Reviews and the new newsletter

Alright. Welcome back.

I've decided to start a newsletter and reactivate my blog and you may notice, as a steely-eyed observer, that they have very similar content. Not all of you are signed up for the newsletter, which you can do on the contact page. I also don't want to clog Facebook with giant posts about things that are going on with my book and with the next book.

There will be two main things: The Ask and News. You're busy, so the thing I am requesting you to do is right up front and easy to accomplish without slogging through a novella of me yammering on. The News is primarily a catch up of things that have happened that you may have missed. I'm including a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) at the beginning so you can carry on with your day.

All comments and feedback are appreciated. Here we go.

The Ask: 

This will probably stay the same for the foreseeable future.

I need reviews on Amazon. You can click on this link and it will take you right there if you don't want to keep reading. You can write a review on Amazon even if you didn't purchase it through Amazon.

Obviously, I'd like to sell more copies of the book, but I'm talking to a bunch of people that (probably) already own a copy. Tell your friends, sure, but I primarily need reviews from people that have the book already.

Any other place that you can write a review is fine (Goodreads, B&N, Powell's, etc.) but my primary focus is Amazon. Specifically getting to 50 reviews. Unlocking that achievement allegedly triggers free marketing by Amazon. Between the Kickstarter and my book signing (more on that in the News) there are over 100 of you.

The review does not have to be a graduate thesis on the merits of my book versus Brave New World. (Funny story, when 1984 came out, George Orwell sent a copy to his former teacher, Aldous Huxley. Mr. Huxley wrote him a letter congratulating him while at the same time telling him that Brave New World was far more plausible than 1984. Then Huxley re-released Brave New World with an essay called "A Return to Brave New World" where he basically shreds 1984 for 50 plus pages. What was I saying? Oh, right.)

Your review can be as long or as short as you'd like. Even one word is acceptable. 

So, please, write a review. For me first, preferably, then go write a review for any indy author out there. We don't have giant marketing departments or the funds to do giant ad campaigns, so getting to 50 reviews is a nice way to level the playing field for us. 

I appreciate your support.

TL;DR: Got featured in a prestigious review magazine, Skyped into a book club meeting, had my book launch / signing in Portland, got interviewed by a different review website, questions for you to answer, and the wrap up.

Got featured in a prestigious review magazine: A large chunk of the money that I raised on Kickstarter went to getting professional reviews. The idea was that I wanted the book to look like a major publisher released it. That means review blurbs. I selected four companies based on research. One of them was Kirkus. Now, Kirkus is more an insider publishing resource and -- along with Midwest Book Review and Library Journal (I think I've got those right)-- is what the New York Times uses to determine their bestseller list. If you have a paperback version of my novel, the blurb on the front is from Kirkus. I was stoked to get an excellent review from them.

Here's the link if you'd like to read the entire thing.

In January, before the book came out, I was notified that my review was featured in the January issue of Kirkus Magazine. Big time publishers can pay to be featured in the magazine. For indy authors / publishers, they are selected by the staff and less than 10% of their indy reviews make it into the magazine. (I would share a link, but they only sent me a preview link, it's been disabled, and to get into the magazine vault itself you have to pay $200 a year.) So, that was pretty awesome.

Skyped into a book club meeting: I have some friends in Colorado that are in a book club. When Mating Rituals came out, they all purchased the ebook at the same time (this is known as an 'Amazon Rush') and put that book in the top ten of satire on Amazon for a few days. I was briefly listed between Joseph Heller (Catch-22) and Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club). That's a pretty awesome thing to wake up to.

When I was running the Kickstarter for LIFE, I reached out to the book club and asked if they would be interested in having me Skype into their meeting after they had read the book. They agreed. I honestly had no idea how it would go and was pretty sure it was going to be a drag for everyone involved.

That said, I think that was probably the most rewarding thing I've ever done as an author. At a book signing, no one has read the book. Or very few have. Talking to a dozen people that have read and enjoyed the book and want to know answers to very specific questions is the coolest. 

I'm telling you this because if anyone else has a book club, I will totally Skype into your meeting.  

Had my book launch / signing in Portland: April 13th I had my book launch / signing at Mother Foucault's Bookshop here in Portland. (Yes, in case you were wondering the name of the store is pronounced "Mother Fuck-o.") This is where I had the book signing for Mating Rituals (you can write a review for that as well if you're feeling saucy) in 2014.

