Kindle

or, Honey, do you have enough kindling to turn the campfire into a controlled inferno? I hope the Girl Scouts (Caribbean chapter) taught you know to make a fire by rubbing two recalcitrant sticks together because I’m out of matches and the flamethrower I bought on sale last year is still in the shop—it’s so hard to get qualified technicians these days.

Embers

The following is a letter I set to myself yesterday. I do this from time to time as a public service to my multiple selves—there’s nothing strange in that, Sybil did it all the time. Besides, communication is the key to understanding. I say this when I’m in an aphoristic mood or when I need extra time to procure the rent check (sometimes clever imitations will do).

Dear Sir,
I just learned a few things about Kindle and want to share the knowledge with you (because that’s the kind of person I am).

I was interested in estimating how much filthy lucre money an independent author might be making given the Amazon rank of the book.

Here are two examples–from these results you can extrapolate the earnings of any book (except for books on ornithology, which seem to follow their own imprescriptible path).

Amazon Best Sellers Rank #35,000 Paid in Kindle Store. This means the book earns around $100-$200 per month.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank # 2,000 Paid in Kindle Store. This Mean the book earns approximately $1,000- $2,000 per month.

But my main purpose is to tell you about a particular strategy, one which may seem counter intuitive to a greenhorn–it’s where you offer a book on Kindle for free. Here is the little kernel of knowledge that makes such a strategy tick (while concomitantly mixing up metaphors): Within that book you offer something else for free: for example, the names and addresses of former KGB agents. But, in order for your readers to get this incredible gift, they must surrender their email address to you (this works far better than asking for blood samples; I have gone down this road and am none the wiser—it’s sad to say but many laboratories charge exorbitant fees and do shoddy work). And this, Sybil, is how you build an email list. Thereinafter, say once a week, you email these fine folks with other useful content. You may, for instance, casually divulge state secrets, tell in graphic detail about a purulent boil on your left shoulder, or pontificate about the merits of your newest manifesto and how it will, in time, revolutionize your hemisphere ( set yourself reasonable targets: the whole world is simply a bridge too far). And don’t be afraid to revisit communism, as it does have some nice points.

The next executive decision you want to take is that of writing several books (or pamphlets if you can’t be bothered to write with dedication) all in the same genre. This could be Stalin fanfiction, or vampiric moneylender romance (a subset of vampiric cyberpunk), sycophantic slipstream, and the list goes on and on. Once you unmask the penetralia of genre, the writing world opens up to you.

I hope you found some of these ideas useful and, as always, thank you for your time.

XOXO
Prospero

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Fidgety

SDIM6039_tscs_sm

https://www.101words.org/fidgety/

Poe

Poe

Some of you may be wondering what a magician does all day (apart from directing others to perform eleemosynary deeds). Good question. Right now I’m editing The Stories of Vladimir Putin. It’s a slow job since I don’t understand Russian, but I always feel a need to challenge myself. The story called Martha’s Mountain is wonderful, but the rest of the material is a little trashy, so I’m rather enjoying it (linguistic barriers notwithstanding).

But this isn’t the subject of today’s post. Instead I will write about truncation and the art of editing.

I’d like to make clear from the outset that I love Twitter. The idea of reducing complex (and at times beautiful) thought to 144 characters is as much a sign of the times as it is a brilliant metaphor for this generation’s shrinking attention span, which has, by the way, important evolutionary implications–a vitally important subject, and for that reason I will not be covering it. But even more brilliant that imposing a 144 character limit (an arbitrary limit, the type of thing some outmoded feudal lord might try to enforce) would have been to reduce elegant—or in today’s intellectual vacuum–dodgy thought to say 44 characters. Why not? A genius such as Dante—had he been interested in such things, rather than touring incessantly the darksome and dank bits of hell–would have settled upon no more than 9 characters, but this would have been too revolutionary.

But today’s project is to translate Edgar Allan Poe into English. Now I can already hear some you you saying that the stories from the undisputed master of horror are already in English. Yes, I am aware of that. Don’t ruffle my feathers.

IT was a chilly November afternoon. I had just finished a hearty dinner (with truffles) and was sitting alone in the dining-room, with my feet on a stool. There was a small table, which I had rolled up to the fire, and upon which were some desserts and liquors. In the morning I had been reading some literature; I am willing to confess, therefore, that I now felt a little stupid.

And now, after a little editing:

IT was a chilly November afternoon. I had just finished a hearty dinner and was sitting alone in the dining-room. There was a small table with desserts and some alcoholic beverages. In the morning I had been reading some literature; I am willing to confess, therefore, that I now felt a little stupid.

Now that’s more like it. More twitter-like. But even that doesn’t hack it as it is 301 characters long.

The twitter version:

I had just finished a hearty dinner and was sitting alone in the dining-room. I am willing to confess, therefore, that I felt a little stupid.

That’s perfect. And it’s 143 characters long. That means I have one whole character to spare. I could add extra punctuation, a misplaced comma, for example, is always nice, or could substitute a three letter word for a four letter word. Semantics aside, what freedom! Of course brevity and sanity do not make great dance partners. We don’t understand, for instance, why this man felt stupid. But that’s a small price to pay for the privilege or the wow factor of tweeting.

Let’s have a look at the original (in Poe-glish):

IT was a chilly November afternoon. I had just consummated an unusually hearty dinner, of which the dyspeptic truffe formed not the least important item, and was sitting alone in the dining-room, with my feet upon the fender, and at my elbow a small table which I had rolled up to the fire, and upon which were some apologies for dessert, with some miscellaneous bottles of wine, spirit and liqueur. In the morning I had been reading Glover’s “Leonidas, ” Wilkie’s “Epigoniad,” Lamartine’s “Pilgrimage, ” Barlow’s “Columbiad,” Tuckermann’s “Sicily,” and Griswold’s “Curiosities”; I am willing to confess, therefore, that I now felt a little stupid.

Isn’t that better? Where did we go wrong?

 

The Great Grapes of Wrath

(one of my best books–if only I had tightened up the title I think it could have been big)

Colville's Glory

Garcinia hombroniana, Seashore mangosteen

Seashore mangosteen

Eugenia selloi. a.k.a. Eugenia neonitida, Eugenia nitida, Pitangatuba

Pitangatuba

Myrciaria x – Red Hybrid Jaboticaba, Jaboticaba

Jaboticaba

Malpighia emarginata, Acerola

Acerola

Annona cherimoya, Cherimoya

Cherimoya

Garcinia intermedia, Lemon Drop Mangosteen

Lemon drop mangosteen

Glycyrrhiza glabra, Licorice

Licorice

Morus nigra, Black Mulberry or Blackberry

Black Mulberry or Blackberry

Dionaea muscipula, small infants

Dionaea muscipula

Plukenetia volubilis, Sacha Inchi, Sacha Peanut, Mountain Peanut or Inca-peanut

Inca Peanut, Jungle Peanut

In the Miltonian darkness of November

Bermuda islands

https://www.101words.org/juggling-the-truth/
https://thedrabble.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/outsourcing/