What is the answer?

Get the old K5 band back together and take it on the road   3 votes - 33 %
Gawker.com!   1 vote - 11 %
Oprah   2 votes - 22 %
Facebook until you drop and twitter but not myspace; that's for "minorities"   2 votes - 22 %
johnny balloon boy hoax   1 vote - 11 %
Like Letterman, admit to affairs with interns on your show (first, get show)   0 votes - 0 %
Become elected President of United States of America; use "bully pulpit" to promote books   1 vote - 11 %
Start heroin distribution ring; include adverts for books in packets of drugs   0 votes - 0 %
Google. Something having to do with Google.   1 vote - 11 %
Go ride bicycle   3 votes - 33 %
9 Total Votes
WIPO: Pander by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #1 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 12:22:20 PM EST
Hey, Dan Brown and Tom Clancy are fuckin' multi-millionaires is all I'm sayin'.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

But I already DO pander by johnny (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:06:39 PM EST
to the Lord High Geeks of HuSi.

You're saying that isn't the route to literary fortune?

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 ]
Yes. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 11:35:07 PM EST
That is precisely what I am saying. Also, apparently I have been tasked to dress as a witch for Saturday's party and I must think of a costume which does not involve a dress.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
The Michael Caine route by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 09:38:59 AM EST
Do the shitty movies to pay for the good ones.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
It may not be obvious by the result by johnny (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 09:54:40 AM EST
but I really do try to write books that will have wide appeal -- or at least, wide appeal to geeks, self-identified. Of whom there are many millions.

It's true, I don't think I could write prose as wooden as Brown's, or in universes as uncomplicated as Clancy's, if I tried. I wouldn't know how to do it. But I'm not above trying to be popular. Heck, I worked with my agent Joe Regal for FOUR FRACKIN YEARS trying to make Acts of the Apostles a page-turning "beach read" with movie-rights potential. That was the whole idea.

If I could get anybody to pay me decent money to write crappy books, believe me, I would. Last year I did a bunch of work-for-hire, including ghostwriting a book on managing software, aimed at CIO/CEO type people. It was published by Wiley. It wasn't exactly a crappy book, but it was no great shakes either. And over the two months I worked on it, it paid me almost enough to pay my bills. I was hardly socking away a cushion to sustain me as I went off to write my net masterpiece. 

In conclusion, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhh!!!!!

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 ]
Befriend a reporter by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 02:38:22 PM EST

I think it would make a great article for a local newspaper.  If I had friends at either the Telegram or The Globe I would bring it to them.  I think it would make for a fantastic piece in the Living section of a paper.  I'm certain that I'll be pilloried, but the internet sucks for promotion.  People need to know what they're looking for in order to find anything, and because of all the crap it's hard to find anything unless you know what you're looking for and are persistent.

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Mixed results by johnny (2.00 / 0) #6 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:43:57 PM EST
I met the writer Stephanie Schorow, a "lifestyle" reporter of the Boston Herald in the summer of 2001 (we were standing in line next to each other waiting to board the ferry). She was planning a big article on me to appear about September 12, 2001.


A very nice article did come out, with a big photo of my ugly mug in front of the geekoid white-board in my office at Curl, in December of that year. And it let to the sale of, so far as I can tell, exactly zero copies of my books. Boston Herald readers are not especially known for being great thinkers or for being great consumers of literature.

A mention by Alex Beam, Boston Globe columnist, did sell a dozen books for me. Alex and I have a bit of a testy relationship. He hasn't responded to me since I wrote this, mentioning him by name. (Actually, I thought he would be delighted by it. What do I know?).  Two feature articles in the Vineyard Gazette over the last ten years have at least made me known a bit on the island & to island visitors who subscribe or read the website. Sales impact minimal, but non-zero.

