Book of Snark is my first published work of satire.
It is a collection of anti-affirmation feminist satire. It is a parody of motivational self-help books, pages of punchlines that describe the day to day life of an unimpressed, middle aged female professional, who commutes by bus.
Book of Snark will be published October of 2020 on Amazon.
Choosing the cover for a book is a really big deal.
It is the primary marketing tool that remains with the book at all times… at least until the kids rip it off or hopefully it falls off from being read over and over. Despite the old idiom, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, people do.
Readers take under 3 seconds to decide whether they are going to spend any time with your book based solely on its cover. So, it must spark interest. It must be attractive enough to look like you cared, that you took the time to think about it. Because a sloppy cover promises a sloppy book and who wants to bother with that?
Book of Snark, Wit & Wisdom for the Angry Professional Woman on the Bus.
(see photo above)
It is not my first self-publishing project. In 2017, I edited the post-humous memoir Popcorn from the Void by my friend Todd Park about leukemia and what it’s like to undergo a bone marrow transplant. I knew no publishing house would touch it because it was based on his blog. The book received a lot of praise, both for content and construction. I submitted it to the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards and though it got 30/30 points from its judge, it didn’t win or even get an honorable mention. Todd was a great man and it is a wonderful book with a lot of good stuff in it but the topic turns people off.
There is a lot of myth and romance around the dream of being a published author. The common belief among those who don’t know is that if you write a great book, success will follow. The truth is, if you write a great book, you are issued a lottery ticket and then you wait with thousands of other great books to see who gets picked. Continue reading →
“The fact that we both have umbrellas and ride the same bus does not reveal some deep kinship between us.” -Book of Snark 3.3.3
I work at a large metropolitan university. Parking on campus during the regular semester is an expensive nightmare at best and impossible at worst. There is staff parking designated at various surface lots and ramps. The monthly cost and length of the waiting list for a spot varies based on its proximity to campus. So, for slightly less money, staff can opt for a monthly unlimited bus pass. I live in the city, not the suburbs, and at times have even gone without owning a car. So, I choose the bus for my commute.
I have laughed at people who expressed concern for my safety over riding the bus. For one thing, this is Minneapolis, not Chicago. And not all buses are the same experience- not the routes or the days or the times of day. If you really want to get a sense of a neighborhood, ride the local bus. See who gets on and how angry they are. The areas of economic depression/ suppression become obvious. But mostly, folks are just trying to get through life and want to be left alone. Continue reading →
Loren Niemi has been an innovative professional storyteller performing, directing, collecting, coaching, and teaching stories for over 40 years.
August 1, 2020 marks the release of his latest book: Point of View and the Emotional Arc of Stories: A handbook for writers and storytellers (written with Nancy Donoval).
The New Book of Plots: Constructing Engaging Narratives for Oral and Written Storytelling, completes the set of his instructional books on the craft of storytelling, both written and oral.
Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories (written with Elizabeth Ellis), is the theory behind these two companion books.
And his genuinely disturbing ghost story collection What Haunts Us is the winner of the 2020 Midwest Book Award in the ‘Fantasy / Sci-fi / Horror / Paranormal’ fiction category. It is an example of the application of the three other books.
It is Fall 2018 and I sit alone at a table in the back of what was then the Underground Music Café in St Paul, MN, attending one of the last meetings of Chris Title’s long running open mic series ‘Barbaric Yawp’. Across the room sitting alone at another table is Loren Niemi, who I do not know but had met at another reading series Summer 2018. I ask how he is. He tells me he is about to have a collection of ghost stories published. I congratulate him. We get on with our lives.
It is Winter 2019 and I stop attending open mics. I am glad to have met other writers in those communities but realize the open mics are taking time away from my actual writing and provide just enough encouragement to have me fool myself into thinking I am accomplishing something. But I stay in touch with my new community via social media and my blog. I see the news that Loren’s book, “What Haunts Us”is published on February 1, 2019 by Moonfire Publishing. He has a book launch and a reading but I miss it. Continue reading →
I had to think about it. My original blog was on Blogger.com in 2004: ‘Writing is a Tapeworm’. I am quite sure no one remembers it. It was pre-Face Book and during the height of My Space (they’re still around, did you know?). It served me much the same way my current social media does- random chatter but without the audience. I closed it right around the time I was looking for a new job… cmmounts.com launched in July 2014, died in January 2015, then like a phoenix rose out of the paper shredder in January 2017 with regular posts and visitors ever since. Continue reading →
I love winter. I must since I chose to move north to Minnesota 15 years ago. It’s not the cold, it’s the 3 solid months of writing and reading with very little distraction. Cycling does not lure me out onto the forested trails and social invitations slow down to a crawl. No one wants to leave their home either and that’s fine. I have plenty of paper and ink to spare.
Last winter, I committed to waking up at 5am and working on my novel before work. I had a smoke damaged, sooty copy of a 2nd draft I wrote 10 years before. It was somewhere to start. So, I scanned the 263-page document using optical character recognition software and imported that into Scrivener. After 1.5 months of work, it was formatted and cut up into sections, chapters, and scenes. Continue reading →
July 10, 2018 was the one-year anniversary of the publication of Popcorn from the Void– my friend Todd Park’s memoir that I edited from his blog. The proceeds from the sale of this book go to support various cancer charities. It’s been doing well for a self-published book about such a serious topic: the arduous journey of a bone marrow transplant and the untimely death of its author. Continue reading →