On defense of 'vanity' publishing
I was mildly amused by Mr. Kailing's crabby missive of March 11, wherein he suggested that I used a "vanity press" to purchase bragging rights. First, financial wherewithal was hardly the only criterion for publication of my work: Vantage Press has a reputation at stake and a fine one at that. If you bothered to read a copy, Mr. Kailing, you might find a hint of intellectual wherewithal (as my editors and readers did), with acknowledged influences borne out in discussion of political, social, scientific, and literary issues.
As a first-time author, I did not arrogantly assume that Random House or Viking would embrace my work as a potential bestseller. With the market for sensationalism swamping out that for more serious fare, I submitted my manuscript to Vantage after consulting several seasoned and beginning authors, many of whom used subsidy publishing as a stepping stone to publication with more notable presses. I again assert that the writing, editing, production, and publication process was a learning experience; I learned how to collect my thoughts and deal with bureaucracy, copyright issues, and multiple deadlines. More generally, I find writing to be a refreshing retreat from laboratory work.
Finally, Mr. Kailing, if ever you need a kitchen sink, I point out that the Home Depot will better serve your need than Desiderata II. John F. Staropoli '98