Sunday, March 10, 2013

Box Office Blitz: Week 9 Results

If you haven't yet, make sure to read yesterday's Big Announcement!  Anyway, let's see what we've got for Week 9's Box Office Blitz results.

The Top 3 this weekend were:
  1. Oz the Great & Powerful $80M (bloody hell!)
  2. Jack the Giant Slayer $10M
  3. Identity Thief $6M
My picks were:
  • Oz the Great & Powerful $35M
  • Identity Thief $13M
  • Jack the Giant Slayer $10M
I mixed up 2 and 3, so I get 200 points.

Rusty Webb picked:
1: Oz - $36 mil
2: Jack the Giant Slayer - $16 mil
3: Dead Man Down - $14 mil

He gets 100 each for 1 and 2 so 200 points also.

Andrew Leon picked:
1. Oz the Great and Powerful -- $55m
2. Jack the Giant Slayer -- $12m
3. Identity Thief -- $9m

A trifecta for him!  300 points.

Briane Pagel picked:
1. Dead Man Down $25 mil
2. Oz $20 mil
3. 21 And Over $10 mil

Just 50 points for Oz.

Maurice Mitchell picked:
Oz the Great & Powerful $30M
Identity Thief $10M
Dead Man Down $8M

That's 100 for Oz and 50 for Identity Thief, so 150 total.

Tony Laplume picked:
1. Oz the Great and Powerful ($70 mil)
2. Jack the Giant Slayer ($13 mil)
3. Identity Thief ($7 mil)

Also a trifecta!  300 points for him.  And since he was closer than Andrew to Oz's $80M take, he wins the 500 point bonus.

For the 100 point bonus I asked whether Oz would make more than John Carter's paltry $30M and boy did it ever!  Andrew and Rusty were the only ones eligible.  By coin flip Rusty gets the 100 points.

The standings remain the same as last week:

Box Office Blitz


9 Total
Tony Laplume 800 4000
Andrew Leon 300 2850
PT Dilloway 200 2650
Rusty Carl 300 2100
Maurice Mitchell 150 950
Briane Pagel 50 750
Stephen Hayes 0 700
Michael Offutt 0 600
Donna Hole 0 200
David P King 0 200

1800 15000


  1. First of all, yay me for not dropping out of the competition and thereby clinging to a precarious fifth-or-so place.

    Second of all, this comment is more about the post below it, which I only just read, but I am surprised, and dismayed.

    It's not up to me to tell you what to do or what not to do, but I'm going to just say what I think anyway.

    YOU ARE A GREAT WRITER. Seriously. I've enjoyed everything I've ever read of yours, which puts you ahead of Jonathan Franzen, at the least -- he's batting 50%.

    So you're going to stop writing (which you are good at, and profess to enjoy) because you haven't sold many books? There are so many, many reasons why that seems wrong to me.

    First off, what of the people who like what you write?

    Secondly, I'm not sure that you are marketing the way you think you are.

    Thirdly, do you write for a living or write because you like it?

    Let me take each in turn.

    I mentioned the other day on Andrew's blog that one of the things that I really enjoyed when I first started putting stories on the web was when people would actually comment on them, good or bad. They were mostly good, as it turns out, but either way, I simply enjoyed the fact that people were reading them.

    YES, I WOULD LOVE TO MAKE A LIVING DOING ONLY WRITING. In my dreams, I have a house in Hawaii and every day I go to a little office I keep nearby just for that purpose, and I write from 8-12, and then I go get Mr F and Mr Bunches and we do something fun, and also I'm a millionaire, and once a year I get to go get a Pulitzer or maybe accept the Academy Award for "Best Adapted Screenplay." Sometimes when I'm driving I imagine being interviewed by Katie Couric about my bestselling book.

    But that's not why I write. That would be a nice side effect, but I write because I like to write and find it fun.

    And because I LOVE IT when people say "Wow, that was a good story/poem/whatever it was." When you said the other day I did a good job with aardvark and komodo dragon, that was KIND OF A BIG DEAL FOR ME. I liked it. And I didn't get paid for that story, which took me a week to write.

