Entry 335: Adventures in Publishing

Big news, everyone! My new book, Kids Are Dumb; Parents Are Dumber, is now available BookCoverImage[1]in paperback and ebook editions…and just in time for Mother’s Day.

This book picks up where my previous book, Don’t Mind Him; He’s Pregnant leaves off, with over 130 brilliantly comic essays about all aspects of childhood and parenthood, from birth to college, all written in the style you’ve come to love from reading this blog.

But my new book–which you really should purchase for everyone you know who has kids–is not the subject of this post.

When Don’t Mind Him; He’s Pregnant was published some 27 years ago, it was very exciting for me. I immediately got a copy framed (it still hangs on the wall of my office), and I got to appear on CNN and a few radio call-in shows, albeit at ungodly hours of the night. Fortunately I was able to do the radio interviews from home. It was an amazing feeling of power to be able to talk with sleep-deprived people in Pittsburgh while in my living room in pajamas.

My point is, it was exciting having a book published! It meant a publisher had actually agreed to print copies in advance of people wanting to buy them. I could walk into something called a book store and see my book right there on the shelf. I could even surreptitiously rearrange the display so my book was more prominent, not that I ever did that.

But these days, anyone can publish anything. It’s not even expensive. But here’s the thing: the book doesn’t really exist until someone buys it, at which time they run off a copy on a mimeograph machine or something, or just zap it to an e-reader.

There are no fact-checkers for non-fiction, no editors for novels, no screening process at all, except to make sure the manuscript conforms to the correct format and, let me tell you, it’s more difficult than you’d think to keep the page numbers in the Table of Contents corresponding to the page numbers where the chapters actually begin.  About the fourth time you’re submitting your file, you’re happy if the chapters start in the vicinity of where the Table of Contents said they would. If I do another book, I may just write one long chapter.

In many cases, this lack of screening is a good thing, as many talented writers, previously rejected by publishers who are only interested in established authors writing their 20th novel with the same detective, are able to get their works out there and discovered by the public.

On the other hand, I could theoretically publish a book called A Portfolio of Invisible Nude Photographs of Sexy Movie Stars, design a great cover for it, put it up for sale on Amazon and probably sell quite a few copies, at least until readers began posting comments like:

“Total rip off! All the pages are blank!”

and

“I didn’t think the photographs would be invisible; I thought the movie stars would be invisible.”

But my new book, Kids Are Dumb; Parents Are Dumber–which makes a great gift for any occasion–is most assuredly not a rip off. It includes witty and wise words of wisdom on subjects such as:

Milestones: “What parent, a few months after the first step, has not found him or herself longing for the good old days when baby would stay right where you left her?”

Stimulation: “According to child rearing experts, it’s really important to talk to your baby a lot, and to keep your face very close to it. That way, it becomes familiar with your voice, hears language being used and, at the same time, can reach up and poke you in the eye.”

New Parent Nervousness: “You’re sure your child will grow up to be president, or head of a major corporation, or a very talented performer, if only you can get through the first few months without dropping her.”

The Difference Between Mothers and Fathers: “Communication is also a much bigger deal for fathers. Mom likes all the gurgles, and trying to decode the various types of crying. Dad is more like, “Oh, just tell me what you want already!”

Kids’ Music: “Every once in awhile, you will realize that you are driving around town listening to children’s songs even though your child is not presently in the car. Worse, you are singing along. With the windows opened. So you know that at least three people have heard you singing ‘She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain’ at the top of your lungs. And they are people you know.”

Paying for College: “You could travel back in time and become a Canarsie Indian in the year 1626 so you could sell Manhattan to Peter Minuit for $24 which, if put in a bank with compound interest would today be worth approximately 50 billion dollars, providing the bank didn’t go under during the crash of 1787 and you could still find the bankbook.”

So go to Amazon* right now and have it zapped to your e-reader. Or, if you prefer, they can print you up a nice, fresh copy.  If you order now, you can have it in time for Mother’s Day.^

See you soon.

P.S. Seriously–go buy it. And then leave a postive review.  Thanks!

*Just $10.99 in paperback, $9.99 for ebook. ^Makes a great Father’s Day gift, too!  

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6 Responses to Entry 335: Adventures in Publishing

  1. Penny says:

    Congratulations Mark

  2. davidd says:

    So, uhm… seeing as how this is internet marketing, aren’t you supposed to offer your “1000 True Fans” a special discount or something for following your blog? Like, “… only $1.99 for the next 48 hours”? 😉

    • markhal says:

      davidd–true, but it would sooooo cut down on my royalties!

      • davidd says:

        That’s short-term thinking! Consider the impact and influence the gushing reviews from those first purchasers are likely to have on overall sales! Errr… supposing, of course, that the bargain-hunting cheapskates will actually read the book after they buy it, or get around to leaving reviews after that.

        By the way, I find it, well, hilarious, actually, that the likely buyers of your new book were the infant and toddler subjects of your first book.

  3. markhal says:

    Thanks for making me feel ancient.

  4. poppy stan says:

    congratulations son in law waiting for my autograph copy to put next to don’t mind him;he;pregnant whose pages by the way are turning Yellow

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