Begging So Urbane it Could Pass for a Simple Request

If you haven’t yet read The New Men, make sure you do so once you’re out of the hospital and before you have to go back.

(And, no, I’m never going to get tired of that stupid joke.)

If you have read the novel, please consider writing a customer review, especially on Amazon. Especially if you liked it, but even if you found it kinda meh. I’m belatedly learning that, for a variety of reasons, customer reviews are hugely important for books released by small presses.

Just a few sentences is all it takes–and there’s no need to get fancy. Just say what you would have wanted to know about the book when you were deciding whether or not to invest your time and money in it.

Obviously, this is a highly self-serving post on my part. But I do want to stress that this applies well beyond my own little novel. If you’re reading a book from a small press and you like it or the press, the few extra minutes you spend writing a review will be genuinely helpful. Far more helpful than the same time spent reviewing a book from a big press.

Think about it like being one of the first people to review a new, local restaurant on Yelp. People in the neighborhood have no idea what to expect when the place first opens up, so if the early reviews are good, people will give it a shot and the restaurant has a chance to take off. If there are no reviews or if there are only three brutal ones, that restaurant could be dead in the water.  In contrast, reviews #362-371 of a twenty-year-old Olive Garden probably aren’t going to move the dial much in either direction. Nobody reads #367 and yells out, “Hey, Dave. Dave! Did you know Olive Garden has bread sticks? Fornicate me sideways–bread sticks!!! We are totally going tonight, dude.”



The New Men Goodreads Giveaway!

So if you’re not swayed by the overwhelming consensus of the medical community that buying lots and lots of copies of The New Men will make you immortal AND the considered opinion of sociological experts that your doing so is the only thing that can save me from a lifetime of loneliness (a long, immortal lifetime), then, okay, you hard-bargaining so-and-so, maybe you should sign up for a chance to get a copy for free…


If you have a Goodreads account, all you have to do is a click a button to be entered for a chance at a free copy. (If you don’t have an account, it looks like you have to sign up, which is free.)

You’ll have to scroll down a bit until you get to this part of the screen:

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 10.54.50 AM


Buy Lots and Lots of Copies of The New Men

Because doing so is probably good for your health somehow. I mean, I don’t have any evidence to that effect, but it stands to reason.

Also, as always, I’m having a hard time meeting women. But my new instructor at the Tony Montana Academy for the American Dream explained to me how selling a lot of copies of my book would turn all that around.

So, there you go, you could get healthy, read America’s Next Top Novel (featuring the divine Miss J.*), and save me from dying alone. Or not. Your call. Whatever seems right.


* – Not actually featuring Miss J.

I Left My Heart in Enfield, NH

When I was first searching for The New Men on Amazon by entering its title and “Enfield,” the first hit was usually a t-shirt with the slogan “I Left My Heart in Enfield, NH.”

Thus far, with significant struggle, I have managed to resist buying that t-shirt for novelty purposes or making a custom variation on it for dirty joke purposes. The good news is that resisting such purchases has just gotten easier.

“Why?” you no doubt ask, suddenly seized with the sense of that something important is afoot.

Well, because that search now is pretty likely to generate The New Men as its first hit.

“OMFG, AND WHY IS THAT?” you inevitably ask, scarcely able to breathe given the suspense.

Brace yourself: because the paperback is now available on Amazon.


So go buy a mizillion copies, y’all. I have to get my fish tank pimp shoes out of hock somehow. And, given that the paperback has been in the penalty box for so long, it’s currently getting outsold by The Charles Lindbergh Guide to Child Protection and Talmudic Interpretation.

The novel is also signed up for Kindle MatchBook, which means that if you buy the paperback on Amazon, you can get a deeply discounted Kindle edition for you own use (apparently giving the Kindle version as a gift to somebody else isn’t yet possible).  The prices will probably vary occasionally, but as I type this the Kindle edition is normally priced at $7.99 but only $1.99 via MatchBook.

[blotch]amn it!

So, in theory The New Men is out in paperback.

In reality, the printer is currently trying to sort out what’s causing this:

Blotched Ds

Yep, the blotched italic ds have made their return. They’re like strange insects from an unknown land, appearing and disappearing without pattern or explanation. And for obvious reasons, the publisher isn’t going to list the paperback as available until we’re sure they’re gone for good.

Ugh. It’s been a few days. It might be a few more. But, fingers crosse•, it’ll all be sorte• out soon.

In the meantime, might I suggest something in one of our lovely shades of ebook?

Ask Away! [crickets]

Nietzche Family Circus--I never speak to the masses


Given how many copies The New Men is likely (not) to sell and the disappointing lack of an emerging TNM slash fiction subculture (slash fiction: a key sign of valid, substantive literature), I’m not kidding myself that there’s a huge demand out there for further information about the novel.

But if you’re the sort of person who has questions about a novel after you’ve read it (or even as you read it) and wish you could ask the author what’s up with that, well, I’m lonely and starved for attention. So ask away. I can’t answer every question,* but I do promise to try.

This offer is valid from now until further notice.


* — For example, I won’t answer a question like “Why do you suck so much, putz?” I mean, if I could answer that kind of question, I probably wouldn’t suck so much, right?



Took a While to Scrape Off All That Pudding

But I just got my hard copy proof of The New Men.

Pretty damn exciting! I mean, except for the fact that the lower-case italic ds are all oval-ish blotches.

Anyway, this means the paperback will be available for purchase soon. And possibly that Wayzgoose Press and I will be breaking new ground by replacing d (played out, amirite?) with a bleeding-edge symbol–as, of course, befits all historical fiction.


Hard Copy Proof-Cover

A Study of Writing Habits

h/t to Philip Larkin

So once upon a time, Americans apparently were capable of finding things vulgar, including discussions of how much money one made.

These days I’m not sure it would qualify as vulgar to tweet a pic with my income information shaved into various patches of my nether hairs. Depressing for all parties, assuredly, but quite possibly not vulgar.  But in case I do need to defend myself on that score, I offer two arguments.

First, as you’ll see, I’m not actually making any money off The New Men and am unlikely ever to do so. It’s debut literary fiction with nary a trace of fangs in the dark or clubbing women with sex. I’ve made my peace with that, and I consider myself profoundly lucky to have a skilled editor and a sympathetic publisher. I’m just excited that it exists and that people other than my relatives are reading it. So this is a post not about how much money I do make but rather about how much money I would have to make in order to hit certain wage benchmarks.

Second, The New Men focuses on a famous wage increase tied both to massive technological and industrial transformations and to the questions of values and valuation implicated in all that. So it’s almost impossible for me not to look at the rise of new publishing models and entertainment options and, against that background, muse about similar questions. This post captures a few of those musings.

(Also, doing this gave me a chance to enter easy formulas into Excel, which I find inexplicably soothing.)

Anyway, I found myself wondering: if I wanted to think of The New Men as a labor for wage rather than a labor of love, how many copies would I have to sell in order to make as much per hour as the kind of employees whom Tony Grams investigates? My rough estimate is that I spent 1,750 hours on the novel, a figure that includes everything from initial research and brainstorming through discussing the aesthetics of chapter headings with my editor. So how many copies of the novel would I need to sell to make as much as Ford employees did just before and after the Five Dollar Day started, either adjusted for inflation or not? How does that compare to Michigan’s current minimum wage?

Two weeks in, I’m making notably less per hour than the pre-Five Dollar Day laborer made in unadjusted 1914 dollars. So the upshot is: if you have a choice between getting stewed and fantasizing about getting rich selling debut lit fic, go with getting stewed. If you can afford it.

TNM-Author's Math

(Author’s share corrected upward from previous version of post.)