7 Things You Didn't Know About Confessions of a Teenage Gamer
Yesterday, I put up my debut memoir, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer, for pre-sale on my website. For anyone who orders the book before the launch date (this Friday), I will autograph the physical copy AND give you a free eBook version as well.
On Friday, the price will drop from $25 to $17, but then you don't get it autographed :'(
(Side note, and shhh.... This is actually the first book in a series of 7 books. So, I'm just saying, 1st edition, autographed copy, first book.........)
Incase you didn't know, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer is a true story. 100% true. In fact, it's more like 150% true because I feel like I'm revealing way more about myself than I probably should. But that's what makes for the best stories, so it's a price I'm willing to pay.
However, there are some hidden things in Confessions of a Teenage Gamer most of you probably would never know unless I said so explicitly. So I wanted to share some of them with you here.
1. Chapter Titles
The chapter titles in this book are all names of songs I listened to during my "rise to Internet fame" back in 2005-2008. Each of these songs is extremely nostalgic to me, and I listened to them endlessly throughout the writing of this book. Also, it used to be very popular for World of Warcraft players to make gaming videos (and still is, somewhat), and back in 2004-2008, these songs were in so many videos. That entire 4 year era had a very particular "sound." We were all hardcore gamers and teenagers listening to the same type of music. Any time I hear a song from that era, it reminds me of World of Warcraft.
2. The Cover Design
The cover of the book was actually an extremely last minute decision. My original idea was to take a picture of myself with a laptop on the toilet—since that's where I learned how to write. I tell the story more in-depth in the book, but I really did spend a lot of time in the bathroom as a teenager, and most of those hours were spent blogging about World of Warcraft. In fact, that's originally what put me "on the map" as a gamer, was my blog. A friend of mine and I went back to my family's house maybe 6 months ago to take the picture (and it's been on my website ever since), but at the last minute I realized it wasn't right for the cover. So I requested some help from two very talented creative minds: Jonathan Speh and Ron Gibori, the Art Director and Creative Director at Idea Booth.
3. Independent Publishing
I studied creative writing at Columbia College Chicago, and started this project way back in 2011. My senior year of school, right before I graduated, one of my teachers (an author himself) made it a point to explain to us that the publishing world was "fickle and dying." He said that if an author wanted to become successful, he or she needed to find a way to do it online. I did A LOT of research trying to decide how I wanted to publish this book, whether I wanted to pitch it to an agent or publish independently. And actually, through Quora, I had multiple agents reach out to me regarding publishing the book through a big publishing house. Ultimately though, I decided I wanted to do it independently. It speaks to what I discovered as a 17 year old blogger, back when nobody said you could make a living writing online. I wanted to do this on my own, not just to preserve my creative freedom, but to show other artists how they could do things independently as well.
4. 100 Rewrites
At some point, I would like to actually put together a document showing all the different drafts I have of the first chapter of the book. I think from a writing and literature perspective it would be helpful for other aspiring writers to see what the process looks like. Over the past 5 years, I have, EASILY, re-written the first chapter alone over 100 times—and those are not counting the hundreds of read-throughs I did to check for commas and adjust sentences here and there. I mean I re-wrote the entire thing, new concept every time, new voice, new perspective, new everything, 100+ times. And every time I wrote it, I loved it for a day, and then the next I decided it wasn't right. This was a huge learning experience for me in realizing how much work it takes to truly understand what it is you want to say.
5. Nobody Really Knew Me Back Then
The truth is, 99% of the people I grew up with had no idea any of this was going on back in high school. I can count on one hand the number of people in my life that knew I was a top World of Warcraft player, and/or knew how sick I really was growing up. I hid a lot from people, and that's part of the reason why writing this was such an inner exploration for me. This story is very much a "pulling back of the curtain" and showing the boy beneath the exterior.
6. I Almost Failed English My Junior Year Of High School
Here's a funny story: My junior year of high school, I was writing an essay on a book for my English class. And in the essay we were supposed to cite a few sources, showing we had done some research, etc. Well, I didn't cite my sources correctly, and my teacher accused me of plagiarism. Now, something you should know about me: I can type 120+ words per minute (thanks World of Warcraft). It would have taken me longer to plagiarize something than to just re-write it in my own voice. My teacher didn't believe me, and it became a whole thing. I failed the essay (our biggest essay of the semester). She called my parents. I had to sit through half-a-dozen teacher conferences. I had to write an apology letter. And I had to do an extra essay for additional credit just to get a C in the class. All because I didn't cite something correctly. This was also the same teacher that told me, when I confessed I wanted to one day write a book, there was no chance I would ever end up an author. HEYYOOOOOOOOO.
7. This Book Isn't Really About World of Warcraft Or Gaming
It's not. Honestly, the book is about adolescence, and trying to make friends, and wondering where you fit in, and dealing with puberty (or the lack thereof), and coping with parental expectations, and the unnecessary stress that accompanies high school, and chasing dreams, and fighting dragons, and sneaking downstairs at two in the morning to play 2v2 arenas with a coke-head Rogue just to get the title of Gladiator. This book is about privileged America, and a wealthy suburb, and the differences between being driven by the allure of achievement or the contentment of happiness. And this book is about the dark road that achievement can lead to, and what it's like to be one of the best in the world at something most people deem to be a complete and utter waste of time. This book is a portrait of what it's like to be in love with something so much that you are willing to give up every other thing in your life for it.
If you're a gamer, I hope you read it. If you're not a gamer, I hope you read it. If you had a close friend that got completely obsessed with World of Warcraft, or any other game, I hope you get a copy for yourself and a copy for them and you both read it.
Every single person I have mentioned this story to has either said one of two things:
1) "Man, that was me. I have a very similar story."
2) "Man, I had a very close friend who was exactly like that."
I really feel like this is one of those books that is going to be a slow burn. People won't necessarily flock to it. People won't get it right away. But over time, they will. They will pick it up on a whim and end up finding a very honest, very relatable story inside. A story about chasing dreams, and trying to find your place in the world.
You can pre-order your copy here. Otherwise, stay tuned for Friday...