In Bagels, Dirty Limericks, and Martinis: The Badass Guide to Writing Your First Book, you’ll get the down-and-dirty on hammering out your book, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or a weird alien hybrid. There’s some bad language in it so please don’t show this to our moms.
This certified knee to nuts badass guide will help you get your ideas out of your head and down on paper, tell you the ironclad rules of writing (and why most of them are crap), take you step by step through writing your first outline in 5 minutes (or less), and reveal the secrets to plotting, editing, and FINISHING your book.
We’ll also tell you exactly how we wrote this book, including the dirty limerick. You’ll have to make your own martini.
On Sale: April 2013
“If you need a kick in the pants to get you started, this book is for you. It takes the scary out, just like Visine takes the red out. If you are looking for a textbook or someone to hold your hand and pat you on the head, look elsewhere.” -Amanda Perry (Amazon)
Way back in 2002 Joseph Epstein stepped up to the soapbox op-ed pages of the New York Times, and, after noting that a recent survey found that 81% of Americans felt they could and should write a book, he begged and pleaded with those Americans not to do it.
“We already have enough books!” he cried. “We don’t need more. We don’t want more. You’ll just be adding to the horrifying pile of unworthy books,” he moaned (while wringing his hands, I presume).
“And anyway, you just want to puff yourself up,” he continued. “You’re just trying to be… significant. Well, it’s a stupid idea,” he sneered, “because your book will die. Die, die, die. Just like YOU will. Then where will you be?” (I want to cheer “Dead! I’ll be dead!”)
He finishes with the following arguments: You’re not creative, you don’t have the time, you’ll kill trees, and (I’m singing now) yooooou’re so vain.
Ahhh. I love reading that essay, I truly do. It inspires me! It pumps me up. It makes me feel like sitting down at my keyboard (no dead trees for me) and… Well, I think you know precisely what.
So let’s take ‘em one at a time, shall we?
The World NEEDS Your Book
My husband’s mp3 player is stuffed to bursting (I was dying to say, “LIT-ruh-ly BURSTing”) with pop songs from the 70s and 80s. I grew up a metalhead, but now I listen to nearly everything, so I love to tease him about this. He remains stoically loyal to his collection, however, and says (while biting back a smile), “It was an incredible era for music, and I haven’t finished listening to it all yet.”
I remind him about the “patchwork” jeans he also had that we all thought were cool in the 70s, to which he invariably replies, “And I wish I’d saved those, too.”
My point is that (shhh, I’ll say it quietly so Mr. Epstein can’t hear) all the good books haven’t already been written! Hell, all the bad books haven’t already been written, and they need to be. (You know why? Because you learn a shit-ton by writing a bad book. More on that soon.)
The notion that there are a finite number of books and we don’t “need” any more after that is absurd.What if someone said, “No need to write books about current history, we have all this past history to get through first.” Or what if we’d stopped writing books before the internet arose? Hell, half the books on my shelf are How To Do [insert something that didn’t exist 20 years ago] for Dummies. And, frankly, I don’t think I’m the only one who is happy that Diana Gabaldon, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Ralph Nader, Maya Angelou, Robert Ludlum, and Beatrix Potter didn’t believe all the good or important or rewarding books had already been written. Yeah, you get stars in your eyes when you hear their names, but I bet you they didn’t feel particularly powerful when they first sat down to write. And I’m also fairly certain they all wrote a bit of garbage now and then, too.
The idea that there’s nothing to be gained from a “bad” book is equally ridiculous. You had to readGiants In The Earth in high school, didn’t you? (Hah. I’m sure you had to write an essay on why learning about the lives of Norwegian immigrant homesteaders was divinely revelatory and essential to your development as a human. I found it excruciatingly dry, and barely read the Cliffs Notes. I had to Google it in order to get the bit about “Norwegian immigrant homesteaders” just now.) Seriously, think how much juice you just got from reading Mr. Epstein’s silly outburst. Do you suppose he ever recited Dr. Seuss by heart? Would he call Dr. Seuss “bad?” And think about how much you learned from all the ways your parents ruined your life. See? See? “Bad” = fabulous!
It’s possible I exaggerate, but I think you get my meaning. And if you don’t, you’ve probably already printed off a copy of this so-called book just so you can Sharpie all over it, shred the pages, then mix the shreds into hydrochloric acid.
But you haven’t, because you’re our kind of people. Or because you can’t find your hydrochloric acid. Either way, it’s cool with us.
Book categories: Non-fiction