    So if you imagine that you're not reaching people, YOU ARE. There are people (me, probably others) who like your writing a lot and recommend it to people. If you stop writing, we stop getting Scarlet Knight stories and rants about Christmas music. (Assuming you stop blogging.) You may not have 1,000,000 readers, but you have some and those people like your stories.

    Secondly, you say you are marketing your stories, but I'm not sure you're pushing them the way other authors push theirs. I know you do blog tours, or did, but you don't aggressively push your books the way publishers aggressively push theirs. Or if you do, I miss it. I follow you on Twitter, and don't see you mentioning the book(s) all that much.

    Books don't sell themselves. YOU sell them. And you're smart at marketing. I actually follow your advice, advice you gave a long time ago: "Be the funniest/smartest/etc-est person in the room," you said once, as a way of marketing, and I try to do that -- when I leave comments on blogs, I work really really hard to make sure the comment is worth reading, so that the blog author and anyone who reads comments might think that I'm worth checking out.

  2. Moreover, I try to make my blogs interesting, based on that principal, too, and you've done that from time to time, but to be honest, a lot of your posts are about writing. While you know a LOT about writing, and I benefit from it, think who you're marketing too: other writers. All these writers going around reading each other's blogs and talking about writing and talking about how they're editing, and some of them (you, Andrew, Rusty, Michael) are more interesting than others, and can write well about writing, but you're writing FOR WRITERS.

    As I mentioned a while back, you want to write FOR READERS. Think about writers whose blogs you read, if you do. (I don't, much). Or think about what you read, period -- why do you read it, and what makes you go read something and then check out more by that guy?

    When I think of my favorite writers -- Neil Gaiman, David Sedaris spring to mind -- I have no idea what they think of writing or how they write or why they write or whether they give a $(#&$ about editing. I do know I read Gaiman's blog a while back and he talked about finding a role of film from a while back on his Lomo camera and posted pictures of his dogs that he took with the Lomo. I liked that, a lot.

    I don't read Neil Gaiman because he knows how to write. I read Neil Gaiman because he's fun to read.

    So maybe you could market your book better by getting more people to read your blog that aren't writers. The best stuff you write, the absolute best blog stuff, is when you talk about things like how you'd fix the Academy Awards, or Christmas songs or when you did "Everyday heroes," and talked about that choking incident.

    Those were great to read, and I'd rather read those than tips on writing, even when the tips on writing are well done. And if you choose to write about those, then maybe you'll draw more people who don't care much about the art of writing but who DO want to read entertaining things.

    Just a thought. Like I said, you know a lot about writing and write about it well, but when you turn your attention to writing about other stuff, it's even more entertaining.

    Finally, do you write for a living or write because you like it? Maybe quitting isn't a bad idea, if you're tired of writing and want to go do something else. Freakonomics talked about the benefits of quitting, and if writing is keeping you from trying something else you want to do, then by all means, go do that other thing because maybe you'll be the best darn harmonica player in Michigan or whatever, but if you like writing, why quit?

    I have a friend, Ross Bigley -- he's "Dirty Job Films," and he makes indie films and has for over 20 years. Ross has never had a major hit, yet, although he did get a distribution deal for one of his pictures and got to film with Bai Ling, and I'm sure he'd love a big hit, but whether or not he gets one, Ross keeps making films, and making excellent films, at that. He's got a crowdfunding thing going now for a new one, one I was briefly involved in helping writing but he took it in a different direction.

    Anyway, Ross hasn't quit making films. He's expanded. He makes films and runs the Milwaukee Film Festival, and he teaches a class on films and he does this all while working other jobs, and I am SUPERIMPRESSED by that. I don't do enough to help him out, but even with that, I am impressed, because he has talent and he uses it, even if he doesn't make millions.

    You do, too: you have a lot of talent. "Time Enough" was one of those rare books I would look forward to reading. I'm looking forward to the rest of them.

