Harland published “The Things You Don’t Know You Don’t Know” on Lulu, a hilarious book with an alternative take on the everyday. It’s based on his standup routine, which has entertained millions. Harland has been writing since the 1980s, and has nine children’s books to his name.
He decided it was time to “write one for the big kids.”
But even with his previous success, he faced obstacles with “The Things You Don’t Know You Don’t Know” — until he found Lulu. He tells the story best:
“I had written this book, and I gave it to one of my agents and he said, ‘I don’t like it.’ And I was like, ‘Wait a minute. It’s not really for you to like. It’s for the people to like, it’s for my fans to like.’
“I know this stuff’s funny, because I do it on stage every night. I do it on Letterman. I do it on Leno. I do it on Conan. And the whole country laughs. The whole world laughs. And to put it in a book and have somebody tell me it’s not funny, I was like ‘I’ll show you!’
“So, I Lulu’d his ass! It’s a new term I use.
“I probably could have pushed and kicked up some dust and gone to other agents, but I just didn’t want to. I was like, ‘You know what, I don’t want to answer to anyone.’ I like the idea of being responsible and taking control and just going for it, letting the chips fall where they may.
“On top of everything else, it was a fun process to be in charge of not just the writing but the design of the book, the size of the book, the cover of the book. A lot of times publishers will take that out of your hands. And with Lulu, I was able to make all those decisions on my own.
“In this day and age, there’s no one who can hold me back. I don’t have to rely on one guy’s opinion. This is for the world to decide, not for one guy behind a desk. And so I just went for it. And I’m really happy that I did.
“ I can’t wait to do volume two.”