Sunday, 24 April 2011


NB - POD = Print on demand OMiA = Our Man in Abiko NB= Notus Benidictus

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


So, coming up with another idea.

See, Our Man thinks we've not done too badly on the book part of #quakebook. (It's a reality. It's bloody good. It is accessible from the world's biggest bookseller, Amazon, you can download it to your PC, Mac or smartypants phone) and they have waived their fee, so every time you buy it, not a penny goes to Quakebook, Amazon or Our Man (sigh). Everything, less any cut passing government heavies might impose as tax, goes to the Japan Red Cross.

And Our Man is absolutely confident we'll get a print edition in English and Japanese out soon, at cost price. Would be lovely to get a printed book with ALL revenues raised going to charity, but real books have real costs - paper, ink, lorry drivers, presses, business-class tickets to book fairs in London, you know, unavoidable costs, baby.

Incidentally, here's a lesson in economics Our Man is having to get his head round: Sell a Kindle book at $9.99, all the cash goes to the Japanese Red Cross. Sell a hardback at $20, even at cost, you are looking at half the kindle book price, $4.50, going to charity.

Charge twice as much, get half the bang of a digital book. But print outsells digital 9:1 or so.

Our Man's head hurts. You do the math: Print is pricey, but it pays. If inefficiently.

Our Man likes print. It's got pedigree. It's real. But it takes time and resources to figure out. He will get it figured, but in the meantime, we do have a digital book that ya'll can get your digital digits on. Just, it's a high mental barrier to jump from print to digital for many readers.

That's why Our Man thinks we need a kind of citizen's army of recruiters to help the print lovers defeat their fears of digital - if just for one book for charity.

The Civil Rights movement had voter registration drives to get black Americans voting for the first time. Quakebook needs something similar.

Your advice is, as always, welcome (though not always heeded).

Sunday, 17 April 2011


OK, now Our Man's life is getting surreal. See, he was in Roppongi Hills for Inspire Japan, where goodly folk get together and talk on a stage about their charity projects. Let me run that by ya'll again:

1. Little ol' Our Man was giving a talk to the great and the good of Tokyo's hipster gaijin crowd.
1.5 In Roppongi Hills. Think Canary Wharf but with shops and stuff.
2. Our Man was talking about Quakebook on a stage on the 52nd floor of the Mori Building.
3. In Roppongi Hills.
4. Think Nakatomi Plaza without the German terrorists or Bruce Willis.
5. Our Man met the Press Secretary for the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
6. REPEAT: Our Man met the Press Secretary for the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
7. Press Secretary: "Thank you for all you have done for Japan."
8. Our Man: "It was nothing, we all do what we Kan."
9. Gedddddiitttt???
10. Fortunately, Ks and Cs are interchangeable in speech. And Our Man didn't mean to pun, he just can't help himself.

Anyway, buy Quakebook. Last time he checked, it was still No. 5 in the non-fiction charts of Amazon. Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


If you are reading this post then stop wasting your time right now. Click here. It's only the link to the Amazon page where you can download 2:46 - Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake by the Quakebook community. Remember, you don't even need a kindle to read it, yous pays yous money and reads it on any computer or self-aware phone (click on the links on the right of the Amazon page). There seem to be some folk who can't download it. I can only think these are teething troubles, and will be resolved shortly. I've asked, be patient. Or fake your address as a US resident. No, don't do that. That would be wrong.

Back again?

