Tag Archives: publishing

99 Designs Expands Its Book Business

Hey 3.5 readers.

Came across this interesting PR Newswire press release.

99 Designs has been providing authors with the ability to hold book cover design contests for a long time.  Now they’re branching out into book layout, typesetting, interior book design, basically.

Could be a boon for self-publishers.  I know I tried Adobe one time, gave up on trying to figure it out, and came to the conclusion that if the inside of my book was ever going to look good I was going to have to hire someone to do it.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Where Will Self Publishing Be in Five Years?

What advances will happen?  Will it still be thriving?  Will new sites and forms of technology arise to make the work of a self publisher easier?  Will things get harder?  Will the traditional publishing industry, much like the Empire, find a way to strike back?

More importantly, will I ever have more than 3.5 readers?

Discuss, 3.5 readers.

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Glengarry Glen Ross: Self-Publishing Edition (Or, Always Be Self-Publishing)

BQB’s EDITORIAL NOTE:  3.5 readers, I heard a rumor you guys are struggling with your self-publishing ventures lately, so I invited a special guest speaker to come in and motivate you.  Please welcome a young Alec Baldwin in his prime.


Let me have your attention for a moment!  So you’re talking about what?  You’re talking about…(puts out his cigarette)…bitching about that book launch you shot, some son of a bitch reader that doesn’t want to read your book, somebody that doesn’t want to read what you’re writing, some broad you’re trying to screw but she won’t screw you because writers never get laid and so forth.  Let’s talk about something important.  Are they all here?


All but one.


Well, I’m going anyway.  Let’s talk about something important.  (To Levene) Put that coffee down!  Coffee’s for self-publishers only.  (Levene scoffs).  Do you think I’m fucking with you?  I am not fucking with you.  I’m here from downtown.  I’m here from a primo e-book sales site.  I’m here on a mission of mercy.  Your name’s Levene?




You call yourself a self-publisher, you son of a bitch?


I don’t have to listen to this shit.


You certainly don’t, pal.  ‘Cause the good news is you’re fired from my platform.  The bad news is you’ve got, all you got, just one week to regain your jobs as self-publishers, starting tonight.  Starting with tonight’s word count session.  Oh, have I got your attention now?  Good.  ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s self-publishing contest.  As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado.  Anyone want to see second prize?  Second prize is a box of steak knives.  (Holds up box of knives).

Third prize is you’re fired.  You get the picture.  You laughing now?  You’ve got words.  That fuck who wrote the dictionary went to a lot of trouble to get you those words.  Think about the right word combinations and write them!

You can’t finish writing a book with the words you’ve been given then you can’t write for shit.  You ARE shit, so hit the bricks pal and beat it because you are going out!


The words are weak.


‘The words are weak.’  The fucking words are weak?  You’re weak. I’ve been in the self-publishing business for fifteen years.  That’s right.  I went back in time and told myself to start self-publishing before any of this shit was even invented.


What’s your name?


Fuck you!  That’s my name.  You know why, Mister?  Because you wrote your novel tonight on a bargain basement, second hand Dell and I wrote my novel on a state of the art, top of the line Mac Book Pro.  That’s my name!

(To Levene) – And your name is “you’re wanting to self-publish but you’re too chicken shit to get off your ass and do it.”  You can’t play in a man’s game.  You can’t close out a book.

(To Everyone) – Because only one thing counts in this life!  Get readers to read your books!  Do you hear me, you fucking losers?

(Blake points to a blackboard.  Two sets of letters are written on it:  “ABS” and “ADIY.”)


A-B-C.  A-always, B-be, S-self-publishing.  Always be self-publishing!  Always be self-publishing.

A-D-I-Y.  Always Do It Yourself.  Stop waiting for those traditional publishing pricks to give you the keys to the golden kingdom because it’s never going to happen.  Are you going to do it yourself?  I know you are because it’s fuck or walk.  You self-publish or you hit the bricks!

Do it yourself!  Who else are you going to do it for?  Christ?  Take action.  Get out there!

You’ve got the readers coming in.  You think they came in to get out of the rain?  The guy doesn’t come to your online book sales page unless he wants to read.  He is sitting out there waiting to give you his money!

Are you gonna take it?  Are you man enough to take it?  (to Moss) What’s the problem pal?  You!  Moss!


You’re such a hero.  You’re so rich.  Why are you coming down here just to waste your time on a bunch of bums?

(Blake takes off his gold watch and shows it to Moss).


You see this watch?  You see this watch?




This watch costs more than your car.  I made $970,000 on self-publishing last year, mostly on one book that had a really descriptive scene about a giant pair of titties.  How much did you make?  You see, pal, that’s who I am.  And you’re nothing.  Nice guy?  I don’t give a shit.  Good father?  Fuck you.  Go home and play with your kids.

(To everyone) – You want to self-publish here?  Finish writing a book!  You think this is abuse?  You think this is abuse, you cocksuckers?  You can’t take this, how are you going to take it when your book gets a one star review?

You don’t like it?  Leave.  I can go out there tonight with the words you’ve got and write myself fifteen thousand books.  Tonight!  In two hours!  Can you?  Can you?  Go and do likewise!

A-D-I-Y!  Get mad!  Get mad, you sons of bitches!  You know what it takes to sell books?

(Blake pulls a set of brass balls out of his brief case and dangles it in front of his crotch).


It takes a set of brass balls to sell books.

Go and do likewise, gents.  The money’s out there.  You pick it up?  It’s yours.  You don’t?  I have no sympathy for you.  You wanna go out on those word count sessions tonight and rack up big counts then those words are yours.  If not, you’re going to be shining my shoes.

Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar.  (Speaks in a sad tone).  “Oh yeah, I used to be a self-publisher.  It’s a tough racket.”

(Blake takes a stack of index cards out of his briefcase).

These are the new words.  These are the Glengarry words.  And to you, they’re gold.  And you don’t get them.  Why?  Because to give these words to you would be to just throw them away.

These words are for self-publishers.  I’d wish you good luck but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it.

(To Moss) – And to answer your question, pal.  Why am I here?  I came here because the book sales site asked me to.  They asked me for a favor.  I said, ‘The real favor?  Follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.’

(Blake heads into interior office).

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 29 – Zombie Dinosaurs!

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian


Roar, 3.5 readers.

Roar indeed.

Dinsoaurs.  Zombies? DINOSAUR ZOMBIES!

That’s right. Last year BQB interviewed Rick Chesler and David Sakmyster, co-auhtors of Jurassic Dead, the totally badass book series that combines prehistoric lizards and the undead.

BQB was blown away by this awesome concept and one year later, he maintains it is a travesty of justice that this book has not been made into a movie yet.

“Who the hell greenlit all that Zach Galifinakis horse manure when there’s a perfectly good book series about zombasaurs aching to be made?” BQB was heard to say.

Check out BQB’s interview with the dino-tastic duo here.

And don’t forget to check out Jurassic Dead, now available on Amazon.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 17 – Jeremy Laszlo and the E-Mail that Launched a Self-Publishing Career

With Your Guest Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian



It’s not something an author ever looks forward to.

But when Jeremy Laszlo submitted his fiction to the world of traditional publishing an an intern accidentally hit the wrong button whilst sending an e-mail about batch rejecting a ton of submissions, he realized it was a waste of time to pursue traditional publishing any further and instead, dove right into the self-publishing game.

Zombies!  Also, orcs!

Check out BQB’s interview with Jeremy here.

And don’t forget to check out Jeremy’s Left Alive series on Amazon.

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Who Wants to Explain Authors Guild vs. Google to Me?

Hey 3.5 Readers,

Just came across this article in PC World  about a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to not hear an appeal regarding a case Author’s Guild brought against Google regarding their book scanning project.

Here’s more about that from the Author’s Guild website.

Anyone want to try to explain it to me?

