BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Numbers Game Ben Levy 29, January

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that as of today, I Have A Dick. Now What? has officially sold hundreds of copies. 201 copies, specifically. Which is, technically, hundreds.

I was really excited when the count got to 198, causing me to tell some people about it, causing some people to ask why I didn’t just lie and say that I had sold hundreds of copies without all the trouble of waiting for it to actually happen. They missed the point. It wasn’t about making a cliched claim. It was about reaching the milestone that cliched claim represented.

Speaking of milestones, this is my 405th post. If I had any sort of plan for these things, this would have been my 400th post. Alas, that was my four-hundred-and-third.

But I feel like, to honor the sale of my 200th book, and my 405th blog post, I should do something special. Something I’ve never done before. Something like share a piece of the concept art for my second book:

Screen Shot 2012-01-30 at 12.05.31 AM

It’s aimed at a slightly younger audience. Because if there’s one thing funnier than telling people you wrote a book about dicks, it’s telling people you wrote a book about dicks and a children’s book.

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I hate when someone runs a crappy internet contest and then prefaces the results with a load of crap about how “it was really hard to judge because they were all so wonderful”. This is the internet, not little league. Let the vitriol roll. Express just how shocking it was that out of 700 entries, only three demonstrated even a rudimentary grasp of english. Admit that it was not about choosing the best entry, but the one that sucked the least. Or just show the winners. Everyone’s already scrolled down to that section anyhow, it’s not like they care about anything else on the page. So without further ado:

PezMan

I had the parts. But I lacked the necessary knowledge on how to use them. Until IHADNW came along. Imagine if an IKEA manual made milk squirt out your nose because it was so funny, and nobody was even judging you for using an IKEA manual to learn how to assemble, own and operate your own genitalia. It’s like that. I keep it in my bathroom, right in the eye line of the various people who use my toilet. I like to imagine them looking at the book, then down at their junk, then back at the book, then picking it up and learning a thing or two about a thing or two. And that’s usually the point where I stop imagining what other dudes are doing in my bathroom. Do yourself a favor and buy this for the men (and women) (and he-she’s) in your life.

This was one of the first reviews that went up, and I know for a fact that several people decided not to enter after reading it. Thanks for intimidating everyone with your humor, PezMan. You talented jerk.

Aron with one “A”

Ever been on the subway, tears streaming down your face as you’re looking down at your little guy in your trembling hand, screaming, “Why are you the way you are?!?!?” and then regret telling this story on a book review? Well pal, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. And for that very reason, the Oracles of the Sacred Phallus have taken mercy upon we, the unworthy custodians of peen, and bestowed upon us Ben Levy and his syllabus for the some of us, “I Have A Dick. Now What?”. It’s a must read for any man with a Dick. And any man without. Which is unfortunate as the “without” may have been avoided by having read this book. The irony of that alone is worth the price. So go forth, men with Dicks, and know thine own member better. And as for the eunuchs, well, read this book, and you’re sure to at least sport a raging mouth b*ner.

I kept repeating “Oracles of the Sacred Phallus” to myself, and then laughing hysterically. In retrospect, I realize this wasn’t really appropriate for family game night.

Congratulations to the winners, who get two copies of “I Have A Dick. Now What?”. I apologize for not announcing the results earlier. I’m gonna go ahead and blame it on that whole “knocked up The Wife” thing. I know you’re supposed to wait until the kids are actually outside the womb to use them as an excuse, but I consider this practice for fatherhood.

You can read all the reviews here.

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Contests! We got contests! Ben Levy 5, September

Short version for people who hate reading:
Do you love books, but hate paying for them? Me too! That’s why I’m giving away four copies of my book to whoever posts the funniest reviews right here.

Long version for those who are possessed of intelligence, grace, and good breeding, and/or enjoy witty comments:
To help celebrate, promote, and provide suitable fanfare for the arrival of my book on Amazon, I’m running a little contest. A challenge, of sorts. To the victors go the spoils- which in this case are two copies of my book, free, in whatever format you desire. To the losers go my undying gratitude. Which is also pretty cool. Just harder to put on a shelf.

The Challenge:

Write a funny review in the comments section of the amazon listing. It does not have to be positive. It does not have to be informative. It doesn’t even have to be funny (although since I’m selecting the two most amusing comments as the winners, it probably should be). The winners will be chosen at the end of September.

Answers To Questions I Think Will Be Asked Frequently:

“I already own your book, why the hell would I want another copy?”

Because if you win, you get two copies in whatever format you chose. Print, kindle, ePub, pdf, and interpretive dance are all viable options. And I guarantee you don’t have a copy of my book in interpretive dance.

