It can't be free again for like 3 months, so act now! Operators are not standing by! (Because this is the 21st Century and we have this newfangled Internet thingy)
And if you like it, June 16-22 the second "collection" Volume 2: The Wrath of Isis will be on sale for 99 cents as my first ever use of the new "Kindle Countdown Deals" thing. That's 2,000 pages of superhero action for only 99 cents! Of course right now it's only $2.99, which really isn't that much more expensive, but I know how much people hate paying for books.
And now the rest of the entry...
This is in part another review of a movie I watched about a month ago. "The Wolf of Wall Street" was pretty much what I thought it was: Martin Scorcese's version of "Wall Street." It never really rises above the cliche Every Wall Street Movie Ever plot of young guy with big dreams goes to Wall Street, makes a lot of money, does a lot of blow/hookers, and then his empire crumbles. Except in this case Jordan Belmont (Leo DiCaprio) only made his fortune on his second tour on Wall Street. His first ended on Black Monday in 1987.
Then he went to Long Island to a little hole-in-the-wall company selling penny stocks. I'm sure Michael Offutt could define those better but they essentially are stocks too worthless to be listed on any exchange because they are worth literally pennies per share. Idiots buy into these thinking they'll get rich. It's like going to a racetrack and betting on the 100-to-1 shot.
Jordan seals his interview by grabbing the phone, calling some random schmuck, and then getting him to buy $4000 worth of a crappy stock called Aerotyne, which was literally operating out of a garage. Then he recruits some buddies and they buy an old garage and start their own penny stock operation, which becomes a huge Wall Street firm.
Early on Jordan gives all his guys a script. First they call the schmuck and start out blatantly lying about some great company that is of course worthless. This is something I remember Tuesday Morning Quarterback on ESPN talking about a lot, how people love to think they're getting privileged information, that someone has a "secret" that will make them a fortune. It's why so many people signed up with Bernie Madoff and the like. Then to cinch the deal Jordan has his guys buddy up to the schmuck saying how they're going to make sure the stock does well because it's their neck on the line too. In the large part the idea is to act like they care what happens because they're an ordinary schmuck too. (Meanwhile their buddies are laughing their asses off in the background.)
The other prong of Jordan's attack is to rebrand his company. He renames it Stratford something or other and uses a symbol of a lion and moves the company into Manhattan. This is supposed to make people feel the company is legit, because no firm with a lion for a symbol would be some fly-by-night operation, right?
At the end, after Jordan has spent a paltry 3 years in a country club prison, he goes to New Zealand to give a seminar to would-be salespeople. His intro is to challenge them to sell him his pen. Earlier he plays this game with his buddies. One takes the pen and asks someone to write his name on a napkin, to which the guy is like, "I don't have a pen." Well there you go. Supply and demand, right?
For many people writing a book is easy; selling it is hard. Like the other salespeople in Long Island or those at Jordan's seminars most of us are pretty clueless about how to sell our books. We could all learn something from his tactics, no matter how sleazy they might seem:
- Confidence! If you don't believe, why should anyone else?
- Don't be afraid to lie. You're a writer; you should be good at making stuff up.
- Know who you're selling to. Hopefully that's more than your friends and family.
- Dress for Success: Make sure your books and website look as professional as you can make them. Which I try to do with my website here
A good trick you can use that I learned from my "publisher": if your book was on an Amazon best seller list in the UK or another country for a couple of hours, you can declare yourself an "International Best Selling Author" on your book covers. It's not really a lie, is it? I was on a best seller list in the UK for a few hours! Just last night a book under one of my pen names was beating those by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, and Edgar Allen Poe on the short stories bestseller list in the UK. So there. You might feel squeamish about it, but that's why most authors are so terrible at selling; you have to be willing to exaggerate and to go out there and toot your own horn if you want to really become a best selling author.
To get back to the movie, I can't really recommend it as at nearly 3 hours it's well over an hour too long. Did Scorsese even have an editor on staff? Yeesh. And as I said it doesn't really rise above the cliche. Andrew Leon said he didn't know what the movie was about; I think in the big picture it's supposed to evoke the Occupy Wall Street frustration. Jordan lies, cheats, and swindles a lot of people and yet he only does 3 years of time. This point is made by the FBI agent who worked for years and years to bust Jordan and then has to ride home on a grungy subway while Jordan gets out after his 3 years and starts making money again from his seminars. But that point certainly didn't need 3 hours to make.