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This Blog Has Moved!

strangebird-BLOG-MOVEDHi everyone. I’ve decided to move my blogs to self hosted WordPress blog websites. I decided that self hosting gives me more control, and I really wanted to split my art posts out from my author/philosophy posts into two separate blogs!

For my art and designs, please re-subscribe to http://tricksplace.com/

I’ve also opened a Zazzle store, which I decided will be the medium to display my doodles, drawings, and art on TricksPlace.com. I’ve been using a lot more color for them but also using the normal black and white line art designs you’ve been accustomed to. I think Zazzle is pretty neat and I love the idea of my designs being printed and “out there” somewhere in the world.

If you’d like to see a piece of artwork not on a product, just let me know.

For my author, philosophy, and writing blog-posts please subscribe to http://trickslattery.com/blog/

Anyway, thank you to all my subscribers or people that have visited my site in the past and commented. I really appreciate it. I’m still subscribed to many of you and still reading your blogs and viewing your art.

‘Trick

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The Philosophy of Indie Publishing – Quality

March 7, 2012 6 comments

Indie publishing is doing a great job at removing the gatekeepers, at least as far as selling on the Internet is concerned. Anyone can write a book and publish it themself. But what of quality? Some suggest that it is those very gatekeepers that prevent poor quality. Certainly in regards to editing this is the case. There is hardly a spelling or typo error found with a traditionally published book.

There is a slew of really crappy self published books out there, and more and more piling up daily. How are people to decipher the crap from the quality? Some are afraid that the quality will get lost in the mess. It is a serious concern for indie publishing. Probably one of the larger of the concerns – and for good reason.

But I would suggest there is a new quality control manager in town pilgrim, and that is the book reader; and the tools that allow people to weed out the crap are available on the Internet. People just have to use them.

If we were to display two books to you. Both books looked interesting to you. In fact we will say they are of equal interest.  You know these  facts:

  1. One is indie published, the other is traditionally published
  2. Both books were rated by an equal and large group of people
  3. The indie published book has better ratings than the traditionally published book
  4. The two books happen to be priced the same (even though most indie ebooks are much less in reality as a large staff does not need to get paid)

Now given that #3 was not true, that both books instead had the same ratings, you may opt for the traditionally published book simply because you trust that the editing was done and you cannot be sure for the indie book.

But given that #3 was true, would it really matter to you that one was indie published? So much that you would buy the other book with not as good ratings? Of course not! You know that if people really liked the indie book there is a good chance that you may like it as well, and if people did not like the other book as much, there is a good chance you may not. You know that just because a book is traditionally published, that does not automatically mean you will enjoy the book. Even if it was perfectly edited.

It is the same thing with one indie published books vs. other indie published books. As people take a chance and read a new book just published, they begin rating. The more ratings the more one can get a feeling in regards to whether they should waste their valuable time sending a sample chapter to their kindle or nook.

In other words, reviews, ratings, and word of mouth really does trump all. And social media makes all of these easy.

Take movies for another example of how things have changed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even bother watching a movie anymore without checking it out on a site like IMBD.com. If there is a large number of raters and the ratings are below a 6.0, chances are I am not going to waste my time watching it, unless, for some reason, there is something interesting about it that makes me want to watch it regardless of the not-so-good rating. The rating is the first thing I look at.

It used to be (“back in myyy dayy …” – said in old man voice) that if it was a Steven Spielberg movie, then chances are it would be good.  Now-a-days, if a Spielberg movie has a 5.4 on IMDB with 30,000 raters, that name does not matter so much. I probably will not bother except as a last resort.

Even before social media, good movies were spread via word of mouth. One person telling others how great a movie was, and those people telling others. Today, with social media, one person can tell an unlimited number of people. This is the model of the future, for many creative endeavors.

When it comes to books, as with movies, other people’s opinions are important. Not one or a few people, but a large group of people. This is different from when traditionally published books were allowed to be read due to a small minority of so-called experts that told people what they could or could not read. It wasn’t their fault. Just the nature of the traditional publishing model, companies will only invest in what they think they can make a profit off of, regardless of how well a book is written. If they did not think the subject matter fit into a very specific demographic, that book never had a chance. Good books. Great books even.

Now every book can be indie published, and based entirely on the public, either sink, swim, or float along steadily.

