As a finale for postings of my transcribed Shepherd kid stories manuscript, here is a version
of the query letter I sent out around 2014:
(Note that the CBS TV website no longer seems to contain the 8-minute interview.)
I wrote the foreword to A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic, and I’m the author of the only book about Jean Shepherd, Excelsior, You Fathead: The Art and Enigma of Jean Shepherd (Applause Books, March, 2005). As of February, 2013 it has sold over 7,500 copies in its hardcover format, and it’s still selling. In addition to numerous, very positive print reviews, I was interviewed on a dozen radio programs, including those of New York City’s and Chicago’s most popular author-interview shows.
Shep’s Army: Bummers, Blisters, and Boondoggles (Opus Books, August, 2013) is my second Shepherd book, for which, so far, I’ve been interviewed on a half-dozen radio programs and on CBS TV’s Sunday Morning Show (http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/07/21/new-book-looks-at-jean-shepherds-fictional-military-service/). Shep’s Army contains nearly three-dozen of Shepherd’s army stories told on the radio, which I transcribed, organized, edited, and for which I wrote an extensive introduction and commentaries. I’ve yet to receive an accounting of its trade paper sales.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY review of SHEP’S ARMY: Editor Bergmann attempts with much success to simulate a posthumous memoir of author, comedian, and radio personality Jean Shepherd’s army years….Bergmann has assembled a surprisingly unified and confident account….a compliment to Shepherd’s usual storytelling….a presentation that, against the odds, captures the energy of an oral telling.
Jean Shepherd’s most popular creations are his “kid stories” (As exemplified by the movie A Christmas Story, which he not only wrote, but narrates). His best-selling books, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash (1966—now 40th printing) and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters (1971—now 30th printing), consist, in the main, of his kid stories improvised on the radio, which he transcribed and edited for print publication. As you can see, each continues to sell in trade paper. Other than the reprint-packaging of five of his A Christmas Story stories (in 2005, story books first published in 1966 and 1971), no books of his kid stories have appeared in over forty years.
My completed manuscript of I Was This Kid, See: Kid Stories by Jean Shepherd contains over three dozen transcribed and edited stories, organized chronologically, as I did with my Shep’s Army. These stories, none of which have been previously in print, form a near-continuous narrative from kindergarten, through high-school dating, and college stories presenting Shepherd with epiphanies: there’s a wider world of art and life out there!
Books and films by and about Jean Shepherd enhance the enthusiasm for his works. The immense popularity of all things related to A Christmas Story certainly shows this. My proposed book of Shepherd kid stories will surely profit from and expand on this trajectory.
May I provide you with samples or, indeed, my complete manuscript of I Was This Kid, See?
No more kidding around.