Wednesday, October 21, 2009

impressive boondoggle #63

INTERN has been thinking about the different ways authors (particularly non-fiction authors) cash in on their books apart from actual book sales. The most common side-project is public speaking. Next is instructional seminars, either in-person or online.

In her rambles around the internet this morning, INTERN happened across the website of Andy Behrman, author of "Electroboy," a memoir of bipolar disorder (and spokesperson for other mental illness-related stuff). And wow. This dude has taken the idea of the Book Spinoff to the next level.

The first thing you see when you go to his website is a plug for his "Services as a Consultant for People with Mental Illness(and Those who Love Them)". For a mere $225 per hour—PER HOUR—e.g. more than INTERN spends on food in a month, including splurges on the occasional avocado—he will talk to you on the phone or shoot you some e-mails about how to pick a psychiatrist, figure out how to get on disability, remind you to take your meds and...whatever else a semi-famous writer with no medical degrees is qualified to do for his (well-heeled) homies in mental illness.

Perhaps INTERN is coming across as bitter or cynical about Mr. Behrman's services. Let her assure you (and Mr. Behrman, if he is reading this) that she is not. She in fact kind of awed and impressed by the spirit of get-go behind this venture. In INTERN's internal dictionary, "boondoggle" is a term of serious respect. INTERN wishes more authors would audaciously and shamelessly pursue their own personal boondoggles. Imagine how fun the world would be if Stephanie Meyer offered vampire consulting services, or if Dan Brown offered private genealogy sessions linking ones distant relatives to the Virgin Mary. Good work, if you can get it (and you can apparently get it, if you try.)

Anyway. Point is: public speaking: out. Ingenious and dizzyingly expensive consulting services: in.

You heard it here first.


  1. Ha! INTERN, you crack me up. I plan to refer all my authors to this post when they ask me "What else can I be doing to promote my book?" :)

  2. I'll bet you this is his answer to the zillions of people who came to him looking for free advice after his book came out. Nothing fends the mooches off like a high price tag.

  3. My WIP is a kind of ghost story. Hmmm...

    "When there's somethin' strange, in your neighborhood,

    Who ya gonna call?"

    Um... me? For a mere $250.00 per hour? That would buy my family's groceries for two weeks. Yes, I like where this is heading.

  4. My Service... I channel dead critters. Yes, I've hunted and fished enough I discovered a way to *reach* critters you've put on your supper table. This goes for veggies too! Caveat: garden grown veggies are especially irate. (there's a squirrel so happy I incorporated his molecules into mine; he jumped three species in the reincarnation line)!

    Prices on request... Broccoli is easy to *reach.* But if you wanna talk with the Cape Buffalo you took on safari -- we're talkin' serious channelin.'

    Haste yee back ;-)

  5. Man oh man! I am going to rethink my career path right now. :)

    And I thought I was getting away with something by being able to write off vacations as writing research. (Well, I do actually do writing research when I travel. You never know what is going to come in handy!)

  6. As a sci-fi writer I plan to offer consultancy on the best time travel destinations, which star drive suits your lifestyle, and how to survive the zombie apocalypse.

    By the way, publishing will be dead within 30 years as people's stories are transferred directly from the mind of the author to that of the 'reader'. That'll be $250 please.

  7. dear intern,

    thanks not only for your great blog but also for boondoggle #63 - - and yes, i am reading this - - only a half dozen people forwarded your link to me. so, people are reading you at a better rate than they would read you if you were selling a book.

    do people read anymore?

    but intern, when "electroboy: a memoir of mania" is your first book, you've just got to sell the f _ _ _ out of the book - - and turn it into a brand and a franchise.

    this author has sold "electroboy" t-shirts for $20 a pop, spoken more than 350 times since "electroboy" was published for between $1000 - $10,000/hour, has sold the film option more than five times (and it looks like the film will actually get made) for between $25,000 - $75,000, served as a spokesman for a pharmaceutical company for $360,000/year and even been a paid defense witness in court.

    authors are tremendously underpaid for what they do - - so they just have to milk it.

    and - - because publicity is so critical - - they have to do it themselves.

    this is my most recent youtube video which - - coupled with a front page story on the wall street journal on may 14, 2009 and a huge investigative piece for abc news which will air shortly - - will hopefully sell the next book about my experience in the pharma industry:

    so, help me spread that link and i'll send you a dozen avocados from california - - you just need to supply your snail mail address. and i'll even throw in a copy of "electroboy," signed to you, the intern and an "electroboy" t-shirt - - small or medium?


    andy behrman

    p.s. you can be sure that when the film opens, you'll be able to buy a drink at "electrobar" in los angeles.

    p.p.s. to thank the intern, it's now my job to forward a link to your website to my mailing list!

  8. By the way, Abigail actually was 'spot on' in her comment. . .

    Andy Behrman

  9. Doctor Query fixes your query letters for free.

    But perhaps there should be a charge!

  10. Dear INTERN,

    In light of this discovery, I think you should adjust your consulting rates accordingly. You could even buy extra avocados.

  11. hello Andy! so nice to hear from you! when electrobar opens, INTERN will be there, wearing a big red hat and sunglasses and drinking some kind of inscrutable drink with a paper umbrella in it. godspeed!

  12. hello, intern!

    drinks will be on the house for you.

    and for anybody else who visits this website within 24 hours after reading this post:

    or this youtube link:

    electroboy's pick of the year - - it's a book - - is "undiscovered gyrl" by allison burnett.

    you'll laugh, you'll cry.

    just buy the book and then send me your thank you note, okay? i think it's ten bucks. or four avocados. whatever is cheaper.


    andy behrman

  13. I love that Andy has the balls to convert his personal hell into lucrative speaking and consulting gigs. When I wrote Undiscovered Gyrl, a publicist asked me if I wanted to get booked on TV as an expert on wayward, promiscuous teenaged girls. I said "Nope, I am not a sociologist." Maybe I just lack Electro-boys chutzpah. Great blog, Intern. You are one smart, fair, happening chick.

  14. hey Allison! aw, you could totally be an expert on wayward, promiscuous girls...couldn't you just read up on them on wikipedia before the show? isn't that what all the TV experts are doin' these days? ;)

  15. Hey, INTERN...

    I built my own ANT FARM when I was a kid, and collected my own damn ants.

    Ahhh, love the smell of formic acid! Smells like... like... money? Maybe? Sort of? Almost?

    Haste yee back ;-)

  16. Has eveyone purchased UNDISCOVERED GYRL today?

    Allison Burnett paid me $225 to post this.

  17. So much to catch up on...
    Laughing so hard!

  18. Just found this blog - looks really cool!

    Kate xx