Indie publishing opens up a whole universe of reading that did not exist in the past, and a whole new way to weed out the poor quality (even an entire sea of poor quality).

And in regards to ebooks – usually for a cheaper price. People can still buy from traditional publishers if they want to. Hell, just look for ebooks priced $9.99 or higher and avoid all others. Your chances are high you will get a traditionally published book. But when you look at some of those “less costly” ebooks with just as high or higher ratings on Amazon, you may think: “Hmmm – Is this more expensive book really better just because it is traditionally published?”

And yes, if you are one of the first to read a book before others have rated, you may eventually read a  crappy one (Even after you have read the first few chapters for free on Kindle  – which you should always do first, even with good rated books).  But even with traditional publishing you take a chance on new books that no one has yet recommended. And you probably spent much less on that indie ebook, which means you wont feel as guilty not finishing it.

The rating systems at Amazon and Barnes and Noble are a good start. If, however, you don’t find them sufficient – you can browse or join a site like Goodreads which allows users to create a virtual bookshelf and rate or review books. Sites like these can give a person a far better assessment of whether or not they should spend their time and money on a book.

Quality control has not been removed with indie publishing, it have been moved; and I would suggest moved to a better system where the actual reader can determine what they consider good or bad, and decide for themself what they are willing to invest their reading time into. Once readers begin to recognize how to minimize the gigantic pile of poor quality books using available tools, this system will be better for everyone. It will not matter how large the sea of books gets, the good ones can easily be pulled from the sea.

Until next time.  Oh, and if you have a Goodreads account, friend me: goodreads.com/TrickSlattery

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Next Philosophy of Indie Publishing Post (coming soon) –>
 

The Philosophy of Indie Publishing – Introduction

February 20, 2012 13 comments

bookinvasion

Indie (Independent) publishing is becoming more popular every day. As someone concerned with the best way to publish my book once it is complete, I’ve read every book, listened to every podcast, watched every video, and read every blog post I could get my paws on within the last few years. Throughout this time I have developed my own take on where I think things are heading for the book publishing industry and why some publishing models will, in the long run, be better for both the author and consumer.

Technology has given authors the means to bypass the traditional route. The Internet is a game changer – and it is an exciting one for writers. Even though the industry is changing, and the stigma of “self” or “indie” publishing is diminishing day by day…there still is a lingering  group of people vying for the traditional route. Holding on dearly to the dream of having their book on a physical bookshelf for a limited time within brick and mortar shops. Shops that are getting scarcer by the day as more and more people buy ereaders and consider the convenience of online shopping.

My “Philosophy of Indie Publishing” blog posts will address various aspects of indie publishing (vs. traditional publishing).

Some questions that may be pondered and addressed are:

  • What are some of the pros and cons?
  • Why will the consumer be benefitted with Indie?
  • What does it mean that the author holds all of the rights to their book?
  • Does the author have to do more work because they have to do all of their own marketing?
  • How has the Internet changed the way people can bring their book to people?
  • What does indie publishing mean for time frames to publish?
  • How do we get around the issue of quality control if anyone can publish a poorly written book?
  • Who will determine the quality of a book if not some traditional gatekeeper?
  • How will indie publishing help with education?
  • How does it support freedom of speech?
  •  What does it mean that people can display their ideas and concepts with the only gatekeeper being the reader, rather than a small group of people who say “no”?
  • Are ebooks the future of reading?
  • Why will indie publishing be important for philosophers and the expansion of ideas?
  • What are some future possibilities for ereaders?
  • What of formatting and cover art?
  • How is indie publishing a better model for the environment?

…and a whole lot more.

This is the first of a series of blog posts on this topic that I plan to write.  Each post beginning with the title “The Philosophy of Indie Publishing – X” (X being the specific topic) will address specific questions or points about indie publishing. On the right hand side these posts can be filtered by clicking the “Publishing” category. Stay tuned!

Subscribe to my blog if this is a topic of interest to you.  I also talk about other topics pertaining to philosophy and the nonfiction and fiction books I am currently in the process of writing. I also post new doodles that you can use for free on your own blog or website, and plan on more free content at www.TrickSlattery.com. Here is another doodle I just put up on the site for your use:

moonfairy

moonfairy

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a spiffy day!

