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Fatal Exchange

I’m really excited to have just completed my first interview. We covered a wide range of topics, and even if it got off to a slightly rocky start, I believe it hit its stride after a bit. The interviewer was a rather severe librarian who is apparently a big fan of my work, although I’m not sure she completely understood all my humor. But no matter. Without further ado, here’s the interview, followed by yet another free sample from the hit “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated).”

Oh, and on the Fatal Exchange book page, I’ve posted an excerpt so cheapskates can sample my fiction work. It’s following all the glowing 5 star reviews from famous people.

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INTERVIEWER: Well, it’s certainly a treat to have you participating in my interview series. This is the first one, so I may be a little nervous. It’s not every day I get to interview a man who has sold over a million eBooks in 5 months and then written a book to share his secrets with us. So let’s start off with…

ME: Uh, I don’t mean to interrupt, but I think you may be mistaking me with John Locke. He is the one who sold the million and wrote the “How I Did It” book.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, uh, OK. So you didn’t sell all those books?

ME: No, I wrote a book called “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated)” which is a parody of all things writing, self-publishing and self-promotion. I also wrote Fatal Exchange, an action thriller set in NY featuring an iconoclastic female bike messenger being hunted by a rogue nation’s hit squad and a serial killer.

INTERVIEWER: So let’s talk about the fiction then. You’re now writing westerns? Something about bear poking or rock throwing?

ME: No, that would be John again.

INTERVIEWER: Not you.

ME: No. My books are longer. Longer words. More of them. And no bears.

INTERVIEWER: Hmmm. Well do you have a lovable yet crusty ex-CIA hit man who speaks in monosyllables as a protagonist?

ME: No. That’s John again. I write complex characters like Tess, the ex-software programmer turned bike messenger who is battling depression while racing for her life as everyone around her is butchered by bloodthirsty killers.

INTERVIEWER (studies notes): So you’re not from the South?

ME: No. I think Locke’s from Georgia, but I’m living in Mexico. Georgia’s where they freed the slaves a while ago after the whole schoolbus incident happened during the second world war. Mexico is where all the gardeners and maids come from. They speak Mexican, and have a different word for everything. Totally different places. I think they might speak English or some kind of patois in Georgia, maybe Georgian, but it’s definitely different than Mexican.

INTERVIEWER: I see. So it’s Russell, right? Blake? Oh, now I remember! Weren’t you relieved when the jury acquitted you on the charges you butchered your wife in that restaurant parking lot?

ME: I think you might be thinking of Robert Blake. The actor.

INTERVIEWER: Right. You had that hit TV series from the 1950’s, I think. Borat or something? How’s the parrot? They live a long time, I know. But wow, I mean, you’ve changed a lot.

ME: Yeah, the tequila will do that. I also had a little work down around my eyes. But seriously, that’s not me. My name’s Russell. His name’s Robert.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, Russell! Very good, then. I think I get it. So tell me, were you disappointed with the reviews on Robin Hood, that said you were a butterfaced twat with the acting depth of a bag of rocks?

ME: No, that would be Russell Crowe. He’s also an actor, from someplace foreign like Mel Gibson is, Austria or Newfoundland or something. He’s taller than Gibson, and doesn’t hate the jews as much. I’m not sure which country the Amish are from, but I believe they’re from there – Amity, maybe? I think they both like their scotch, though, if you know what I mean. Actually, I could use a pop right about now…

INTERVIEWER: So you’re sure you aren’t any of these people? Well, fudge. I’m not sure what to ask you.

ME: You could try discussing my hysterically funny parody book that’s garnering rave reviews from literary luminaries and influential bloggers alike…

INTERVIEWER: No, not really my cuppa, if you know what I mean. Don’t read that kind of crap much, no offense. I tend to stick to non-fiction audio books or illustrated novels.

ME: I see. The pictures are probably the best, huh? So, how long’s it been since you had a man?

INTERVIEWER: I…I beg your pardon?

ME: You know what I’m saying. Or put another way, how many cats do you have? You’re obviously not getting to the gym at all, but we could still make something work…

INTERVIEWER: That’s none of your beeswax. I think this interview is over.

ME: OK. But offer’s open. Mrrraawwrrrr. I have a bag of Ho Hos in my car. And I brought my man thong. The Russeller! Whooowhee!!!

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Overall, a strong positive, even though she wasn’t prepared for my pithy observations and literary brilliance. But it’s a start.

On a different topic, here’s an excerpt from “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time” – from the writer’s guide portion of the book, which advises on character development, rules of usage, plotting, story structure, grammar, etc.

 

Tip #42 – Tell, Don’t Show

What’s the product a reader is buying? Words. Is it a motion picture? No. So what did the buyer sign up for? Being told a story. If the reader wanted to be shown a story, he’d wait till your eBook comes out on DVD. He didn’t. Don’t get clever and infer things, or try to demonstrate a quality, characteristic, or plot point. When in doubt, tell the story. Let the reader know what’s happening.

You’re a storyteller. What does that term sound like it means? Does it say you’re a story-shower? Is there some aspect of the language that implies demonstration?

This one’s obvious. Tell the reader what’s going on, what the characters are thinking or feeling, and why this time it’s personal. If the protagonist’s wife was killed by a bear on a rampage, tell us she was his beloved and that he never recovered; don’t give us feeble clues so we have to play Sherlock Homes. I’m busy. I don’t have time to sleuth around for what your characters are feeling or not. Just spill the beans.

I’m reminded of an ex. She would never tell me what was wrong, or why she was upset. She’d just try to poison my food and glare at me in a sullen manner. It would have been way easier had she just told me she’d discovered I was sleeping with her sister, but no, it was all some sort of divine mystery. Just learn from her mistake.

Tell, don’t show.

 

Tip #43 – Make it Personal This Time

We all love characters who are detached and don’t have much or any skin in the game. An aloof, uninterested protagonist who’s just doing his job is always fun, and I personally thrive on these types. Most good fiction is written in this manner. But I’ve got a novel twist that can have readers on the edge of their seat.

Hang on. Don’t rush me. Okay. You ready? Drum roll, please . . .

Make it personal, this time.

That’s right. As an example, if you have a tired, alcoholic ex-cop who is jaded by decades on the job, whose substance abuse has ruined his relationship, and who seems indifferent to whether he lives or dies, you can add some spice and bring the story to life by getting him involved, because . . . this time it’s personal!!! I know, I know. Pure writing genius. It’s just one of the reasons Russell Blake’s a beloved household gazillion-selling name.

But back to our story.

Maybe we have him befriend a scruffy-but-lovable street urchin with a foul mouth, or a hooker with a heart of gold, or a lovable kitty cat, which stirs something inside him and offers him a brief glimpse of his own flickering humanity, and then the villain kills his newfound object of hope. Bang. Is he ever pissed . . . and this time it’s personal!

