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.)

Cover Story

Since nature insists that I’m not going to get any younger or broader of shoulder, I’ve (mostly) given up on being a cover model. But I can now say that I’ve got a cover story, specifically a story about the covers of my novel The New Men.

Wayzgoose Press, which is publishing The New Men (ebook now on sale, paperback coming soon), has just posted a history of the novel’s potential covers on its Facebook wall, including the one we we eventually settled on. It offers a fun little tour of the decision-making process and provides a good intro to the novel.