A Joe of all trades in publishing

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New Jersey author and resident Joseph Pittman
New Jersey author and resident Joseph Pittman.
The ever-changing face of publishing industry and the First Amendment

Author Joseph Pittman sometimes calls himself “a veritable Joe of all trades” when it comes to the publishing industry. That’s because for the past 25 years he’s done it all. He has written books, edited books, acquired books and worked for some of the major publishing giants in New York City. After recently moving to New Jersey, he found new sources of inspiration for new books. And he has started teaching creative writing to young aspiring writers.

Pittman is the president and publisher of Linden Corners Press. LCP publishes his own titles including: Tilting at Windmills, A Christmas Wish, A Christmas Hope, The Memory Tree and Chasing Windmills. Other novels include When the World Was Small, Beyond the Storm and Legend’s End, to mention a few.

Pittman also writes under the Adam Carpenter (pen) name, creating best-sellers such as Jimmy McSwain Files, a detective series set in New York City, which includes Hidden Identity, Crime Wave, Stage Fright, Guardian Angel, Forever Haunt and Fresh Kill. His latest series, Cane’s Inlet Mystery, is a New Jersey series set in a fictional place on the Jersey shore and includes Scandalous Lies, Sinister Motives, and Suspicious Truths.

“At age of 17 I hand-wrote my first novel,” said Joseph Pittman

This prolific author and entrepreneur has dedicated his life to writing, editing, and the publishing industry in general. “I think writing chose me,” he says, commenting on the beginnings of his journey.

Joseph Pittman authored "When the World Was Small"
Joseph Pittman authored “When the World Was Small”

“I was 16 or 17 years old and worked at a used bookstore down the street from my house.” The owner of the bookstore would offer him books to read. “One day I read a book and I thought, I could have done better, with the arrogance of a teenager,” Pittman recalls as he laughs. “And [the bookstore owner] said, well, then do it. So I did. And at age of 17 I hand-wrote my first novel.” He still has that manuscript, which was never published. But he kept on writing. His sixth manuscript was the first one to be published.

Pittman has a very particular approach to writing. You don’t just sit down and start writing. You have to have a plan first. That way, “when I start [writing] a scene,” he explains, “I know which characters are in it, what I want to accomplish in the scene and how it advances the story. Once you have these three elements to the scene, you can control it.” Controlling each scene in your book means controlling the book. “You should always know how long you think your book is going to be before you start writing it,” he said. “When I was reading manuscripts for acquisition, I could tell from the first page whether the author was in control of the book or the book was in control of the author.”

Author Joseph Pittman does not believe writer’s block exists
The Adam Carpenter book cover of  "Suspicious Truths"
The Adam Carpenter book cover of “Suspicious Truths”

One cannot talk about writing without mentioning the dreaded writer’s block. It is something, that it turns out, Pittman does not believe it exists. In the process of creative writing, if he “doesn’t feel it,” if ideas don’t come to mind, he briefly pauses the writing. “ I stop the writing. It doesn’t mean I stop the thinking,” he explains. “A lot of the writing process is internalized, is in your head, so, when things don’t work for you, you can take a break. But if you start using the term ‘writer’s block’ then you won’t be able to [actually write.]

I’m teaching a course at Middletown Art Center, in New Jersey. One of the courses is called Writer’s Block. I’m going to walk in there and say, ‘Welcome to Writer’s Block! There’s no such thing.’” He explains, “a lot of people think that when they write something, it has to be perfect.” That’s not the case. “Write it first,” he advises, “then get it right.”

Over the years, Pittman has witnessed and come to know and understand in every aspect the continuous evolution of the publishing industry. The wonderful thing about it, now, is that it is scattered. There are so many options for authors,” Pittman comments. “If you have a voice and a vision then spread it.”

Adam Carpenter stories always have gay characters
The Adam Carpenter book "Sinister Motives"
The Adam Carpenter book “Sinister Motives”

When writing under Adam Carpenter (pen) name, author Joseph Pittman tells stories with gay characters. But he does not touch on aspects like homophobia, that many might expect. “What I’m trying to convey in my Adam Carpenter stories,” he explains, “is the universal struggles [of my characters who happen to be gay]. I don’t want them to have to justify themselves. I make a point in a subtle way. It has more impact [that way].” His characters, although fictional, are inspired by and exist in the real world. His stories, although fictional, can happen in the real world, too.

In particular in today’s political climate, one cannot bring up writing in general — and journalism in particular — without bringing up the importance of freedom of speech and the First Amendment. Two questions come to mind: will the First Amendment survive, and will it help us survive these times?

“Always!” Pittman quickly responds. “You see the media fighting it on a daily basis. We can make a point in a subtle way, especially in today’s climate. This is a time to push, but you [do] it in a subtle way.”

The Adam Carpenter book "Scandalous Lies"
The Adam Carpenter book “Scandalous Lies”

There’s a freeing aspect to Joseph Pittman’s books. They show, in a subtle way, not only that there is a time to push “in a subtle way” but they also show us how to actually do it. They tell universal stories we all can relate to. Most importantly, they show that in this day and age going backwards is not an option.

Learn more about Joseph Pittman’s books by visiting his Amazon author’s page: amazon.com/Joseph-Pittman/e/B001HPN5BI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1544656415&sr=1-2-ent . For his Adam Carpenter books visit: amazon.com/Adam-Carpenter/e/B005OY9NTG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1544656336&sr=1-2-ent

Alina Oswald is a writer, photographer, educator and author of Journeys Through Darkness: A Biography of AIDS. Find out more by visiting alinaoswald.com