Writing is like trying to make sense of an inside joke you have with yourself but haha joke’s on you ’cause the joke is more sad than funny.
Are poetry readings like really weird AA meetings? How can you be upset that your short stories get rejected when you’re constantly rejecting love? Would it have been easier for Luke Skywalker to become a certified Jedi had he first gotten an MFA degree? Acclaimed author/publisher Brian Alan Ellis tries answering the tough questions in Sad Laughter, possibly the all-time greatest non-essential writers manual ever written in the history of letters, where the sacred cow that is the literary community (from academia through independent publishing) gets roasted alive via hilariously nihilistic bon mots (think The Elements of Stylemeets Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts) about what it takes to survive as an artist in the social media age.
Ellis is the rock and roll king of sad. Most happy people only wish they could be as sardonic, humorous, and at once morose as Ellis. But they can’t.|
–Elle Nash, author of Animals Eat Each Other
[Ellis is] the literary equivalent of The Replacements. And Sad Laughter is [his] Tim, a book that takes seriously the art of sarcasm—hilarious and filled to the brim with uncomfortable truths.
–Troy James Weaver, author of Temporal
If literary ambition is the premise, [Ellis] is the reductio ad absurdum. Unfortunately for him, he’s good at this.
–Mila Jaroniec, author of Plastic Vodka Bottle Sleepover
[Ellis] wrote a book funnier than your dream of being a great writer. If you still think literature means anything, read Sad Laughter, set your manuscript on fire, and take up the lost art of falconry.
–Kevin Maloney, author of Cult of Loretta
Ellis has the knack for finding the moment, the pause, the tiny cheery thing to hang on to when all hope is close to lost.
–Fiona Helmsley, author of Girls Gone Old
…f*ck this book. And f*ck [Ellis]. And f*ck the literary community.
–Elizabeth Ellen, author of Person/a
[Sad Laughter] is for anyone who had a dream of becoming anything. But after they entered the world of their dreams, they realized it was all a bureaucratic mess. Ellis is beyond the ‘American Dream,’ he has stepped outside of it, shaking his head, watching everyone cannibalize themselves—the literary world, America, has become a giant Donner Party.
–Noah Cicero, author of Nature Documentary
BRIAN ALAN ELLIS runs House of Vlad Productions, and is the author of three novellas, three short-story collections, a previous book of humorous non-fiction, and Something to Do with Self-Hate, a novel. His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Talking Book, and Queen Mob’s Tea House, among other places. He lives in Florida, and tweets sad and clever things at both @brianalanellis and @HouseofVlad.