Open-Source Book Pitching, Or: Any Feedback On This Preliminary Table Of Contents?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So in my spare *cough* time, I’ve been compiling my best polyamory essays to see if I can pitch them as a book.  As it turned out, there have been a lot of critical poly topics I haven’t written upon, and some considerable editing needed to knit them together into a coherent whole.
But since a lot of the best essays have been inspired by feedback from all of you, I figured I’d throw a tentative table of contents out to you guys, to see if there were any obvious topics on polyamory that I’ve missed…. or if there’s something you think I should go into more depth on.  So here it is, with the understanding that:
a)  I’m looking to improve the book, particularly for people who don’t know much about polyamory in general, so please feel free to discuss topics you’d like me to see:
b)  I’m not going to discuss polyamory and child-raising, if only because I don’t think I have the necessary skillset to discuss that in-depth, and that could be a whole other book;
c)  That each of the essays will probably be edited a bit, to make it feel like less of isolated essays and more like a, you know, book.   (Though the end goal is that each section is quite readable on its own.)
The Basic Concepts of Poly

How To Find A Poly Partner (Or Open Up A Relationship Into Polyamory)

  • “So, Uh… Do You Wanna Fuck Other People?”
  • You Don’t Necessarily Have To Be Polyamorous: Other Types Of Ethical Non-Monogamy
  • Thanksgiving Dinner vs. Scarfing That McDonald’s Burger, or: Sex !== Love
  • What Kind of Polyamory Makes You Comfortable?
  • Today’s Rules Are Not Forever’s Rules
  • Love, But Verify
  • Dating Ghosts (on dating who’s actually there, and not some illusion you’re chasing)
  • The Necessary Exercise, Or: Building Social Networks
  • The Internet: The Introvert’s Paradise
  • A Rant On The Understandability of Women
  • I’ve Had Sex With Over 100 Women, Because I Didn’t Care
  • STD Safety, Or the Bare Minimums
  • I Do Not Have Herpes.  It Should Not Matter If I Do.
  • Please Don’t” (On Coming Out To Your Family)

How To Have A Functional Poly Relationship: Owning Your Shit With Your Partners

How To Have A Functional Poly Relationship: Adding New People

  • It’s Better To Beg For Forgiveness Than To OH SHUT UP YOU SELFISH, STUPID FUCKER
  • The Giniweasel Rules of Poly
  • Coke vs. Pepsi, Or: Why New Partners Will Add Pressure (And That’s Good)
  • Polyamory Shapes, Or: Why I Fucking Hate the Term “Secondary”
  • Why Would He Date Someone Like You When He Has You?, or: Your Partner’s Other Partners Will Be Strange And Confusing
  • NRE: More Dangerous Than Heroin (Or, why people stop trying when the NRE hits)
  • Why Every Quick Fuck Might Blossom Into NRE, And What That Means
  • Harnessing NRE, or: Useful Methods Of Comparing Partners
  • Poly Paperwork, and the Frustrations Therein
  • How To Veto Your Lover’s Partner
  • How To Grit Your Teeth And Endure A Partner You Can’t Stand
  • How To Be A Secondary Partner When It Gets Lonely
  • The Butterfingers Discussion
  • First, Do No Harm?

Bad Poly Smells: A Rogue’s Gallery Of Potentially Regrettable Relationships

Advanced Poly Techniques For The Long-Term



  1. alexander hollins
    Apr 12, 2013

    I really don’t have anything to add topic wise, but if you aren’t already, peppering it with stories and anecdotes from other poly people would probably be a good angle.

    • TheFerrett
      Apr 12, 2013

      Interesting, in that’s precisely what I don’t want to do. My essays are generally so personal that I think actually having outside voices would be jarring. If I do it right, it’ll kind of have a Morgan Freeman rhythm to it, where I just talk solemnly at you for a few hours.