Off the top of my head, the idea that a for profit company would be able to scan books not in the public domain and then make them publicly available seems troubling.  But I have no clue what is happening here other than it seems like something book nerds such as the 3.5 readers of this website would be interested.

So discuss away, book nerds, and tell me what the heck this is all about. Should I be mad as hell, mildly chagrined, or not give a crap?

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Thoughts on Zombie Western Going Forward – And How Sequels Tie In

shutterstock_320226569Hey 3.5 Cowpokes.

Way, way back in January, I decided to give Zombie Western a go.  I wanted to write something fun and mindless.  Cowboys live a cowboy life in a cowboy town.  Zombie outbreak ensues.  They fight for survival.

The it got complicated.  The Legion Corporation came into play.  Vampire Blythe became the villain.  He had werewolf henchmen.  Oh and there are good werewolves that help the hero too.

And there’s a romantic subplot where the hero can’t decide which woman he wants and the villain will eventually use this against him.

Oh but don’t worry.  There are zombies.  The villain is trying to transport a whore army of them across the Mississippi River on the way to attack the East coast and conquer the US.

He spread his zombifying blood with the help of Doc as an unwitting dupe, who was tricked into selling a Miracle Cure All that contains the blood in it.

So it has all become very confusing, hasn’t it?


Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t just go back to the beginning, cut out the vampires, the werewolves, and just write a simpler story about cowboys fighting for survival in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.


Some of you have said you like the vampires and werewolves so I don’t know.


I’d like to tell you about my sequel ideas and maybe that can help the discussion.


Part prequel.  Part sequel.

The prequel part…

1876.  Deadwood.  Dakota Territory.  North and South Dakota have yet to become states.

Gold is discovered and a makeshift mining camp town “Deadwood” is started.  Some of the West’s most legendary characters descend in search of fortune.  They swear a lot according to the HBO show about it.  (It was good by the way I recommend it.)

Wild Bill Hickok is the best gunfighter in the West.  But in secret, he is also a formidable vampire hunter.

As history buffs might be aware, Hickok was shot in the back by Jack McCall over a gambling dispute.  It has been said that the poker hand Hickok had upon his death was “Aces over Eights” which becomes known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.”

As it turns out, Lady Blackwood (makes an appearance in How the West Was Zombed, her name needs to be changed because her name can’t be Blackwood if she visits Deadwood) glamoured McCall into shooting Hickok to bring his anti-vampire crusade to a halt.

And the Dead Man’s Hand?  It wasn’t aces over eights.  It was eight ace cards with the faces of the the Legion Corporation’s Board of Directors printed on them.

Immediately prior to his death, he was in the process of explaining his vampire hunting secrets to his best friends, Martha “Calamity Jane” Cannary and Charlie Utter.

After Bill’s death, Jane and Charlie seek to warn everyone of the Legion Corp’s evil ways but are laughed off by everyone.

To make matters worse, they visit Bill’s grave to find his body missing.  Meanwhile, rumors spread across the country of a blonde woman matching Lady Blackwood’s description committing atrocities across the country with a lumbering zombie like creature in tow (that bears a striking resemblance to Wild Bill).

Because uh…I don’t know.  She snuck a drop of her blood into Bill’s drink at some point before he died I guess.

The sequel part – Years later, after the events of How the West Was Zombed, the countryside is crawling with zombies and everyone who laughed at Jane and Charlie are now ready to help them.

Then I don’t know.  They fight Lady B-whatever her name will be and put Zombie Hickok to rest.

THOUGHTS – I had this idea for a sequel early on and it is what made me decide to go with the Legion Corporation angle in Zombed.  If you all think it is a good idea, I suppose that is a vote for keeping Legion and not going with a general zombie survival story.  Then again, there could always be a sequel featuring Jane in her own zombie survival story.


Have you ever seen Tombstone with Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp?  Or have you ever, in general, read the story of Wyatt Earp?

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:  Wyatt Earp was the West’s most legendary lawman.  Eventually, he got tired of it and he and his brothers moved to Tombstone, Arizona, a boomtown set up around a silver mine.  There, the Earp family believed they’d find happiness and contentment as business men.  They’d mine for silver and operate businesses catering to other silver miners.

