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Friday, September 30, 2011

We Midwife Mark Osmun's Press Release: Piggybacking Onto Public Domain Dickens

In a smart move, Mark Osmun recently ePubbed his prequel "Marley's Ghost" along with its source-code, Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol." In a series of Facebook posts, I pointed out to Mark he seems to have created a genre and ought to stake a claim to it. Here's his press release, which, I now realize, I can claim to having midwived. (I believe that is the right usage):

Thanks to the advent of e-publishing, there’s a new trend coming to the publishing world―prequels, paired with their public domain originals. The beginning of the Literary Two-Fer.

Publishers may have thought of this before (say, pairing Ahab’s Wife with Moby Dick) but discarded the notion: the increased page-count would wreck the bottom line.
But that hurdle is gone now.

First to realize this new e-pub advantage is Mark Osmun, author of Marley’s Ghost the 2000 prequel to A Christmas Carol. First published traditionally and reaching #126 on Amazon’s bestseller list, the novel went out of print. So Osmun brought it back, first as a print-on-demand book (via Lulu) and then as an epub book for Amazon’s Kindle ( But this time, he added all of Dickens’s original Carol, a perennial bestseller.

“There’s no added cost in producing both books together,” said Osmun, “so why not give readers both novels?”

In addition, the marketing potential increases dramatically. Since A Christmas Carol is a perennial bestseller, pairing it with Marley’s Ghost gives readers a bonus at no extra cost and helps Osmun’s sales.

Look for mainstream publishers to jump on this strategy once they learn of it ( perhaps Wide Sargasso Sea & Jane Eyre; Wicked & The Wizard of Oz; Finn & The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, etc.).

Upon hearing of the new approach, author Don Wallace (One Great Game) quipped, “Imagine the possibilities: my bawdy limerick, plus The Bible as a bonus. But he's (Osmun) done it and now the floodgates are wide open.”

“The trouble with being the first to do something is that it’s not a trend until others follow,” Osmun said. “But watch: others will follow. It just makes too much sense.”

Marley's Ghost & A Christmas Carol

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Moneyball" - The Social(ist) Network Manifesto

Our review of the Brad Pitt vehicle "Moneyball" ran in the Honolulu Weekly today. Knowing it would tap the sports-nut latent in every reviewer in the land, we decided to take a different approach (and use the royal "we"). Our philosophy, whether for essays or at the plate: hit 'em where they ain't.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Do We Write (and where do we put it) in These Fragmented Times?

Sean at ReadHeavily asked how we keep writing in times like these. I've enjoyed his relentless appetite for books and thinking about writing, which is not the same as the relentless promotion so many "literary" commentators are doing. This man reads rightly, I decided. He deserves an answer. So I went ahead and cooked up my own Theory of Writing Everything... "Writing is spread, for me, over a grid of outlets, like butter over porous bread, like jam on an English muffin, and I just try not to think about not writing while writing anything, with one rule: make it worth reading." Wrote that before breakfast. Disclaimer: My metaphor could change when the noon whistle goes off and I start thinking about lunch. ILLUSTRATION: First page of "While Watts Burned" as written and annotated on Belle Ile en Mer, September 1994.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Hawaiian Music Documentary Released!

From the publisher of Bruddah Iz, the singer of the much-sampled ukulele version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", comes the musical documentary event of the season (ahem): Those Who Came Before: The Musical Journey of Eddie Kamae. I wrote the documentary last year working closely with Eddie, his wife Myrna, and director of photography Rodney Ohtani, with editing by Lisa Altieri and a majestic voice-over by chanter Kaupena Wong. It was an all-star crew that had worked together on 9 previous documentaries and I count myself blessed to have had the chance to work with such rich and historic material. The film was a closing selection of two film festivals in 2010: the Pacific Rim Film Festival in Santa Cruz, Calif and the Honolulu International Film Festival, where it also was screened "on the beach" at Waikiki on a balmy Saturday night in October. I won't be shy here: order the DVD and help preserve the legacy of Hawaiian music. It's a wonderful story of serendipity, fate and obligation to one's people that resonates strongly at this particular time in our society.

Monday, September 05, 2011

What's the Laziest State/Country/Company?

Here's a quiz: what TV show/state/country/company is this economist talking about? "...they prefer to receive low quality provided that they too can in exchange deliver low quality without embarrassment. They develop a set of oblique social norms to sustain their preferred equilibrium when threatened by intrusions of high quality. We argue that cooperation is not always for the better: high quality collective outcomes are not only endangered by self-interested individual defectors, but by ‘cartels’ of mutually satisfied mediocrities." Your candidate(s) may be legion. "The Office." Dilbert. I voted Hawaii, then a couple of employers, then realized the possibilities were limitless. Then I worried about myself, that I would end up in these places. Worried about the rub-off. Then I realized I was writing this on Labor Day. Big sigh of self-congratulation. Answer: Italy. From the blog, Kids Prefer Cheese, at: