Question: Why do books need to be returnable?

Answer: To protect the few remaining major traditional publishers.

ATTENTION INDIE AUTHORS! This one is for you.

 

I am actually entertaining not being listed on Amazon because of their return policy.

I will not support their READ AND RETURN policy.

I will not support their PIRATE AND RETURN policy.

By rebelling against “the man”, it will hurt my sales by REDUCING EXPOSURE to my book in the world’s largest online book retailer.

AM I NUTS?

The jury is still out.

IS IT CAREER SUICIDE?

My career as an author never had much of a chance. I just did not know this when I began the journey. I thought I was getting into the business of writing.

When I finally gave up on finding an agent or publisher for my book, I began my journey into self-publishing which is a misnomer. You cannot successfully self-publish if you wish to be taken seriously. I wrote a serious book which delves into serious subjects—albeit in a non-serious way—that I wanted to be taken seriously. Ms. Creant had to come out in e-book, large print paperback and large print hardcover in order to have any chance of SUCCESS.

I re-labelled myself as an indie-author.

I was “thinking green”, and as such, I have a huge issue with the WASTE of returned books. I chose Print On Demand for environmental reasons, but I now see it for what it is–a way for the publishing industry to print a huge number of books without taking any responsibility for returns. They put this squarely on the poor indie-author.

THE SELF-PUBLISHING & INDIE PUBLISHING GAMES ARE RIGGED!

IT IS DESIGNED TO KEEP YOU FROM COMPETING WITH MAJOR PUBLISHERS IN THE STORES THEY CONTROL.

THE COST OF YOUR POD BOOK IS MORE THAN TWICE THE COST OF THE SAME BOOK TO A HIGH VOLUME MAJOR PUBLISHER.

The low initial pricing of my POD books to my readers has already eliminated any chance of my books being picked up by any mass merchants–GREATLY REDUCING MY CHANCE OF SUCCEEDING. The discount I offer to bookstores is deemed too low. If, on the other hand, I were to raise my retail price to accommodate their huge discount, it would price my books out of the rational book buyer’s price range and into the stratosphere–ENSURING TINY SALES NUMBERS.

Additionally, I would have to accept the retailer’s RETURN POLICY on unsold books; many of which would be dusty and damaged. I WOULD HAVE TO PAY THE SHIPPING COSTS to have the books returned to me, rather than trusting that those books would be “recycled”, which is the word they throw around, but unsold books from large retailers regularly end up in landfills. THEY REFUSE TO DONATE THEM TO SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES OR THE UNDER-PRIVILEGED because it would hurt the sales of the big publishers they are in bed with. Instead, they again put this on the poor indie-author. It is the same reason why food stores do not donate to food-banks. They want YOU to buy the food donations which the food store profits from. They further encourage you to buy and donate food by having a food-bank donation bin in their stores, but I digress. . .

Are e-books the answer?

NO!

  • As an e-book only author, you reduce your number of potential readers by 70%.
  • Your book will not qualify for prestigious literary competitions and awards.
  • Your book will not be reviewed by the most trusted literary critics.

So what is the answer to SUCCESS as an indie-author?

1) GIVE UP THE DREAM OF BEING A WRITER.

2) Set up a business to SELL your books.

3) Be conscious of your time and/or money invested vs. the REVENUES generated from the activity. Social media is the equivalent of a printed flyer delivered in your mail. You can expect only 3% of those followers you reach to buy your book.

4) You must TARGET book sellers, book buyers; reviewers etc. and REACH OUT to them.

5) You must INVEST in putting out a quality product. This requires: Editors, cover designers, interior layout specialists, ISBN management, Copyright management, royalty management, e-book formatting, Point Of Sale site management, social media site management, e-mail services, marketing strategies, merchandising specialists, publicity specialists and perhaps a mailing company. THIS IS WHAT GOES ON INSIDE A LEGITIMATE PUBLISHER.

6) IT WILL BE A FULL-TIME JOB!

I will pay for nine of the thirteen listed which leaves me to wear four hats without even considering the administrative side of any business. I am considering an online store of my own on ebay or Shopify at a minimum cost of $10.00 / month.

My twenty plus years as a business person tells me I have only a 50/50 shot at SUCCESS, and it will have little to do with my capabilities as a writer. My experience also tells me that it will be a long slow climb to a respectable sales level without those major retailers.

It worked for J. K. Rowling. It might happen for me.

Lightning might strike twice.

E. A.

P.S. Hello to my feeling forgotten friends on WordPress.

The book is about 30 days away from its release date so I have been swamped.

Look on the upside, if my book tanks, you will be the first to know as I will post my farewell here.

😀

 

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Blog 19: Why? It is a Good Question.

Three year-old’s love to ask this question. It seems the aged like it too.

An old woman from Norway that had never left her country before was given a trip to Los Angeles by a distant relative. While touring the Hollywood Hills looking at massive homes with multiple vehicles she was asked what she thought. She uttered one word.

Why?

Where she grew up, a house was shelter and only need be big enough for the number of occupants that reside there. She could not fathom a thirty room house that was mostly empty and she did not see the necessity for more than one vehicle.

She viewed it as wasteful.

She seemed quite interested in the roofs of these homes. She asked what they were made of and was told that they were Marley tile roofs, copper roofs and solar paneled roofs among others.

She asked: Why not use grass?

No one in the car could answer her question.

Later the same day, she overheard a conversation about private Health Insurance and asked: Why would you not want to use the Public Health System? It was explained to her that the best most immediate care was private.

She asked: Why?

No one in the room could adequately answer her question.

