Publishers, present a reason to buy your artifact

“Consumers need powerful emotional & psychological reasons to buy your books rather than just grab the nearest free e-book,” says Audry Taylor, creative director of Go! Comi. Earlier this month, Robot 6 announced that Go! Comi closed shop “due to a combination of economic downturn and digital theft.” In a recent article she offers five suggestions for publishers who want to avoid going out of business due to digital piracy:

  1. Make a story available world-wide simultaneously in all major languages.
  2. In a digital format.
  3. With perks for pre-orders.
  4. And goodies that digital pirates can’t reproduce. (And yes, that’s possible. Goodies they can’t compete with, like author chats.)
  5. Rip off business model 4 pirate sites & one-up them. They offer a Wii raffle for a subscription to a d/l site, u offer author-signed Wii

Though this is written primarily for a manga/comic publishing audience, I think this is good advice for any book publisher.

I’ve said this before, but books need to be designed in way that compels consumers to buy a souvenir, dead-tree product (maybe in a decade a book will be called an artifact). In light of Audry Taylor’s comments, I plan to amend that note to encompass a broader reach than well-designed, dead-tree products. She continues by saying, “My dream pub company is multimedia + print + Etsy + Cafepress + Goodreads + Facebook + fan community.” I agree. The more you compel readers/content users to make emotional and psychological investments in your content, the better the relationship your brand will have with your loyal followers (dare I say, your brand’s evangelists?).

Garden project: how to eliminate unwanted slugs

Garden project: garden beds almost complete as of early May.

All six garden beds are in and mostly full. A couple more tomato and pepper plants would be a nice addition. Plus I’m waiting for the kale and chard to mature enough to put them in the ground.

The lettuce leaves are big enough to pull a couple for a sandwich a couple of nights ago.

Only thing that’s a bit annoying is how the slugs seem to attempting to take over the southeastern corner of the garden. Two techniques to organically get rid of unwanted snails include beer and salt. First I’ll try the beer bait first. If the slugs persist, I’ll use salt.

The beer technique works like this:

  1. Fill a small container (like a baby food jar) about a third full of beer and place them in the infested areas of the garden.
  2. Place the slug bait in the garden in the morning or evening. I usually place the beer containers in the garden at dusk and check it the next morning.
  3. Empty the beer containers of the dead slugs and repeat the process.

If this doesn’t curb the invasion, the next phase of attack is salt.

Quote: No, I don’t want an office job for 30 years, thank you.

Kathleen Jamie said:

When we were young, we were told that poetry is about voice, about finding a voice and speaking with this voice, but the older I get I think it’s not about voice, it’s about listening and the art of listening, listening with attention. I don’t just mean with the ear; bringing the quality of attention to the world. The writers I like best are those who attend.

She also said:

No, I don’t want an office job for 30 years, thank you.

Always be prepared to read your poems

When I mentioned earlier today that you should join the Traveling Bonfires tonight at Malaprop’s, you really were invited to join the reading. Two of the three poets were unable to show up for tonight’s reading. The emcee of the poetry reading and founder of the Traveling Bonfires invited anyone in the audience to read poems. He asked me to read my poems as well.

I wasn’t prepared to read; only to listen. But no one else came prepared to read. So, I frantically dug into my old messenger bag and found two poetry chapbook manuscripts by other poets. For a brief moment I thought I would read from their manuscripts, but I didn’t want to read poems that weren’t ready for the public. Sandwiched between loose papers and a copy of Selected Cantos of Ezra Pound and Narrow Road to the Interior was my red notebook containing poem sketches and revisions. I had half of a thought to read selections from Pound and Basho, but in my notebook I found six poem sketches and revisions to test in front of an audience.

The moral of the story is this: always be prepared to read your poems and if you’re a poet in the Asheville area (or if you’re a poet traveling near the Asheville area) contact me or the Traveling Bonfires (travelingbonfires@yahoo.com) and we’ll find a space and a mic and a crowd of listeners.

Poem: Appalachian omens

“Appalachian omens” by Matthew Mulder

Anticipation
of rain and Sunday dinner,
we see a groundhog
resting on a rock near the
restaurant entrance.

And on the way home,
above the road we see a
hawk gripping a snake
while evading two large crows.

If I were the priest
Kalchas, I might proclaim that
I see the war-like
sons of Atreus, or some
other such omens.

Google says, my bad

Google’s history of scanning books without author/publisher permission to populate their online book catalog makes me suspect there’s something askew with this story. From the WSJ:

Google had previously said it was collecting the location of Wi-Fi hot spots from its StreetView vehicles, but not the information being transmitted over those networks by users.

“It’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) Wi-Fi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products,” wrote Mr. Eustace. “We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake.”

Read more: link

350,000 downloads in 17 months

As of this morning, total downloads for this year are set to eclipse total downloads of last year.

Also, the last two months of podcasts feature paid sponsors — thanks to a great sales team.

I’ll write more about what gear I use to produce a podcast in an upcoming post.

Remember when you didn’t use your real name on the Internet?

Facebook is ubiquitous. In many ways it has replaced blogging. As an individual who has been blogging, well, since before the advent of Facebook, there were certain silent codes to blogging. Local bloggers like Edgy Mama, Ashvegas and Modern Peasant (who I recall may have been blogging before the advent of the internet), maintained a third-tier level of intimacy with blog readers. In other words, there were third-tier personal details that were disclosed on blogs, but other more intimate personal details that may or may not be disclosed in real life at local blogger meet ups. It appears that Facebook disregards a third-tier relationship between content provider and content consumer. Here’s a couple of articles I’ve read recently about Facebook.

Some excerpts from Gizmodo: Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook

10. Facebook’s Terms Of Service are completely one-sided: Facebook’s Terms Of Service state that not only do they own your data (section 2.1), but if you don’t keep it up to date and accurate (section 4.6), they can terminate your account (section 14)….

9. Facebook’s CEO has a documented history of unethical behavior: According to BusinessInsider.com, [Zuckerberg] used Facebook user data to guess email passwords and read personal email in order to discredit his rivals. These allegations, albeit unproven and somewhat dated, nonetheless raise troubling questions about the ethics of the CEO of the world’s largest social network…

8. Facebook has flat out declared war on privacy: Founder and CEO of Facebook, in defense of Facebook’s privacy changes last January: “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.” … Essentially, this means Facebook not only wants to know everything about you, and own that data, but to make it available to everybody.

3. Facebook makes it incredibly difficult to truly delete your account

And here’s an excerpt from Wired: Facebook’s Gone Rogue; It’s Time for an Open Alternative

So in December, with the help of newly hired Beltway privacy experts, it reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile information public by default. That includes the city that you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you’ve signed onto.

This spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you.

This includes your music preferences, employment information, reading preferences, schools, etc. All the things that make up your profile. They all must be public — and linked to public pages for each of those bits of info — or you don’t get them at all.

[Read More: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/05/facebook-rogue/#ixzz0nY6uIYRD]

  • How will you remember anybody’s birthday?
  • How will you hear about parties?
  • You don’t care about privacy anymore. Remember when you wouldn’t use your real name on the Internet?
  • 80 million of you are addicted to Zygna’s Facebook game, FarmVille.

The Internet has allowed access to volumes of data. Yet, some personal details should be maintained behind firewalls or offline. I’m not sure if it’s entirely Facebook’s fault. Facebook users willingly surrender intimate details to the Internet gods. A good, old school blogger rule is this: the Internet is immediate and permanent; only post stuff you want to remain permanent and searchable.