This original Trouserpress, alas, has pressed its last wrinkle. The PHP has gone delinquent on me, and rather than mend its ways, I have re-started the blog at a new address, and in snazzier form. I hope.
There are a few good posts on the old press and I leave them up.
If you are an avid and regular reader of Trouserpress (if there is such a person), you might want to consider bookmarking the new page or resetting the RSS because all future posts will appear there.
Trouserpress may be going dormant for a while.
After many, many hours peering under the bonnet and getting my fingers black with code, I think I have figured out what is ailing Trouserpress. However, I have not decided the best way to address the issue or how much time I can devote to fixing it.
I am anyway setting up a new blog designed to make Weed and so on more visible to search engines and that should be up and running before long.
Something is deeply dysfunctional in my Trouserpress.
First it was a little stylesheet problem and since trying to fix that, the blog will only show in two default themes. If I apply any other templates the whole thing disappears from the net with ‘fatal error’ messages. Presumably the fatal error being me trying to play with php without an adult present.
So, this is the result of me sprucing up the site as part of my Weed campaign. Don’t let me ever straighten your collar: your head will fall off.
Another so: this is yet another day sucked into the cyber black hole where I could have been writing or curled in my basket picking my nose. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. The Man doesn’t want Weed on the streets expanding people’s heads.
Music: Holgar Czukay, Movies
Reading: the writing on the fucking wall, pal, and what are you going to do about it?
Well, it has been about three weeks since Weed and Shorts appeared in the online shops as ebooks to no fanfare at all apart from a bit of parping by me getting over the celebratory hangover.
I have been grinding out the press releases and sprucing up the site in the hope of raising a shadow of interest while fending off this mounting sensation of futility with a bottle. More than one bottle.
It’s gratifying to have Weed out there after so many years of muddle and inactivity but promoting it presents a challenge I had not thought through very well. How to connect with the people who might like it? And who are the people I want to connect with anyway? I mean, who are the Weed readers? Who are they really?
I read up on how to promote your publication online and in short it went:
have a blog (done that; tick)
use Facebook (tick)
use Twitter (tick)
optimise your web site (yawn tick)
wave a digital magic wand and watch the punters roll in (waft waft tick)
All this promote-yourself stuff is written by glib nonentities, and the efficacy of their advice is measured by the fact that they are nonentities.
For example, the how-to on marketing yourself on Facebook goes:
get a Facebook account
friend all your friends who also have Facebook accounts
say how much you like your friend’s profiles, individually — it gets you noticed!
make friends with total strangers if you feel up to it
A lot of the advice is full of typos and grammatical errors and is sometimes so cursory that I think it is hacked out by freelancers in the Philippines or India at one dollar per essay (I know this happens because I am a member of a freelancer site through which such writers are recruited at exactly those rates).
On Facebook, I can potentially reach perhaps 200 people through my friends, most of whom I would rather gift the book than see them pay. While I cannot speak for the tastes of my friends, even cyber friends, I suspect that Weed would not appeal to most of these people. Twitter reaches about 30 people, some of whom are not actually real.
If any reader (hi!) has any real advice about using Facebook, please let me know. I am a complete Facebook novice and am open to any suggestions.
I notice that unpublished British writer Rebecca Woodhead has thousands of followers on Twitter and is the subject of regular warm and cuddly comments from Steven Fry. How does she do that when she hasn’t published an actual book yet? She is held up to be a model of how online self-promotion for writers can work, but I honestly cannot see what she is doing that I’m not (except in being more prolific in her blogging and Tweeting). Well, she is charming and endearing, doesn’t swear, doesn’t rant about destroying capitalism in general and the publishing industry in particular, and is considerably better looking than me, so perhaps I should find clues there.
Having moaned so emphatically, there are many more things I can be getting on with to push the writing, and more importantly, there are many more stories I am itching to get on with.
If any reader out there has a site and would be prepared to link to www.psipook.com in exchange for a reciprocal link, please let me know and we can mutually raise our profiles in search rankings. If you know of any online communities or e-zines whose readers might like to hear about Weed, please let me know.
And in the meantime, pity me for the style sheet for Trouserpress has gone missing rendering it a visual mess (another contrast to Ms. Woodhead) and fixing it is just one more of a million tasks I need to attend to. (Cue visit to bottle).
And for the sake of search engine visibility, I must add the following sentence: the fab ebooks I am referring to here are of course Weed and Shorts by Chris Page
E-books Weed and Shorts have appeared on the Sony ebooks site about 10 days before expected, while they have not yet shown on Kindle, Mobi or Barnes & Noble as I thought they would by now. http://sony-ebook-samples.com/sample/5714/weed
It didn’t register with me at first but my ebooks Weed and Shorts are available from SmashBooks.com in all the following formats:
• Online Reading (HTML)
• Kindle (.mobi)
• Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others)
• PDF (good for highly formatted books, or for home printing)
• RTF (readable on most word processors)
• LRF (for Sony Reader)
• Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
• Plain Text (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
• Plain Text (viewable as web page)
That’s so many formats, I’m almost embarrassed. And it also means that the books are available in just one place to everyone who has any kind of digital device whatsoever. All possible nice things to Sage Evans and SmashBooks.
Meanwhile, I’m grinding out the press releases but not anticipating an overwhelming response — or any response other than the cat rubbing round my ankles as he is. But then, cats like Weed, don’t they.