In touring L.A. she saw many homeless people that were her age on the streets.

She asked: Why do they live like that?

It was explained to her that many older retired people did not have pensions that could afford them housing. Some needed medications for mental disorders that they could not afford.

She asked: Did they not work their whole lives?

An answer came back that stated: “Just because you work your whole life in America is no guaranty that you will have a nice retirement.”

She asked: Why do they not live in the empty rooms of those big mansions?

A very young Great Great Niece of hers answered this one. She said: “Because rich people are afraid of poor people.”

She asked: Why?

The car was uncomfortably quiet for some time after that.

At dinner there was talk of sending her Great Niece to University and which of the schools on the list was the most affordable.

She asked: Why do you have to pay to educate your children if they are going to live and work in this country their whole lives?

No one attempted to answer.

She told her Great Niece about her University days so many years ago, and how excited she was back then at receiving her P.H.D. Everyone at the table was stunned. They had no idea that this very modestly dressed woman of few words that lived in a small three room grass-roofed house in Europe had an advanced degree.

She went on to point out that her family did not have to pay for her higher education as it was part of a government social program that included: free health care where you just walk into any hospital you want and an old age security plan that kept most everyone living comfortably after retirement with around 50% of their pre-retirement wage. Everyone that worked in the country paid about 15% of their wage into these programs. She added that there were not any homeless people and very little crime where she lived, and left it to us to connect the dots.

The rest of her short visit was spent talking about the family tree for the most part and visiting some tourist traps.

As we were driving her to the airport, she asked that we stop the car just ahead. She got out, walked over to a homeless lady and gave her all her remaining American money and got back in the car without uttering so much as a word.

As she was about to board she turned to us and said:

“This is the one of the richest countries in the world. You really should ask your government where they are spending all the money.”

Her doctorate was in economics.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as SUPPLYING SOME ANSWERS TO THE QUESTION: WHY?

Have a great week.

E. A.

 

 

Blog 21: “Shit to avoid doing on Social Media”.

A concept created by Author Angora Shade.

 

Actors are famous; some with millions of LIKES and with FOLLOWERS numbering in the hundreds of thousands on social media sites. Meanwhile the writers that supplied their lines remain mostly unknown.

That is the world that writers live in.

In an often vain attempt to be noticed, Authors are required to have an online presence that includes (at a minimum) the following:

  • Tweeting daily.
  • Updating their Facebook status frequently.
  • Blogging weekly.
  • Maintaining a website.
  • Being an active participant in many organizations and groups.
  • A book trailer on YouTube.

For most, the commitment to social media is over twenty hours per week of a writer’s time, assuming they did not get drawn in- endless surfing. You see writers are inquisitive by nature. We wish to experience new ideas that make us think. We may later write using this new found inspiration. We also want our words to affect others. There is a certain power that we feel when others are moved by our words. It can be a teachable moment.

THIS IS THE TRAP.

We cannot stop ourselves from commenting on interesting posts and we cannot stop surfing for those posts. If we stop, we might miss something that could have changed a life or gone viral. We are like kids begging to stay out later. Surfing social media can become addictive. If you are not careful, you will find yourself unwashed, in three day old underwear, still looking for the next opportunity to contribute. Books do not get written or published that way.

I have made many mistakes in my short time immersed in social media that I will now share.

1) DO NOT OPEN YOUR SITE UNTIL YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I bombarded my early followers with friend requests over and over again. Bless them for sticking with the newbie.

2) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ALTER THE THINKING OF OTHERS. I am well known for my anti-substance abuse stance, so in one post I questioned Australia’s idea of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs harder than pot. The group that posted seemed to think that by making these drugs more available it would remove the burden on law enforcement, reduce the backlog in the courts and empty the prisons ultimately saving tax dollars because drug treatments are cheaper. They kind of missed the point that habitual drug users do not wish to be treated. Always one for being philosophical, I suggested that “Mankind makes enough mistakes without being intoxicated.” If it was a jail, I would have been gang raped. Their responses ranged from “Your parents should have used protection.” to “Go f@ck yourself.”

3) DO NOT PRESUME THAT YOUR ON-LINE “FRIENDS” ARE LIKE YOUR REAL-LIFE FRIENDS. I think of writers as well educated thinking people in search of noble things like awareness and understanding. The ones I have associated with in real life have open minds, have journeyed into their inner selves and who freely engage in friendly banter that may include jest. They are witty. They understand and appreciate sarcasm. Recently, an author that I had conversed with several times on-line, posted the results of one of those “Who is (Her Name)?” tests that came back as being perfect in every way imaginable. You are smart, beautiful, sexy, an amazing lover… yada, yada, yada. The photo on her page (if actually her) was of an extraordinarily attractive woman. I was sarcastically questioning this personification of perfection and was almost immediately swarmed by others on the post. I was told that “If I had nothing nice to say, that I should say nothing at all.” I attempted to explain that my comments were a tease but to no avail. The Author told me that “she would be happy to stick her eight inch heels up my ass.” I had run into someone with a “mirror mirror on the wall…” complex who believed her own press. She obviously has some self-esteem issues that manifested in her oversensitivity. Her worshipers- presumably readers, would not allow a non-worshipper to talk to their goddess in that way. None got the joke and that is the moral of the story. The UN-FRIEND button was used on this occasion.

4) DO NOT PLAY DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. Recent world events have polarized many people into “for” and “against” and neither is willing to look at the opposing viewpoint nor are they interested in finding any common ground. It does not seem to matter whether the group is talking politics or religion- there is no give in their stance no matter how inhumane or ridiculous that stance may be. Do not waste your precious time.

5) DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EDUCATE EVEN WHEN IT APPEARS THEY ARE ASKING FOR HELP. Offering up unsolicited advice is never welcomed in the “on-line community”. Despite your “friend” status, you are a stranger and they probably do not know anything about you. When you are asked, you must weigh your words carefully- remembering that people tend to ask for your input to help them be more comfortable with a decision that they have already made. They are looking for peace of mind and not looking for answers that may require them to strike off in a new direction.

6) NEVER ENGAGE IN CONVERSATIONS AFTER MIDNIGHT- ESPECIALLY ON WEEKENDS. People get hammered and go on-line thinking that they are smarter and more communicative when they are in that condition. These are the same people that use liquid bravery to meet others in bars. In either place the results are the same. Incoherence and impaired cognitive function does not make for good conversation. The key to identifying them is by their tangents. I say “The dog is red.” and they come back with “You don’t like dogs that read?” Do yourself a favour and log off right there.

7) DO NOT ENCOURAGE ON-LINE CRUSHES. You do not know if this person is real or an axe murderer serving a life sentence. All you have is a profile that they wrote.

8) DO NOT BELIEVE ANY POST ON THE INTERNET. So far I have seen a city in the clouds, a massive underground ancient city, more blurry UFO’s and apparently there are four different species of aliens that are running everything. Research everything to establish whether what you read is fact or fiction.

9) REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE THERE. For most of us, it is part of the job. Do not let your addiction get the better of you and do not let some fools take the fun out of it for you.

10) IF YOU NEED TO RANT; DO IT IN YOUR BLOG. Your blog readers probably enjoy your personal views but Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should not be used for rants unless they are comedic.

SOCIAL MEDIA IS ABOUT FLUFF.

If you want to be on-line without any grief, simply do the following:

  • Keep things light.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Tell people what they want to hear.
  • Never get involved in controversial posts.
  • Post pretty pictures.

It is not what good friends do, but that is the point.

When you have put in your twenty plus hours a week on social media, sit back, pour yourself a stiff drink and weep for humanity… but for the sake of all that is holy, do not go back on-line.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as HOW EACH OF US MUST ANALYSE OUR RELATIONSHIPS.

 

Go make some friends… ideally in the real world.

E. A.

 

 

Blog 20: Words for a broken-hearted young man.

Here is why I did not say these things but instead wrote them for you. I wrote this so that it could be READ. I believe we retain only 20% of what we hear; 50% of what we read and 80% of what we write. This is why I encourage students to apply themselves in school and develop their note-making skills. My intended target for this article should benefit even though he is having a tough time emotionally.

A teenager that I know was devastated by a girl that ended their seven month relationship. As usual, as it is with many men, he was blind-sided but he did confess that he FELT that there was something wrong. She seemed different for a week leading up to the breakup. He had relationships end before without this level of suffering. It was not the first time that he was involved in a sexual relationship. He believes that this traumatic life event requires answers to achieve closure. (His words.)

Question: So why did this one gut him?

Answer: She became his SIGNIFICANT other.

She HELPED him find an educational path that would lead to his dream career and ENCOURAGED him to pursue it. She TAUGHT him that hard work in school pays off, as she is an honor student with many options heading into university. She GAVE love to him; even if it was for a short time.

She made him grow and strive to be better.

Instead of grieving for your lost relationship, THANK HER for being an important part of your life and walk away with your head held high- cherishing the memories.

This is what a REAL MAN does and IT IS NOT EASY.

It is also a great way to make her question her decision.

You may be tempted later to be vindictive. You may wish to inflict as much pain on her as she created in you. These days, guys post sexy pictures of their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives on the internet. This is an immature response that says that you are not yet a man.

REAL MEN do not do this.

Guys, especially young ones, often do not understand what it is to be a REAL MAN. Some think that because they had SEX they are a man. Most think that because they have reached an AGE where they can quit school, leave home, drive, drink, vote, work and live independently that they are men. Others think that because they PROVIDE they are a man. Many believe that because they are ENGAGED OR MARRIED they are a man. Still others think that because they HAVE A CHILD with a woman that they are a man.

Being a REAL MAN is not these things.

Being a REAL MAN means that you LEARNED about yourself and life as you did these things.

After a few decades of ATTEMPTING to be one myself, I have this to share with you my young Padawan learner.

  • A real man does things that make him loved by many. He realizes HE IS LOVED by many people so the loss of one, no matter how significant, is not the end of his world.
  • A real man recognizes that nothing lasts forever. He is GRATEFUL for the women that chose to spend their time with him and the joy they helped him to experience.
  • A real man is AWARE that life is challenging and meeting those challenges head-on is what gives him his strength.
  • A real man FACES HIS FEARS. He does not hide from them even though he is afraid.
  • A real man develops an INNER STRENGTH that allows him continue his life alone, if need be. He is comfortable and content in his own skin and to be on his own. He does not need others to enjoy life.
  • A real man knows that EVERY DAY IS PRECIOUS and does not waste his days on a temporarily broken heart or the person that damaged it.
  • A real man SEEKS KNOWLEDGE and new experiences because they give us understanding. You are not born a wise man. Wisdom is what you collect in your life’s journey.
  • A real man LISTENS more than he talks. He takes in what others say; absorbs the meaning of their words and asks for clarification before deciding to voice his opinion.
  • A real man does not ESCAPE HIS REALITY through booze, drugs, gambling or gaming. A lifestyle that includes these is counterproductive to all of the above. Escape into music, books, art, sports, travel and films as they are far less damaging and supply opportunities to expand your awareness.
  • A real man knows that HIS WORD MEANS EVERYTHING. If he makes a commitment, he will move heaven and earth to make certain he honours his word. His word is his bond. A handshake is his contract.
  • A real man understands that HIS HAPPINESS IS UP TO HIM. No one can give him happiness or take it away. Happiness is something that comes from within. Happiness is something he chooses to make a part of his everyday life.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as THE AUTHOR’S MISGUIDED ATTEMPTS TO BE A REAL MAN.

