GUEST POST: READ IMMEDIATELY, a message from Lisa Dierbeck

Urgent updates on the state of publishing, from the author of the novel The Autobiography of Jenny X, Lisa Dierbeck.  Waste no time: read on, get excited, take a risk.  For those of you who don’t know, Lisa is a member of the brand-spankin-new but long-needed publishing outfit Mischief + Mayhem, and neither she nor they are kidding around.  Clearly! (read on after the jump):

Action for a dying book biz on the verge of bankruptcy:
True tales of Mischief + Mayhem, a new alternative press
determined to rescue the spirit of the Book
and publish daring, edgy, surprising novels (by crazy people with delusions of grandeur.)

Welcome to My Top Secret Diary, taking you behind the scenes of Mischief + Mayhem to chronicle the inner workings of a small, shadowy enterprise poised to overturn the publishing industry. We are a raggedy band of Outsider artists sassy and delusional enough to battle for the soul of the American novel and fight Goliath!

Are we on drugs, you ask? No, and yes. Just two months old, Mischief+Mayhem is a band of five grandiose, battle-scarred authors, published by fancy places like Farrar Straus, Knopf and HarperCollins. Renegades in a quest for greater artistic freedom, we just up and started our own publishing company. Instead of an office, we have a kitchen table. Instead of a business plan, we have vodka. Instead of cool-headed professionalism, we have heated arguments, cursing loudly in public last week in a snooty private club in Manhattan (me) and (me again)

Despite our drama-queen ways, we share one belief: publishing in 2010 has gotten horrifyingly conservative. Today, editors and agents are interfering in the creative process – capitulating to commercial pressures so extreme they’re crippling. Instead of succumbing, writers are defecting to launch an underground resistance movement.

For your reading pleasure, Mischief+Mayhem has staged a revolt against formulaic plotlines,  homogeneity and business as usual. We’re tired of writing for The Man. In the digital age, we’re resolved to resurrect the Glory of the Book – the novel as a colorful organism full of spikes, warts and edges, not a sleek, predictable commercial product.

Join us for our Action for a Dying Book Biz on the Verge of Bankruptcy, inspired by that über-daring, risk-taking art group, the Viennese Actionists — the most outlandishly anti-war and anti-commercial artists in history. On Tuesday December 7, at 6:30 p.m. SHARP, we Mischief-makers are gathering inside the fortress of the Enemy – the Union Square Barnes and Noble.

We’re staging a guerilla reading. To take part, you need only to show up. And signal that you’re a publishing revolutionary by wearing a red flower in your lapel. You’ll find founding editors of Mischief+Mayhem strutting around like Outlaw peacocks, supported by a crew of talented, if inebriated, authors, interns, and bloggers. Our mission? It must remain a secret.

We are plotting to take on a corporate ogre whose policies have harmed the Book we love.


Please wear a dashing costume if you’re so inclined. Black hats with red feathers and ski masks perhaps?

You’ll find my freshly published second novel, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JENNY X, cradled to my bosom like a fragile infant in a hostile, wintry landscape. The poor creature is being born at a moment when books are seen as candidates for the Endangered Species list. What will happen to little JENNY X, just one week old and already “psychologically taut…beguiling…shy and sharp” according to the New York Observer? Will she live or die, fail or triumph? After years as embattled, bohemian writers, what will happen to us, and, um, to me? We’re poised on a precipice here, pal. To find out, tune in to My Top Secret Diary. And check us out on


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