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Things are generally more complicated than they seem. That’s something you learn as a Formerly, or at some point before then, but usually after college, when things are pretty simple: War is wrong, men are dicks, sisterhood is powerful and horizontal stripes make you look fat.

Yeah, no. Almost nothing is that simple or consistently true. Hence the “It’s complicated” relationship status option on Facebook, and my slack-jawed, wide-eyed awe as I explore how, exactly to make my book (Formerly Hot…Finally Content, coming out in September from Ballantine) a success.

Not that I thought it was as simple as, You write a book, people like it, they say nice things about it, more people buy it and boom, you can go off and do your little happy dance. But I didn’t realize exactly how much you could conceivably do to sell your book, and how little is known about what works and why.

My latest scheme involves niche marketing to polygamous Mormon communities, in which women far outnumber men, and praying they don’t share books as they share husbands. I have high hopes for that plan. I would have sold my virginity to the man responsible the biggest bulk order (size matters), but I lost it sometime in 1983, I think in the Bronx, and haven’t seen it since.

Do me a favor: Think back to the last nonfiction book you bought. What made you buy it in particular? You can comment below or email me.

Photo by Janetmck CC