Tag Archives: selfpublishing

My terrible book promotional flyer made me happy

As you may know, I have not yet done any serious marketing--though I do have a bestseller. I believe that books sell because of word of mouth, not advertising. Of course, at some point I will do serious advertising, but that day has not yet come. For now, I am most interested in connecting with readers with a sense of adventure.

What follows is something I greatly enjoy.

Hi Stephen, I am one of the guys taking your leaflet when you were in HK for the book exhibition on the bridge.

One thing I want to mention is, sorry for the frankness.... Your leaflet is lousy😅

These are 2 other leaflets I have acquired while on the bridge, and they are objectively and subjective better.......

1. Your leaflet is in black and white.

2. The text and images are pressed together and too small for normal people to read.

3. And most importantly, I don't know what you want to promote in this leaflet..... There is no focus. Is it "book merah", "Obama search words", or Bali Wave Ghost? I was thinking along these lines when I read the leaflet: "What are these books? Why I would want to read them? And why is there some strange circles drawing overlapping with the images and text in the centre? 😵😵😵"

Hope u can improve on your presentation so more people can read your good book on different cultures and places 👍👍👍

"FANTASTIC," I say! The link to the books which are now on sale/free is here.

More about the HK Book Fair is here.

Publishing Magnates

Stephen Black , Book Merah CEO/author , with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.

July 21, 2018

6:30 AM Woke up in a black and white photograph of Chung King Mansions.

10:07AM Brilliant photo of a not so brilliant breakfast.

10:45 AM Passing out flyers. This. is. DIY.

Made in 10 minutes, yesterday afternoon, barely in time to get it to the printers. It has a charm I would not like to repeat.(Two days later.. I was scolded! Hurray!)

Ponti discussion

Sharlene Teo and Chip Tsao discussing Ponti.

Sharlene Teo. Her talk was great. She talked about Singapore, read from her book. Story, sentence structure, insight, viewpoints and an agenda that is more lightbulb than bulldozer. Her book features a fictitious movie series about a Malay monster; a beautiful female who traps and mutilates men. I have yet to read it, but Ian McEwan calls it 'remarkable'. (Mental note to self: dig up the notes on Singapore-based artworks and texts that involve fictitious persons, books or organizations. Shubigi Rao, Michael Lee, Gilles Massot, Robert Zhou, Isabel Desjeux)

An interview with Sharlene in the Guardian.

3:18PM Tacos at Confusion./caption] [caption id="attachment_43092" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The shape of Delta Blues Audio in my old neighborhood

4:11 PMQ , balcony of Brinc

4:36 PM Not far from Hollywood Road

8:11 Shortly after a lecture on the English Class System, by M.A. Bennett.

9:20PM Dinner at Mr. Fresh Soup

All of the above were in orbit around the Book Merah ebook giveaway/discount, held during the Hong Kong Book Fair.

Alphabet Spikes P-S (notes from July 2018, Hong Kong)

One of the books free/discounted as part of the HK Book Fair!

Alphabet Spikes is a collection of stories, essays and experiments created from February 2017 until now--and in the future! The core of the book is here, on Amazon, but this ebook project is actually something like crowdfunding.

Once you buy the book, send me your email and you will get an updated ebook with new stories, as I add them. Right now, the version on Amazon includes stories about a game developer, Antigone Cloud and my brief encounter with Anthony Bourdain. Next will be journal entries from the Bubiko Orwell Tour, which voyaged through Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The purpose of the tour was to research food, to create a network of people interested in AR, and two work on two books.

Besides the tour journal, there are, and will be, short stories, interviews and essays about Southeast Asia and people, events and places connected to it.

Alphabet Spikes: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

In reverse alphabetical order, the following are some of my experiences in Hong Kong; these will become stories and essays. Questions? Leave in the comments section, as well as any info you'd like to share. Thanks!

The Z-T sections are here.

S

Searching

R

Rise

Bubiko Foodtour @ Rise. Rooftop gardening @ HK PolyU.

Q

The footage was taken with a Qoocam, which was part of a demonstration by Kandao at an event at HK PolyU, as part of the Maker Faire event.

