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THIS post was written before SPOKEN started. SPOKEN is a project I am doing with Eugene Soh, an experiment in which art, text, virtual reality and social media intersect. Learn about SPOKEN here. To enter gallery.sg and experience SPOKEN, click here. Here is the extremely short version: from 2002 until 2008 I was involved with a visionary virtual reality project that combined educational practices with gamemaking and multimedia. However, the spiritual captain of the project was part Disney, part Microsoft and part Sex Pistols. An unexpected death, treachery, incompetence, inexperience, bureaucratic boondoggles and more made my life "interesting"... I have pages of notes about the events and the spirit of the times. We were doing things like Youtube and Second Life before they started. The project was so close... and yet so far away. (Actually, now that mobile technology has settled down, I hope that the lessons and products of that experience can be revitalized. But that's yet another story.) In 2006, as a way of showcasing our technology, I entered a gamemaking hackathon. A theme was given on a Thursday morning and the next day at five the results were judged.The theme was something about healthy eating, I think. Working with my programmer in Hong Kong, we made a game in which the viewer learned about the calorie count of certain foods. The player competed with an AI character. It was fun to do. However, what I remember most was a team that made an incredible flash game. I don't remember if they won or not, but I do remember two guys on that team very well. George Parel and Eugene Soh were full of energy, knowledge and bursting with creative ideas. They still are. I've been lucky to work with George and Eugene on a few projects since then. In 2008 I finally had to put the educational gamemaking project on hold while I waited for a programmer and the mobile device situation to stabilize.I put more time into writing and art projects. George and Eugene (that dude from Singapore) however, have kept on doing remarkably creative things with IT, art, design and more. Virtual reality may seem to be an artificial place, but the gallery Eugene has created fills me with memories and hope. I am honored and very thankful for I Ate Tiong Bahru to be on display in gallery.sg Cheers, Eugene! Cheers, George!
Preface This informal essay is my way of marking the end of a certain era in ebook history. It's part snapshot, part reference materials, part journal.At the end of this post are notes about me, my experiences and my books. Thanks to Doug Rolph for his insights on economics, Eric Hellman for his input and my dad for having taken care of our family by selling books. το πνεύμα του Ιανού After I finish writing eight books, I will begin marketing. Until then, I'll probably study the ebook world less and hopefully do more writing, arting and engaging with Life. When it does comes time for me to contribute to the marketing conversation, I hope I have something to say. For now, I present the following notes, quotes and thoughts as a means of punctuating a phase in the development of ebooks as I have seen and experienced it. This is an exciting time. The ebook delivery platforms are finally stable, self-publishing has proven to have great value and a number of services have recently appeared that shorten the distances between readers and authors. It seems to me that indie ebooks and ebook marketing are about to enter a new era. This blog post makes little mention of traditional publishing. This is simply because, as much as I would like to enjoy the benefits of being a Big 5/6 author, that fruit is not now within my reach. I am however, considering joining the Author's Guild. Although I've done almost no marketing, I have studied the environments in which ebooks are created, presented, bought and sold. Some observations: 1. Except for uploading, nothing about ebooks is easy. Writing is the anti-social social media, full of long, long hours of pressure-filled solitude. Assembling an error-free book is never simple. The social part, finding an audience, is an immense challenge. I respect all of the authors mentioned in this post for they have successfully met these challenges and more.
them! Somewhat related to this, are there any "ebook only" awards?
Here, authors talk about their sales experiences.
4. The ebook world evolves to reward the reader; the prepared author benefits from this.
Fan fiction. Goodreads. Ebook readers on mobile phones. The mashup between big data and metadata. Entrepreneurs with vision who see ways to connect authors and readers in a new ways.
It is an exciting time.
