Amazon One-Click (Part 3 in a Series)


I suppose the next development in my relationship with Amazon involves the one-click button.  For a long time, I was afraid of this.  How could it possibly work?  It’s not going to be one click.  It’s going to be one-click, plus what’s your password, plus which address do you want to use, plus which credit card do you want to use, ad infinitum.  Screw it.

Of course, that isn’t at all how it works, is it?  Provided you’ve set up a delivery address, provided a primary credit card, and entered your password recently…it works!  You click once and bam!  You’ve already paid for a book.  Who could this possibly harm?

Since then, I have to admit, I’ve one-clicked a lot.  I have the one-click disease.  Well, oh, crap, I have to go.  See that, breaking the fourth wall stuff?  Anyway, I do so I’m just going to add that I FOUND A CURE or the one-click disease, that involves another aspect of the Amazon service.

Before I go, I want to add that at this one-click stage I was emotionally in a very iffy place.  Part of me sensed that Amazon was too big, too powerful, to be good for the rest of us.  But I was buying, and reading, more books than ever.  That had to be good, right?

Did I love them, or was I terrified of them?  The only thing I knew was that I was buying a lot of ebooks from them, but that I’d also want to step in front of a train if the Barnes & Nobles on Seventh Avenue in Brooklyn closed.  Or any of them, for that matter.  Not to mention the awesome Park Slope Community Bookstore, only a few blocks away.

So I decided to try B&N’s website again, see how things had come along, check out the Nook software.  And I’ll tell that story next time.  For now, before you one-click, think twice.

Head over to my Facebook page and throw me a like over there.  I’m thinking of blogging more regularly than I have been since I opened my first wordpress blog many years ago, and I’m hoping for more interaction.

Peace and love.



The Secret Histories of Scott Snyder | The Comical Librarian


The Secret Histories of Scott Snyder | The Comical Librarian.

A great round up of Professor Snyder’s work (well, that’s how I think of him because he was one of the Professors in my MFA program).  Snyder is an amazing writer, phenomenal teacher, and incredible human being.  I own every comic The Comical Librarian talks about here, and he’s done a great job of summing up what has been thus far an amazing career.

via The Secret Histories of Scott Snyder | The Comical Librarian.

Traditional Publishing vs. Self Publishing


TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING VS. SELF-PUBLISHING, the title fight on tonight’s card, ladies and gentlemen.

In this corner:

Print’s not dead.

Traditional publishing still exists.

Some authors still have their books edited by fabulously gifted editors, improving the books many times over.

Literary agents still stake clients (sic.), and still make sales to traditional publishers.

Times are tight and most advances are not what they used to be.

The publisher will decide, along with many other things, how much your book will cost.

Unpublished unknowns still have access to all of the above.

And in this corner:

Print’s not dead because we want it to live.  It’s still neat.

Traditional publishing still exists but so does the horseshoe crab.

Some authors have the faith to pay, out of pocket, for freelance editors to edit their books.  Many, many skip this step and let Aunt Myra edit the text because she went to school back when they still taught grammar.  Others aren’t even sure what an editor does or how they do what they do…all part of the magic world whose threshold they once longed to cross.

Literary agents spend their days checking out what’s hot on Wattpad and similar sites and sometimes reach out to these authors and offer to represent them.  Some of these authors tell those agents to go lick buffalo balls.  Others make minor tweaks to some kickin’ fan fiction under expert editorial guidance and become worldwide phenomena by repackaging sex.

There are no advances as such in self publishing, although some new publishers (including my own newborn company) are primarily there to soothe entry into the twin paradises of document formatting and platform building (a euphemism for shameless, unending, soul-shredding self-aggrandizing online promotion) and are considering or already offering small advances.

You decide how much your book is going to cost (mostly) but ninety-nine cents or even zero cents may just be the sweet-spot.

But there is no one, absolutely no one, anywhere in the world, standing between you and your first book sale.  Or your one millionth. 


Well, it’s not going to be a thirty-one second Tyson knockout or even a forty minute heavyweight fight.  This one’s going to go on for a long time, the tide of battle ebbing back and forth.  


Right now, I’m splitting the difference.  Since getting my MFA, I’m more committed than ever to having a novel published by one of the houses I’ve esteemed since childhood.  (In regard to science fiction, my shelves shine with books I’ve loved from Tor, Baen, DelRey and a few others.)  This is not a logic-thing, it’s a me-thing.

But that doesn’t mean I’m a blind fool, which is why I started Puzzled Sphinx Productions, LLC.  Because I’m not blind, just puzzled.  A wise, puzzled guy. Get it?  Working with indie artists, indie filmmakers and other indie writers, the company is already involved with one short film and two new comic books series that will knock everyone’s undergarments askew.

Craig the novelist is happy hiding in a closet with a typewriter.  Soffocles, writer of comics scripts, teleplays and screenplays is happy to dive deep into all the diginew.  

What about you, fellow writer?  Pleased as punch to publish on your own, or planning to pursue more traditional paths?  Comments welcome below, and likes are on for comments (and I think I know what that means.)

Ezekiel, introduced by J. Michael Straczynski to  Spider-Man's world to stir up the entire mythology.

Ezekiel, introduced by J. Michael Straczynski to Spider-Man’s world to stir up the entire mythology.


