Friday, 29 June 2012

GATEKEEPERS? MEET THE BARBARIANS


Our Man has been struggling with the right metaphor or allegory or whateveryoumacallit to describe the changes to the Murdoch empire. Despite not actually reading beyond the first subhead of the NYT story, or indeed having much of any familiarity with the Roman Empire beyond the Asterix Era, Our Man can say with some confidence the following:

While Solomon only teased about splitting the baby in two, King Murdoch is severing his empire into the bad bit and the good bit. The bad bit will shrivel and die, like the Western Roman Empire, and the good bit, like the Eastern Roman Empire, will go on and on.

The problem is Our Man doesn't know which is which. Is the bit with Fox TV the good or bad bit? Or is the bit with the Sun and the Times and Wall Street Journal the bad bit? What about the Holy Roman Empire? The Catholic Church? The Sick Man of Europe? The Scramble for Africa? Arkright's Mill and the Spinning Jenny? Consider this from Clay Shirky:

Publishing is not evolving. Publishing is going away. Because the word “publishing” means a cadre of professionals who are taking on the incredible difficulty and complexity and expense of making something public. That’s not a job anymore. That’s a button. There’s a button that says “publish,” and when you press it, it’s done. In ye olden times of 1997, it was difficult and expensive to make things public, and it was easy and cheap to keep things private. Privacy was the default setting. We had a class of people called publishers because it took special professional skill to make words and images visible to the public. Now it doesn’t take professional skills. It doesn’t take any skills. It takes a Wordpress install.

So the publishing part of the Murdoch Empire is, to use an old newspaper expression, fucked. But Our Man reckons the same is true of the entertainment "good bit". Blogging is to newspapers what YouTube is to movie studios, n'est ce pas? Just give it a year or two.

Gatekeepers? Meet the barbarians.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

YEAR OF THE MONKEY


Realising a dream is an odd sensation. Liberating and frustrating in equal measure. Or as Our Man prefers to think of it in memo form:

Removed monkey from back, now gotta find new monkey. 

Our Man has lived with the novel-writing primate for several years, and to be suddenly free of him leaves Our Man at a loss. He's filled that time with doing PR stuff and generally goofing off, and it's time to say enough of that. He's coming round to the view that the best PR is to just keep writing good stuff, build an audience one reader at a time. A radical idea, for sure. And one Our Man feels most comfortable with.

Will Hana do battle with the forces of evil again? Of course. But first, Our Man has a couple of ebook shorts he wants shot of before he's ready to grapple with another Hana Walker manuscript.

Monday, 25 June 2012

#HALFLIFEBOOK PR: THE ART OF FAILING SUCCESSFULLY


Apologies for going on and on about Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46, but, as you know, this writing a book lark has been a hell of a monkey on Our Man's back so please forgive him if he spends a couple more posts blowing his own trumpet (nobody else is gonna blow it, certainly not those monkeys - ed).

Fortunately, Our Man is a silhouette, otherwise he would blush as red as Hana's felt-tipped front cover when he thinks how shameless he has been in pursuing coverage of his pet project. When it's for others,  for folk who genuinely suffered, as in Quakebook, or, in the case of Reconstructing 3/11 for his fellow writers (they genuinely suffered your editing - ed.) Our Man had no problem being shameless in the pursuit of hits.

But Our Man messed up this time round. He put a link on the Quakebook twitter feed thinking Hana's tale would be of interest to folk who bought Quakebook (although stressing her book was a personal project, with personal gain, not for charity) and he should have listened to his own conscience and not done it. He was rightly taken to task for besmirching Quakebook's good name, and he immediately removed the link from the feed. Our Man genuinely regrets the slip in judgment. What can he say? He got wrapped up in the retweet frenzy and lost sight of the only thing that really matters in all of this -- integrity (yeah, do like the pros do when writing for other publications - you are supposed to not mention the whole reason you are writing and wrap yourself in the flag of the greater good, then insist on a merely biographical link to your latest hardback doorstopper overprced at $19.99 -- that's called integrity - ed.) 

So, Our Man messed up. He's sorry about that. He won't do that again.

He vows to find entirely new ways to mess up. Like the letter to Granta above. Which, despite failing even from the stage of conception (at the bottom of a bottle of 7-Eleven red), actually delivered a really generous reply from Ellah, proving the truth of Our Man's new motto...

When failing, it's important to fail successfully.

Meanwhile, Our Man is quietly optimistic Dan Ryan will surprise us all and knock the PR ball outta the park. (Let's hope he knocks out those pesky monkeys, eh? - ed.)

