Is there really such a book as LONE DOG ROAD, or has Nerburn become a liar in his dotage?

Fair question.  All I can tell you is that if I am a liar, I am not a liar of my own making.  Poor, bedraggled, and, I think, wonderful, LONE DOG ROAD has had the worst birth of any book I’ve ever written.  But I prefer to cast it in the terms of Leonardo Da Vinci, if I remember my source correctly:”The longevity of any work of art is directly proportional to the time of its gestation.”

If that’s the case, move over Shakespeare, the Bible, and all the great books of the Western World.  LONE DOG ROAD, from inception to the present moment has already been gestating for four and a half years.

So what’s going on?  Why does this book, praised by the likes of William Kent Krueger, Leif Enger, Dan O’Brien, and Robert Plant, refuse to step into the daylight?  The answer is in the old saw that all writers should take to heart:  “Writing is an art; publishing is a business.”

The earnest young publisher, Polished Stone Publishing, with whom I had placed the book because of both their faith in it and my faith in them, has simply been unable to pull it off.  It was a bridge too far for a fledgling operation — too expensive to produce, too hard to slot into the marketplace, too labor intensive to shape and create in a timely fashion.  So, with sadness on both sides, I had to retrieve it from them before both they and it sank below the horizon, never to be seen again.

However, there is a silver lining.  Without getting too “inside baseball” about the whole process, the distributor who is responsible for getting the book into bookstores and who has been a faithful friend and supporter of my books over the years, remains both committed to and excited about LONE DOG ROAD.  The bookstores are waiting for it; you readers are waiting for it.  What has appeared to be a number of false starts and promises, is proving to be just a long runway onto what we both believe will be a successful launch of a long-awaited book.

The kicker has been to find a publisher who will take it on and put it out in a timely fashion.  Think of books on a publisher’s list as cars on a train.  They get put in line and produced in the sequence in which they are acquired.  It takes a rare book with tremendous celebrity status or currency –“The Truth about Donald Trump’s Hair”, “P. Diddy’s Dog Tells All” — to break into that sequence.  LONE DOG ROAD does not rise to that level of significance.  Put in line with a major publisher, it would remain at least a year and a half out from publication.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t want to give out specifics just yet.  I’ve already been “The boy who cries, ‘Book’!” too many times about this beleaguered literary child.  Just know that, if all falls into place, and I think it will, there will be an announcement very soon that will put to rest all the uncertainty about when LONE DOG ROAD will finally see the light of day.  And all of you who have pre-ordered, inquired, pleaded and complained, and all of you bookstores that have had to backpedal, refund, and apologize, will finally have some solid information about when this literary kin to NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG, THE WOLF AT TWILIGHT, and THE GIRL WHO SANG TO THE BUFFALO, will actually be in your hands.

I have not told you much about LONE DOG ROAD because of the fragile way it was coming into being.  Once I have a solid commitment and can trust the information I am giving you, I will tell you more, provide you with excerpts, and generally open the doors on a book that has been shut away for far too long.

Just know that you are not alone in being frustrated about the uncertainty and delays.  Fingers crossed, that uncertainty is about to come to an end.  And soon enough, in the reasonable future, you will have LONE DOG ROAD in your hands.

22 thoughts on “Is there really such a book as LONE DOG ROAD, or has Nerburn become a liar in his dotage?”

  1. Annette Morgan

    I’m one who ordered your Lone Dog Road and never received it. I will never give up hope of getting to read it Mr. Nerburn I love your writing that much!

  2. Jane Workhoven

    Your fans are eagerly awaiting this new book. And, are willing to wait for it to appear. Even without reading bits ahead of time, we will buy it, and no doubt love it. I bought all the others on faith and having read one book, knew others would be on my agenda. I am waiting and hope your new publisher will do so quickly. Your work is important.
    Thank you,
    Jane Workhoven

  3. Betty Wignes

    The wait will be well worth it. The ‘Neither Wolf nor Dog’ trilogy is fantastic. Books to be reread and internalized.

  4. Mark A. Groh

    Why haven’t you continued partnershwith the the publishing house that gave us three wonderful stories in the trinity?

  5. Rev. Leslie H Heyboer

    Please, please, get it published in a format that will work on a tablet so I can enlarge the print enough to read it!

  6. Stan Current

    Not frustrated in the least Kent, much as I look forward to Lone Dog Road.
    Just hope you don’t get taken advantage of by some publisher.
    That could affect your writing, which is art, like Da Vinci.

    Do you have an agent running interference for you?

    sidenote: been re-reading Voices of the Rainbow.
    It calls to mind several of your books I’ve read.
    There is a peace to be had reading your books.
    Books that take us to places in the heart.
    It’s where we all need to be these days.

  7. Peggy Sechrist

    Count me as one of your dedicated fans patiently waiting for Lone Dog Road.

  8. I always look forward to the publication of your works. I am truly sorry that you are having difficulty having it printed. I will be patient for it to come to fruition. Your works have always inspired me. I am sure Lone Dog Road will be comparable to your many other projects. Be patient and good luck.

