August is a time of great anticipation and apprehension as summer comes to an end. Parents are excited and children who are young enough not to know better are excited too. I must admit that August still has the refreshing feel of new beginnings for me- new books, new supplies, new teachers. It was ever green hope that the new school year would somehow be better, be different.
New Year’s Day has this same quality, a ritual celebration to compartmentalize last year’s events and memories, to put it away in favor of new beginnings. By the way, how are those resolutions coming along? I consider it a time to adjust and recommit to goals I was already working on, not make new ones. And one of those goals is to become a better writer.
January is also ‘back to school’ time, though most students are still reeling from the fall semester. For many, the spring semester is just the continuation of the academic year that they have to slog through to get to summer break. But consider that there are freshmen who start college late or high school seniors who start early. For them it is new and exciting. Consider the so-called ‘non-traditional’ student who is over age 40, who might be living up to that New Year’s resolution to finish their education or start a new career.
This post is the annual update of my writing career, such as it is.
I published a book in October 2020.
Book of Snark: Wit & Wisdom for the Angry Professional Woman on the Bus– A laugh out loud parody of motivational self-help books, a collection of pointed anti-affirmation satire, quips that describe the day-to-day life of an unimpressed, middle aged female professional, who does not suffer fools.
It’s self-published so not such a big deal. Anyone who can pull together a script and slap a halfway decent cover on it can be a published author these days because print-on-demand services do not check for worthiness of content. My market is so niche’ I didn’t believe that any publishing house would consider it. It wouldn’t make them enough money to be worth their time. Still, by all accounts it has done well. I sold 142 copies in the first three months and since 300 copies in the first year is considered success, I am almost halfway there.
But I promoted it. A lot. I am completely unknown and people are suspicious of independent authors for the reasons listed above (no check on worthiness). I paid for ads that showed my book to potential buyers 183,000+ times, at Christmas, and I sold 142 copies. *SIGH* Good thing that I am in it for the long haul. Book of Snark 1 will continue to sell and Book of Snark 2 is already in the works. I have eight text reviews on Amazon and six text reviews on Goodreads, all good and not all from my friends and family. I even garnered a ‘drive-by’ anonymous 1-star rating without an associated text review on Amazon by whoever or whatever and a lovely text review on Goodreads from book blogger, Amie’s Book Reviews in Toronto, who said the book “will appeal to anyone and everyone who likes British humor”.
“Tension Mounts put together a wonderfully charming book that I felt validated many of my thoughts. I read this while my toddler was sleeping right next to me, and I am so glad my outbursts of random laughter did not wake her up! If you want to laugh and feel like you are sitting next to your wise but ornery Great Aunt Molly, this is the book for you!” -Laurie on goodreads.com
That is the first review of Book of Snark I have received by someone I am certain is a stranger. And I can not tell you what a thrill it is for me that my book makes its readers laugh out loud. Several friends have kindly texted me to tell me that they laughed while reading it, but now I have confirmation that it is not just my current fanbase who enjoys it. The book is finding its audience out in the wild.
And so, my first ‘Book of Snark’ is published and spreading across the country. Most of my immediate fanbase has bought it. I hope they get a chuckle. Now the book faces the real test of the open market- which is flooded and has an ever-shrinking audience of readers. It will succeed or fail based on its own merit and how much suppression of organic reach FaceBook can muster. The book probably won’t win any awards or change the world, but I believe in its quality and value.
And frankly, in this year of 2020 we could all use a laugh. Continue reading
Join me at 1pm Central for my Facebook Live Launch of the Book of Snark!
Book of Snark, a collection of anti-affirmation feminist satire, 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.
This is my first published work of satire. The launch date is set for October 10, 2020. BYOB. This FB event categorizes it as ‘literature’ but it lies. Seek works of literary merit elsewhere.
Order your signed copy from my Square site (USA only)
Order your copy from Amazon.com starting 10-10-2020
Coming 10-10-20- Book of Snark LIVE!
Book of Snark is a collection of anti-affirmation feminist satire, 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. This is my first published work of satire. The launch date is set for October 10, 2020.
Now, book launches might be considered book promotion but really, especially for independent authors, it’s an excuse to have a party. A ‘birthday party’ for the ‘book baby’, a term I despise almost as much as ‘fur baby’, but both still less annoying than a dog in a dress.
Anyway, the book does deserve some kind of celebration, some kind of recognition for the years spent agonizing over it, to finally set it free in the world to do whatever work it was meant to do. Or at least whatever work it can do in the age of marketing saturation and active suppression of organic reach.
What, me cynical?
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.
Here’s a sneak preview of chapter 1:
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?
I am self-publishing my first book this fall:
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