I wanted to do something a little different this time. Standard book signing template is: Talk about the book, read chapter one, possibly answer questions, sign copies of the book, stand around awkwardly chatting. I once saw Sir Terry Pratchett do this in Denver. There were more laughs per minute than a George Carlin show. Other than that, it is generally a little painful for the audience.

So, I wrote a dystopian novel. There's a vodka company in Portland that supports the arts (or whatever you want to call what I do) called Dystopia Vodka. Mother Foucault's often has music events and I know some guys in a band and all their songs are coincidentally about their favorite science fiction novels. And, I wanted to give part of the proceeds to Planned Parenthood, since Orange-45, Cheet-o Benito, Mango Mussolini, is trying to make my novel a documentary. (As a friend said on Facebook the other day, "Quit non-ing my fiction!")

The book signing went like this. $20 cover at the door ($10 of that went directly to the awesome volunteers from Planned Parenthood), the owner of Dystopia Vodka made everyone Moscow Mules, I spoke for a few minutes about the book, then Menin played an awesome acoustic set. During their last song, I read Chapter Zero over their accompaniment. Books got signed, then we went next door to Dig A Pony and had some more drinks as we'd drunk the Dystopian dry.

I think it was good fun. PP raised about $400. A lot of people found out that Mother Foucault's was there and Craig, the owner, did a very brisk trade before and after the event. I feel that everyone involved would be willing to do it again for the next book and possibly we'll get more people to turn up.

Interview from a different review website: One of the other review sites I used, City Books (also known as Manhattan Book Review and San Francisco Book Review, two of the blurbs on the back cover) started a website to help authors promote their books. They reached out to me and asked what I did promotion wise. I told them about the book signing. Perfect, they said. Here's some questions that we'd like you to answer. I'm long winded (clearly) and wanted to give them as much information as possible, thinking that they would pare down my epic screed. 

Nope. They published everything, verbatim. The only thing they did was add links to the different websites I mentioned.

Here's that link if you'd like to read the interview. 

Questions for you: Here's a few things that I'm thinking about doing and I'd like feedback.

1. Would you be interested in a Q&A on Goodreads? I've done one before and it was good fun. Very little of it had to do with my novel because I am willing to answer any and all questions. Do you really want to know why a guy named Sameer shows up in both books? Are they related? Are my novels linked in any Tarantino-esque way? Who the hell is Herb and why does is the line "You're thinking about this one-dimensionally" funny?

2. Would you be interested in an Easter egg hunt? Let me explain. There are a lot of inside jokes in LIFE. One of them is spelled out for you near the end of the book: Fitness Enforcement Agency, FEA. "Fea" is Spanish for ugly woman. All the FEA agents are huge, ripped female body builders. Other than that, there are numerous references to Monty Python and The Prisoner. There's "some assembly required" acronyms. You could email me at DiskordianPress at Gmail dot com with the answers and I could list them on my website with your name (or initials) as to who found them first. One answer per email. Any takers?

3. Any feedback (on the newsletter or anything in general)? What would you like to see on my website? Should I resurrect my blog and include the blog entry in my monthly newsletter to you? (I'll take the lack of response, that you'd love to see this.) I don't tend to go to author's websites, so if you do and there's a reason that keeps you coming back, I'd like to hear about it.   

4. How are you doing? We good? 

Wrap up: Hey, thanks for getting this far. Hopefully you aren't just scrolling to find the unsubscribe button (which you can totally punch at your discretion). I don't intend to do this more than once a month. This is primarily so I can get you onboard when the next book is coming out or when the next book event is happening.

I've got nothing but love for you. Thanks for putting up with my shenanigans.





Why are you yelling? It's a small website.

The Kickstarter for my second novel, LIFE in the 23rd Century, is now live. At the writing of this I am 25% to my goal with 40+ days to go. I am excited. I have never done this before, so some of my techniques are in need of refinement if you're generous, ham-fisted if you're otherwise.

The Kickstarter reward for you, my fine-feathered fiends, is my dystopian science fiction novel, LIFE in the 23rd Century. It's as if 1984 were updated for modern times by Monty Python. It's not as dark as Brazil and not as absurd as the Ministry of Silly Walks. There are previous blog posts dealing with this.

The Kickstarter reward for me, your faithful correspondent, is that if funded, I will be starting my own publishing company. There's a (tentative) timeline for the company and it goes like this.

1. LIFE in the 23rd Century published.

2. Mating Rituals of Migratory Humans (my first novel) will be re-released under my banner with chapters that were cut from the original manuscript which means the new cover will have the word "unexpurgated" on it

3. The long awaited sequel to Mating Rituals of Migratory Humans -- G.E.F.S -- will be released.

There's other novels in the works, but those are the three most exciting things.

