Happy Thursday, everyone. I am having an epiphany after using AI software to sculpt with light. It was an interesting conversation, with much guesswork on both our parts, but I think we understand each other. I am using the Silk web app for a second day in a row. If you want to try from your desktop browser, it takes a lot of tapping around, but eventually, you will get used to it.
Back to my epiphany. I wonder if anyone reading this is familiar with the hypothesis that we are living in a simulation? By familiar, I don’t meant listening to Elon Musk worshippers who say, “Our world is a simulation”. I mean have you looked at the math and tried to weave a hypothesis on your own?
Some scientists have taken plant-based substances in order to access the cheat codes and escape the program. They seem not clever enough to acknowledge that they lack the correct plugins to decode what they are experiencing. Or perhaps they use the math as an excuse to go on trips and escape the truth, which is that a genius rigged this game and coded them into it.
Many trips later, they are left with a pile of printouts on their office floors, and no-one knows what they are talking about.
PS: Thank you for viewing my video installation. If you are using social media to share your work, and your reach is low, do not take it personally. Yesterday, the results of my first attempt at light sculpting went viral on Instagram. I was getting audio messages to please post more. Weirdly, the same presentation had only a few views on Twitter because the smart tech did not show it to anyone. The same thing happened this morning, with this version, so I will have to rethink the “get seen on Twitter” theory that is being sold to digital artists. Glad this is happening now and not when I have something major to release. Have a great Thursday.
Can you, as an author, achieve effortless book sales using social audio? Please read this post and learn what I have discovered. But get some popcorn first, because there is drama.
It has been a year since I published my novel, The Quarter Percent, and if someone had told me to relax because that people would ask to buy it, I would have thrown a tantrum. And yet, since joining social audio nearly eight weeks ago, I have had lots of people tell me they bought my novel. First, in my Clubhouse profile, I mentioned writing my second novel. Then after a number of requests to share a buy link for the first one, I added it to my Twitter bio.
I’m not using social audio to sell books, by the way: the book sales are a side effect of staying active on the platforms. By staying active, I do not mean staring at my phone all day. Instead, I make time for active participation in spaces or rooms on a range of subjects.
Last year, I collaborated with several artists and we produced artwork for The Quarter Percent. We focused on key scenes and events. One of the scenes opens in front of a graffiti mural in the foyer of a refurbished warehouse. Tensions in a friendship, the transfer of power, and a generous gift are overseen by a portrait of King Cordial’s late wife, Queen Cara. The scene, mural, and cover art are called Cara de la Reina or ‘face of the queen’. To write that scene, I did a lot of research into warehouses and architectural design because the description of the interior had an important function. It set up a contrast between the home’s cool, trendy, laid back atmosphere and the next level scheming that would take place there.
Based on other research, I knew that a cover with a face was ideal, and I assured my publisher that using the mural art was going to work. A year later, this is my avatar everywhere, and saying so in the first paragraph of my Clubhouse profile has made promotion effortless. When people ask me why I don’t use a selfie, I tell them that I am using social audio for business, and I don’t want to attract the wrong sort of customer. Seeing that I get book sales without doing anything extra, it stays right there.
On top of that, someone has been earning money from views of my trailer on a dodgy platform. Every marketer I hired to promote the book has denied having merched the trailer. I only found out because the analytics on WordPress finally appeared in February and showed me a cascade of clicks out to my blog. The owners of the platform are not answering emails or taking phone calls so I cannot find out who is doing this.
Amid all of that drama, you will understand why I gave up on promoting my novel altogether. But I am happy that l have stumbled upon an effective way to sell it.
Regardless of the obstacles, I enjoyed the creative process from last year, and I will expand on that for my upcoming novel. My first idea was to create art prints and posters. Still researching styles that I want to use, and practising on Procreate. Currently, I am producing instrumental compositions for piano, violin and cello. These will match the mood and themes of the story. My YouTube channel is dry and ashy so I asked a composer friend to help me out. I am hoping to share the music with artists and creators who like listening to music as they work.
About an hour before publishing this post, I talked about the project in a business networking group and I was encouraged by the response. The music will also be my rehabilitation after sacrificing brain cells to ratchet YouTube (for research purposes).
Happy Wednesday, everyone. Keep creating, and thank you for staying in touch.
On Wednesday, I downloaded the app again and created a fresh new business account. My experience is much more pleasant because I’m not using captions or hashtags. Instead, my method for increasing my engagement has been to make demands and threats. This has worked so far.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I get asked daily why I am not on Instagram, so I created this business account to connect with professionals I meet through social audio.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to make friends with someone who works with Google to train business owners to use Instagram for marketing. Thus, I have a strong incentive to not toss my phone out the window.
