Interview with Greg Trainor, self-published memiorist

Writer Molly Sprayregen interviewed Temple University student Greg Trainor, who recently published his memoir The Great White Whale Dick: A Memoir, which will benefit the Philadelphia Community Corps, through CreateSpace. The book is also available in e-book format through Trainor talked with about his decision to self-publish and the effect it has had.

MS: Why did you decide to self-publish?

GT: You know, you send out query letter after query letter to literary agents, and nobody wants to take a chance on anybody new, and, well, if you’re like me, I think, you know, if you read the first…I mean, I don’t know what you got out of the book, but I think if you read- they ask you to send the first 10,000 words or so, which is like basically the first three chapters. So what they got out of that was another Tucker Max, which I don’t think is what the book is at all. As far as the first three chapters go, yeah. So I think that didn’t go over with literary agents, and with being a new author, nobody wants to take a chance with you, so finally I decided. You know, writers in our generation don’t really need to wait, with all the print-on-demand options that are available, you can just put it out there if you’re actually confident with the book.

MS: At 353 pages, it’s pretty long. Did you cut out a lot of stuff, or did you just decide to include pretty much everything?

GT: I didn’t really cut out a lot, no. When I wrote it, the rough draft came pretty quickly, and after, when I was editing it, there were parts that I cut out, to protect the privacy of others, and stuff like that. There were things that I held back, but mostly I think I expanded on the rough draft. It’s hard to tell, ‘cause I would say when I was editing it-well, basically the way it worked was I wrote it, started writing January 6th, not with the intention of writing a memoir, I wanted to rewrite another book that was stolen, but I was just so angry, I couldn’t. So I decided I was going to just write a short story about what happened just to get over it, and three days later that short story was 75 pages long. And then a week later it was 150 pages long and I realized I was writing a book. And 28 days later I had a book.

MS: You talk a lot about the creation of your foundation, the Philadelphia Community Corps. Where is the PCC now?

GT: Uh, that is in process. Basically, you know, it’s been baby steps and I’ve been trying to figure out a way that I can do this again. In the beginning, it was a grassroots effort, “you know, I’m just going to use all my friends as volunteers”- and, uh, it was a big mistake. I picked the wrong people, I tried to force it, I was impatient. Basically, I’m a huge dreamer…and I paid for that idealism. So this time I’m trying to basically get it all formerly structured before I even bring anybody in.

MS: Any negative reactions to the book, from your family or friends?

GT: I think, when you publish this stuff, it’s out there and that it and you can’t take it back. And my family is going to have to deal with that, ‘cause it’s my life. And I hope that they enjoy it and support it, but if they don’t, that’s their choice. At a certain part, this is just who I am, and as a writer, you’re always going to take from your own life in some way. So even if it wasn’t non-fiction, people would find some reason to be upset.

The Great White Whale Dick is available via Trainor’s CreateSpace Estore.