Carry on.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

WELCOME TO ABIKO? #HanaLives



My fellow Abikans,

Four score and ten minutes ago, Our Man came to a decision about what to do about PR gurus, publicity-seekers and assorted internet trolls. His natural reaction, and indeed any right-thinking Abikan's, is to ignore the haters; to take the higher ground; to correctly use semi-colons; and speak no ill of the complete time-wasting tossers.

But when the trolls of this world (see the garish welcome to Abiko PDFs left anonymously at Dan Ryan's email inbox above, free PDF downloads available) attack the reputation of one of Our Man's friends, a girl no less, he cannot stand idly by and let the outrageous slings of fortune sling unfortunately.

What, you may ask, is our Man on about? What indeed. The so-called PDF arrived this morning in the so-called bunker (with an advert for Uri Geller's so-called lucky bracelets).

Our Man could refute each accusation against the character of Hana Walker, thrust unceremoniously into the limelight of international publishing with the release of her Half-Life 2:46 book available at all good Amazon stores priced at $3.99 around this cruel interconnected, internationalized but increasingly easy to monetize world, but what would be the point?


Yes, Brent. There are far too many people on the internet with far too much time on their hands. But together, we may go hand-in-hand (if you wash them first) to the higher ground. 


And thank you, Durf. That kind of wholehearted self-less, self-sacrifice for the greater good will not be forgotten, certainly not in the true Greater Abiko Co-Prosperity shpere.

Is Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46 a work of fiction? A good question. A better question would be: is it true? And the best question of all would be: Is the book any bloody good?

The answer, my fellow Abikans, agents provocateur, boys and girls, is yes.

#HanaLives


HANA'S ON THE SHELVES

That was quicker than Our Man thought -


Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46 is live! 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

#HALFLIFEBOOK ALMOST LIVE...



So this is it. Our Man has sent off the completed ebook file of Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46 to Amazon and it's just a matter of hours, or probably minutes, until the book hits the virtual shelves in America and Europe. Though thanks to the internet you can buy a copy wherever you are from the Abiko Free Press bookstore RIGHT HERE.

Is it a page-turner? Did Our Man make the right call on the balance of sublime vs ridiculous? Did he do Hana's voice justice? Did he edit it well enough? Listen to the right advice? Shun the wrong?

He doesn't know. But he does know this: It's the best he could write at this time. Hemingway said something along the lines of self-doubt was the artist's reward. But he went and shot himself and Our Man has no intention to do that, so really, maybe his advice kinda sucked. And besides, Our Man is no artist (yeah, we all saw the cover - ed.)

But this is the straight-up truth: Our Man put his all into those 50,000 words, and for any faults the book may have, it's still worth a read. Does the book work? You be the judge -- the first couple of chapters are free on Amazon. Go ahead, have a nosey round.

And should you buy a copy and want to write a review on Amazon, Our Man will be most grateful, even if you think it sucks. But know this: if you should get as far as "whale in a can" -- that bit is not a formatting mistake. It's supposed to be like that.

Carry on!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

HANA WALKER'S HALF-LIFE 2:46 - THE MOVIE



Our Man has just sent his loyal band of beta readers prototype copies of the book that will be hitting Amazon in two days' time. In the meantime, here's a little video that Our Man pieced together with bits of film and double-sided sticky tape. Just a little more now, fellow agents provocateur.

More details over at www.abikofreepress.com.

Carry on.


Monday, 18 June 2012

STATISTICS PROVE YOU WILL BE STUPIDER AFTER READING THIS POST


Extra! Extra! Extra! Read all about how the internet is destroying our ability to think! It must be true because the article HERE has a bunch of meaningless statistics that show people use the internet and apparently the ease of access to information in the digital age makes thinking far too easy and apparently people without sufficient education or ability to use card catalogues are thinking for themselves. And that means we are stupid. Well, probably it's true if we only read stupid articles on the Mainichi's internet-only edition about turning stupid by reading, er, stuff on the internet. There's an irony in there somewhere, but Our Man's digital brain can't quite grasp it. Must be all that online work he's been putting in to his latest digital book -- Hana Walker's Half-life 2:46? You like that gratuitous link? No? Then why not read a great put down of the stupid article RIGHT HERE instead.

You have your orders, now stop thinking and carry on.

Pic lifted from here.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALL RIGHT FOR FORMATTING

The formatting is complete on Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46. Oh sure, you act as if you don't care, but really, this is quite a momentous occasion in the life of a particular anonymous online silhouette. THIS (click on the "THIS") is what it means.


Carry on. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

THIS? THIS IS ABIKO



The new cover for Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46 is done. It's the (at present) unlinked pic on the top left of this here blog. If you'd like a link, you could click HERE and gain some valuable insight into the making of the cover (hint: it involves felt-tip pens).