Hug someone with a broken heart.

E. A.

 

 

Blog 7.2: Lost in the Wilderness. Part 2 of 3

The Myth of “Living the Dream” in the Country: The Northern Ontario Experience.

PEACE AND QUIET:

For most people considering a move to the country; peace means SECURITY- worry free living. You can leave your door open. You will be moving to a place where neighbours get together to help each other out, just like “the olden days” of barn-raising and quilting bees.

There was a reason that EVERYONE CARRIED A GUN BACK IN THOSE DAYS.

Back then, just as today, about 33% of the people you meet are good people who will help their neighbor. Unfortunately the other 66% are made out of people that you must keep an eye on. 33% are out to screw you over. The remaining 33% are either indifferent or could waffle from one side to the other on any given day.

If you think there is no crime or less crime in the country, THINK AGAIN!

You are moving to the POT GROWING CAPITAL OF ONTARIO which means organized crime. While exploring trails on your ATV you may cross paths with a biker-type carrying an automatic weapon. When he tells you that “you should not be here”, LISTEN TO HIM and go back the way you came- QUICKLY!

Add to that the local teens with little to do to kill the boredom, that will get drunk, high or both and come up with some really bad ideas as to how to keep the party going.

Lastly is the saddest group, the alcoholics, drug addicts, sociopaths and schizophrenics that were displaced by cut-backs to the Ontario health system. They too are here for low cost living.

THEY ARE YOUR NEW NEIGHBOURS.

They are easily managed if you BUY A GUN AND FIRE IT OFTEN to make them think twice.

The QUIET will make up for these other minor negative points though, so long as your idea of quiet includes logging trucks that literally shake the place when they go down a near-by highway, chainsaws and gunshots just like in The Red Green Show, ATV’s every weekend for 8 MONTHS, snowmobiles the other 4 MONTHS, plus heavy power boat traffic for 2 MONTHS and the never ending over-flights of commercial, military and police aircraft THAT WERE NOT THERE TWENTY YEARS AGO. Oh yeah, do not forget your neighbour who is building a mansion with diesel powered excavation equipment.

FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS:

If by “fresh” you mean COLD- then yes.

Northern Ontario has some of the freshest air short of the Arctic Circle because THAT IS WHERE MOST OF OUR AIR COMES FROM.

The winter of 2013-14 was horrible everywhere in the province but here are some statistics from my area: In each of the 8 months beginning in October and including April- it snowed. In that same period, the temperatures NEVER HIT POSITIVE DOUBLE DIGITS. In other words +10C or 50F was not seen for an 8 month period. For 4 consecutive months the temperatures NEVER WENT ABOVE FREEZING. For that same period the typical night-time temperatures were -20C to -40C or -40F (they are the same at that point on the scales).

For most of 6 months, “dressing up” meant putting on your “good” long-underwear and snow pants.

Sunshine happened occasionally for 30 minutes a day if you were lucky and you may have had to travel to see it. In winter sunshine comes with a price. Clear skies often mean extreme cold. There were entire weeks that went by without seeing the sun.

A favourite joke when it did come out was “What is that fireball in the sky?” SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is rampant without the sun and its natural vitamin D production. In December you will get four hours of sunlight, if you are lucky and you will not want to be outside.

“Feel the burn” is usually a phrase associated with a work-out but here it means frostbite or sunburn due to the giant hole in the ozone layer overhead.

BEING SURROUNDED BY NATURE:

The fantasy of having rabbits or foxes and deer playing in your yard was my reality. So was the more disturbing unwanted less cute critters like bears, wolves, fishers, skunks, raccoons, snakes and what some people thought was a cougar.

YOUR FANTASY OF RUNNING NAKED THROUGH THE FOREST MIGHT GET YOU KILLED BY NATURE.

Being surrounded by nature means GOOD HUNTING:

BUG SEASON is open all year round!

Black Fly season begins as soon as the snow melts and lasts for 2 TO 3 MONTHS! For those not familiar, this is a CARNIVORE about the size of a flea that does not like their homes being disturbed by anything- especially raking. A distant relative of the Piranha fish, they will attack in great numbers and devour ANY EXPOSED FLESH. Working out-doors means covering up or using massive quantities of CANCER CAUSING AGENTS to keep just some of them away. Locals like to make Black Fly season even scarier to tourists by making jokes like: “The Black Flies are so big this year that I just saw one humping a Partridge.”

Some years you will be given a choice between bleeding bites from Black Flies and lumps from the West Nile Virus carrying Mosquitoes. Mosquito season can last for 5 MONTHS and begins with the heat of summer that will kill off most of the Black Flies but the mosquito will only be killed off by cold.

In July the mosquito will be joined by other man-eating species like Deer Flies and Horse Flies. Deer Flies are about the size of a house fly, but they are a fast delta-winged biter that lives in wooded areas.

