Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Brief Hiatus

Like all good professors, the author of this blog feels compelled to take occasional breaks from his scholarly pursuits. So, without further ado, I am announcing a temporary hiatus from this blog.

My friend The Punctuator assured me that Global Watch would still be here when I got back. And of that I have no doubt. I'll continue to monitor the blog of the person who typed in Global Watch, and when Book 2 drops, I will be all over it like stink on a gorilla.

I may post from time to time with thoughts on self-publishing and Web 2.0, but I think to stay sharp, I need a little time to read and think about something other than Global Watch. The weather's finally turning nice, and I'd like to do some walking and drinking during the day.

You should take a little break, too. Don't go too far away, though. I'm not giving up the fight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

And another thing

This is one of the dumbest paragraphs in all of Global Watch.
The cola wars had been one of the biggest jokes that GWI had played on the nation. They got money from the sale of every soda from both companies, but the executives felt it would be fun to wage a war without guns for once, as they placed bets on which company they thought would win.

Besides making Global Watch look like a bunch of douchebag jerkoffs (which is an example of the language I'd like to see in Book 2 of the exciting series, Global Watch), this paragraph contributes absolutely nothing to the story.

This paragraph illustrates the problem at the heart of the story of Global Watch: It is about an organization that controls everything and thinks it is fun to make Americans buy flavored sugar water. Global Watch can't defend liberty and democracy and shit AND at the same time play jokes on the nation. And if you're going to tell a story where a secret organization is behind the cola wars AND defends liberty, at least make the rest of the story be funny and quirky. Person who typed in Global Watch, here is my advice to you: either you're trying to write a tale of deadly serious global intrigue, or you're trying to make fun of the genre with hyperbole and self-aware absurdities. Pick one and run with it. Paragraphs like the above just come across as wanking off.*

*That was not a pun. F*** yourself if you think it was.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


In the words of Marty McFly:
"This one's an oldie, but, uh... well it's an oldie where I come from."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Plot Hole

I don't care if I ruin the story for people who have not read Global Watch. It's been out a year. If you haven't read it by now, you never will, and I envy you.

The villain of the story is a dude named Oleg, whom we first hear about when he goes by the name Professor Peters, Harvard professor. He identifies Laura during her time at Harvard and gets her to betray her friends in Global Watch. There are a couple things wrong with this twist that show how contrived and ill-conceived the plot is.

1. You're telling me that Oleg, who has amassed a huge fortune and has spent decades preparing the world for his grand plan for domination, also found the time to jump through all the hoops required to land a faculty position at Harvard? No, shut up. I don't want to hear how I should suspend disbelief. I've met Harvard faculty. On their way to those coveted, ivy-covered spots, they didn't have time to build a global network of contacts that could pose a threat to democracy. They barely had time to do laundry.

2. Global Watch owns Harvard University. How bad does it make Global Watch look to have had their arch enemy and diabolical would-be emperor on the payroll? They don't screen applicants? No background check? Peer review? This Oleg/Peters guy was operating under their noses for how many years, putting together a plot to let the workers of the world throw off their chains, and they didn't know? What other kinds of crap has Global Watch let slip through the cracks? This does not sound like an organization I would trust with a goldfish, much less the fate of the free world.

Person who typed in Global Watch: explain yourself.

I can't wait to read Book 2 of the exciting series Global Watch.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Still not there.

Seeing as how the person who typed in Global Watch hasn't taken me up on my offer to edit the final, latest, Re-Edited One Year Anniversary Edition of Global Watch, I'm using the one at the Smashwords webpage.
And, quelle surprise! it still has errors in it.

"Then/than" confusion still reigns (or, as the person who typed in Global Watch might write, "reins").
"Oblivious pitfall" continues to be awesome.
And, one that I didn't point out the first time (but a fan of this blog did): "secret hidden" is redundant.

To repeat: This is what the person who typed in Global Watch considers to be professionally edited.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ripped from horribly written fiction

I will give the person who typed in Global Watch credit. He totally predicted this Kyrgyzstan thing.
The opposition leaders took power after street protests that began with a demonstration against rising utility rates in a provincial city.

On Wednesday, soldiers guarding Mr. Bakiyev’s offices opened fire on demonstrators, killing as many as 75 people before they swarmed into the building. Mr. Bakiyev took power in 2005, also after a popular uprising, promising democracy and an end to corruption. His opponents say that he quickly became as corrupt and authoritarian as his predecessors.

After Mr. Bakiyev fled the capital on Wednesday, Ms. Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, announced that she would lead a “people’s government” until a new constitution could be written and elections held. The following day, she spoke on the phone with Mr. Putin, who offered support.

You know who's on the case in Kyrgyzstan? Yup. The elite forces of Global Watch. I fully expect the person who typed in Global Watch to be interviewed by the networks as an expert in craziness that happens in former Soviet republics. I hope he suggests that the US can solve the problem by having a Global Watch agent fall in love with Ms. Otunbayeva.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Response, Part 3

In an Amazon review for the Re-Edited One Year Anniversary Edition of Global Watch, a reader makes the following statement:
The new re-edit also makes the dialogue completely come to life and engross the reader.