I note that since I last checked I have acquired a dozen new incoming links to this blog from complete strangers. Yet all I do here is rant inanely. There’s literary power in that there fulmination. And if there were money in them links, I would now be able to retire and go to heaven.
Jolly gosh pooh-sticks and the twinkly-twangly sound of harps.
I’m in a very boring and ranty mood. Quelle surprise! All sorts of things have been going on to put me in a grim mind, and to top it all, someone has been rude to Stephen Fry, nearly putting him off Twitter, and if he gave up tweeting, where would we all be? Whoever called Mr. Fry boring is himself boring to the power of a very large number indeed and needs to be told so in no uncertain terms.
And then there are things in my personal life (is there another kind of life?) that are causing extreme states of mind but I cannot talk about that here, so I am sure that when I get so pissed off at people being mean to Stephen Fry and when I get so hopping ireful at Amazon, I am not projecting other frustrations at all. No, not a bit of it.
Did I mention Amazon? Fucking fuckwit retard arsehole bastard tosspot wankers. Not content with censoring and killing the independent publishing sector, they’ve gone and delivered books to me. Fuck ‘em.
See, living in Japan and being a reading junky, I have no choice but to buy books through them. It’s that or just stare at a wall drooling. So this week I ordered a pair of books. At the checkout, there was a kind offer of expedited shipping: I pay extra and Amazon guarantees that my order arrives by Saturday. Junky though I am, I have no need of such express delivery service so I declined the expedited shipping. So yesterday, Saturday, the books I ordered arrived anyway with no shipping charge. If I had chosen expedited shipping, the goods would have arrived just as quickly at considerable extra charge. So fuck you Amazon for trying to rip me off.
And if I see anyone using one of those fuckbastard Amazon Kindle devices, I am going to insert it in their bum sideways at great speed. I hope all those Kindle machines prove fatally defective, exploding and blowing the head off each and every one of their fucking users. By creating this technology they are trying to monopolise the ebook publishing market, which will give them absolute control over what we read and therefore what we think. This is morally and practically equivalent to Monsanto trying to own everything we eat — and no, I don’t have to justify that remark, fucking look it up, OK?
But surely I am exaggerating! These nice Amazonians (association with piranhas coming to mind) have nothing but our best interests and our reading convenience in mind. Well, suck on this: as I have already mentioned on these pages, you basically have to have a US company, US address and US tax registration in order to publish anything through Kindle. If you are not American it’s fuck off an die, Sunny Jim, and how democratic is that? Not being a member of the master race, I have to employ someone in that country to represent me in order to distribute through Amazon TO MY OWN FUCKING COUNTRY. Amazon takes a huge cut for listing my books (even though I haven’t succeeded in listing them there yet) and then the distributor takes another cut, leaving me with fucking pennies, and who was it that did all the work of writing these fucking stories anyway? Amazon and these distributors are fuckwankbastard parasites. And they are bullying everyone to go through their own POD publishers (BookSurge).
So. Fuck ‘em. Or did I mention that already?
And yes, I will continue to try to list my work with them as I have little other choice.
However, I am definitely going to interrogate my bank account to see about setting up my own e-book outlet on Psipook.
Gosh, what a lot of rude words, but I do feel marginally better. On the scale of iniquities, it does not rank up there with what’s happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Burma; it’s not global warming, exploitation of the developing world, industrial poisoning, capitalism, etc. but, golly, it does get my dander up.
The books I ordered: Cocaine Nights, The Atrocity Exhibition, both by JG Ballard
Following on my theme (frothing obsession) with publishers and their iniquities.
In my last rant I complained how the big boys were sewing up ebook/POD independent publishing process and effectively disempowering the independent.
Yesterday, I came across more grist for my ire. Not content with merely appropriating the means of production and distribution, one of the big boys, Amazon, to name a name, has been bullying the independents into working its way, or not getting listed at all.
Some time ago, Amazon set up a company called Book Surge which, for a commission, will format and print your POD books and list them with Amazon. Clever bit of marketing from Amazon. Book Surge’s homepage claims that it was set up by writers for writers, thus implying independence from the Goliath. Bollocks, it was set up by Amazon as an exclusive portal and the independents were coerced into working through it or having their books de-listed by Amazon. The buy buttons were removed from the listings of many books before the independents had time to respond or were informed. And never mind that Book Surge’s services were considered shit by some people. You can read the story here in a article I came across on The Register site (biting the hand that feeds it, and good for it too). The article is a little old but retro is the new now.
For lots of reasons, it would be nice not to do business with Amazon. Fuck ‘em. But they are so big, is it possible to ignore them? Amazon remains the single biggest, distributor of books, reaching those parts that, etc.
The time is here (not for the first time) for some proper punk DIY alternative publishing and distribution, and I probably ought to initiate something as a matter of principle, and indeed I have hoped to. That was a breathless sentence, but I’m too puffed to take another run at it.
Punk publishing does take time. Lots and lots of it. Lorry loads of time. It will require a group effort. I would need to upgrade the software on my site. I looked into this and became dizzy at the enormity of the task for one so unused to code.
Well. Anyone out there want to build a shopping cart and some proper blog PHP for the site’s front page? You know where to find me.
Meanwhile, the distributors of my ebooks have told me today that they should be listed by the end of this week.