Then they got there and realized the whole town was at the mercy of a gang of a-holes including Curly Bill Brocious, Johnny Ringo, the Clantons, etc.

So insufferably douche-tastic was this gang that Wyatt put on a star once more and took them all on.

Wyatt is aided by Doc Holliday, lifelong tuberculosis sufferer…too smart for his own good wisecracker and loyal friend.

HOW IT WILL BE ZOMBIFIED:  After the West is Zombed in How the West Was Zombed, Wyatt and brothers did their best to keep Dodge City from becoming overrun by zombies but alas, it has been zombified.  With their wives, they head out to Tombstone, in the hopes there won’t be any damn zombies there.  They can quit the zombie hunting game altogether and settle down.

Alas, their hopes are dashed.  Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo are damn vampires loyal to the Legion Corporation.  The Clantons and the rest of the gang are werewolf henchmen.

They refuse to allow anyone to mine the discovered silver because…well, you know what silver does to vampires and werewolves.

The gang becomes so unbearable that Wyatt and brothers become zombie hunters again and they win the day.

Wyatt is assisted by loyal friend Doc Holliday, who has long told everyone that he suffers from tuberculosis but in fact, suffers from a slow acting form of zombie-ism.  His blood may be the key to a zombie antidote.

THOUGHTS – I guess this requires the Legion Corp to exist?  Then again – Wyatt could fight the gang amidst a zombie outbreak?


Prior to the West becoming Zombed, a lovable Robin Hood-esque bank/train robber traveled through the west, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, with the help of his merry men gang.

They took only what they needed to live then gave the rest away.  They were in it for the adventure and thrill.

In the midst of their last heist, they left one of their gang to be captured.  He was a douche that did bad things.  He has since sworn vengeance.

Also, a noble lawman got the one and only black mark on his career when the unnamed Robin Hood character heisted something under his watch.

Post zombified West, money is worthless and the gang is depressed.  There is not much adventure left to be had…except…they realize they can put their skills to work fighting zombies.

And then I assume they go after some vampire with the legion corp.

Except their old gang member is after them.

And the law man they bested will have to hold his nose and help them.

THOUGHTS: This probably could work with or without the Legion.  Arguably, it might work better without it.

FINAL QUESTION – Now that I’ve shared what I see as sequels, do you think I should keep the Legion (vamps and wolves and zombies) or just focus on the zombies?

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James Patterson Master Writing Class

Hello 3.5 Readers,

BQB here. Thinking about taking James Patterson’s Master Writing Class. 

Master Class is a website in which celebrities teach classes in their respective fields. So far they have James Patterson teaching writing, Usher teaching performance and Dustin Hoffman teaching acting.

The Patterson class comes with videos, materials, lessons, etc.  Obviously, its pre-recorded material. James Patterson isn’t going to get online live and teach you individually or anything.

100 bucks. On the one hand its a lot, on the other hand, its fairly reasonable when its something you enjoy.

Con – Not sure I have much time to devote to it. I barely find time to write as it is.

Here’s a review of the class by the blog Writing Unboxed.

If you’ve taken it, I’d love to hear from you. If not, check out the above info and let me know what you think.


Bookshelf Q. Battler

World’s Greatest Nerd

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365 Days. 1 Nerd. Results of the One Post a Day Challenge – 2015 Complete


TO: The Mighty Potentate

FROM: Alien Jones, the Esteemed Brainy One

RE: Results of Bookshelf Q. Battler’s One Post a Day for a Year Challenge – 2015

DATE: Jan. 1, 2016



Alien Jones tallies BQB’s 2015 stats.

Your lowly servant, Alien Jones here to report on the results of Bookshelf Q. Battler’s One Post a Day Challenge.  As you recall, Your Potentosity, you have identified BQB as “The Chosen One,” the only Earth writer capable of putting out a book that will convince the humans to abandon the reality television programming that you despise with such magnanimous enthusiasm.


