Lone Nut Looking for that First Follower

I stumbled across this video yesterday, and I have to say its message has had a profound effect on me.  While I don’t consider myself a leader, I am trying to start a movement.  Most authors are.  Granted, it’s a commercial movement.  One in which I can sell books, but it’s a movement just the same.   I am that lone nut… kind of.  I am in a weird nebulous space where I have some very dedicated followers (and I only use that term as it applies to the message of the video.  I don’t consider them followers.  In a very virtual Web 2.0 way, I consider them friends).  At any rate, I am the shirtless dancing guy.  My problem is that I don’t think I’m committed as he is.  What’ve I learned is that I need to be much bolder.  I have been playing it safe to a certain degree, and that hasn’t created enough of a spark.  I need to get shirtless and dance like an idiot in blue jean shorts… you realize I mean that figuratively, right?

How will that manifest itself exactly?  I’ll have news on that in the coming weeks, but I’m gearing up for a bit of a lifestyle change.  Stay tuned.

*** This video presentation was put together by Derek Sivers.

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The Valentines Day Weekend Blizzard of 2010 in Charleston, SC

Holy Cupid, Batman!  It snowed in Charleston, South Carolina last night.  We lost electricity for about 12 hours and our cable is still out – which is my own personal Vietnam, but I’ll survive – otherwise we’ve discovered that snow isn’t nearly as bad as hurricanes.    I caught a few snapshots of the white stuff coming down last night, and then a few shots of the aftermath this morning.  Which begs the question, how come there is no beforemath?

What I imagine a nuclear winter will look like.

I love this orange glow.


Hello, blue skies!

Our Weeping Willow looking a little weepier than usual.

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Repost – Product Placement and the Teenage Material Girl

“They totally ruined the integrity of the Gossip Girl books with all that product placement!” – This message is brought to you by Pepsi.

I think we may be expecting too much from our teenage romance novels. The New York Times printed an article titled In Novels for Girls, Fashion Trumps Romance. It seems Naomi Johnson, a communications professor at Longwood University in Virginia, recently wrote a dissertation on the alarming number of occurrences of product placement in books written for teenage girls. Now, I will admit the number does seem kind of high (1,553 brand mentions in 1,431 pages of the six books she had read), but in the end, it is much ado about nothing. The books in question come from three very popular series, Clique, Gossip Girl and A-List. Not my cup of tea, but you can’t argue with sales. For the record, the packaging company, publisher, and authors all deny any money was exchanged for the product placement. The authors claim real brands were used to give the books authenticity. I think the obsession with weight, appearance, popularity, and money make the books sadly authentic enough.

But what if brands like Moschino, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc. did pay for product placement in these books? Would that be so bad? If a teenage girl is reading Gossip Girl, she’s not reading it to learn how to make the world a better place. She’s reading it because a bunch of hot girls in cool, expensive clothes are learning the importance of being popular, and judging others for their looks and poor choice of income potential. Would subjecting these young ladies to crass commercialism really ruin the integrity of these types of books, and shatter the reader’s feeble resistance to buy a thing because her favorite character wears, drives, or covets that thing? I say let the publishers cash in.

Now, I’ve never read a single word of any of the aforementioned books, but I’ve read a number of articles on them and there appears to be only one redeeming quality about them. They are encouraging kids to read. There is a movement afoot to have the books banned from schools and libraries. Having read that a mother wants to burn my books because they are “evil,” I am, perhaps, extra sensitive to this never-to-die movement to ban books. Censorship is not the answer. Reading builds better communication skills. It helps foster a love for learning. Reading turns on the theater of the mind and helps kids think and grow with more imagination and greater lucidity. Would you rather they spend endless hours playing games like Grand Theft Auto and meeting creeps on MySpace? C’mon. Keep them safe. Let them read.

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An Oz Chronicle fan pets a unicorn right before he beats it to death with a piece of paper.

I think some of you misunderstood my post about selling more books than Stephenie Meyer this year.  I stated that unicorns would go extinct if I didn’t sell more books than the sparkling vampire queen.  Some how this has been translated into me encouraging fans of The Oz Chronicles to kill unicorns.  PLEASE DO NOT KILL UNICORNS!  I was simply saying the unicorns would die out of sadness if I didn’t sell more books than Stephenie Meyer this year.  Or the unicorns will be so enraged that they will go out on a murdering rampage that will make it necessary to kill them in self defense.   So the easiest thing to do here to save a unicorn is to buy an Oz Chronicle book. 

BTW – For those of you haven’t read the Oz Chronicle books, there are absolutely no unicorns in the book.  They just hate sparkling vampires that don’t have fangs and for some reason remain in high school even though they’re like 100 years old… and in fact aren’t really vampires.

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As long as I’m the least selling bestselling author unicorns will die.

I’ve decided I’m going to kick it up a notch this year and sell more books… a lot more books.  How?  First by picking a target.  Unbeknownst to Stephenie Meyer, I have decided that she and I are in competition.  We both published our first book in 2005; She with her first book in the Twilight series, and me with my first book in the Oz Chronicle series.  Her rise to the top has been meteoric, while I have clearly over-stayed my welcome at the bottom.  It’s time for me to move up.  

Currently, Stephenie has about an 85,000,000 copies head start on me, so I have my work cut out for me.  To illustrate just how far I have to go to catchup with her, I made this handy-dandy chart:

Move over Stephenie. I'm coming to take my spot at the top.

What’s that you say?  Insurmountable?   Not at all.  It is very mountable… er, doable.  Especially if you buy 85,000,000 copies of my books.  Yeah, didn’t think of that, did you? 

Seriously, I’m working on slogans for my “beat Stephenie Meyer” campaign that are sure to become part of the American lexicon in 2010.  So far, these are my favorites:

  •  “Every day R.W. Ridley sells fewer books than Stephenie Meyer an orphan cries.”
  • “If R.W. Ridley doesn’t sell more books than Stephenie Meyer in 2010, unicorns will go extinct.  I’m not kidding.”
  • “Have you bought one of R.W. Ridley’s books yet?  No? Jerk!  Didn’t you hear about the orphans and unicorns?”

Granted, they still need a little work, but I’ll iron out the details later.  The important thing to remember is that the fate of orphans and unicorns is in your hands.  Do the right thing.

BTW – I know the chart makes it look like I haven’t sold any books, but I have.  It’s just tough to register on a chart that tops out at 85,000,000.