How I Got My Book Published.

It’s storytelling time.

I’ve been in and out of day jobs all my life. It’s never worked for me. I always either explode and quit or get fired. I usually feel bored, trapped, and dehumanized. It’s because I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, use my own mind. Not because I want to be superior to other people, but because I like solving problems. And I don’t like someone else stopping me from solving problems.

In 2007, after all the excitement over my How To Sell… record had faded, I ended up working at a real estate company in downtown Los Angeles. I hated my life and I needed out. I was angry all day long, wearing corporate clothing and working with a bunch of people that had no sense of humor. Two years before that, I had been living an artist’s existence. I had to somehow return to it. I started planning my escape, and writing a long list of “mantras” — things I needed to remember once I was free. Like self-brainwashing. I was going to remake myself.

In early 2008, I decided it was time. I had $2000 in the bank, and I quit. It was dangerous. Maybe stupid. The economy crashed. Within 2 months, I’d be completely broke again if I didn’t come up with a brilliant idea. In fact, I had spent 2006 – 2007 unemployed, so there was a good chance I’d be right back where I started.

Surviving in society has always been a struggle for me. It has felt almost like there’s a conspiracy to stop me from being who I am. It’s led me to long periods of anxiety, depression, and selling out. I’ve always felt like an outsider, unacceptable, unpopular. If I was going to get anywhere, I’d have to do it alone with nothing but do-or-die willpower. No one was going to invite me to work at their studio or be in their band. I just don’t use enough slang.

I’d have to somehow contribute to society. Make myself “valuable.”

As an Introvert, that’s not easy.

I decided that I would work from home, offering my “creative / technical skills” to everyone. I did a single free website, which led to a referral, which then led to dozens of referrals. It got out of control. I sold every talent I had to other people. Writing, web design, video editing, anything I could think of. If I didn’t have a skill, I learned it. Anything that I could do from home.

A lot of the time, I worked for free. I didn’t care. The free work was like advertising. Not intentional. I just decided that I would help anyone with anything, any time. (Unless they used corporate phrases like, “As per our conversation.” Then I told them to get lost.)

In the meantime, I kept writing my list of nutty philosophical mantras. The list got bigger. I found myself writing a lot of things that were counter-intuitive. Things that would be true, but would not seem true. Things that were backward, but would move me forward. It was confusing, but I kept going, in pursuit of my strange truth(s).

I decided I wanted to make a graphic novel. As a passion project. I was interested in fiction. Specifically, science fiction. Had no idea where to start. Bob DeRosa recommended I read Save The Cat! I bought the book, and liked the tone of it. The company that published it, MWP, had personality. Something about their catalog of books resonated with me. On a whim, I put together my creative mantras in a PDF and emailed it to them. I didn’t send it to any other publishers.

Within 24 hours, I heard back from them. They loved it. I had no agent. I had no pitch. I didn’t know anything about the publishing industry.

A lot of time went by — but as far as I know, there was very little debate. They asked me to expand on the concept and make it a real book. So I did. It was one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life. “Because it was supposed to be,” as Michael Wiese says.

And now, 2.5 years later, it’s published.

How? Simply put: I was a guy with some unpopular ideas, and the audacity to believe in them.

And that was that. And there it is.

If you wanna find out more, go to MWP and check it out. You can read the first 25 pages and decide if I’m crazy.

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Two Books You Should Read Right Now. I’m Serious.

(I said TWO, not Four! Ugh.)

Okay, let’s talk about Tim Ferriss.

He’s written two books. Both of them were #1 NY Times Bestsellers.

Not by popular demand. Not on accident. 100% on purpose.

He didn’t write two masterpieces that enraptured the populace. They didn’t spread from person to person by word-of-mouth, lighting imaginations on fire. He set out to exploit a system, followed a series of steps, and positioned himself as the winner of a little game. Hooray.

When I hear anyone talk about Tim Ferriss, the focus is not on the content of his books, but on Tim’s contrived, self-aware career.

“You see, that’s what you have to do. You have to use your mind and come up with some really great idea like that and you never have to work again! The guy made a million dollars.” -Office Space

Tim doesn’t sell a lot of books because he’s a great writer or thinker. Are these classic books that will be read for centuries? No. They’re disposable widgets that encapsulate our society’s cynicism and short attention span. He’s no Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, or Neil Postman. He’s not even a Kevin Smith. He hasn’t gotten to where he is through years of obsessive philosophical contemplation, dedication to his craft, or even by being an interesting guy.

He cut corners, took a shortcut, got famous. The end.

Lately, I judge philosophers (including myself) by the art they create. The abstract or fictional stuff that has nothing to do with getting “rich and famous.” The music, the stories, the paintings. The back catalog of creative credentials. It’s becoming increasingly popular to focus entirely on theory / technique and never make a fucking thing with it. Career coaches, experts, consultants, gurus who don’t “live it everyday” as Phil Anselmo said.

If there’s anything that’s killing artists, it’s all the self-promotion and strategizing. If we were to spend more time on our art than we do on promoting it, we would find that our art might be strong enough to promote itself. Otherwise, all we have, at best, is an imitation of greatness. A pseudo-event. And wouldn’t you rather at least have a chance at experiencing something real?

It’s strange, if you think about it. Tim Ferriss is selling his books to the people who fell for his tricks and bought his books, and they still love him for it. He appeals not to the best within us, but the worst: greed and laziness.

I know, because I read his first book. Tried to, anyway. Didn’t like the vibe of it. The essence of the book didn’t make me like the jock who wrote it:

1.) Be inaccessible.
2.) Do as little as possible, outsource all your work to India.
3.) Spend most of your time on vacation.

Sounded a lot like my boss at the time! It made me wonder — isn’t this book just encouraging everyone to become the oppressive CEO we hate? Isn’t it the “Me Pharaoh, You Slave” pyramid scheme that is destroying our economy? Do we really need more of that “you do all the work, I keep all the money” bullshit?

The gist of the whole Tim Ferriss phenomenon is, “This guy figured out the trick. I wanna know what the trick is.” The problem is that by the time “the trick” is published in a book and shared with millions of people, it won’t work anymore. That itself is the trick.

Tim has announced he’s having a seminar in August. He’s going to share every detail about how he did what he did — which itself, self-referentially reveals how he did it: Charge between $7,000 and $10,000 per ticket, limited to 200 people. “Just like TED and similar high-end events…” it says.

Yeah, except for the “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world” thing that almost makes TED cool.

My advice: Save your money, stay home, read these two books instead:
The Image: A Guide To Pseudo-Events In America by Daniel J. Boorstin
Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Let me know what you think.

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