Crap Kingdom Publication Day Thoughts OR: Kanye West Vs. Nickelback
My book Crap Kingdom is available today, in stores, online, and on your eReader.
I am trying very hard to follow my girlfriend’s instructions, to resist my innate desire to douse what should be unadulterated pride and joy with self-doubt and self-loathing. Self-doubt and self-loathing are Nickleback on the modern-rock radio station in my mind. They are always on. But today I am trying very hard to drown them out.
I think I just realized I’ve been using the words “trying very hard” a lot lately. Usually in the context of “I’m trying very hard to get on the New York Times Best Sellers list.” Because I am.
I have been told by my very wise editor to temper my expectations regarding the Best Sellers list. They have this “secret sauce” they use to compute the list, and books that are in both paperback and hardcover have a natural advantage because there’s just more copies of them out there, and just like anything else, if you’re already on the list, you have an advantage over everything that isn’t on the list when it comes to, y’know, being on the list.
These warnings, well-reasoned and backed up by a lot of facts, and followed by assertions that the book is by no means a failure if it doesn’t make it on the list its first week, or ever, are like catnip to my self-doubt and self-loathing. Or, if we want to extend the Nickelback metaphor, they’re like, I dunno, Coors Light. (That seems like Nickelback fuel, right?) My self-doubt goes, yup! See? The game is fixed! The only people that can do it are the people who’ve already done it. And when somebody new does do it, it won’t be you, because you’re you. Other people are the total package, and you are a cobbled-together mess, and anyone who looks at you for longer than five seconds knows, with certainty, that you are not the real deal.
But I have other feelings that are almost always running through my head in parallel to Nickelback, thoughts I will go ahead and christen my internal Kanye West. At times like these, greeted either with frothing, unreasonable commenter-hate or completely reasonable well-intentioned and frankly dead-on advice to keep my expectations realistic so I don’t set myself up for unnecessary disappointment, my internal Kanye says, “But why CAN’T I do it? What if accepting even this totally reasonable tempering of expectations narrows the fuel line of my ambition even the slightest bit and THAT’S what results in me not making it across the finish line?”
Which is in many ways every bit as unhealthy as listening to my internal Nickelback all the time.
But you guys:
Kanye West is so good.
And his music has brought me so much comfort and lent me so much motivation over the years.
And you might think he’s a jerk, or a boor, or all of the above, but you can’t deny that he livens things up.
And you might think Nickelback are the greatest, and I mean nothing by dragging them into this metaphor other than to say that my self-doubt is as ubiquitous in my head as Nickelback is in America. My self-doubt Nickelback is on a constant arena tour of my psyche, playing to sold-out crowds of enraptured neurons who can’t wait to hear them play hits like “You’re Not Good Enough” and “Every Social Interaction You Have Is A Monumental Failure” and “Photograph.”
And it wasn’t realistic to rap about everyone who bought my book on pre-sale, either, but I’ve done it for 250 people and I’m going to do it for many hundreds more in the coming weeks and months, and I consider my pre-order efforts an unqualified success, no matter what happens.
And I realize making this a choice between self-doubt and naked, boundless ambition is a total false binary. It isn’t that simple. There is a saner, healthier middle ground and I am trying to live there and I am trying to keep things in perspective as much as possible.
But sometimes, I don’t want to keep things in perspective.
Sometimes I want to shine and stay glorious.
If you have already pre-ordered the book, and maybe even received it already, thank you so, so much. If I’ve already rapped about you I hope you enjoyed it and if I haven’t yet, I will, I promise, and I will e-mail you when your rap goes up.
If you haven’t bought the book yet, I would love it if you would, and I’d love it even more if you’d do it now, before you forget, over at http://crapkingdom.com, which has links to both Amazon or Powell’s Books if you’d rather go the independent route.
Or if you want to support your local bookstore, that’s great too, I highly encourage it. If they don’t have the book, I would love it if you’d ask them to order it.
If you do have the book, when you finish it, I’d love it if you would leave a review over ON AMAZON and on Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15780282-crap-kingdom. As of this writing, there aren’t any reviews on Amazon yet and yours could be the first. I would love it even more if you liked the book and you want to write a super-positive five-star review.
If and when you tweet about the book, I’d love it if you’d use the hashtag #DC4NYT. This is my crass attempt to brand my foolhardy but one-thousand-percent committed effort to make it onto the New York Times Best Sellers List for Young Adult books. There are fifteen slots, fifteen huge books by very (and deservedly) successful authors. I am the little guy, and a place on the list would change my life and my career forever.
In a group and as a solo act, I’ve given out tons of free entertainment over the years. And I’ve done it gladly, and will continue to do it. With the exception of the occasional live show, this is pretty much the third opportunity I’ve offered to actually pay money for my work. If I can make money making things you like, I don’t have to spend as much time doing other stuff that takes me away from making things you like. If you’ve enjoyed all the things (or any of the things) that I’ve done in the past ten years, it would mean a great deal to me if you would spend a little of your hard-earned money on Crap Kingdom today.
And again, if you already have, thank you so, so much.
And my amazing editor is correct, and my girlfriend is correct. I am not a failure if I don’t make it on the list. Sometimes books start big, sometimes they climb up onto the list later, sometimes after years. Sometimes they just sell steadily and slowly, and all of those ways are equally valid. Simply getting in print is a massive victory. Consciously I know all these things, and I am trying very hard (see?) to feel them as well.
But my internal Kanye is telling me how good it would feel to touch the sky. And I think we can. In fact, I know we can.
Here is a soundtrack album that accompanies the book, featuring all-new original songs by The Ettes, Ted Leo, Advance Base, Jean Grae, The Rosebuds, Matt Bennett, and Sean Nelson: http://www.hulkshare.com/tgnznfwcclxc or on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/dc-pierson/sets/songs-for-crap-kingdom-a-young
Here is my first mixtape as a rapper, which I posted after a certain amount of people pre-ordered the book (NSFW / 18+): http://dcpierson.tumblr.com/post/43690262970/i-said-if-50-more-people-pre-ordered-my-book-id
And if you’re in LA, please join me tonight, March 7th, for a very special Crap Kingdom book release show at UCB featuring Tom Wilson (“Freaks And Geeks,” Biff from “Back To The Future”), Gillian Jacobs (Britta from “Community”), Rich Sommer (Harry from “Mad Men), and Anthony King (writer on BFF and one of the funniest improvisers ever). We’ll all be telling stories of high school and college drama-club humiliation. Tickets available at http://losangeles.ucbtheatre.com/performances/view/26723
That’s it. Thank you so much for pre-ordering, buying, reading, retweeting, podcasting, Facebookin’, listening, and just generally being awesome.
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