Thanks. Thanks alot, in fact there are hundreds of people to thank, and I'm going to forget lots of important people. But, I have to start my thanks somewhere:

The core editorial team: Dan Ryan in California, Sandra Barron in LA/Tokyo, M. Rosewood in NY and illustrator Mari Kurisato in Denver. The designer whose work you can barely see in the kindle edition, but whose work will shine in print - Ed Harrison. The woman who single handedly turned into something worth reading: Lindsey Annison in Cumbria, UK. The chaps who turned the blogspot site into a .org with streaming video and xtml and stuff: Joseph Tame, Michael Gakuran. The backroom mover and shaker who landed us Amazon and got them to waive their fees - Kevin Carroll. The bloke who herded all the disparate cats together after Our Man got fur balls: Roberto De Vido. Other Eds: Jesse Johnson, Joanne Greenway, Owen Schaefer, Jenny Silver, Vania Sofiandi, Aimee Weinstein. Translators Hiromi Davis, Yoshiko Ikeda, Yuko Kato, Tomomi McElwee, M. Rosewood, Andy Sharp, Fernando Ramos, Shirabe Yamada. Arty types: James White (Cover design) Gavin Strange, Linda Yuki Nakanishi, Daniel Freytag, Fernando Ramos, Philipp Christoph Tautz, Brian Lynn, Yukiko Kurokawa.

And Our Woman in Abiko.

Oh yeah, and Yoko Ono, William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein who, apart from Jake, sprinkled some much needed star dust over the project.

And all the other contributors of stories (85 of them) who you'll just have to buy the book to find out who needs thanking.

And I'm sure there are others who need thanking, whom I've forgotten, like the numerous folk on twitter who helped out, eg Mark Rende who found my first three tweets that started this rigamarole and Jason Packman who bagged us the twitter address before we'd even thought of it.

Oh, and JJ who provided the soundtrack. And the Dub bloke from Twitter who knows how to make proper videos and has promised to sink a few and have a jam sesh in Abiko one of these days.

Enough of this. Let's get out there and sell some books.

*Knew I'd forgotten a few - Liza and Sam in Boston and Katy, our agent provocateur embedded at Amazon's Seattle HQ. And er, Jim Bonner, our publisher?

#quakebook IS ON SALE!

Here's how I broke the news a couple of hours ago to the Quakebook team (click to enlarge):

Now, just go here and buy the blinkin' book! The real work begins now.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


Our Man can't believe it's been a week since he has posted anything here. It has been a week of massive progress, and yet he can't tell you about it yet. You just have to trust him on this. But know this:

Great things are just around the corner.

Yeah, sure, that sounds flat and the same old, same old, but what can Our Man say? Since March 18th he has been on a (at times) insane mission to deliver what he promised: A book with all proceeds going to benefit the Japanese Red Cross. It's been a crash course in book publishing, public relations, building a business, human relations, disaster relief, fund-raising - an MBA in a couple of weeks. Has Our Man passed? Not yet.

But failure is not an option. And we won't fail. That is a feeling Our Man has so strongly that it has become fact. Before this thing started, Our Man felt alone and helpless. But now? He can say there is an organisation of over 200 people behind Quakebook that is taking it forward in directions he could only imagine before.

Our Man has been getting flak for suggesting that Quakebook is akin to Live Aid for this generation. Know this too: A couple of weeks ago Quakebook was just an idea. Now it is a reality. A global reality featuring William Gibson, Yoko Ono, Barry Eisler, Jake Adelstein, not to mention Our Woman and Our Mother in Law in Abiko.

If this is possible, what else is? Well there is very good news to come. And then? It's insane, but Our Man hasn't a clue what will come next, but he knows it will be great. He knows it.

Just a little more.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

#quakebook FRUSTRATION

  • Here we are with a completed book.
  • We have over a thousand people who have signed up to buy a copy without even knowing the price.
  • We could just release it now as a PDF and get folk to donate to a link how much they think it is worth directly to the Japanese Red Cross.
  • Right now.
  • But we wait.
  • We wait so we can have a button with a direct link to the Japanese Red Cross.
  • We wait so we can have the PDF reformatted so it can be read by an Amazon kindle and a Sony reader.
  • We wait in the hope that releasing the book with Amazon's backing will add a couple of zeroes on the end of sales if we just gave it away from the blog.
  • We are losing speed in the hope of grabbing a bigger prize and therefore helping exponentially more people.
I hope we have made the right decision. Because the longer we wait, the less useful our contribution becomes. This is eating me up.

And I wait. Helpless again.