INTERN has been thinking about the different ways authors (particularly non-fiction authors) cash in on their books apart from actual book sales. The most common side-project is public speaking. Next is instructional seminars, either in-person or online.
In her rambles around the internet this morning, INTERN happened across the website of Andy Behrman, author of "Electroboy," a memoir of bipolar disorder (and spokesperson for other mental illness-related stuff). And wow. This dude has taken the idea of the Book Spinoff to the next level.
The first thing you see when you go to his website is a plug for his "Services as a Consultant for People with Mental Illness(and Those who Love Them)". For a mere $225 per hour—PER HOUR—e.g. more than INTERN spends on food in a month, including splurges on the occasional avocado—he will talk to you on the phone or shoot you some e-mails about how to pick a psychiatrist, figure out how to get on disability, remind you to take your meds and...whatever else a semi-famous writer with no medical degrees is qualified to do for his (well-heeled) homies in mental illness.
Perhaps INTERN is coming across as bitter or cynical about Mr. Behrman's services. Let her assure you (and Mr. Behrman, if he is reading this) that she is not. She in fact kind of awed and impressed by the spirit of get-go behind this venture. In INTERN's internal dictionary, "boondoggle" is a term of serious respect. INTERN wishes more authors would audaciously and shamelessly pursue their own personal boondoggles. Imagine how fun the world would be if Stephanie Meyer offered vampire consulting services, or if Dan Brown offered private genealogy sessions linking ones distant relatives to the Virgin Mary. Good work, if you can get it (and you can apparently get it, if you try.)
Anyway. Point is: public speaking: out. Ingenious and dizzyingly expensive consulting services: in.
You heard it here first.