The Horse Fly likes (you guessed it): horses. Now they have adapted to eat other mammals, as horses are not as common as they once were. Horse Flies appear as an over-sized house fly until he takes a chunk out of you. They are relatively slow which means you can often swat them with your hand. They do not drown easily and I have tried. The Horse Fly loves a sunny day at the beach especially when humans are on the lunch menu. If you want a high kill ratio, then wait until they start to bite before swatting. Like a human eating a good steak, they are savouring the taste of your meat and are not paying attention.

Dragon Flies, Bees and Butterflies are often COLLATERAL DAMAGE when using insecticides. Though they are beneficial, sometimes they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Just there to piss you off are June Bugs, Moths and Ants. Enjoy the hunt and the kill. FYI- moth season is open year-round as somehow they will last into December when all others have died or are in a cryogenic sleep.

Spiders, ants and house flies are available for hunting without having to go outside- year round.

The stinging varieties and there are many:

Wasps- especially Ground Wasps that nest under rotting logs, Hornets and Yellow Jackets are like ISIS members- TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY. It is them or us. In late summer or early fall many of the stingers cannot cope with the idea that their lives are about to end; they act insanely and commit suicide by attacking you for no reason.

Blogus Interruptus… continued next week.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as the idea that WE ARE HERE TO LEARN SOMETHING.

I am learning.

I learned to swear more often and conjugate profanities like never before.

Enjoy your week. I have to go kill something.

E. A.

Blog 6.3: The FEAR Lessons:

PART THREE:

EVIL WORDSMITHS ARE PREYING ON YOUR IMAGINATIONS!

Blah, blah, blah. So where are you taking us E. A.?

In part one I defined the true Canadian spirit as I see it. We are NOT A FEARFUL PEOPLE. We are not interested in SACRIFICING OUR FREEDOM IN THE NAME OF SECURITY. In part two, I did my best to learn about the Muslim population of the planet, in order to offset the propaganda machine created by political and main-stream media FEAR MONGERS. This final part of the series will take you into the dark world of fear mongers; main-stream media, and political speech writers, or as they are better known: SPIN DOCTORS.

To understand ANY human, you must first understand that EVERYTHING we do is selfishly motivated if you look hard enough.

Although I could not find the origin of this philosophical idea, it very much applies to the West’s dealings in the Middle East.

If you help an old person cross a street; are you doing it for them or are you doing it for a good feeling you get from doing a good deed?

So now I will take the few advanced and enlightened humans of the planet on a journey into main-stream media, politics, propaganda, and manipulation.

The words used previously to describe how my children’s story MANIPULATED those young minds by appealing to their BASE FEARS; can be applied to ALL TV news broadcasts, ALL radio news broadcasts, ALL large newspaper stories, ALL political speeches, and MOST of what you find on the internet.

If these word-smiths earn a living by writing, then they are selfishly motivated!

The more money they make, the more corrupt they become, and the more easily their words can be DIRECTED to comply with an agenda. Most top political speech writers have six figure salaries, and those who do not, have every PERK imaginable in lieu of salary. Unlimited expense accounts and private jets are not off the table.

How important is a speech writer to a politician trying to manipulate a population?

“Ask not what your country can do for you . . . ask what you can do for your country.”

This famous quote was DELIVERED by President John F. Kennedy, but was WRITTEN by a guy named Ted Sorenson.

ALL WRITERS ARE STORY TELLERS!!!

I am one; but I CHOOSE to attempt to create AWARENESS with almost everything I write, and I assure you, my writing has not yet given me a five digit income let alone a six. Perhaps I suck at this, or perhaps there is no money in peddling the TRUTH. Time will tell.

Mainstream media does such a bad job of reporting events and telling ACCURATE stories these days, that the world now views the North American populace as BACKWARD AND FEARFUL like our media.

Whatever happened to fact-checking sources?  In their haste to be first with “Breaking News” the media will run any loosely sourced bit of information, and sell it as TRUTH until they retract it later . . . quietly and without all the hoopla.

Most people read the headlines but never see the retractions.

Every evening for weeks, Wolf Blitzer found a missing plane, and then, apparently, was astounded when he discovered he had not.

This is dangerous.

While I am the last person that should be lecturing readers about staying on top of current events, I encourage readers to DIG DEEP into the facts of a story that interests them, and not to believe anything they read, hear, or see, until there is UNDENIABLE PROOF.

A populace is sold MISINFORMATION through headlines.

It seems that North American Societies, and most humans for that matter; believe well written and well told stories without ever checking the facts.

WE ARE GULLIBLE!

You must question the credibility of everything you hear and most of what you see in a news report. Beginning in Vietnam, the staging of live-fire events for news cameras began as the military did not want reporters in active war zones where they could become casualties, prisoners, give away positions, or see “things that would best be kept secret” and out of the watchful eye of the public.

Here is how main-stream media tells a story:

Instead of a title they call it a headline.

The media sells the seemingly plausible, real sounding, unknown, unexplained, and not understood, from sources that heard, interpreted, and told stories to reporters who were afraid, cautious, alone, out-numbered, and far away from people, using words like big, huge, and massive, all in an effort to move you emotionally, engaging your BASE FEARS.

This is when YOU ARE OPEN TO MANIPULATION through your imagination.

Whether you are eight, eighteen or eighty years of age, you can be manipulated by the presentation of seemingly factual information disseminated by an authoritative figure like a news anchor, a politician, or a religious leader, if you are not cognizant of their agenda, and a vigilant fact-checker.

The vast majority of us, including myself, WANT TO BELIEVE.

It is natural. Belief brings HOPE. Hope brings a continued EFFORT in the worst of times. Mankind is the dominant species on the planet because of our ability to continually STRIVE through hardship. Without belief and hope we would not succeed as a species.