None of this happens if I don't get funded on Kickstarter. You can't gloss over the Kickstarter and tell me "Well, just tell me when the book is available and I'll order it from Amazon." The book WILL NOT be available unless the Kickstarter is successful.

So, go check out my Kickstarter. (The video my friend Gary made for me is amazing.)

Leave a comment. Tell your friends. Don't forget to tip your bartender.

(Oh, and click on the word KICKSTARTER at any point and be taken to my KICKSTARTER!)


Oh, yeah...L.I.F.E. in the 23rd Century, an explanation

I promised you a long time ago [1] that I was going to talk about my next novel, L.I.F.E. in the 23rd Century.

In a world...[2]

In a world where author's have to sum up their entire 50,000+ word manuscript in the space of an elevator ride, only one device will do: The Elevator Pitch.

There are times when you will encounter someone that has the ability to publish your book and they ask what said book is about. You need to hook them in, make them ask for more. One, maybe two, sentences. You worked for months, years writing the novel and it all comes down to two handfuls of words. Brevity is the watchword. You can't ramble. Stick to the point.

Well, it's a science fiction novel set in the future and there's this guy and he meets another guy that might be a terrorist and then comes to the attention of another guy who is a television pundit and the first guy thinks he's the messiah and the second guy thinks he's the devil.


Second floor, hardware, children's wear, ladies' lingerie. Oh! Good morning, Mr. Tyler. Going...down?

You talked too much, the agent / publisher took off and now you're stuck in an Aerosmith video with a still unpublished novel in your knapsack. As an added punishment, you must bear witness to Steven Tyler grinding on a woman barely old enough to be his granddaughter.

In a world where works of fiction are only seen as profitable if they can be summarized by mashing two or more existing properties together, only one device will do: The High Concept Elevator Pitch.

I had a high concept elevator pitch. Its original form went a little something like this:

If 1984 were written by Monty Python.

There are several objections to that. "That" as in that sentence and "that" as in that method. I'll handle the second one first.

As to the method, I'm not implying that my novel is as well written as 1984. Or any Python sketch or film. Or as absurd. Or as satirical. It's two ideas mashed together that get you into the ballpark of where the book is coming from.

Now, the objection to that sentence in particular: If 1984 were written by Monty Python. There exists such a thing. It's called Brazil.[3]

So, my high concept elevator pitch had to be said with a caveat. Which we all know means "while wearing a necktie."

If 1984 were written by Monty Python. Not as dark as Brazil, not as absurd as The Fish-Slapping Dance / Ministry of Silly Walks / Lumberjack Song / The Dead Parrot Sketch / The 127th Upperclass Twit of the Year Show / The Argument Clinic / Nudge Nudge. [Select one, please recycle those you don't use]

It was at one point exactly as absurd as Hell's Grannies, but with the economy and the exchange rate, it is now only as absurd as The Man with Three Buttocks and / or The New Cooker Sketch.[4]

There you go. A string of words that mean absolutely nothing, but tell you absolutely everything about my book.



You want more, you say? The most fiendishly clever of devices, the High Concept Elevator Pitch keeps you slavering for more![5]

So what is the book actually about? How did you come up with the idea?

We have to set the dial on The Way Back Machine to a point somewhere between 9/11 and the introduction of the iPhone.

I was in a writing critique group (still am, Ft. Collins Penpointers, represent!). I had a lot of short stories, but hadn't come upon something that I could turn into a novel.[6] My job at the time was in the optical industry. I manufactured space bound, planet destroying lasers for the Evil Empire.


Strike that.

I made lenses for prescription eyewear for, ahem, the Evil Empire. One of my duties was to sit on the phone in the lab, listening to hold music, waiting for someone at The Death Star, excuse me, Home Office, to answer and give me the status of lenses we couldn't manufacture in the store. I was amused / annoyed by the fact that I -- an employee of the Evil Empire -- had to listen to commercials for the Evil Empire, as if I were a customer and not a fellow storm trooper. There was no speaker on the phone and the cord was only about a foot long, so I had to sit, for an hour or better at times, with my ear pressed to the phone unable to reach any equipment in the lab.

One day, possibly after I had watched The Empire Strikes Back, I wondered if Luke had to listen to hold music while he was floating in the tank after Vader cut off his hand. (Spoiler!)

Please remain calm, your patronage is very important to us. Your expected wait time is...less than two minutes. Thank you for choosing Admiral Ackbar's Hospital Ship for all your appendage reattachment needs.