BQB only intended to write very brief posts for the purpose of drawing some attention to his blog. However, he quickly became hooked on seeing his stats improve and spent the year focusing on his blog instead of his languishing career as a novelist.

Further, BQB made daily postings on social media. He had Twitter at the beginning of the year. He got onto Google Plus early in the year. He had been on Facebook but finally began pushing harder on it in the Fall.


  1. Posted 1 or more (and often, more) posts on his blog daily. Did not miss a day.
  2. Posted daily on Twitter from the beginning of the year.
  3. Posted daily on Google Plus when he started it (his pitiful human brain doesn’t remember when that started but believes it was early in the year.)
  4. Became more active on Facebook, by the end of the year he started posting there daily. Also, he spent a bit of his human money to buy some Facebook ads.
  5. Joined and became active on Wattpad, posting stories and offering comments on other writers’ works.


BQB, ever unsure of himself, blogged every day in January, 2015 just to see if he could do it. He then announced Feb 1. that he’d see this through to the end of the year.


“At the time of this writing, I’m averaging 35-40 site visitors per day. I believe this is due to daily postings.

I’m also seeing an increase in blog followers. I had 400 at the start of the year, and about 450 now.

I had 2000 twitter followers at the start of the year, I’m at around 2500 now.”




JAN 1, 2015 – Approx. 400

JAN 1, 2016 – 1,520

INCREASE of 1,120 approx.

2014 vs. 2015

BQB began this blog in 2014, but did not blog daily. In fact, he often let a lot of time pass between posts.

2014 Stats

VIEWS – 4,658

VISITORS – 3,623

LIKES – 895


2015 Stats

VIEWS – 28,103 (Up approx 24,000)

VISITORS – 14,880 (Up approx 11,000)

LIKES – 7,836 (Up approx 6,000)

COMMENTS – 2000 (Up approx 1800)


JAN 1, 2015 – 2,000 followers (approx)

JAN 1, 2016 – 7,168


2014 – BQB didn’t have it.  He started in 2015.

Jan 1, 2016 – 858 followers


Likes were barely existent starting 2015. BQB experimented with buying some Facebook ads in the Fall. Currently, the Bookshelf Battle Facebook Page has 169 likes and the Pop Culture Mysteries Facebook Page has 107 likes.


Human writers often debate whether social media is worth their time. Some praise it as a free marketing tool. Others complain it takes time away from their actual writing.

For all of the social media activity BQB engaged in…

TWITTER – brought 527 views total to BQB’s blog this year.

FACEBOOK – brought 368 views total.


 Thus, it is clear that having more followers on social media does not mean they will all visit your website. However, BQB feels his social media efforts did help to raise awareness of his blog and to make contacts with other writers, such as the fine authors who helped him out of the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse in October.


SEARCH ENGINES – gave BQB 6,898 views. It pays to write a lot. The more content you have on your site, the more likely people will visit your site through a search engine.

WORDPRESS READER – 1,156 – The more wordpress followers you have, the more people will seeing your blog in their wordpress reader.

DAILY VIEWS – BQB found that for the most part, his efforts attracted somewhere between 30-50 visitors (more or less). Occasionally, it would push 100, a few times over 100, but never over 200.

To BQB’s credit, his view rate is high, meaning that there are a number of visitors coming to the site, liking what they see, and giving it a few more views.


Yes. The Chosen One has gone from dabbling in a blog to building a platform.

BQB has a tendency to doubt himself, but will keep up with something if he sees progress and there was definite progress this year.


As a pitiful human, BQB can’t do everything, so in 2016 he will have to divert his attention to his novel writing career. However, the time he spent building this site’s readership will likely payoff one day…some day.

Somehow no matter what happens, BQB only reports having 3.5 readers though. That is likely to continue.


Spare the Earthlings, Mighty Potentate. BQB is doing his best to write a novel and build a writing career. He will do his best to convince the pitiful humans to stop watching reality television and read books instead.


Alien Jones, out.

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The Writer’s Battle – Are Readers In Control?