I, as a child, would hang on every word that Walter Cronkite ever spoke. Rightly or wrongly, I RESPECTED AND TRUSTED HIM, but now I FEAR this former influence may have simply been a DELIVERER OF CAREFULLY CRAFTED WORDS, either as a willing or unsuspecting participant in a propaganda machine.

As stated previously, I am spiritual, but I am not religiously affiliated. I do listen to major addresses by the Pope when he is seemingly sending a message of PEACE. I now wonder about the Church’s motivations in our modern world, and I wonder about his speech writers. Long ago I RESPECTED AND TRUSTED THEM, never thinking that even the Pope may just be a DELIVERER OF CAREFULLY CRAFTED WORDS.

Most humans are not interested in facts, so they are easily herded and marshaled by words.

Most humans are more interested in gossip, or in other words, an interesting plausible tale.

Most humans are no better than the scared children hearing a spooky story in the dark.

So let us undertake a STUDY IN FEAR, so that we can teach our children to recognize manipulation strategies in an instant. Future humans may well need this as a survival instinct.

How fear was created by this writer was explained to children in the second part of this series. Now we will see how some of those SAME SCARE TACTICS are used by the main-stream media TO SELL FEAR TO ADULTS.

“When we cannot see, we tend to rely on what we hear. Everything seems louder and bigger, closer and more dangerous.”

In the Gulf war, did the TV cameras only work at night?

Examples: downtown Bagdad anti-aircraft fire footage that was used again and again, Patriot missile launches and planes lighting after-burners on a runway. It made for exciting coverage, but IT WAS THE DARKNESS THAT PLAYED ON OUR FEARS.

“When trying to interpret sounds, we use our imaginations; our brains create possible pictures in our head of what we might be hearing, and then we choose one TO BELIEVE IN based on our knowledge and experiences.”

Iraqi launched SCUD missiles were unlikely to land anywhere near their intended target, in fact 20 miles away was common.

THE WORLD WAS SHOWN A LOOK OF FEAR AND PANIC THAT WAS NOTICED BY ALL OUR ENEMIES when an air-raid siren at a forward airbase had American reporters and camera people scrambling for shelter.

We need to put someone with balls on camera for the world to see and not some scared over-paid coward running for cover. It will send a different message.

The air-raid siren conjures up memories of London during the blitz in our adult minds, whether we were there or just saw it in movies. As a youngster in school in Toronto, they would test the air-raid siren on the school’s roof, and we kids would be hustled down into a basement boiler room shelter. We were taught to FEAR THIS SOUND.

Somewhere on that air-base near Riyadh there were aircraft ground crews working while the siren sounded, and that is what needed to be shown by the media. A couple of Canadian boys would have looked up and said “no biggy” and went about their business.

This is why western civilization is viewed as being WEAK, and why these enemies think we are VULNERABLE TO TERRORISM.

I would bet my last dollar that Stormin’ Norman would not sweat that moment. He was the last “real” guy with a pair, I have seen on TV since. It is possible I was manipulated into thinking that, by his evil word-smith. This is the danger.

If you do not BELIEVE anything, you will create a new FEAR based in paranoia.

If nothing is REAL and there is no TRUTH then you cannot BELIEVE so continued existence becomes pointless. I have enough of a belief system (I hope) to offset this potential pitfall because STRIVING to find and expose TRUTH is a worthwhile pursuit in my estimation.

“The title made you believe in something imaginary. You were told the writer had encountered these things in the title when, in fact, he had not.”

WMD’s: Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

I refuse to call this clown by his office title. G. W.’s SPIN DOCTORS went to work to CONCOCT A FICTIONAL STORY that would be used to SELL FEAR to the American public and to other nations in the West in the wake of 9/11. THEY CREATED THE AXIS OF EVIL. THEY INVENTED WMD’s. G.W. wanted to equal his father’s legacy and came up way short. He embarrassed the office; destabilized the region; created new enemies for all Western countries; wasted money; wasted lives; had his dirty little hands in the stock market crisis, and has been linked to the bin Ladin family. THIS IS HIS LEGACY.

In his time in office, he opened the door to TERRORISM by making the West seem WEAK AND INCREDIBLY STUPID.

“The writer began to scare you with creepy words like: snakes, big dangerous things, lions, tigers, bears, cougars, wolves, bats, owls and how they come out at night when it is dark and you cannot see well.”

WMD’s, anthrax, mustard gas, nerve agents, Sarin gas, blister agents and yellow-cake uranium were big topics in the STORIES being spun. IF they were ever used, then the military hushed it up as directed by political leaders, in order to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

“The writer told you that this was the third time he had run into this, so you thought it could be true.”

Saddam had used chemical weapons years before in the war with Iran, and the frightened media never let you forget this.

“A grown-up was telling you that he was scared and went to hide, so you would think the thing must be real and it scared you.”

Every shell and every SCUD missile COULD BE THE ONE that had a chemical or nerve agent, or so the media was telling us.

“The writer told us there must be more than one of the things, to play on our fear of being out-numbered.”

How loudly did the media, military and politicians play up Saddam’s 1,000,000 man army in the Gulf War?

A one million man army that was SCARED, under-trained, and under-equipped, had little hope against the World’s best soldiers.

Here are some FACTS for you to mull:

Middle-Eastern civilization predates Western civilization by a “few” years. Sumer was around 4000 years before Christ. That is 4826 years before the first English monarch. People from the region view us as unruly children that cannot be controlled, and we continue to prove them right.

However, turn-about is fair play.