The only thing near at hand was a stack of sticky notes. I wrote what I thought was the first half of a short story while I was on hold. Yes, by fraud, misuse, and abuse of the Evil Empire's office supplies. You'll never take me alive, copper!

I typed the story fragment up and took it to the writers' group. Several members were very excited, they had just saved 15% on their car insurance. Others wanted to know where the rest of "it" was.

Rest of what?

"Your novel. This is your novel."

Even though the copies of my fragment, now a chapter, were on the finest cheap paper Kinko's had to offer, I could still see the stack of sticky notes. I brandished the spectral stickies at my fellow writers.

This is a novel? Really?

They nodded.

Okay, so it's the beginning of a novel. That's great. Where the funk do I get the rest of it?

Step One: A high school English teacher told me that "no one wants to read a novel where the protagonist is a furnace repairman. People want James Bond. King Arthur. Conan the Barbarian."

My father, though not a furnace installer, is a plumber, which is a similar trade, so that statement pissed me off. Fine. The protagonist is blue collar. But it's the future, so what does that mean? He's a worker bee, but something that people look down on. He works in a cubicle telling people how to get connected to the Internet (a job I had at one point). No, he doesn't work in a cubicle, he watches robots build cubicles. He's expendable as far as his bosses are concerned. There's a million more of him capable of doing his job, would twist their own heads off for the opportunity to do his job.[7]

Step Two: I was watching four television programs at the time: New episodes of The Daily Show and Good Eats and reruns of Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Prisoner. Cast your mind back to the dim and distant past when politicians thought it was very important to call fried potatoes "Freedom Fries." To the days of "You're either with us or you're a terrorist." Then imagine Jon Stewart roasting those idiots for half an hour, four nights a week. After that, some Python, some Alton Brown, or some The Prisoner.

I'm for the troops. Make no mistake. I was one once. An active duty member of the Marine Corps.[8]

While being for the troops, I'm against them dying for silly reasons. For example, Donald Rumsfeld sent them to war in vehicles without armor plating because "You have to fight the war with the army you've got, not with the army you wish you had." That's a great sound bite if you're sitting in an air conditioned office in Washington, D.C. That's dispiriting if you're taking enemy fire.

“You may be bought and sold, but I won't see you cheaply spent.” - Lord Vetinari, Jingo by Terry Pratchett. (Paraphrased because the Internet hates me.) That's the sentiment you want your leader to express when your life, not his, is in jeopardy. Not "Sorry your equipment sucks, but what am I supposed to do about it?"

We were starting or escalating or whatever our war on "Terror." What time zone is Terror in? What's the postal code for the capital of Terror? Is it a direct flight to Terror or is there a layover in Wonderland?

And the Vice President used to run the company that is going to be rebuilding the country that didn't attack us, but we attacked them -- 'cuz reasons, America! -- and all I see on the news is people arguing over what to call bread dipped in egg and pan fried in the Congressional cafeteria?


So, Monty Python's Flying Circus and The Prisoner seemed totally sensible. The news seemed absurd.

Oh, and everyone had to constantly "prove" they were patriots by agreeing with everything the President said and by having red, white, and blue magnets on their cars. If you don't have a magnet on your car, the terrorists have already won.

Step Three: Get stuck.

I don't really suffer from writer's block. If one thing is at a dead end, there's a bunch of different things I could be working on. Or I could go around. Put up a fence like: {{{ A situation should go here that explains how the narrator is triumphing over his existential ennui by bare knuckle fighting in a bar's basement}}} And then continue writing about the finer points of DIY soap manufacture.[9]

I didn't realize this at the time, but the best way for me to get unstuck is to talk about the entire book to someone. I did this to several people. Explain the world the character lives in, the politics, how people behave. Just dump all this on some poor sod that happens to be within earshot and trapped in a room with me for eight hours. One of these people, my coworker Bryan, was very helpful. Bryan had taken a philosophy class. They were assigned One-Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse. Bryan “loaned” me the book. I "loaned" him Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. We agreed to never give each other our books back.

A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress. Indeed, what could be more rational than the suppression of individuality in the mechanization of socially necessary but painful performances…”

That's the first sentence of One-Dimensional Man. That's also the thesis of the book that I had stuck in my head. But like, fucking elegant and shit.[10] Admittedly, I have a deficit when it comes to reading philosophy or anything that is not presented as narrative. I can't line all the words up and make sense of them, create a picture of what is happening like I can with narrative prose. So, I have to read a paragraph, then think about how that knowledge would work in a real world scenario. LIFE is a sort of “Idiot's Guide” to Marcuse as far as I understood him.