Ebooks: Born to Click, Part 2 of 3
visit www.blacksteps.tv for parts 2 and 3 of this post, as well as information on art, books and ebooks
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Stephen KingBased on my experiences, the work breakdown of an 88,000 word novel looks something like this: 1000 words a day (88 days) or, more likely, 500 words a day (176 days). Call it 200 days to prepare something for a proofreader. Two months for corrections, art, and ebook conversion. So, a book takes about 300 working days to finalize. About... And then there are the thousands of actions needed to connect with readers... The title of Guy Kawasaki's excellent book says it all: APE, meaning Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur This document, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, is a data-based analysis of the ebook market. Highly recommended, it covers topics important for newbies and veterans. It touches upon issues like word count, pricing, marketing and more. For instance, his research shows that the average bestseller on Smashwords is 100,000 words, and the average romance is 112,195 words. (There are more links to resources at the end of this post.) Very few traditionally published authors became bestsellers; the same is true for ebook publishing. My goal is not to become a bestseller, but to connect with the largest possible community of people who enjoy the art of reading. 2. A great writer or a great marketer... ....or, the frustration of being caught between not doing enough writing and not doing enough marketing. A writer writes, a salesman sells. Self-publishing does not equal self-marketing. Spending money wisely on promotion money means income and time to write. (See the links below) Twitter, Goodreads, FB, LinkedIn and blogging? All have their advantages and disadvantages... 3. There are no independent, hugely successful ebook-only self-publishers. Note: Two days after this post went up, I became aware of this great piece by Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World. Thank you Jacqueline Church! Amazon is huge, Apple is huge, Kobo and Smashwords are very big. Unless you are selling from your own website or the back of your car, you're not truly independent. OK, A bit of an attention grabber there...but the author's need for a partnership with Amazon and ebook distributors is a dependence that cannot be overlooked. These "automatic partners" will always protect their interests first. They call the shots. Amazon is a business, not an author. Amanda Hocking is a hugely successful author. At one point, the average daily sales figure of her self-published ebooks was 9000. Again: average DAILY book sales: nine thousand! Her success was based on hard work, technological first mover advantage and an indirect tie-in with Hollywood. Consider: -the successful and pioneering integration of ebook readers into tablets and mobile as well as the launch of the Kindle (2007) and the iPad(2010) -the large demographic of young women who bought readers and tablets - the fact that, having written many books, Hocking could quickly provide a new and large market with a variety of new titles - writing books about the paranormal when Hollywood is pushing the same cannot hurt. Twilight, the hugely successful series of movies about teen vampires began in 2008. Hocking's first book, My Blood Approves, began selling in 2010. E.L. James' book phenomenon began in the fan fiction chat rooms for Twilight. The characters in Fifty Shades of Grey were originally the characters from Twilight. Could Master of the Universe, as her series was originally called, have achieved its success without an existing network of thousands of Twilight fans? These two women made their mark upon society in two different ways. As shared, collective book-based experiences: WOW! However, the writing is..."not terrible" or worse
I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people like David Dalglish and BV Larson breaking out, and the rest of “genre” fiction soon followed. http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/amazon-makes-life-easier-for-authors-of-historical-literary-fiction/There are "indie success stories" about authors who "rode into town" on the backs of traditional publishing. Funded by Big 6 money these "indies" were advertised and publicized, sent on book tours and given things like business cards. Possibly, audiobooks were made. Hundreds, if not thousands, of their books were given away, many to reviewers. As the 'first mover'possibilities of the ebook market became clear and realistic, these authors, knighted by the Big 6 and armed with credibility and connections, rode onto a battlefield with little opposition... Undoubtedly hard work was involved, but to label them as indies brings to mind the quip about George Bush: "...was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple." There certainly are "ebook only" indies connecting with many readers and enjoying sales. I just don't know of any. (FOUND SOMEONE: LINDSAY BUROKER Please tell me about others!
This is a placeholder...to be filled in soon.http://www.sgfoodonfoot.com/2015/11/kampong-carrot-cake-tiong-bahru-market.html
The photo about black and white carrot cake is from Kampung Carrot Cake. Stall number 02-53
Hi. My name is Stephen Black and I am crowdfunding a campaign to make a poster about Tiong Bahru. A brief bio of me can be found at the bottom of this post. This is an adventure, because I know where I want to go, but I do not know who will come with me nor do I know exactly how we will get there. For example, many people may send in photos or selfies and some of their images may be large on the final poster, some may be small. The poster adventure begins with this "protodesign". Again, this is only a starting point. The squares you see are (presently) 3 x 3 centimeters and the poster is A2, which is 42 x 60 cm. Other points to be aware of are:
- the images are NOT color corrected. Color correcting takes time and not all of these images may continue to the final version. Very likely, the final version will include some photos that are black and white, though they were originally in color.
- the final design will be unique, but will reference Art Deco, Chinese calligraphy, food magazines, contemporary design and "retro" TB. Aiming for a "visual kampung" where all of these styles can be independent yet part of a community.
- Monkey God and Hungry Ghost images will appear!
- Next mock-up will include food porn!
- Next mock-up will include a few selfies-hopefully yours!
- the size, layout, colors and number of photos in the final version will be different than the sample above.
- if you would like your selfie or photo of Tiong Bahru to be in the poster, get in touch now!
- This campaign is for the design of the poster.Posters will be printed for particiapants, but unless there is a large amount of money received, this campaign does not include printing a large number of posters. I do plan to print many posters, but for the moment, there are too many unknowns to plan accurately
- PSS Are you a designer? This campaign includes a budget for design! If you would like to be considered as a designer for the final version, get in touch. If you are selected, it would work like this: I would give you a very well-prepared brief. We discuss. Then, off you go.
