Tag Archives: books

Give me something, something I can read

I’ve got a long road trip and 10 days of no exercise allowed after a spot of surgery (it’s not a tumor!).

So I need things to read. You know, book-like substances, printed bits of dead trees.

And I want a honking pile of them.

Therefore, good people, my plea is simple. Sock it to me:

  • Nominate a popular book that’s actually horrible and I’ll bleed red all over the first page
  • Tell me your Favorite Book of All Time so I have something delicious to chew for hours
  • Hit me up on Twitter, gmail or the comment sections if you want to collaborate on an insanely creative and secret project
  • Give me a movie or music video you want dissected and taken apart, to see how it works like magic or smashes into the hard, heartless rock named Fail
  • If you’re not a nancypants who’ll wind up in therapy, ship me the first page of your WIP and I may ink it up and whip it back, because EDITING IS CRAZY FUN

Also: You’re right, that headline riffs on a Don Henley song. Here it is, live.

The Red Pen of Doom’s Greatest Hits Collection: 10 Epic Posts

  1. Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?
  2. The Mother of All Query Letters
  3. Why every man MUST read a romance – and every woman a thriller
  4. The Red Pen of Doom impales FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
  5. The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books
  6. A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
  7. 30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys
  8. Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt
  9. The Red Pen of Doom murders THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
  10. Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Photo by Suhyoon Cho

 

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award and is represented by Jill Marr of the Dijkstra Literary Agency.

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Fiction, Red Pen of Doom, Romances; also, novels with Fabio covers, Thrillers and mysteries

Six ways to fix NEVER GO BACK by Lee Child

Let’s say it: Lee Child has a Superman problem.

His hero, Reacher, is beloved by fans for having the brains of Sherlock Holmes and the body of Conan the Barbarian. The man never gets outsmarted and is invincible in a fight. Here’s the last post about these books: Secret recipe for any Lee Child novel

The latest Reacher book, NEVER GO BACK, slams smack-dab into the Superman problem. Because an invincible hero puts the B in Boring.

Did I enjoy the book? Yeah, it’s always fun to read about Reacher. With every new novel, though, Reacher struggles less and less to overcome the bad guys.

If the hero doesn’t sweat, the reader doesn’t worry. Or care.

Because I do care about Reacher and Lee Child, here are six ways to fix NEVER GO BACK.

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, Fiction, Thrillers and mysteries

Come closer, now, and whisper your MOST EVIL PLANS

My silly blog is now one year old, meaning it doesn’t just crawl anymore.

No. It can (a) get to its feet by grabbing the couch, (b) chase teh kitteh all over the living room, (c) scribble all over the first page of any book with a red pen and (d) make sarcastic faces at really bad movies.

So thank you, dear reader, for faithfully reading posts, writing insanely witty comments and talking smack to me on the Twitter.

I never expected this little blog to have 4,300 hits in a day (Saturday), 11,000 followers on the Twitter or 100,000-whatever hits in its first year of life.

You did NOT expect that. Little Godzilla.

Did you expect that? NO. Me neither.

My expectations were rather low. This blog-like substance was born out of fun, and to try out a bunch of things on WordPress and the Twitter.

What should happen next, in Year Two?

You tell me. I’m taking requests.

Inch on a little closer to me and whisper, softly, your most evil of evil plans.

  • What over-rated novel deserves to have Page 1 ripped apart by a red pen of doom?
  • Which movies or TV shows needs to be put on the table and dissected to see how it works so beautifully, or doesn’t work at all?
  • What insane music videos need to be shown to the world, with the lyrics translated into English?
  • Or should we just go all-in with zombies, zombies and, just for variety, more zombies?
evolution of zombies

Everything goes better with zombies.

Vote in the little poll below, or post your idea in the comment section. And thanks again.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under Housekeeping

You need a TEAM and a PLAN

Call me crazy, but I believe that people should have some sort of plan — based on numbers and science and creativity — rather than copying everybody while praying to the Norse god of Thunder (also known as Chris Hemsworth) for a different result.

Chris Hemsworth will not listen. He is busy, and cares little for the affairs of men, though he doesn’t mind Natalie Portman.

Also, it is wrong to (a) try to do it all yourself, (b) put all your eggs in the basket known as the Series of Tubes and (c) try doing it all yourself, part time, on the Series of Tubes.

