Friday, June 17, 2005

15 minutes and seven seconds of fame

How excited was I to look up my novel on Amazon and see the rank had skyrocketed to 453! That's right three digits. This doesn't mean jack as far as book sales (probably got four sales in one hour, let's say) but who cares--it's three digits, man!

I promptly called my folks and said, "Quick, check out Amazon! Look at my rank on Amazon!"

*pause while father moves to computer and types*

"Wow, honey," he replied, all father-like, "just over nine-thousand."

"What?" I refreshed my browser and sure enough: 9,021. Now panicked--and without proof--I hit the back button, a well-known pointless attempt at trying to grab data that is forever lost. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

For just a moment I was 453.

I swear.

One of my writer friends sent me this list, sort of all McSweeney's-ish and whatnot. He has been published by Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's--and was an avid POD hater, worse than many of the commenters on this blog. Then (after losing a bet--long story) he agreed to spend the afternoon with me and cull through some PODs. He tossed book after book over his shoulder (one clipped me in the ear, the bastard) for most of the day. Suddenly, he became silent. I didn't hear another word from him for almost an hour. Then he closed the book and slid it across the floor to me and said, "You need to read this one."

It was

He spent the remainder of his time with me tossing books over his shoulder.

Mr. Noker's novel aside, my friend remains unconverted. And here is the cute little entry for you all to enjoy. Happy Friday.

URLs surprisingly not taken by self-publishing companies:

Stay tuned for more treasure.

Treasure, by the way, that should have this URL:

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Those crazy Frenchmen (and women)

I wish I could take credit for finding this story--but I cannot. The incredible, prolific folks at Publisher's Lunch found a great article that will be of (humorous) interest to the folks with one foot in the POD world.

Here is the entry from PL:

French Vanity: In the US, people try to embarrass self-publishers by submitting garbage manuscripts. In France, newspaper Le Figaro did the opposite, submitting MADAME BOVARY to five vanity publishers. Many companies judged it good enough to be worth taking $3,000 to 5,000 from the "author" to print up some copies.

Read the article and laugh.

Apparently taking advantage of authors is pandemic.

And here's another little tasty treat, this time regarding why you can't get a book deal. Why is this worth reading? Because it's funny and accurate--but most of all because the author of this blog is a marketing professional for Vintage (which, for those of you who are not plugged in to the publishing scene, is an imprint of the Knopf Publishing Group, which is a division of Random House, which is a company within Bertelsmann, which owns 3/4 of the free world.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More hump, less day.

Well, I thought that gigabyte of space in my email account over at Yahoo! would be more than adequate to do my business here. But just yesterday alone I received 327 megabytes of PDF files. *Sigh* No problem. Keep 'em comin' We'll build a bigger ark.

However - please pay close attention: only POD efforts only. That means no small presses and no books "back in print". And--I can't believe I need to address this--no books from traditional publishers. I know everyone is looking for some publicity (myself included, novel-wise) but to the kind people at Kensington, Atria and William Morrow, stop sending me PDFs and inquiries on ARCs. Not that I mind a nice advance copy now and again, but your books will not be reviewed here.


The good folks over at Beatrice tipped me off to a rather humorous press release from Lulu. Perhaps the most appealing thing about Lulu (besides the ability to make your book available to the public at no cost (no ISBN, no distribution)) is the fact that you feel like you are dealing more with the guys who started Napster than a bunch of executive types.

In any case, they have posted (in a manner that equally balances self-service and self-deprecation) titles most likely to not be on a bestseller list:

Hot Beach Reads? No Chance — Poll Names Books Least Likely To Top Summer Bestseller Lists... Not Blockbusters But "Nichebusters"

They take themselves seriously. Sort of.

". . . How To Cook a Peacock [is] a 395-page, perfect-bound, black-and-white book, which sells for $19.95, mainly to university libraries across the world. It is part of a seven-volume series on the subject.

The movie rights are, at the time of writing, still available."

And the results of the poll:


Q. Which of the following recently published books do you think is LEAST likely to become a #1 bestseller or "hot beach-read" (while still being perfectly interesting to its own target reader)?

