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

January 13, 2004

Der Kristall Der Flüssigen Erfrischung

Title: Der Kristall Der Flüssigen Erfrischung Genre: Comedy/Stylistic Parody Length: 11 pages Synopsis: Inexplicably written in the style of Mary Shelley, Love Boat captain Merrill Stubing writes to his sister about a crash and a talking manatee. Click the image…

Posted by D. B. Bates on January 13, 2004 3:23 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

January 3, 2004

The Foot

Title: The Foot Genre: Comedy (Structural Parody) Length: 47 pages Synopsis: A disgruntled shoe salesman finds the foot of a beloved college football place-kicker in a bowl of Jell-O. While he tries to hide the foot, place-kicker Peter Franklin tries…

Posted by D. B. Bates on January 3, 2004 3:07 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

December 17, 2003

Giant Cockroach

Title: Giant Cockroach Genre: Comedy Length: 6 pages Synopsis: Awake and uncomfortable in his latest sexual conquest’s filthy apartment, a young man decides to masturbate while leering at her naked body. Click the image to download….

Posted by D. B. Bates on December 17, 2003 3:21 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

Gus Stanton, Cowboy of Malevolence!

Title: Gus Stanton, Cowboy of Malevolence! Genre: Comedy/Western Length: 6 pages Synopsis: During a difficult cattle drive, one cowboy tells his companions the story of killing an English sheriff in the boomtown of Gold Town, Arizona. Click the image to…

Posted by D. B. Bates on December 17, 2003 3:16 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

November 12, 2003

Caroline, No

Title: Caroline, No Genre: Comedy Length: 5 pages Synopsis: Kids say the darndest things, especially when one boy asks out his best friend’s obnoxious cousin during the world’s most awkward Thanksgiving dinner. Click the image to download….

Posted by D. B. Bates on November 12, 2003 3:26 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

November 5, 2003

The Stupid Things We Do for Love

Title: The Stupid Things We Do for Love Genre: Comedy Length: 7 pages Synopsis: A nurse contemplates murder when he falls in love with a comatose patient’s wife. Click the image to download. …

Posted by D. B. Bates on November 5, 2003 3:03 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

December 17, 2002

Pima Road

Title: Queen of the Castle Genre: Comedy Length: 5 pages Synopsis: Juvenile delinquents get chased into the depths of a Phoenix sewer tunnel after innocently hurling rocks at passing cars. Click the image to download….

Posted by D. B. Bates on December 17, 2002 3:12 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

December 10, 2002

Queen of the Castle

Title: Queen of the Castle Genre: Drama Length: 4 pages Synopsis: A seemingly innocuous action from a little girl takes on symbolic meaning as it shifts the balance of power between parent and child. Click the image to download….

Posted by D. B. Bates on December 10, 2002 3:10 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

December 3, 2002

The Many Pleasures of the Female Form

Title: The Many Pleasures of the Female Form Genre: Comedy/Western Length: 3 pages Synopsis: A depressed cowboy shares the story of his parents’ unconventional romance. Click the image to download. …

Posted by D. B. Bates on December 3, 2002 3:05 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

November 25, 2002

Girl in Faux Leopard-Fur Jacket

Title: Girl in Faux Leopard-Fur Jacket Genre: Dramedy Length: 6 pages Synopsis: A young woman contemplates returning to her abusive boyfriend, until another man starts flirting with her. Click the image to download….

Posted by D. B. Bates on November 25, 2002 3:19 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

November 19, 2002

When Edison Came to Stay

Title: When Edison Came to Stay Genre: Comedy Length: 6 pages Synopsis: After he’s killed in a lab accident, a disciple of Thomas Edison finds himself working a grueling afterlife job distracting intelligent people with the inane conversation of others….

Posted by D. B. Bates on November 19, 2002 2:58 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

October 22, 2002

Thieves in the Night

Title: Thieves in the Night Genre: Thriller Length: 5 pages Synopsis: Two men kidnap a young boy for unknown but almost certainly nefarious reasons. Click the image to download. …

Posted by D. B. Bates on October 22, 2002 3:02 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

October 15, 2002

Letter to Thomas

Title: Letter to Thomas Genre: Comedy Length: 3 pages Synopsis: A murderously enraged man writes a letter to his best friend as he gets drunk in a small-town bar. Click the image to download….

Posted by D. B. Bates on October 15, 2002 3:14 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)

October 12, 2002

A Chance of Rapture

Title: A Chance of Rapture Genre: Comedy Length: 28 pages Synopsis: A devout farmboy meets God at a rural bar and asks Him to save his terminal sister. God agrees, on one condition — the farmboy must join forces with a handful…

Posted by D. B. Bates on October 12, 2002 3:28 PM  | Permalink  | Print-Friendly  | Comments (0)