Christianity appears to have produced The Old Testament up to 150 years before Christ, and the individual stories appear to have been created up to 10,000 years before that, depending on who you talk to. Muhammad’s life was chronicled almost 700 years after Christ. That makes the Islamic religion MUCH YOUNGER by comparison. Christians did HORRIFIC things to their fellow man in their FORMATIVE YEARS. In the early years of Christianity, the Church was very POLITICALLY ACTIVE; there was killing and conquering in the name of Christianity; there was bickering among the Church’s top officials which led to today’s 41,000 Christian denominations; there was MASS MIGRATION of early Christian peoples to escape persecution, and the good words of the BIBLE were twisted by EVIL DOERS to suit their own agendas.

Does any of this sound familiar?

The West has had much longer to put our religions IN PERSPECTIVE in our personal lives; within our modern society, and we have mostly separated religion from politics.

Islamic followers are mostly born into their faith. Most do not know they have been indoctrinated, and some are content with the idea. Some Muslims will argue that their way is SIMPLER and EASIER than ours. That may well be true, but it requires an individual to become a FOLLOWER, and give up many of their rights as an individual in the process.

That does not sit well in the West where we have paid a very dear price for our personal rights and freedoms.

A FEAR MONGER IS THE TERRORIST WE SHOULD FEAR!

I harbor ANGER towards all those evil word-smiths who participate in fear-mongering.

I harbor ANGER towards all those who use religions to manipulate the masses.

I harbor ANGER towards all those who spread terror.

I have gone over to the dark side.

Someone get me some scuba gear to breathe through.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life With Women: The Long-Awaited Instruction Manual.

…talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology- even physics as well as the idea that UNTIL WE ELIMINATE FEAR; HUMANITY CANNOT GROW.

E. A.

Postscript:

I will keep my promise (this time) to bring you some lighter funnier material in the coming weeks.

The topics of politics, religion, and propaganda are soul crushing to me. I struggle almost daily with humanity’s right to succeed as a species, yet I continually search for HOPE.

This is why I rarely venture into world events, until a guy like our Prime Minister (Harper) tries to write himself into a history book by wasting young Canadian lives in a place like Afghanistan, while taking away our rights that were paid for in blood, all in the name of FEAR and SECURITY.

He is G. W. incarnate.

Blog 5.1 Everything I know… so far.

What do books, music, TV and films have in common?

Someone has to gamble on them.

The publishing industry as a whole gets kicked around by “indie authors” an awful lot these days- in some cases, rightly so. A “good read” should always get published, or at least be picked up for distribution. As an industry, we owe that to the book-buying public. There are just too many “B-grade” books on the shelves these days from “one hit wonder” authors who received a multi-book deal.

No industry survives without paying attention to the buying public.

Some publishers will make the case they just could not afford all the staff necessary to do all the query reading. They are right, but there is a free resource for the feedback they need- their retailers. They often overlook these “recommends” in favor of continuing to back a “one hit wonder” who is now on book four; ever clinging to the success of a “debut album” in the hope that more hits will follow, just as with the music industry.

QUESTION: Why do both the publishing industry and the music industry do this?

ANSWER: R. O. I. (Return on Investment)

Both industries sink large sums of money into what boils down to a bet on a horse. They pay signing bonuses (advances), production costs, promotion costs, and distribution costs UP FRONT in the hope that they have backed a LONG TERM WINNER like Elvis or The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. They typically put out a VERY HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT. Even with these huge names, only one remains today. Yes, there are many other names just under those, but they often break even or just pay bills and are more quickly forgotten.

The two industries employ teams of expensive specialized people in order to accomplish this lofty goal. Both industries take a gamble, a leap of faith or outright RISK to produce the next “BIG thing”, just as with the film industry. Yes; let us drag in the film industry too.

The problem with a debut book, album or film is the talent’s first work is a “best of” product from the author, musical act or director. These people worked years or perhaps their entire lives on the refinement of their this initial SINGULAR PRODUCT.

Mark Twain, The Rolling Stones and Steven Speilberg are ANOMALIES and not the norm- they do not even come every generation, but THE GAMBLER NEEDS TO BELIEVE IN HIS HORSE.

Digital technology has hurt two of the three industries.

Film has not suffered because the movie going audience has high expectations for their audio-visual experience. Digital special effects have enhanced the film experience, but are far too expensive for the “indie film producer” to entertain. Independent films are celebrated because of their innovative low-cost solutions, while putting out a noteworthy product. TV screen writers take note. You must pitch economy and value of the production- not just a story.

The music industry has suffered tremendous losses. Everyone knows about illegal downloading of music so I will not bother delving into it here. The album market is in its death throes. The single song download means the record company only receives 10% of the revenues they once did, and they now have only 10% of what they are accustomed to keeping in the bank. Sure there are some artists who can get as many as three singles from ten songs but they are rare. The record companies just do not spend money like they once did.

They are in SURVIVAL MODE.

They have battened down the hatches to ride out the storm by cutting back everywhere. There are few new signings, few sponsored tours, layoffs, and restructuring throughout every aspect of the once rich industry. The “indie music scene” has an abundance of talented players and performers, but continually pumps out badly recorded, badly engineered, badly mixed, and badly mastered products, and they wonder why they cannot sell it beyond their core fans. Additionally, the sheer volume of indie artists producing crap on “home studio” gear, do nothing but create “noise” which masks the true talent that is out there.

I could almost copy and paste the above paragraph and just substitute out a few words here and there, but I will earn my pay.