Do you see? Are you with me?

I know it may seem like a foreign concept, and you may need to make it excruciatingly clear for the reader that it’s actually personal this time, and why that’s so, but in the end, this can have an enormous impact on your popularity. When in doubt, make it personal.”

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I don’t want to give away the whole book, as that’s inconsistent with me making a huge pile of money from mining all those easy self-publishing millions, however I figure there are still a few cheapskates out there who haven’t shelled out the measly $3 so they can better their miserable lives, and hopefully this will motivate them. I mean, hey, maybe the cost of some lukewarm soy no-foam decaf is too much for you to achieve all your dreams and become a success, in which case, this isn’t for you. No, somebody will have to wipe the bugs off my windshield at intersections or the base of freeway off ramps, and if everyone was a gaillion selling bestseller, there would be a crisis, so by all means, if you have something better to do with your three bucks than turning your life around and taking the first steps to self-actualized success, hop to it. But for those who understand that this is their ticket into the race, their shot at the bigtime, their moment to bask in the sweet glow of their own personal sun, it’s never been easier. Hit that buy button, and begin your journey to the land of your wildest dreams coming true. Guaranteed!

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BREAKING NEWS: Lawrence Block, an author for whom I have tremendous respect (as a talent as well as a voice of sanity in an often incredibly pompous and overly-serious universe), who literally wrote the book on writing the book, just did an in-depth review of John Locke’s new “How To” book, and in the same blog devoted an incredibly generous amount of space to reviewing my new vicious mockery of all things writing and self-publishing related, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated). An incredibly positive review, which tells me he likely confused my book with something else, or started on the bottle early, but still, I’ll take it. Here’s the review.

Gracias, Lawrence Block. Everyone should, presuming they have any money left after buying several copies of my books, go buy his whole catalog of fine work. But keep the sequence straight. First me, then him. Got it? Let’s not get giddy here…

EVEN MORE BREAKING NEWS: John Lescroart, NY Times bestselling author of over 20 notable bestselling novels, has graciously given his take on the hit new phenom, How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time. You can read it here. This should convince you to buy two or three copies, rather than just one.

YET EVEN MORE BREAKING NEWS: Michael Harling’s seminal blog, “The Life Of Writing” did an in depth book review on “How To Sell A Gazillion” that’s a must-read. You can see it here.

AND EVEN YET MORE MORE BREAKING NEWS: John J Gannon’s influential weblog reviews John Locke’s book as well as “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated). It’s a good take on the book from an insightful social commentator, which can be seen here.

AND EVEN YET MORE MORE MORE BREAKING NEWS: Sasscer Hill did a wonderful review of the Gazillion book on her blog, which can be seen here. She’s up for a pretty prestigious award for her prose, so she’s another writer who obviously confused my writing for the work of someone else.

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The long-awaited debut of the new “must-read” writer’s bible, “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (even if drunk, high or incarcerated)” is now up and available on Amazon, for the laughably low price or $2.99. It’s a giveaway for what is already being heralded as the “feel good book of the year for the whole family” and “an indispensable writer’s resource that will have blazillions selling a gazillion eBooks in no time.”

I can appreciate the anxiety the absence of this storehouse of invaluable knowledge has caused. That you were forced to wait days, if not minutes, is inexcusable. For that, I apologize. It’s entirely Amazon’s fault. Blame them. They have earned your wrath.

For those unfamiliar with the seminal work of Russell Blake, I can appreciate that you’re suspicious. It’s only natural. Your soul is dead from years of disappointment, and it seems impossible that you’ll ever do anything more important with your life than bagging groceries at the local Piggly Wiggly while drowning your sorrows with rotgut whiskey and hillbilly heroin. I feel your pain. Okay, maybe not so much, given the exciting, self-actualized existence of non-stop partying with celebrities and Victoria’s Secrets models I lead. But that’s not the point. It’s not all about me.

This is your movie. This is your chance to turn the car around, and claim your birthright of success, happiness, wealth, vibrant good health, acclaim, self-respect and astounding longevity. You hold the keys to the kingdom in your hand. Everything’s possible again, like in your youth before the world crushed your dreams and left you a dry husk of a human being, violated by a drab existence of disappointment and failure.

What are you waiting for? What have you got to lose? Isn’t it about time you got some of the bounty life has rewarded others with? If you don’t immediately buy this invaluable life guide and become a success, you have nobody but yourself to blame. I’ve given you everything you need to know. It’s all here, in easy-to-follow, practical steps even a mouth-breathing dullard can follow.

You don’t need to have any literary talent, or the ability to remain awake for long periods, or even the slightest hint of promise. None of that matters. I’ll show you how to get everything you ever wanted in life while tormenting the miserable sh#trats you hate, grinding their rotting bones to powder while you do a jig on their urine-soaked pauper’s graves. You’ll be a rock star from Uranus, a phenom, envied by peers, feared by enemies, and desired by wildly attractive sexual candidates you probably believed you were far too old or unappealing to score with. Nonsense. Once you have my book, the universe will open to you and you’ll walk the earth like a Greek deity, untouchable and unstoppable, your every desire instantly satisfied by a world that’s your malleable playground.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Russell, I’m not worthy of this magical gift you impart so selflessly for such an inconsequential pittance.” That may well be true, but again, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be deserving, or sober, or even ambulatory or with a functioning cerebral cortex. You can be a babbling loon and still be a gazillion-selling literary master – as the title promises, even if bombed out of your skull, or so stoned you’re hallucinating bugs crawling up your torso, or shackled to a metal post awaiting arraignment.

Blacked out on the floor of a truck stop restroom near a border crossing? Not a problem. Huffing paint till you’re leering at your reflection in the mirror, delirious from oxygen-deprived brain cells expiring faster than kittens at a pit bull party? Everyone has issues. Busted while doing 90 in reverse while lit up on moonshine and Vicodin with a naked 16-year old runaway bound and gagged in the passenger seat and your ex’s head in the trunk? Nobody’s perfect. All you need to do is buy the book. It’s that simple. I take care of the rest.

And lest you think I’m exaggerating the tremendous power harnessed within these 59 invaluable writer’s tips, I’ll even give you cheapskates a free sample. It’s not required, I understand, but I’m hoping that it stirs something inside of you, creates a resonance, and gets you to finally pull out of the nosedive your life has become, and take the one action that will change everything. Below are just two of the gazillion-selling author tips that will propel you to greatness. I guarantee you’ll feel empowered after reading them, and will already feel the magic coursing through your veins just by being exposed to them.

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Tip #21 – Bombard Social Media with thinly-disguised product ads. Intersperse them with sophomoric aphorisms

I love Twitter and Facebook, and I know others do as well. It’s an opportunity to stay current on what everyone I’m following is up to.

I get thousands of Tweets per day, 99 percent of which are messages advising me about where I can buy the sender’s latest book, or sharing their latest rating for their book. This is invaluable, because otherwise I wouldn’t know where to look if I want to buy 400 books today.

