I have a new book out today. It’s called The New American Dream: A Blueprint for a New Path to Success. You will notice that the link goes to Hyperink. They are an independent publisher.

I sold this same book, two years ago, to a mainstream publisher.

I have been reporting on research about on how to be happy for almost a decade. It’s important to me that everyone learn what I learned, which is if you want to have a good life, you shouldn’t focus on happiness, but rather, on making your life interesting. That’s what makes us feel fulfilled. Searching for happiness is making us crazy. And creating an interesting life is actually intuitive to most of us, it’s just that we feel like somehow we are doing something wrong. This book explains why you are probably on the right track, and all that stuff you hear about the pursuit of happiness is from another time. A time of ignorance, when we knew a lot less about what makes us human.

So I sold my book to a mainstream publisher and they sucked. I am going to go into extreme detail about how much they sucked, so I’m not going to tell you the name of the publisher because I got a lot of money from them. I’m just going to tell you that the mainstream publisher is huge, and if you have any respect left for print publishing, you respect this publisher.  But you will not at the end of this post. Read more

I just spent the last two weeks selling my self-published book. I published a book a few years ago with Time Warner, but I wanted to see what it would be like to self-publish. I decided against an ebook format because I really like holding the book of an author I love to read. I like living with that book in my house because it’s like living with a friend.

So I went with a print book. And I did a lot of unconventional things – beginning with the announcement — and they paid off. So, here’s my advice on the new rules for self-publishing.

1. Mainstream publishers help very few people. And probably not you.
Authors sell books, not publishers. For writers without a big name, publishers give them credibility. The problem is that publishers aren’t set up to be able to make money from authors who haven’t already made a name for themselves. This arrangement used to be fine before social media, before almost every author needed a channel to an audience. But now authors have the ready-made sales channel that is social media, so the publishers are no longer the gatekeepers to customers.

Amanda Hocking is reportedly making a million dollars a year self-publishing ebooks. And very rich author Joe Konrath, who has written about the math behind publishing, recently he turned down a half-a-million-dollar book deal so that he could self-publish. Read more

My son made this card for me, after I bought him Pokemon Cards. So it seems appropriate that after you guys bought so many copies of my new book last week, I give the card to you.

My book sales are going great, probably because I'm very happy having something to sell. Book sales were supposed to close yesterday, but I have a new idea. For another week. Maybe you can do this with your friends.

If you buy 10 books, I'll work with you on the phone to rewrite your resume or provide an hour of coaching.

If you buy 100 books, I'll fly to wherever you are and speak, or do a workshop or hang out with you — whatever you want.

I'd really like to speak at a high school. I've done it before and it's a blast. So if you buy books for all the kids in a high school, I'll spend two days there inspiring the kids to think bigger about what makes a good life for them — one day speaking and one day meeting with students.

Here’s the place where you buy the book.

Thank you for being so fun to do a blog with. I hope I get to meet a lot of you this way.

I know I said I’d never do another book. But I’m good at admitting when I change my mind.

Here’s how that happened. Read more

Agents contact me on a regular basis to ask me if I want to do a book about my life.

I say no.

I say no because I have no idea how to do a book about my life. I'm sure I have no idea because I already have had a six-figure book deal to write about my life that I'm not delivering on, and the editor has dumped me. (Read: Phone calls to collect on the large advance I've already spent.) So my qualifications to tell you advice about how to write about one’s life are questionable. But whatever; I have never stood on ceremony over qualifications.

Maybe the problem is that my life story needs a redemptive moment. This is what my agent-who-is-no-longer-my-agent tells me. And this is a warning to any agent who thinks they might want to be my agent: My past agent dumped me because (even though I did deliver on my first book deal) I am terrible at writing book proposals and I am terrible at following publishing industry rules. And her number one rule is that if you write about your life there must be a redemptive moment because people like that. “That's what sells,” is my not-my-agent's way of saying “That's what people like to read.” Read more

Hooray that Brazen Careerist was recently mentioned by Emily Meehan in the Wall Street Journal and Karyn McCormack in Business Week.

And, in an effort to be a good citizen, I spoke at the Rotary Club in Madison, (where they sang God Bless America after lunch). The topic was how to recruit and retain young people. My speaker’s bureau liked the video so much that they put a clip of it on their site, here.

Finally, thanks to Steven Grant’s suggestion, you can buy Brazen Careerist t-shirts. Workplace fashion will never be the same…

I went to Tampa this past week. I’ve been traveling a lot to promote my book. The first time I left the kids to promote the book, last month, my five-year-old said, “No! You can’t go! Why do you have to go?”

I said, “Because it’s my job. My boss wants me to.”

I said this to my son even though I don’t actually have a boss. But how can I tell him that I am generating this trip on my own? It’s too awful to admit. Still, I am blindsided:

He says, “Doesn’t your boss know you love us?”

I tell myself to ignore it. I tell myself there are nine million stories of kids saying the most heart wrenching thing they can say to their mom as she leaves for the office.

I get to the airport and I tell myself everything is fine while I bite all my nails. Then I wait at the gate while I sip diet Coke hoping I didn’t eat so many Ho-Hos with the kids that I don’t fit into my mommy’s-working-now clothes. I am at the wrong gate. I read the seat number instead of the gate. I make the flight with seconds to spare.

I try to calm myself down on the plane. I tell myself that there is no way to support the family as a writer if I’m not going to promote my book. I tell myself my kids are lucky that I’m with them every day from 1pm to 8pm. I tell myself I’m lucky to be making a living as a writer.

I get to Chicago to switch planes. I tell myself that I am in better shape and that I don’t have to worry about falling apart on local television because I am not falling apart now. I have a sandwich as a sign of body confidence. Or at least waist confidence; it’s all about the button.

I hand the boarding pass taker my boarding pass and she says, “This is a flight to New York. You’re going to Tampa. You better run.”

I run. And I cry. I cry because I am losing my mind. I cannot even remember what city I’m going to.

In my plane seat I tell myself this can be the end of the book tour. And this is the advice I’m going to give you about successfully handling your kids and your career. Don’t ever confess anything like this. It’s bad for your career.

There is more, though. I get to the hotel, and you know what? It’s clean, it’s quiet, the bed is huge and it’s all mine.

I sleep very well. I get up early, because my body clock is set to wake up at 5am with my two-year-old. (Please, do not post comments about how your kid sleeps until 7am and I should do what you do. Do not be so arrogant as to think I have not tried.)

With lots of time to spare I play music on my laptop. And then, I dance. I dance in the bathroom, I dance in front of five mirrors, and when the Beastie Boys come on, I dance up on the bed.

I am happy. I order the fifteen-dollar omelet from room service without flinching. And I add a pot of coffee.

This is the real problem with travel: How fun it is. How freeing it is to be away from the kids. I can think, I can eat like a queen, and I can bounce around the room like a fifteen-year-old. Not that I couldn’t do this at home. I could, sans omelet. But I wouldn’t. That’s why business travel is so inspiring to a mom. And now I’m thinking maybe I can do one more city for the book tour.

I hope I’ll get to meet a bunch of you tonight, at 6pm.

Inkwood Books
216 South Armenia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33609-3310
(813) 253-2638

I’ll be at Tequila Jack’s on the upper east side from 6:30 – 8. You can buy books there if you want, I’ll sign them, and it’ll probably be small and casual, so we can chat. I’m looking forward to meeting people there.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not going to make it to Atlanta today. I have a family issue that I have to deal with and there is really no other choice. I'm so disappointed to cancel. And I'm really sorry to inconvenience people in Atlanta. I was really looking forward to meeting people. I hope I will have another chance for an Atlanta event down the line!