Instagram’s smart tech is impressive, something Marvin Stone would have approved of. I’ve only been on there for three days, not scrolling or searching for anything, and it showed me my favourite dish: charcoal grilled eel on sticky rice. The person who posted the image also has his headquarters at Starbucks and like me, he has the same drink every time he goes there. I had better behave or that thing is going to publish all of my secrets.
So in one of the scenes for my upcoming novel, I wrote about a social media application that shows only one post at a time. One of the characters, Mimi Hollingsbrook, is preparing for her work day. Because she works in the Royal Household as Baby Pudding’s nanny, she has agreed to keep a low profile on social media. Against her better judgement, she decides to look at her feed, and notices something in a caption from a famous influencer. She has a meltdown after reading it. Within a few minutes, her response, which is full of expletives, gains 5 million likes. This prompts her to permanently archive her account. In a later scene, Mimi is given a taste of power when a quarter percenter asks her to decide about that influencer’s future.
When writing notes about the social media applications I would be using in the story, I thought about reactions from readers. I was convinced that this feature would never be adopted in the real world. However, at the moment, the trend is to be super minimalist on Instagram, with as few posts as possible. At this rate, if I don’t hurry up and finish drafting, I will be publishing historical fiction.
In further news, I have been sucked into the vortex and I am now managing my social audio apps on two phones. One for Clubhouse, Discord and Twitter, and the other one for Greenroom and Instagram. That’s because one of the apps keeps crashing if I’m in audio spaces on two others. (Don’t ask). Juggling two phones might look cool on TV but I’m an introvert, so it does not feel right.
Where two or more humans are gathered, there will be drama, and in this post, I will tell you how to avoid drama on Clubhouse. The app is now open to everyone and overnight, sellers of invites went out of business, while the bot and troll populations have exploded. As of Sunday, moderators are now challenging listeners before inviting them on stage to speak. As I edit this post, a moderator is ejecting a speaker who got on stage to ask, “Uhm… What’s the topic?” Read ahead and learn how you can avoid getting clubbed as a newbie.
First things first. You need a bio. The easiest way to get clubbed is to not have one. Your profile should explain your interests and tell everyone why you have joined Clubhouse. If you are registered and have no bio, stop reading this and update it right now. When I joined in mid-June, people were complaining about extra long profiles. Now, listeners without them might never get invited to speak due to the ongoing troll and bot problem.
Add a profile image, logo or something representing your objectives. Drama people like to do screen captures of avatars, so make sure that yours is something you would not mind seeing on Twitter. Mine is the cover of my novel The Quarter Percent and it is also my first minted NFT. The image prompts questions and because my answers match everything in my bio, people with shared interests feel comfortable contacting me.
The second thing you need is a linked, updated social media account, website, or email. Clubhouse is designed for drop in socialising, and communication is supposed to continue off the app. You may link Twitter and Instagram but almost everyone on Clubhouse is on Instagram. Every day, someone asks me why I do not use Instagram. Clubhousers prefer Instagram even though they get action blocked, hashtag banned, accounts suspended and posts smoked. If you choose not to get an Instagram account, be prepared to explain yourself all the time.
Third, recognise that drop-in audio allows speakers from all over the world to be in the same room and participate in a conversation. If a person says they are going to bed and you are starting lunch, “How dare you have lunch? I just woke up,” sounds weird, so stop.
People have been waking up as others were going to sleep every day since we crawled out of the mud and coughed up our gills. Because time zones. Remember that passport checks are only to be done by the police.
Many clubs are already scheduling rooms only for members, to avoid answering the same questions again and again. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of valuable information you might need for promoting your work is going to be reserved for people who are already comfortable using social audio. For more advice on social audio etiquette, please visit this post.
Fourth, focus on large rooms where you can listen, ask for advice, and share information. This will raise your engagement quickly and safely. The fastest way to get clubbed is to immediately align yourself with a person or small group. A person’s objectives might change, or they might be drama people. Scan your hallway and hop into a small room that looks interesting. But leave immediately if there is any hint of hostility. Be like water and flow where support and positive engagement take you.
Fifth, spend your first week following active clubs related to your specific interests. Use the calendar feature to manage your time. In these rooms which are topic-specific, you already have something in common with listeners. Speakers and listeners will read your profile and look at your social media feeds. Be equally discreet and read bios to find out more about your roommates. As mentioned above, the moderators are definitely reading yours.
