Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Andrew Sullivan's booklet on tribalism: "America Wasn't Built for Humans"


Andrew Sullivan offers a booklet-length article in New York Magazine Sept. 19, 2017, “America Wasn’t Built for Humans” with the byline “Tribalism was an urge our Founding Fathers assumed we would overcome; And so it has become out greatest vulnerability”.


The article roughly equates American tribalism with hyper partisanship, but it also promotes intellectual reduction, especially the over broad ideas of what comprises a “hate crime” or “white supremacy”.  It seems intellectually lazy but also reflects on what my own mother used to call “real life”.  He points out how Chadwick Moore was ostracized merely for giving Milo Yiannopoulos credibility in an otherwise reasonably funny and critical piece in “Out”.

I certainly experienced the same sort of tribalism in many episodes of my own life, as leftist leadership in much of the gay community demanded loyalty to its own imposition of identity politics
Sullivan sees our historical denial of our “tribal nature” as a flaw in the way the nation was set up after the Constitution was adopted. Then later, this little snarky, timocratic gem: “One of the great attractions of tribalism is that you actually don’t have to think very much.”  You can watch your whole life’s output grow less bad.

Sullivan refers to Sebastian Junger’s “Tribe” (WP review) and Wades’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” (review), where civilization tried to gnaw away at tribalism. 


Michael Gerson review’s Sullivan’s essay on p. A17, “A Triumph of Tribalism”, on p. A17 of the Washington Post today.  l

Thursday, September 07, 2017

"Real Fast Indie Marketing" for self-published books to wholesalers and independent bookstores presented in webinar


I got an email informing me of the “Real Fast IndieMarketing” service by Amy Collins (emailed by New Shelves Books).

Amy offers classes and webinars, and there is a 2-hour video of some of the classes.


Amy stresses several important points.  Independent and chain bookstores often do well with physical books, even though the popular myth is that Amazon kindle and BN Nook are destroying books.  Her course material (there are packages that range up to about $700) cover how to design a marketing campaign, which should start before the self-publication of a book, either by a print run or by POD.

She stresses the importance of finding a wholesaler.  Ingram may not be willing to wholesale self-published books and POD unless through its affiliated Ingram Sparks;  but I know that other POD companies (Authors’ Solution) do offer packages that include wholesaling and independent bookstore campaigns.

She says that there are reputable companies that do provide third-party reviews.
   
She emphasizes that authors need to learn people skills and awareness of the business needs of stores. 

She suggests that authors spend 20-30 minutes on marketing every weekday starting before publication.  Well written cover letters and marketing plans are essential. 

She spends sometime on niche books, which can sometimes be placed in specialty stores like gift shops. Hospitals, airports, supermarkets, convenience stores, pet or sporting goods (depending on content). 

She talks about cover design.  If you have a science fiction novel set on another planet, show what a community on this other planet would look like.  
She talks about categories of readers, including "avid" readers who usually will go to book stores, or to the public library, where, according to Reid Ewing in his little 2012 film, "It's Free". 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Boy Scout arranges mechanism to donate books to homeless shelter in MD


WJLA7 (Sinclair) reports that a Boy Scout in Montgomery County, MD has donated (probably by getting donations first) about 2000 books to a homeless shelter (not sure if it is in DC or MD).  
  

It looks very much like I will do a downsizing and household move soon, and some older books could be donated.  But many are policy books and of a nature not likely to work well in a shelter.  But it’s a definitely a good idea to consider. 



But I would definitely keep the 1950 set of World Book Encyclopedias, with their wonderful elevation maps of all the states and Canadian provinces. They've never reinstated them in later versions.  I don't know why.  These were a favorite in my high school days. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

How authors self-publish fiction series and actually make them sell to "addicted" readers


There’s a site called Self-Publishing Advice and I found a long blog post and interview on how fiction series authors can get started, when the author intends a series, with a technique called “Perma free” (the first book follows “it’s free” on a table) and then Kindle Unlimited (KDP). There is a debate as to whether this is more effective than trying to use as many retail outlets as possible.
  
