Print Story Paddy One-Tune is undead!
By johnny (Sun Oct 25, 2009 at 11:43:27 AM EST) books, bores, technoparanoia, k5 back in the day when all was mellow (all tags)
He slowed down a bit after that bar brawl.

But Paddy is undead, after all, and zombies cannot be denied. So, if you dare, leap below the fold to read Paddy's earnest entreaty for advice about how to proceed with johnny's latest project, Creation Science, "a geekoid novel for smart people". He & I would appreciate your insights. BONUS: if you click on that link you can see a little video of me in all my bald glory, chanelling Ben Stein, droning in my New Jersey accent.

In the unlikely case that you're unfamiliar with the self-promoting antics of that loutish solipcist Paddy One-Tune1, so-called because he talks about one thing and one thing only: his insane, disorganized and desperate efforts to publish and market johnny's books. --you might-could go-wanna read this, or google him up -- I'm not going to bother; he's a bore.

But here is a real question

When my first novel came out ten years ago or so, it eventually got a lot of love from Kuro5hin, Slashdot, Salon, various SF book review sites, and minor geekoid sites like The articles I wrote for Salon were dowloaded 70k+ times each; they steered a few eyeballs my way & helped me sell books.

For various reasons, none of those venues are especially helpful to me any more. I've sold more than 6k print copies of my various books, and the electronic versions have been downloaded somewhere around 20K times.

Without love from /., k5, Salon & the rest, how the hell do I get the attention of any of those people who have read & liked my stuff but who don't happen to be my friends on HuSi?

AND here's another question

It's the same question, but instead of "people who have read & liked my stuff", substitute "people who have never heard of me"?


Thanks to y'all members HuSi land for your moral & financial support. Y'all really are terrific. You know who you are.


I do have a facebook account & a twitter. In fact it was a post I put up on Facebook that got me the kickstarter invite. But other than that, I can't say that it's a glorious route to participation with my reading audience or potential reading audience. Not since the glory days of K5 has such a venue existed. At least, not so far as I'm aware.


Second, here's the description of my Creation Science project from the Kickstarter page:

I'm looking for your financial support so that I can finish writing my fourth novel, Creation Science, and publish it.

Creation Science, already about 1/4 written, is a technothriller about scary science-- like designer DNA, brain hacking & mind control, computer viruses and biological viruses. It's about the phony politics of the so-called war on terror, it's about fundamentalism and anti-science, about transhumanism and hypercapitalism and other modern delusions, and it's about decent people trying to save humanity from itself.

In it you'll find the stuff of all great thrillers: conspiracy, duplicity, double-crosses, dispensational Christian fascism, misunderstandings, confusions, car crashes, megalomaniacal villains (in and out of government), explosions, gunplay, Russian Mafias, neuroscience, coincidence, mysterious islands not far from Cape Cod, information theory, disease cowboys in Central Africa looking for the cause of Lassa Fever in the 1970's, Jane's Addiction, Mission of Burma, love, regret, remorse, nostalgia and sex. So Creation Science is a thriller. But it's not just a thriller. Like many writers of thrillers, I get the science right and I get the technology right. But unlike most writers of thrillers, I aspire to create literature.

This is what Andrew Leonard of Salon said about my book "Acts of the Apostles": "it's also a book infused with a sensibility that you don't normally expect a "hard science fiction" novel to have: real emotions, real heartbreak and a real sense of the craziness at the core of the human condition." And that's exactly what I'm going to try to put into Creation Science too.

I need money for two things: to pay my bills while I finish writing the thing, and to pay the printing costs of the book itself.

Because there are so many reviews of my books online (a good place to start is here ) & because the sources to the books themselves are online for free download, I think that with a little investigation you should be able to determine whether Creation Science is likely to be a book that would interest you. Or, you might check out my essays for Salon: How I Destroyed the New Economy tells how my taking part in the desecration of sacred ground on Martha's Vineyard caused the dot com bubble to burst. In Artificial Stupidity I wrote about a funny spat between pretentious academic "AI" pundits and half-crazy hobbyists who outsmarted (or out-stupided?) them. In How I Decoded the Human Genome I described how my attempt to become a gasbag moral philosopher of the William Bennett variety nearly drove me around the bend (part two is here).

I've set my goal at $5,000 because if I can't make at least that much, there's no point in going forward. But certainly I'm hoping to do a lot better than that. It will take me four months at least to finish the writing--longer if I have to do day labor to bring in money. So please, help me get as much together as I can. It's hard to sit down to thriller-writing after a day of driving a furniture van from Manhattan to Baltimore or from Bangor to Binghamton. I've done it, but I'd like to avoid doing it again.

1. I would like to take this opportunity to commend myself for keeping Paddy The Undead pretty much under control here on HuSi -- even removing him from my sig more than a year ago. Sure, I do talk about my books here. But not, I fondly hope, all the frackin' time. At least 4.55498% of my commentary here is on other topics.
< All You Zombies | fuck you, cancer! >
Paddy One-Tune is undead! | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)
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:

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 ]
Paddy One-Tune is undead! | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)