Volume II Published Today!
Today is the motherfucking day. It feels a bit anticlimactic after the launch party last week. That was the thing causing all my stress. But today is also noteworthy because it’s when Volume II of On This Day in History Sh!t Went Down gets downloaded on Kindles and Kobos and Nooks etc. and also starts the process of being shipped wherever the fuck to finally land in your mailbox in the hopefully not too distant future.
Whew. That was a lot of work. Speaking of, I was on a bike ride a few days ago and a thought occurred to me; I realized that I didn’t need to bust my ass quite so hard.
The column began on April 18, 2020, and V1 was published on April 17, 2021. That was a nightmare to make happen in only a year. And then I leapt right into publishing V2 online starting on April 18 of 2021. Didn’t even take a break.
I didn’t need to do it that way. I realized that I could have said yeah V1 is done buy the fucking book AND I’m taking seven months off and beginning V2 publishing online as of January 1, 2022. That would have been a far more rational way to go about it, and had the idea occurred to me 18 months ago I think I may have gone that route, with V2 not being published until next spring.
But I hurt myself and made it happen and today is publishing today and I’m going to rest for a bit then get back to working on the hero dog book.
Someone asked me a question at the launch party that got me thinking. They asked, “Which book is better?”
I didn’t know what to say, because it’s a question I never considered. But of course being a bit obsessive I spent a few days thinking about it and have come to the conclusion that Volume II is better. Not Wrath of Khan levels of difference, but there are a few things that give it the edge over Volume I.
There are a couple of things that makes Volume I stand out. First is that it was first. It was the game changer for my career and dare I say for the genre, at least a little. Additionally, although I haven’t done a hard comparison on the numbers, there are a few more stories from Volume I that went really viral than did with V2. My most popular story is the one about the dog sled relay of diphtheria serum through Alaska, which appeared in V1.
But there are some other things that make me like V2 just a little more, such as:
· The cover photo. The train crash on V1 is well known. It appeared on the cover of a textbook titled Introduction to Error Analysis, and on the cover of the Mr. Big album “Lean Into It.” It’s also been on posters with the caption “Oh, shit!” But the photo for V2 isn’t well known at all, yet I think might be an even better example of shit going down because of the decapitated statue of Hitler’s head, with the pic being snapped only two days after the fascist fuckface offed himself.
· The hate mail. Volume II, rather than begin with endorsements, is a couple of pages of hate mail. V1 doesn’t have that, and people said they thought it was funny.
· It’s longer. When I began writing V1 online I figured I needed to keep them to about 400 words to get them to fit to a page, but they slowly started to creep up in length and I learned that the designer could cram 500 words per page. V1 was 158,000 words, but when I tackled the stories for V2 I wanted to use all the allotted space and include as much for each story as possible. I got really good at making each piece as close to 500 words as possible, so V2 is a whopping 180,000 words, which more than double that of the typical non-fiction book.
· V2 includes an interview with Alex Lifeson. If took me 10 years, but I finally interviewed all three members of Rush.
· There are more photos. V1 had 13 photos, and V2 has 25.
· I took more time with V2 and was able to polish the writing some more, and that especially included creative profanity and euphemisms for Trump. In V1 I frequently just referred to the Danger Yam as Trump, but in V2 the apricot antichrist was more commonly known as things such as, well, Danger Yam, or Eric’s dad.
· Muthafuckin’ bonus story! You know that awesome cover photo? When you read the final entry on December 31 and you’re all sad n’ shit cuz it’s over, it’s not quite over. Flip the page and you get a bonus tale of the dude behind the cover photo.
· And finally, because I get to relax a bit. After V1 I leapt right into authoring V2, but now I can breathe and see the dentist and the doctor and get my cholesterol checked and do all those tax receipts my wife has been asking for and shit like that.
Anyway, I’m confident that both books are awesome and the sales figures support that. Although the Kardashians are also popular so who the fuck knows? And so, please buy either or both of my sweary motherfucking history books at JamesFell.com/books.
Gotta wait another week for my signed copy of Number Two, looking forward to it!