This is sacrilege to a lot of people who swear by the interwebs. To those people I say, respectfully, “To bad, so sad, tell your dad.”

Doctor, heal thyself

Even if you’re some kind of world-class expert on publicity / sales / marketing, it’s a mistake to be your own client. You’re too close to the work and you don’t have the specific contacts and knowledge for the field.

A pro athelete doesn’t need a good publicity and marketing person, but somebody who’s done PR in sports, hopefully pro baseball or football or whatever it may be.

A rock musician trying to break in shouldn’t try to be his own part-time hype man. If you want to do it right, you get somebody who’s done PR and marketing not just for rock bands, but for that exact type of band. Because the magazines, journalists and outlets for Swedish death metal is entirely different than for rap, techno or hip hop.

A team and a plan

So: if you are truly serious about whatever it is you love — punk rock, directing zombie movies, writing books where sparkly vampires get killed by elves with lightsabers riding dinosaurs — you need a TEAM and a PLAN.

Think about the best in the world at anything. Concert pianists train their entire lives to get to the top. Did they sit in the mom’s basement, plinking away on weekends until they became world-class? No. They had all kinds of teachers, tutors and mentors showing them how, and pushing their limits. They gave recitals out the wazoo and treated piano not like a full-time job, but an obsession.

NASCAR drivers focus on the driving — they don’t try to tune the engine, change the tires and fill the gas tank all by themselves.

If you’re working part-time, by yourself, going against a team of specialists who do this for a living, YOU WILL LOSE.

Fail Cat has a plan full of fail

Fail Cat has a great plan: ten pounds of fail packed in a five pound bag.

This is true on the football field, a MMA cage match, a piano duel, the music business, books, Hollywood, all over. A team of pros — doing very specific things very well — will kick your butt.

Now, 99.9999129312-whatever percent of people will ignore these facts. They’ll keep on plinking away and hope lightning will strike. That’s like chucking footballs in the backyard to a neighbor kid, praying one of those will be the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVII.

They’ll say “I don’t have the time or the money for a team. And I don’t have the expertise to write some magical plan.”

Time: The average American watches 35 hours of TV a week. Five hours a day. Next?

Money: People find a way to pay for what’s important. Football camp, film school, piano lessons, journalism school, punk rock hairdos — if you’re truly dedicated, you find a way, and maybe forgo the daily $4 mocha or the Beanie Baby collection.

Plan: This is where people will need the most help. Because the dirty little secret is that even people who do publicity and marketing for a living are not quite sure, if you put a gun to their head, why some people break out while other, more talented people get nowhere. Yes, it’s more art than science, but that’s no excuse to throw up your hands and ignore science and numbers altogether.

People who truly love something will put in the time, and they’ll put some money into their education and development. The plan, though, is what trips people up.

Related posts that will educate you and all that:

You can pitch ANYTHING except quality

Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS

Top 10 Myths about Publicity and Public Relations

The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books

Using free ink and airtime to BUST THROUGH

30 achy breaky Twitter mistakeys

Top 5 reasons why Twitter CRUSHES Facebook

Why blog hits DON’T REALLY MATTER

Quirks and legs matter more than talent and perfection

Name recognition is KING; also, famous peoples doing it wrong

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes

Why blog hits DON’T REALLY MATTER

Hear me now and believe me later in the week:

  • Blog hits don’t really matter.
  • People collecting thousands of Facebook “friends” are wasting everybody’s time, including their own.
  • Your number of Twitter followers doesn’t mean diddly.

For those of you catching up: (1) The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books, (2) Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS and (3) Using free ink and airtime to BUST THROUGH

Just saying these things is heresy to Internet Fanboys, who believe nothing is more powerful than the series of tubes.

If they can only find a way to implant a USB 3.0 socket in the back of their skull, they’ll be able to jack into the Matrix, do insane kung fu kicks and stop bullets JUST BY THINKING ABOUT IT, but they’re too busy looking at the woman in the red dress that they never leave the keyboard, go out in the real world and, I don’t know, kiss an actual girl.

Am I saying unplug from the series of tubes entirely? No. The internets, they are useful for many things.

I’m saying the real world is ALSO useful for many more things.

Why blog hits don’t matter

Everybody wants to be read. I mean, it’s sad to start a blog, put time and effort into writing great posts and have virtually no traffic.

However: let’s get practical.

