Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kindle

Amazon has released an electronic reader called kindle that has more one-star ratings than five-star ratings. Yet it is selling like crazy. Amazon is currently sold out.

Kindle is an electronic paper display that uses no computers, cables, or syncing. You can connect to the Kindle Store and download a book in a minute for $9.99. Currently there are 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 NYT bestsellers. All new releases, including bestsellers, are $9.99, unless otherwise marked. You can download free book chapters before buying. Top U.S. and international newspapers are auto-delivered wirelessly. Some 250 blogs are updated throughout the day. You never have to find a hotspot because Kindle uses cell phone technology for downloading information. You can email Word documents and pictures to Kindle. Amazon keeps a copy of every Kindle book you purchase online. The display is alleged to be exceptionally clear and easy to read, and font sizes can be increased or decreased.

How does a writer get his book available on Kindle? How are books made Kindle-ready? Can I make mine available for under $9.99 and sell it from my web page?

I will research these issues.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving



Awoke to thunder, lightning, and heavy rain this morning. An exciting sight for those of us in the southeast.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Fed

Rob Moody, Strike-the-Root's founder, sent me a link to a CNBC article reporting on the Fed's latest injection of "liquidity." Banks were hurting because of the mortgage write-downs, and the Fed Funds rate was threatening to rise unacceptably. So the Fed did what it normally does, flood the loan markets with counterfeited money.

". . . the central bank added more liquidity to stem a rise in the federal funds rate."

Dollar holders are paying for the banks' recklessness.

Rob is also my primary article publisher, and he ran one of mine today on Ron Paul's "Gold, Peace, and Prosperity."

More coming.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Most Popular Blogs

Blogs are a great curiosity to me. Some of them have useful, current information that is posted in such a way that its authenticity can be readily verified. Lew Rockwell's blog comes to mind. If you want the latest news on Ron Paul, you'll probably find it there.

Then there are people who tell us they are blogging at a certain blog. Apparently these people are so much in the know about certain topics that they need an outlet where they can post comments as often as they like. Such people are on top of things and want to tell us their latest findings or thoughts.

A Google search on most popular blogs turned up a place called Technorati, which ranks blogs two ways.

If my priorities were such that I had time to spare, or if I were a more efficient worker, I would visit the ones that promised some measurable benefit, such as Lifehacker, which claims to tell you how to get things done. It's currently ranked number six at Technorati, the sound of which, by the way, reminds me of the animated Pixar - Disney film Ratatouille. My brain works this way when I'm not fully awake.

I'm familiar with animated movies because my grandson Preston watches them.

I hope to have a new article about Ron Paul's book "Gold, Peace, & Prosperity" finished by the end of the day. A link to it will eventually be posted on this blog. I doubt that will help its ranking.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Reading unpublished manuscripts

Recently I read about a Print On Demand author, Jeremy Robinson, who had signed with a traditional publishing house, Breakneck Books of N.H. His novel was selling well as a POD, and a literary agency noticed and offered to represent him. Sounds almost too good to be true, but I verified the results on Amazon. Both the original POD book (Lulu) and its reincarnation from Breakneck are available. The book is fast-paced and deals with Christianity's origins. A major writer, James Rollins, liked the story, and Robinson got Rollins to write a blurb for the inside cover of the book. Apparently, Rollins' endorsement did wonders for getting readers to buy it.

I tried this approach a couple of years ago with my revised screenplay about Thomas Paine. I managed to get Nathaniel Branden to agree to read it, but I suspect he did so believing I was the other George Smith, the author of books on atheism and the one he knew. His email reply was friendly when he assumed I was his former acquaintance, but when I corrected him his next reply was quite distant and terse. I got the impression he regretted agreeing to read it.

I went ahead and mailed it to him and within a week I got a disheartening reply, again very short, congratulating me on writing a screenplay and wishing me luck with my project. Other than admitting he couldn't verify the history behind the story, that was it. He didn't say anything I could use for sell copy. I figure either he didn't read it or he read it and thought it wasn't worthy of his support.

As harsh as that experience was, I still think it's an excellent way to get noticed. Robinson's experience testifies to that. I've already approached two people about reading JR$, either of whom would be in a position to help me get published. Unfortunately, the first one hasn't replied to my request and probably never will. The second one replied the same day with a very polite and encouraging note saying he didn't have time to read my story.

So I look for others who could help. But as I do, I start imagining no one reads anything anymore, other than short articles. To be is to be in video. Even Amazon offers the option of posting reviews in video rather than writing. And if it's not video it's audio. Notice the popularity of books in audio. I go a little crazy with these thoughts. But of those people who know me, only my wife has actually read my manuscript. Everyone else is too busy. Too busy watching videos or TV. Or listening to their iPods.

