Out Bad

November 20, 2011

All Posts, Editorials, Features, Reviews

Regular and occasional readers of this page may want to know about a couple of new books that are finally in print. The first is called Out Bad: A True Story About Motorcycle Outlaws. The second is titled The Aging Rebel: Dispatches From The Motorcycle Outlaw Frontier. Both books are self-published, like Granny’s collection of her very best poems or, to be less self-deprecating, like Stephen Crane’s Maggie A Girl of the Streets.

Nobody in the publishing business would touch either book with a ten foot pole. I tried for 30 months.

The idea for both books began with a general, blind, email query to a couple hundred literary agents in March of 2009. The subject line was, “Oh No! Not Another Writer! My Life Is Hell!” In hindsight, I should never have clicked send. What can I say? I was feeling giddy that day and I really was trying to appeal to literary agents. Probably the mirror I imagined was a little too sharp. Also, I am certain I should have deleted the comment about the gun.

The Initial Query

Dear Literary Agent:

We do not yet know each other but we are destined to meet and makes lots and lots of money. Tons of money! Is money something you might be interested in?

I have been writing for about thirty years and made practically no money at it at all. But, I do not believe in the false heresy of Antecedent Probability. I believe in the Holy Law of Averages. So today I am asking you to visualize a whole big room full of nice, new money, greenbacks and Euros. Can you see the money yet? Concentrate. Can you?

I have to be honest with you. I was fairly certain long ago that I would never talk to another literary agent again unless I had a revolver stuck in his eye. Just something about literary agents, I guess. I get along with whores, strippers, most tribes of outlaws, bartenders, drug dealers, lawyers and other psychopaths, tradesmen, authors, reporters and from time to time even the police but literary agents, not so much. Maybe I have just been unlucky. Probably it is not you but something wrong with me.

I only write now because I have found some very interesting stories for a website I run at www.agingrebel.com. I thought I should probably talk to an agent before somebody else publishes a book about one of them. Look at “Framing Dave Burgess,” for example. I think there is a lot there. I would really like to pursue that. There is a murder case in Arizona I am calling “The Sober Murders” that I think people should know about. There is even an ex-Outlaw named Ron Stahlman who I care about. Stahlman’s life has turned classically tragic. Somebody should write about him. Perhaps we can make lots of money, you and I, by exploiting one or more of these poor wretches before somebody else does. What do you think? All I need is a small advance.

Please, do not pigeonhole me as true crime. I am ready, willing and able to write anything. Travel. Sixty Strip Clubs in Fifteen Cities in Five Days. Adventure. Bugs In Yer Teeth! Learn to read. Topher and His Dad Run From The Police. Kids. When The Heat Sweated Tuscany. Young Adult. Don’t Get Caught in Wilkes Barre. Adult contemporary romance. Earning Sarah Her Property Of Patch. Chick Lit. Sex in South Jersey With the Pagans. How to business. Big Hugs and Well Constructed Pipe Bombs: Rebel’s Fully Illustrated Step by Step Guide to Beating Your Competition. Financial advice for these troubled times. The Magic of Putting Everything in the Name of Your Motorcycle Club. For entrepreneurs. Gun Shows and Border Crossings: A Miscellany of Little Known Ways to Earn Tax Free Cash. Cooking. Let’s Make Meth! Horticulture. Rebel’s Secret Garden in a National Forest. Fashion. Well, actually, maybe not fashion but everything else.

It does not have to be any of what I just said, anyway. I am just TRYING TO HELP YOU visualize the enormous potential profit in me. Really, I agree with you. The writing and story and all that is just content. The creative part is the art of the deal. Take a look at the site. Then, tell me if you see anything you can sell as a proposal for a book. Please. I promise you I am not Jack Henry Abbott.

Is Rebel That Stupid

Yeah, I am actually that stupid. I not only wrote that, I sent it – like 200 times. I have always been pretty stupid. Being stupid is the single, hardest thing about being me.

About 95 percent of the agents did not respond. A couple of them were very annoyed with me. “I can’t begin to imagine what you expect to accomplish by saying that to me,” one nice, important lady replied. One agent said I obviously wasn’t for her but she referred me to another agent in her office. The guy was a graphic novelist as well as a literary agent. You know what a graphic novel is, right? He liked action. I wrote him.

“Well, what specifically are you proposing,” he wanted to know.

That day I replied, “The Mongols case. I can’t believe there won’t be at least three books published about the Mongols case and at least one of them should tell the truth. Doc Cavazos has already published a book. At least one of the ATF undercover agents will write a book.” That was the project that became Out Bad.

Multiple proposals and many sample chapters later the literary agent disappeared. Then he resurfaced as an editor at a major publishing house with his very own “male oriented imprint.” He remembered me – which at the time I blindly assumed was a good thing.

The process of selling a non-fiction book is always frustrating. No one will ever read a non-fiction book written on speculation. You must start with a proposal. If you start with a completed book it only proves that the book must be no good.

Where Baby Books Come From

Proposals must contain an “Overview” of the proposed work, an “About the Author” section and an analysis of, “The Market (Audience) – Who is the target audience? A bulleted list is fine. Be specific and quantify whenever possible. That is, if there is a certain organization who will be interested and you know how many people are members, or the circulation of their newsletter this adds weight.”

What was I going to say? Well, there are about five hundred Mongols? Of course, right now, a lot of them are in jail?

Another mandatory section regards, “Promotion – What can you, as the author, do to sell the book? Do you give workshops, lectures, retreats? Do you have an organization or a newsletter? Are you affiliated with anyone? What TV/radio/print coverage have you already gotten, and what programs/publications would your work be appropriate for upon publication? What’s the angle? That is, if you say, ‘My book is perfect for Oprah,’ or ‘for NPR,’ you need to say very specifically why it will appeal to Oprah’s audience or to the NPR audience, and in the latter case you will specify which particular program on NPR your book most suits.” Finally, a proposal must contain sections on “Competing Titles,” an expanded table of contents and sample chapters.

Beginning with the “graphic novelist/agent/editor” and continuing on through multiple, additional agents and editors I wrote about a dozen different proposals for Out Bad. One problem with me from the publishing business’ stand point was that I am just some guy. I am not a proven investigative reporter like Julian Sher, or a prosecutor like Kerrie Droban or an ATF agent like Jay Dobyns or a celebrity. I didn’t graduate from college and the college I dropped out of wasn’t in the Ivy League.

I was also pretty stumped as to how I was going to promote Out Bad. I actually mock NPR in that book. I don’t even have Oprah’s phone number. I have had a little correspondence with Fox News and I know they aren’t going to do me any favors. Also, in the course of writing the book I managed to piss off Doc’s Publisher, William Morrow, with some rude questions about how they felt about having their book entered into evidence in a RICO case.

Fuck It

It got kind of time consuming and frustrating so finally I gave up. I quit writing proposals and just wrote Out Bad which practically guaranteed its failure. Most of it was done a year ago.

From the beginning, the hardest thing about writing about the Mongols case was the volume of information. I almost drowned in information about the case. There is so much easily available information about Operation Black Rain and the criminal and civil cases that followed that I still can’t quite believe that Julian Sher, Doug Century, Kerrie Droban, Chris Blatchford or a dozen other writers did not write the story first. The first draft of Out Bad was about 300,000 words. I managed to get it down under 75,000 words so it may actually sell more than 25 copies.

I do expect Out Bad to sell fewer than 100 copies. I did not write it with an expectation of profit. I wrote it because I promised some guys I would write it and get it in print. Then, after I was in this project up to my ears it was kind of hard to back down from completing it. It would be nice to make enough money from Out Bad and The Aging Rebel to stop writing copy for payday loan companies and for various “content mills.” I also would like it if both books sold enough copies that America might begin to understand the love-hate relationship this nation has with motorcycle outlaws. I will not hold my breath.

