Cold In The Desert

by Frost on April 7, 2012

Somehow, I’ve caught a cold. Not an easy task in the 40-degree heat of the Rajastan desert.

Fortunately I’m in Udaipur, which is a nice little town to kick back in a cafe with a book and let snotty tissues accumulate around me.

This morning, I read Steve-Os autobiography and I highly recommend it. His absurd and single-minded commitment to a career as a… well, whatever the hell Steve-O was... is inspiring and hilarious.

I’ve been in India for almost a month now, and my impressions of the country have been all over the place. I won’t say any more than that until I’ve got an exit stamp in my passport, and I still have a week in Bombay before I fly into Rome on the 14th.

Consulting my bank account and doing some back-of-the-envelope math, not only am I going to be one broke motherfucker by the end of the summer, I’ll only make it that far if I travel through Europe for the next four months on a ridiculously tight budget. This felt unpleasant at first, but then I thought: What would I have done with that money anyways? What needs of mine will go unfulfilled as a result of not having it?

I actually kind of  like the idea of being broke, in a nothing-to-lose, Henry-Miller-esque, make-it-or-die-tryin’ kind of way.

(Then again, I don’t like the idea enough to get rid of the chunk of my savings I’ve put in illiquid, long-term investments. I just like the idea of feeling broker.)

Six months ago, I would have expected to be a moderately famous author by now. My first book has certainly done OK, for a self-published book by an incredibly obscure first-time author. But I expected break-out success. I expected interviews, exploding traffic, name recognition, strippers in cages. So far none of the above have materialized.

I’m not bothered by this though. I’ve received a ton of positive feedback on the book, both in reviews from other bloggers and emails from readers. I’ve sold enough copies for this blog to be a legitimate, though modest, stream of secondary income. I’ve learned enough about the creative and publishing process that writing and marketing books is no longer some big scary thing to me – it’s a part of my reality.

I haven’t received any feedback yet on the draft edition of my second book, an account of my adventures in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, but I think it’s great. I think it’s hilarious, thoughtful, occasionally deep, and always entertaining. I think it’s going to blow up. But, as we’ve seen, my track record at predicting my own success has been… mixed.

But again, I don’t think I’d be that bothered if the next book flops. I’ve found my path. I’m going to write. Hopefully, I’ll figure out a way to get paid for my writing, but if not, that’s fine too. Maybe the reality of the publishing industry in the 21st century and beyond is that writing for money just isn’t feasible. Or, maybe it is possible to earn a living as a writer, and I’m just not one of the few who are smart, interesting and creative enough to do it.

I don’t believe either of these for a second, but if I’m wrong – that’s OK by me. I’ll still have a blog, and there are other ways to make a living.

Anyways, there’s my soul-dump for the day. Clearly I’ve been posting a lot less lately, partially due to the time and technical constraints of backpacking through India, and partially because I’ve been devoting my time to experiences, books and meditation. I’ll likely continue with sporadic updates until the June 1st launch of the new book.

Taker easy, as we say where I’m from, and if she’s easy taker twice.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Spuz April 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hey Frost,
I’m glad to hear you’re coming to Italy (in fact, you should already be here). If you ever pass by Venice, gimme a shout. You have some readers down here.

english teacher x April 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

You can just overwrite the new edition on top of the old edition, and change the title to indicate volume 2 or whatever. Unless the new edition isn’t ready yet.

Russ April 8, 2012 at 3:19 am

I, I, I, I… I……

I like you Frost, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, which is why I’m going to give it to you straight.

Nobody cares about you.

I don’t want to read an account of your adventures in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Few people do.

What I want is to travel around Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for only $750 a month! I’d buy an ebook that told me everything I need to know. I don’t care about anything you did, I don’t care about any of your stories, UNLESS it’s to illustrate a point to help me. I don’t care about your career as a writer, I don’t care if you have to go back to your unfulfilling job, grow fat and end up marrying a nagging bitch.