“I don’t own your book, how the hell can you expect me to review it?”

I’m not concerned about meaningful reviews. To be honest, I just want the reviews to be as amusing as the book itself. You know, like this. But if you simply must write a meaningful review, that’s ok too.

To summarize: Go here. Be funny. Win stuff.

Friday Feature: Happy Dance Ben Levy 25, August

You can buy my book on Amazon now. It’s a mere $2.99 for the instant download.

If you have a dick, a kindle, and at least $2.99, it is definitely the book for you. It is also definitely the book for those who don’t have a dick, but still have a kindle and at least $2.99. It’s a fairly egalitarian work, despite what the title may suggest.

And of course, you can always follow the link to the right for the dead-tree edition.

I’m so happy, I could do a dance.

See what I did there?

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Well. That was difficult. Ben Levy 24, August

Behold!

IMAG0440

It only took me twice as long as I’d expected to get my book kindle-ready. Which isn’t too bad, considering I had no idea what I was doing.

See, I had assumed this program called Calibre was going to do all the hard work for me. The plan was to export my original InDesign doc as a pdf, put the pdf into Calibre, and let Calibre export it as a mobi (kindle) file.

Turns out it was slightly more complicated than that.

The short version is that pretty much everything you do to properly format a print volume in InDesign is the exact opposite of what you need to do to properly format an epub in InDesign.

See, in a print document, what you see on the screen is more or less what you see on the page. So a properly formatted InDesign page might look like this:

Screen Shot 2011-08-24 at 10.43.38 PM

Note the carefully aligned tabs and paragraph breaks.

And now here’s what a properly formatted kindle page looks like in InDesign:

Screen Shot 2011-08-24 at 10.41.55 PM

I remind you, that’s PROPERLY formatted. That is the final layout for that page. On your kindle, it appears as a gdamn Rembrandt.

You can see why this took me some time to wrap my head around. It was three weeks before I really understood what I was doing. And I knew I was finally starting to understand, because I was able to open up my file, look at it, and decide beyond the shadow of a doubt that I had to completely scrap the last three weeks of work and start over. Which was when I wrote the following list of reminders to myself:

Screen Shot 2011-08-24 at 9.51.03 PM

But none of that matters. Because now, there’s this:

IMAG0440

And in a few days, it’ll be available as a digital download from Amazon.

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Delay of post due to this Ben Levy 21, August

This week’s post will be delayed, because I spent the weekend working on this:
IMAG0438
There are just a few final edits I’d like to try and make, and then it’ll be finished. Definitely this week, maybe even tonight. And then I’ll post about the frustrations. Oh, the frustrations I’ll post about.

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So This Happened. Ben Levy 22, July

blogcrop

Thrillist.com wrote some words about some words I wrote. Indulge me while I direct you to them.

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Mile of Stones Ben Levy 30, January

I have things to share this week that are probably only exciting to me. But it’s my blog so that’s what gets posted on it.

Last weekend I sold my 100th copy of I Have A Dick. Now What? In fact, as of this writing, I have officially sold over 100 copies. That’s almost a dangerously respectable statistic.

I wanted to thank everyone who has supported what is clearly a shameful, infantile, and amateurish attempt at literature. You continue to dismay my parents, and that means more than I can say.

Coincidentally, I recently finished reformatting the book for e-readers. The double-page-spread layout of the physical book wasn’t very kindle/ipad/nook friendly, so I changed it to a single-page layout. And giving that away for free seems like a great way to celebrate breaking the double-digit barrier.

I’m currently going through previous orders and emailing e-copies to everyone who bought a physical book. I’ll also make the digital version available for download here and on the book’s website just as soon as I figure out how to record the number of times its been downloaded (purely for bragging rights). I wrote a little email to people when I sent out the digital copies, and I kind of liked it, so I’m posting it here in full:

Dear Dick-havers and Dick-haver Enthusiasts,

Twas nearly a year ago that my book was released on an unsuspecting public. Much has changed in that time. For one thing, I have become a man of distinguished renown, often traveling the country to speak to graduating classes and receive honorary doctorates.* For another, many people now read books on paperless glowing screens.

It is in regards to the latter that I am pleased to announce the release of the Virtual (yet very real) Digitized E-book Edition of I Have A Dick. Now What?

In this latest release, the entire work has been reformatted for ease of perusal in a single page format. Also, if you click on the chapters in the table of contents, you jump right to them. Magic.

