Novelist Invites Readers to Influence Book





Readers’ Feedback Will Write Novel



MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Procrastination is a writer’s enemy. Yet for writer John Henry Fleming, the real writing often occurs during periods of procrastination. Fleming’s The Book I Will Write (Atticus Books, Summer 2012) started as a side project to give him a break from writing a novel and has now evolved into its own book project where readers’ comments will shape the story.

The serial novel addresses the naiveté and optimism of young writers obsessed with literature and the idea of writing but who spend most of their time away from the keyboard. The young would-be writer in The Book I Will Write—named John Henry Fleming—corresponds via e-mails with a fictional senior editor at Knopf Publishing. The epistolary relationship that follows reflects John’s self-deception about the market forces at work in the publishing industry and the editor’s willingness to play into the idealized falsehoods John holds.

In the face of changing dynamics within the publishing industry, Fleming’s novel is still a work in progress. Each installment will appear on the Atticus Books website and, similar to social reading apps now common with e-readers like the Nook and Kindle, readers will have the opportunity to comment on each segment of the novel and potentially shape its story and direction.

Fleming is excited about the opportunities for author-reader interaction. “I’d love to get input from readers.  I’d love for them to invent their own characters who interact with mine.  I’d love for them to help me build this world. I’ll be getting the kind of live, in-progress commentary that’s rare for writers.”

The fictional John Henry Fleming at the center of The Book I Will Write is a reflection of the thousands of hopeful writers and MFA graduates laboring on their writing dreams. However, the real Fleming is adamant about maintaining a level of willful naiveté. “It’s better not to know too much [about the publishing industry],” he advises. “Other than having the mechanical stuff down–how to format a manuscript, where to send your work, how to query, etc.–it’s better to keep your attention on your writing and your growth as a writer.”

A Pushcart Prize nominee and Calvino Prize finalist, Fleming currently teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida. Atticus Books will publish a new installment of The Book I Will Write on their website every Wednesday and Thursday. Read the first and second installments.




John Fleming’s stories have appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The North American Review, Mississippi Review, Fourteen Hills, and Carve, among others. He is the author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, a novel, and Fearsome Creatures of Florida, a literary bestiary. He teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida and is the founder and advisory editor for Saw Palm: florida literature and art. He blogs at


 Contact: Lacey N. Dunham, Publicist / 301.525.8729

Atticus Books is a multimedia press that specializes in literary fiction. Atticus is run by founder and publisher Dan Cafaro and assistant editor Libby O’Neill. Visit us on the web at