‘Trick

Next Philosophy of Indie Publishing Post –>

“Free Will” is Incoherent

October 11, 2011 4 comments

Free Will is IncoherentIn the book I am currently writing titled Breaking the Free Will Illusion for the Betterment of Humankind I not only argue that we do not have free will, but I argue that free will is logically incoherent. That it is nonsensical. That it is something that cannot coexist with reality.

I show that thoughts are events, and that there are only two possibilities for events. I show why these possibilities are entirely incompatible with free will.

I also explain why compatibilist notions of free will, which basically is a redifining of the term ” free will” in such a way that it fits in with one of these possibilities, misses the point entirely. That these notions of free will are not helpful in any way, and that they just allow people to contrive their own notion of free will that does not relate to the compatibilists notion.

In other words, the book I am writing is not one of those books that do not take a side. It is not one that suggests that there is any possibility what-so-ever that we can or do have free will. It is a firm stance on one side of a controversal issue.

But just because the book only takes one side does not mean it is not for everyone. The book is for both people that already understand that free will is impossible as well as people that hold a belief in free will.

For those that already disbelieve in free will, the arguments will strengthen their conviction or give them some new ways to think about the topic.

For those that believe in free will, the book is a challenge. It is a challenge for them to see if, after reading the book, their belief in free will still holds water. Maybe they will be able to. Maybe they have a good argument I have missed. I doubt it, but who knows? So I throw the challenge out to them.  Prove me wrong. And who isn’t up for a challenge?

If they fail the challenge, which I think they will, it is my hope that the book changes minds. That people begin to understand this important fact about reality. The book goes into depth of why this is so important. Hence the second part of the title “… for the Betterment of Humankind”.

I invite people with dissenting  points of view to read my book once it is out.

And if you are one of those with a dissenting point of view, do me a favor. After you read the book:

Send me an email.
In it explain how “free will” really is logically coherent.

I betcha can’t. 😉

Second Life-ing My Book

September 20, 2011 2 comments

Second Life Book DudeFor those unfamiliar with Second Life, it is currently one of the better virtual universes out there (In my opinon – of course). Yes, there is a whole bunch ‘o cheesy stuff inside of it, but hey, that’s not so different than the real world. What makes Second Life so great is that almost all of the content is created by the people that play it (including the cheesy stuff). Second life citizens use prims, which are the building blocks of everything visual. Virtual clothes, houses, pets, cars, and even virtual bodies (called an avatar) are all created by the players.

Basic prims can be created right inside of Second Life with an inworld editor, zapped in front of your feet, moved around, and attached to other prims. You can adjust gravity, transparency, size, color, and various other settings of the prim fairly easily. Textures and scripts can be applied to the prims. People can also bring in stuff from their computer into Second Life.  They can upload their own sounds, images, and textures. They can use a 3D program to create scultped prims in very specific shapes, upload them, and apply textures to them. They can create actions using other programs and upload those actions, allowing others to attach such action to their avatar . My avatar currently walks and jumps like Neo from the movie The Matrix. For those into programming, Second Life even has its own programing language.  People attach pieces of code to the objects they make so the objects can do various actions such as walk, talk, drive, or follow you around. What can be created in Second Life is entirely up to the imagination of the people that play and the skills they learn.

Second life even has it’s own money called Linden dollars, which translate to real money. In other words, people make real money selling the objects that they create virtually, renting land, doing inworld jobs, and so fourth.

If you haven’t tried it, Second Life is free for those that do not want land of their own. For those that want a plot there is a monthly fee to pay, or you can rent using Linden dollars you earn.

All of this makes Second Life a haven for those that are creatively minded and technically saavy. Sure it lags at times, but new versions come out frequently that enhance the experience, and it only gets better as time goes on.

Some book authors have begun to promote there book within Second Life, or even have part or all text on inworld books. Sure, you may not be able to make a fortune selling books in Second Life, but it is not about that. It is just another tool to connect with people in a really cool way. Other people that have creative minds. People like yourself.

I know once I have my book out that I plan on placing at least part of it as a virtual book within Second Life. There are some really neat ways to make your own inworld books with pages that turn like real books. Authors are beginning to see the power of virtual worlds to reach people all over the globe who play second life. They are also finding out how fun it can be to create on this platform.

With millions of people logging in to Second Life each month, can authors really over look this as a medium? Possibly. But why when such a medium was designed for the creative minds that most authors are?

