Friday, October 22

New High Score! Achievement Unlocked!

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This week marked the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s release in America. So what better way to honor one of the greatest cultural moments of the 20th Century than to pay homage on the cover of Aerating The Mashed Potatoes, my newest book and the most singularly-awesome thing I’ve ever accomplished in my entire dumbass life.

The cover was created by myself and Aaron Miller over at DifferentDamage.net. Mostly Aaron, as he took my vision (‘Make my book a Nintendo game RIGHT THIS INSTANT’) and helped make it a reality over the course of nearly four months this Summer. There was no template for this; he worked his ass off, and from what I can gather (we corresponded solely through my legal team), did all of this by hand. The back cover (not shown) also follows the retro NES style to perfection, substituting ‘gameplay footage’ stills with childhood photos and other various nostalgic goodness. I damn nearly wept when it showed up in my mailbox, and I still owe him more money than I currently have in my savings account.

I should also mention that Aaron designed the current CDP template and merchandise you see on this very blog, so please consider him for your next web or graphic design project. He’s seriously the best in the business, and his rates are stupid cheap. Thanks buddy; you should know that a copy of this book will probably go in my coffin.

I think the cover represents the inside material quite well. An adequate mix of nostalgia, pop culture, early-mid-life crisis cynicism (25 years ago?!?), and humor. As I edited the finished product, I was surprised at just how many pop culture references show up in some of the newer essays. It’s 250 pages, there are 50 essays, and more than half of it will be brand new to even the most comprehensive CDP fan. The new stuff is among some of the best material I’ve ever written, including some personal essays that should leave you simultaneously laughing and shaking your head in bewilderment. I won’t give anything away, but with titles like ‘The Condom’ and ‘The Time I Got Molested,’ I think you get the picture.

The writing/compiling/binge drinking process started back in January and ran smoothly up until June, where I hit the wall creatively and brought everything to a halt. Having experienced Writer’s Block before, I knew it was akin to surviving a bear attack: you can’t fight back, you can only play dead until it gets bored and shuffles away. So play dead I did. Broadly speaking, the Summer of 2010 was easily the least productive stretch of my entire adulthood. I listened to old records and played a billion games of Tetris for four months straight, and even that seemed like a struggle at times. That all being said, the block passed and I finished the tedious process with plenty of time to spare.

As was the case with 65 Poor Life Decisions, I’ve decided to once again go the self-publishing route. I should mention that I don’t self-publish because I’ve been rejected by bigwig literary agents. In fact, I’ve never submitted a thing to a literary agency. I just like the punk rock aesthetic of a 100% DIY venture. It keeps me busy, motivated and in control, and that’s more important to me than a pile of blow-off letters and rewrite requests. I write a book, you buy it from me, and nothing gets in between us. What’s better than that? Money? I highly doubt it.

Speaking of money and punk rock, I want to also mention that despite the economy taking a massive poopdump in the last three years, I made sure that Aerating The Mashed Potatoes cost just as much as 65 Poor Life Decisions did back in 2007. Even the mail-order is going to cost the same, and I consider this a big moral victory. Self-publishing won’t make anyone rich, so I instead focused on what I could do to keep everything as cheap as possible without going into hock. Whether I succeed or not is yet to be determined (Hint: That’s going to be up to you).

In keeping with the community aspect, if you run a blog and want to spotlight the book, interview me or do anything else that might send some traffic my way, just let me know and I’ll be there. I’ll be mainly promoting the book through the usual channels (CDP, Facebook, Twitter, local publications, crack houses), so any additional press is extremely appreciated. The support I received the last time around was humbling, and sincerely made a difference. I thank you in advance.

The only thing left to talk about is, “When can I buy it, and where?” I will have the answer to that next week. Here's a hint: Soon, and here.

Until then, sound off in the comments section, critique the cover and enjoy your weekend. I’ll also answer any questions you may have about the book (except the ones about getting sued by Nintendo). Thanks much.

Comments:
Ok, now can you get me past Boss Level #2 on the Madness level on Monster Mayhem on the iPhone??
 
I can't wait.
 
The cover is most excellent! Looking forward to it. Way to go :)
 
SMED - Sorry dude, you're on your own. I don't know much about them newfangled gizmos.

CAVEMAN - Thanks, man! I haven't seen you in awhile!

REESE - Thank you very much!
 
Very cool to see book #2! The styalized fonts didn't register for me until I read the actual post, but I'm not much of a Nintendo fan - my husband would've seen it immediately, though. Book #1 still hangs out on my bookshelf, gets shuffled around a little as I make space for new reads (I organize my books in a system that shelves them by "type"...), so right now 65 Poor Life Decisions is hanging out next to Drew Curtis' FARK book and Malcolm Gladwell.
 
I'm pretty sure that this is the greatest book cover of all-time.
 
I'm pretty sure Nintendo is currently in discussions regarding the creation of "Aerating the Mashed Potatoes: The Game".

Congrats on the cover!
 
You make it sound like I put a lot more work into this than I feel like I actually did. Glad you're happy with it though. Looking forward to reading this thing.
 
I must recognize publicly the brilliance of your "crack houses" link. :)
 
I am going to promote this everywhere (respectable) that I venture on this wide, worldly web. I will tell everyone I know. I will ask for 25 copies for Christmas from 25 different people then regift it to them as a day-after-Christmas present.

Assume that everyone who buys your book has bought because of me. Just go ahead and assume that.
 
BAUS - I consider it an honor to even be placed next to a Malcolm Gladwell book. I must admit that I'm looking forward to putting it on my bookshelf as well. Thanks!

MIKE - See, now that's what I thought. :) The NES is such an integral part of my life (and represents so many good times of youth), that I hoped those in the know had the same positive, nostalgic reaction to it. Thanks, man!

AARON - Soak in this praise. SOAK IN IT.

CELIA - I almost didn't do it, but then I was all, "I ain't scarded."

CARGIRL - Your Christmas scheme sounds a lot like the Carvel con they played on 30 Rock last night. I think it's brilliant, and should be done post haste. I can't wait to get it out there for you.
 
RYAN - I've yet to see 30 Rock from last evening. I've forgone my television and DVR as a result of my enlightenment re "it takes the same amount of time to go through commercials on the DVR as it does to watch the commercials on hulu, plus I can watch hulu in bed without having to face the roomies." I'm really going to tell everyone about your book. I may even get a copy for a friend. I will tweet about it to my 22 followers also. There's 22 more for ya. :)
 
CARGIRL - Watch 30 Rock. Thank you for the love and publicity (Loveblicity); I seriously can't do this stuff without peeps like 'ooo.
 
Niiiiiiice. A most excellent cover, and I am all a'tingle with anticipation to read this sucker!
 
Thank you very much, Emily! We're a little over a week away!
 
I read "It's My Costume" to several of my classes today in honor of the Halloween weekend. A few of them didn't get the dog plumber joke. They overthought it. I wish I had recorded the one student who kept saying, "I am so confused!" and throwing his hands up in the air in frustration. Then we watched the California Raisins on YouTube, and the students were horrified. Ahhh....the 80's.
 
That sounds to me like I failed as a descriptive storyteller. I'll get 'em next time.
 
Well...these are freshmen. By definition, they tend to suck at life.

But they said they would like to meet you...that's gotta count for sumfin.
 
When the next book comes out, I can come in and answer writing questions for them. We can do a creative writing workshop or something.

I just cannot answer any questions about grammar, punctuation, outlining, spelling, proper tense usage, what should/shouldn't be capitalized, words or writing.
 

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