Now I had all the ingredients.

A philosophical skeleton for the book.

The never ending war against the nation of “Terror.”

Our obsession with proving our patriotism.

Corporate nonsense.

24 hour news.

The importance of “Freedom Fries.”


Add a braising liquid of 2 parts Daily Show, 1 part Monty Python, 1 part The Prisoner.

Bake at low temperature for several months.

Garnish with the video for “Mass Destruction” by the band Faithless. [11]

Dick Cheney, excuse me, George W. Bush was still President when I finished the book. There were a couple of specific jabs at W. in the original. LIFE itself is a device in the novel that is implanted in a citizen's arm at birth. This device was originally a watch with a built in heart rate monitor that could dispense drugs directly into your blood stream whenever you experienced stress. The technology outside of the LIFE sensor was based on what Val Kilmer used in the movie Red Planet. Basically a scroll of high-impact plastic that served as a futuristic laptop.

The original book would have been real funny if it were published when W. was still President. (Spoiler!) It wasn't published.

I'm actually glad it wasn't published before now.

Remember that I mentioned the iPhone?

The technology in the book, 200 years in the future, would have seemed antiquated when the iPhone was released several months after I completed the book. The LIFE sensor wasn't even as useful as a first gen Blackberry with a cracked screen and who needs the Red Planet scroll thingy when iPhones have been around for two centuries.

Plus, I hated the original ending. It wasn't satisfying to me, but I couldn't think of what else to do.

So, I trunked it.

Then Mating Rituals gets published and a former member of the writers' group asked what happened to LIFE at my first ever book signing. He left the group shortly after I read chapter two. I told him it was finished. He told me he wanted to read it because that chapter had stuck in his head. He gave me a lot of advice, I updated the tech as I went, and I figured out a better ending.

This isn't spoilers or an attempt to shoehorn in more Star Wars references, but Star Wars is considered an ideal example of archetypal story telling. (And this way, I don't have to explain the word “Contagonist.”)

In the original, I thought I had the Emperor and Darth Vader sorted. I didn't. I realized who the Emperor actually should be. This demoted the previous Emperor down to Darth Vader, and the original Vader down to Bobba Fett. Following? It's okay. That doesn't need to make sense.

I found a better ending, that's what I'm trying to say. And by better, I mean a satisfying ending, not a summation that tries to tie everything up in the last paragraph.

While I've been typing this, I think I've come upon an upgrade for the High Concept Elevator Pitch. Let me know what you think in the comments, Shullamuth.

1984 if Orwell had predicted smart phones, Fox news, and a Starbucks on every corner.

I'll work on it. I think I'll talk about 1984 next time and my dirty, dirty secret.[12]



  1. Two blog posts ago, Pacific Standard Time.

  2. I enjoy the fact that I can type those three words and the voice of Hal Douglas pops into your head.

  3. Thanks to my friend Aaron for reminding me that Brazil is 1984 directed by a member of Python.

  4. Highly underrated, The New Cooker Sketch is probably the closest Python sketch to the type of humor in L.I.F.E. In the 23rd Century. Bureaucracy in action. Or bureaucracy inaction, to be more precise. Also, you should watch the entire episode. Series Two, Episode 1: Face the Press (or Dinsdale). At the end of New Gas Cooker, you see the line of cooker installers queued up arguing in front of the “Pepperpot's” house. (“Pepperpot” is their term for when one of Python have to dress up as a woman.) At the beginning of Ministry of Silly Walks, later in the episode, you see the Minister perambulate out of the news stand behind the same queue of cooker installers from the sketch at the beginning of the episode. That means that all of this absurdity is happening in the same universe. Everything is inter-connected. Do you understand how funny that is? Let it simmer. Also, you find out from the Piranha Brothers sketch where I got the idea to have someone twist their own head off. But politely, like a gentleman, one that knows how to treat a female impersonator.

  5. You really should talk to someone about your drool issue. It's off putting and unhygienic.

  6. There is a graveyard of started novels on my hard drive. Three chapters and out, that was my method before the Penpointers.

  7. I'd been working for the Evil Empire long enough to be jaded by how they viewed their workers.

  8. I am still technically a Marine. Until death. It's a thing we have. Ex-Marines are dead. Some people get touchy even if you say "former Marine" which is the phrase I use. It's short for "I was formerly an active duty member of the Marine Corps, but I got discharged entirely and now I'm not sure what to say because I'm not dead, so I'm not supposed to say I'm an ex-Marine." Former Marine rolls off the tongue a bit better.