After a Q and A session with Marco Pierre-White. Other Rise Q and A sessions: Metta World Peace, Brad Smith, and Mike Massimino. I shook Mr. Massimino's hand.

Alphabet Spikes Z-T (notes from June 2018, Hong Kong)

One of the books free/discounted, as part of the HK Book Fair.

Alphabet Spikes is a collection of stories, essays and experiments created from February 2017 until now--and in the future! The core of the book is here, on Amazon, but this ebook actually something like crowdfunding.

Once you buy the book, send me your email and you will get an updated ebook with new stories, as I add them. Right now, the version on Amazon includes stories about a game developer, Antigone Cloud and my brief encounter with Anthony Bourdain. Next will be journal entries from the Bubiko Orwell Tour, which voyaged through Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The purpose of the tour was to research food, to create a network of people interested in AR, and two work on two books.

Besides the tour journal, there are, and will be, short stories, interviews and essays about Southeast Asia and people, events and places connected to it.

Alphabet Spikes: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

In reverse alphabetical order, the following are some of my experiences in Hong Kong; these will become stories and essays. Questions? Leave in the comments section, as well as any info you'd like to share. Thanks!

Zorn. Click to hear the HK/Macau/CBGB story.

Yam cha and dim sum

Yam cha! The literal translation is "drink tea". However, yum cha usually means eating a meal of dim sum. Dim sum are the foods served in the round bamboo containers. Dim sum restaurants are everywhere in Hong Kong.

Xu Xi at the launch of Insignificance

“An audacious, inventive and original collection: these ‘Hong Kong’ stories are full of clever energy and lively strangeness.” - Gail Jones On Amazon.

Walsh, Joe. Performing with Shear, Jules and John, Doctor.

VR HMD ad on a tram.

Uniworks, the display of students' work, near the entrance of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower on the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus.

Inside the Dome

Tony Tan, Delta Blues Audio

Tai Kwun Art Complex, just down the road from where I used to live.

Alphabet Spikes: Q-S is here.

another book by Book Merah

Publishing as a Discourse Marker

From Wikipedia: In Practical English Usage, Michael Swan defines a discourse marker as "a word or expression which shows the connection between what is being said and the wider context". For him, a discourse marker is something that either connects a sentence to what comes before or after, or indicates a speaker's attitude to what he is saying. He gives three examples: on the other hand; frankly; as a matter of fact.[5] Ian McCormick's The Art of Connection[6] outlines nine classes of connectives based on their purpose:

to provide a sense of where something is in relation to something else;

to supply a sense of when something is happening;

to compare two ideas and express similarities;

to contrast ideas English provides many examples to signal the notion of difference;

to present additional or supplementary ideas;

to indicate that a point in a discussion has been conceded or already taken into account;

to demonstrate a sense of logical sequence;

to offer an illustration or an example;

to deliver a summary of the ideas discussed.

McCormick points out that "FANBOYS" is mnemonic to recall co-ordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

5.30 – 7.00pm

Publishing Independently

What is the potential of self-initiated publications as a form of artistic collaboration? What are the benefits and pitfalls of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and how does it contribute to the cultural field? This panel will explore recent developments in self-publishing and what necessitates these forms of independent production.

Speakers:

Ringo Bunoan (Philippines), artist and co-Founder, Art Book Philippines

Savannah Gorton (Germany/Denmark), curator and co-Founder, Friends with Books

Beatrix Pang (Hong Kong), Founder, Small Tune Press

Stephen Black (Around China) artist, writer and Founder Book Merah

Moderated by Shubigi Rao (India/Singapore), artist

Book Merah Ebook Giveaway June 2018 HONG KONG and BEYOND

It is now noon on Sunday. I will update this in about 12 hours. There are other book discounts and giveaways now available; please check on Amazon. And, actually Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud have not yet been cleared into the Amazon system. They will appear soon. Thanks for your patience and please check back later. Thank you! Steve More book info here!

The giveaway will coincide with my presentations at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on June 11 and 13.

Information on some of the books can be found here.

