BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Deceiving appearances. Ben Levy 21, June

I found this article about how drowning doesn’t look like drowning fascinating. Mostly because my brother almost drowned right in front of a life guard when we were little. Literally 2 feet in front of a lifeguard. Who was sitting at ground-level. Watching my brother do a fantastic impression of someone treading water.

What the life guard wasn’t noticing was that he was pushing the water right into his open mouth. Which was at water level, not above it.

The first clue for me was that my brother wasn’t supposed to be in the damn pool by himself. If I hadn’t known that, I might not have really seen what was going on either. The upshot was he didn’t die. Another benefit was that since I’m the one who jumped in and saved his life, I didn’t feel as bad when we discovered his horribly deviated septum was from that time I accidentally kicked him in the face.

Sorry, bro.

Comments Off
Don’t wait Ben Levy 17, June

The thing I’ve found with side-projects is that you can’t sit on them. If you don’t strike while the iron’s hot, get a jump on them, or make the most of some other crappy cliche, you wind up finding your old notes like 4 years later and going “oh yeah, that would have been cool.”

About a year ago, someone told me I should make a mobile game based on the dick book. I laughed. “How would I even make a game out of that?” I said, “It would have to be something like 20 different bras you would need to open, each with a different clasp that would basically be a puzzle. And for each bra you unlocked, you’d get a free chapter of the book.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. My friend was staring at me with a slightly open mouth.

“Look- no,” I began, “I haven’t even finished the first mobile game I started, and this one isn’t…I mean, sure it would be easier to build but…-”

He was still staring at me.

“…crap.”

I got excited about it, but I didn’t move on it. I came up with all sorts of reasons not to. I couldn’t decide how best to display the book pages. I wasn’t absolutely sure it would work. I’m not a programmer. How could I make the puzzles intuitive but still hard enough to be entertaining? Would anyone ever play it?

A year later, it’s made.

Oh, not by me. No. You see, I was too busy asking myself stupid questions. The game that was made is called 100 Floors. The puzzles are elevators, not bras, and you have unlock one floor to move to the next. Many are not particularly intuitive. Your only reward is moving on to the next one. And for a week it was the most popular free game in the android store.

“…crap.”

Comments Off

Screen Shot 2012-05-14 at 11.03.17 PM

Good lord, was that a chore. Someone once said “When you’re 95% done, you’re halfway there.” Dude knew what he was talking about. But it’s done. Finally up and available. Click, buy, etc. If you don’t want a silly overpriced physical copy, or if you have embraced the digital apocalypse, imma have a super cheap ibook version up in a few days weeks whenever I get around to it. Gotta go feed The Spawn.

Comments Off
Pre-press Ben Levy 24, April

If you’re wondering why I haven’t pushed the “Owl Book” more, it’s because I’ve discovered it is fucking expensive to print color. It’s looking like this 24-page book is going to cost something like $15. That’s ridiculous, but it’s a whole other order of magnitude on the ridiculous scale when you realize my last book was 100 pages and sold for $10. What the hell do they make color ink out of anyway? Baby harp seals?

With shipping, it cost me an absurd amount to get my proof copy from Blurb. Something like $22, after coupons. The printing is gorgeous, and the quality is amazing, but I can’t even sell that to people “at cost” with a straight face. I found a way to shave at least $3 off the base price with Lulu, but for some reason their book upload process shits the bed when faced with CMYK files, and all my colors turned neon.

As interesting as my new book about a radioactive owl was, it’s not quite what I had in mind. As was evidenced by my stream of consciousness tweets.

Screen Shot 2012-04-24 at 10.55.03 PM

Don’t worry, the neighbors don’t even have a cat. (any more)

So I converted everything, and now I’m going to sit here wondering what the hell the colors in this book will actually be when it shows up on my doorstep in a week. And then, if it looks as good as it should, I’ll put up a site and pimp this owl properly*.

If you people didn’t keep liking this stupid shit I do, I wouldn’t have to go to all this trouble.

Thanks for that.

*I am totally going to start a gameshow called Pimp this Owl Properly. Who’s with me?
Comments Off

So, how about them timely updates? Eh? EH?

Sorry everyone. I mean if any of you are still here. Since I haven’t bothered to do even a Friday Feature in like, a month.

Much of this is due to the insanity that is my life right now. The sad thing is that insanity makes for good reading, and so the blog should be bloggier than ever. Chock full of blogginess. It should be blogglutony up in here.

But things are happening at the speed of life these days, a velocity with is entirely outside of my control no matter what the odometer reads. And I feel it’s more important to live the experiences I’m having rather than spending time recording them. In a world of social media this is perhaps a revolutionary act. If so, hand me a torch, and point me towards the occupation.