Why Is It Called Out Bad

Out Bad was always founded on my opinion, as I put it in the book, that:

“The point of Operation Black Rain was to put every outlaw in America out bad – to seize his cut, his motorcycle and his memorabilia, to rough him up, wreck his home, scare him and tell him “don’t come around this club no more.” It was simultaneously emotionally, financially and legally devastating for the men involved. The point of the “enforcement effort” described in this book was never to punish “criminals.” The point was to crush a set of seductive, romantic, dangerous, and maybe obsolete, ideas.”

It seemed obvious to me years ago. So I wrote to that.

I would have been better off arguing the point at some Starbucks with some buxom, middle-aged art teacher. I might have gotten lucky. Instead I wrote a whole book about my opinion and then tried to convince literary agents and editors that it mattered that the American secret police had gone into the business of crushing ideas. After most of the book was done I sent out copies of a highly revised outline and sample chapters. The professional opinion was that I do not write very well and that most of what I state in the text is either unfocused or was just stuff I had made up.

No Deal

The head of one really swell agency said he was “looking for terrific writers.”

“That’s so cool,” I told him. “You like terrific writers? I’m a terrific writer!”

“Beauty,” he replied after he got a load of the sample chapter I sent him, “is in the eye of the beholder. I have represented many accomplished authors and I am afraid I can’t agree. But good luck.”

The premise of most books about motorcycle outlaws is to “give readers the vicarious experience of being a…” insert club name here. My opinion about what it means to be a member of this subculture differs radically from successful writers on the subject. They see “psychopaths.” I see men who live their lives like heroes. I was repeatedly advised that I was “dangerously naïve about outlaw bikers.” I also heard “biker apologist” a couple of times. “So you are saying everything everybody knows about biker gangs is wrong?”

Yeah, that was what I was saying. I was saying that practically nobody, with the obvious exception of Professor Daniel R. Wolf, has gotten it right yet. It is not, I have been told, a very commercial notion. It is not something people want to buy. Decide for yourselves.

As far as The Aging Rebel goes, I thought if somebody stumbles onto Out Bad and likes it why not sell them another book? The Aging Rebel, which is made of 50, slightly edited selections from this website, is full of people, situations and motorcycle rides that the general public might not know. Parts of it are, at least amusing. Personally, I think this would be a better world if 10,000 or so people bought copies to keep in their bathrooms.

Did I mention that reading Out Bad has been proven to cure both baldness and impotence!? Try it for yourself and see!

And, at least  Out Bad didn’t wind up being a comic book.

You can get both books on Amazon. The Aging Rebel may not be up for a day or so. Out Bad is at http://www.amazon.com/Out-Bad-Donald-Charles-Davis/dp/1467950831/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321810299&sr=1-5


381 Responses to “Out Bad”

  1. jonny sumo Says:

    Hey man, didn’t realize you wrote Out Bad, awesome read, really enjoyed it and now I know its you I see the writing style. I’ve read a lot of the books out there on ‘club’ life but seriously Rebel, Out Bad is the best by a long, long way; you made me ‘feel’ the guys you wrote about, made me almost understand what makes people take one side or the other, and what they then get out of it.
    From the first coverage in the UK of the Waco travesty, all I could think of was ‘Where’s Ciccone in this? or Carr or Kozlowski?’….there was a very brief piece of newsreel on UK tv that showed 3 uniform cops with a guy, in a cut, in jeans and boots but with a flak vest & an assault rifle…hey go figure…
    Anyhoos bro, y’all take care…if ya like rock drumming check out MY work on youtube.com/user/MrJonnySumo I look forward to reading your other books….Peace, Jonny S

    Oh PS…on a negative note I fear my penis has become smaller since reading Out Bad as opposed to the, guaranteed I felt, extension that was promised…though to be fair that may be the alcohol and diabetes rather than your book….

  2. NCRider Says:

    I’m a few years late, but getting ready to start reading The Aging Rebel: Dispatches From The Motorcycle Outlaw Frontier. I absolutely am not one to sit down and read a book. But as many will agree, Rebel’s writing has an uniqueness that captivates your interest. I am still smiling from the above article, which is very unlike me!

