Meet funny lady, Miss Karen Alpert, the brains and wit behind the uber popular blog and facebook page, Baby Sideburns. Today, her long awaited, new book, “I Heart My Little A-Holes” has just been released.
About 4 years ago, after becoming a new mom, Karen discovered the world of “mommy” blogs and knew she had a few things to say as well. As a seasoned copywriter, starting a blog seemed like a rather natural thing to do. In the beginning stages, she published maybe one story every month or so.
In early 2012, Karen started her facebook page. With only 170 fans by the end of October, her post in late November suddenly catapulted her once casual writing to something completely different. Her post, “What Not to F’ing Buy My Kids this Holiday,” received 200,000 facebook likes. It was a turning point for her blog and from then on Karen was writing non-stop. Inspired endlessly by her two kiddos, both under 5 and her equally funny husband, new material unfolds each and every day.
What was the genesis for the book, “I Heart My Little A-holes?”
I’ve always wanted to write a book. I’ve unsuccessfully written three novels that are half finished, that I would never do anything with. And about a year ago, I wrote a novel but it is not published and is still sitting on my computer. I haven’t done anything with that one either. Now, since the popularity of the blog, I think my writing has grown and is much better and I’m very happy with the way this book turned out. I’m happy that this is the first book I’m publishing. I’m really proud of it.
What is the process of writing a book and keeping up your blog and fb page? And can you tell me about the book itself?
I’m trying to write new material all the time, while at the same time still write new stuff for the book. Just a ton of writing. Instead of putting a book together that includes random blog after blog, I organized it all into ten chapters. There’s a chapter that’s titled, “Bundle of Joy My Ass, More like Bundle of Hell,” and it’s all babies and pregnancy stories. There’s also a chapter called, “Don’t Eat this Chapter While you’re Eating Chocolate.” Which is all poop stories. And on that note, I think it’s the best toilet reading! Seriously, everything is really short. I don’t think anything is longer than four pages.
And some of the chapters include some posts you’ve already published, correct?
Definitely! I feel like it’s a better book because of this. I have some posts that I’m really proud of and people want to see them again. Some of these posts, I freshened up and some were good the way they were. Earlier this year, I wrote a Mother’s Day post that went mega, mega viral, “What I Really F’ing Want for Mother’s Day.” That one got a million hits in three days! I feel like it would be weird not to include it in the book.
I love the cover of your book!
Thanks! I actually hired an illustrator, Lyssa Bowen. She was a mom who regularly read my blog and was already making drawings inspired by my stories. Her husband and friends encouraged her to write me. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it turned out her drawings are amazing and hilarious! Each chapter is accompanied with a picture she drew that are unbelievably hysterical. Throughout the book, there are smaller drawings scattered about, sort of like a Shel Sileverstein book.
Do you have some favorite writers or people you admire?
Sure. Tina Fey, is one of my favorites! David Sedaris, Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Handler… There are others and I also like a lot of serious writers. John Irving is one of my favorites too.
I like that. Probably not someone (referring to John Irving) familiar with your blog would expect that.
Yeah, writing comedy is actually sort of a new thing. 5-10 years ago, I wasn’t writing like this at all. I think it comes with gaining more confidence and maybe having kids? Also, I’m okay just putting myself out there now. I tried some improv classes while living in Boston. But with regards to writing, in my queue of things that I want to write, I’m currently thinking about a teen novel. Any writer, I think, has a list of ideas they want to work on and probably half of it you will never get to. But at some point I’d like to write some non-comedy again. We’ll see if life gives me the time to do that. I figure when the kids are in school I’ll hopefully have more time.
Are you able to still keep up with all the blogs out there?
See this is the bad thing being new to the scene, I don’t know a lot of the other bloggers. I’m raising my 2 & 4 year olds full time. Since the blog exploded, all I do is write. I haven’t read a book in a year. I barely read a magazine. All I do is write, just to keep up. But I guess it might be a good thing in a way because sometimes I don’t know what’s already out there. For example, the first post that went viral, had already been done a 1,000 times over. If I had known that, I probably wouldn’t have written it.
Do you have any readings coming up for your book?
Not at the present. This summer when the blogger convention was here, I read from the second chapter of my book, “I’ll Take the Brazilian in the Back Please.” I was nervous as anything because I had never done a reading before! But it turned out to be fun and hilarious! After that reading, I felt that, “I can do this.” So, we’ll see. As a self-publisher, you’re a one-man show and there’s only so much you can handle.
Your style of writing about your family speaks to the raw, unfiltered funny observations of everyday life in a family. Has there been any backlash with your style of humor?
Sometimes this does happen, specifically on the facebook page, which is unfortunate. On the facebook page, (which has over 130,000 fans) this is a community of moms that may or may not be like you, regularly commenting with their own stories or support, and every now and then there is someone that uses this as an opportunity to get nasty. There’s really no need for it. I’m okay if someone disagrees with me. But people should know that everything I write is for fun! Any bad thing I write about my kids, there are 20 great things that happen, I just don’t write about that because a million people are already writing about that and it’s just funnier. I’d like to think I’m showing my love to my kids every day. But yeah, I do get people saying negative things to me about me not loving them but it’s just not the case at all. It’s just so not the truth. I love my kids to death! And they love you! I hope so!
How long do you think you’ll be doing this? I have no idea! It’s a lot of work. I usually write the blog about a week before. I always have a list of ideas.
How long does it take to write a blog post? A long time. A very long time. I know some people can whip it out. There’s a lot of revising. It takes maybe 4-8 hours per blog post. If you ever read a first draft of my stuff, meh.
So where did the name, Baby Sideburns come from?
Ahh yes, well that story is in the book!
Author: Karen Alpert
Blog: Baby Sideburns