Sixth, ignore pings. That is the software at work, and you are not receiving a cordial invitation. Nine out of ten people who ping you will not respond when you ping them, so do not play. Especially ignore pings that invite you into single-host private rooms unless an appointment is arranged in the backchannel. I wish I had received this advice before joining Clubhouse. Assume that you are being roped into a speed dating event without your consent. The hosts will vanish once they find out you are not living two houses away from them. Save yourself the irritation and avoid responding in the first place.
That should do for your first two weeks. Social audio is constantly evolving. One day you’re with a group of friendlies and the very next morning, you wake up in the middle of a shark tank. Use the application actively by knowing your purpose and staying on brand. Listen first, keep up with conversations, steer clear of controversial topics, and stay open to new experiences. Practice good etiquette at all times. You never know whose avatar is sitting next to yours on stage.
Postscript: Abstract paintings are from Sunday. I spent nine hours learning how to use Procreate, and I am slowly feeling my way through the features.
Are your goals clearly defined? Your next step is to collaborate with likeminded individuals. Work with practical, updated information. Record results and refine your process as you go. To master the practice of scrum, recognise when it is necessary to regroup and realign. Then do it.
The first iteration of this installation was a mass of crawling text that broke WordPress. Yay! But after it broke my phone’s browser, I decided to update this post with a collage of screen caps from Reader and the main site.
Thankfully, I had saved the screen caps for the tweet design below, so it was easy to make another pass with the two typography posters. I hope you enjoy them.
These posters are still in a work in progress but I wanted to dedicate the drafts to the German business owner who has left two advertisements for his keymaster business on my feedback form. That’s Schlüsselmeister in German.
I spent the weekend designing posters and video pins while also being professionally petty on social media. And one thought I had was about WordPress throttling my posts, so that I must display my artwork on a Pinterest board. The difference in engagement on both platforms should become a meme because it is so vast. Wow WordPress.
Though I am busy over there, I wanted to post some artwork here for you. I also wanted to say hello to the German business owner before pinning the final versions.
The keymaster’s website is well-presented, but I changed some of the identifying information in the poster. Sir, please be good enough to leave your real email on that form so I can send you the PDFs? You can print them out on your office printer and frame them.
It feels weird not posting weird art on here. Perhaps that is a Church versus State thing. Or, business art versus hobby art, though which one is which, I don’t quite know.
For everyone else, have a great Monday. Allen anderen einen schönen Montag.
The dry paper hand is back with two small GIFs I made for you today. I am very happy because I welcomed my nephew over the weekend. It was also my birthday so the gif(t) bags are not random.
I find the TV scroll below oddly relaxing. It is also a great throwback to the good old days when people sat in front of square boxes. I hope you enjoy playing on Photo Mosh. I really enjoyed creating this installation.
On Sunday, I was experimenting with some design ideas and on Monday, I wondered what would happen if I glitched out some images. The software is stable but the file sizes are about 20MB for the GIFs. It’s necessary to compress them. The “Glitched TV” above is 7MB and “Warped thinking”, below, was shrunk to 10MB.
You will not get uniform results for every single kind of image. And though the video files are super heavy, the software I used doesn’t render jpg images large enough to print on a 16″ x 24″ poster. I need a workaround.
Hope you enjoyed the bursts of colour and the weird lines as much as I do.
Updated and edited: 2021.04.08. Thank you for viewing.
Happy Sunday to everyone reading this. (You might want to grab some popcorn.)
A few weeks ago, I started what should have been a wonderful collaboration with a marketing specialist. I asked a lot of questions to minimise errors. But when the invoice arrived, it seemed someone had used their elbow on the “zero” on a keyboard.
They were asking for the equivalent of 1/3 of my annual salary to do niche research, marketing, and advertising. No samples had been produced, no dry runs executed, nor analytics presented. Which means that in exchange for absolutely nothing, I would be working to keep them in Burberry and Dolce.
One more test cover and two T-shirt designs
To end the negotiations, I sacrificed my catalog of designs. I told them to sell it all themselves. If they are good as they claim, they should be raking in the cash right now.
If you were me for the past month, you would have discovered some startling truths about advertising firms. Traffic, views and clicks can be purchased, and “stats” can be spun out of whole cloth. I now make sure that I negotiate for “my best outcomes” and ignore their “best efforts”.