Second Life Name: Trick Landman

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Taranatha/181/81/253

Life’s Little Distracting Annoyances

August 31, 2011 2 comments

I sit at my computer, thinking of the next word to type. Suddenly a spitball smacks me in the face. “How annoying” I think as I wipe my face and refocus on the screen. A finger comes close to my eye and I hear “Isn’t this annoooyyying. Isn’t this annnooooyyying!” in a voice that can only be described as “annoying”. I swipe the finger and plug my ears. The sound goes away. “Ahhh”, a sense of relief. A thought comes into my head and I start to type. “Brilliant” I think as I press on a key. Suddenly I see the light above me flickering. “Errrgh” I say as the thought I had leaves my head.

This is how I feel sometimes.

Little “life” annoyances make it difficult to get a book written during my spare time. Things happen, “urgent” matters occur, and “life” interrupts writing patterns. Little annoyances build up to larger nuisances. These annoyances seem to work together to make sure they all happen within the same timeframe.

It isn’t just that these events consume the time normally spent on book writing. They also create a stress in the mind that interferes with the will, excitement, and motivation necessary to drive progress forward. Individually they are manageable, but together they build up to energy sapping annoying little creatures that you just want to “knock it off”!

These are happenings with their own time constraints, and they are happenings that demand attention. They need to get done for the sake of my own life and wellbeing.

My book, however, is something I desire to accomplish for a cause I believe in. For a purpose that I deem beyond me. For something that may exist even after I die and can reap any benefit. For the wellbeing of future consciousness.

This is why I find it annoying when life, my life, and goals that only pertain to my life and those close to me, cause distractions from a goal that I find much greater in the bigger picture. And I can’t just ignore these things. They would only cause larger problems in the long run. They weigh heavily on my mind until resolved.

So all I can do is be annoyed. Annoyed by the necessities and stresses that life imposes.  Annoyed that I am not doing what I want, and distracted by what my life requires. At least I live in a country and at a time were annoyances are the concern, and not starvation, lack of shelter, threat of enemies or predators, or other harsher realities. Comparatively, I’ll take my annoyances any day. They are, however, a distraction. A causal distraction that truly hinders progress. Hindering the ability to make a decent blog post even.

“Phttthhht!”

“Knock it off – Life!”

Does life ever hinder you from something you desire to accomplish?

Books I Want to Write Before I Die

June 27, 2011 3 comments

There are a number of books that I want to write before I die. As someone that has pessimistic tendancies, I do not think I will accomplish them all. I hold a full time job and have to write my books in my spare time, either on my lunch hour, or time that I make available to write after work. There really is only one book that I know for sure that I will finish(unless I get hit by a car or something of that sort), and that is the one I am currently in the process of writing and have been for a number of years now. My first book will be Breaking the Free Will Illusion for the Betterment of Humankind. It will show, in complete layperson’s terms, the absurdity of the notion of free will. It will also detail why our current free will psychology is harmful and needs to change. I have started with this book because it is a base topic. In other words, strongly establishing this fact is of great importance for most others. The four main books I want to write are as follows:

  • The book I am currently writing about the lack of free will and the direction that I hope humanity will be lead with this understanding.
  • A book detailing my ethical philosophy, of course written for the layperson (as all of my books will be). One that I find of equal importance as my book about the free will illusion, but one that must come afterward.
  • A book about the state of affairs of life, and what our ethical responsibilities should be to those state of affairs. This book will be even more controversial than my book about the free will illusion, but it will be a very important book, and equally as supported by logic.
  • The three above are all nonfiction books. I would also like to write a science fiction book that illustrates some of my philosophical concerns. One that has thoughtful entertainment value. I have already started one and work on it when the mood strikes. Ideally, I’d like this to be my third or fourth book.

If I could get all of the above books written and out to the public before I die, that would make me ecstatic. I have more books in my head in which I would like to get out as well, such as one in regards to my philosophy of knowledge (epistemology), one on animal welfare, one on certain -isms that are problematic, and maybe even another fiction book or two. At the rate I am processing the first book (hopefully complete in 2012), these ones will need to take back seat. I’d be happy enough with the four books I have bulleted above before I croak. We’ll see.

Is there a book you desire to write before you die? If so, what type and what’s it about? Leave me a comment.