And the best part is, they’re all great reads! The authors make that clear. That’s helpful, because otherwise I feel like I’m taking my chances. I find it especially appealing if I get the same 5 or 6 messages cycled every few minutes throughout the day – I know that author is particularly committed to getting the word out, and that tells me that if they write with anywhere near the level of commitment that they market, I’m in for a real treat.

But that’s not the best part. I also get thousands of additional Tweets offering comforting words of counsel – typically uplifting quotations from authors about the merits of keeping at my craft, and developing discipline, or offering grammatical tips.

And I especially love the 120 characters of philosophy I receive in my inbox every day – little nuggets of gold to keep me chugging along on my toils.

There’s a reason so many authors send out these kinds of product ads, interspersed with cheery “thoughts of the day.” It’s because people like them, and they work. It’s obvious. Otherwise all those authors wouldn’t invest their time in tweeting them.

So take your lead from what’s proven. Craft a number of compelling ads for your book, and then bombard your followers with them. Hire teams of Pakistani tech writers to create an automated “Bot” to send out Tweets on your account – I’ve found the sweet spot is around a hundred a day – for which you pay pennies per tweet. It’s classic effective Internet marketing. Through repetition, the consumer is familiarized with your product, and over time feels compelled to purchase. It obviously works, which is why everyone does it. Either you’re in the game, or out.

While Sirim and Gothar are designing the bot for tweeting your book ad, they should also have it alternate retweeting anything that’s a writing advice quote, and sending out motivational messages. My rule of thumb is that if it’s uplifting, your readers will see it as an affirmation, and everyone likes a little positive thinking in their day.

 

Tip #22 – Convert the discussion of any posting or dialog to a pitch for your product

Probably the best way to do “gorilla marketing” is to troll around discussion forums, blogs, and message boards, and then contribute or comment – but always skillfully moving the topic from whatever is being discussed, to a product pitch for your book. Remember the first rule of successful social media: Always Be Pitching.

As an example, if you frequent a blog and the topic is problem flatulence, you can chime in and find a whole new audience for your work. Here’s how that conversation might look:

“. . . . . . And that’s why spastic colon is a recurring problem, especially if you love spicy food.”

ME: “As someone who has friends and loved ones who suffer from recurrent spastic colon and problem flatulence, I can assure you it’s no laughing matter. No, just as in my new novel, ‘Back-Door Geisha Team Bravo,’ where colon problems can result in suspenseful yet hysterically-funny unintended consequences for a trio of Japanese secret agent femme-fatales, even when the outcome is a page-turning, rib-tickling yuck-fest that races to a thrilling, unexpected conclusion, the matter should be treated with dignity and respect.

Perhaps that’s why it’s received so many 5 star reviews and has been described as ‘transformational‘ and ‘uplifting‘ and ‘a roller-coaster tour de force that keeps the reader guessing.’ I have to admit that I feel humbled whenever someone with spastic colon and problem flatulence approaches me and congratulates me on ‘probably the most hysterical, yet edgy and unexpectedly-frightening novel of the decade,’ per TheInkstainedStub.com.”

Now do you see how that was done? First you express support and affinity for the topic, and indicate respect for the discussion. Then you find a common ground for introducing your book, and you expertly give readers what they need to know – you have a product, it covers a sensitive subject that is of mutual interest, it’s gotten rave reviews, and people that are afflicted with whatever it is that is being discussed love it.

Make sense?

Let’s try another one. This time, it’s a discussion group for battered puppies.

“ . . . So it’s important to get the little ones socialized appropriately so they can put this tragic mishandling behind them.”

ME: “There is nothing as sad as a small creature just starting out on the road of life, brutalized by indifferent or vicious owners. My personal feeling is that people that do that to cute little puppies should be slammed in the head with a board, then dragged behind a biker gang through cactus, nails and broken glass, just as the protagonist might do in my new novel, ‘Bloodthirst, the Quickening of the Gorgon.’ That character, Zandor of the Lost Tribe of the Forbidden Cave, takes on minotaurs, a malevolent troll-king, a coven of zombie-vampire-talking-werewolves, a fire-breathing seven-headed serpent protector of the hidden geode that is the object of Zandor’s prophesied quest, and a host of other villains whose brutality and preternatural savagery are only matched by his honor and perseverance – something that little hurt puppy dogs will also need to have if they are to enjoy a good life.

I just wish I could transport them all to the astral gates of Symbana, where the music goddess Rhana rules with her magical crystal flute, so they could play in the tranquil waters of lake Malagakesh with the frisky gnomes of Atticus. Then they too could be, what SwordsmanSorcererReviews.com calls, ‘. . . . . . part of a breathtakingly real alternative universe painted in masterful strokes by a maestro of the medium.’ I think that’s why people who’ve seen me at shelters helping rescue animals approach me and want to share that they feel transported to a ‘darkly realistic yet more hopeful dimension’ (per Princesses&Pythons.com in their two thumbs up review) than the one we live in.”

Okay, so what did I do there? Again, I feigned interest and sympathy with battered puppy dogs, and positioned myself firmly against those who beat them. Then I drew a parallel to my protagonist, Zandor, who also is against bad things, and punishes those who perpetrate them – so that makes me sort of like Zandor, for the purposes of this discussion.

I pitch the key elements of the story, and then wrap it back around again to include puppies, before ending with a review that will have buyers breaking their mice in a race to get to the Buy button. On that one, I also included a link to the book, as well as signed in as “Zandor,” including an image of myself in a black spandex unitard complete with green man thong, and a tiger-striped velour cape with a goat helmet.

Creative social media marketing can be highly effective. Before we move to some real-world examples drawn from actual blog and message board comments, let’s look at a different example of how you can move your mega-seller to the next level, using Russell Blake’s “Tap The Secret Marketing Dynamo Within ™” tactics for social media optimization.

This time, we have a CPA group that’s discussing trends in self-publishing – something I think we can all agree I’m an expert on, given that you paid for this book – and the topic is whether agents provide any value in the current evolving environment.

“. . . . . . Thus, it’s a set of challenges the industry must awake to and change with, if there is to be any industry left within five more years.”

ME: “Literary agents have long been valued gatekeepers of quality, ensuring that only the most deserving authors make it to the next level. That was critical in the old paradigm if continued access was going to be ensured for the agent, with only the best work being pitched to the publishers.