When I started my old blog, it was to serve a specific purpose: a permanent home for the craigslist ad to sell the Epic Black Car.

WordPress is free. My sister, who is a flipping genius, told me that she loved working with the WordPress, that it was easy and fun. So I popped the ad on there, threw some photos in the craigslist ad and thought nothing of it.

Did it really matter whether I had 50 visitors a day, 500 or 5,000?

No. Not at all.

Now, our brains aren’t wired to be that logical and practical. We all have egos, which like attention and get all sad if nobody shows up. WHO WILL PAY FOR OUR THERAPY?

Fail stamp

Fail.

Yet if you’re completely practical about it, the people who saw my silly ad and commented from Maine and Canada and Australia — those were fun people to talk to and all, but the real point was to sell a black Hyundai, a trusty beater that simply would not die.

Anything other than that was a bonus.

Here’s the ugly truth: unless you’re making a living selling banner ads on your blog, traffic doesn’t matter.

Quality beats quantity

A friend of mine had a website with amazing content that she was giving away for free. Videos by experts. Tutorials. Great stuff.

I’d pay money to see it, although it was all there for free.

She was busting her hump, working 80 hours a week to make this website shine, and hadn’t made much from it.

Why? She wanted to generate enough traffic, she said, before going green with the whole “paying the rent” thing.

I whacked her upside the noggin. (From afar, via the internets.)

Because that business model is stupid.

Is she selling banner ads? No.

Is she selling ebooks? No.

She was offering her services as a consultant.

I told her she didn’t need 1,000 hits a day, or 5,000.  For most people, the quantity of hits doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of the hits that matters.

She’d do fine with one hit per day, IF THAT PERSON HIRED HER.

This is why she — and most newspapers — made an Achy Breaky Big Mistakey in giving away all their good content for free, via the series of tubes, while making people pay for it if they got it delivered to their doorstep by paperboys.

The newsroom of The New York Times in 1942.

The newsroom of The New York Times in 1942. Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Think about your local pizza joint for a second. Let’s say they operated like most newspapers these days: If you walk in the door, a sausage and mushroom pizza costs you $15. But if you order the pizza via the series of tubes, they’ll deliver it to your house. For free.

Stupid. A terrible business model.

Yet everyone went so ga-ga over the internet that newspapers, magazines and everybody else basically did just that: put their content online for free.

Nobody wanted to miss the next big thing.

What are you trying to do?

Think for a second.

Why are you writing a blog?

As of February of 2011, there were 156 million blogs on this planet. The people at BlogPulse counted them. That’s a lot of blogs.

Here’s some wisdom from a blogger, Steve Pavlina, who gets two million monthly hits and wrote this in a forum:

The average blog gets virtually no traffic. If you’re looking to be average, I don’t recommend blogging at all.

If you want to create a really good blog, then put all thoughts of being average out of your mind. Either be exceptional, or don’t bother. The world doesn’t need any more average blogs. There’s a massive glut already. If you like to write but would only want to create an average blog, don’t blog. Use a different medium like journaling or Facebook. I’d say a reasonable target after one year is around 10K visitors per day for your blog. If you’ve been going for a year and only have 1K readers per day or fewer, then either you haven’t put much effort into it, or your blog simply isn’t gaining much traction.

This assumes you’re serious about it, you have strong writing skills, you have strong domain knowledge to share, and you have a decent understanding of the Internet including search engines and social networking.

What’s more important than the exact target though is the growth rate. If your blog is going well, then during that first year you want to see a growth rate of at least 10% per month. It goes up fast if you’re putting out quality content and generating word of mouth. If it stagnates during that first year, something is off, and you should re-assess what you’re doing.

Steve said he guessed at those numbers. Because good, hard numbers on blog readership are impossible to get, since there are 156 million of them and hundreds of thousands get born every day.

And “average” is a terrible number. A successful blog getting, say, 900 hits a day would get averaged with 10 other blogs that get 2 hits per day and we’d get an “average” of 90-whatever hits per day. Which isn’t accurate at all.

I would bet my mortgage payment that (a) most blogs are dead, empty shells, just like most Twitter accounts get created and then ignored, (b) the majority of living, breathing blogs get between 10 and 500 hits per day, (c) a minority of really active blogs get 500 to 5,000 hits per day and (d) a tiny sliver of .001 percent of blogs get 5,000 or more hits per day.

Pop quiz: Which do you think is more impressive, 2,739 hits per day or one million hits per year?

Most people would say one million. You’ve made it, right? YOU ARE GOLDEN.

Except they are the same number. One million divided by 365 days is 2,739 hits per day.

That might sound like a lot, but it’s less than the circulation of The Willapa Valley Shopper, so it’s really not that much. And nowhere else but the internet do people count circulation figures like this. A  tiny daily newspaper with a circulation of 14,000 people, if it lived on the internets, would scream, “5,110,000 hits per year!” Um, no.

And if you use photos at all in your blog, you’ll get a lot of image hits. They kinda don’t count. My old blog started to average 400 or 500 hits a day, which I used to think was impressive for a silly blog until I saw all the google image hits of 13-year-old boys looking for photos of Hogzilla and whatnot.

Hogzilla

Hogzilla, the legendary wild hog as big as an elephant.

So let’s think about this: do hits matter for writers like me — or for rock stars, actors and other folks starting out?

Hits matter for authors selling ebooks on their websites, or for singers peddling mp3s. However: unless you enjoy poverty and buying Top Ramen by the case at Costco, you need a crazy number of hits to truly sell ebooks and mp3s.

Let’s remember the math: to sell thousands, or tens of thousands, you need to reach MILLIONS.

Viral math from Dan Zarrella

Viral math from Dan Zarrella, who is smarter than you or me when it comes to the series of tubes.

So if you’re getting millions hits to your blog, sure, quit your day job, because you can probably make a living selling ebooks, mp3s and banner ads.

I believe most people will never see millions of hits per year.

More importantly, 99 percent of people SHOULD NOT bust their hump trying to do that.

Why have a blog?

There are three basic business models:

  • High volume, low margin — grocery stores, Wal-Mart, web sites with banner ads and millions of hits per month
  • Medium volume, medium margin — medium-sized businesses in medium-sized towns in medium-sized square states, like Colorado
  • Low volume, high margin — your local lawyers, doctors, dentists and engineers

And by business, I don’t simply mean “corporations who are legally people but cannot vote, though they can give campaign contributions, and are apparently immortal.” I mean “ways of organizing things that work.”

Let’s think of the blog equivalents:

  • High volume, low margin — fark.com, Huffingtonpost, technorati, mashable
  • Medium volume, medium margin — deadspin, jezebel, gothamist
  • Low volume, high margin — mlbtraderumors, phandroid, treehugger

Now, I got those from a list of the top 100 blogs. The list makes sense, though — Huffingtonpost and fark.com are aggregators, taking all sorts of news from all sorts of sources. Wide audience. Technorati and mashable have a lot of original content and reporting.

The medium ones are more specialized. And the low-volume examples are even more specialized. Think about the possible audience for fark.com — people who want to take a break and laugh at weird news, which is just about anybody — versus the possible audiences of mlbtraderumors (only baseball fans) and phandroid (only people are are serious fans of their Android phones).

Unless you’re dead-set on trying to get millions of hits, which is a fool’s errand, it makes sense to (a) think carefully about your goals and (b) write to a select audience. A very select audience.

If you’re a screenwriter, don’t start a blog about screenwriting or movies. There are a zillion of blogs, professional and amateur, covering the same ground. Do something about your specific niche, whether that’s zombie movies or rom-coms starring either Matthew McConaughey or Jennifer Aniston, or Matthew McConaughey AND Jennifer Anniston.

(That was a bit of a trick question. While the Matthew or the Jennifer are required by law to be in every rom-com Hollywood produces these days, they have not co-starred together in the same rom-com, because that would cause a rip in the space-time continuum or whatever and destroy the galaxy. Also, every movie poster of Matthew in a rom-com must have him leaning on the female lead.)

Hollywood Law requires that Matthew McConaughey leans on his female co-star, in this case, Kate Hudson.

Hollywood Law requires that Matthew McConaughey leans on his female co-star, in this case, Kate Hudson.

Matthew McConaughey leans on that woman from SEX IN THE CITY who I do not enjoy watching in anything.

A niche audience is smarter anyway. Write about your specific thing, whether it’s men in kilts or Mad Max fan fiction, because those are the people you want to talk to, right? You don’t care about getting random hits from some kid in Arkansas who heard about the Legend of Hogzilla from his cousin and bet him two bucks that it’s a tall tale and there’s no way a wild hog could be the size of a Brontosaurus or whatever.

