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Announcing the release of my new book

CleverNickName (129189) writes | more than 6 years ago

User Journal 22

This feels like a mega-spam entry, and I'm very self conscious about posting it, but I'm excited about this and I wanted to share . . .

This feels like a mega-spam entry, and I'm very self conscious about posting it, but I'm excited about this and I wanted to share . . .

I just published my third book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives. I mention it here because it's all about growing up in the 70s, and coming of age in the 80s as part of the D&D/BBS/video game/Star Wars figures generation, and I think a lot of Slashdot readers will relate to the stories in it.

I published a few of the stories on my blog, including Blue Light Special. It's about the greatest challenge a ten year-old could face in 1982: save his allowance, or buy Star Wars figures?

After our corduroy pants and collared shirts and Trapper Keepers and economy packs of pencils and wide-ruled paper were piled up in our cart, our mom took our three year-old sister with her to the make-up department to get shampoo and whatever moms buy in the make-up department, and my brother and I were allowed to go to the toy department.

"Can I spend my allowance?" I said.

"If that's what you want to do," my mom said, another entry in a long string of unsuccessful passive/aggressive attempts to encourage me to save my money for . . . things you save money for, I guess. It was a concept that was entirely alien to me at nine years old.

"Keep an eye on Jeremy," she said.

"Okay," I said. As long as Jeremy stood right at my side and didn't bother me while I shopped, and as long as he didn't want to look at anything of his own, it wouldn't be a problem.

I held my brother's hand as we tried to walk, but ended up running, across the store, past a flashing blue light special, to the toy department. Once there, we wove our way past the bicycles and board games until we got to the best aisle in the world: the one with the Star Wars figures.

I'm really proud of this book, and the initial feedback on it has been overwhelmingly positive. I've been reluctant to mention it here, because of the spam issue, but I honestly do think my stories will appeal to Slashdotters.

After the disaster with O'Reilly on Just A Geek, I've decided to try this one entirely on my own, so I'm responsible for the publicity, the marketing, the shipping, and . . . well, everything. If this one fails, it will be because of me, not because a marketing department insisted on marketing it as something it's not.

Of course, I hope I can claim the same responsibility if (when?) it finds its audience . . . which would be awesome.

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22 comments

star wars (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963295)

My family never had much money when I was a kid. I had a few figures, an odd assortment of cards, and a few of the comics. I always wanted the Millenium Falcon toy that was sized to use with the figures. I thought, "If I could just get the Millenium Falcon, I wouldn't want anything else. I'd never be bored or want another toy again." I think back to that when I find myself thinking similar thoughts about some material possession. The Falcon wouldn't have made me happy. It wouldn't have met my needs. I think about that a lot. I do want a die cast millenium falcon for my cube though. I've got a TIE interceptor, but the Falcon would be awesome. (the more things change and all...)
 
I've got Dancing Barefoot on my book shelf and 2 copies of Just a Geek. So I'll be ordering the latest soon. If you ever have the time and inclination - I think it would be great if you put up posts in your blog on the kind of things you did to be able to publish for yourself.

Re:star wars (1)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963509)

I think it would be great if you put up posts in your blog on the kind of things you did to be able to publish for yourself.

I touched on that in the second Ask Me Anything I did here, but maybe you're right. Maybe it would be useful for people to know the mistakes I've made, the successes I've had, and why I think it can work this way, instead of the "right" way.

Hrm . . . I think I have a blog post for next week!

Re:star wars (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20965581)

that would be really cool. And this may be way too specific - but when you set up Monolith Press, how did that impact the deal with O'Reilly? Did you buy a block of ISBN's for monolith?
 
So many of us geeks are wanna be authors, and I'm interested in self publishing - through Lulu maybe - but I'd love to know going into it, how that might impact my chances of ever getting that work published by a big company.
 
And finally - while I'm here, a couple years ago or so I wrote you an insanely long email that I'd like to sum up here just by saying, Thanks for taking the time to write your books.

Re:star wars (1)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20968511)

Monolith existed before anyone from O'Reilly ever contacted me, and sort of went into hibernation while I drove myself crazy dealing with them.

The ISBN purchase was one of the easiest things I did, all things considered. I just filled out the forms at Bowkerlink, gave them a crapload of money (which was a deduction) and they were all in my inbox within a few minutes. Assigning them is simple, too: just fill out more forms and keep a printed out record of what ISBNS go with what book.

I bought a block of 10, and I hope to one day use all of them, but to date I've only used 3.

Re:star wars (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20969571)

Yeah, I remember when monolith went up. (I don't go back to your very first web site but I've been reading ww.net for a long time.) But were there legal hassles switching from monolith to O'Reilly? Did the fact you had published on your own make it more difficult or was it irrelevant? Or did it help? (Sorry - so many questions)
 
I think you'll use up the other seven and then some. I think if you start doing fiction you'll do well. You've got the skills to do more than one genre too. If you wrote say a mystery set in Vegas with poker tied in, I'd buy that. I read all your poker stuff and I don't even play. If you wrote some sci-fi I'd buy that too. If you wrote a Victorian era romance, I'd buy it for my wife. :)
 
Well enough fan boy ass kissing from me. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Re:star wars (1)

naChoZ (61273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21099873)

Just thought I'd post this because it's somewhat relevant. Piers Anthony keeps a list of publishers and services on his website. http://hipiers.com/publishing.html [hipiers.com]

He updates it regularly with feedback that he gets about the publishers too. He's basically trying to help people spot the deadbeats and give props to the good ones.