This is much like the manner the protagonist in my new action/thriller trilogy, ‘Sapho, Nymphomaniac Teen Ninja Assassin in The Ol’ West,’ protects the unwitting target of a brutal mid-1800s-era Chinese Triad kill team – a family of racially-diverse adopted children and their socially-aware same-sex gold-miner guardians. If not for Sapho’s dangerously-promiscuous yet well-intentioned defense of the group from the opium-crazed death squad, they would face certain torture and extermination at the hands of a savagely-vicious adversary in what TumbleweedNinjaReview.com calls, ‘The most spontaneous take on the nymphomaniac teenage ninja in the Old West genre we’ve seen this year. Packed with mile-a-minute stagecoach chases and protracted sex and fight scenes reminiscent of 70s icon Kung Fu crossed with Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but set in the California Gold Rush territory of the Sierra Nevada foothills, this non-stop action and suspense tale is a must-read, can’t-put-it-down thrill-fest from a brilliantly authoritative voice.’”

Much as Sapho has to deal with the challenges of pioneer-era Asian killers while satisfying her insatiable teen lust and protecting the lovable ragtag group of children, literary agents must find a way to adjust their craft so their clients receive value. That’s no small feat given the current transition from print to eBooks, which is akin to the seismic shift Sapho must have felt as she narrowly escaped being gang-raped by whiskey-crazed mountain men on her way for the climactic showdown between herself and the sadistic ‘Death-Skull-Scorpion-Hands Master Wu Chi.’ We all learned some new lessons in that chapter, just as agents must learn to adapt to a new business reality.”

Do you see how seamless this was? I almost feel like I should do a worksheet for you so you can create a diagram for your comments and messages. In this, I first touched upon the topic, expressed an opinion and familiarity with the issues, and then moved to my pitch. I demonstrated strong similarities so the reader could see the relevance, and then closed with a cliff-hanger. What else do you need to know? I mean, who wouldn’t buy that book now that they’ve heard the pitch?

OK, so a final example and then we’ll move to actual blog comments I recently published at the acclaimed http://RusselBlake.com blog – the site for all things Russell Blake.

This time, it will be a forum for single moms, and the topic is juggling daycare and a busy vocational schedule.

“”. . . . . . So it’s important that you balance the needs of your toddler against your needs. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else!”

ME: “It’s true. We see these sweet bundles of hope and joy, and want to do everything for them, but you need to take care of mom first, or the little ones will ultimately suffer. Just as the protagonist in my new novel, ‘PedoCop – Registered Sex Offender Secret Agent’ suffers over his compulsion to violate a restrictive restraining order and sneak within 100 yards of the pre-school playground. Sven, a forty-something cab driver-turned-CIA assassin moonlighting for the Russian mob, has a dirty secret his adversaries will use against him if he doesn’t butcher a school bus full of special-needs orphans on Halloween. The body count climbs in this race against the clock as Sven struggles with his urge to love, versus his mandate to kill. PedophiliaOnline.com calls it ‘A riveting racecar of a ride, that deals with a sensitive topic in a masterful way.’

Sven’s battle to control his drives and save the children is a psychologically complex tug-of-war fought against a dark inner landscape. As the plot to massacre the bus spins out of control, Sven must make impossible choices in a world populated by dope fiends, hookers, serial killers, mob enforcers, and a Santa Claus impersonator whose vicious psychopathology is bone-chilling in its ruthlessness. Children are our most precious assets, and if we don’t protect them, we lose our future. That’s what makes PedoCop such a ‘Must-read rule-breaking juggernaut of a thriller,‘ according to BetterBooksAndGuns.com, and why readers, including busy single moms everywhere, are buzzing about the shockingly-unexpected ending.”

I know, I know, it’s like listening to Yo Yo Ma play the cello. Do I even need to deconstruct this for you this time around? Let’s just say that now I’ve harvested a completely unexpected group of fans, and everyone learns something about themselves. Isn’t that what it’s all about, at the end of the day?

But what about the real world, you ask? How does it actually work in real life?

Let’s move to an example drawn from my response to a comment on the wildly popular http://RussellBlake.com blog, where the discussion was, not so strangely, a reader’s interest in buying the book you’re now reading, as well as how cool and generally awesome I, Russell Blake, am. Note the sly method I employ to segue from the topic (how great I am and how selfless my sharing of my knowledge is) to a product pitch for buying the book:

“I know, I know. How can I selflessly reveal all the secrets I’ve accumulated, and show others how to become a mega-successful self-publishing and self-promoting phenom?

Easy.

I’m totally bitchin’. There. I said it. It’s out there.

But the point is, now you can be too.

For just a few measly bucks, you can become a one man (or woman, or gender-confused not as in hermaphrodite, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you know, as in “I’m in the wrong body” or whatnot confused, or maybe just curious, etc.) unstoppable force of nature to be reckoned with. And you won’t have to waste any of your time on silliness like grammar, or word choice, or even having a discernible plot or being coherent. No, that’s all old paradigm! This is the new, new thing, and we’ll all be a part of it (me, more than you, given you’ll be paying, but not to worry, that’s just temporary)!

You can be the star in your own MTV video, with hot babes (or studs) gyrating to the crazy verbal beats as only you can create them, and you don’t even need to worry about the rhythm! I take care of it all for you, and show you how. It’s better than multi-level marketing. It’s more holistic than Feng Shui. It’s so easy and obvious even a slack-jawed inebriated dolt can do it – and I’ll give you the keys to the Ferrari that is your imagination!

But wait, Russell, how can that be? That’s information people would gladly pay tens of thousands of dollars to get. How can you give so much, for so little? What do you get, besides my laughable and inconsequential pittance?

I get the pleasure of a job well done, and the joy of watching others succeed. That’s really reward enough, although the private jet and the waterfront high-rise condo will also be deeply and sincerely appreciated.

This is your chance. This is where you get to step out into the spotlight, and get the standing ovation from everyone who ever told you (or thought) you were a talentless hack with no redeeming qualities except perhaps as a consumer of cheese and hygiene products! You will be a star. And you’ll get to do it at the direct expense of those you hate, or who simply annoy you! It’s an almost god-like power I’ll confer in the success-manual I’m inking even as we speak, and the power of the techniques and strategies I outline will have you at the top of the peak of ultimate power and accomplishment before you know it!”

 

Note that throughout this comment response, there is a subtle product message for this book. You need to read between the lines, but it’s there.

It hits all the notes you need to in order to get people curious about the product. It makes some promises, offers to solve a problem for them, and addresses potential Action Stoppers ™ that could stop the purchase. This is a classic way of introducing a product message into a dialog in a manner that appears to be responsive, but in fact, is an inducement to buy something.

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I could go on, but that would be cheating those who actually scraped together the lousy $2.99 and bought themselves a new lease on happiness. If that’s not you, then by all means continue on your trajectory towards obscurity doing whatever inconsequential drudgery keeps the howling fantods at bay. Keep being a disappointment to yourself, your family and friends, and wallow in the despair that is your deserved companion to every waking moment of your miserable life.