    Do you have any idea how few people get tons and tons of readers? Name all the books you know for sure were published in 2010. I'll wait.


  3. 328,259, according to UNESCO. 328,000+ books published in 2010 alone. That's nearly 1,000 books A DAY. How many of those authors can you name? How many do you think sold even a reasonable number of books?

    It's the same thing for bands and directors and singers and dancers and actors. Only a few make a living at it, and even fewer make a decent living at it. The lead singer of Titus Andronicus, who wrote one of my favorite songs ever, sleeps on his parent's couch. You probably can't even name the song. (It's "A More Perfect Union.")

    Yeah, it sucks to go into work every day, even for me and I'm my own boss and rarely am in the office for a full week. Who wouldn't rather be an author, writing for a while and then doing... nothing? Something? Who knows? I'm not one of them.

    But you should do something because you love it. If you like to write, write. Don't worry if people buy your books. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Maybe you'll be the writing equivalent of a garage band all your life, but you'll have those dedicated fans who will show up at every show at the corner bar, and isn't that enough?

    When I finish writing something I like, I can't stop looking at it. I wrote that poem the other day, "What Is Poetry?" and I went and read it 15 times, including at 11 o'clock at night when I couldn't sleep. I got up and went downstairs and logged on and read MY OWN POEM THAT I'D WRITTEN HOURS BEFORE.

    Because I loved what I wrote so much.

    As far as I know, only Andrew and I read that poem. But I didn't write it for fame and glory and money. I wrote it because I had a poem bouncing around in my head and it had to get out and I wanted it out. And so I wrote it down and like almost everything else I write, I loved it even if nobody else ever reads it.

    Isn't it like that for you? Don't you just love writing? If you do, then write. If you don't, then do what you love.

    And if you're still looking for fame and fortune -- "Fortune and glory," isn't that what Indy and Short Round wanted? -- then NOT writing won't get you there. Writing might. Maybe you'll be "John Dies At The End" or Diablo Cody or "Wool" or that guy who wrote some fanfic on Reddit about a US battalion taking on Roman Centurions and got a movie script out of it. Maybe you'll be Stephanie Meyers.

    Or maybe you'll be PT Dilloway. Note I didn't say "just." Because that's not bad, either. You can only be discovered if there's something to discovery, but as Rusty I think it was the other day noted, or maybe Michael, there's so few people who can even put together a story as a complete book. You're ahead of them, and that's saying something.

    Also: your family doesn't read 'em? So what? Mine doesn't, either. Middle Daughter read one book. Sweetie reads them if I ask her too, and checks out "Thinking The Lions," but so what? If I write something they like, they'll read it, but I'm not writing for them. I'm writing for ME.

    I'm tired and it's late and I haven't been feeling well, so I hope I didn't say anything to offend you.

    In the end, only you can decide why you write, and what you write, and whether you write. But it'd be a damn shame if you stopped writing, altogether. I hope you don't.

    1. Over 328,000 books 3 years ago means the world needs another mediocre author like it needs another Harlem Shake video.

  4. I was going to say something about being out of touch with the movie going public but after Briane's comments... well, it seems a bit like the wrong forum.

    Well said, Briane - I think it was Michael who said that about finishing a book.

  5. If I were to add anything to what Briane was saying, if anything you should write more of the entertaining stuff that was the best material in We Are Now, the really fun stuff, where the Grumpy Bulldog really comes out. I'd argue that this blog is a constant advertisement for the Scarlet Knight, but that you maybe talk more about what you love about it than what other people might enjoy. Create a little distance. You write a lot, and maybe it's just habit and maybe you do it to expand your chances at success, but a little more concentration wouldn't be a bad thing. You've got a thousand books, as many different names, and you're basically a brand. If anything, you're at the beginning of anyone else really catching up with you. You're way ahead of the Dilloway curve. Sometimes it's okay to slow down a little. It doesn't mean you have to walk away completely.



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