In January, we kicked off The Great Tumblr Book Search, wherein we invited funny people everywhere to submit a humor book idea using the medium of Tumblr. Chronicle Books has published several books that started out as Tumblrs, most recently F*ck! I’m in My Twenties and Dads Are the Original Hipsters. Our suspicion was that there must be more undiscovered authors out there.
When we announced the contest, we had no idea what the response would be. In just 45 days, we received 175 entries. For the past month, editors at both Chronicle and Tumblr read through all of the proposals—tears streaming down our faces in laughter—with the goal of choosing one grand-prize winner who would not only receive $300 of Chronicle Books but also be considered for publication.
We’re thrilled to announce that we have signed a book deal for our winner Paul Laudiero of Sh*t Rough Drafts! The book will combine new material with the best of the Tumblr entries and is slated for publication in Spring 2014. Please join us in congratulating Paul—and definitely follow his Tumblr if you’re not already. We also chose three runners-up, who will each receive $100 of Chronicle Books.
We wanted to take some time here on the blog today to introduce you to all of our winners. Keep reading to learn about the talented (and hilarious) people who won the contest. And if you didn’t win this year, or didn’t quite get your proposal in on time, never fear. The Great Tumblr Book Search will be an annual partnership between Chronicle and Tumblr. The next contest kicks off January 2014.
Grand-Prize Winner: Paul Laudiero of Sh*t Rough Drafts
Chronicle: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Paul: I grew up in Northern Virginia in a little town called Manassas. Right now I’m finishing up my degree in Creative Writing at George Mason University. I perform improv a few nights a week at Washington Improv Theater in D.C., and plan on moving to New York after graduation for improv and writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade.
Chronicle: When and why did you start Sh*t Rough Drafts? How did you choose Tumblr as the place to host it?
Paul: I started Sh*t Rough Drafts this past February, and I wish I had a cool story as to how I got the idea. Really it’s just because I’ve written a lot of shit in my life. I write every day, and 99% of what gets on to paper is garbage. One day I was thinking about some of my favorite authors and how they must have struggled too, and it made me laugh. I chose Tumblr because I was already using it for my personal writings. It’s easy to use and I think every writer (comedic or not) should use it.
Chronicle: How did you find out that Huffington Post linked to your Tumblr? How did you keep the momentum going from there?
Paul: They tweeted me a few days after I started it, asking if they could do an article on it. After regaining consciousness, I tweeted a “yes please” back. I kept the momentum going by just working on it every day and posting a few times a week. I just tried to come up with stuff that made me laugh, and went from there.
Chronicle: What’s been the best reaction to your big news that you won the contest and will have a book published?
Paul: My mom smiled. My dad screamed pretty loud. My brother told me to buy him a Range Rover. And my sister asked me to take her out to dinner. None of that was surprising in the least.
Chronicle: What are you most looking forward to (and most afraid of) in the book writing/editing process?
Paul: I’m looking forward to the clock. I have a set date I need everything done by, and I like the feeling of working hard to that goal. That’s also what I’m most afraid of though.
Chronicle: What’s your favorite book? And have you/will you ever imagine a Sh*t Rough Draft for it?
Paul: It’s a tie between A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, and Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. I’ve done Lolita, and I’m not sure if I’ll do Dunces.
Chronicle: What’s your favorite Sh*t Rough Draft to date? And which book will you never do a Sh*t Rough Draft for?
Paul: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is my favorite as of now, and it’s one of the least popular ones on the site. No books are off limits. Every author has had a shit rough draft of their work, and they deserve to be seen. Except for Goosebumps. That shit is perfect.
Runner-Up: Mike Rosenthal of Twitter the Comic
Mike Rosenthal is a rad Boston-based cartoonist and grad student. When he isn’t drawing comics or grading Freshmen essays, Mike’s generally not doing anything because people don’t invite him to parties. His first animated cartoon Our New Electrical Morals premiers April 4 on Cartoon Hangover.
Runners-Up: Tyler Gillespie and Claire Meyer of The Awkward Phase
Tyler Gillespie is the palest Floridian you will ever meet. He spent whole summers going to rock club—the geode kind—which was held in the public library.
Gillespie is a Pushcart prize nominated writer (2012) for short fiction and his first book of short stories Dirty Socks and Pine Needles was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2012. He has written for Time Out Chicago, Gapers Block, The Huffington Post, Windy City Times, and Splitsider, among other places.
He was a rollerblading champion in elementary school–well, at least he was in his mind.
Claire Meyer once ripped her leather pants jumping a fence to see the moon better. In 2007 she was voted Prom Queen and in 2013 she was mistaken for a man and kicked out of ladies restroom. Nothing lasts.
Meyer is a Chicago comedian—performing improv, sketch, standup, and bad karaoke around town. She is a Second City graduate and can be found performing with her team Lethal Action Force every Tuesday at iO Theatre. She has a fake Pinterest that has three followers—none of which are her mother.
Claire and Tyler (and rocks)
Author Claire Meyer during her own Awkward Phase, dressed as a picnic table.
Runners-Up: The Tangential of The Activorium
The Tangential is a creative collective based in Minneapolis, founded by Becky Lang, Jay Gabler and Katie Sisneros. Our mission is “Don’t be boring, don’t suck,” which we try to follow every day, but everyone is boring and sucks sometimes. We started as a pop culture and creative writing blog and we are now looking to publish beautiful books (and e-books) and throw fun parties all around snowy Minneapolis. We recently published our first book, a fiction compilation called Future Cities. Now, we’re working on an activity book that will get everyone creating with us, called Activorium. The book pitch was created by Becky, designer Caroline Royce and Katie Sisneros. We’re about to hunker down and make the whole book and we hope to publish it soon.
Follow The Tangential (and Contributors)
Twitter: @thetangential, @leckybang, @carolineroyce, @katiesisneros
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