Introduction by The Author

28 Nov

November 28, 2012

     Introductions are sometimes harder to write than the books they introduce. Firstly, since they usually appear in later editions, the book it is introducing is well-known enough to need no introduction. What can you say about the book that the book itself does not say? Secondly, is anyone really interested in reading about how the book came to the author while daydreaming his way through his morning commute, or through divine inspiration, or from a conversation with his nephew? And lastly, knowing that introductions are often skipped by readers (and who can blame them, introductions being the self-serving ramble they usually are) it is tempting for the author to skip it altogether and somehow con, trick, or otherwise get some unsuspecting author friend to write. That of course has its own problems: A- you will likely have to write an introduction for him in the future and B- you can only ask for the favor once.

     Oh the woes of a successful author.

     When the first edition of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Book came out in 2007 I never expected it to do nearly as well as it has done. That edition certainly had no introduction, and the only quote on the dust jacket was provided by a paid endorser. (That’s one of the secrets of the book trade- those quotes you read on the backs of books? Very often they are written by people who have never read the book but have gladly accepted a large check for a couple of lines dashed off by their agents.) Back then I scarcely expected the book to sell well. I didn’t expect it to sell at all.

     I was making a living as a high school English teacher and not enjoying it. Like most English teachers, or English majors, or anyone who uses words for a living, I dreamed of writing The Great American Novel. You see, an English degree is not the most useful degree you can earn. English majors do not earn the big bucks. English majors do not become late-night celebrities. Sometimes they go on to become obscure bloggers but more often than not, they are dreamers. And writers. No one with an English degree does not want to write. I assume that physics majors have the same desire to find the Grand Unifying Force, or whatever the physics equivalent of the Great American Novel is.

     So like other wannabe-literary greats I worked during the day and wrote during the night. I’d teach class, grade papers, and write. Was that a life? Looking back, I can’t say that I enjoyed it much. I simply always had the confidence, the totally misplaced confidence, that it would all pay off in the end. I sacrificed a family, a wife, kids. I sacrificed advancing my career, pay raises, better classes to teach. Writers have to write.

     So I wrote. I wrote funny letters to the editor of my local paper. I wrote short fiction for tiny magazines. I wrote one- and two-line jokes and sent them in to Readers Digest. They didn’t pay but all I wanted was to see my name in print and brag that I was “published.” But through it all I also wrote Mr. Blog’s Tepid Book, the third edition of which you hold in your hands.

     It was hard. I had no one to share it with. I had no one to bounce ideas off. I trusted my instincts and took chances that perhaps I would not be so quick to do had I had a better sense of self-preservation. (Would I have written chapter six had I actually met Robin Williams? Probably not. But I’ve met him since and he was a good sport about it.)

     Everyone assumes wrote Mr. Blog’s Tepid Book was an overnight success. In one respect it was: Once it took off in 2010 it took way, way off. But the overnight success was 1,086 days in coming: the book was three years old at that point. It has been out of print and forgotten. Only the fact that it turned out that a certain Gubernatorial candidate (and while I am under the terms of a settlement not to name him, I am sure you remember him well enough) plagiarized a short section and the national media got a hold of the book did it gain first notoriety and then some degree of fame on its own merits.

     This third edition of Mr. Blog’s Tepid Book has some significant changes from the two previous editions. It has a snazzy blue cover, it fixes the mis-credited photos of Godzilla and Liz Taylor (sorry!), and has an all new ending to chapter seven (“The Big Ape in the New Millennium: Fur and Cyborgs”).

     I thank you all, for not only purchasing my books and supporting me over the past few years, but more importantly, for sticking around and reading this introduction!

Brooklyn, NY
November 2012

2 Responses to “Introduction by The Author”

  1. bmj2k November 28, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Well, I guess this blog is about as inside baseball as you can get. Sorry. Tomorrow I get back to making fun of stuff.


  2. ssrijana November 28, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    not boring introduction at all.


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