Print Story Adventures in whatnot
Diary
By johnny (Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:43:31 PM EST) (all tags)
So I girded my loins and went over to Kuro5hin and posted an article to the queue, further adventures in self-publishing.

Who knows, maybe there are some people over there who are not jerks who have not yet been subjected to the Paddy One-Tune routine because they were not around when Paddy & I were K5 regulars. If any of you guys still have accounts there & have any interest in what I've learned about self-publishing over the last 10 years, you can go check it out.

Other observations below.

UPDATE I substantially revised the K5 article, posted it there, then added a new section "my biggest mistake" and posted it on Wetmachine.



So as noted, I'm soliciting backers for my next novel Creation Science through the "crowd-sourcing" site Kickstarter.

The way it works is, come up with a project & write up a description of it (and make a video to promote it if you want to), you choose a fund-raising goal and a date by which you will try to meet the goal. People "pledge" to the goal using a credit card. If you make your goal, the cards are charged, Kickstarter & Amazon (which acts as the clearing house) take a cut, and you get the rest. If you don't make your goal, nobody gets charged. Any money above your goal you keep; there's no upper limit.  You can provide "rewards" for pledges, just like on a National Public Radio fund drive.

So, I chose a goal of $5,000 and a duration of 30 days, ending on November 17, my birthday.  My current pledged amount is $5,327, so it seems I've made the goad with 12 days still to go. That's very gratifying. But of course I can't live very long on $5k, I have debts, and I'm having a hell of a time finding other work. So I'm hoping to pick up a lot more backing in the next 12 days.

I've got 80 backers so far, which means that the average amount pledged is about $67. I would guess that the median amount is $20. In other words, I had a bunch of people, more than a dozen, back me for amounts of above $100. That makes me feel very special and very committed to writing a great book to reward the people who have put such faith in me.

However, of the 80 people who have pledged, there are only about a dozen names I don't recognize. Everybody else is either a friend or somebody who's bought a book from me before. I'm still wondering how to garner support from the great unwashed masses that will allow me to become Novelist Laureate to the Pagan Geeks.

Anyway, that's the update.

Now back to hustling, and seeing what the abuse level is at K5. The story has been there for half an hour now. How many times do you suppose "horsecock" has appeared in the comments so far?

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Adventures in whatnot | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Dats mah burfday, too! [nt] by debacle (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 03:55:28 PM EST
You should be able to live a month or two on five thousand.

What, you can't write a novel in two months?


IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

Also Howard Dean by johnny (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:06:22 PM EST
He's a better doctor than I am, but I'm taller than he is.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
[ Parent ]
I don't really like pre-orders. by garlic (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 05:36:03 PM EST
but I did like the k5 story.


also by garlic (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 05:44:13 PM EST
k5 has a front page article with ascii penis art. classy.


[ Parent ]
I guess their standards have improved by Driusan (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 06:53:41 PM EST
Too bad it's not an ASCII horsecock.

--
Vive le Montréal libre.
[ Parent ]
I almost gave up by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 07:31:22 PM EST
before I finally remembered my K5 password.

I don't know that I agree with your assessment of traditional book publishing, though of course I am biased. That's not to say that the trade publishing industry isn't utterly frakked up -- it is -- but I think a lot of it is institutional insanity of the sort that you get in lots of places. It's a shame, but while we'd like to think better of endeavors such as publishing, but don't know if we should.

--
"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

When it comes to publishing houses by johnny (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Nov 05, 2009 at 08:40:04 PM EST
you, relative to me, have the advantage of knowing what you're talking about. I'm just repeating hearsay.

However, I do confess to dismay at the reasons I was given by publishers as to why they weren't interested in Acts of the Apostles. I don't think that I have a constitutional right to be given a book contract, I wasn't entitled to a deal; but I just found their reasoning incomprehensible, especially in light of the books that these same editors did choose to purchase instead of mine -- most of which sank with a smaller ripple than was made by my book. Sheesh, I if have been able to sell 4,500 copies of a book as a lone nut-case selling books on street corners, how many copies of it might they have sold had they marketed it & put it into bookstores?

Ah well.

My main puzzle right now is how to reach out to new readers without the support of Slashdot, Kuro5hin, and Salon. I wish I could say I had that figured out, but my grand total of 80 backers for Creation Science is kind of depressing, since you can get in on the deal for $1 ($5 for a prize).

Suggestions welcome.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

[ Parent ]
I don't mean by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 04:19:27 AM EST

to sound like an arsehole (but I am one, so that's the way it sometimes comes out</hicks>), but ...

