So you can read my books

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

JOHN LOCKE … thru the eyes of Victor Standish

I walked up to Captain Sam’s table where Alice, my ghoul friend, was lost in a book. “What’re you reading?”

Alice looked up absently, “This system by John Locke to sell millions of Kindle books. I want to discern if there is any merit to it so as to help Roland.”

{ }

Her British accent sent tingles through me, but I was Victor Standish, and I don’t let girls know they’re getting to me. But her Mona Lisa smile said I was only fooling myself.

And talking about fooling, I said, “Oh, I read that last night for the same reason. Boy, Old John must have pretty broad shoulders.”

Alice frowned, “Why do you say that?”

“From the way the guy kept patting himself on the back all the time. ‘I have made 3 separate fortunes. My posts are timeless, forever relevant. I write 7,000 words a day when I write a novel. I have the system guaranteed to make you a success. My snake oil will make you live forever.”

Alice frowned like an angry librarian. “He wrote no such thing.”

“Yeah, but he probably will next week.”

Alice sighed as if at a dim-wit (and no snide comments from you guys out there!) “I have read where this Amanda Hocking, herself a Kindle wonder, said that it is more likely a Kindle author will only sell less than a 100 copies of their eBooks – not anywhere close to a 100,000.”

I sat down beside Alice. “Yeah, but she’s not hawking a “How To” book for $10 a pop either. I mean, look – he’s made $20 just from the two of us.”

Alice puckered her pretty lips. “But he’s sold so many books.”

“Yeah, but have you looked at the covers? Sex sells. Even if they’re only sexy legs.”

Alice glared at me. “And just how do you know what the covers look like, Mr. Standish?”

“Hey, he’s got them plastered at the top of his blog. { }

That guy sure knows how to manipulate :

soft-soaping poor people on Twitter to be his shills;

writing only what he thinks will sell, not what’s in his heart;

singing the praises of sport and sick Hollywood greats, then twittering those legends’ fans with a link to his blog.”

Alice looked troubled. “Mr. Locke may be sincere.”

“Yeah, maybe. But I’ve lived on the streets all my life and had to fend off panhandlers that whole time. When a deal sounds too good to be true, it ain’t.”

“Isn’t,” chuckled Captain Sam as he sat down beside me.

“I’ve read his book for the same reason you two did. So that makes $30 he’s made. Still, he did have a sound idea or three. Maybe lightning just struck as it sometimes does. Or his system does works. Time reveals the truth eventually.”

Alice cocked her head, blonde waves becoming a waterfall. “But what of all the people who will follow Mr. Locke’s system in the mean time?”

Captain Sam smiled sad. “Sometimes faith will heal you even if the pill you swallow is sugar.”



  1. I've been hearing a lot about this book. I think I'll have to check it out myself.

  2. Victor Standish just followed me today on Twitter. What are the odds?

  3. Madeline :
    Try the free Kindle sample before you buy. Thanks for dropping in, Roland

  4. Alex :
    You know Victor, Alex. He crops up where and when you least expect him! And yes, it was OUR Victor who followed you. The little scamp has decided to test the Twitter waters.

  5. Hi Roland .. great that Victor's on Twitter .. I must test the waters soon.

    John Locke - my guess many many will be trying to emulate him ..

    Good luck .. being unique is the thing as Victor, and you are .. cheers Hilary

  6. Eclipse looks good; but it also reminds me of the movie Ghost Writer. British films have deep themes, and little explanations.

    Still, I did like Ghost Writer, even if I didn't always get the plot concepts. I'm sure this movie, Eclipse, is much the same. I know I'll like it, even if I do get lost in some of the plot points.


  7. As you know, Roland, I too bought a little snake oil. I think you were right about the lightening striking just so, especially after Mr. Locke himself admitted to being a mediocre writer.

    As always, good writing doesn't sell, commercial schlock does.

  8. I come back after doing so much homework and you whisk me right back with Victor. Sighs- what a character. But alas- back to the matter at hand-

    I was speaking with a friend as of late about being a writer and how you have to start somewhere in order to get where you want and that somewhere starts with audience.
    Naturally he is giving his audience what they want- even if it might be a little off- but that might be his thing. He wants to make money- naturally- so he is doing that.

  9. Hilary :
    Victor certainly is a rascal. Not shy at all. Thanks for the well wishes.

    Donna :
    I think I will enjoy this movie if I can find it on DVD. Sadly, it was released before I ever heard about it. GHOST WRITER depressed the heck out of me, though it was well done.

    Wendy :
    I bought his book as well. He just came across as ... excessive. Do any of us write 7,000 words a day when we write a novel? Do any of us believe each of our posts are timeless and forever relevant? Charging $10 for a 65 page book?

    When I was very young, there was a scam called DARE TO BE GREAT. Seeing the disappointment of so many adults churned up by that fad made me leary of anyone promising excessive things.

    Summer :
    I'm glad you like Victor. He likes you back. But he whispers it since Alice is the jealous type.

    I read John's words and sigh. We all want success as an author. But at what price? Look at his photo on the cover of his HOW TO book. Living on the streets at two different times in my life, I saw faces like that. I learned to stay away from them.

    Good luck in school and with your writing!! Roland

  10. Great post, Roland. If Locke has three salient ideas, let's hope someone posts them on the internet soon (crediting him, of course). Maybe it will save other financially-challenged indie writers ten bucks.

    My only hope is that no one confuses this snake-oil salesmen with the Father of Liberalism.

    I would like to disagree with Wendy and say that while commercial schlock does sell, that it's the exception, not the rule, and good writing is what really matters. But you know, I don't believe it anymore.

    I've read too many mediocre books that have sold plenty, and too many great books that just sit on the shelf, or worse yet, never see publication. I've accepted this. As writers we make a choice: write to the market or write for ourselves. Sometimes those choices intersect, but rarely. And there's no shame in either path. In fact, I am envious of those who can write to trend. If I had the capacity to do so, I'd probably jump on the bandwagon.

    Here, let me try. My next proposed project? How to Hawk Even More Millions of eBooks than John Locke. Just the title ought to be good for a sale or two, don't you think.

  11. VR :
    Great response as always.

    It is one of those sad facts of any artistic life that quality is not always recognized or applauded or bought.

    Still, I read John's words and saw an attitude of viewing readers as commodities, "Marks" to be used for your own advantage -- writing not what you cared about but what you thought would sell, tailored to the market.

    Like you, I see the wisdom in writing to what trends are hot -- but do it your way, making your novel stay true to who you are as a human being and as an authentic writer.

    I just want to support myself as a writer, crafting those novels that make others smile or feel better about themselves and life. The millions of dollars I leave to those who see readers as sheep to be sheared.

    Thanks for having my back, VR

  12. Roland- at what price is a good question- but one each individual must ask and answer for themselves. I could never write for success and money only- my heart is too wrapped up in it, but I can still make a good story or poem if I really want to. I do not care if I am a best seller- I only care if others enjoy reading what I write and writing from within myself. For this author- might not be the same.

  13. Am I reading this right? Are your characters chatting about you? I like that. Hmm, I wonder what mine would say? ;) (Time for blushing profusely.)

  14. Summer :
    I couldn't agree with you more.

    Laila :
    Yes, my characters talk about me, right to my face sometimes! But they love me ... I think. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    For a time on my blog, I was on the run in the shadowlands, wanted for the murder of the ghost of Ernest Hemingway -- with the ghosts of Marlene Dietrich and Mark Twain at my side. Hit your cursor on Marlene's picture in the sidebar marked GHOST OF A CHANCE for the first chapter.