All Write Already!

A Completely Unpretentious Literary Podcast

Episode 34 – Ben Tanzer, Plus the Costs of Writing a Novel

February 26, 2014 by karenshimmin


Ben.Author.EmptyBottleBen Tanzer is the author of the books My Father’s House, You Can Make Him Like You, So Different Now, Orphans and Lost in Space, among others. Ben serves as Director of Publicity and Content Strategy at Curbside Splendor and can be found online at This Blog Will Change Your Life, the center of his growing lifestyle empire. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.

Ben came over to read from the soon-to-be-released Lost In Space and to chat about writing like the Ramones, drunk podcasting, and navigating the domestic difficulties of writing about his family.


In Ben’s words:

“I don’t know what the kids will get stuck on. I know in my head I had a little list of things I wouldn’t write about, so I don’t think there is anything where either of the kids at any age particularly will say ‘wow, you totally gave up one of our secrets.’ On the other hand, you don’t know what they are going to react to… and I do think it will change with time. That has been my experience with books I love, though no one has ever written about me.”

Plus, we kick off the show by discussing Emily Gould’s essay “How Much My Novel Cost Me.” In the essay, from the collection MFA VS. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction, Gould details her struggle with debt (after blowing through her $200,000 advance) and self-discipline following the failure of her first book.

And for the first time in All Write Already! history, Ben turned the mic around and interviewed us immediately after we interviewed him. Somehow we avoided collapsing space and time with our podcast on podcast feat. If you’re longing for more Ben Tanzer, Willy Nast, and Karen Shimmin, check out This Podcast Will Change Your Life, Episode Seventy-Eight.

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One Response to “Episode 34 – Ben Tanzer, Plus the Costs of Writing a Novel”

  1. Pete says:

    Re Gould: we need a tidy, single word that means “self-imposed poverty.” When you quit a stable job, blow through a six-figure advance and continue to live alone in Brooklyn paying $1,700 a month in rent, you are imposing poverty on yourself. And are entitled to no sympathy whatsoever.