Did you ever get the feeling that the story's too damn real.. and in the present tense... ..and that everybody's on the stage and it seems like you're the only person sitting in the audience? Jethro Tull, Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New DayOK.. It is very likely that you are here because of a SlideShare deck, one that has only 52 words!You obviously enjoy and understand the importance of fun and games. THANK YOU. This post is a brief introduction to myself, David Severn and the story behind Secret Donut World. To introduce David Severn is easy. David (Dr.7 as I call him), is a British artist and illustrator, whose work has appeared in international publications of all kinds as well as galleries great and small, including the tiny, tatami-floored art space I co-founded in Tokyo a few decades ago. David's strengths include storytelling and the ability to create characters that are strikingly original, yet feel like old friends. David is based in Tokyo and his website is here: http://www.david-severn.com/ To introduce myself thoroughly would take quite a few paragraphs. I have been based in Singapore since 2002 and have lived in Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Manhattan and Bali. From 2002-2007, I worked on a 3D game creation software (CDK) as a producer/creative director and later used it to teach a great variety of students: from Malay schoolchildren to university-age programmers in Yangoon to Singaporean senior citizens. I am also a visual and conceptual artist, and have great deal of experience in the music business, both recording and live. In 2007, while waiting for mobile technology to stabilize and the VR ecosystem to become mainstream, I began writing books, one of which, i ate tiong bahru, became a bestseller. I am now working on a book called Cinematography 8.0:light, color and motion in the age of VR, AR, AI, CG and Drones. I have written scripts, theatre pieces and studied with Robert McKee both in a weekend long auditorium class and an invitation-only three day workshop. Beach Road: a co-produced with Hiverlab, I wrote, starred in and helped structure the editing and audio. Beach Road was featured in the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 206 Las Vegas VR Fest. SPOKEN Located within a virtual gallery built by The Dude, Eugene Soh, SPOKEN features a diverse collection of artists and writers curated by myself. Together, David and I have created Secret Donut World, which is a collection of characters, assets, animations and environments that, from the very beginning were created with VR in mind. We have ideas for stories, games, haptic experiences, movies(3D, 360 and 2D) and amusing experiences which do not have yet names. (Angry Birds and Job Simulator were difficult to accurately describe before they were made. Once made of course, they seemed obvious.) We look forward to speaking with those experienced with character and IP licensing as well anyone interested in the storytelling/moviemaking possibilities of VR and 360. 2017 is The Year of the Donut, a great time to get our characters and ideas out into the world!. Thank you for your interest. Drop me a line at bookmerah16 at mark g mail dot com to discuss any of this and learn more about our latest adventures. You can be among the first to sample Secret Donut World. Onward! Stephen Black PS.I recently attended the Asia VR: VR Content: The Making of and the Asia VR/ HTC Vive One Day VR Development Bootcamp. This week are two more events, one by Eon and the other by IBM. Next week the Singapore Media Festival starts. Attendance at these events allows us to show the possibilities between the latest technologies and Secret Donut World. PPS. Yes, the featured image for this post is the cover of a book, Flame Magnet, by Stephen Black. The image is a pencil sketch of Lance, one of the characters in Secret Donut World. PPS I should mention that I have in various capacities for companies like CNN, MTV, France 2, Fox, Fuji TV, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.
You are probably here because you received a piece of paper from me. HELLO I am writing this on Thursday, November 24.... a very full day. Probably on Sunday I can come back and fill this page full of descriptions and links about my projects. For now... SPOKEN at www.gallery.sg this was created with Eugene Soh and is full of art and writing. It requires a 10 meg download, which is free. Beach Road You'll need a VR viewing device to see this short film which was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest. Descriptions of my books including videos and reviews. Please consider taking a look at my crowdfunding projects for a Tiong Bahru poster AND a book on the way that technology has affected cinematography. And, scattered throughout this blog are posts about art, post full of photography, short stories and posts about all kinds of things. THANKS FOR STOPPING BY! Stephen Black
I am writing this on Saturday morning, 12:12 on November 19. This is a placeholder, with only a little information.This will be updated soon. I am starting another crowdfunding campaign with Zingohub, as the first was very successful: 174% over target. This campaign is for a poster that will include photos from the public, photos taken by me for someone and my own photos. At the moment I have a number of ideas on what the poster will look like. I will reveal them soon. For now, a poster from a previous project, this one designed by Roy Chan. The design for the Tiong Bahru poster will likely be much simpler. Stay tuned to watch how the Tiong Bahru poster develops...
