Archive for the ‘the book’ Category

June 1st, 2009

Tales of a Self-Publisher

June’s arrived, and I think a little update on our sales progress is warranted.

First of all, though, where I’m coming from: I seem to have found myself in an even smaller beach town than Mancora. I’m in Huanchaco, a little place about six hours north of Lima on the west coast of Peru. Pretty deserted here, for the most part; from what I can tell, high season’s over and the Peruvian winter is closing in. It’s still amazing weather, but the pueblo’s got a bit of a ghost-town feel to it, which actually suits me just fine. The streets are quiet, not too many gringos aside from myself, lots of room and time to think and walk.

After a victorious first week, when all the friends and family came out in full force, traffic to the site’s fallen a bit, and sales, understandably, have lessened. While all of this is to be expected, I can’t honestly say I’m thrilled about it. I know: patience, patience; but I’ve always been a bit wanting when it comes to that particular virtue. A secret corner of my heart can’t help but yearn for a massive tidal wave of attention, adulation, and critical acclaim. It’s insane, but I think it’s probably natural, too, so I’m not all that embarrassed about admitting it.

The internet is such an interesting phenomenon, for while it’s highly public, but it can be highly private, too. Particularly when you have a product that you’re trying to tell the universe about, it can seem very quiet out there in cyberspace - like you’re yelling into a soundless black void. And then on the other hand, when you have a compromising picture posted on Facebook or something like that, then the World Wide Web feels as loud as a bullhorn, and as public as a stadium urinal.

Right now, my internet sensation’s one of relative solitude - which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. Especially when you’re trying to produce content, a little anonymity goes a long way - it gives you a kind of freedom to fail that’s hard to attain when you know you have a larger audience. I had an online journal in 2001-02 that over time grew to be very well-read; at a certain point, I remember pulling back, and divulging much less of what was really going on in my life. Whether that’s a psychological phenomenon that’s particular to me, or something that’s more generalized, I don’t know. I just recognize that right now, I could say a hell of a lot of things, and fear not even the faintest of recriminations.

. . .

Sooner or later, though, you have to break through and meet people. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Our main job right now (and when I say “our,” I’m referring to myself and Shane, my publicist and project manager, without whom I would be quite lost) is to let more people know about the book. It’s an interesting, challenging journey. I have it programmed somewhere deep within me that it’s foul to try to promote yourself - something about ego, and pride, and the embarrassment that comes with going up to someone, puffing yourself up to them, and experiencing the rebuff of indifference or outright cold rejection. (Probably why I don’t get laid a little bit more often.) But the desire in me to sell the fuck out of this book and, from there, to eventually make writing my living - which is to say, to do it professionally - is strong enough that I’m going to have to overcome that tendency to shrink inwards.

And actually, it’s going well so far, in terms of publicity. We haven’t hooked the very largest of fishes (a friend of a friend is a producer on the Howard Stern show, and he’s put my name in the hopper - fingers crossed on that one, which is all you can do), but there are some very promising cross-promotional venues on the horizon, which is super cool. I’m also contacting smaller bloggers, like myself, and trying to tell my tale and get them interested and excited. When you do break through and find a like-minded individual, it’s really fun.

On that note, Shane recently discovered this guy Zak Sabbath has also written a book about working in the porn industry. His tome is being published by Tin House (Portland) and it includes along with the writing some excellent drawings that he did on sets, both as an actor and just as a random-mohawked-artist-dude-sitting-in-the-corner-because-he-loves-
to-draw-naked-girls. I was prepared to dislike the book and Zak himself - just on the basis of competition and jealousy - but I exchanged some emails with the dude, read his website, and it turns out he’s quite articulate and cool. So I wish him luck with the book and expect to read it when it comes out.

So, it’s a slow road - until it’s not. While we’re in this gathering-momentum phase, I expect to be blogging about everything under the sun - stupid shit, funny shit, unfunny shit, and minutiae-based shit - like what I’m eating. I’m eating some strange stuff over here in Peru. Last night, late on Sunday night, I finally rousted myself out of my room, and went to get some dinner. But all the cafes were closed, so I had to make do with the meat that was being fried up over makeshift barbecues on the street. They had chorizo sausages, brown-meat shiskabobs, and . . . fried chicken feet. I went with the fried chicken feet. Good choice, kid. Fatty, salty, rubbery, bony, and bizarre.

It’s an odd life I’ve carved out for myself here. Sooner or later I may have to get a job, but for right now the money’s holding out okay. I spend about $600 a month in South America, more or less. It doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for doing adventurous shit, but I get by in a comfortable fashion, three meals a day, candy bars and cigarettes. And that’s all I really care about. I’m living sort of in the cracks: keeping to myself, pondering what’s to come.

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May 13th, 2009

First Day of Sales

Life is good over this way.


The first day’s campaign is off and running - my friends have been thoroughly spammed, all the Facebook and Twitter bullshit is revving, and we’ve made some sales. Pretty fantastic to have the site be live, and more, to have a product that I actually feel good about hawking. Mostly it’s the design of the book . . .

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April 8th, 2009

Fighting for My Life

I am excited.

I honestly don’t think I’ve felt like this in years. I worked all day yesterday, more or less, on the various tasks at hand, of which there are many. It was eleven o’clock at night before I remembered I hadn’t eaten any dinner. I took a stroll down the hill in this weird and deserted tropical fishing town with warmest breezes blowing and me wearing just some maroon Thai pants. Cut down the side of the mountain through the town’s ghostly white sand soccer field. Down by the beach it was louder, there were more people, muttering variants of Spanish and English and Hebrew. I bought a chicken hamburger, it was terrible, greasy, I didn’t care, walked fifteen steps to the side of the sea and sat on a log to eat and while I did watched a tied-up boat rock back and forth. And I couldn’t stop thinking about this project.

I feel like I am fighting for my life here. It is such a good feeling; like the stakes are high. I went to bed last night thinking about what I had on my plate — got to upload a version of the book to Kindle, got to register the site with Google, got to learn about keywords and SEO, got to assemble a personal list of media contacts, got to create a Facebook fan page, got to create a working bio for Shane to use — and ten other things. I fell asleep and I didn’t dream and I woke up and I was right back. I’m getting obsessed and I love it. I haven’t got anything else but this and I love it. It reminds me . . . well, it reminds me when I was on my mission to create porn. It reminds me of when I first moved to Los Angeles. I was 24 and I had logged about 8 months in Santa Cruz making my own movies; and when Periwinkle and I got pushed out of our house by our greedy landlord, I moved down south with the intention of going pro. The move took all my money and I showed up in Los Angeles almost completely broke — but I had a working computer, a dope video camera, a cheap studio, and a website. And I had a plan.

I remember those first months I spent there, toiling from morning to night on videos and writing, trying to figure out how to make a buck with my own ingenuity as a young adult in a new city. I had more chutzpah then than I have ever had before or since. I was calling up every single contact I had in my adult-film book and begging for work. I called up people I had never met before and talked myself up, like I really had something to me. It was amazing and I don’t know where I got the courage. But I really believed in what I was doing. And I had my back against the wall.

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