Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Second Annual Book Report

My latest book has become my best-selling, and I figure now is a perfectly auspicious time for me to take stock of how I’m doing thus far with my publishing endeavors. The non-self-publishing industry has not yet taken notice of me, but it cannot do this forever, because I’m putting out at least a book a year until 2095. I don’t know what my numbers will be then, but these are my numbers to date, in order of copies sold, completion percentage, and development stage in my brain, respectively:

Published (4):

54 Runners, 54 Stories: The Tale of the 2012 200k JRunners Relay Race: 67 copies sold. I’m very proud of this one. I targeted an entire very-niche market, and sold it to nearly all of them. I’m currently working on getting sports sites to review the book.

The Year of Bad Behavior: Bearing Witness to the Uncouthiest of Humanity: 62 copies sold. The things that people moan and groan about concerning their fellow man, especially on Facebook, are all covered here. Every time I revisit the manuscript, it feels so current. Proud of this one too.

A Conversation on The Way: 60 copies sold. Reviewed on 3 blogger sites, featured at the YU Seforim Sale, nicely received. I especially enjoy the artwork by Dena Szpilzinger, the first hired professional of my writing career. I’m hoping to able to afford other services, like editing, though I am grateful to my volunteers.

Bush II, Book I: 57 copies sold. The world has found this book. It exists somewhere that’s getting attention. Kindle versions are constantly finding themselves into strangers’ hands.

In progress (9):

Bush II, Book II: Manuscript 47% complete. I haven’t tackled this in a while, but it’s time to return. The attention the first book is getting warrants this.

The Year of Bad Behavior II: More Scalawags, Dirtbags, Bullyrags and Lollygags: Manuscript 30% complete. I also must return to this. The format differs from its prequel – grievances are ordered by category, rather than written as diary entries – and I think I’ll have an interesting product when complete.

A Conversation on the Conversation: Manuscript 20% complete. The first book is begging for a sequel, but it’s going to take lots of work. The quasi-fictional idea is that the original becomes a best-seller, and I’m invited to a talk show to discuss. This is the hard part. I and my interviewer pore over the original manuscript point for point, and I also will include rebuttals to my arguments that I received (in real life) from readers. It’s daunting, big big, but I’ll get it done somehow.

Forty Runners Less one: Stories and Glories From the 2013 200k JRunners 200k Relay Race: Manuscript: 10% complete. I am collecting the runner stories as we speak, also conducting interviews when needed. I hope to have this done before the end of the year. It’ll be my first published sequel. I’ll target the same niche group as the original, and hopefully attract more runners to the great race.

Extracts from Noah’s Diary: Manuscript 3% complete. Mark Twain wrote Extracts from Adam’s Diary, then followed up later with Eve’s Diary, then did not follow up any further, save for some parodies of Methuselah’s entries. This is where I come in; a sequel 100 years overdue. So big, it’s biblical. I think I have something here. I started, and have dedicated November (under NaNoWriMo guidelines) to churning it out.

My First 20 Marathons: The Running Story of a Midpack Runner: Putting all my marathon running reports together. Hoping I can find them all. I wonder if I’ll be successful. If I can actually find them, collating should be a snap. Everything’s already been written! The 20 would include my two upcoming marathons, but would exclude the Makeshift Marathon I ran when Sandy canceled NYC in 2012, and also the two ultras I’ve run. Or maybe they shouldn’t be excluded at all. I’ll think about it.

Zaidy's War: My maternal grandfather's memoirs, which I recorded in notebooks and on VHSes. Must find time for this project. Zaidy is ill and it’s important for his story to see the light of day.

Mordechai’s Pamphlet: My paternal grandfather’s memoirs. The man for whom I am named recorded his thoughts about losing his wife and three children in WWII, surfacing from the ashes with his faith intact, marrying my grandmother, rebuilding a home with six children, then suffering for years from lung cancer until his death at age 47. He called the collection Kuntres Mordechai, and it is entirely written in Hebrew. I want to translate it to English, but I first need to understand Hebrew a lot better. I’m working on that.

Children's Book #1 with Classified Title: I'm trying to write a parody of a famous children's book. First draft did not pass muster with my Editor-in-Chief. Will submit new drafts shortly.

In my head (6):

Children's Book #2 with Classified Title: I was inspired by a series of photographs that I took of my children. My Editor-in-Chief has some great ideas about spinning it into a bedtime story. I’m pondering the text, and will need an illustrator to convert the pictures we have into artwork for the book.

Parenting Book with Classified Title: There are many parenting books out there. Most of them are garbage. I have an idea for one with a healthy dose of humor and a large general twist. My everyday parenting keeps inspiring ideas for the project. I think I’m to begin putting pen-to-paper on this shortly.

The Inevitables: A Gladwellian idea I have about people who spend their entire lives in pursuit of a specific career, switch to something else on a dime, and become wildly successful despite a complete lack of practice or the 10,000 hours Gladwell himself talks about.

Universals: The Differences and Similarities Between Global Cultures: I’m fascinated by this. There are things that are the same 99% of everywhere (basic utensils, green is go, cash for service, elemental human needs), and things that are different 99% of everywhere (voting systems, traffic handling, cordiality, attire, interpretation of freedom, hand gestures, justice). I’d like to explore.

Obama, Book I: Must Finish Bush II, Book II first.

Obama, Book II: I never thought there’d be a sequel. Honestly, but where we are.

Finally (and thanks for listening up to this point) Ammon Shea inherited my favorite newspaper column (On Language) from my favorite logophile writer (William Safire). Needless to say, I'm a fan. He wrote a book on the phone book, of all things:

Before that he wrote a book about reading the dictionary:

Another favorite writer wrote a book about reading the encyclopedia:

Another writer covered the Bible by simply pointing out interesting things about the contents:

I need in on this action.  As I process all the books detailed above, I can't help thinking I'm overlooking something. There must be a book out there about which a well-researched discussion would spur the interest of the masses. I do not fear research and I love reading.  What can I read that I can write about?  What am I missing? A friend suggested the thesaurus, and that’s great, and would be fun, but it isn’t big enough. Help me out, please. Thank you so much.

And let me know what my grade is on my report.

Oh, and feel free to add to my sales numbers (4 more sales and I will have sold 250 books; nice little milestone). I'll have several more items on my bookshelf for you very soon:

And I gotta put out another issue of TheKnish…


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