Authors are not rock or pop stars. They never have been. Their earnings are rarely even close. J. K. Rowling might be the only exception these days, and if we take away her movie deals, even she would not be close. We sell books, e-books and audio books. J. K. may get an appearance fee here and there, but nothing compared to a top music act on tour.

In essence we have ONE REVENUE STREAM. We sell words. We do not perform those words. This is why the publishing industry has never been as rich as the music industry. More people in North America buy music than buy books, by quite a large margin. The book publishing industry is MUCH SMALLER than the music industry, and it is suffering too.

How do they hedge their bets these days?

In music, the record companies have been backing proven horses for decades. Deep Purple’s Machine Head album featuring the song Smoke on the Water was not a debut album for the band, but just their North American debut. Additionally, I believe that Metallica sold something like 40,000 albums off the back of their truck, before they signed with a record company.

These were “sure things” to invest in.

The book publishers hedge their bets by narrowing their focus to textbooks and children’s books, as that is the core of their business. In other words, the least risky and most profitable. They publish fiction from well-known authors and non-fiction from celebrities and doctors- whether they can write or not. Ghost writers are often employed.

The prevailing attitude is one of “Why gamble when we can invest.”

They are playing it safe.

The MEGA-PUBLISHERS have streamlined their operations and craftily removed all the query reading by having an AGENTS ONLY SUBMISSIONS policy putting the job of screening out all the crap squarely on the literary agents; and crap there is. The big name players reduce their risk further by LIMITING NEW UNPUBLISHED AUTHORS TO 10% of their yearly offering to the book-buying market.

I have recently seen a plethora of $1.00 or even FREE e-books primarily in the fiction genre. They had bad covers; bad interiors, bad editing, and some even featured bad writing. They had next to no publicity, no reviews, no press, and the “indie author” wonders why there have not been any sales. It is very sad these authors have become so desperate to get noticed that they will give away their work, but the cause is “indie publishing” where ALL THE RISK AND ALL THE COSTS ARE INCURRED BY THE AUTHOR.

The major publishing houses own some of these so-called “indie” publishing houses, so do not think you are a true “indie author” until you know everyone who is sharing your money. There is an opportunity to be “discovered” with one of these affiliated “indie publishers” if the editor loves your book. It could get “kicked upstairs” so to speak, and you may have to go scrambling for an agent to deal with a publishing offer. This is rare.

I can create a respectable e-book these days without the need of an editor, publisher, cover designer, social media team, sales team, warehouse, merchandiser, promotions department or publicist. I can send a PDF out for conversion to Kindle and place that on a server and start selling books next week for $9.95 and I will make about $5.00 a book.

Sounds great but it is doubtful that anyone will ever find it.

At a book a day, I would expect an average yearly income of $1825.00. I cannot retire on this.

Question: So how do we sell more books?

Answer: PROMOTION.

This does not mean giving your product away for $1.00 or even for free. It means you must create interest in YOURSELF as a writer, in order for people to become interested in your book.

You must BUILD RELATIONSHIPS with magazine and news editors, publishers, the media, bloggers, tweeters, people on social media site,s and people on relevant association sites. You must have reviews and be EASILY FOUND on the web through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) categorization and tagging techniques. You must appear as though you are capable of being put in a chair across from Oprah without embarrassing either yourself or the publisher. The publishing industry refers to all these self-promotion activities as being part of your PLATFORM.

Question: Can E. A. Barker instruct you as to exactly how to do all of this?

Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT! (Some of it maybe.)

At the beginning of this blog, I said I would tell you everything I know. I do not know everything yet, but I LEARN about each area every day by WORKING AT IT. After 30 days of massive frustration with Facebook, I finally conquered it. I was able to take what I learned to WordPress, and in less than a week I had it doing what I wanted. I took those combined lessons to the AiA site, and had a nice page in less than a day.

The more KNOWLEDGEABLE you become- the better and faster you become. Your skills are honed and you work like a well oiled machine.

YOU ARE PAYING YOUR DUES!

Hype aside, here is where I really am after 18 MONTHS OF EFFORT and usually WORKING 7 DAYS A WEEK on it:

√ Copyright

√ ISBN

√ Index

√ Reference

√ Alpha readers: Very positive feedback so far. (Surprisingly)

√ Pitching Publishers directly: Only one request for chapters from a sketchy publisher.

√ Pitching Agents: 7 still out there who have not said no.

Website: URL only so far. No time or money for this at present.

Amazon store: after the website, promo goods and book is in print.

2 rounds of revisions remain with the publisher for the interior.

Promotional products for sale: not until site is up.

√Daily Tweets: but have yet to get a handle on building followers.

√Weekly Blogs: but have yet to get a handle on building followers.

√Sneak Peek of book on-line

Monthly e-mail blasts: This will soon be a reality.

YouTube book trailer: Time and money again. I refuse to put up phone-made crap.

Facebook Author page: Is new and growing steadily with some great people.

√AIA Association of Independent Authors: A minor presence there.

IndieWriteNet.com: Not yet.

FromTheAuthors.wordpress.com: Not yet.

√ The Coalition for Independent Authors

Canada Council for the Arts: Not yet.

Grants and Contests: Not yet.

12 / 25 or almost halfway to where I want to be, with WHAT I KNOW currently. Unfortunately, with each new exploration comes more stuff on your “to investigate” list, which in turn creates a larger “to do” list.

Blogus-Interruptus:

To be continued next week.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life With Women: The Long-Awaited Instruction Manual.

… talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology- even physics, as well as the idea that CHALLENGES MUST BE MET HEAD ON.

Hug someone who needs it.

See you next week.

E. A.