Andy Diggle ( @andydiggle ) and Watching the Writer


Meeting Andy Diggle at Special Edition New York Comic Con

Watch the Writer

One of the most important things you can teach a friend who doesn’t write (with the goal of publication) but does love pop culture, comics, film, and books (!) is to Watch the Writer. Good writers, such as Andy Diggle, are consistently good. Rarely will they disappoint. Sure, an author’s seventeenth thriller about a dude with a gold harmonica, a ponytail, and a penchant for averting world wars may not stand up to that author’s first or second book.  Don’t lose that eye of tiger.

Eye of the Tiger

Eye of the Tiger

But for the most part the Watch the Writer notion holds true, especially in any kind of serialized storytelling.

I’ll get on with the meeting Andy Diggle story in a sec.  First, a few other examples: Many of us knew Battlestar Galactica was going to rock because we knew Ronald D. Moore (TV writer and show-runner, not James Bond), had written (many of) the best episodes of various Star Trek series.  If you haven’t seen it, watch a few seconds of this combat montage and then go binge.

One more example before I get to my Andy Diggle story:  I picked up Castle, even though I’d never watched the television show, because I believe in Peter David (and I wasn’t wrong, what a well done comic!). Pretty much everyone accepts that they should follow a given director if they like her work, celebrities are more hounded than just watched, and no one wants to miss anything that Joss Whedon came anywhere near. I suggest, if you don’t already do this, that you widen the net. Don’t just pay attention to novelists. Find a writer who gives good Murder She Wrote and you’re likely to also find a writer who has written other great things, including comics. Andy Diggle is one of the writers I watch.


I had been reading Andy Diggle’s work for a long time, and when his Image series SNAPSHOT debuted, I loved it. Although I rarely prefer comics in black and white (well, except for Becky Cloonan’s stuff, and the series Watson and Holmes (I always get the black and white variant) and, well, countless other exceptions), I loved Snapshot from the very first panel.  The art is by one of the finest artists working in comics today, Jock.  (Yeah, for those of you who don’t read comics, I think his name is just Jock.)

Snapshot Issue 1 Cover from Snapshot by Andy Diggle and Jock From snapshot by Andy Diggle and Jock

It was smooth, expert comic book storytelling and it had made me want to reach out, in that Twitter way of reaching out.  On a few occasions, I managed to catch Andy Diggle’s eye with a tweet. For him, a momentary digital brush with a fan.  For me, special.

I finally got to meet Andy Diggle in person at Special Edition New York Comic Con (yes, he’s fine) and picked this up:

The Game Keeper

An action packed story with a heart.

Confession time: I had no idea where Andy Diggle was from, and I didn’t know whether he was black, white, purple, thirty years old or eighty years old. I was pretty sure they’d named Arrow’s John Diggle  after Andy Diggle because of Andy Diggle’s great run on Green Arrow, but I had scant additional data.

Thus, I was totally taken aback when Andy Diggle turned out to be English, with the accent that comes with a license to kill. I’m a shy person, plagued by anxiety and depression. Incredibly dapper, tall, thin, soft-spoken gentlemen with perfectly coiffed hair and elegant, tailored suits intimidate the shit out of me. Add the accent and I become completely dysfunctional.

“We’ve exchanged a few tweets,” I managed to say (which is probably a pretty dumb thing to say.) He said something to the effect of (impossible for me to remember exactly given the circumstances) “Really, what’s your Twitter handle?” At which point I froze because, well, because I have a few twitter accounts and in my addled state I couldn’t recall which I’d used, and I suddenly realized our few interactions might actually have spanned at least two accounts, and I certainly wasn’t going to get into that, so instead I guessed. He’d never heard of me.  By this point, I was sweating.  No excuse.  I’ve hobnobbed with greatness before.  I studied in a class with Scott Snyder two semesters in a row (not that I ever got over my anxiety in there, either).  Steve Buscemi used to go to the coffee shop where I … No, there’s no connection between my being there and Mr. Buscemi choosing to get his caffeine elsewhere lately.  (At least, I don’t think there is.)  Point is, I’ve met the famous.

So, sweating, baby on my shoulder, wife watching me make a fool of myself, I did what I always do when I’m terribly embarrassed, which is I tried to give him money. “Let’s buy everything,” I said to my wife. In Vietnamese, she asked me if I wanted to die. So I picked the book shown in the picture above, Guy Ritchie’s GAME KEEPER (also by Andy Diggle, duh). When Mr. Diggle asked who he should make it out to, I said, “Kirk!” Kirk is my son, who was there, on my shoulder, watching the entire exchange and learning all the wrong things about how to socialize with people you admire.

And poor Andy Diggle stuck with me. Here’s this lunatic New Yorker who wants him to sign a book called Game Keeper for a three year old. Plaintively, with the same expression High School teachers had worn when trying to speak with a younger me, he began to say, “Your son is three, is that right? There’s quite a bit of violence–” or something to that effect.

“Oh,” I said quickly interrupting, because it’s good to interrupt the great writer sparing you a few moments, “It’s for the future. I mean, his future. For him in the future.”

Luckily, at this point, I decided it was time to start scoring some points for my team. So, I led us through the maneuver known colloquially as running away.

On the way home, I noticed that Andy Diggle had signed the book on a black interior page, the signature in gold marker. And of course, his signature–stylish, simple, elegant. I stared at it for a while. AD. Go figure.  “AD” for ADult, so I would remember not to show my son the guns!  Smart guy that Andy Diggle. And my son’s name had never looked so good. Because, of course, excellent penmanship…and the shiny gold ink.