You’ve been offered an opportunity, a way out, a shot at achieving all your dreams. Maybe you think it would be a better idea to buy a Haagen Dazs bar with the money and clog your occluded arteries with more toxic waste, in a sour repetition of the poor judgment that typifies the string of depressingly bad calls in your forgettable existence. It’s your choice. You can’t say you haven’t been thrown a lifeline to turn it all around. It’s there for the taking. All you need to do is hit the buy button, and you’ll join the winner’s circle. Soon you’ll be standing on a red carpet, rubbing shoulders (and who knows what else) with Alessandra Ambrosia or George Clooney (or maybe even a real celebrity) as the enraptured and abuzz paparazzi gore one another to get a snapshot of your lean, astonishingly attractive profile.

Or don’t buy the book, don’t take the step that will change everything, and tell yourself that living in a hovel with newspapers stacked to the ceiling and eighteen indifferent feral cats for companionship isn’t such a bad life. Scoot Patches and Mister Bojangles out of the way and shamble over to the decrepit sink in the stinking bathroom where you spend most of your days in agonizing pain from a host of horrific afflictions, and consider the bleak, thousand yard stare of a chain gang prisoner that is your reflection in the grimy mirror, and get comfortable with the knowledge that you’ve willfully thrown away your last shot at happiness.

Maybe as you pray to an indifferent creator to be struck down by something relatively sudden and painless, you’ll hear the universe reverberating with the clinking sound of an empty bottle of 1982 Dom Perignon that I just discarded after drinking my breakfast out of an exotic dancer’s shoe at one of several ocean-front high rise condos I maintain for my enjoyment, and will realize the error of your mistaken ways, and then scramble to buy the astoundingly powerful success guide that is making so many others’ dreams become reality. Or maybe you’ll trundle back to your battered La-Z-Boy, your shattered aspirations weighing upon your scarred soul like leaden malignancies, and die alone and forgotten, a bitter shell of possibility forever lost.

Personally, I’d buy the book. That’s just me. But do whatever you want. You know yourself, after all. And if not, best of luck digging through the local Arby’s dumpster scavenging for stale bread crusts the maggots haven’t gotten to yet.

You don’t buy the book, you’re going to need all the luck you can get.

 

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I’m getting ready to release my new non-fiction parody/satire eBook, “How To Sell A Gazillion eBooks In No Time (Even If Drunk, High or Incarcerated) within the next 48 hours, and am just awaiting final cover art, and then it will go up on Amazon and all the rest.

In the meantime, I’ve been receiving countless requests for just a taste of the book – a smidgeon of it. I’ll post a longer sample on Wed, but here’s just one of the 59 writer’s tips that can be found in its pages – tips that will change the course of your life if you follow them. And there’s so much more than just the tips. I have a Title workshop, a content workshop, a style and grammar and spelling guide, tips on story and character development, a marketing and self-promotion guide, etc. etc. It’s an almost overwhelming amount of invaluable information, I know, and it will improve lives through its powerful message of hope and perseverance.  Never before has such an in-depth tribute to all things writing, self-publishing and self-promotion been created. These are historical times.

But you’ll have to wait a few days to buy it. In the interim, here’s a peek at what’s inside:

 

**********************

 

Tip #29 – Get a dictation machine

Have you ever been somewhere, and a brilliant idea occurs to you, but by the time you make it home you’ve somehow lost the essence of the thought? Of course not, given that you’re reading this book. But follow along – for some, like Russell Blake, brilliant ideas are like a swarm of locusts pelting him from the heavens. If you’re similarly gifted you know what I mean, which again, is highly unlikely given that I’m doing the writing and you paid to read my words.

Be that as it may, I’d advise everyone to get a portable dictation machine. That way you never have to write anything. You just have to be able to speak, and not even particularly coherently.

Let’s face it, writing is inefficient. It takes time to craft a paragraph, whereas you can verbally blurt out a chapter over a few shots of Don Julio while watching Jackass 3 on DVD. The trick is to avoid writing, as that requires skill. Who has the time to develop chops at a declining-value discipline? I mean, hey, you could also practice miming for the next decade, but you’re still just a twat in a leotard with face paint. Is there really any point to climbing an air rope or struggling to get out of an air box or touching an air wall? That would be, uh, NO!

Same for writing. The whole reason speech was invented was to simplify the practice of communication, forever obviating having to commit thoughts to paper. And then, shortly thereafter, motion pictures and television came along. My point is that writing is so old school. These are new times. Why bother, when you can plagiarize or hire someone else to do the work for you?

Do the math on writing. If you have a successful novel, and you sell a million copies of the paperback, what do you see? Maybe half a million bucks, if you’re lucky and the publisher hasn’t got a legal team cornholing you every step of the way? But your agent takes fifteen percent, then your publicist has a bite at you, then the taxman, and pretty soon you’re standing in the poorhouse with blood and semen running down the backs of your legs wondering what happened.

Contrast that to a film deal. You come up with an idea, buy a software package on the Internet for pennies (if you’re too lazy to pirate it or get a shareware version) that will basically write a treatment for you, or alternatively find some halfwit screenwriter who wants some whiskey money to create an outline, and then you go pitch it to a couple of guys at Pixar or Universal. They love you, everyone’s very excited, you get greenlit, and they give you three or four million advance against a back-end that should net you upwards of twenty, for some complete crap idea like “Chipmunk Force Five – This Time It’s Personal.” You don’t need a script – you just pitch high concept.

Here’s how the pitch meeting might go.

Sol: “Russell. Sweetheart. You look great! You get a little work done around the eyes? Nice. Not all Mickey Rourke. Tasteful. But please, sit, sit. Mi casa, su casa, or whatever. So whaddaya got for me today? Vampire cats? Space dinosaurs? Just tell me – I always have time for you, but man, today I’m jammed, you know? Tom and Kate are throwing a hissy fit, and Johnny’s . . . well, he’s Johnny, you know?”

Me: “Sol, here it is, just for you. Pure gold, alright? So, you have these chipmunks, see, and they’re just lovable little furry f#ckers out in a field with blue skies and butterflies, and the chipmunks are doing whatever the f#ck chipmunks do, and then suddenly they go Mission Impossible on your ass because an oil refinery project threatens the pasture! Think Dogs and Cats, think Ice Age, think a Bruce Willis smartass fast-talking chipmunk with a crusty but lovable Chris Rock sidekick! And here’s the best part: their sworn enemies are the cats! So they gear up in ninja suits, and it’s two hours of brain suck! Can’t you hear the dialog already? Do I even need to tell you? We hire a couple of punks I know to fill in the blanks, every other line is a wise-crack, and it’s written so kids will love it, but the parents will laugh their asses off too!”

Sol: “Jesus. You’re a genius, Russell Blake! The merchandising will be worth a hundred mil domestic alone! Ka-Ching! Come over here. Gimme a hug. Where do you come up with this sh#t? Whadda you want? Three mil? Four? Okay, ya got me. I’ll go five, against the usual back-end, and a producer credit, full creative control, and you get to pick the director. You. Look at you! F#cking ninja chipmunk motherf%ckers. You’re killing me with this sh#t!”