  9. I called into Waterstone’s (UK) last Saturday for an update & was given November ‘24 as date now expected! Quality is worth the patience!

  10. Claire Talltree

    Thank you for the update. Hope you can make it over the publishing “hump” in the road. We all remain faithful!

  11. Douglas O’Neill

    Mr. Nerburn,
    I know patience is a virtue, but sometimes one’s patience is tested so I shall say a quick prayer for you as the author and one for me your loyal reader. “Please deliver the book soon for all concerned parties. Amen

    It’s the thought that counts. No so much the words 👍🍷

  12. Kristi Sattler

    Kent, thank you for the amusing, informative update. Waiting patiently for Lone Dog Wolf. Worry not, your readers will be here.

  13. Just the other day, May 5th to be exact, the availability of ‘Lone Dog Road’ came to mind. I thought to check your website about it, but naturally, I didn’t follow through. Then magically I get an email from you the very next day. How did you do that?
    Of course, I sympathize with you; the expectations of your ‘subscriptions’ must be met and all that. You did create this work. You sold people on it, psychologically and materially; and purposely built expectations to this end. But, shit happens.
    I am all too aware of the problems of publication, having been on the publishing end of it from 1994-2018. I doubt you’ll find much record of it except in obscure Minnesota library collections, including the Minnesota Historical Society Museum periodical collection; still, it did exist at one time, like so many practically invisible cells in a petri dish. We confidently started out as a monthly, and because of other life, work, and family responsibilities — and untimely printer/computer/folding machine breakdowns– eventually evolved into a sort of a quarterly labeled S.L.O.D. (Saw Light Of Day) — then, as one wonderfully faithful subscriber from Liberty, KS, famously coined, we became an irregularly-time framed publication. Then added: “No matter how long it takes” to our mantra. Not to say it will help your situation, necessarily, but did tend to tremendously lessen expectation of immediacy. Just sayin’.
    People enjoyed your previous work, as they did our minute offerings; we filled a small niche that was unexplored in our region of Minnesota; as your books and endeavors including Indigenous issues, did worldwide. You’ve earned our loyalty; we’ll wait as long as it takes, Kent.

  14. Stephen Johnson

    As Joseph M Marshall put it…
    Keep going. Can’t wait for your book to break out.
    Thanks for all your efforts

  15. Don’t give up. I know it has been a long journey for you and one that will be even longer. But as it has been for every book of yours that I’ve read, I can’t wait to read the next one for your perspectives and insight. I introduced “Neither Wolf nor Dog” to my book club recently. The group had not heard of you, but read the book. After reading it, they were upset that such a good book was not in their local libraries. They are all searching out your other books to read. As one said, “Thank you again, Cindy, for introducing us to Kent Nerburn. His books are on my “to read” list for sure.” My message again is, don’t give up. Your fans are here waiting and will devour the book when it is published.

  16. They say “good things come to those who wait.” In the meantime, I will continue to read the greatest book ever written and pray for a miracle that your book comes out soon.

  17. Hello Kent – yes, the publishing business is an unwieldly swarm, but still, I think, preferable to self-publishing where a plethora of folks are only too happy to take our 5-figure fees. (Anyway, that hardly bears mentioning.) On a lighter note, I see my Minnesota neighbor, Steven Reynolds, has posted his opinion and the abbreviated story of “The Raven,” the irregular-regular publication of which he is co-founder and for which I wrote many times. Steve and I are fan-buddies of your work, and patiently abiding while “Lone Dog Road” wends its literary way to us and all the others – patiently or not – who look forward to the splendor of its arrival. Just one more comment: You are absolutely correct in your assessment of publishing, but bright spots and dark roads make up the journey anyway. I know because I am currently in talks with agents and publishers in a search for the home for my latest book, “Tears for the Samurai.” (This after an easy, traditional path with my previous three books.) I know you will never do less than to see your book in our hands. Gratitude coming your way, Kent!

    PS: catherineastenzel@gmail.com – for some reason the posting function says, “your email will not be published” – so there you have it . . .

  18. Strange about the posting function. But it came through and I’m happy to have your voice added to the mix. We all persevere in this strange publishing world, doing what we have to in order to get our books to our readers. I’ll look further into your work and Steve’s. We published writers have to stick together as we try to navigate this strange new world of publishing. We’re a small tribe, but a good one. I’m pleased to be sitting with you as we try to warm our hands on the embers of what was once a great and honored industry.

  19. D Sandersfeld

    Thank you for the update. Maybe I will be able to catch up with you, so behind on my must have book list. The one book I have is a joy to read. This keeping it safe in my reference library.

  20. Greatness is always worth waiting for. I’ll be pleased on the day it is available.
    Meanwhile, as I have not yet read some of your earlier works, I am looking to them.
    I often refer to Neither Wolf Nor Dog, or your work in general, in zoom lecture chats that involve some well known people. I have also seen the film.
    I hold your writing with gratitude.
    I hope you enjoyed the recent Northern Lights, I saw some photos from South Dakota.

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