  2. Galiana Chance
    Apr 12, 2013

    (aka PlaySmart) I would love to see a chapter on “What Stays the Same” about stuff that is NOT different in polyamory than monogamy.

  3. Isis Galaxy
    Apr 14, 2013

    What does NRE stand for?
    I would love to contribute, although I must say it’s a bit unclear to me what you are seeking. The main headings are fairly clear, but the subheadings seem to require a level of “in group” that you may want to expand beyond.
    I am particularly interested in various configurations of poly and relationships.

    • TheFerrett
      Apr 16, 2013

      New Relationship Energy. As in, “I’m in love with someone new, and the old takes a backseat.”

  4. Twilytgardnfaery
    Apr 15, 2013

    So, I’ve started this big long thing going through category by category making comments and asking questions, and as I’m doing so, I’m sitting here thinking, “Who’m I to critique? I’m not published, I’m neither knowledgeable on the topic nor in the target audience (I’m happily monogamous and due to be married this October, though I’d be interested in reading it simply because I enjoy your writing), so what could I possibly have to say that’s of use?
    It’s getting rather long, so I shall say this:
    Overall, I would have to start by acknowledging that I think you’re a fantastic essayist, and that a part of me wants to encourage you to pitch this as a collection of essays. You, being the author, would know far better than I; is that not a thing that works in the publishing world? Would a Book of Poly simply be easier to market than a Collection of Essays on Poly?
    If you’d like to see the more category-by-category blather I’ve cobbled together, I will happily finish it and post (I’ve been refreshing myself on the essays I’ve read and reading the ones that I haven’t, so as you can imagine, it’s slower going toward the end where you’ve got more links and less of what I assume are titles you might work with in the future).

    • TheFerrett
      Apr 16, 2013

      ““Who’m I to critique?”
      …someone I specifically asked to critique this?
      That said, a Book of Generic Poly essays probably wouldn’t sell, nor would I be much happy with it. I want it to be a more coherent whole, and that’s why rewriting them (if I get an offer) to fuse them together will be a priority.