Nevertheless, I must push ahead, and I must continue to think of creative ways to get the book out to the public. One thought I had was to publish the prolog and first three chapters on the web, then give readers the option of buying the whole thing in PDF for a low price. If I coupled that with an endorsement, I might make some sales. For an endorsement I could select a famous name and seek him or her out in person with my manuscript in hand. It's hard to refuse someone when he's standing in front of you with pages in one hand and a gun in the other. Ha, ha.

At any rate, I can't give up. I can't wait for an editor to come to supper and by chance read the manuscript, as happened to Margaret Mitchell.

Amazon Review of Ron Paul's book

On November 6 I submitted a review of Ron Paul's Gold, Peace, & Prosperity to Amazon. Their policy is to publish accepted reviews within 48 hours. As of November 10 my review was unpublished, and I wondered why. Originally I described our current monetary system as institutionalized counterfeiting. Perhaps Amazon didn't like that. I also included quotes from the book. In their review guidelines they advise not using other people's words. Perhaps that advice included quoting relevant text.

I wanted to get a review out there because the book is worthwhile and one of the easiest essays to read about the history and nature of our government-managed banking and monetary system. So I revised my review and resubmitted it Saturday evening, November 10. It is 2:40 a.m. Sunday, and the review is already posted, yet interestingly it says the date of the review is November 6.

In my original reivew I failed to mention anything about Paul's position on gold, a gross oversight. I like the revised review better.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Jolly Roger Dollar - Synopsis

Late one Halloween night the White House receives news that the federal reserve chairman was killed when the biplane he was flying crashed on his farm in eastern Virginia. But it’s not the loss of their lord of interest rates that has the administration in turmoil – it’s the circumstances surrounding the tragedy that a certain web site, barbarous-relic.com, is broadcasting to the world. Its home page consists of two captioned photos, both implicating the Fed chairman, that threaten to unravel the government’s monetary monopoly.

In one shot he is shown with a broad, inscrutable grin standing next to his 1941 gold-colored biplane, which bears the inscription "Barbarous Relic."

The second photo shows the front of his barn emblazoned with a huge mural depicting the moral status of the government's monetary system.

In the aftermath of the crash, the White House officially denies suggestions that the chairman was connected to a rebirth of gold. Behind the scenes, the administration schemes and maneuvers in an attempt to crush the barbarous relic uprising. The chairman’s ex-wife, an economics professor at a small libertarian college, suspects her former husband somehow survived the crash if only to see the government squirm to protect its fraud from exposure.

As the monetary movement gathers strength in cyberspace, the administration pushes ahead with a plan to control access to the World Wide Web by means of a monopoly web browser. All the usual browsers are quietly removed. Government’s Liberty Browser has replaced them, giving Americans a Reader’s Digest surfing experience. Barbarous-relic.com and its links are no longer accessible.

Unable to legislate hackers out of existence, government soon sees its beloved browser hijacked. For a few days thereafter, Liberty Browser provides access to only one site – the very one government sought to suppress.

As millions of Americans become acquainted with the idea of free market money, courtesy of an infected government browser, Wall Street panics. The big players have placed their bets. The future depends on a dying dollar. If government can’t stop the honest money movement, economic collapse is certain, they fear.

The fast-paced story builds to a climax that pits the entrenched forces of inflation against the champions of a sound dollar and competitive banking. With a plot that saves its biggest surprise until the final scene, The Jolly Roger Dollar, with unrelenting suspense and passion, shows how our plundered dollar is destroying the last remnants of our liberty.

I'm Back

I doubt whether anyone but me reads this blog, but for the record, I plan to update at least once a week, hopefully more often. I had stopped because of time constraints and priorities. My number one goal this year was to put my novel in a position to market. After countless edits, I believe it's there.

What I've (re)learned in these early days of looking to get it published is that legitimate, big-name publishing houses (Random House, Harper Collins, Viking, Warner, etc.) very rarely look at manuscripts sent directly from authors. Getting an agent, therefore, is required, and as most writers learn, it's best to be a successful writer or a celebrity before attempting to acquire literary representation. Sounds a little like "You have to be published before you can get published," doesn't it?

There are plenty of Publish On Demand and vanity press outlets eager to take a writer's money. In exchange they will provide the writer with decently bound copies of his books for friends and family. No one reviews POD books, as a rule. Promotion is pretty much left to the writer, which in a few rare cases has been quite inventive and successful. Writers so desperate to get published they go running to their nearest POD should instead absorb the wisdom of this Paula Span article in the Washington Post.

Though I'm confident I've written a good story about the Fed, it would be nice to have someone outside my circle of contacts read the manuscript. Every writer needs honest, educated feedback, and it's tough to get.