I am excited to present two book ideas. The book ideas are: Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot I use the word "book ideas" because these two projects will be "normal" books and ebooks someday. For now, they are both inexpensive subscriptions. What do I mean by that? Here is how it works:

1. You buy the book, or get it while it is a free giveaway.

2. You read it.

3. If you like it, send me your email, and I will send you the latest chapters.

4. If you don't like it, I hope you feel that the price was fair and the information and stories were valuable.

So, these two books are something like subscriptions or crowdfunding. Without further ado, the books are:

Alphabet Spikes

Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

and

Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot

A ten year old girl made of software faces the difficulties of growing up.

.................

A national bestseller in Singapore

i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore. Here's the link to iatb on Amazon. Here is a link to a blog post with reviews and more information.

photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Short stories that involve rice seasonings. A price discount. What more could you want? (And those blank pages are gone. And a story has been added! I should really update that Amazon description soon. Speaking of Amazon: the link.

The Ipoh photobook is free from June 9-13,2018. This is the book that inspired the world's first AR photo exhibition. On Amazon!

UNGLUE CONTACT WITH SHADOW IMMEDIATELY!

Contact With Shadow in quotes book cover

Printing history and romance collide in this novel by Stephen Black.

Self-published. No marketing. What happens?

Today, for the first time in about two years, I looked at the sales reports for my eight books. Fully expected to see no sales. Zero. No sales would be an expected consequence of doing no marketing and being self-published. Over ten years ago, I made it clear that I would do no marketing until I had written eight books.

So, today was a pleasant surprise.

self-publishing statistics

Stephen Black does no marketing...

My biggest "audience" is in Japan, then the US, then India. Interesting. I have not lived in Japan for quite a while. Have never been to India. Kindle's programs that allow people to sample the book seem to be helping.

Amazon and self-publishing

The number of Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) read determines the royalties you earn from KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). This graph is updated as pages are read by customers who borrow your book from KU and KOLL.

I am now working on two books. One is a novel ( Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot), the themes of which are AR, sentient software, Southeast Asia and children. The other, Alphabet Spikes, is a journal; of my entrepreneurial, food-related and art adventures in Southeast Asia. I would be thrilled to find a publisher and or an agent, but if not, that is that.

Some may laugh at the above sales figure, but to me it is encouraging. What will happen when I finally start to do marketing?

Marketing is not easy, but thanks to Amazon, services like Adwords, and social media, things can be very efficient. Within the next three months, I will give away free ebooks, hoping this will lead to spikes in sales. I will start marketing in October.

About my books, here is a post that includes videos.

FWIW, the stats on this blog:

An experiment with Amazon

As for my bestseller, I sold it in bookstores and in certain areas of Singapore. The first edition is almost completely sold out; 2000 copies, which in Singapore qualifies it to be a national bestseller. The print version of i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore There is an audiobook version as well.

Writing and the Digital Avante-garde

The slides are explained here.

TEST READERS WANTED: If you would like to be one of the first to read about ANTIGONE CLOUD, email Stephen Black at bubikofoodtour@gmail.com

Antigone Cloud is a ten-year old girl who is actually an arbot, a softwre program made of light. Antigone, who lives in Singapore, has the body of a ghost and the mind of an emotional computer.

Your Super Restaurant (Hugh Howey Must D’yer Maker)

Something impossibly magical has happened to you; a situation you could have never imagined, even when you were young and full of dreams. Something like this: a blip in the universal scheme of things allows you the opportunity to create and sell food of any type, nationality or substance! From salt-packed anchovies to grass-fed beef to organic hand made zuchini tofu; anything you want to cook with appears; you just have to think about it.

Spices, harvested at the peak of perfection. Flours prepared by artisans. Spring water and wild honey from pristine mountains, sacred rice, fresh fish and weird stuff usually found in insanely hot bbq sauce. You can make food ”just like mom’s”. You can provide sustenance for refugees or intergalactic warriors. Baby food. Comfort food from the Song Dynasty, the candle lit dinners that Napoleon shared with Josephine, feasts unknown to Anthony Bourdain: anything.

You take a deep breath, think for a minute, and, voila! A Whopper. Not a Big Mac, a Whopper. People praise your Whopper. You sell lots and lots of Whoppers. Your Whopper wins prizes and goes global. Your Whopper stars in a movie.