You don’t get many comments on your blog because it’s all about you and what you are doing. Which is fine, it’s your blog. But if you’re trying to make living through your writing using your blog, it’s not fine. Look at Roosh, open up his blog right now (do it), look at the hall of fame, how many are about him? Almost all of them are advice on how ‘you’ the reader can get better at game. He uses a lot of stories from his own life to illustrate this and to keep us entertained. I bet he sells a lot more books than you.

Your first book is a step in the right direction. What else can you write that would really help other young men? Self Improvement could be your thing.

Well, hope I’ve pissed you off, good luck Frost.

Frost April 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

Appreciate the honest feedback. These are actually my favourite comments, i.e those that call me out in a constructive way.

I disagree with your suggestion that I continue writing self-help-type stuff, though. People like to read good travel writing, whether it’s immediately applicable to their lives or not. Partly for entertainment, partly to help them navigate their own lives – great men learn from the mistakes of others and all that – and partly because it feels good when an artist yells out, “Hey! This is my world, as I see it! Does it look the same to you? OK then, cool!”

It reminds us that we’re sane, which is comforting.

Have you read Roosh’s Dead Bat in Paraguay? There’s a smattering of advice regarding picking up SA girls, but not much. It’s also a flawed book in a lot of ways (I’m sure Roosh would agree, since it was one of his first). But you know what? I connected with it and enjoyed it when I first read it. I picked it up again right before I left for Thailand, and enjoyed it on a whole other level.

The literary world in the 21st century has almost completely abandoned non-emasculated young men. We need role models, we need commiseration, we need art that speaks to us and tells us we aren’t crazy or stupid or evil. My next book has no tips on budget traveling and I actively tried to avoid making the girls we met the focus.

If that’s not your thing, feel free to skip it. My next two projects will likely be a mini-book on India and something like “Europe on Zero Dollars A Day.” But again, they’ll be more accounts of adventures and thoughts than travel guides, so…

In any case I’ll reiterate that I appreciate the criticism, thanks for keeping me honest.

Cheers,

Frost

Cody April 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I hope you’re able to make it to some of the places in Rome I told you about. Let me know how your time in the city goes.

Frost April 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

Will do! Thanks.

english teacher x April 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Uh, maybe none of my business here, but are you aware that your book is on sale for $99.99 on Amazon? Maybe you accidentally put the wrong amount in when you tried to price it at $9.99? Just trying to be helpful to my fellow indie authors.

Frost April 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

ETX, thanks for the tip. That’s the old edition, I bumped the price up to keep readers from buying it. Amazon won’t let me take it down. Or maybe they will and I just haven’t figured out how yet.

Austin April 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I finished your book about a week ago. I found your blog through some random link on reddit talking about “Freedom porn”. I spent about 9 months in Chiang Mai working on my business so I just bought your book out of curiosity.

I think you have great message for any kid leaving college where his fall into mediocrity noticeably starts to accelerate after leaving the “paradise of adult babysitting”. This is where he starts that downward slope of gaining weight, getting weak both mentally and spiritually, and only becomes a true professional at wasting time. Your book is like when your “cool” uncle has to take care of you for the summer and tries to instill his golden guidelines of success with money, success, and life. Most people don’t have that “cool” uncle.

Seriously, I think the only thing your missing is rebranding it…”How to make a Come back”…which sounds lame writing it. But, some re-branding might be in order. Maybe your book publisher will do all that for you.

Even your blog, and writing, is strong as hell…and I wouldn’t really say that to 99% of bloggers…I’ve enjoyed reading it the past few days, because you are touching on many issues facing young men, but with a genuine voice that feels fresh and honest, and even balanced. Without the PUA guru non-sense.

You did an awesome job.

Frost April 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

Austin, welcome! I really like the phrase “Freedom Porn” and I suppose I deserve that label. Do you have a link to the reddit thread?

I think the “how to make a comeback” theme is strong in the book, and in this blog from the start. I’ve gone through a few peaks and valleys in my life and I started F25 when I was at the bottom of one of the latter.

Thanks for the kind words, see you around!

Frost

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