Tag Archives: E-book

The Self-Published Author as Agent Provocateur

Tags:stockings garter lingerie

Tags:stockings garter lingerie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a shameful secret to confess…Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I am a self-published author (gasp!).

There, I said it. But, even so, I absolutely flatly refuse to accept that I am now therefore also guilty of that which we writer’s consider the most cardinal of sins: (dare I speak it’s heinous name?) Vanity Publishing.

No, you see, I prefer the term Guerilla Publishing™, to describe this desperate course of action I have chosen to take. The crumbling tyranny that is the book publishing establishment needs overthrowing, and my novel might just be the one to finally tip the balance.

So, if you like, you might like to think of my novel as being a kind of “dirty bomb” in the revolution to free the written word from corporate interests. I know I do.

Which brings me to the point of today’s blog, namely: the self-published author in the role of agent provocateur.

What exactly is an agent provocateur, I hear you ask? Well, here, I’ll let Wikipedia enlighten you:

“Traditionally, an agent provocateur (plural: agents provocateurs, French for “inciting agent(s)”) is an agent employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act.”

And so, what exactly is the “so-called” illegal act that I’m proposing the self-published author should be enticing or provoking others to commit?

Answer: Why, the buying of one’s savagely brilliant subversive novels, Stupid! Thereby cutting out the Fat Cat middle men of the traditional publishing world.

(Sorry, I didn’t mean to get personal just then, by calling you stupid. Forgive me, it’s just that I’m all hyped up with this revolutionary zeal!)

Anyway, I hear you next questioning my use of the term subversive. By which I simply mean that your novel now exists outside of the system, solely by way of its being self-published, that is.

So how is this done? How does the self-published author achieve sales?

Well, first off, it must be said that it only stands to reason that by the very act of choosing to self-publish the onus thereby also falls entirely on any such author to self-promote their work as well. Yes?

Ok. Well, as an agent provocateur one must learn how to “provoke” the reading public.

So be provocative. And you know what? I personally can’t think of anything more provocative than women’s lingerie. Trust me, sex sells! (see below, but only after stopping by Barnes and Noble, of course, where you can buy a very reasonably priced eBook copy of my novel, Missing Zero)

Agent Provocateur in Broadwick Street, Soho, L...

Agent Provocateur in Broadwick Street, Soho, London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Suck As A Writer

English: A whole lemon

English: A whole lemon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No. 1 – Because I care more about me than I do about you
Explanation: I’m self-obsessed, that’s why I became a writer, duh?! I’m not alone in
this, I’m sure, but a writer’s greatest mistake is having so much of a rogue-ego they
write so as to solely please/pleasure themselves and not others…hmm.

No.2 – I take rejection really, really, REALLY! BADLY!!!
Explanation: see previous blog article here.

No.3 – I refuse to run with the pack
Explanation: Human beings by nature are social animals, we writerly-types are not.
“Not human?” I hear you ask. No, not sociable. Well, not fit for polite society,
mostly. What I mean to say is that the very term “writers’ co-op” is surely an
oxymoron? Whatever, by banding together writers can help each other out. Just don’t
expect me to join the Christmas mailing list, understand?

No. 4 – Because proof-reading your work is for sissies, right?
Explanation: Wong. I mean, wrong. I mean, I just wrote the bloody thing, and so you
don’t actually think I now want to actually read it. ( I think I actually just used the
word “actually” twice in the same sentence. Nah, pooh cares?

No. 5 – Because I’m a lover; not a fighter, Michael!
Explanation: What was the topic again? Did I mention I get distracted easily? No? This
would never happen on Tralfamadore…

No. 6 – Self-doubt is a disease without any cure
Explanation: You’ve already stopped reading, because you hate me. Stop everything!
What’s an infinitive, and have I just split one. Ah, if I could but boldly know…

No. 7 – Bad habits are not just solely the preserve of poorly-dressed nuns
Explanation: Falling back on the same old sentence structure and turn of phrase makes
for a quickly tiresome writing style. Vary it up a bit. Honestly. It works! Or so most
successful writers will tell you. Don’t listen to me, though, I’m some anonymous hack
just like the rest of you.