A blog is for your and your kind of people. To make friends, talk smack and learn from each other.

It’s different for people who make a living off their circulation numbers. If you’re a professional website like politico, where you’ve hired reporters and need to make payroll every month, yeah, traffic matters.

For you and me, traffic is just an ego stroking tool.

Chances are, 99.99 percent of us will never make a living selling banner ads — and wouldn’t want to in the first place. There’s no point in chasing traffic like crazy.

The real point isn’t quantity.

It’s about quality: the quality of what you write, the people you meet, the things you learn and how much fun you have doing it.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, Viral media math

Using free ink and airtime to BUST THROUGH

Earned media — free ink and airtime — is worth a lot to reality stars like Snooki, The Situation and Kim Kardashian, who all extended their 15 minutes of fame into millions of dollars.

Ink and airtime are even MORE valuable for people with actual talent.

Yet if you’re trying to make it — as a writer, an actor, a director, rock star, whatever — it’s hard to get the mass media to pay any attention to you at all.

Read the first evil post: The Twitter, is it NOT for selling books

Getting serious ink and airtime is a great way to bust through, boost your name recognition and make a living at doing what you love. Whatever that may be.

If you haven’t read it, get educated with the second evil post: Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS

So how do people bust through?

Not everybody is placing their faith in the series of tubes and spending their free time on the Twitter, the Book of Face or their personal blog.

Reporters, editors and producers get zillions of press releases and story kits about new authors, new rock bands, new actors and the latest indie movie made for $9,000 by some up-and-coming director.

They get pitched stories all the time. Most of these pitches go nowhere.

You have to hook the reporter or editor.

A hook isn’t about the quality of the product. Not at all.

Craftsmanship matters latter. I know, This is where we cue up Keanu Reeves:

A news hook is something a reporter can tell his editor, in a sentence, why this story is worth spending column inches on.

THREE NEWS HOOKS THAT FAIL

1) This book / movie / rock band is great!

Hype is typical and horrible. The press never buys it, even if you crank up the hype machine to 11.

In the first place: Even if the hype is true, it’s not newsworthy.

In the second place: Hype is never true.

But let’s pretend it’s true just this once. “Man writes great book / sings glorious song / directs amazing movie” still isn’t something a reporter can pitch to editors.

They know how to pitch “Afghan vet with no arms types novel on Underwood WITH HIS FEET” — because that’s a story, no matter how bad the actual novel may be.

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math

Forget the Twitter: free ink and airtime are your MOST DANGEROUS WEAPONS

Most of you are trying the same thing.

Every writer, rock star and actor trying to break through is told to “Harness the powers of the internets.”

Start a blog. Get on Facebook, Twitter and six other things that haven’t been invented yet. The message is: jack into the Matrix, work it hard and the world will take notice of your inherent awesomeness.

I already poked Internet Fanboys in the eye by saying The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books.

Why pour 2.6 metric tons of salt into this fresh wound? Am I simply a bad, bad man, bent on destroying your dreams? No. I am a bad, bad man who hates people wasting their time. The series of tubes is actually quite useful. An amazing tool.

HOWEVER: 99.9 percent of people are doing it wrong. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Use the right tools for the right jobs

Now, some people took the wrong message from my post about the Twitter.

Bad Response No.1: “You’re wrong, because I don’t buy books from seeing authors on the Glowing Tube or when movies are made from their books or whatever. I only buy books based on word of mouth, specifically, from the mouth of my best friend, Suzie the Librarian.”

Bad Response No. 2: “Wow, that math stinks, and if we can’t break through without using Twitter and whatnot, then maybe we should give up our dreams of ever making it big, because I can’t afford millions of dollars to buy ads and publicity. I can barely afford this cardboard box and beef flavor Top Ramen, though on good months, I splurge for shrimp flavor.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

First off, Twitter isn’t a bad thing.

I adore Twitter. It’s a beautiful tool that’s meant for meeting people, talking smack and sharing information. It’s made for dialogue, and creative writer types are helpful. They like being nice to other creative writer types.

teh kittehs, they are friends

The kittehs, they are friends. Twitter is for making new friends, not selling things. REMEMBER THAT.

Twitter simply isn’t built for selling things.

That doesn’t mean you give up on your lifelong dream of writing, acting, singing or competitive square dancing.