- This will be a book of photographs, facts, history and stories about the people, food and community of Tiong Bahru and the surrounding area.
- Please note that Tiong Bahru Time is a working title that may or may not be used. However, the idea of time is definitely the foundation of the book. Examples: breakfast time, lunch time, Hungry Ghost Month, the Monkey God's Birthday, the pre-war flats, the post-war flats, daytime, nighttime, the seasons, 24 hours in Tiong Bahru, childhood, adulthood, The Sixties,etc.
- The photographs and text will be mainly by Stephen Black, whose previous book on Tiong Bahru, i ate tiong bahru, is a national bestseller. Stephen Black holds Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and his works have been shown in galleries and museums worldwide. He has worked at various roles for companies such as CNN, Cartoon Network, Fuji TV, Fox and France 2. His 360 short film entitled Beach Road was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest. Elsewhere on this blog are posts about his involvement with music, CG-generated environments and other artists.
- At this time the total number of pages will likely be about 200 pages; size not yet determined.
He Once Hitchhiked: Morning Chat with Reed Hastings, CEO Netflix: “Disruption, Culture, People and Leadership”
Being a very experienced entrepreneur, I have to strongly disagree with a statement Reed Hastings made last Friday during his presentation for the U Creative community in Singapore.
"An entrepreneur," he said," is someone who jumps out of a plane without a parachute, wholeheartedly believing that a bird will pass by and carry him to safety."
What nonsense!An entrepreneur works his tail off making plans and researching, so that after jumping out of the plane, he or she knows exactly where and when a FLYING DRAGON will appear to carry him or her over the Mountains of Hardship and the Desert of Loneliness to the Magic Conference Room Where One's Colleagues Are Stunning. Anyhoo... Reed Hastings: "The creative economy is about variability." "Adequate gets a great severance package." Most of the topics Mr. Hastings touched upon are here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
I am honored that the Jewellery Design and Management International School have agreed to oversee the certificates of authenticity for the edition of signed(etched) glass artworks in the crowdfunding campaign now on ZingoHub. (You can learn more about JDMIS here.) As stated on the crowdfunding page, a total of eighty-eight glasses will be signed with an etching pen and numbered. A certificate of authenticity will be enclosed with each glass. I have known Tanja Sadow, the dean of JDMIS, since I arrived in Singapore in 2002. I know that many jewellery-making success stories are associated with the high standards of JDMIS and I am thrilled that JDMIS has agreed to oversee the authentication process of the i ate tiong bahru glass artworks.
BREAKING NEWS! A new book about Tiong Bahru; mainly photos! The i ate tiong bahru glassware crowdfunding campaign went 30% over target in the first three days... and ended at 175%- well over target! To celebrate and say "thank you", I am giving away ebooks. i ate tiong bahru A national bestseller in Singapore, iatb is a collection of short stories about Tiong Bahru, a community living in an estate composed of uniquely styled Art Deco buildings. "Unlike anything else I've read.""Black's love letter is one of the best introductions to a country and a state that you might read" Art Review Asia. More reviews here. Free download from Amazon on November 13,2016.
If you are an art collector, an adventurous reader and a drinker of caffeinated beverages, YOUR DREAM HAS COME TRUE...(click to join the club)Obama Search Words Stephen Black's first book;a dynamic, it captures Barack Obama in a style like no other. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016. Obama Search Words was once enrolled in an Unglue campaign. Here is the video produced for that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-4cmUQubA Furikake Japanese rice seasonings, love and a look at life in Clementi, a small town in Singapore. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016 Bali Wave Ghost "a mad work of genius", Richard E. Lewis, author of the bestseller Bones of the Dark Moon, a novel set amidst the horrific killings in Bali during the Sixties. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016 Fires by Cyril Wong, who is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet, fictionist and critic.Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016 Flame Magnet- Do not download this book unless you are adventurous. This isn't something you read, it's the start of a lifelong journey. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016 Contact With Shadow....not free, but becoming unglued! Check out the video as well as a photo exhibition. CWS is an undiscovered classic, full of melancholic swirling laments about lost love. amidst exquisite descriptions of Singapore. Also includes plenty of references to history and little-known baked goods. ..the end... here, however, is an email which I am sending, in various forms, to everyone on my email mailing list... HELLO
Just letting you know that I am starting a new book about Tiong Bahru, this one emphasizing photography. The working title is Tiong Bahru Time.... Here is a brief blog post about it.
And... the i ate tiong bahru glassware crowdfunding project is in the final countdown...less than 24 hours to go!
Finally, there will be another free giveaway of Book Merah ebooks....check here.
As you may know, I Ate Tiong Bahru has sold 2000 copies. It is a bestseller!
All the best and see you in Tiong Bahru!