Interview with Etan Boritzer, Author/Publisher
Q: What inspired you to become an author?
At age 7, my 2nd grade teacher (Mrs. Cooperman at PS 70, Bronx) liked my poems and put them up on the bulletin board in our classroom. I was first published at age 13 when I wrote an essay on the assassination of JFK and it was published by The NYC Board of Education as a book tribute to JFK by NYC public school students. I think I have writer genes from my Mom who wrote short stories but gave up after too many submission rejections. Growing up in the 60’s, we had Dylan, Beatles, lots of great writing going on, inspiring us. I published my first book (er, stapled pamphlet) of poems in 1969 and sold them for a dollar per book on the street corners of Berkeley and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Writing is natural to me.
Q: Why do you choose to write about the “big questions?”
Returning from my first spiritual sojourn to India in 1971, I visited my sister in Tucson and her then 7 year old daughter, my niece (now 41), asked where I had been so long. I said, India. She said, “Where’s that?” I said, “Far away.” She said, “What were you doing there?” I said, “Studying about God.” She said, “What is God?” Wow, I thought, how can I answer that one for a 7 year old? Let me trying writing an answer. That is the title of my first book, now is in its 22nd reprint with over 300,000 copies sold in 5 languages. I enjoyed writing that first one, and went on to the other Big Questions that my niece and other little people ask us know-it-all adults.
Q: When and why did you decide to start your own publishing company and how was the name selected?
First of all, have you ever tried getting published the traditional route, going through an agent, trying to get through the publisher’s door, to their chief editor, etc, etc? My first book “What is God?” was rejected for over 15 years! I still have over 100 rejection letters from agents, publishers, editors. About 1989 I met a rotund drunk Dutchman at a bar in Hollywood who said he was a publisher. He became the publisher of that first book. He understood what more than 100 “professionals” did not understand, a strange and beautiful and necessary little book by an unknown author. After that tedious experience, I went independent, formed Veronica Lane Books in 1992, and have never looked back. I teach authors that you can be a successful independent author/publisher just like me, and Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Louise Hays, and numerous other famous American independent author/publishers. The information age has made it possible today for anyone to bypass traditional publishing and still be successful. My very influential Aunt Veronica Lane, who loved literature and gave me lots of important books to read, inspired the name of our company.