At the end of last year, I started to get really burned out on the blog. I didn’t like the quality of the posts I was putting up, and I often found myself up until midnight trying to dash out a post just to meet my own arbitrary deadline. That seems dumb. Bad enough I submit the internet to my narcissistic ramblings, they should at least be well-written ones.

So it’s time to switch things up. This is still my home on the web, but blogging itself is no longer my creative focus. I want to do stuff that scares me slightly, and this format is too familiar. A few years ago I read this post on Wil Wheaton’s blog, and it mildly changed my life. I published my first book. Now I’ve published my second one. There are other firsts and seconds of things in the works that I won’t tell you about right now. But they’re coming. And right now, they’re way more interesting to me than making fun of myself in long-copy format.

I like that too, and I’m sure it will still happen. In fact, once the kid comes next week, I bet it will happen a lot. But forcing it to happen every Monday? No longer the goal.

The new goal is to keep creating stuff that excites me. And to make sure that the posts I write here are worthy of being read by you all.

PS- Did you read that part about me becoming a father in a week? If anyone needs me I’ll be over in the corner hyperventilating into a paper bag.

Comments Off
Signs of the times Ben Levy 11, April

It’s interesting that the busier I am, the less time I waste spend talking about what I’m doing. I mean, I finished my second book over a week ago, and I’m just posting about it now. (I just dropped that shit like it was nothing, didn’t I? That’s how we experienced authors roll, bitches.)

IMAG0154 copy

The proof copy did just come in this evening, so that’s part of my excuse. I had it as an iBook on The Wife’s iPad as soon as the pages were done, but there’s something special about holding a physical copy. I don’t even know if I’m going to make the physical one available for purchase (all the color options I’m finding are laughably expensive) but I’m glad I have one for myself. Maybe I’ll do a limited run or something.

IMAG0155 copy

Why’d I do this, you ask? Because the only thing I could think of that would screw with people’s heads more than being “the guy who wrote the dick book” was to be “the guy who wrote the dick book and a children’s book.” Also, it was because I felt the need to do something really special for my unborn daughter, something that we could share even before I knew what she was like. But don’t tell people that. It’ll totally ruin my street cred.

IMAG0156 copy

So, maybe I’m a slightly more legitimate not-at-all-legitimate author now. That’s two books. Neither of which have what you’d call plot, exactly. And they’re surprisingly heavy on illustration for a guy who dropped out of graphic design in college, and claims to be a professional writer. But still, they’re books. I’m pretty proud of them.

Like I said, I’m not sure what the sales options will be like for this one. I see a few very minor tweaks I’d like to make to the physical version, and there’s been a surprising amount of talk regarding board-books and plush Little Owls. There’ll definitely be an iBook version out, but I need to make those tweaks first.

Comments Off
I’m not dead Ben Levy 11, March

Really, I’m not. I am, however, working on 4 side projects (one of which is nearing completion, which is super exciting), doing a significant amount of overtime at work (some of which is also nearing completion, which is also super exciting), and frantically attempting to make life ready for my offspring (which is also nearing completion, and OH MY GD I WILL NEVER BE READY FOR THIS.)

Also in that time, I think I’m supposed to do my taxes. This is gonna hurt.

The rumors are true. Ben Levy 23, February

Canadians actually are obsessed with hockey. They’re straight up silly for it. I…I honestly couldn’t even make jokes about it, after a while. They were just like, “Yeah, eh? Love them Maple Leafs?” And while they said it, they were wearing sweatpants that had beavers on them. And in four days, it happened so often I couldn’t even find the humor in it anymore. It was just a bizzarre law of frozen nature. America’s Hat is a weird place.

Comments Off
Going Dark Ben Levy 17, February

Sorry, internets. I know it’s been kinda quiet over here. Work’s been mildly insane, followed by frantic baby-planning on weekends. My brain started screaming last Wednesday, but luckily no one can hear it but me. Shh, it’s trying to communicate.

Point is, I leave today for the frozen wastelands to observe a primitive ritual my people have practiced for generations (ie- going to Toronto for cousin’s Bat Mitzvah). It’s a forced break, but I’ll take it. And so I’m going to leave all the electronics here. Even taking a dead-tree book as opposed to my Kindle.

If all goes well I shall return at a slightly silly hour of Monday morning, with maple syrup and beaver pelts. See you then.

Comments Off
Happy St Stupid Day Ben Levy 13, February

This was originally titled “Happy forced outward sign of affection ruining what would be an otherwise sweet gesture causing rising levels of stress and tension in your relationship day” but it didn’t fit.

Or as XKCD puts it: The Valentine Prisoner’s Dilemma

Comments Off