Again I ask, who the hell talks like this?

I got curious about that review, since it seems so emphatically pro-Global Watch. I had noticed that it had also been posted at the Mobipocket Global Watch page. They were written by the same guy, Mike Samuels. Now I'm not saying it's bad to cross-post reviews. Seems a little like astroturf, but there's nothing criminal with it.
Here's the full review, by the way:
I loved the first edition of Global Watch. It was action packed, fast paced and chalk-full of political intrigue. Seeing that a new edition was available, I was thrilled to come back and revisit an old favorite.

The new version is by far superior. As mentioned in some of the lower reviews, the first iteration had a few grammatical problems. That is no longer the case as this version could not be more professional. The new re-edit also makes the dialogue completely come to life and engross the reader. I fully recommend giving Global Watch your attention, as you will be hooked from page one.

Right away, three things caught my eye:
1. The reviewer uses the words "action packed" and "fast paced." Let's see the description of Global Watch by the person who typed it in:
Global Watch marks the first entry of a new action packed series wrought with political intrigue and international conspiracy. The fast paced twists and turns will keep the cleverest minds guessing until the very end, and holding their breath as the ultimate endgame unfolds.

I'm mistrustful of reviewers who use the same copy as the product they are reviewing. Seems disingenuous. Like I said, "astroturf."

2. The phrase "chalk-full."
Here's where my Spidey Sense jolted me awake from my bourbon stupor. The phrase is not "chalk-full." What the heck does that mean? It's "chock full"! That's one inarticulate reviewer. Why, that's almost as hilarious as someone writing "juvenile rouse" and "Appellation Mountains."

3. Both reviews were posted within a day of the Re-Edited One Year Anniversary Edition of Global Watch being released.

So I pondered. Is it that much of a stretch of logic to think that this Mike Samuels could be a little too close to Global Watch to be an unbiased reviewer? Is it so crazy to think that Mike Samuels, who uses the same language as the promotional copy and makes similar language errors, might somehow be connected to the person who typed in Global Watch? Should I not find something curious in the fact that these reviews appeared so shortly after the new edition went on sale?

To quote Lewis Carroll: "Curiouser and curiouser."

The big hurdle to making self-publishing a respected venue for writers is that the writer has to do all the promotion; but with tools like Amazon and blogs and social networking, there are great opportunities for a self-publishing author to level the playing field with books put out by the big houses. The problems arise in situations like this, where it's all too easy to fake a readership. Because one of the hallmarks of the internet is transparency, it's also fairly easy to sniff out such planted reviews. Honest reviews by actual fans of your work go a long way to building a reputation and following. Authors who self-publish would be wise to avoid these blatant astroturf efforts, as they only work against you.

The person who typed in Global Watch would also do well to read up on this.

All the planted reviews in the world can't help one immutable fact about Global Watch: The characters speak like people who have been bludgeoned with large rocks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why I Care

"I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."

--William Faulkner

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Appellation Mountains

Another attempt to find a professionally edited version of the Re-edited One Year Anniversary Edition of Global Watch has come to naught.

I noticed that the person who typed in Global Watch added another distribution channel at which people who read at the second-grade level can purchase this..."thing." At the website Smashwords, the page for Global Watch says that this edition was published on March 31, 2010. So it has to be the latest professionally edited version, right?

Nope. It still has one of the more telling examples of editorial incompetence.

As documented in a previous post, this error is tragically laughable. Or laughably tragic. Since this error appears in both the original and professionally edited versions, the person who typed in Global Watch must think one of two things:
1. The Appalachian Mountains are in Switzerland,
2. "Alps" is a shortened form of "Appalachian".

And that's my biggest problem with this Re-Edited One Year Anniversary Edition of Global Watch. Editing isn't just fixing the then/than problem or determining if punctuation falls inside or outside quotation marks. Editing involves making sure the words make sense and are used properly. With errors like these, I doubt that this was professionally edited. Which leaves us with the question: why would the person who typed in Global Watch lie to us?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Still a disaster

A reader in the comments to a previous post informs me that his or her copy of the Re-edited One Year Anniversary Edition of Global Watch differs from the copy I bought. This reader points out that his or her version does not have the "pubic" mistakes that my copy does.

If this was a passive-aggressive move by the person who typed in Global Watch to make me repeatedly buy copies, it failed. The site I used won't let me buy it again. So here's my offer to the person who typed in Global Watch, if he's following this blog.

In the non-self-publishing publishing industry, agents and publishers typically send out review copies for free. If you, the person who typed in Global Watch, think I should have the latest version with all the errors removed by your professional editor, then send me a copy. I've already paid for it once, and I'm probably providing you with more publicity that you could get on your own. Here's my email address. Let's work together on this.