January 14, 2006

Bibliography is Destiny

I finally got around to running "King Dork" through the Lulu Titlescorer: according to it, and I'd sure like to believe it, King Dork has "a 63.7% chance of being a bestselling title," which seem like pretty good odds to me. They put out zillions of books, and very few of them get anywhere. If it were a horse, I'd probably bet on it. Then again, I lost a small fortune on horses in the 80s by following that sort of instinct and reasoning and wishful thinking. In the case of KD, betting on it and not betting on it describe pretty much the same activity, i.e., hanging around hoping with a mixture of anticipation and dread.

I'm not sure I answered all the questions correctly, though, because my grasp of grammatical terminology is, it turns out, pretty weak. KD refers to a person, but it's not a proper noun, right? Is it "noun modifying noun?" And are they "abstract" or "concrete?" According to Lulu's specific yet mysterious parameters, that sort of thing can make a difference in the title's marketworthiness. I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

By the way, I'm cross-posting this on my Amazon Connect blog. Have you heard of this thing? It's a relatively new feature of Amazon where authors can post messages that will appear on the Amazon pages of people who have bought or looked at the book. At least, I think that's how it's supposed to work.

Anyhow, it's a cool idea, if it works, though there's room for improvement. For one thing, you have to use their fairly cumbersome pop-up interface if you want to include links and so forth in your posts. When you're used to blogging normally (which I define as typing out your html-tagged text in a text editor, pasting the finished clump of text into the blog cgi's entry field, previewing, and re-editing as necessary) this can be a real deterrent to posting, which is one reason why I've only managed to brave it a couple of times so far. (And cross-posting this is going to be quite a project, believe me.) They also don't allow links on your "profile" page, for some reason, beyond a field to plug in a single "web page." (Who has just one web page anymore?) In a perfect world (or in a perfect Amazon, at any rate) links would freely pass from Amazon to the entire rest of the internet and back, with an author's Amazon bibliography as a sales hub that is easily and intuitively integrated with other faces of his or her web presence. At least, that's how I'd like it to be.

The other drawback is that the word "bibliography" is meant quite literally, in that it can only include books. In my case, it would be nice to include CDs as well, so that purchasers of Revenge is Sweet, say, would be in the King Dork loop as well. I'm told they plan to include music in the plan at some later date.

Here's Cory Doctorow's rather more philosophical take on Amazon Connect mini-blogs and the "explosion of choice brought on by the Internet"; here's Shannon Okey's; and here's a NYT article.

Oh, and, uh, buy my book, ok?

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 14, 2006 07:40 PM | TrackBack

Author, Muscian, Composer, Historian, Blogger... I bow before your omnipotence!!! Long live Frank Portman!! Hoorah!! Hoorah!!!

Me, I'm "Semi-OK", I guess.. ;)

Cheers, mate!

Posted by: Zaphod at January 15, 2006 02:15 AM

I want you to know that I fully intent to buy your book as soon as it comes out, and the only reason I haven't preordered it yet is because we have 6 month leases here in Tejas and I may or may not have the same address by the time KD is released. So take your estimate and add one. I can't wait.

Posted by: Mitch Clem at January 15, 2006 08:56 AM

just wanted to let you know that on your amazon profile you have MTX listed as "The Mr. Experience".

p.s. mitch clem is awesome, (check out his comics if you havent seen them yet) keep up the good work on NNTS and coffee achievers

Posted by: Nick G. at January 15, 2006 05:45 PM

Er, it was like that when I got there... oops. Thanks for the tip, Nick.

And thanks, Mitch. Today you, tomorrow the world.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at January 15, 2006 05:55 PM

Woo! The good doctor typed my name! Catch me if I faint.

If you do happen to read my comics, try and skip the rants underneath, as I am often full of crap and just type away until I fall asleep. But the character with the black hair and eyebrows' favorite band is MTX, so you know.

Posted by: Mitch Clem at January 16, 2006 07:16 AM

Could you kindly make the book come out faster, then support it with a West Coast tour? Reading, singing, whatever, I'm not picky.

Posted by: Manda at January 18, 2006 10:08 AM

It is, perhaps, a good sign that: "The title Catcher in the Rye has a 63.7% chance of being a bestselling title!"

Posted by: dave bug at January 18, 2006 06:23 PM