Second, earned media is not only free, but it has more weight — more credibility — than paid advertising.

I will translate this into simple Man Speak: You can get on the radio, in the papers of news, on the Glowing Tube — and on blogs that review books or talk smack about movies / rock singers / square dancing — and IT DOESN’T COST YOU A DIME.

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Journalism, publicity and scandals, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math

Top 10 facts about agent Cherry Weiner, who has a license to kill

Literary agent Cherry Weiner calls herself a dinosaur.

If you went to PNWA (Pacific NorthWest Writer’s Association, pronounced “pawn-WAH” because I say so) this summer, you witnessed Cherry Weiner, heard her speak, perhaps even talked to her and shaken her hand.

Do not wash that hand. Germs will never touch down again anyway.

As dictator-for-life of the secret Cherry Weiner Fan Club of Literary Awesomesauce, it is my sacred duty to explode some of the myths surrounding this goddess of books and words.

Fact 1: Cherry Weiner didn’t come to America from Australia — Australia swam to Manhattan, dropped Cherry off and swam back.

Fact 2: Thor’s hammer was forged from five parts iron, one part vibranium and three flakes of ash from Cherry Weiner’s first Marlboro.

Fact 3: Cherry Weiner doesn’t own a computer because she tells her pool boy, Keanu Reeves, to plug the hell into the Matrix and tell her anything worth knowing.

Fact 4: Don Maass came up with his “raise the stakes” schtick after he saw Cherry Weiner win the first World Series of Poker by going all-in ON EVERY HAND.

Fact 5: Cherry Weiner hasn’t stopped in a gas station for six years. Her car keeps running out of fear and respect.

Fact 6: Barry Eisler joined the CIA and studied martial arts from masters in Japan because he heard Cherry Weiner once had a shot of sake and said, “That stuff is OK.”

Fact 7: Cherry Weiner knows steampunk is split into Western and gaslight branches because she invented steampunk when the power went out in Manhattan one night in 1985.

Fact 8: Bob Mayer can kill a man with a spoon. Cherry Weiner can kill a spoon with a man.

THE MATRIX: "Perfect! Let's see that seven more times." THE MATRIX RELOADED: "Meh." THE MATRIX REVOLUTION: "Fools! You ruined it."

THE MATRIX: “Perfect! Let’s see that seven more times.” THE MATRIX RELOADED: “Meh.” THE MATRIX REVOLUTION: “Fools! You ruined it.”

Fact 9: Cherry Weiner doesn’t wear a watch, because she decides what time it is.

Fact 10: There is no such thing as published books and unpublished books. There are books that Cherry Weiner kills and books she lets live.

You cannot sign up for the secret Cherry Weiner Fan Club of Literary Awesomesauce — you must be chosen for it by proving your worth.

The first method of joining is to wait for her pool boy, Keanu Reeves, to find you via the Matrix, and if you can kill him, you’re in.

The second method is to win an MMA fight without any ashes dropping from the Marlboro between your lips.

The third method is to drink Cherry Weiner under the table — but this is impossible.

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Guy - Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Guy – Photo by Suhyoon Cho

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.

Google+

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday

The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books

Twitter isn’t built to sell books. Or anything else.

Yet if you belong to the Twitter, you see all sorts of authors pimping their books.

Some do it subtly, or randomly. Others do it faithfully, if not relentlessly.

And even if they mount a full Social Networking Offensive — a combined-forced attack with tweets on the ground, blog battleships at sea and Facebook fighter planes swooping down from above — even if they do all that, they will fail.

Attack of the Internet Fanboys

Oh, this is sacrilege. I know it.

Internet Fanboys believe that the Twitter, the Book of Face, blogs, the entire series of tubes — hey, that’s the future. Old Media is so wrinkled and, I don’t know, old. They say, “Social media once was the student, and now it is the master. If you only KNEW the power of the Dark Side…”

Except they’re wrong. No matter how much you want it to work, how hard you squeeze your eyes and reach for that Internet lightsaber, it doesn’t fly through the air and into your hand. Even when you pick it up and push the button, nothing happens.

Faith isn’t enough.

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Filed under 4 Writing Secrets Wednesday, 7 Media Strategy Saturday, Old Media, which is still Big and Strong, The Twitter, the Book of Face and the Series of Tubes, Viral media math