By contrast:

Moderately positive review of Acts by Hemos on slashdot took my Amazon sales ranking from 982,332 to 64 overnight. That one review, which was positive but not absurdly so, probably directly accounts for 1,000 sales over the last ten years. The Salon review & my Salon articles together were worth about 500 sales. Not to mention, that the Salon guy wanted to review my book because he had read the Slashdot review. When Jeffrey Zeldman says anything positive about my books on my website, I see an immediate spike in sales. It doesn't hurt that Zeldman explicitly tells readers to buy my books, not to merely read them online for free.

Remember, since I'm the publisher and since most of my sales are direct (not through Amazon or bookstores), I can ask people how they learned of me, or what made them decide to purchase the book. So I have a pretty good sense of where my buyers come from.

Cory Doctorow has boing'd me on Boing-boing several times. That has sent thousands of readers my way, to no appreciable difference in day-to-day sales. I do appreciate that exposure; I don't have any frackin idea how to turn it into sales. Besides, I don't think Cory will Boing my latest venture, since I've already said I'm not going to put it under Creative Commons.

K5/Husi has/have been my favorite venue. Before the assholes completely took over K5 and made it into a slum, I sold many books to Kurobots, but what was even more cool, I made friends, I discussed things with them, it was fun.  The same thing obtains here on HuSi, of course, and now that I've been with some of you clowns for nearly a decade, it really is a family thing (my own brothers and sisters & their spouses don't buy my books, by the way. Maureen did and Paul did, but they died).

I do think that it's possible that a newspaper article might be helpful in getting some attention from a "real" publisher. Other than that, I can't see it selling more than a few dozen copies.

But certainly if if a newspaper writer wanted to work with me, I would certainly welcome that.

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 title... by ana (4.00 / 2) #5 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:32:53 PM EST
is kind of off-putting. I mean "help me fund Creation Science" is not a link I'd ordinarily click on.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

You're right by johnny (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 04:45:28 PM EST
I'll fix that.

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 ]
Well, by Kellnerin (4.00 / 4) #8 Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 07:42:27 PM EST
if I knew how to become famous on the Internet, I'd probably have done it by now. (Actually, I'm not sure I want to be famous on the Internet, so maybe not -- but I'm sure that I wouldn't know how to become famous without having done so already, if that makes sense.)

I do know these things:

  • You can't just broadcast and tell people to buy your books. Why would anybody listen, and how would anybody find your amateur radio station anyway? What's magical about K5 and Husi is that you participate in a give-and-take, that you respond to other people (in their diary-space as well as yours) and, in the process, become a Real Person We Care About.
  • If I didn't already know you, Wetmachine as it is currently constituted would not make me buy your books. The slogan in the header makes me think the theme is very much in keeping with your fiction, but the actual content doesn't follow through on that promise. So say that I like your stuff and I want some ongoing interaction with you between reading your books -- but when I go there I find most of the posts are (a) not from you and (b) about very specific topics I'm not particularly interested in, and (c) even the posts that are by you aren't necessarily the kinds of things that I, as a fan of your writing, want to read (i.e. political ranting). It's your space and your prerogative to use it as an outlet for whatever's on your mind, but at times that may be at cross-purposes with the goal of encouraging people to read and pay money for your fiction.
  • I love the stuff you write about firefighting and other snippets from the Life of Johnny. There may not be a direct connection to your books but they are well-written, personal, and offer glimpses into aspects of life I know little or nothing about. They remind me that you are a storyteller, and the satisfaction I get from those vignettes makes me willing to go along for whatever ride you want to take me on in your Next Crazy Novel.
In conclusion but not in summary, it's been a while since you've written a kapustian entry. Can that be my write-in? Kapusta! Kapusta! Kapusta! India! You are my rockstar!

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
OK, yeah! by clock (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 08:57:22 AM EST
you have just summed up everything that there is to sum about having a blog that supports one's work.  i won't go into what is so f'n spot on about it, but if you could bottle those three bullet points, you could have yourself a seminar that could make you $200/seat easy!

get crackin'!

and yeah...just...yeah...

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]