  3. Wolfenlover Says:

    Rebel, I just clicked on the V Shurtz/Motorcycle Fiction( noticed it was
    MOTORCYCIE) came up as page non-existent. Bet that is nothing new is it.
    I’m getting ready to read OUT BAD again(hoping I don’t have to double-down
    on the BP meds! Again) Your writing never gets old. Long may you script.
    Looking(& hoping) for a few extra $$$ so that I can order your newest book.
    I have a very good friend who is a 1% that has written of his travels for
    several years. Trying to get him the ability to get published, but his
    Brother who was going to help is under the non-associating BS!
    What I’m round-about saying is ya’ll write damn close alike! Only Bikers
    can truly appreciate a Biker’s writings! That it truly a shame as the general
    populace(sheeple) should have ya’ll’s for required reading! If I had your
    mailing address, I’d send you a copy of 1 of his Roadside Raps.(I been making
    my own copy of his book since about 2012!) hehehe If you would care to read
    just E me your POaddy & I’ll sure send you a copy. I know YOU would appreciate
    his style.
    RESPECTS Rebel & to the regulars

  4. roachclip Says:

    I don’t know if your under contract with amazon, but if you will consider this email me. Because I don’t have plastic, I cannot hit the donate button, which has been bothering me. I am not a skin flint and have always paid my way, I will pay retail plus shipping for twilight, out bad, and framing dave, plus donate. And if you just wanted to sign the books, that would be alright too. Ya’ never know till ya’ ask.

    Keep up the good work.

    Respects, roach.

  5. Va.Bob Says:

    [email protected] to grandstand.No PM, e-mail kind of shit, eh?But if this supplements the Reb’s EBT card, way cool.

  6. Rebel Says:

    Dear V Shurtz/ Motorcycie Fiction,



  7. V Shurtz/ Motorcycie Fiction Says:

    I didn’t realize the path I would have to follow to get in touch with You. We at Motorcycle.com would like to offer you the inclusion of the elite. If you’ll look at our ‘Known Associates” page We think you will see the company you keep.
    We at Motorcycle Fiction would like You to become part of our Family.
    We would like to add your web site to our ‘Known Associates’ page. You will get more exposure and maybe sell more books. We ask nothing else and we offer nothing else.
    If your ok with that, E-mail me @ [email protected] and we will shake hands.
    We will Showcase your book ‘Twilight of the Outlaws’ for the month of June 2015 and will send you a 2016 calander [if you will send us an address}. We think your well enough read to fill this spot with our other Associates.
    Let me know

  8. Road Whore Says:

    @ YYZ Skinhead…too true!

    Ride Free

  9. jj solari Says:

    welcome to the world of writing biker-friendly stuff, dude.

  10. old Says:

    once …. I believed… once again..I believe

  11. Lou Says:

    I’ve bought four copies of “Out Bad”, which I’ve read three times because its one of the best, if not the best books out there on clubs…the other three were gifts to friends, in my circle of friends we buy each other beer or give or swap good reading…I’ve bought two copies of “The Aging Rebel”…same thing with that…excellent writing skills, my friend, along with relevent topics…thanks…

  12. Poncho Says:

    Oral pues, take off your dress and I’ll do the rest! Good book!

  13. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    We officially lost our freedom in 2001, courtesy of the first, white Dubya. Obusha (Black Dubya) just took up where White Dubya left off, and Rombush if he gets elected won’t be any different.

    YYZ Skinhead

  14. Chef Says:

    I finally ordered “Out Bad”. I finished the read and have a couple comments.

    First, this book reinforced my long held belief that the only thing that Law Enforcement is inclined to “Protect and Serve”, is their own kind. Second, the Justice System, in this country is not about “justice”, but more about “punishment”.

    I should state for the record, that I don’t like LEO’s. At the risk of stereotyping any one profession, I think ANYONE who enters into that profession, has some serious psychological issues. Specifically, with power and control. This is what drives up the high divorce rate among LEO’s, not the stress of the job. Let’s be honest, Being an LEO is not a dangerous profession, not even in the top ten, but I digress.

    This book does not “white-wash” any of the events, in fact points out the culpability of the people involved, while illuminating the fabrications, lie and duplicitous acts of various LEO’s.
    It’s a little hard to read, in that, it’s more like a rebuttal, in the form of a legal brief, rather than a “story”. I still found the material compelling, just not presented in a cohesive format. Please pardon my mild criticism, as I am not a published author, just a reader with an opinion.

    And in my humble opinion, I now believe, there is in fact, no freedom left in this country. It’s gone, a historical footnote, like disco. People may remember it, but it’s gone. Every inch of this country is now mapped, everyone will be slaves to the Obama-care health bill and our gun rights are slowly being eroded to the point where gun ownership will label you a “terrorist”. (You think it can’t happen?)

    Finally, it saddens me that the sheep that will inherit this country have chosen to abandon free will and intellectual debate. They have willingly put on the blinders, have chosen to believe the current political ideology, the politically correct catch phrases, rather than deal with or even acknowledge the existence of the “Orwellian” society, we have become.

    Respect to all with open eyes and closed fists, Chef

  15. Glenn S. Says:

    I would like to read more The Rebel Rides, perhaps in book form.

  16. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    Much gratitude but I already have a copy. I was thinking of buying them in quantity so I could peddle them here: http://www.socalcycleswapmeet.com/ I owe you some beer.


    You ought to compile all your Sons of Ass reviews into a book. SoA fans would eat it up like a Kleenex at a snot party.

    YYZ skinhead

  17. BigV Says:


    YYZ: If you don’t have a copy, I can send one to your post office general delivery.

  18. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    What was the URL of your book distributor?

    YYZ Skinhead

  19. Rebel Says:

    Dear Jack,

    Thank you very much. Australia is really going off the deep end because some of the constitutional protections in the United are not in the Australian Constituion. I am going to have to start paying attention to Australia. I know the police down there will jack you up for riding down the road.


  20. Jack Says:

    G’day Rebel … just finished reading Out Bad. A page turner, as well as an eye opener when it came to the insights on how American law operates. Sad part is … Aussies are headed the same way- fast. Good book.

    Stay great,

  21. Jack Says:

    G’day Rebel … just finished reading Out Bad. A page turner, as well as an eye opener when it came to the insights on how American law operates. Sad part is … Aussies are headed the same way- fast. Good book.

    Stay great,

  22. Link Says:


    No, I’m in Virginia.

    @ Rebel

    By golly, I hope you’re right, I’ll take all the help I can get!

    Unaffiliated Biker Trash

  23. Muck 1%er Says:

    @ Link,

    Are you the Link I know from the northstate?

  24. Rebel Says:

    Dear Link,

    Thank you for your kind words. Reading those books also makes your dick bigger, too.


  25. Link Says:


    I’m reading Out Bad right now. I don’t read. Don’t like it, never have. But this book really puts things into perspective as to how this country has taken a turn for the worst. I love the writing style and respect that you have probably put yourself in the crosshairs of the Alphabet Firing Squad by writing this book and this website.

    My old lady is so excited that I’m actually reading a book, that The Aging Rebel just showed up in the mailbox this afternoon! Can’t wait to get into it.

    With all respect,

    Unaffiliated Biker Trash

  26. Paladin Says:

    Dear Rebel,

    I just finished “The Aging Rebel”. Once again, thanks for a great read!

    Long May You Ride,


  27. JMacK Says:


    I read “Out Bad” in 1 marathon sitting and “The Aging Rebel” in 2 days and I have to say that my world just got a whole lot bigger…and that is both exciting and scary…thanks for everything that you do with your words.

    Much Respect

  28. Rebel Says:

    Dear Paladin,

    Thank you very much.


  29. Rebel Says:

    Dear Glenn S.,

    Thank you Glenn. That is very kind of you to say.


  30. Glenn S. Says:

    It is far better than any other book on the subject, and the words flow in a compelling narrative. The fact that you had to self-publish speaks volumes about the publishing industry today. I’m really looking forward to your upcoming book on Dave Burgess.

Leave a Reply