Some insights regarding certain key decisions related to book production and promotion that most guides fail to mention

Norse Mythology for Bostonians at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, MA / Image courtesy of Rowdy Geirsson

Last January I self-published Norse Mythology for Bostonians, which is based on a column that I have written for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency since 2010. Originally, I thought that the release date had been smiled upon by the norns because it coincided with the ten year anniversary of my very first Norse History for Bostonians article. Little did I know that six weeks later the forces of chaos would derail the world, and much of my modest promotional plans along with it (a very minor casualty in the overall scheme of things, but nonetheless disappointing on a personal level).

The decision…


The plot meanders without focus (“Oh, yeah, alright / Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah / Ah, ah, ah, ah / Oh, don’t leave me so confused, no”).

Photo by Heinrich Klaffs

Whole Lotta Love

An overly ambitious parable about the importance of combating ignorance and providing universal access to education (“You need coolin’ / Baby, I’m not foolin’ / I’m gonna send you / Back to schoolin’”), this piece quite simply fails to reach its full potential. A lack of sophisticated character development coupled with a poorly paced plot are further hampered by an abundance of weak, emotional metaphors that conflate the narrator’s simplistic motivations to both give and receive knowledge (“I’m gonna give you my love / Wanna whole lotta love”). …


Start with the decision to write a short humor article

“He’s A Goofy Cat” by katstan

With everything so online nowadays and vastly increasing numbers of people staying at home just browsing the web, it’s become easier than ever before to create original content that goes viral. In fact, with all of the various interconnected social media outlets and predatory algorithms that fuel websites and track our behavior, it’s a wonder that some content still manages to never go viral at all.

But if you’re like me and long for the glory days of the world wide web when you could create original content that never had a chance in hell of going viral, then you’re…


Angus Young BN 2009” by Edvill

Thunderstruck

A remarkable example of the use of in medias res, this piece delivers us immediately into the action (“I was caught / in the middle of a railroad track / I looked around / and I knew there was no turning back”) as the protagonist, with his supporting cast of dynamic minor characters, navigates a rapidly escalating primary conflict (“we met some girls / some dancers who gave a good time / broke all the rules / played all the fools”). …


Image mash-up by Rowdy Geirsson based on imagery by NeONBRAND, Abhay Vyas, and Pixabay’s Free-Photos

Hey there everyone, and thanks for coming out to see my presentation for the updated design of your neighborhood’s new public park. You’ll be glad to know that I’ve taken all of your feedback into consideration about the previous design and produced a new one that resolves every issue by introducing a new highly conceptual design principle that I simply like to call “Extreme Scandinavian Death Metal.”

One of the biggest overall criticisms about the earlier design had been that it lacked a strong sense of place. Well, the park’s sense of place will now actually reverberate across the entire…


Image mash-up by Rowdy Geirsson based on photography by Slejven Djurakovic and Sasin Tipchai

Are you a morning person, a night person, or a knight person?

Do you have any siblings and if so which ones do you believe might pose a legitimate threat to the throne?

How do you like to spend your time away from Middle-Earth, Westeros, Hogwarts, Narnia, Earthsea, Cimmeria, Pern, The Forgotten Realms, Xanth, Prydain, The Four Lands, Temerant, The Malazan Empire, Khatovar, Discworld, The Six Duchies, Scadrial, The Realm of the Elderlings, The Westlands, Midkemia, Redwall, Terre d’Ange, Alagaësia, Krynn, and Trachoria?

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

If money were of no concern, how many rings of power…


“Mjölkhare efter kalkmålning i Härkeberga kyrka” by Gunnar Creutz, Falbygdens Museum | CC BY-SA 3.0

We’ve all seen the multitudes of self-help articles recommending new hobbies for the 2020 lock-down. Non-experts are really good at suggesting all sorts of things to do to keep ourselves occupied while we’re banned from dining out, normal shopping, and just carousing in general. There are tons of suggestions for baking, writing, arts/crafts, D.I.Y. projects, etc.; the list is essentially endless. But this spring I’ve decided to blaze my own path and so I have taken up bjära-conjuring instead.

Bjära-conjuring is a unique and special past-time that was all the rage back in 15th and 16th century Sweden. The activity…


Image courtesy of Tommaso Cantelli

I think that the old saying about the world being your oyster has lost a lot of its potency over the years. It’s just that it seems like it’s a little antiquated is all. Because — and maybe it’s just me — but I can’t help feeling like I am the world’s oyster and that the world just won’t stop shucking me.

I remember when I got shucked for the very first time; I was pretty incapacitated with youthful naivete. I didn’t even see it coming when all of a sudden — BAM! …


Image mash-up by Rowdy Geirsson based on imagery by Sam Killermann and Oleg Magni

Hello there, and thanks for joining Flush — the groundbreaking new dating app that’s taking the world by storm! Already deleted by millions of people, Flush is designed from the ground up to be the last match-making app that you’ll ever install on your phone.

That’s because Flush takes the abysmal experience that countless other apps already offer and backs it up with the unreliability of a faulty 200-year-old plumbing system. Our algorithm evaluates your preferences regarding potential matches, dumps them down the drain, and then spits up an overflow of people who are the polar opposite of what you’re…


Image courtesy 35mm disjointed

Well, if I had to choose something, I guess I would go with the three-legged dog as my spirit animal.

No, no — I see you all giving me those weird looks, but just think about it. The three-legged dog is a fine animal, just crippled. So you know, loyal and happy and basically without shame, just like other dogs. But the three-legged kind are not nearly as aggressive or domineering as some of the four-legged ones can be, and that distinction is something that I really relate to. Like whenever our supervisor, Max, jumps on my back. …

Rowdy Geirsson

Promoting Leif Eriksson awareness and failing. Atrocities beyond the Medium Bubble at Metal Sucks, McSweeney’s & Points in Case. www.scandinavianaggression.com

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