However, I do confess to dismay at the reasons I was given by publishers as to why they weren't interested in Acts of the Apostles. I don't think that I have a constitutional right to be given a book contract, I wasn't entitled to a deal; but I just found their reasoning incomprehensible, especially in light of the books that these same editors did choose to purchase instead of mine -- most of which sank with a smaller ripple than was made by my book.

People in those positions often say anything without actually meaning it. All you can tell after a rejection is that you've been rejected. The reasons they give may run the gamut from cogent-and-helpful to nonsensical. If they thought a book sucked donkey balls, they're generally not going to tell you that to your face. If they've blown the budget on coke and hookers and simply can't afford to hook you up, they're not going to tell you that either. If they chose to hook-up their brother-in-law rather than you, you're not going to hear about it. If the trend this quarter is gruelling but heart-warming stories of growing up under the Taliban, you may not get a look-in. I'm not saying this is what happened in your case (they're fairly extreme examples, but they've all happened at one point or another), but non-sensical and random reasons then become the order of the day.

Sheesh, I if have been able to sell 4,500 copies of a book as a lone nut-case selling books on street corners, how many copies of it might they have sold had they marketed it & put it into bookstores?

Perhaps fewer. Perhaps the greater exposure would have resulted in you being torn to shreds rather than praised. Or perhaps you might have had an experience like CBB.

AotA came out in the relatively early days of the mass-market internet. At that time, people were into 'new and democratic forms of content creation and distribution' for its own sake; almost more in support of the idea / premise itself than in support of the new content per se. It was a more optimistic period. Anything of above-average quality levels would become a draw as it seemed evidence of the new world, on top of the content being diverting in itself. Now -- shit -- everyone's doing it, or been failing at doing it, for nearly a decade.

I was researching the yeti / bigfoot phenomenon a few months ago for a random project I was toying with. Someone on a bigfoot bulletin board made the point that the 'attractor' nature of nodes and cultures on the internet creates an impression of relevance or normalcy that's wholly artificial. You assume that, because you're into $X, and seemingly hundreds of other people (some very intelligent and erudite) are also into $X, that it's a legitimate, normal and commonly-accepted thing. After all, everyone in a given 'community' feels a similar way and it starts to seem ubiquitous and self-evident. Whereas in fact it's actually the opposite: nearly all of the netizen-inclined folk who are into that particular $X are clustered around those attractors -- i.e. that's pretty much the sum total of it and not just the tip of some imagined iceberg. The impression created is utterly false in the context of the wider demographic make-up.

Note: I'm not having a go or judging what you're trying to do; all I'm saying is there are other explanations that fit the patterns you describe and we should be suspicious about jumping to those conclusions which suit our predilections or flatter our self-image over those that might be independent of them.


----
Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
You're right about all of that, of course by johnny (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 05:19:02 AM EST
I was just whining, and I apologize.

HOWEVER, notwithstanding, here is the real nut that I can't figure out how to crack. When my first book came out, Slashdot gave it a nice review, and then, without even asking me, put a nice little advert fort the book on their home page and left it there for months. A few months later, Salon did something similar, making me their "featured writer" for months. And of course, k5 was a thriving community and through it I connected with hundreds of readers who bough my books.  They are attractor sites for geekoid types, and I do believe there are millions of us, although not all geeks buy or even read novels.

All told, those three channels (with somewhat overlapping audiences (making the different adverts mutually reinforcing)directly led to sales of perhaps a thousand books, and indirectly to perhaps 3k sales. Oh, and boing-boing.

Now for various reasons, those options are not available. I've been trying to get some attention from the gawkers & similar sites, with no luck.

I just had hoped that since thousands of people have bought my books (& I know that very many of them were happy with the product), and since tens of thousands had downloaded them, it would be easier to get some buzz going.

But I really shouldn't be subjecting HuSi to any more of this Paddy One-tune whining; the people here have been wonderful to me over the years and during this new project & y'all don't deserve any more of my crybabying.

I just thought maybe the community might be interested in how the kickstarter thing is going.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

[ Parent ]
actually... by clock (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 06:22:51 AM EST
I'm quite interested in the kickstarter thing.  Not for me, but in general.  There's a part of me that has bought into the notion that a good artist can focus on doing good work and get paid for it.  And by paid for it I do mean well enough to make ends meet.  I have many friends trying to hack it out in various ways and I'm always drawn to new methods of getting people to listen and perhaps buy.

