1. Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    before they put me on tv yesterday, 

    the Screen Savers interviewed me for the G4TV website.

    below is an excerpt of that interview. the whole thing can be read here.

    Do you ever feel the temptation to keep asking for stuff?

    Absolutely. But I think about PBS – I love PBS, but it sucks when you’re in the middle of a pledge drive. You’re watching something cool and then they sit there for 20 minutes and bore you. My number one goal that I have when I communicate or write or anything is not to bore the other person. So you can do a little quickie — “By the way, we’re trying to sell a book right now.” — in and out, and then go on back to regular programming as fast as you can.

    How else do you interact with your readers?

    I think I have a pretty unique relationship with them. I think for the amount of hits that I have, I get a lot of comments. I get some emails, and even some young ladies who will send me pictures of themselves – and I’ve dated some of them. Every boy’s fantasy has come true through this blog, so I’m very, very happy about that.

    So girls just read your postings and then want to know you more, ah, personally?

    Yup, it’s usually along those lines, or even “Oh my God, I love you! You’re awesome!” I mean, it’s all this stuff that you’d expect if you played guitar, not if you sit at a computer. Of course, you write back, and if you’re lucky they might even have a blog themselves or some pictures. A lot of times, if a girl writes me and she has a website and I like what she’s doing, then we can at least be friends. We can always be friends no matter who you are, but that’s how one thing leads to another. Hopefully, they’ll have a website and you can kind of see where they’re at. I’ve gotten in situations where we’ve seen each other on cams because they could still be lying about their website: “My sister is the ugly one, I’m really the one on this website.”

    I look at the Web with a bunch of cynicism, too – “Are you really this person? Are you a big, tall man?” What’s great about technology today is that you can verify who they are pretty fast. And they come over to the house and they’re naked, just like that. We laugh, but it’s true. A lot of people’s first dates are getting to know the other person. I’ve written three years of my story, and the last thing I want to do is go over those three years in an hour, or a month, or a whole bunch of dates. It’s so great to cut right to the chase, and if she also has a blog or a website or a collection of stories and poems, our first dates are usually awesome. “Wow, you really are who you say you are.” “Yes, you really are, too.” It makes for a great date.

    Have you found any lasting relationships this way?

    I suppose I‘ve had situations where I’m a fan of their site and they’re a fan of mine, but no real romantic ties from the blog per se. When I was doing my website, I did get a girlfriend for about a year off that, so I’ll give the credit to Dreamweaver and not Blogger on that one.

    Do you think people get an accurate image of other people this way?

    No. I think you can’t help but edit out all the bad parts of you. You try to throw in a little bit of that realism, and people get all pissed off: “How dare you be so mean to the President?!” “Well, I don’t really like him.” So, you try your best to keep it real, but in actuality you’re editing and they only see the best side of you, and I’m sure the reverse is true. But it’s a great start: You get to know what people like and what they don’t like, and you can figure that they’re not as perfect as they appear. But sometimes they’re more naked, so that’s nice.

    What’s in your book, How to Blog?

    It’s got some of the best posts I’ve written over the last two years – the funniest, more creative, craziest, obnoxious, rudest, vilest, stupidest, and hopefully most humorous stories. It includes some of the most popular posts, including the one that I wrote about how to blog.

    How did you self-publish your book?

    I saw that Cafepress.com was doing perfect-bound books, and because I had actually made a small commission from selling my T-shirts, I knew they were legit, and I knew they weren’t going to hold onto my money until I made $1,000 or something ridiculous. I was like, “What the heck!” It doesn’t cost anything – they don’t charge you any set-up fee. What you do, basically, is: You have a Word document, you turn it into a PDF, you make a cover, a spine, and a back through Photoshop, and you upload all four of those things and you’ve got a book. They price it by page, which is reasonable, and you advertise it. If you never want to buy a book, it doesn’t cost you a dime. If you want to buy a book, they charge you cost; if you want to buy 15 books or more, they give you a break on the cost. So it’s a very affordable way for people to make a limited run of their books, or to just have their book on their shelf. In this case, it’s a great way for me to not have to beg publishers to understand what I’m trying to do, and again avoid the middle man and go directly to the people who read it every day.

    One other thing I’d like to say about Cafepress.com is it’s really flexible. If you see a glaring mistake in the middle of your text, you can go ahead and change the Word file, re-PDF it, and send it right back up there and voila – you’ve got a better version. In the old days, you had to order a 100, 500, or 1,000 books and you were stuck. If you wanted to go back on what you had to say, you were kind of screwed and you had to eat all those books. Because they publish on the fly like that, it’s phenomenal.

    today is the last day to get How To Blog shipped via ground to arrive by Christmas