If effort alone were enough, each person reading this would be worth billions. Based on effort alone, it might be easy for all of us to set up shop as advertisers. Simply collect fee$ and promise to show your clients’ work to everyone. Then, pack yourself a nice sandwich, a smoothie, a bottle of water, and a muffin. Drive yourself down to the bay and have a picnic. Then, when clients complain that they have no traffic or sales, gaslight them and say they need to spend more money.
I guarantee that with this work ethic, you too will become a successful advertising executive in no time at all.
Here’s hoping that you have a productive week ahead.
Does anyone remember who said, “Follow your joy”? I think this quote is popular because everyone can imagine feeling happy at the final stage of a project. Recently, I told Caring for Art that my nightmares have become work product. I was not exaggerating. Public speakers will never tell you that you must hard work to find the thing to which you can happily commit. If they told you to face reality, nobody would pay them $50,000 to talk about themselves for 30 minutes.
And because I know that the truth is hard to hear, I feel confident that no-one will copy my secret formula, which I am going to share in this post. This is my recipe for staying committed and focused on the way to finding joy. First read it, then scroll down for a taste test.
🧁 Commitment Cupcake 🧁
Ingredients Absolutely everything real about you right now.
Write down every idea you have but stay loosely attached.
Seek advice from qualified experts.
Listen to advice and evaluate for quality.
Search for useful ideas in negative feedback.
Be assertive but never argue, no matter what.
Lose fixation on irrelevant details.
Shut down anyone who attempts to devalue you.
Transfer your idea from a “hard” medium to a “soft” one.
Follow up on each new idea (see item 1).
Table, pin, or expunge unworkable ideas.
Shred your lists.
Keep at it.
The taste test – Covers only Item 8 became especially important this week when my plans came to a full stop. And though I was feeling isolated and trapped, I decided to shred everything and start over.
One of many ideas I had written down was “launch a magazine”. However, I threw it out because there are billions of writers, millions of magazines, and only a handful of subscribers.
From that, I imagined what it would be like for a young writer to dream of launching a magazine only to hit roadblock after roadblock. How would this writer solve these problems? The answers to that question became the treatment for a writing project. My preferred medium for presenting that story is a “hard” one, so I pinned it for later.
The transfer to a “soft” medium was a frictionless fusion of my interests. After careful research, I did some math: photography + fashion + world cultures + health + making stuff up + graphic design = a concept that I really like.
That is to say, I will only produce the covers. I’ve posted two test copies for you and I hope you like them.
Today is the third day of the third month of the third year of the reign of the Emperor Reiwa. 3-3-3 is an auspicious day and as it was all over the news, I thought I would publish a post on this occasion for readers who love numerology.
Fun story. When His Imperial Majesty was Crown Prince (kou-taishi-denka) I was in the same banquet hall with him and that now disgraced CEO who was smuggled out of Tokyo into Beirut in a double bass case. I was, however, introduced to his brother and sister-in-law when I was an undergraduate. The mother of the future Emperor tripped and almost fell on top of me.
We were warned before the meeting not to touch them but had she fallen, she would’ve dinged her face very badly. Much to my relief, she caught her balance.
Oh yes, those were the days when people would ask me why in the holy muck was I studying a language with a writing system that looked like algebra and calculus got handsy with each other at a bar.
Perhaps I should stop being rebellious because I’m a grown-up now. But I feel inspired when someone tells me I can’t do something that’s lawful, perfectly doable and really fun to do. My ancestors martyred themselves to get shackles taken off and I am supposed to do what now? Be boring and bored. I cannot do it.
On Saturday afternoon, I was waiting to take down an art exhibition and while I was waiting in the car, I decided to pull an Oracle card. I bought them because they’ve got a matte velvety finish and the gold inlay looks pretty. I could not for the life of me understand what it was trying to say.
Hello everyone. Are you enjoying your Sunday? I have been at my “home” office all day. I am chuckling at the moment, because when I was searching my phone’s image library, I noticed that photo from yesterday and suddenly, my entire Sunday makes sense. This, for once, is not a rant.
I’ve had the most insane day. I had a vague project deadline circa now: Thirty episodes for a Japanese/English animated series. Sounds fun, right? Except, the criteria changed three hours before I submitted the scripts for TEN episodes.
There is a budget issue. “Smaller budget: remove characters.” So I asked three friends to help me out of a jam. Halfway through, when I presented a snippet of the draft, the graphic artist/animator demanded I write the script for the trailer first.
Now, the reason his company hired me was that the project team was led by a talented graphic designer and animator who was not a writer. Because I understood that, I explained to him that the writing process is not linear. One never starts with the summary. It appears that way because that’s how a story is presented to us. But you can start in the middle and work your way backwards or forwards. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’re all writers.
And of course, I might be the most non-linear writer of them all. I was giggling because he probably thought I was being unreasonable.
I say, “Should we have notes on the first ten episodes and then write the trailer script, which will happen very fast because we will know what the story is all about?” Doesn’t budge.
That’s how four of us were at one point editing the same sentence at the same time. I would like to give a special big up to Google Docs for facilitating that. When we were all finally done tweaking the scripts, the graphic artist texted, “I’ll take a look in two hours because I am going out.”
What?! It’s 7 past 22 o’clock (two hours later) and he wants to have a meeting at 23 o’clock. I, on the other hand, will be going to bed.
Hello everyone, I went and did another thing. Sabiscuit’s Catalog is now Saint Joan, a creative studio which will be work and/or play. It is evolving. Welcome, in every language.
But, to be clear, I have done several things. One was to set my blog to private after WordPress said they were going to publish posts from other bloggers here. It was going to be a matter of time before some antisocial idiot ended up next to my art work.
During the break, I was writing a lot of scenes for my upcoming creative project. While doing some research on a character, I went so far down the digital rabbit hole, that when I shook myself awake, it was a brand new year.
Don’t get me started on what has happened already. I left you alone for three months and you bring dogecoin back? Not to mention, amid the mayhem on Wall Street, Demi Moore managed to break the Internet. This tells you that star power is real. Because, let’s be honest, how many of you wear $600 Fendi tights?
Miraculously, after eight frustrating months, WordPress has finally allowed me to upgrade to my own domain. I am grateful for the buffer of time. This domain, saintjoan.studio, is named for the Congregation of St. Joan, an orthodox religion I created for my first novel, The Quarter Percent. It was referenced only once in the final chapter. However, a breakaway sect called St. Joan’s Parish is featured in the next novel. Special thanks go to Draculauren for interviewing me about both projects last year. It was a fun experience.
After brainstorming ideas, I thought the church needed a governing body that behaved like it was running a global sportswear brand. When I thought of the outrage this concept would induce, I decided to bring the Blessed Lady into this timeline.
Presented with love and gratitude. Poem “Ascension/Bring me higher” was written by me. Big ups to my homey, the 9th century poet, Cynewulf. My poem is inspired by his awesome work, Christ II.Images are from Tokyo Fashion Edge Magazine Volume 35, September 2019, with an overlay of handwritten runic and English scripts in watercolour. Have a healing week ahead.
This morning, I received a surprise gift: A box of rose-shaped cookies from a Tokyo patisserie called Tulip Rose. I can’t have the cookies because I’m gluten intolerant, so I took photos before giving them away.
The illustrations are from individually-wrapped drip coffee sachets. I received four from a colleague who found them while hunting for coffee deals on Amazon. I have had three so far. (When I say I have coffee, I mean a milk substitute, cream, sugar, and coffee as a flavour).
I kept the packaging in case I could create some yummy photo art. The moment has arrived, the coffee brand is called Tasogare, and the beans are from Ethiopia and Brazil.
Thank you for your support so far. Please enjoy the cookies with your beverage of choice, a warm hug from me, and best wishes for the months ahead.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was writing a coronation scene for a new novel. The story is set in 2033, and unfolds in the same universe as The Quarter Percent. We follow events from three perspectives. One belongs to Sebastian, who happens to be a nephew of Cordial’s.
Still drafting, but I know how the story ends. In the very last scene, after a bombshell revelation the previous evening, a hush falls over the nation on Coronation Day. The new monarch is Sebastian’s bestie, 35-year-old Carroll. In this draft of the story, Carroll’s father is still alive, so the proclamation of accession has to take place at the coronation.
By this point in the story, we have eavesdropped on meetings and know that the coronation will be stripped of pomp and pageantry. Sebastian has been asked to whittle down the government’s expenditure on the ceremony to mere shillings. The ceremony is a reckoning with the public which, after a display of hubris, has completely lost face. Nonetheless, the ordeal has been humiliating for Carroll.
Note: This post was originally intended for publication on this date, 09/20, but I moved it up a week. I moved it back here to make way for a different post. Thank you for your attention, as always. Header image: Izrael Poznanski Palace in Lodz, Poland, by Jacques Bopp, via Unsplash. Concept art: “Accession proclamation for King Carroll”, Posca watercolour pens, and Pilot Juice metallic ink on matte/glossy magazine paper.