Eventually this edition may become available to the public for little or no cost. But before that time it is my great honor to bestow it upon each and every one of you, who supported me when I was a penniless, destitute, wretch.** You have all given me a preposterous sense of accomplishment.

Thank you all.

Sincerely,

Ben “Dover” Levy

PS- Feel free to upload this to every torrent, file-sharing site, and internet-tube you can find. I recognize this is a poor way to sell things, but I’d rather be famous than rich.***

*This may or may not be true.
**I am a now a two-penny, destitute, wretch. Huzzah!
***Though preferably both.

So there it is. I Have A Dick. Now What? has sold over 100 copies, and will soon be available to all as a free download.

Lastly, in a co-coincidence, I am now the proud owner of a Kindle. But that’s next week’s post.

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Which is of course why all the best presents are made for naughty kids. Keeping in mind “kids” in this sense is more a statement of maturity than of temporal passage.

Which is a complicated way to say “It’s the holidays, and these things make perfect gifts for your immature friends.”

Screen shot 2010-10-01 at 9.51.41 PM

A perennial favorite, car should be taken not too wear this garment backwards. Unless, you know, you’re into that.

Picture-71

It’s a book about the mysteries surrounding the use, care, and purposes of manhood in general, and a man’s manhood in particular. It’s been out for nearly a year, and has received multiple endorsements. My personal favorites are “my friend stole the book, can I buy another one” and the not-likely-to-be-topped-in-this-lifetime “your book almost got me laid once”. Seriously, I didn’t make those up.

So please buy them for your family and friends. I promise it will make at least one of us happy this holiday season.

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Technically, it only cost $9, but I bought a url so I could send people somewhere besides the listing on Lulu.com.

People far more talented than I have been talking about how easy it is to go out and do stuff on a professional level (whatever that means). People like Wil Wheaton and Warren Ellis. The cry has generally been “get excited and make things“. It was in that spirit that I started a blog. I started selling shirts for the same reason. And now I’ve got a book out.

What Wil and Warren and a host of other creative-types are trying to say isn’t just that people should get excited and make stuff. It’s that these days it’s so damn easy to do it.

I made this post a while back, but it’s one of the ones that has haunted me. Because it was the first time I admitted- even to myself- the sheer number of things I wanted to do, could do, meant to do- and didn’t. I got a surprising number of responses to what basically amounted to my personal “projects to-do list”. Turns out there are a ton of people who suffer from the same ailment. We want to do stuff. Sometimes we even start to do stuff. But a lot of the time? We don’t wind up doing stuff.

The really cool thing is there’s a growing niche of businesses dedicated to helping people help themselves do things. For example, I sell shirts using spreadshirt.com, which is a print-on-demand service. It costs me nothing to create a shop and fill it with designs. I don’t have to buy 100 shirts before they’ll even print one. I just put the designs out there. If they sell, spreadshirt and I get paid. If not, we don’t. No risk. No upfront costs.

I Have A Dick. Now What? is handled the same way. If you like the book, you order it. I don’t have to go bankrupt purchasing 500 pallets worth of books just to get started. I had to purchase a proof copy (hence the $9). That was it.

There’s no risk. There’s no cost.

Oh sure, there’s the risk that no one will give a crap about what you did. But then you can just call your mom up, and she’ll tell you whatever you did is great and you’re still her special boy/girl. (Unless what you did is write a book with the word “dick” in the title, in which case she’ll sort of get this forced smile and will nod mechanically until someone changes the topic.)

And it costs time. But here’s the thing- I have more control over where my time goes than where my money goes. And if I want to spend all the hours The Wife works night shifts by writing a book about how to stare at breasts, I can do so without reprisal. The same cannot be said if I spend all my money staring at breasts while The Wife works night shifts. Time is easier to find than money.

(It really is. Look at the amount of work involved in staring out the window. Ya gotta open the blinds. Then hope something is out there to stare at. Then find a comfortable position to sit in. Then turn off or ignore the cell phone. Not think about work. Not watch tv, listen to music, or play video games. Shit, it takes a hell of a lot of effort to be lazy these days.)

I point this out because I think it’s a cool trend. And a lot of BrokenJPG readers are the creative sort, and I know they have ideas they keep meaning to produce. There are a hundred different things that threaten to get in the way of people doing stuff. I just wanted to call attention to something that actually makes it easier.

Also, for those who purchased a book, helped spread the word, or just listened to me yammer on and on and on about it for the past 5 months- thank you. The response so far has been incredible. This is something I would have done for myself even if no one ever bought a copy, but it makes me indescribably happy that people think something I’ve written is worth their money. Thank you.

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