Fiction

Fake Review #1: Pay Me, Bug! reviewed by Milton Horace Dante Longfellow III

Submitted by C B Wright on

There has been an incredible amount of talk about authors writing fictional reviews on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. in order to generate interest in their work. I'm completely against this. That said, this week I'm writing one fake review a day and posting it on my site. The first is a review of Pay Me, Bug!, written by Milton Horace Dante Longfellow III, a guy you've never heard of because I made him up. Enjoy.

It was with some trepidation that I, your faithful and humble servant, picked up my digital reading device and procured a copy of Pay Me, Bug! It was a trifling sum--a mere three dollars and fifty cents in US currency--but I know full well that the cost of reading fiction can far exceed the mere purchase of a work. Each word leaves its own imprint upon a soul, and of late my soul had been stained with the ink of common, base, trivial works. I had some half-hearted hope that this would be different: its title, while unusual, was at least declarative, and I imagine perhaps a studied treatise on the value of introducing a monetary system to insects in an attempt to civilise them. I have considered such a proposal myself, and thought perhaps this work would address such a topic.

It was, alas, not to be. It appears Pay Me, Bug! is nothing more than science fiction of the basest and most puerile variety: it is “space opera,” an execrable form of entertainment that does not even hold itself to the standards of “science” that the genre pretends, in its most self deceiving moments, to offer as its raison d’etre.

Inside the Creative Mind

Submitted by C B Wright on
Light Bulb

Have you ever wished you could peek inside a writer's mind to learn why it does what it does? Of course not. You're basically a decent human being, and you would never stoop to the level of prurient interest required to peek behind that veil. There are far more socially acceptable activities you could be doing instead.1

But maybe, every once in a while, there's a piece of you that looks at a writer in the throes of creative activity, and you can't help but ask yourself "why? Why that? Why that now?"

For those of you who have secretly asked yourself this question, the following may be of interest. It is, essentially, a transcript of a conversation I had with myself, once upon a time, when I decided to commit to something. For those with courage, determination, and a tolerance for foul language, read on for a peek at a very important part of my creative process:

  • 1. Like looking at streaming videos of homeless vagrants fighting each other for money.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Submitted by C B Wright on

Oh! The things I have read (by a man, alas, dead):
There were eggs that were green! And a fish that was red!
And a fox wearing socks (although otherwise bare!)
And a Cat in a hat, with exceptional flair!

And butter! In battles! And sneetches with stars!
And the sneetches without, and their star, no-star wars!
And a turtle named Yertle who toppled a king!
And the one-and-two creatures who shared the name "Thing!"

Everything Old is New Again: Why KDP Select Probably isn't Good for Self-Published Authors

Submitted by C B Wright on
Why KDP Select Probably isn't Good for Self-Published Authors

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
- Ecclesiastes 1:9

If you're at all interested in self-publishing and eBooks, then you probably know about Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon.com's service that allows authors to load their eBooks directly into the Amazon storefronts. Using KDP, I'm able to sell Pay Me, Bug! through the Amazon.com website, and also directly through the Kindle application.

KDP appears to be wildly successful. There are stories of self-published authors making ridiculous sums of money (Amanda Hocking being the most obvious example) through it, and while self-publishing is still not an easy, or even obvious path to success, it seems more accessible than it ever was in the past. You're still climbing up a sheer cliff with razor-sharp vines that dig into your flesh, and there are still pointy rocks and alligators hanging out at the bottom... but it's a shorter climb, you know? And every once in a while you'll come across a piton some other climber left behind.1

Whether or not Amazon's entry into publishing is a good thing for the publishing industry at large (and there are articles that make a pretty damned compelling case why it isn't), it has been a really good deal for some self-published authors, and has given the rest of us another avenue to pursue that we didn't have before. That's signficant, it's important, it might be revolutionary, it's definitely meaningful to me.

Now Amazon has KDP Select, a new service that appears to trade exclusivity for free money. The basic idea: if you make your eBook exclusive to Amazon or a month--take it off BarnesandNoble.com, take it off Smashwords, take it off iTunes, take it off everything but Amazon -- then Amazon will put it in a special lending library where readers can check it out for free. Every time someone checks out your book, you get paid from a pool of money Amazon sets aside every month. The payment is based on a ratio of how many times your book was checked out compared to how many times every other book was checked out, so if your books are checked out more than anyone else's you get more money. In January the pool was $700,000, in February it appears to be $600,000.

Get paid just for having people borrow your book! It looks revolutionary, but it isn't -- it's been done before, and based on my past experience with something similar I'm not sure it's a good thing for authors. If you want to know why, come with me on a journey back in time and below the fold.

  • 1. And occasionally you'll stumble across a head stuck on a pike to serve as a warning, but you ignore them. Silly dismembered heads.

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