I gave up on money a long time ago.  Even a modest living.  I'll push on like Charles Ives or T.S. Eliot (though far less talented than both) and have the day job while working at night 'cause that's how it has to be for me.

In any case, good luck.  And I'm interested.  Besides, even if you were whining, this is HuSi.  What else would we be doing?


I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Oh, please. by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 06:37:34 AM EST

Keep going.

I'm interested in hearing the progress and am curious to see how well you can make it work. Truth be told, one of the reasons I haven't chipped in is that we're going through a period where we're at the limits of disposable income. It's circumstantial and temporary but it is the current situation.

I think part of the problem is that the popular parts of the internet grew up, or became calcified, depending on your POV. Slashdot is no longer as interested in diverse and emerging content as it once was; its non-code systems of content generation are by now well-established, fairly mechanized and less 'open' -- witness the reams of content given over to PR and corporate fluff. Boing Boing has become more 'established' too. K5 ... well, we all know what happened to K5.

Another part of the flow is that we've all grown up too. It's hard to generate the same enthusiasm when you've seen more than a few iterations of the same patterns. I all but stopped reading the sites you mentioned after I came to the conclusion that they were getting far more from my eyeballs than my eyeballs were getting from them -- and, if by chance something interesting did come up, I'd be almost certain to hear of it from other channels.

We've all been suffering from a certain and disorienting kind of information glut, but it's more than that; it's generational. I DL'd and read AotA pretty much when you first put it up; it was good stuff. Would I do the same now? No. If it was written by yourself, or 256, or CBB, I might do so, but that's more because I already know you (FSVO). I wouldn't bother checking out someone who's at the same stage now as we were then unless someone who's opinion I respected recommended it. My backlog's big enough.

It applies the other way, too. The kids want their own schtick. The more self-possessed and inquisitive ones may travel their own paths and find the work of older generations, but it's a relatively small-ish set. I have the same issue with hip-hop -- I honestly don't know what kids are getting out of it now; it's almost universally shite. Saying that, though, is to overlook the fact that it's their shite; not someone else's. It's a pretty important factor when you're that age. Herring thinks ABC were good; I think they were contemporaneous with Herring's youth. The same charge could be levelled at me over lots of things, too.

I don't know where I'm going with this, except to wish you good luck. The best thing would be to just write an arse-kickingly good novel; if you do that the quality will speak for itself. It may take decades for people to figure that out, of course ...


----
Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Even Rusty doesn't post a K5 anymore. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 07:55:58 AM EST
Well, he posts once or twice a month, but that's it.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Who posts on K5 anymore? by duxup (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 09:31:52 AM EST
Anyone? I peeked at it a while back, I wasn't sure I recognized anyone in that glance and what I saw was the usual meta garbage about how whatever it was they were responding to did not entertain or please them, but no actual responses regarding whatever content they were posting to.

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Well, I chose to post there by johnny (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 12:36:16 PM EST
on the off chance I could reach a few people who had never heard of me, and in fact there were a few decent comments, including two from old-timers. Kind of surprised me. About 50% horsecock-equivalent comments and 50% legitimate feedback.  I was expecting 90/10.

In any event, evidently a lot of people (relatively) still visit the site. I doubt many of them will have much interest in me or my books, but you never know.

I took the trouble to write up the essay & post it there because I do get the random question about this topic & thought I should put up something on my site wetmachine. So I thought I would run it by the flamers at k5 to see if they could flush out anything glaringly stupid so that I could fix it before putting it on my site.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

[ Parent ]
"The Horsecock Equivalence" by mrgoat (4.00 / 1) #15 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 01:31:38 PM EST
By Robert Ludlum.

Followed by "The Horsecock Symmetry", "The Horsecock Reflexivity", and oh, let's just run with "The Horsecock Eigenvalue".

--top hat--

[ Parent ]
This post fails to entertain me by duxup (4.00 / 2) #16 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 01:47:27 PM EST
We should get more content I like, perhaps change how the submissions process works, what is wrong with the people here?
____
[ Parent ]
I'm glad you wrote it by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #17 Fri Nov 06, 2009 at 08:18:15 PM EST
It's absolutely worth examining the state of publishing and what the big houses are good for, as well as what advantages other routes can offer. There are a thousand and one perspectives out there, and a well-articulated one is a valuable contribution to the conversation. My own thoughts on the subject are ridiculously complicated by baggage on the order of several abusive ex-lovers (and that's without having pursued publication of my own work ...)

Anyway, you got voted to FP, so that's something, even if it's not the same as it used to be.

--
"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

[ Parent ]
Adventures in whatnot | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback