For those who've asked about the countdown on the site, it's all been about this. I got a book deal and the book's coming out in one month. It's up on Amazon already and everything.
June 8th is the release date. (And yes, I know the clock used to count down to June 1st. We thought that was going to be the date but it was recently pushed an extra week to make sure there'd be enough books available for shipping.)
The book is called the "11 Points Guide To Hooking Up" and I hope it's the first book of many.
So, to introduce it, I thought I'd go the Frequently Asked Questions route; here are some of the most common questions I've heard from various friends and well-wishers about the book.
Wait, you really got a book deal?
Yes. Really. (Stop looking so surprised.)
How did this come about?
A mix of timing, luck, sweet talk, work, Hope and Faith. The process started damn near two years ago, in July of 2009, when my site had second major traffic explosion. I met a guy on the Internet (nothing can go wrong in a story that contains that line, right?) named Will who liked what I was doing and he put me in touch with a literary agent named Kristyn at ICM.
She saw potential in my writing and took me on as a client. From there I wrote a book proposal (which, by the way, is as much work as actually writing a book) and she shopped it around.
It took a bit but finally the proposal made it to an editor named Julie at a company called Skyhorse Publishing (America's fastest-growing publisher and the home of plenty of sane books written by Jesse "The Body' Ventura). She championed it and the publisher decided to give me a deal late last May. From there it was about four months of intensive writing, then two months of intensive revisions, then about six months of it being printed in China and taking a slow boat over here. (Just like Carmen Sandiego did, if Rockapella is to be believed.)
You got the book deal a year ago. Why haven't you mentioned it before?
Well there are two reasons. The main one is that I just kept waiting for something to go wrong. Last week I finally got a printed copy of the book in my hand. I know that's weird and neurotic -- but, having read even three words on this site, you know those are two words that summarize me nicely.
The second reason was that I wanted to be able to hype the book near its release and I felt like if I said something last year it wouldn't have accomplished anything productive to that end. Probably just comments like "oh, so that's why you're slacking on the blog." Which is totally untrue -- I've reduced my frequency to 2-3 lists per week to recharge my batteries so I can write another 500 lists as strong as the first 500.
Well, about 394 strong lists, 66 NFL picks lists, and 40 or so that could use work.
So what's the book about?
This book is all about dating, relationships and sex. It's a meticulous blend (which sounds like I'm describing coffee or Walter White's meth) of advice and humor -- I never sacrifice one for the other and never go cheap or generic on either.
Even if you're in a long-term relationship or happily married there's still a ton to enjoy... not to mention plenty of stuff in there geared at you, too. (11 Tips For Proposing, Wrangling, and Shining In a Threesome comes to mind.)
I just took every precaution to make sure it's a 100 percent fresh look at things. I declared an embargo on reading anything in that genre while I wrote so that every list would feature completely original advice and material -- whether it was best places for a first date, how to date a coworker or how to hook up on vacation, it's all brand new.
Is this just another blog-to-book situation? Because, if so, yawn...
If I had to pick the best aspect of this experience, it'd be the answer to this question. No, this is not anything close to a blog-to-book rush job. I had a strong vision of what I wanted to do with the book and Skyhorse was unbelievably supportive.
While the book will feel familiar to readers -- same 11-item lists, same voice, same humor, same fonts, same audacious pink highlights in every point -- it's also an entirely different beast. The lists are new, crafted with extra care, balance advice and humor, and actually got treatment from professional editors. Also, I use footnotes in the book which add so much and I hand-drew several graphs and Venn diagrams for it as well. Basically, it's my most epic work ever and I know for sure no one will read it and say "Egad, what a bloody waste of money."
Are there still Simpsons references?
It's my book, isn't it? Yes, I was able to organically work in plenty of the pop culture and Simpsons references that have come to be expected on this site. (Only a few of which I literally had to sneak past the editors.) Everything from "The Simpsons" to "Saved by the Bell" to "Harry Potter" to "Voltron" to Miley Cyrus -- it's all in there.
Will it be in bookstores? Kindle?
Well, if there are still bookstores in a month then yeah, it should be in them. Skyhorse has a strong distribution team so it should also, hopefully, be in some specialty stores too. It will also be available on Kindle and other e-readers. I'm not sure yet how the footnotes will translate to those but I'm optimistic that they'll still work properly.
What's the maximum number of copies I'm allowed to buy?
However many you want, birthday boy.
(I'd recommend buying two -- one to read and one for a gift. The reason the release was pushed to the summer is because it's an excellent "summer" book and a perfect gift.)
Will there be a book tour?
Sadly there will not. Turns out that book tours are a dying breed, especially with non-famous authors like me. However, as I travel this summer, the publisher and I are planning to set up some in-store events (to be determined).
Why should I buy the book when you write on the Internet for free?
I've thought about this question a lot. And aside from the basic fundamentals -- the material in the book is special, it's the next level beyond what I do on the site, all that -- I think there's something beyond that at play.
I think that it was pretty great that, in today's climate, I was able to get a chance to write a book. It's extremely rare today for a rookie author to get a shot -- let alone in two highly competitive genres like humor and relationships. It's much more likely that the Kardashians or a cast member from "Jersey Shore" will get to write a book (or, rather, dictate ideas to a ghostwriter) than a writer who simply has something to say and plugs away every day to say it.
I don't want to venture into the Halle Berry territory and say that this book is for all of the undiscovered writers blogging and freelancing and Huffington Posting and just trying to crack through, because that's far too much hyperbole. But I believe this is a case where dedication and hard work really did pay off. And, I'd like to think, a case that proves there really is opportunity out there for talented people who work and work and work -- and weren't contestants on reality shows or overnight viral sensations -- to cut through the Katamari Damacy ball of clutter on the Internet and go to the next level with what they do.
So thank you -- you, specifically -- for reading this website. For getting the views up to the point where I could make it onto the radar and at least get a toe in the door. And thank you for supporting me and everything I do. I couldn't even begin to calculate the hours I've spent writing here -- and I look at that as a positive, not a negative.
In conclusion, yes, I will make out with you.
So should I go buy the book right now?
Well, if you can't wait or you know you'll forget to buy it if you don't right now, by all means pre-order it on Amazon -- the price is extremely reasonable (currently around, naturally, $11). But if you can hold off (or if you want to pre-order one now and then get another down the line), I'm organizing an official "buy day" on June 9th. That's the day I'm asking everyone to purchase the book. I'm also holding a big contest that day with prizes. More on all that to come. More on everything to come! My book for some, tiny American flags for others!
This post was originally published on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Personal.