Happy Sunday, 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.


I just read this CNN article in which George Lucas says he’s “done with Star Wars.”

“You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized,” Lucas told Vanity Fair. “People try to make decisions about what you’re going to do before you do it. It’s not much fun. You can’t experiment. You have to do it a certain way.” – CNN

ON THE ONE HAND – I see his point.  The great part of the Internet is that nerdy fans can comment and discuss their favorite movies, TV shows, books etc.

The downside is that its a great environment to make a lot of back seat drivers.  “No!  Those two characters can’t fall in love and WHAT?!  You’re going to kill off so and so and WHAT that guy changed his mind and he’s no longer a bad guy now?!”

Hollywood listens to all this mumbo jumbo.  Sometimes that turns out well when the fans know what they are talking about.  Other times it falls flat when a director or actor or someone puts the kibosh on an idea that’s a little out there, beyond the norm, that would have paid off big time but they didn’t want to draw the fans’ ire.

Probably the most recent example I can think of is the latest Avengers movie in which Black Widow kicked ass all throughout the film and fans were like “Joss Whedon’s anti-woman!  He didn’t give her enough to do!”  Boo.  Bad nerds.

ON THE OTHER HAND – The CNN article linked to above went on to say:

“The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’ ” Lucas said, presumably referring to Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm — including the “Star Wars” franchise — in 2012. “People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera, and it’s all about family problems; it’s not about spaceships. So they decided they didn’t want to use those stories. They decided they were going to do their own thing, so I decided, ‘fine. … I’ll go my way, and I let them go their way.’ ” – CNN

Pbbbhhht.  Well, true – Star Wars does have a lot to do with that damn dysfunctional Skywalker family…BUT, did we really need that Sound of Music-ish scene in Attack of the Clones where Anakin and Queen Amidala prance around in love in the field?  No.  More lightsabers and space ships please.

Revenge of the Sith was pretty solid, and when I was younger, I enjoyed The Phantom Menace and Clones mostly because I was just happy to see Jedis back on the screen.

But let’s be honest, those films were more about loading up on as many quirky, merchandisable characters as possible just to sell kids toys.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  Bills need to be paid and that’s what these new films will do as well BUT I have a hunch that it will be done in a way that fans will be like “that was badass!” and “wow what a badass toy!”

The nerdy adults will be anyway.  If your kids are yelling “badass!” they probably need a time out.

I get Lucas’ frustration though.  It must suck to create this wonderful universe, bring it to the big screen, become the modern day father of science fiction and then be told by your fans that you, the creator of your own universe, are doing a bad job of running your universe.

That’s probably how Darth Vader felt when those pesky rebels started calling for rebellion.

SIDENOTE:  One other example of fans taking over that I’ve seen lately comes from The Walking Dead.


Did you notice there’s a spoiler alert in effect?  OK don’t say you weren’t warned.

Glenn may or may not be dead.  The writers of the show have made it look like he totally is, but also left it open to a possible interpretation that he might not be.

Fans have been up in arms on social media, complaining that they have to wait to find out, how dare the writers toy with their emotions like this and so on.

I’m going to channel my inner Uncle Hardass and say, “get a job, hippies!”  Hell, I love that show as much as the next guy.  I’ve invested a lot of time into it.  But when it appeared that Glenn died my reaction was “Awww, that’s too bad…*pause for 5 seconds* OK I better brush my teeth and get ready for bed.”

Seriously, who has time to worry about the fate of a fictional character?  JOBLESS HIPPIES WHO NEED A JOB AT THE SALT MINES, THAT’S WHO!!!

Wow.  I’m becoming an Uncle H. clone

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Who calls the shots, readers or writers?

Personally, it’d be a great problem to have.  I only have 3.5 readers and none of them have started calling the shots yet.

I suppose when I reach the point where people are like “We want more Yeti!” or “Alien Jones is like a hairless ALF, you hack!” then I’ll know I’ve made it.

Get bossier, 3.5 readers.  Actually, please don’t.


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