Re:star wars (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 6 years ago | (#20964363)

I had a millenium falcon. I tossed it in the trash when I was about 12 or 13. *smacks forehead*

Re:star wars (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985371)

My family never had much money when I was a kid.

Same here. I basically made do with Vader and a (gifted, of course) Gamorrean guard. Going over to other kid's houses was an exercise in humility and restraint.

Mind you, I had Vader! Never really cared all that much for anyone else in the series much (even Han).

Ordering page funnies (1)

IAmRenegadeX (627910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963341)

quote: SHIPS TO THE CANADA Thanks the god! ;) I can't wait to read this one. Hope it does gangbusters -- good luck with the self-marketing! Don't be shy!

Re:Ordering page funnies (1)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963561)

Hrm. I replied to this, but it fell through a hole in the 'tubes.

I'm glad you enjoyed the funny. I put a lot of funny into the FAQ, but my pal Russ is entirely responsible for the funny on the ordering page. I can't wait to be able to ship to The England, The Australia, and The The European Union.

Re:Ordering page funnies (1)

IAmRenegadeX (627910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20965879)

You forgot The Poland!

Don't be self conscious (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963513)

Writing a book is a big accomplishment, and hell, you've done it three times now. I think anyone who does something like that is entitled to a bit of shameless self promotion.

BTW, and this is not relevant, but I thought you were great in Trek. Especially Final Mission, which I recently rewatched (thank you Netflix!) - it was your performance that really carried that episode which made it suck even more that you departed the show.

Congrats on your book.

Re:Don't be self conscious (1)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963593)

Thank you, that's very kind. (About the books and about TNG, I mean.) I'm still nervous as hell about this book, because there is a lot riding on it, both financially and emotionally.

I don't know if you watched Trek in the first season, but I did (hey, it was cool to be part of that) and I've recently been writing reviews of classic TNG episodes at TV Squad [tvsquad.com] .

They're from a humorous point of view, as an actor and as a fan; if you've ever looked at pictures of yourself from high school and thought, "Dude, I can't believe I ever thought that was cool!" then you'll know where these are coming from. Anyway, I think you may enjoy them.

Good memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20963725)

Your Star Wars figure blurb really resonates with me. My mom recently passed away and while my brothers and I were cleaning out the basement (I know it sounds like a slashdot cliche with the "mom's basement" bit, but its true), we found boxes and boxes of old Star Wars figures in their original packaging (mostly Empire stuff). Turns out back in the 70s and early 80s while we were trashing our Star Wars toys, blowing them up, and burying them under tons of dirt, my father, who passed away 20 years ago, was secretly creating a mirror set for collecting purposes. Just seeing those old boxes and those old figures gave me quite an emotional jar. I felt like a 10 year-old-again. Wonderful stuff.


Anyway, I look forward to checking out the new book. Thanks for journal entry to keep us informed.

Re:Good memories (1)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963809)

That's an awesome story. What I hope to do with this book, more than anything else, is jar loose memories like those from readers like you. It makes me outrageously happy to read yours.

If you get the book, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Dupe (1)

ryanr (30917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20963841)

I've already seen the announcement on your blog, Warren Ellis', BoingBoing, etc... congrats on finishing. It always feels good to be done, doesn't it? I hope to see a future entry on how it worked to self-publish. Something I've considered a few times. I always assume my problem would be motivation. I feel like I need a publisher breathing down my neck.

Re:Dupe (1)

blueforce (192332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21023813)

I have 3 year old twin boys. My wife lets them watch Gerald McBoing-Boing [wikipedia.org] on Boomerang. You mention BoingBoing and sadly the first thing I think is cartoon.

Personally, I can't stand the cartoon. And now... I have that theme song stuck in my head. Likely for the rest of the day.

Thank you.

TV? (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20966253)

Have you contacted Daily Show / Colbert Report to try to book an appearance yet?

Re:TV? (1)

CleverNickName (129189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20969951)

Have you contacted Daily Show / Colbert Report to try to book an appearance yet?

I haven't, mostly because I'm nowhere near "A" list enough to even get past the intern who answers the phone.

Re:TV? (1)

crumley (12964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20978655)

Try Colbert. Have you seen some of the authors that he gets on there? Not that many A list stars are willing to be screwed with on cable TV.

Though Colbert seems to be more of a Star Wars guy, there is quite a bit of SF humor on there. His Tek Jansen (?sp?) bits seem to be a play on Shatner's lovely novels. I am sure that he would have a ball with you.

Re:TV? (1)

Kalak (260968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982205)

With Colbert's Geek history (no secret he's a major D&D Geek), you'd be a great fit for him. I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to play a tabletop game of some kind as part of the interview. If you can't get past the intern, try a grass roots on the web site, and announce it to your nation to invade his nation and you'd get some attention. (Maybe that would be a game to play on the show - take on the Colbert Nation with little Colbert miniatures against what ever tabletop motif you could come up with.)

Re:TV? (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983189)

I haven't [contacted TDS/TCR], mostly because I'm nowhere near "A" list enough to even get past the intern who answers the phone. I'm reasonably sure you're on the Stewart/Colbert target audience's A-list . . .
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