  9. Besides the T.V. shows I mentioned, I had just got a DVD player and the only DVD I owned was Fight Club. There is a Fight Club reference in my novel. "Life insurance pays triple..." There's other Easter Eggs, but you can have that one on the house.

  10. This is an ongoing method for me now. Find a philosopher and use their ideas to give my novel a sort of spiritual backbone. Mating Rituals of Migratory Humans is influenced by the movie The Pervert's Guide to Cinema by Slavoz Zizek. He's also quoted in the last chapter as a nod to this. [For bonus points, the character Phil gives three quotes at the end of MR OMH. One is Zizek, one is Busta Rhymes, and one Phil claims he made up. If you can figure out who actually said that quote, you will know who Phil is named after.]

  11. This video permanently altered the chemistry of my brain the first time I saw it. I get chills every time I hear it. If this novel ever became a movie, this would be the song that plays when the credits roll. Fear is a weapon of mass destruction...

  12. I am a cliff-hanging son of a bitch! I can't believe I did that to you. What a jackass! This is why no one likes me!


The End of the Nerdist Contest and what happens next

The Nerdist / Inkshares contest came to a close yesterday. Out of 335 entrants, I finished at 25th-ish. They only showed the top 20 on the main page and when you looked at all the entries, it listed people by number of copies ordered vice* number of readers. Number of readers was what the contest was being judged on. So, 25th-ish.

All things considered, 25th-ish isn't bad. I'm certainly not broken up about it like the guy who finished 7th that tried using a lot of, hmm, let's say "less than aboveboard" tactics to try and finish in the top five. I don't feel like I've been sentenced to Buckwheats** because Inkshares had the audacity, the mendacity, the unmitigated gall to hold a contest that I didn't automatically win just because I entered. But that guy? All I can say is, "Welcome to the NFL, rookie."

How do I feel?

Great. Thanks for asking.

This isn't the first contest I've entered. This isn't my first day as a writer. I've been rejected by publishers and agents before. I've been in contests where I finished in the top ten, but I needed to be in the top three to get published or earn some sort of prize. I've been in contests that were so heavily rigged or lacked oversight in such a glaring way as to be nauseating.

That said, I've also been published before. I have been paid, cash money, for things I've written, not just contributor copies. Writing is what makes me a writer. Cash, in the words of the late A.C. Crispin, is what makes me a professional writer. A paid writer. Rejection and cash are the Yin and Yang of being a professional writer. If you can't stand rejection and want nothing but adulation, give your writing to your mom and have her hang it on the fridge and stop clogging up the slush piles for the rest of us.

Oh, you meant how do I feel about the contest?

On the upside, Inkshares seemed to do a good job of leveling the playing field by counting unique readers vice* copies ordered. Some kid couldn't win just because his rich uncle bought three hundred copies.  Nobody tried to Wild Animus*** it. In a previous contest I was involved in, your entry just got "up voted" to the next round. To vote, you had to create a username and password for the site and not use the same IP address. Every computer in a library, for example, uses a different IP address. Someone in New York could (and actually did) go from library to library up voting their own entry. The Inkshares contest was definitely better than that.

On the downside, the first few days only the top five were listed on the contest page. You had to type a name or title into the search box to find any other entry. Or you had to look at all the science fiction / fantasy titles on the site and guess which ones were involved in the contest. Eventually, the top ten were on the contest page. Then the top 15. Then the top 20. This made it appear like there were only 5, 10, 15, 20 entries in the contest and those lucky few got all the random browsing customers. After a couple weeks, on the contest page, there was a "Browse Submissions" link next to the "Submit" button. (Or the "Browse Submissions" button was always there, but it blended into the background, so I overlooked it. Which means that a lot of people overlooked it.) If you clicked the link, It would show all the entries ranked by copies ordered, not by readers, which (number of readers) was the metric of the contest. The contest could have been better if at the end of the first contest page they included a "Next" button and listed everyone with their ranking in the contest.

But that's the past.

Fast as that the scene shifts to now
The ever glorious now
the ever present now
Drenched in flour and deep-fat-fried
And cooled on paper towels and then devoured**** 

I'm still publishing my novel. In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson in The Long Kiss Goodnight, "That's right. You can't kill me, motherfuckers!"