No. 8 – “In-jokes” aren’t funny!
Explanation: While I personally might think Monty Python are hilariously funny (and
know many of their sketches by heart), jokes about The Ministry of Silly Walks probably
don’t have quite the legs I might like to think they do. Think, similarly, for the word

No. 9 – What’s my name again?
Explanation: Let’s face it, as a writer, it’s much more fun to spend time dreaming up
pen names and plotting out our imaginary Pulitzer Prize speeches, than actually writing,
isn’t it? Don’t fall for your own bullshit, if John Smith had written War and Peace,
it would still be War and Peace. Sorry, Leo 😉

No. 10 – Oh, God! I Can’t Be Arsed…
Explanation: Hell, you can finish this damn list off, if it’s so freakin’ important to
you! I’ve got some serious drinking to do…

“The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.” William Blake

Missing Zero – A Case of Username Envy


Envy (Photo credit: iThinkergoiMac)

The face of writing has changed forever. Due to the Internet, that is. It’s obvious, sure. But it can’t be denied that everything we do today as writers is now influenced by the vagaries of the great almighty World Wide Web. For better and worse.

Take this blog I’m writing. I don’t even know what a blog is. But I know as a self-published author I have to write one. I’ve also created a FaceBook page, a Twitter account, a Tumblr and Pinterest site and produced a YouTube video to help me promote the novel I wrote, called Missing Zero (see more links below).

Without the Internet there would be no Smashwords, granted. Or eBooks, more generally. Meaning my treasured manuscript would no doubt have been left in a bottom drawer somewhere to serve as cockroach bedding. Instead copies of my magnum opus are available for download at Smashwords, Diesel, and Barnes and Nobel for the modest price of $6.66. This being just one of the many obvious boons of the Internet for an unsigned author.

Personally, I have also somehow relished the challenge Twitter, for instance, presents of using only 140 characters at a time to convey one’s ideas. Distilling Missing Zero’s 116,000 words and central conceit to just 140 characters or less proved strangely liberating – namely “the role of Antichrist is defunct in a world so gone to hell”. Hilarious premise for a darkly-comic satirical novel, huh?

More incredible to me (a child of last century), though, is the fact I’m writing this on an iPhone, while lying on my back on the couch. Technological advances continue to make writing easier…Again, for better and worse.

Which brings me to the main point of today’s blog: username envy. Because don”t you agree with me there ought to exist a single amusing and universally-accepted word to describe it? That pissed-off feeling you get when you go to open a new Internet account only to find someone already owns your username. Damn! It happened to me just today, here at WordPress. The URL missingzero@wordpress.com was already taken! Believe me, it sucks. But what can I do? Change the title of my novel? Not f#%*ing likely!

No, the genre-bending comic masterpiece I wrote shall keep its title of Missing Zero for evermore. Unfortunately, its companion blog shall be hosted at zeromissing@wordpress.com for evermore, also. Oh well, it could be worse I could share Justin Bieber‘s sex life. Hmm…

As an experiment I just posted the following request for help on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/missingzero666 – Anyone know the Internet slang word for “username envy”? “Ah, fuck, it’s already taken!” seems a bit cumbersome. Any ideas, twitterfolk?

Within about 30 seconds someone favorited (if that’s even a word) my post. But no-one offered up the kind of zippy slang term I was after. The more observant amongst you will notice, by the way, that even my twitter account is @missingzero666 (@missingzero having already been taken). The 666 tag on the end was forced upon me, essentially. Although the story of the novel does centre around a character named Lorem Ipsum, who starts to believe he just might be the (now defunct) Beast of the Apocalypse or Antichrist, I’m not an advocate of Satanism per se.

Anyway, so, in my wider search for answers, I happened earlier upon a random username generator (http://www.jimpix.co.uk/words/username-generator.asp), where I got given malmseynosedzero as a suggested username. Who nose/knows maybe I’ll use it someday? Whatever. Either way, this conveniently leads me to my next point. Cue segue music now, please!

What I am trying to say is this: many of the characters in my novel got their names from online usernames I have used over the years. Names like Lorem Ipsum, Sdeerwf Eggeth and Missing Zero itself! I must admit I have a personal affection for Sdeerwf Eggeth, having been asked once in an Internet forum about this most unusual of names. My reply was that I believed it to be of Norwegian origin, before leaving it at that.

Yes, the face of writing has changed forever. If you don’t believe me, simply take a look at how many writers are now using social media and online hosting sites to promote their e-wares. Me included! Follow the links to see the kind of web presence I’ve started to build up around Missing Zero in just over 12 weeks. It’s a numbers game. With a world population of 7.071 billion, you only need a fraction of a percent of people to pick up on your talent and you’re away. Sure as hell beats watching your unpublished prize manuscript slowly decompose into compost in the bottom drawer of your desk. So get tweeting/posting/blogging today, right this instant. Who knows, it might be your novel that’s the next “now trending” success story…if trending is even a word, that is.

Missing Zero eBook downloads:




Missing Zero social media sites: