Earning Her Tip$, Minnesota Style: SMSU PWC Student Pens Humorous New Book


Courtesy of Katie Robertson

The cover of Robertson's book.

Katie Stromme, Editor-in-Chief

“If you’re able to find humor in a crazy situation, it makes it 40 percent more bearable,” said Katie “Kate” Robertson. The Southwest Minnesota State University senior recently had her book, “Tips for Earning Tip$: A Humorous How-To on Serving Meat, Mojitos, & ‘Minnesota Nice’” published through Amazon.com’s e-book extension.

Robertson, a professional writing and communication major at SMSU, said that the book is “…far from what many people would consider ‘professional writing.’” The book was born out of entries she kept in a private blog that mostly contained venting about her job as a waitress.

“It was more like a therapeutic diary at the beginning,” she said. “But then I ended up thinking that many people could relate and benefit from my ‘tips.’”

The book is a collection of short articles, each concluding with a piece of advice for the reader—about 50 in total—and ends with a section of tips for restaurant patrons.

It’s no secret that Minnesota culture is a popular subject. Movies like New in Town and Young Adult have poked fun at aspects of romance in rural Minnesota, although sometimes at the expense of accuracy. Robertson’s book is full of wit, and has the added advantage of firsthand experience.

She described the book as creative nonfiction. “I would say that the book is about waitressing (obviously), falling in love, and Minnesota culture…Being thrown into both the Minnesota and the waitressing world at the same time was a little intense,” said the Nebraska native.

Although PWC and creative writing majors at SMSU are part of the same department, the two don’t sharemany required upper-division classes.

However, Robertson cites a creative nonfiction writing class she took with Professor Elizabeth Blair as a source of great help in the process of creating her book and discovering more about the genre of creative nonfiction.

She also said that advice from Professor Marianne Zarzana inspired her to be proud of her own work, and information from Professor Teresa Henning informed her about e-publishing practices.

Robertson enjoyed the simplicity of publishing through Amazon and the freedom it allowed her, including naming the price of her book, which is now 99 cents.

“It was pretty simple. I mean, I got to set the price, the cover photo, and the content,” she said. “The only thing I didn’t like during the process was reading the full terms and conditions Amazon set…it’s not like ‘accepting’ them on Facebook or Twitter; you actually have to make sure you agree.”

The Kindle app can be downloaded and used on any e-reader device, smartphone, or computer.

She declared “if you have a piece of writing sitting on the shelf and know that there is nothing else you can do with it than publish it, birth the baby!”