I'm not using Inkshares to get the novel published. I would need 1,000 preorders at $10 a pop. I may have gone to public school, but that's ten large, daylight savings time. That's me asking my friends and family for 10 G's. Half of it would come to me according to their payout schedule, but that would mean $5k to them to publish it. Then I'd still have to do most of the promotion myself. I figure I can do most of that myself or with the assistance of freelance professionals that I know for around $3k. I just saved you, yes you, seven thousand dollars. Aren't I a peach?

I'm working on a Kickstarter page. Getting estimates from the aforementioned professionals. I have a newsletter that you can sign up for on the contacts page of this website (right click on Contacts, open new tab, enter your info, and subscribe. Right now! I'll wait.) I'm not going to inundate you with nonsense, I just want to keep you in the loop about the Kickstarter campaign.

But did I learn anything?

Yes. And there's a reason I'm putting this at the end which may become clear in a moment. Social media is pretty useless for promoting yourself. I have a strong core of people that preordered the book, shared my Facebook posts and Tweets. Liked my photos on Instagram. But the core and center of it was that they preordered the book. That's what I asked for because that's what I needed and that's what I got. You are my Super Friends, but you have to decide amongst yourselves who gets to be Batman. (1, 2, 3, not Aquaman!)

A lot of other people just liked the posts or shared the posts. Didn't actually read the posts as far as I could tell. I like this dude, so everything he posts gets an electronic thumbs up from me. That's all well and good, but I needed people to preorder, not just give moral support from afar. Maybe my posts were too long. (Ahem. Have you seen how long this post is, Head*****?) Maybe there was obfuscation on my part because I use words like "obfuscation" to prove that I own a dictionary. (Besides the one that hides a pint of whiskey. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.) I'm unsure of the cause, so I'm unsure of the cure. Suggestions are welcome.

The Kickstarter is going to work. I want to publish a book. You want to read said book. You currently want to support me or you have been a supporter since way back. I could do a print on demand book for almost no money right this second.  And guess what? It would look like a print on demand book that I spent no money on. I want it professionally edited, professionally laid out. I want to pay Tom a legit cover artist rate, not the drinking buddy rate he graciously agreed to. The book is written, the cover art is done. I'm going to be asking you, my friends, for money. I take that very seriously. I'm not going to wipe my ass with your generosity and give you a sub-par book. As my people say, this fucker'll be slicker than two shaved ferrets in a lube factory. 

I'm doing the Kickstarter thing for a multitude of reasons, but mainly I'm trying to start a business. If this works, I'm going to publish the next half dozen novels like this. Up until someone makes me an offer I can't refuse. Until then, I'm going to do it myself. If I opened a bar in your neighborhood and you knew me, you'd tell your friends. You'd come in whenever you could. You'd support me. And I would do the same for you. That's how it works. Except instead of shots of whiskey, I'm giving you something that will keep you company on the toilet. I'm talking about books. I don't even want to know what you thought I meant.

So that's that. Subscribe to the newsletter on the contacts page (or click HERE and a new window will open). When the Kickstarter is double live gonzo, I'll send out an email. If I've already got your email address, you'll be getting a personal email from me as well or perhaps a message on Facebook. I'll be doing the Facebook thing, the Tweeter thing, the Instagram thing just like before. Spread that love around. If you've got suggestions, comments, autographed photos of Bettie Page, let me know.

Oh, and one more thing: I'm not sure how well the comments work on this website.  (Do you like the website, by the way?) Leave a comment. Tell me what you'd like to see me talk about. Write something mean about my cartoonishly large skull or just a string of swear words. Or your mom's recipe for lasagna. (Did I mention that I eat lasagna now?)

I've got nothing but love for all y'all.



* Vice -- preposition -- In the place of; rather than. Versa is Latin for "Conversely" or "The opposite." Vice Versa means "Rather than the opposite." You are going to have to come to terms with the fact that I use "vice" to mean "instead of" if we're going to be homies.

**"Buckwheats" -- Watch Things to do in Denver when you're Dead with Andy Garcia. Or don't. I'm not going to explain Buckwheats to you.

***Look up reviews on Goodreads or Amazon about Wild Animus, specifically the ones explaining how people got their copies. There's an article on LitReactor about that weirdness. My copy was forced onto me on the way into a Rockies game.

****Morphine, Sharks.

*****One of many nicknames. Head is a reference to how large my skull is. I will also accept Lord Helmet for formal situations

The greater detail

The Contest.

If you're reading this and this is the only post on this page, I've probably sent you here to get information about The Nerdist / Inkshares contest.

If I already convinced you in person and you just need the link:

There you go. Thanks for your support. Tell your friends and family.

