Technically, it only cost $9, but I bought a url so I could send people somewhere besides the listing on Lulu.com.
People far more talented than I have been talking about how easy it is to go out and do stuff on a professional level (whatever that means). People like Wil Wheaton and Warren Ellis. The cry has generally been “get excited and make things“. It was in that spirit that I started a blog. I started selling shirts for the same reason. And now I’ve got a book out.
What Wil and Warren and a host of other creative-types are trying to say isn’t just that people should get excited and make stuff. It’s that these days it’s so damn easy to do it.
I made this post a while back, but it’s one of the ones that has haunted me. Because it was the first time I admitted- even to myself- the sheer number of things I wanted to do, could do, meant to do- and didn’t. I got a surprising number of responses to what basically amounted to my personal “projects to-do list”. Turns out there are a ton of people who suffer from the same ailment. We want to do stuff. Sometimes we even start to do stuff. But a lot of the time? We don’t wind up doing stuff.
The really cool thing is there’s a growing niche of businesses dedicated to helping people help themselves do things. For example, I sell shirts using spreadshirt.com, which is a print-on-demand service. It costs me nothing to create a shop and fill it with designs. I don’t have to buy 100 shirts before they’ll even print one. I just put the designs out there. If they sell, spreadshirt and I get paid. If not, we don’t. No risk. No upfront costs.
I Have A Dick. Now What? is handled the same way. If you like the book, you order it. I don’t have to go bankrupt purchasing 500 pallets worth of books just to get started. I had to purchase a proof copy (hence the $9). That was it.
There’s no risk. There’s no cost.
Oh sure, there’s the risk that no one will give a crap about what you did. But then you can just call your mom up, and she’ll tell you whatever you did is great and you’re still her special boy/girl. (Unless what you did is write a book with the word “dick” in the title, in which case she’ll sort of get this forced smile and will nod mechanically until someone changes the topic.)
And it costs time. But here’s the thing- I have more control over where my time goes than where my money goes. And if I want to spend all the hours The Wife works night shifts by writing a book about how to stare at breasts, I can do so without reprisal. The same cannot be said if I spend all my money staring at breasts while The Wife works night shifts. Time is easier to find than money.
(It really is. Look at the amount of work involved in staring out the window. Ya gotta open the blinds. Then hope something is out there to stare at. Then find a comfortable position to sit in. Then turn off or ignore the cell phone. Not think about work. Not watch tv, listen to music, or play video games. Shit, it takes a hell of a lot of effort to be lazy these days.)
I point this out because I think it’s a cool trend. And a lot of BrokenJPG readers are the creative sort, and I know they have ideas they keep meaning to produce. There are a hundred different things that threaten to get in the way of people doing stuff. I just wanted to call attention to something that actually makes it easier.
Also, for those who purchased a book, helped spread the word, or just listened to me yammer on and on and on about it for the past 5 months- thank you. The response so far has been incredible. This is something I would have done for myself even if no one ever bought a copy, but it makes me indescribably happy that people think something I’ve written is worth their money. Thank you.