      • Twilytgardnfaery
        Apr 17, 2013

        Well, there’s that. Fair enough. You asked, and I shall endeavor to be of use!
        So, disclaimer to any of my questions and/or advice: As I mentioned, I’m a monogamous kind of creature, so some of them may be “well DUH” kind of comments, but who knows? You may find those more useful than I’d think, being that I’m coming from the other side of the conversation, so to speak. Also, I get distracted fairly easily, so this may meander, in part, because that’s how my brain works, and in part because I’ve written it over a few sittings. I’ve reread before posting, but that’s not foolproof.
        The way I’ve interpreted this, just to try to see if I’m on the same page, is that the essays are sort of a rough order, at least; this is relatively the progression in which you’ll be tackling topics, though obviously more book-like and less collection-of-essay like, as you already clarified. I state this simply because some of what I have to say does concern ordering and categorization.
        Category the first: The Basic Concepts of Poly
        The first question that surfaced for me was when I reached “Why Poly Gets a Bad Rap.” I feel like this would do well to open the chapter, though “The End Goal is that We Are Happy” certainly does an admirable job… I’m curious why you chose to place “Why Poly Gets a Bad Rap” so close to the end. Also, I feel like “How to Tell If You’re Cheating on Someone” has a lot of overlap with “The Vital Skill of Jealousy” and “White Chicks’ Syndrome” and would therefore read nicely if they were closer together. Lastly, I feel like “I’m Only Gonna Say This Once…” would also do nicely closer to the start, because it has a somewhat introductory feel in that it gives one kind of poly example, and then you go on to explicitly tell the reader that THIS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY!
        Category the second: How to
        Love, But Verify – Why here? I do like this piece very much, but I’m not totally sure what your line of thinking putting it in this category is. Likewise, A Rant on the Understandability of Women seems like a more general relationship maintenance piece than “How to Poly” per se. It seems right now like this category might suffer a little from a split personality, but maybe that’s the nature of the beast. It seems like some of it is basic, foundational relationship stuff–the kinds of things one should have in order in one’s primary, if that’s how their poly is going to work, before adding further relationships–and some of it is more particular to polyamory, such as, obviously, Please Don’t.
        Category the third: How to (parte deux!)
        Say Fuck, Get candy and Incomplete Information and the No-Fault Zone (as well as Blaming: Some Advanced Techniques, but that makes perfect sense, given that it’s kind of continuing the previous) kind of start off with a similar vibe to the two pieces I named from How to Find a Poly Partner (Or How to…) where it’s not a uniquely poly quality to need to be able to identify what of my behaviors might be the catalyst for my partners’ less desirable behaviors or to be able to understand the concept of a no-fault argument.
        As an aside here, since, as you noted to the first commenter, most of your essays are quite personal, I’d suggest considering pitching it as a geeky relationship book in general, with chapters on poly, rather than necessarily a book on poly, with chapters on broader relationship skillset. I’m not necessarily sitting here counting point for point which essays apply to romantic relationships in general vs. which are specifically poly; it could just be that this particular run of essays has planted the seed of this idea in my brain, and these things have a tendency to take root unless I tear them up right away, so I’ll just put it in this pot over here and see if it takes, rather than letting it strangle what’s already there.
        That Hollywood Trap feels a little out of place; it’s more general life than even relationship guidance. It is, of course, applicable; most things that are applicable to friendship can be applied to romance to some degree or other (and thus, I suppose, the carryover from romance to poly-romance), but it feels a bit like an outlier as it stands, particularly where it is. Maybe I’m being a bit obtuse, but I’m not feeling the connection with the preceding or the following.
        Relationships, Expectations, and Rules: Failure States is a shining example of something that’s totally applicable to monogamous relationships, but written in such a way that you’re clearly talking about poly pretty much all along. Your focus in this piece is very much on the reality of how this works when there are more than two partners involved. I got a little distracted at How To Get Someone Who Loves You To Break Up With You (And Still Have Them Love You)… my partner and I are currently treading a balance between “what is it that you don’t like about oatmeal” and the health concerns of avoiding oatmeal entirely (oatmeal here being vegetables… not so much something that can easily be ignored). Illogical, Captain is awesome and I love it… and very widely applicable. Again, it kinda hits close to home because Gini’s choice in presenting her arguments is totally the angle I’ve adopted with finally realizing that, yes, some of the things that make me batshit nuts are, frankly, pretty silly when it comes down to it. I feel like Sometimes, We All Fall Down could use a companion followup that points to some specifically poly growing pains, whether that means moving it or adding a companion piece. Or, of course, it could go to the “What Stays the Same” category, but I feel like it would fare better with a friend.
