*More Than Two* reviews, and getting it into libraries
Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert made a smart bet, I believe, by delaying publication of More Than Two — their big, much-awaited poly guidebook — until September 2nd. They did it so they could try playing real ball in the pros' league: with a major distributor, professional publicity, getting advance reviews into the trade press, pulling the right levers to get bookstore and library placement, and so on.
That meant learning the book industry's odd rules, matching its schedules, and fronting scary money for a publicist. The reason I think they made a good bet is because the book is great (OK, disclosure, I edited it) and because the time for it is right. I think it could grow legs. It might reach markets that Opening Up, The Ethical Slut, and the other 36 nonfiction books of the modern polyamory movement have never quite cracked.
Why? Because this is the poly book just right for the "second wave" of people now flooding into the subject: the ones following after the "first wave" of us visionaries and social radicals. The second wave includes many more mainstream folks, who've learned about the poly possibility without much alt-culture context by way of newspapers and TV.
Franklin, through his website and blogs, sees these new people blundering into tar pits in record numbers. The guideposts that the book sets up around known problem areas are more insightful than the ones you often see. (And I learned of some brand new tar pits!) The book uses very personal stories to illustrate its points. It details the practices that the poly community, in 30 years of hard trial and error, has discovered to be the most often successful. And it unifies all of these issues with a foundation of specific moral values — again a combination of the obvious and the subtle — from which the best practices arise naturally.
That's why it's nearly 500 pages.
As part of their marketing buildup, Eve and Franklin are calling on you to go online and ask your local library to buy a copy:
More Than Two is now available for pre-order through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, two major book databases. That means libraries and bookstores can start ordering the book — but first, they need to know about it! And for that, we need your help.
Nearly all libraries allow patrons to suggest a purchase. If you’d like to see our book in your local library, please take a moment to let them know. Here’s how....
...They may ask you to tell them why they should buy it. Here are some key selling points....
Three reasons to do this:
1) Early library sales will help them promote the book around its publication date.
2) If there's a single book on polyamory that your library should have for inquiring newbies to find, this is it.
3) If you're broke, this is how you can read it yourself for free.
Huffington Post poly writer Louisa Leontiades recently wrote about one aspect of the book in what she calls the first of a "review series":
Romantic Friendship in the Modern Era
...Some [concepts] like consent and communication are the cornerstones to polyamory as we know it; they’ve been hashed, cartoonified, sliced and diced from every angle and in every forum. But More Than Two explores other ideas in depth for the first time. Like so many reviewers, who have been invested in supporting this book to fruition, I intended to pay homage to it with a thorough evaluation, and yet with so many themes covered it’s difficult to write one post to examine them all.
Welcome to the More Than Two Review Series....
Read on (June 12, 2014).
David S. Hall's review of the book in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality (June 11, 2014).
Review by polyactivist Ginny of Philadelphia: More Than Two: The poly book we need right now (July 3, 2014). Excerpt:
...Ultimately, the thing I value most about the book is how honest it is about the hard stuff. The personal stories tell about big mistakes, big hurt, big betrayals. It does not flinch from talking about the losses and changes that can happen as a result of poly. We in the poly community have been working hard to convince the world (and sometimes our own voices of self-doubt) that polyamory can be a healthy, happy, fulfilling way to live, and as a result we tend to downplay the agonizing choices, shattering mistakes, and relentless parade of “learning experiences” that come with the territory. Then, when things do go badly, we tend to feel alone and ashamed, like we’re the screwups who are letting the entire poly community down by having actual serious problems and making actual serious mistakes. (Did I say “we”? Obviously I’m talking about myself here, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.) More Than Two makes it clear that actual serious problems and actual serious mistakes are part of everybody’s poly experience. That the hard times are survivable, and that what matters is facing up to them with honesty, courage, and compassion.
And by Wes Fenza of Living Within Reason: More Than Two: This is the one we've been waiting for (July 6, 2014). Excerpts:
I often get asked “how can I learn about polyamory?” Until now, I haven’t really had a good answer. Now I do: read More Than Two, the new book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, available September 2.
More Than Two, in a nod to the roots of the poly movement, starts with a foreward by Janet Hardy, one of the authors of The Ethical Slut, the 1997 book often touted as the poly Bible. More Than Two, however, quickly departs from its roots by tackling a subject previously avoided by almost all writing on polyamory: ethics. From pg. 36:
One of the things you’ll hear a lot from poly people is that “there’s no one right way to do poly.” This is true. There are many ways to “do poly” (live polyamorously) that give you a decent chance of having joyful, fulfilling, meaningful relationships with low conflict. But when people say “There’s no one right way,” it sometimes seems they mean there are no bad ways to do poly. We disagree.
And herein lies the need for this book. Too often, the polyamory community, skittish from the insufferable moralizing that’s been directed at us, is averse to anything resembling criticism of our lifestyle. More Than Two is full of such criticism. The book takes a humble, but firm stance. If there is a coherent theme to the book, it would be this: learn from our mistakes....
Part 2 may have been my favorite. It is filled with useful, practical advice for anyone in any kind of relationship. Advice ranges from philosophical (nurture a view that relationships are abundant) to the practical (don’t expect someone to do anything unless they’ve agreed). One of my favorites, from pg. 80: “We would like to suggest the radical notion that being uncomfortable is not, by itself, a reason not to do something, nor to forbid someone else from doing something.” There are so many gems in this section that I was afraid my highlighter would run out of ink....
...Part 2 is mostly about developing the skills required to be polyamorous. In the words of Veaux and Rickert, from pp. 51-52:
We keep hearing that polyamory is hard work. We don’t agree-at least, not for the reasons that people say. But developing the skills to be successful in poly relationships? That’s a different story. Learning to understand and express your needs, learning to take responsibility for your emotions… that’s hard work. Once you’ve developed those skills, poly relationships aren’t hard.
Part 2 gives advice on how to develop the skills necessary for successful poly relationships. It includes advice on emotional management, learning new skills, dealing with jealousy, and two full chapters on communication. Communication, as we all know, if the cornerstone of successful relationships, and the topic is covered extensively. Especially noteworthy are the discussions regarding the differences between communication and coercion, and how to foster good communication from our partners.
Part 2 may have been my favorite. It is filled with useful, practical advice for anyone in any kind of relationship. Advice ranges from philosophical (nurture a view that relationships are abundant) to the practical (don’t expect someone to do anything unless they’ve agreed). One of my favorites, from pg. 80: “We would like to suggest the radical notion that being uncomfortable is not, by itself, a reason not to do something, nor to forbid someone else from doing something.” There are so many gems in this section that I was afraid my highlighter would run out of ink.
...One of my disappointments, however, was in the framing of rules vs. agreements. The authors chose a somewhat arbitrary distinction by which “rules” could be condemned and “agreements” could be acceptable.... The problem with this approach is that many of their criticisms of rules (i.e. they judge people’s character on the basis of adherence to the rules; they have an inverse relationship to trust; they transfer risk onto others; they’re susceptible to creeping concessions) are applicable to agreements as well....
P.S.: Beware of fake-download scams. Scammers have added More Than Two and its cover art to the bait on their hooks. I guess that means it's trending. Take the bait and you get malwared.
Here's where to order it for real.