And so it goes.

The title of the post references both a song by Led Zeppelin and Hugh Howie Must Die, a book written in 30 hours for NaNoWriMo by Michael Bunker.

HUGH HOWIE MUST DIE by Michael Bunker 

THE WOOL TRILOGY by Hugh Howey 

hugh-howie-must-die-book-coverled-zeppelin-dyer-maker-big

When I read the letters you wrote, it made me mad mad mad

When I read the words that it told me, it made me sad sad sad

D'YER MAKER by Led Zeppelin mp3 download on Amazon 

Hopefully  the dream described above will not be mistaken as anything more than that. I salute all my brothers and sisters who, to paraphrase Nabakov, are also addicted to the Drug called Ink. And, being the son of a book salesman, I have a special and sincere respect for those whose books are sold.

I discovered Hugh Howey because of his inspiring support for self-publishers and his collaboration with Data Guy on the reverse engineering of Amazon's book sales reports. Michael Bunker, the father of Amish Sci-fi, surprised me with the title of Hugh Howie Must Die. His work, as exemplified by Brother Frank, is usually provocative and dystopian, adventure-filed and entertaining.

As an independent writer,  I must listen to all of the leaders of the self-publishing industry, another being Joe Konrath who, a while back,  defended us against big publishing and people like Stephen Colbert.

But the biggest mistake you made, Mr. Colbert, was a doozy

You pissed me off.

You obviously have no idea how big and important my blog is. How I am the go-to source for all things publishing-related. How this blog can create bestsellers, or destroy careers.

You are now on my shit list, Stephen Colbert. And now I shall use everything within my power to destroy your book sales and ruin your life. Just as you are tying to destroy the book sales and lives of tens of thousands of authors Amazon has helped

Mr. Konrath's  renowned blog is recommended: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

I am truly, truly thankful to be able to self-publish my books, though they may be an acquired taste. The ability to create for consumers is  a gift.

..........30............

Self-Publishing: An Insult To The Written Word (my comments in red)

VC questions applied to a book and a VR startup

I am presently in Johor Bahru Malaysia, where I am duotasking: writing a book and concluding the research necessary to begin  a VR-related startup. The questions that investors ask are a must for for my startup and an interesting way to look at my book project. The VR section immediately follows the book section.

VC Questions for Touching JB, a book by Stephen Black

What is it?

A 50,00 word book based on the experiences, thoughts and blog posts of Stephen Black, written during an unexpected stay in Johor Bahru, Malaysia in the spring of 2017. Topics and themes include  cultural issues, human relationships, food, comedy, art and virtual reality.

What problem does it solve?

There are no fact-based fiction books about Johor Bahru. As JB continues to gain international recognition, Touching JB will also gain prominence

Competition

There are no comparable books about JB.

Who is making it?

Bestselling author and producer Stephen Black is making it, aided by Book Merah, who made i ate tiong bahru a bestseller in Singapore.

Potential audience?

Ten thousand readers within five years.

What work has been done?

25,000 words have been written. On schedule.

How will it grow?

Book Merah will handle promotion and marketing. The readers of  Black's previous books will be the first group contacted. Once reviews are secured, large scale promotion will begin.

References

Goodreads, Amazon, Art Review Asia, Expat Living Magazine

Schedule

Finish writing in April. E-publishing and promotion to follow immediately.

VC Questions for a VR-related startup being initiated by Stephen Black

Note; Parts of the following are intentionally vague and for now SVRP (Steve’s VR Project) is being used as the project name.

 

What is it?

A Google Daydream app and platform  for nongaming casual VR users.

What problem does it solve?

Entertainment, education, tourism and other industries will have a tool to build audiences with.

Competition

There is, presently, no competition.

Who is making it?

Experienced 3D and gaming producer Stephen Black

Potential audience?

Tens of millions+

What work has been done?

Extensive research, planning and paper grey boxing

How will it grow?

Carefully chosen beta testers, then alpha companies and individuals, freeware

References

Previous projects were successfully used by the Singapore Science Center and the Singapore Ministry of Education

Schedule

Prepare mockup. Find money. Go forth and prosper.