        Apologizing by Evidence can go both ways. I feel like There’s A Hole in Your Bucket, Dear Lover, Dear Lover would do well closer to Gifts and Obligations, though I’m not sure which should shift. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with referring back to something, but I feel like remembering to maintain the balance between the depressive partner’s responsibility for NOT relying on the non-depressive partner to refill the bucket leads into the discussion of what can happen if the depressive partner DOESN’T remember, or, worse, doesn’t REALISE, that they need to try to rein in their need for affirmation some of the time. (And this pair is definitely widely applicable… I can’t count the number of times where I’m doing something mundane like washing the dishes or playing videogames and suddenly… WHAM! The Doubt.)
        How to Have a Long-Distance Poly Relationship is awesome… but also somewhat misleading. These are super solid tips for ANY LDR. How have you handled travel with Gini, or other short-distance partners? (I name Gini more because you live together than necessarily because she is your wife and primary) What about The Move Talk? My last two relationships have started off long distance; the one that failed saw my partner at the time pushing hard to move because I wouldn’t, and the current one saw us working together to find a place because we were both excited for it and it was something that WE wanted to do, as a couple. How, if at all, does poly impact that? I could see it going either way, that’s why I’m just asking open-ended. Likewise the series on infidelity is fantastic, but what other complications does poly add to that situation? Surely, there’s more the same than there is different with regard to the impact of infidelity, but I’m sure there are additional complicating or mitigating factors at play.. what are they? I do like the rounding out of the infidelity discussion with the sections on the two sides of the forgiveness coin: how do I handle it when I do, and how do I handle it when I don’t? I think it makes a nice transition…
        Category the fourth: How to +1 (or more!)
        Particularly into “It’s Better to Beg for Forgiveness than to OH SHUT UP YOU SELFISH, STUPID FUCKER.” If that comes to life as a standalone essay before it gets integrated into this section, I very much look forward to reading it just because I love the title. I hope you keep it.
        Moving on, I’m curious about your choice to put The Giniweasel Rules For Poly so late in the book. Is it out of a desire to continue to maintain that your model is not the only way? On the one hand, I’m absolutely right there with you, but on the other, it also seems to me that a detailed look at a functional example of a set of poly rules might go nicely at or around the beginning of “How to find a Poly Partner (Or Open up a Relationship…)” because negotiating terms should be a part of the opening process, if there is an existing relationship. Somewhere near “Today’s Rules Are not Forever’s Rules,” maybe with some changes you have made over time, if they exist, to your own rules. I also like the effect of potentially moving the rules on the things around it; the NRE discussion fits really well with the discussion of infidelity (sort of a how NOT to do that) and the introduction to this section.
        Another, more giggly aside: I think ‘sex bureucracy’ is an amazing term, and part of me wants to encourage its use wherever possible, but part of me is like, ‘No! Such things must be used sparingly to preserve the awesome.’ The terrible/awesome Butterfinger metaphor is also amazing. Moving on, haha.
        I’m curious about how “How to Veto Your Lover’s Partner” in this section is separate from “The Absolute Veto: When to Have It, and What It’s Used For” at the end.
        I really like the transition from The Butterfingers Discussion/First, Do No Harm? into Bad Poly Smells. Very smooth, feels very sensible.
        Veering off briefly again, maybe the “What Stays the Same” discussion could be a whole section, either before or after The Basic Concepts of Poly, wherever it fits better, and that’d resolve the bits where I’m all, “But this is awesome relationship advice for ANY relationship” without entirely changing the focus of the book, which was a rather presumptuous thing to even mention, but I’m leaving it there because it’s my style to share ALL of my thoughts on something when asked for them. You asked for critique/input, so you may find value in something I find presumptuous, even if it’s just to avoid giving the impression that I got. I mention this because, again, The Object of Dread is one of those that’s consistent to poly and mono, and feels just a little off-kilter from the rest of this set.
        And cue screeching tires.
        Everything in Bad Poly Smells is, amusingly, for its title, going smoothly; it’s quite clear how one can segue into another when you go to transition this from essays to book. Shiny! Then comes If You’re a Slave, You’d Better Learn to Self-Price. Are you looking at retooling it from an M/s reference into a poly one, e.g. replacing the prospect of throwing oneself at any “Master’s” feet with diving headlong into any “poly” relationship that presents itself? That may seem like an obvious thing, but it’s really the first time in reading that I’ve gone, “Whoa, wait, what now?” so I want to clarify.
        How to Break Up/Be Broken Up With do an excellent job of closing this section. All in all, I feel like the Rogue’s Gallery is the most thematically solid, fluidly transitioning section. This amuses me more than it should (the Rogue’s Gallery being specifically when things DON’T go smooth, but it’s smooth? Ha? Am I on another planet? I hope not).
        Aside from the earlier question about the difference between the Veto discussions, I think that Advanced Poly Techniques For The Long Term does a lovely job of wrapping up the collection.
        So there’s the whole shooting match, as they say. I hope there’s something of use in there!

        • Twilytgardnfaery
          Apr 17, 2013

          That looks even more out of control in a comment block than it did in notepad, sorry for getting carried away >.>;

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