Facebook: 10.4 percent of nothing

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Let’s see… 10.4% of nothing is…

An article on Saturday’s Mashable illustrates the relative amount of traffic driven to publishers from various methods of social media, and makes it clear that Facebook sends more customers to publishers than any other social media combined.

Editor Neil Marr went so far as to say to his Facebook followers: “Trying to sell your book? Seems you’re at the right place.”

But once again, I’m presented with the incredible dichotomy between the realities for mainstream publishers and the realities for self-publishers… most notably, myself. Continue reading

Do movies get a logic pass… because they’re movies?

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Elysium

Elysium, courtesy Tri-Star Pictures.

I recently managed to get out to see Elysium in the theater.  This much-hyped movie garnered high expectations, especially as images from the movie were released and it became clear how much beautiful work had gone into its production.  However, once the movie premiered it became clear that the story itself hadn’t gotten as thorough a treatment as the sets and effects, creating a movie with innumerable logic inconsistencies and downright dumb plot points, clearly designed to get the hero from Predetermined Action Point A to Predetermined Action Point B, no matter how contrived that journey might be.

To be sure, Elysium is not the only movie guilty of these transgressions; they are quite common in action-adventure movies of every type.  It’s as if a “logic pass” is being bestowed, an unofficial declaration that these momentary lapses in logic and sense are “unimportant” as long as they further the basic narrative (“basic” being defined here as hero fights and wins).   But why are movies getting this “logic pass”? Continue reading

Fashion and workplace (lack of) equality

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sexy legsIn the news today is a 200-year-old French law that’s just been overturned for being, basically, outdated and pointless: A ban on women’s trousers.  Though it hasn’t been seriously observed for quite some time, France finally decided to strike the old law, designed (when it was written) to keep women out of certain job opportunities.

This strikes me as interesting—not just because it gives me an excuse to show the picture at left—but because the issue of sexual equality in the workplace has always set me off by its obvious imbalance.  Continue reading

Going mobile

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Steven Lyle Jordan, author and futurist

Steven Lyle Jordan

A conference I recently attended showed me the incredible rate at which the mobile information space is growing, especially in the smartphone and tablet areas… and reminded me that although my site is workable on a mobile platform, I haven’t had a mobile-optimized website in quite some time.

So I’ll be spending my spare time working on a mobile version of my books site, and considering the possibility of a mobile app down the line.

The mobile website is a bit easier, since I already know HTML… it’s just (!) a matter of designing it.  A mobile app is trickier, and likely more expensive, so I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll manage that.  But we’ll see… one thing at a time.

(Don’t worry… I’m still writing!)

“I’m sorry you have no friends.”

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Steven Lyle Jordan, author and futurist

Steven Lyle Jordan, author and futurist

Years ago, my wife and I bought our house in Maryland. Our real estate agent was a man whom we’d met at a house sale elsewhere, and we liked him so much that we’d asked him to represent us; with his help, we found a great house, and have been more than satisfied with it to this day.

One day, a few months later, we chanced upon him, and after mutual greetings, he said to us: “I’m sorry you have no friends.” It took us a second to realize he was sarcastically referring to his hope that we would have recommended him to our friends in the market for new homes, thereby bringing him fresh business. We didn’t take it personally, of course—and at the time, we didn’t happen to know anyone who was house-hunting, so we couldn’t have helped even if we’d wanted to—but the point was taken. Continue reading

What’s going on

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Steven Lyle Jordan, author and futurist

Steven Lyle Jordan, author and futurist

It’s no secret that I’ve been holding off from writing anything new lately, as I’ve been concentrating on the flagging sales of my existing books.  I’ve also been spending time discussing the issue on various forums.  Unfortunately, most of the advice I’ve gotten hasn’t been very helpful—mostly variations of “suck it up and write, already” and “you’re crazy to want money out of your books.”

Though many of the responses have been essentially negative, I haven’t been chased out of the writing biz yet.  Nor have I changed my mission, which is to create a stable of books that contributes in some small to my bottom line.  However, I have also not altered my plans to work on improving sales of my existing books; if I can’t get the present ten books, many of which have 4-5-star reviews, to sell in this marketplace, I just can’t see a good reason to write more books that won’t sell.

So, the mission continues: Writing is taking a hiatus while I work on marketing and promotion; and if anyone has some good ideas for my marketing and promotional efforts, helping me to get back on track sooner (and that includes any efforts made to spread the word to new readers), there may be something in it for you.

Carry on.

Does anybody care?

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John Adams (from 1776, Columbia Pictures)

John Adams (from 1776, Columbia Pictures)

Since it’s fairly close to July fourth… and since I happen to be a fan of the movie “1776”… I feel it’s an appropriate time to borrow a question that was posed by John Adams in the dramatic finale of that movie, and which hangs somewhere in the mind of anyone who writes a novel, short story or article.

The question came up when I came across a blog post by Roz Morris, a response in letter form to a fellow writer who’d had a crisis of confidence in starting a book.  In that post’s responses, I commented on something that I felt Roz had missed pointing out: That a writer should consider whether their desire to write is impacted by the possibility that no one will read their work (or, if put on sale, that no one will want to buy it); is it worth the effort if no one touches your work?

This resulted in a second posting by Roz, addressing exactly that question. Continue reading

The secrets of indie success: There is no spoon.

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Neo and a disciple of the Oracle (from The Matrix, Warner Brothers)

Neo and a disciple of the Oracle (from The Matrix, Warner Brothers)

 

L.A. is a great big freeway.
Put a hundred down and buy a car.
In a week, maybe two, they’ll make you a star.
Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass.
And all the stars that never were
are parking cars and pumping gas.

A thread on the MobileRead site has engaged a number of independent authors for three months and sixteen pages exploring The Secrets of Indie Success… only to find out that there really aren’t any. Continue reading

Do we need a publishing industry?

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A recent article by Eoin Purcell examined the damage done to the publishing industry by the Agency pricing scheme.  His take on it was that publishers had lost the battle and the war to maintain their position in the publishing industry, and that it was about time for existing publishers to make way for the new breed of publishers, or find a way to re-invent themselves to take advantage of the new digital era.

Eoin’s impression is that the publishing industry must evolve, or perish and be replaced.  But I wonder about that: Do we need a replacement for the publishing industry’s existing players?  Do we need a publishing industry at all? Continue reading

Ebooks: Scarcity, abundance and economy

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A recently revived subject by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Scarcity and Abundance, examines the ebook industry in terms of the shift from a “scarcity” economy, in which things are valued and priced due to their limited availability, to “abundance,” in which items are available in effectively unlimited supply, turning the old economic model upside-down or destroying it entirely. Continue reading