By the way, Our Man had commissioned the excellent MARI KURISATO to design the cover, whom he would not hesitate to recommend, and she did design a stunning, professional cover worthy of a New York publishing house (and Our Man's silhouette Twitter avatar, as it happens), but Our Man changed his mind purely because he wanted to do the cover himself. That may turn out to be a pig-headed, misguided and commercially naive decision, but it's like this:

Our Man is not ashamed of self-publishing his book. In fact, he wouldn't have it any other way. He doesn't want to look, er, professional. He can't explain how he wants to look, so he just did it himself. Because...

This ain't New York. This is Abiko. Deal with it.

(BTW, the video was included because it was funny, as recommended by @BILL(Y) on twitter, and Our Man was going to work the word "awesome" in to this post to make the video relevant to the bit at the end of the routine about the word "awesome", but Our Man frankly could not be bothered, although it would probably have been less work than explaining his thinking here. Sometimes even Our Man does not understand the decisions he makes. Or agree with them.)

Friday, 15 June 2012

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS. WELL, KINDA

Our Man started toying with writing a novel a few years ago. OK, a good few years ago. OK, OK, many, many years ago in college, he toyed with writing a novel. But he put away such childish things and got on with more pressing matters of edumacation like learning an Open G tuning on his guitar (that's the only G spot Our Man had any success at finding - ed.) and, you know, living life.

But Our Man was lucky to spend his career messing around with words. First as an obituary writer for the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Arkansas, then he was allowed free rain (rein? - ed.) on the weather reports and before you knew it he had what folks who make more than minimum wage call "a career". The rest of us call it a job. The long and the short of Our Man's jobbing career can be found here.

Thirteen years of writing, editing and consuming news copy later... Our Man still hadn't written a novel. Or made much more than minimum wage. Or progressed any further than Honkey Tonk Women on the guitar.

And then the newspaper business died. Our Man found himself staring at the abyss and, if he's honest, was relieved. Relieved that the bullshit of journalese, AP stylebooks, smart arse intros and stories that get progressively duller so they can be easily cut to fit around the ads, with opinions so asinine, so subverted, so mainstream (so what? - ed) So that it was sooooo time to say to Hell With All That. But what' else is there?

Oh yeah, the novel.

So, as far as Our Man is concerned, you need three things to write a good novel.

1. Something worth saying.
2. An ability to say it.
3. And something else.

Well, here's the scoop.

Our Man has been labouring away since before the earthquake on a book that has a tale worth telling; is written to the best of his ability with minimal reference to an AP stylebook and, dammit, there's an intangible something else about the book.

Is it  masterpiece? A Catch 22 for the post earthquake generation?

Of course bloody not. Have you been drinking as much 7-Eleven Chile wine as Our Man? But, the book is the absolute best Our Man can write at this time. He can do no more.

Anyway, the point of this post? The point is:

Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46 

will be available on Amazon from Thursday, June 21st, 2012...

... just as long as Our Man has finished scribbling the cover and formatting the book in pesky HTML code. More details to follow...

Monday, 11 June 2012

RECONSTRUCTING 3/11 FREE FOR A DAY

As Prime Minister Noda tries to convince a skeptical country that the nukes are perfectly safe, Our Man thought it only right that we all should get a reminder of what 3/11 means for Japan. Download your copy for free FROM HERE. You have 24 hours!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

NEW BOOK HAS A NEW NAME, FOLKS



Don't hate Our Man if he fails to suppress a smug smile of satisfaction...

Not only has he received the thumbs up from his editor, Dan Ryan - of DAN RYAN fame, on his extensive rewrites to the manuscript for his latest book, but he's also moving along on the many fronts you have to move along before you can self-publish your book.

Eh?

He's decided on its title. Just a little more now and you too could own your very own copy of...

Hana Walker's Half-Life 2:46

... because that's what it's gonna be called. More details to come in a drip, drip manner just to whet your appetite (sheesh, more like Chinese water torture - ed.) 

Friday, 1 June 2012

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN: A CHAPTER OF HALF-LIFE IN 50 WORDS


Our Man has been missing much of the fun with Chinese spies and genital cooking stories. But don't eat your face off (no, no, no, this doesn't work - ed.) because he has been busy. The never ending story that is his novel - codenamed Half-life - is really, seriously nearly at an end. He has just written the acknowledgments. It's maybe a couple of weeks away from publication, maybe less, cover life dependent.

In the meantime, why not check out Our Man's entry into Kimiecat's 50-word story competition. Our Man didn't win, but it was a fun exercise, not least because of the neat, FREE EBOOK HERE she made of all the entries. Our Man's 50-worder was composed over lunch and summarises the first chapter of his novel. How's that for an appetizer?