Non-Equilibrium Systems and Irreversible Processes –Adventures in Applied Topology (Vol. 3) 28%

How To Cook A Peacock 23%

Creating Pastel Champions – A Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Model Horses with Pastels 8%

Ten Crochet Dude Dishcloths 8%

Mastering Law Enforcement Chaplaincy 8%

The School of Hard Knocks: The Evolution of Pension Investing at Eastman Kodak 7%

The Gulf-Coast Shipbuilding-Cluster 7%

The Replica Watch Report 5%

Seven Crochet Dude Afghan Squares 4%

The PinBotz Guide to the Greatest Pinball Machines of the 80s and 90s 4%

Just over one in four (28%) respondents tapped Non-Equilibrium Systems (Vol. 3) as the book least likely to become a #1 bestseller – while just under one in four (23%) picked How to Cook a Peacock. 8% each gave that honor to, respectively, Creating Pastel Champions, Ten Crochet Dude Dishcloths, and Mastering Law Enforcement Chaplaincy. Twice as many respondents tapped Ten Crochet Dude Dishcloths as picked its partner, Seven Crochet Dude Afghan Squares.

And a regular blog reader reminded me of this bizarre effort of publishing a book. Lawrence Watt-Evans (who has published many a book with Tor, Del Rey, etc.) is publishing a book on the web, one chapter at a time--as long as he receives $100 in donations per chapter. He is up to chapter nine, so I guess it is working. This could prove to be a fruitful effort--if he publishes 425 chapters. It is, however, proof that there is almost no way to keep from getting a book in front of faithful readers. Give 'em heck, Lawrence!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Luckily, they didn't take anything. Just a lot of vandalism.

I go away for the weekend to attend a friend's wedding and when I return I find my home has been ransacked. Not my real home, this home.

What is with you people? I try reading the comments on my blog regularly but I'm starting to get a headache. I don't want to spend time telling people not to argue, because my regular visitors do not tune in here to read that, but seriously . . . if you get frustrated, kick your television (it could use a good kick.)

Back to business . . .

A commenter left this link for an
NPR article on POD and I wanted to bring it to the front where everyone could see it. More of the same, I suppose--but most interesting: the books they selected to highlight included Sharon Boorstin's COOKIN' FOR LOVE (previously profiled here) and Gloria Hillard's IN THE SHADOW OF THE SPARROW, which, though you would not have known, is currently slated for review here at POD-dy Mouth's Central Division for Literary Inclusion.

And in the you-gotta-hand-it-to-them department we turn one last eye to the dynamic duo over at PublishAmerica who were brave enough to list their tome on Amazon. I wonder just what kinds of reviews they are going to get? Let's just say that is why I remain anonymous. But the best part is, underneath the listing, where Amazon lists "Customers interested in this title may also be interested in . . ." the links (as of this blog entry) are for, and Apparently, PublishAmerica may have "upset a goliath book biz" but they haven't learned how to advertise.

More treasure be a comin'. Keep yer eyes on the blog, mates.

Monday, June 13, 2005

ISN'T THAT BIGAMY? by Mike Vogel (Lulu)

What is my deal with finding POD
books that take place in Utah? Well, indeed, I have found another winner. Or perhaps I should say it found me.

For all the folks who think it might be a waste of time to pitch your book to me (via email, of course--PDFs preferred), here is a success story. Mike Vogel pitched me, then hooked me. I read the first chapter of
ISN'T THAT BIGAMY by Mike Vogel and realized I would need to put aside the afternoon's activities. Here we have a fresh-faced crime novel with the sharp idiosyncrasies of Elmore Leonard mixed with the bizarre "what was he thinking" actions of Carl Hiaasen.

What's not to like?:

A hit man who smokes Virginia Slims.

A mob boss obsessed with CEOs, project management and corporate culture.

A womanizer in a land of plural marriage who can't seem to get lucky.

BIGAMY tells the story of Stan, a guy who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time: he witnesses a mob hit on a federal agent. So he goes into the Witness Relocation Program--to rural, polygamous Utah.

Very wrong place at the wrong time.

What ensues is a bizarre hunting of poor Stan while he increases his bride count in an effort to satisfy his testosterone-based urges, ending in an all-character blowout that will leave your head spinning. I can't give away too many details without exposing key elements, but rest assured that it is a snappy read and thoroughly enjoyable. Think GET SHORTY meets DOC HOLLYWOOD.

And it's $9.95 through Lulu. How can you beat that?

Perhaps most amazing of all: it has a cool cover, to boot!

Stay tuned, ladies and gents. Who knows what we'll see tomorrow. Even I don't know.