Showing posts from September, 2012

Is Organic Food a Laughable Bourgeois Fad?

Stanford University (Photo credit: alexispz) Recently, a famous opinion writer of the New York Times, Roger Cohen, attacked organic food twice on the basis of of a Stanford University research concluding that it has no nutritional advantage over products of traditional agriculture using pesticides and chemical additives, including hormones.

In short, organically grown food is not healthier. As Cohen put it,  it's the "romantic back-to-nature obsession of an upper middle class able to afford it", it's "a fable of the pampered parts of the planet - romantic and comforting". Now he's done it again (see here), claiming he's added at least one important fact to his store of knowledge: "Hell hath no fury like an organic eater spurned".

Indeed, Roger Cohen has twice spurned organic food, fuming "organic, schmorganic" and drawing after his first attack an amazing tsunami of angry comments and blog posts. He's being accused of disinfo…

A World Threatened by War Needs a Savvy American President

Ours is a world threatened by war yet foreign policy is hardly at the heart of the American elections except every once in while (e.g. when the American Ambassador to Libya was killed). That is a pity. Because what the world needs is for the biggest military power on earth to be guided by someone who knows what he's doing. Someone with knowledge and experience, with a historical memory, with a capacity to evaluate a situation quickly and dispassionately. Yes, control over emotions is paramount.

Of the two candidates, which is the better one? Obama we know, we are well aware that he "leads from behind". Some people try to make it sound negative but it really means several very positive things: he doesn't rush into a situation, he first watches what is happening, he listens to different opinions, he evaluates and takes a decision only after having duly reflected on it. He doesn't go at it alone, he likes to work in concert with America's allies, including within…

To Avoid Marketing Pitfalls on the Net, Tip #1: Watch What you Click!

On my Amazon page yesterday, I couldn't believe it: a naked woman, crouching and looking sexy had replaced my sedate author picture. Judge for yourself:

That's not me, that was never me, help! My site had been hacked, I was sure of it. I ran to Twitter and shared my alarm with a raffle of anxious tweets!

But wait a minute. 

That picture is a painting of mine! Sure, look here:

It's that sexy nude that plays a pivotal role in A Hook in the Sky (for fictional purposes, it is meant to be painted by my protagonist). Did some nasty trickster copy it from Picasa album (where I keep my photos online) and paste it over my photo? Someone with a deviant sexual obsession? All sorts of wild theories flashed through my mind as I walked over to the hairdresser and had a haircut.

I couldn't wait to get back to my computer and try and figure out what had happened. I was certain I'd have to do all sorts of difficult things like change my password and warn Amazon...

Well, once I looked at…

Baby Boomer Novels: an Explosive New Genre in Book Publishing

Amazon and other publishers take note: Baby Boomer novels, or BB novels, are about to storm the publishing scene! Actually Hollywood has already caught on and has recently been churning out movies clearly aimed at a senior audience, reaping success, most recently with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel about British retirees cavorting in India, featuring a top-notch cast of veteran actors including Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, both 76. Other noteworthy are RED (ex-Cia agents on the rampage with Bruce Willis and a fantastic Hellen Mirren) and Larry Crowne (a middle-aged Tom Hanks goes back to college after being fired and whizzes around on a vespa with Julie Roberts). The list is long and I'm sure you can add to it your own favorite movie featuring greying heads!

OLD AGE CAN BE FUN, FREE TO DO WHAT YOU WANT...BUT WHAT DO YOU WANT? (Photo credit: roberthuffstutter)As reported by the media research firm GfK MRI (see Brooks Barnes NYT article, 25/2/2011) the percentage of American moviegoe…

How Amazon Helps You Discover Books

There are three ways in which Amazon supports book discovery: customer reviews, the "like" button similar to the Facebook one and the "tags". Customer reviews have been recently bashed in the blogosphere with several bloggers coming up with evidence of unethical behavior from authors and in some cases a flood of favorable reviews that clearly come from friends or have been paid for. It seems that best-selling author John Locke has admitted to buying 300 reviews...

I won't pronounce myself on all this except to say that we authors really appreciate when a reader leaves a review - it's nice to know there's somebody out there who likes your work enough to make the effort of putting pen on paper! And if there's no time to write a review, hopefully the reader would go back to the book's site on Amazon and click the "like" button!

But as I recently uploaded two books on Amazon (see cover above and in right margin the Amazon "buy" i…

Book Cover Survey Results: The Way Forward!

Book covers are the doors to your books, all writers know that and worry about them. The rules for good book cover design are quite simple:
(1) reflect the genre or mood of the book, and for digital books especially,
(2) no clutter
(3) big, legible fonts that can be read even when the cover is the size of a postage stamp on your Kindle.

That's all.

Simple? No, I got myself into quite a funk trying to figure out which cover would be better for my next novel A HOOK IN THE SKY: a hook (in the sky of course) or a female nude (my aged protag's young lover)?

Readers of my blog know I ran a poll last week. My Twitter followers also know that a friend who runs the immensely useful site listing every day "The Best Free Kindle Books"  (the "list that Amazon does not give to the Book Lover") also set up a poll presenting both my covers, plus a useful answer I had forgotten to include in my own poll: "neither" giving you the chance to answer in case you didn…