Me: “Sol. Do I look stupid? You want me to mouth-f#ck you or something? Don’t insult me or treat me like your b#tch. We’re friends here. Five, the usual back-end plus points, executive producer, fifteen of the merchandise including international, and who gives a sh%t who directs? It’s a f+cking CARTOON! Now where do I sign? You gonna drink that? Come over here, honey, and sit on pappa’s lap!”

Together: “A cartoon! Chipmunks! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

Note. I’ve copy-written this and similar ideas involving all manner of rodents, including but not limited to gerbils, hamsters, chipmunks, beavers, rats, mice, and most marsupials, so if you’re looking for a concept to steal, get ready to meet a lawyer who eats pit bulls for breakfast and has wet dreams about taking you on. He’ll tear your organs out and eat them in front of your mom just for practice. Try me. Alternatively, if you’re a studio, let’s talk, break bread, come to an arrangement. It’s an exciting time. Let’s make beautiful music- there will be plenty to go around. Don’t let this one get past you – you’re running out of comics to make into half-assed flicks.

My point is that the economics of writing kind of suck. Hey, if you want to learn something useless that pays crap, why not take up origami or ice-sculpting? Why wade in with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other writers, many of whom might actually have talent?

This is a business. Be smart. You’re in it to sell a Gazillion eBooks, not to be the next Henry James. Wake up. Smell the coffee. Get the dictation machine. You’ll be glad you did.

*************************

I know, I know. That alone was worth the $2.99 for the book. And that’s only a sliver, a tiny snapshot of the goldmine that is this writer’s guide. But you’ll just have to wait a few more days for the whole thing. Now stop bugging me so I can get some sleep!

On another note, many of my fans have been asking me what I do for relaxation when I’m not penning mega-blockbuster eBooks. The answer is, I listen to music. Here’s one of my favorites to write to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you have children, you might want to have them crowd around the computer to watch the fun, before putting them to sleep in the room with the clown face clock on the wall.

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As you may or may not be aware, I’ve spent the last months tirelessly working on a new book – “How To Sell A Blazillion eBooks In A Year (Even if Drunk, High or Incarcerated).”

My goal in writing it, besides making boatloads of cash so I can live like a rap star, is to help prospective writers hone their craft, and learn the valuable tips and secrets they’ll need to know if they’re ever to be blazillion bestsellers. Never before has so much information from a celebrated authority on all things self-publishing and writing related been collected in one spot. And I’m not talking a bunch of useless aphorisms or folksy bromides masquerading as usable data – I deliver a concrete, usable strategy writers can implement immediately so they can begin their journey to becoming blazillion-selling dynamos.

What’s that, you ask? When will this priceless Success Manual ™ be available so you can buy it and turn your miserable lives around, finally achieving something besides being a resource sponge? Soon. Probably end of next week, if not sooner.

So start collecting aluminum cans or whatever you need to do to save up the cash to get this, as it promises to be your ticket out of the mundane hell that is your everyday existence. You’ll be a literary tour de force within no time with my practical, easy to follow, step-by-step counsel, and the book is worth many times the price in just how it will improve your writing – not to mention the insights it provides into the mechanics of creating and marketing a blazillion bestselling eBook.

Advance copies went out to the trade, and we’re seeing a groundswell of glowing commentary. See below for just a handful of the reviews this instant classic has garnered. Then check back next week, when I might even grace you with a sample chapter – absolutely free. And I do understand that’s like giving away hundreds of dollars of value to those who have done nothing to deserve it. But that’s the Russell Blake way ™.

What critics are saying about Russell Blake’s “How To Sell A Blazillion eBooks In A Year:”

 

“Brilliant, imaginative, hysterically funny, wildly inventive. A must-read for any writer interested in selling a blazillion eBooks in no time!”

Kirckos Reviewers

 

“Blake is a disturbingly-insincere inebriate with delusions of grandeur. The only value I can see to this drivel is that it kept the author from writing something even more harmful to the industry that might have broader appeal or at least a slim chance of success. This eBook is the reason people take drugs – to kill the pain in their psyches after being exposed to such toxic venom. It’s vicious, demented, reprehensible brain poison. I now know what demonic possession must be like.”

The Chattanooga Saturday Morning Zephyr

 

“Every generation has its voice. The Social Media generation now has its spokesperson. All hail Russell Blake, master of self-publishing and self-promotion!!!”

The London Dispatch-Herald

 

“Just potty-mouthed filth. The man is obviously unwell. I feel nauseated just hearing the letters in his name. A despicable, depraved, odious misogynistic cat-hater who should choke on his own blood as he begs for forgiveness from the savior who despises him. It’s just not funny. He’s a twisted, contemptible sh#tbag and the world will be a better place when his blasphemous skull is rotting in a ditch somewhere. Hopefully soon.”

The Spiritual Daily Reckoning

 

“I peed my pants, then fell out of my chair, then had to crawl across the floor to call 911. The funniest thing I’ve ever read, or even heard of. Evil, black humor, mocking every cherished institution and value we hold sacred. Russell Blake is going to hell on an express train, and taking us all with him.”

Porterville Register Book Review

 

“Lyrical, poignant, thoughtful, intense. Russell Blake is a national treasure. Count us firmly in the “How To Sell A Blazillion” fan club.”

The Murrieta Sharecropper Book Club

 

“If you sat a brain-damaged chimp at a computer and had him bang on the keyboard with a banana, the ensuing product would be in every way superior to Blake’s sophomoric attempt at humor. Not only does it fall flat, but he’s obviously a cretin. If you’re a fan of sub-custodial gibberish you’ve found your man. Russell is a malignancy on the reputation of writing. He should heretofore be banished; his name struck from all records, his home burned and his work shredded in a wood-chipper by Elvis-impersonating hillbillies. I felt like I’d been physically violated just reading the first few pages. By the time it mercifully ended, my soul was dead. I hope he dies of something painful – perhaps hemorrhagic fever, where he becomes a human exsanguinating yogurt machine, and his decaying flesh drops from his bones and every nerve sears in eternal agony. Russell Blake is the literary equivalent of Ebola. The man’s a menace.”

New York Journal Literary Monthly

 

“I can see how anyone who follows Blake’s step-by-step primer will inevitably become a blazillion bestseller. It’s the single most helpful and thought-provoking book of its kind. Love him or hate him, Russell Blake has created a timeless classic that every writer, author hopeful, or friend and family of a writer should read. Never before has being successful been so easy for so many. A giveaway at a hundred times the price.”

Paris Observer

 

“Russell Blake is a disgrace, and his books are an abomination. Just being in the same room as one pollutes my spirit, and sitting reading his “Writer’s Bible” describing how to sell a blazillion eBooks in a year made me want to swallow my own head in order to end my suffering. It’s probably the single most foul travesty of the written word I’ve ever beheld, and it makes me believe that Satan and Hitler joined Pol Pot and Stalin to give him literary advice. I’d advise any thinking person to reject this garbage out of hand, and avoid his work as though it was slathered with Plutonium-234. The man is the devil. There’s no other word for it; this book is just wrong, and he’s a sick, malevolent fecal stain.”

Epistomology Today

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Mega-selling self-publishing phenom John Locke has been an inspiration to me. I read his runaway bestseller on how he sold 1 million E-Books in 5 months, and I got excited. Well, actually, the first time I read it I had been drinking, so I actually got sick about halfway through and almost ruined my Kindle (through no fault of John’s – never drink a liter of mescal on an empty stomach). But when I came to and reread the book again after hosing the screen off, I got excited. The few “eye-openers” I’d had to chase away the scaries might have had a small amount to do with that excitement, but I’m pretty sure it was Locke.

So then, I got some shut-eye, and when I came to again, I reread his book, and I realized there was hope that I, a writer with barely marginal abilities and a complete lack of any discipline or desire to work any harder than I have to (as my daytime job cleaning windshields at an intersection near my home enables me to do), might also reach a massive audience of subsequently adoring fans virtually overnight.

Following his advice, I created a marketing plan, and identified my target market, figured out how my characters could be described, joined Twitter, cobbled together a first novel over a few days (plagiarizing really cuts down on writing time), and then took the most important step – I wrote this blog.

So here it goes. The blog that I hope will change everything for me.

Pay attention, please. This is important.

Ahem.

***************************************

I love John Locke, and I love my dad. I also love cute little dewy-eyed puppies, and sweet furry little mewling kitties, as well as apple pie, my beloved long-suffering grandmother, and of course, the flag. And God. Let’s not forget God. And especially, we can’t forget the children. Because it’s all about the children.

I know my dad’s not perfect. All I have to do is think back to the times where he would allow the geriatric neighborhood men to watch me take a bath – for a fee – or when I run my hands across the cigarette burn scars on my chest and back, or recall my youth chained in the root cellar in a four-by-six cage with only a burlap sack as clothing, and I realize he wasn’t perfect. I know – we are all cast from imperfect clay. But he did the best he could.

I can’t help but consider his influence on me when I see the former head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, charged with being a slack-jawed drug-and-alcohol crazed misogynistic satyr whose history of sexual predation allegedly spans twenty years. Perhaps it’s not only Pops who enjoyed a little romantic stimulation after chemically-fortifying himself with MD 20/20 and Black Beauties while losing the rent money on a back-alley craps game. And when I heard about another idol, famous rock legend Pete Townsend, and his brush with the authorities over having thousands of images of small children on his computer, my mind naturally went back to dad. It seems that dad is always in my thoughts, in one way or another.

As are puppies, kitties, apple pie, grandma, the flag, God, and the children.

The point is that through all my struggles I emerged stronger, and I’m now grown up; a novelist whose characters mirror my experiences. It’s why the protagonist in my upcoming new action/adventure trilogy – “Offender 7 – Registered Sex Offender Secret Agent,” is a strong, capable, yet flawed man who balances his ninja career as an ex-CIA killer now moonlighting for the Korean mob, against a conflicted inner-voice that drives him to do horrible things, for which he is later sorry, or at least claims to be after he’s knocked back a half gallon of Ballerina vodka and is sobbing in his bathrobe while clutching the toilet rim.

So if you enjoy characters who destroy the souls of helpless victims they’re entrusted with protecting, and who are now serving life sentences in a high security Midwest penitentiary, but are occasionally released when called upon by the government to act as a one man killing machine against terrorists (who would harm puppies, kitties, our way of life, pie, the flag, God & the children) my new Offender 7 series is up your alley. Described as “…a relentless juggernaut of psychotically-fueled blood lust, wherein a savagely-brutal death dealer massacres friend and foe alike,” by the Seminole Literary Monthly, it’s a perfect coming-of-age read for the whole family.

Alternatively, my current novel, Fatal Exchange, available for pennies on Kindle, which doesn’t have pedophile sex offender secret agents or puppies or kitty cats in it, but could with a quick rewrite if that’s all that’s holding you back, is a gripping read perfect for action/intrigue enthusiasts, as well as inmates, shut-ins, and the chronically unbalanced.

I know my dad’s not perfect. His four sequential life sentences underscore we can all make mistakes. But I love him, just as I love puppy dogs and sweet little kitty cats, and my beloved grandma and her mouthwatering apple pie – and of course my country, which for all its flaws is the greatest nation on the planet – and God, and the precious children.

I feel much better now. I may not be allowed within 100 yards of any playground or elementary school, and have to wear this stupid ankle bracelet for another 8 months, but at least I’ve learned important, if sometimes harsh, life lessons.

And isn’t that the whole reason for this journey we’re all on together?

Thank you John Locke, for giving me the courage to blog. I thought after my tragic freak figure skating accident I was finished in the public eye, but now you’ve shown me that doesn’t have to be the end. Hopefully this message of affirmation will go viral in a few days and I’ll see the cash pour in – Ka-ching, babee, Ka-CHING! And hopefully as readers come across this heartfelt blog and Tweet and re-Tweet it in a frenzy of free publicity for me, we all remember that besides puppies, kitties, apple pie, my grandma, the flag and God, the most important assets we have are the children.

Make it go viral. Not for me. Not for the kitties. Not even for grandma, who isn’t well and who expressed as her dying wish that it sees mass dissemination.

But for the children.

Do it for the children.

***************************************

There.  I think that nailed all the high notes. Don’t think I left anything out. I wanted to drive home the most appealing parts of the narrative – puppies and all that crap, so I figured repeating it a few times for anyone too dim to catch it in the title or the first mentions in the blog would still get it. Can’t be too careful.

And I made it topical with the Strauss-Kahn thing – frigging magical that, don’t you think? I know, I know, you’re a self-promoting genius, Russell Blake. No need to belabor it. Thank you beautiful crowd. Mwah, mwah.

Right. Okay, then. I’m going to head down to the bank in a few hours and collect the first wad of cash from my ascendant career. Remember to buy my books, early and often, if not for yourself, then for friends or family or even those you dislike intensely.

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If you’re like me, you’re getting pretty tired of thinly-veiled touts by authors desperate for visibility for their books. It’s sort of akin to the date-rapist who assures you that you have really pretty eyes while he’s slipping the ruffies into your martini – most of these efforts just smack of desperation and cheap hucksterism, and leave an oily film of smarmy flop-sweat in their wake.

I, on the other hand, am above that sort of thing. My efforts to make several whopping dollars per day are paying off (any second, now), and I can see it’s mere moments until I mine the motherload. Given that I’m so richly evolved and beyond the sort of base, crass commercialism many authors have been reduced to, I’ve developed my own pitch, which hopefully resonates with your inner muse, either as an author yourself, or a reader, or someone who knows an author or reader, or has heard of either.

