The photo is from 1978. My son, his truck. Behind him, my truck.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

For Labor Day: 99 Jobs at a penny a job!

To celebrate Labor Day USA, I'm doing a one-week price reduction of 99 Jobs to 99 cents in the e-book editions. That's a penny a job!

Here are the links for
Kindle,
iBook,
Nook,
Kobo,
Smashwords.
Any edition of the e-book will be priced at 99 cents through Labor Day.

If you're in the United Kingdom, you can celebrate Labor Day, too. You'll get the same price reduction at UK Kindle or Nook UK (it may take a few hours -- or days -- for the price reduction to trickle out to all the worldwide servers).

Happy Labor Day everybody.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kirkus Star -- "Expertly Crafted"

I was reluctant to submit 99 Jobs to the Kirkus review service because they are reputed to be the grumpy curmudgeons of the book review biz. On the other hand, a good review from them would be an honest honor. And lo and behold, they not only gave it a great review but also a Star! 

For an indie writer, a starred review from Kirkus is a rare and lovely accolade.

Here's what they said:
A general contractor and author looks back on a 35-year career contending with a variety of houses and people—most in disrepair. 

Beginning when the author was just starting out as a novice handyman in the 1970s, this collection of short essays roughly progresses through to the present day, when, despite numerous tumbles off ladders and at least one impaling, Cottonwood is still plying his trade. The many blue-collar jobs that Cottonwood (Clear Heart, 2009, etc.) wonderfully describes in his latest offering may involve worm-gear saws, ladders, lighting fixtures and the like, but they’re really all about people. Some are wealthy, some poor, but all are frail in some way and in need of some proper shoring—that includes the ace carpenter himself. Each vignette confidently stands on its own, whether several pages long or only a few paragraphs. The robust snapshots of the carpenter’s working life toiling in crawl spaces and basements around Southern California over the last four decades consistently play on important themes of mortality, class and personal fulfillment. Elegant entries like “A Working-Class Hippie” and “The Airplane Room” touch on the often ephemeral nature of close human relationships. A vague sense of melancholy pervades much of Cottonwood’s work, even in the midst of relative triumph, such as when Cottonwood receives a check for a job well-done: “This simple act always fascinates me: the transfer of wealth. So casual. So vital. A rich man of immense power, a tradesman with none. What if he refused?” 

Expertly crafted narrative nonfiction that reveals the framework of people’s lives. 
They got it wrong about "Southern California," but I guess from Manhattan anything west of the Hudson River is southern Cal. For the record, it's mostly about the San Francisco Bay Area with stops in upstate New York and St. Louis and Colorado and a bit of Maryland.

You can see the official review at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/joe-cottonwood/99-jobs/.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

First Place -- "The best non-fiction book of 2014"

Just announced at the Book Expo America in New York: My book 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses has won the 2014 IRDA First Place as the "Best Non-Fiction of the Year." (IRDA is IndieReader Discovery Award, sponsored by IndieReader.com.) Not "among the best." Not "one of the top five." They called it "THE BEST." First place. The best non-fiction indie book of 2014.

I'm feeling a little proud.

In addition to the honor, the prize includes a free Kindle Paperwhite 3G. I've never had an e-reader, so this will be a new experience for me.

But -- wow. "The best." If you see me smiling, now you know why.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stamp of Approval in Publishers Weekly

The current issue of Publishers Weekly has a review of 99 Jobs. The words they use are:
"a gritty and entertaining memoir" 
"colorful characters and situations"
"Cottonwood's prose is lively and his stories often charming. Readers will find it easy to relate to the author and his experiences, which are likely to appeal to anyone who has worked a less-than-perfect job."
I'm delighted. In the main trade magazine of the big publishing industry, a good review in Publishers Weekly is an important stamp of approval for a small indie publisher such as myself.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Mike Rose!

Mike Rose is one of my heroes. He is a guru of blue collar values and the author of The Mind at Work, a book that lives up to its description as he "demolishes the long-held notion that people who work with their hands make up a less intelligent class. He shows us waitresses making lightning-fast calculations, carpenters handling complex spatial mathematics, and hairdressers, plumbers, and electricians with their aesthetic and diagnostic acumen." I totally recommend the book. 

So I sent a copy of 99 Jobs to Mike Rose. He responded, and posted this review on Amazon: "This is a delightful book, full of engaging stories about work and working life. It is humane and warmly funny." He used a pseudonym to post the review, but he enthusiastically encouraged me to identify him and use the quote. Then he bought another copy and sent it to a craftsman-friend, who wrote back: "I've only read five paragraphs coming back from the mailbox and I'm already laughing out loud."
". . . a delightful book, full of engaging stories about work and working life. . . humane and warmly funny."
—Mike Rose, author of The Mind at Work.
Word of mouth, plus a couple of Amazon reviews, are my only publicity. A self-published book isn't going to get any help from the big media. You won't see 99 Jobs reviewed in the New York Times. Oprah won't be plugging it (though she might like it).

If you've read 99 Jobs and happen to like it, please tell a friend. Maybe even post a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Help people find it.

A few days ago, the UPS driver delivered a package to my house and said, "Hey! I'm reading your book!" Somebody on the route had bought a copy for him. Made my day. I hope you all have a good one, too.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I'm giving away 9 copies of 99 Jobs

Goodreads Book Giveaway

99 Jobs by Joe Cottonwood

99 Jobs

by Joe Cottonwood

Giveaway ends December 26, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On the air

I'm on the radio today, KQED San Francisco, the Perspective show. It will be repeated on Sunday. If you're out of radio range, as most of you are, you can hear me at:
http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201311270735

It's a two-minute reading of "The Secret Value of Junk," one of the stories in 99 Jobs.

They snapped this photo of me, looking like I just stepped off a construction site.

Oh well. We can't all be glamorous.