Monthly Archives: March 2002

Further Reflection on MicroPublishing

Riding the F train two nights ago, a Williamsburg type boards and begins making a speech to the car. “I’ve published three pamphlets, and I sell them for $1 each so I can publish more pamphlets…” Soft-selling, soft-speaking (bad subway sales technique), I lose the rest of his speech. He comes up the car. “I’ll take one,” I say. “Which one?” “Whatever one is your favorite.” He looks at me, pondering, then says with self-assurance, “You want to learn how to publish on a photocopier.” As a result, I am the proud owner of “How to Publish By Photocopier,” #21 in his series. Alas, no URL!

McSweeneys Update

CS gave me Neal Pollack‘s book to read when it was released by McSweeney’s last year and every downtown hipster felt like they had to read it. Like CS, I’m one of the ones that tired of the joke on page 25. But Neal has some interesting insight on the state of McSweeney’s Books (and self-publishing in general) in this week’s Onion AV Club:

It’s doing fine. I mean, there are books coming out, and it’s still publishing issues. It’s still publishing books. Dave Eggers just opened a big tutoring center in San Francisco, and they just opened a store in New York, and the web site is still read by 25,000 people a day, so the culture is still alive. It’s more Dave’s project than mine, so I can’t speak to how long it’s going to be around or anything, or whether the infrastructure is going to be built up. But I can say that the buzz surrounding it has died down, and people don’t care about it the way they used to. It still exists and still has a solid following.

Neal reveals that he made about $40,000 from the McSweeneys hardcover of his book and $22,000 for selling the paperback rights to HarperCollins. Analysis of his writing aside, I enjoy his entreprenurial spirit which reminds that everything in life is selling. (There’s also an interesting aside concerning Dawson’s Creek.)

Newly of note in the self-publishing sphere: the new Weblog Braintrust collective SoNewMedia, which is sponsoring Greg Knauss on a virtual book tour from weblog to weblog. That’s brilliant.
· Neal Pollack Interview [Onion AV Club]
· McSweeneys Books [McSweeneys.net]
· SoNewMedia [SoNewMedia.com]
· Greg’s Virtual Book Tour [EOD.com]

Bill Simmons Update

With Opening Day less than a week away (woohoo!), now is a good moment to reflect on Bill Simmons‘ rise to the status of national treasure (ok, how about “must-read sports columnist”?). Author of the late-lamented Boston Sports Guy site, Simmons took up at ESPN’s Page 2 last summer and now writes three columns a week. His late-summer remembrance of Sox-Mets Game 6 is already a classic; his recent interview with Red Auerbach brings fresh insight to an overwritten topic (the Rick Pitino team photo story is hyperreal); and his two sets of Anti-Oscar awards this week demonstrate the range of his humor beyond sports.
· Bill Simmons Columnist Archive [ESPN.com Page 2]

Long Bets

From the media-beloved (but still pretty damn cool) Long Now Foundation comes Long Bets, a website devoted to tracking bets with a minimum time period of two years. Designed to encourage long-term thinking, the site already has a dozen or so bets from glitterati of the Edge.org ilk. My favorite bet, though, posits “The US men’s soccer team will win the World Cup before the Red Sox win the World Series.” Ted Danson has accepted the bet on behalf of Red Sox fans with this argument:

The Red Sox have had such bad luck in the 20th century, I have to believe that in the new millennium it can only get better. Besides, statistically, scoring goals is harder than hitting a home run, and in the World Cup, you have the whole WORLD against you, in baseball, but the Red Sox only really have to beat the Yankees.

By the way, with baseball season fast approaching, I recommend the Sons of Sam Horn as the web’s best message boards for Sox fans.
· Long Bets Bet 8: Soccer v. Red Sox [Long Bets]
· Long Bets Homepage [Long Bets]

Pushback

MOP offers a critique of Below 14th, the Web Presence’s newest property:

My only real
criticism is that Below 14th is a bad title, especially since it limits you
– you may very well be at a restaurant north of 14th, and geographic
limitations are so gauche.

The Below 14th editors inform me that we will not be limited by geography. Below 14th is simply a clever reference to the fact that when we travel above 14th Street, or off our precious Manhattan isle, we start to itch. We are typing this now at 41st Street and we are itching.

LS.com Upgrades

Site upgrade today includes introduction of Below 14th, a new sideblog concerning nightlife in Downtown NYC. (The most recent five posts appear at left, though at the moment there are only five posts.) A linkbox has also been added, weblog archives are now fully functional and Atomz has contracted to provide a search mechanism. That is all.

Book Tools

Here’s something cool: Singlefile, “An easy-to-use web-based service that helps you organize the books you own, the books you are reading, the books you’ve read and the books you want to read.” At a price, however — $19.95/year. Not a bad business model — 1,000 subscribers would net $20,000 annually.
· Singlefile