If you need a bit more information about what is going on, I'll break it down in reverse order.

What is Inkshares? What's this contest thingy?

The contest is a collaboration between Nerdist (all things geek-centric on the Internet) and Inkshares (crowd-funding specifically for books). Any science fiction or fantasy project on the Inkshares website uploaded between August 15th, 2015 and September 30th, 2015 is eligible. Note that I said project, not novel.

Inkshares under normal circumstances functions like this as far as I can tell:

  1. You post an idea with an outline or a writing sample.
  2. You tell your friends about it.
  3. Your friends preorder your book.
  4. You get to 750 preorders, Inkshares publishes your book.

If you don't get to 750, nothing happens, no money changes hands, your project molders. If you get to 750 and don't have a completed book, you have to finish it and fill those orders.

The contest for The Nerdist Collection is different in that there isn't a 750 preorder milestone.

The five entrants with the ***most unique preorders*** will be published regardless of how many copies are ordered. By most unique preorders, excuse me, ***most unique preorders*** I mean the amount of separate individuals that login to Inkshares with a unique account counts as one vote / one reader. For example:

Tom logs into Inkshares with his Facebook account and preorders a copy for every person in his zip code because Tom is very supportive. Even if Tom preorders 50 copies, it will count for one vote in the contest.

However, Amy logs in with her Facebook account and preorders one (1) copy, then tells her husband Donald to login with his Facebook account and he preorders one (1) copy. Amy and Donald count as two votes (since they logged in with different Facebook accounts) even though they preordered less copies than Tom. (They could have also logged in with two different email addresses or with their respective Twitter accounts, but I don't think Amy and Donald are on Twitter.)

Inkshares doesn't want Tom to brute force me into the winner's circle. This is their nod towards fairness. And, Inkshares has started cracking down on bogus preorders from specious accounts created by deceitful entrants that are trying to win through fallacious means.

If there is a tie on ***most unique preorders***, the entrant with the highest number of total preorders will win. This is the only way Tom's 50 preorders will come into play.

You keep saying preorder and I don't think it means what you think it means.

Notice that I keep saying “preorder” and not “buy?” This is a crowd-funding situation. If you preorder a book, you will be asked for payment information. However, you WILL NOT BE CHARGED until September 30th and only if I am in the top five. There is basically no upfront cost or obligation. You have until the end of September to get $9.99 deposited into your account.

Why is this contest a big deal?

I have a finished novel. It's called “L.I.F.E. in the 23rd Century.” (I will give you more details in a later post.) I was planning on crowd-funding the book anyway as an experiment. To get it published I would need to raise enough money to pay for professional editing and layout and to pay Tom as a legitimate artist. (Is that why Tom is so supportive? Did he design the cover? Yes. You've found me out.) Then I get the book published as well as fulfill all the rewards for crowd-funding something on other crowd-funding sites. I had no idea what those rewards would be, so I was stuck.

Assuming that I would figure the rewards out eventually, I would have had to promote the book in some way. I could get it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it wouldn't be in any bookstore other than a copy or two lying around in Mother Focault's in Portland. No promotion, no advertising, unless I did it out of my own pocket or on Facebook. My last book sold a few hundred copies.

With this contest, I skip all the rewards and Inkshares takes care of editing and layout, instead of me finding people capable of doing it. Top five books get professional editing, layout, and publishing and Inkshares takes care of all of it. Then, Inkshares puts it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and gets it into independent bookstores nationwide.

The project with the most unique preorders gets branded with the Nerdist logo and gets promoted by the Nerdist Empire. Capital 'E,' Empire. There's a dozen podcasts. The Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick, is the host of @Midnight on Comedy Central. He's the host of 'Talking Dead' and 'Talking Bad,' the after-shows for 'Walking Dead' and 'Breaking Bad' respectively. There's the Nerdist News web-series. He hosts a bunch of panels every year at San Diego Comic Con. If you write science fiction or fantasy, and this guy and the machine that is The Nerdist are in your corner, that's bigger, in my mind, than being on the New York Times bestseller list.

To put it another way, you have a garage band that has one twelve song CD that you are selling out of the trunk of your car for $5 after shows. Kurt Cobain gets his hands on a copy and tells you that you're going to open for Nirvana every night on their world tour.

It's kind of a big deal that I might be getting my novel published. It is an enormous deal that there is a sliver of an eighth of a portion of a chance that my novel may have a the Nerdist logo on the cover.

That's why I keep talking about this. Thank you for reading all the way to the next line.


Just seeing if you were paying attention. Cheers.