And soon I’ll be offering a “How to be Radically Bitchin’ Like Blake and Sell a Blazillion Books in Fifteen Minutes Using Only the Power of Your Mind and a Dial-Up Modem” guide you can not only use to get rich, rich I say, but also can multi-level market to every other human being on the planet in a virtually endless pyramid fashion.

But enough about that for now. Let’s focus on a successful pitch for e-books, and how to craft a message with universal appeal, while not cheapening your important work.

Because this is so much more than entertainment – it’s Aht, I say.

So here it is. Let me know what you think:

Depressed? Feeling worn out? Eviscerated by the market, or bummed by the ongoing financial crisis, or troubled by global warming or hunger, or general entropy? Mate done you wrong? Job suck? Random aches and pains causing grief? Phantom limb or Tourette’s gotcha grumpy? Spontaneous tremors? Problem flatulence? Overweight? Have a pesky chemical imbalance, or wish you did? Got a suspicious lesion or a troubling growth? Organs failing? Wish you had stronger bones or teeth?

Don’t worry! Just pick up Fatal Exchange, the new action/intrigue/thriller by Russell Blake, and you’ll be fixed up in no time! You’ll be thinner, younger, with a thicker head of hair, oodles of money and charisma, fabulous vibrant good health, and incredible magnetism for the opposite (or same, if you prefer) sex. Your peers will envy your grace, charm, poise, wit, and prosperity, and you’ll live practically forever while enjoying astounding vitality.

And for a limited time…all for a lousy ninety-nine cents! That’s .000099 cents a word! It’s like they’re giving them away. And Russ isn’t shy with the syllables. You get richly developed, half-dollar words for mere fractions! Interfenestration! Quixotic! Anthropomorphism! Antidisestablishmentarianism! They’re all there, and more. And if you’re the sort who moves their lips while reading TV Guide, not to worry – the plots are clever, but not so much that you won’t still feel pretty damned smart just for reading it – and there are broad clues so even the dimmest can sort of keep up!

What are you waiting for? Don’t you owe it to yourself to finally climb the mountain of dreams and grab the fruit of success from the tree of actualization, and change your entire life in a profound, seismic manner? Now all your aspirations can come true – boundless happiness, unshakable self-esteem, Midas-like wealth, and the slavish adoration of your high school sweetheart/crush (who hasn’t aged a day since your last kiss), who’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with you and being your love toy – all this and more, from a kindle book with a racing plot and whiplash-inducing hooks. And don’t get me started on the eternity of guaranteed paradise in the afterlife of your choice, where you’ll be reunited with loved ones, cherished pets, and/or as many virgins as you can shake a stick at. Amazing you say? Impossible? Tut tut. Not so. It’s all there for the asking. Your only limitation is your imagination, and a lousy dollar!

So take that first step. Make the move. You are a winner. This is your movie. You’ve got what it takes. You’ve got game, my friend, and you’re different than the rest. You’re worth it – you deserve it. Nobody can hold you back. This is your moment, and you’re an unstoppable force. You are Atlas, you are the Fountainhead, and now the hero within is awakened and everyone best just get out of your way, stat, Biatch!

Do it for the children. Do it for the future of the species. Do it to foster world peace, and banish disease and suffering forever, except of course from your rivals and enemies, who deserve to be crushed like shitgrubs beneath your powerful, demi-godlike feet…

Huh.

I dunno. It may need a little more tuning. I want to strike the right tone. Something that’s edgy, but has broad appeal, and won’t offend, but will make people think about each other differently while we all also learn something about ourselves. Maybe it needs a racially diverse but appropriate buddy for whom this time it’s personal? I’m always open to suggestions…

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David Foster Wallace was the most important author of my generation.

That’s a rather sweeping statement, however having just finished re-reading Infinite Jest after a decade of it collecting dust since my first read of it, that’s the only conclusion I can arrive at. The man was a genius. His evocative use of language and fearless pushing of the post-modern sensibility was awe inspiring. Many use Thomas Pynchon in the same sentence, however that doesn’t do DFW justice, IMO.

Is he easy to read? No. There are sentences that run half a densely-packed page, and endnotes that run four or five pages. Is the story coherent? Depends on what you mean by “story” and “coherent.”

But is it an incredible, one-of-a-kind read that can and should redefine what fiction can be? Does it make one feel ashamed and unworthy to set words to paper? Does it make one sad that a talent this immense, this outsized, took his own life, robbing the world of a virtuoso the scale of a Mozart or a Nijinsky?

Yup. All that and more.

It’s also the literary equivalent of a nine-course gourmet French meal prepared by three-star Michelin chefs. My suggestion is that if you’re a writer and are unfamiliar with David Foster Wallace’s work, you should pick up Infinite Jest and take a month to read it – not to demoralize or bewilder you, but rather to give you a sense of the possible.

I know this is all off-topic, however between finishing up The Geronimo Breach and editing the final revision before publishing it, and doing my final polish of Zero Sum, I gravitated to the bookcase and became re-acquainted with DFW, which is somewhat akin to going to church, at least in my lexicon.

On a different note, I’ve gotten several e-mails asking me what’s next now that Fatal Exchange is available on Kindle and beginning its sales ramp with a few positive reader reviews (gracias for the kind words). Well, I’m about 20K words into The Delphi Chronicle, and that should be done by August 15, on the outside. Then I’m going to switch gears, and move from the smushed-together amalgam of Ludlum/DeMille (Nelson, not Cecil) that I tend to favor for my stories, to a stylistic departure, wherein I serialize the protagonist from Zero Sum (which should be on Kindle beginning of August, with any sort of tail wind whatsoever), but in a completely unexpected way. Think Da Vinci Code crossed with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and liberally sprinkle some Foucault’s Pendulum.

I’ve always wanted to write something like this, but lacked the desire to do the mountain of research a good effort requires. We’ll see how that goes – I can say that so far, at least at the outline stage, it’s by far the most Byzantine and complicated story line I’ve done, but it also gives me goose bumps when fleshing it out, which is a good thing. After getting through with Geronimo, where the protagonist is a deeply, chronically flawed character with every imaginable vice and shortcoming (which is easily the most fun character I’ve ever created, at least to write) who survives in spite of anything he does rather than because of it, moving to a research-intensive novel with heavy historical elements is as much of a departure for me as shooting for writing Harry Potter Meets The Android King. But that’s what keeps it fun, no?

I’ll try to blog more often over the summer, although I’m keenly aware that my opinions are seldom in as brisk a demand as I’d like to imagine (apologies to Strunk & White), however for better or worse, they’ll be online with at least some regularity.

Oh, and a final thought. At the risk of being Dr. Obvioso, this Christmas will be the year of the e-reader. I heard a voice in my head, and it never lies. Hardly.

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