Here is the blog posting by Jay Artale as Pippa Da Costa and Susan Kaye carry on a discussion, link .


The article, dated today (Sept. 1) is quite long, but I was surprised at the claim by many author that they can get readers hooked on their series, especially in romance, fantasy, or sci-fi.
  

It’s true, I see people reading tablets and Kindles on the DC Metro, but I don’t see a lot of hardcopy texts.  OK, one day I saw a hunk reading a philosophy textbook for college, rather like seeing a young math professor looking over a calculus quiz he was going to give.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Washington Post puts out online booklet on Texas flooding, many photos and videos and personal stories


Here is a special Washington Post “booklet” online about the Houston floods, “Where Are We Supposed to Go?”, link

It contains many videos, which include Rockport, TX, where the Category 4 hurricane came ashore. 
One family says they have lost everything, have to start over. 

There is going to be a lot of criticism of the way Houston was overdeveloped on land that mostly flood plain. 


OANN correspondent Trey Yingst has been reporting from Texas on Twitter.

One question is how people will be housed after flood waters (including reservoir release, especially into the Buffalo Bayou).  There are reports that FEMA doesn’t have enough manufactured housing trailers, although there are many manufacturers that can churn them out quickly.  After Katrina, many people were relocated to Texas, especially the Houston area, permanently. This could drive up housing costs almost everywhere in the U.S.

Wikipedia attribution link for p.d. picture by US Army Lt Zachary West. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Atlantic, New Yorker examine unraveling of American social and political stability



Today’s “book” will be a collection of a few periodical articles hitting the press shows Sunday.
First, for The Atlantic, Sept. 2017.

Most important is “How America Lost Its Mind by Kurt Andersen. Truth from science and logic was for the robotic elites;  human truth came from the gut.   That sounds to me like the balanced personalities (Rosenfels-speak) won out – those attuned to reacting to social needs around them than to what is their own heads.  The “Age of Reason” weakened starting in the 60s.  We saw this with doubts about civilized living and modernity from the terrorists.  Eventually we got a huckster like Donald Trump who could win other people under his wing.  Young men find that the modern world offers them little, so they get picked off.  Then why are a number of talented young men that I know in the arts and sciences, very much into their own worlds, still so sociable?  Alan Truing, remember, with his Asperger nature and outside the normal world of social interaction, still had enough charisma to use his brains to save us from the Nazis.


Also Peter Beinart leads off with “The Rise of the Violent Left” with his piece on Antifa on p. 13, where he emphasized the supposed anarchy of the group as playing into the hands of authoritarians.  Look at how the “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville goaded them to fight, into tragedy.    Antifa believes everyone who doesn’t join them against “systematic oppression” is an enemy.

The New Yorker, on Aug. 21,asks “Out of Action: Do ProtestsWork?” (p. 70) The general answer might be, well, no.  Heller manages to review Mark Lilla and “The Once and Future Liberal” (Harper) who was on CNN this morning.  I’ll leave the long piece on Wikileaks and Julian Assange for another time.

But the previous issue by Robin Wright (Aug 14) had asked “Is America Headed to a New Kind of Civil War?”  which she discussed this morning on Reliable Sources on Jake Tapper’s CNN.   There are estimates of a 35% chance of major breakdowns of law and order in the next few years, but we already saw that with Sandtown in Baltimore, and with Ferguson. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Siemens publishes e-book on cyberattacks to power stations in Washington Post


Siemens Energy (from Germany) has authored a little e-book that demonstrates how cyber attacker can shut down power stations.  The Washington Post has published the e-book pdf here.  Call it “Power Grid Systems Shutdown”.

This pamphlet would fit well into Ted Koppel’s 2015 book “Lights Out”. 


The potential capacity of a hostile rogue state to hack into a corporate utility internal network, much of it not connected to the Internet, is shocking.

Hackers (insiders) use a device called a “PlugBot”.


Donald Trump has said “No computer is safe.”