For Writers Only

November 22, 2009

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Con Artists, Sell-Outs, Whores

November 22, 2009

The Magic Christian, a movie from 1969, ended with a memorable scene. A giant tub of shit was filled with money to see who would throw away their dignity for cash.

And now this, forty years later …

A Friend’s Tweet Could Be an Ad

Mr. Chow is among a growing group of celebrities, bloggers and regular Internet users who are allowing advertisers to send commercial messages to their personal contacts on social networks. For the last month, he has used the services of, a start-up based in Los Angeles, and Izea, based in Orlando, Fla., to periodically surrender his Twitter stream to the likes of Charter Communications, the Make a Wish Foundation and an online seminar about working from home.

In October, Mr. Chow’s income from Twitter ads was around $3,000. “I get paid for pushing a button,” he said.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

And by pushing that button you blow your credibility to smithereens.

Previously here:

FTC Wants Bloggers To Disclose: My Disclosure

Previously at Mike Cane 2008:

The Ultimate Weapon Is Trust

Previously at Mike Cane’s Blog:

Like This Shit Is News?
My Response To “10 Things Your Blogger Won’t Tell You”
I’m Beginning To Think There Isn’t A Single Tech Site That Can Be Trusted

Twilight Of The Suit System

November 20, 2009

This popped up in a tweet by @lefsetz:

Quantifying how blog posts affect music sales

The study, Does Chatter Matter? The Impact of User-Generated Content on Music Sales, done with student Elaine Chang, found that a flurry of “legitimate” blog posts influenced sales threefold.

When blog posts hit 240, sales went up six times on average, regardless of whether an album was released by a major or independent label.

“It is possible for an album to overcome the disadvantage of being released by an independent label,” the study reported. “In fact, albums with such extreme highs in chatter correspond to sales even higher than major label, high-chatter albums.”

Under that 240 benchmark, high blog chatter will translate into more sales, although they’ll still be relatively low if the album is released by an indie label.

I wonder why “legitimate” is in quotes and what is meant by that?

Here is the bullet to the head of the Suits:

“We were surprised at the importance of it. We expected that the views of the traditional media would count more. But in some cases, blogs were more important than media ratings. Basically, what that suggested is that when it comes to music, people tend to trust people with views similar to them more than (they do) the experts. People who are looking at the world in the same way as you (do) are becoming increasingly important.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Which is why Twitter has become so popular. Which is why Word-Of-Mouth works.

Previously here:

Why We’re Not Biting — And You Do!

AMC’s The Prisoner: The Problem Is In Bill Gallagher’s Mind

November 19, 2009

If you are one of the very few people reading this who never saw the original TV series of The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan, you have been leading a deprived life. It’s a series that influenced countless writers and stands as one of the immortal high points of television drama.

I don’t know of any writers who haven’t contemplated what they’d do if they had the chance to update that series.

When AMC said it would be doing so, I did not have a warm feeling inside. I ignored all the pre-show material they put on their website.

I did, however, bite when they released the nine-minute trailer.

And I did an analysis of that here.

I’d watched it so many times before the show premiered that I could cite lines from it — and often did on Twitter.

I wanted to watch the series and judge it for myself, so I didn’t read any of the reviews that sprouted all over the Internet just hours before its premiere. So everything in the following post — for I still haven’t read any of those reviews — is all mine.

Beyond here are spoilers!

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No. Wait. WTF?

November 16, 2009


Dear cable channel AMC: Please take the advice at the end of this post.

I have four more hours of this abomination to slog through.

Then I will go all nuclear with a post.

So Dese Two Yoots…

November 15, 2009

… called Russ Marshalek and Brett Sandusky do this Guantanamo-like interrogation …


… of people involved in the foul trade of print and eBooks.

It’s called Quit Being A Hooker, Hooker.

And this popped up on their last episode:


They’ve been waiting for my reply.

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Why We’re Not Biting — And You Do!

November 14, 2009


Don’t ask how it happened. I was searching for one thing, wound up at another thing, and then fell into a forum I couldn’t pull away from.

That I couldn’t pull away from it precisely explains why newspapers, magazines, television — well, everything mass — is in decline and dying.

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Buy These Books As Holiday Gifts

November 13, 2009

This post is a sticky for the next few weeks. Scroll down one for the new stuff.

I’m not, but if you do… click that above for suggestions.

My own quick short list:

Declan Burke (help the guy out!)
Winterland by Alan Glynn
Anthony Neil Smith
Victor Gischler
Christopher Fowler
Karl Alexander
Warren Ellis

And because she will kill me if I leave her off:

Moriah Jovan

Don’t complain if you were left off. This was a quickie. No Comments.

It’s Like A Party With Women All Wearing The Same Dress!

November 13, 2009

I learned of this via Dear Author:

Reusable Cover Art in Historical Novels: A Gallery

One of them was recycled eight times!

Click = big

And lest you think this is happening with so-called low-end publishers, look carefully at the publisher names!

Writer Declan Burke: A Sad Post

November 13, 2009

Woe Is Me, Etc: A Failing Writer Writes

It really is becoming as stark as that. I decided over the weekend, after interviewing James Ellroy, that it is actually immoral of me to steal time to write fiction when I could be writing freelance material that will actually earn real money. And that’s not even factoring in the time I steal away from my family on the ‘writing’, a catch-all word which includes, these days, reading and blogging too. Someone who liked my books asked me over the weekend, rather facetiously, how come I haven’t sold a million books. I said, rather facetiously, that it was because no one put a million dollars worth of advertising spend behind them. It’s not quite that simple, of course, but there’s a significant element of truth in that.

I can’t argue with his priorities in this post.

However, he acts as if he’s some obscure bloke no one has ever heard of.

Hell, I haven’t read him yet — but I’ve heard of him. I’ve seen him cited or mentioned by writer after writer in that genre!

Sarah Weinman beat me to a post about this, so I get to link to her too: On Giving Up the Fiction Ghost

Like her, I hope he’ll change his mind.

This is a tumultuous time in publishing. People such as myself won’t buy print any longer. I want digital. So do all those others out there who have spent lots of money on Sony Readers, abominable Kindles, other crappy eInk devices, as well as the sleek iPhone and iPod Touch. We don’t want to have to decide which damned paper brick to lug around. And we’re too smart to be suckered into paying exorbitant print prices for lightly-tarted up text files under the guise of ePub for Seniors. This is seriously hurting many writers who are innocents in the crossfire between the pearl clutchers of print who won’t publish most writers in e at a reasonable price and a new marketplace with demands that are bound to change very soon.

For all writers who are contemplating throwing in the towel: Just keep writing. It will all work out.