Tag Archive | Amazon

The gleeful mispronunciations of Run For the Cube

Since late last year, I’ve been working as a reporter for Rivet News Radio. As I work each morning to write and produce news stories, it’s critical that I pronounce every name, country and concept correctly. That frequently leads me to do a little online research.

A few months ago, I wanted to be certain I was correctly pronouncing the name of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. A quick Google search led me to a bunch of results, and the first video link on the page was this “pronouncer.”

It was wildly and intentionally wrong (the video’s incorrect pronunciation: Jeef BEE zohs; correct pronunciation: Jeff BAY zohs). I laughed my ass off and played it again. Then once more. And then I brought my co-workers in the studio to listen with me.

Fascinated, we started listening to other videos done by the creator, Run for the Cube. They were all completely insane. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with the Run for the Cube’s “work,” such as it is. Besides pronouncing well-known names, he does on-demand pronunciations for five bucks a pop. I shelled out the cash to have two co-workers immortalized. Here, for your amusement, are Rob La Frentz and Chris Mezyk.  (Rob returned the favor last week. Here’s my name mispronounced.)

Most recently, I’ve discovered that Run for the Cube has branched out to recording twisted, uncomfortable, “I’m not sure I should be watching this” product reviews. This one manages to be unsettling without doing anything certifiably inappropriate.

I needed to learn more about the Oz behind the curtain. I recently tracked down the man behind Run For the Cube and asked him for an interview. His response was the second best thing to actually getting the interview: he politely passed, and said he likes to use the free time he has to focus on his “craft,” and chooses to let his work speak for itself.





The Self-Publishing Chronicles Part Eleven: CreateSpace’s Customer Service Fail, Errata, and More

Now that I’ve officially released the book, I’m racing to tie up loose ends and move forward:

I’m still waiting for CreateSpace/Kindle to finish formatting the book for Kindle release.  I got this message from CreateSpace/Kindle on 5/19:

Within 3 to 5 business days, we will send you a message that we’re ready for you to provide an ISBN or select a free CreateSpace ISBN for the Kindle version of this title. In order for us to move forward with the creation of your Kindle-Ready files, this step must be completed through your CreateSpace Member Account. If you choose to provide your own ISBN, keep in mind that it cannot be the same ISBN that you used for your paperback book.

Once you provide an ISBN, we will proceed with the creation of your files. This service will be completed within three to four weeks, at which point you will receive your Kindle-Ready files.

3-4 weeks after 3-5 business days? My expectations were shaped by their website ad, which quoted “typical turnaround time” at 2-3 weeks. Check it out:

Please review my book on Amazon!

I’m extremely self-conscious about my self-published authorial debut. So much so, that I’ve started a running list of mistakes.

Thanks for that. You deserve a reward.

Here’s a top-secret code, good for $5 off: L2BWTZ7T Use it before Wednesday with this link.

My book is now available!

I really tried to stick to my initial plan of a June 7 release date so that the paperback edition and Kindle version would be available at the same time.

As of today, the Kindle conversion is moving slowly and word of my book’s availability has been leaking, so…I’m officially saying that Off the Record Collection: Riffs, Rants, and Writings about Rock is a real thing.

Here’s where you can find it:

CreateSpace (an Amazon company) (get $3 off the cover price with discount code DF5K8AAD)


Kindle (coming very soon for a very reasonable price)

If it moves you, please leave a review on Amazon. You can say mean stuff in the review, but do know that such behavior erodes the soul.

To celebrate the book’s release, I’m inviting friends and family to join me at Challengers Comics (1845 N. Western) for a cocktail/beer/reception/signing on Friday, June 24, from 7-10pm. More on that in the weeks to come.

I was interviewed about my book on Haaf-Onion’s site. Read it here.

What’s Off the Record Collection about? Here’s an excerpt from the “official” description:

Off the Record Collection compiles Chicago media personality/author James VanOsdol’s writings about rock and roll in its myriad forms, with special attention paid to classic rock, alt rock, and the dynamic Chicago music scene.

As an active member of the blogging community since 2004, VanOsdol’s turned in a wealth of material about the music he loves, loathes, and simply can’t understand the appeal of.

Included in Off the Record Collection are old blog entries put into contemporary context, never-before-seen material, and content created exclusively for this book’s release.

It’s important to mention/reiterate that this is a completely self-published work. As a result, you may find some errors within. Even though I used the book’s intro to apologize in advance for possible mistakes, I felt the need to acknowledge discovered mistakes in their own post:




What does it take to move up 60,000 in ranking on Amazon?

Sell four copies.

Since yesterday, I’ve sold four copies of Off the Record Collection, resulting in a dramatic rank jump from 86,235 to 25,322.  I can’t imagine what will happen once I sell 10 more!


Amazon sales for my bathroom book

Off the Record Collection hasn’t even been properly released and marketed yet, but check out the image below to see how it’s already taking off!

My wife read through Off the Record Collection last night and payed it the highest compliment: “this is the type of book you usually like to leave in the the bathroom.” It’s true. I love having books like this at an arm’s length when I’m engaged in deep thought.  I encourage you to buy a copy and leave it close to the throne.

In other book news, the Kindle conversion may be finished in time for the 6/7/11 release date, which would be swell.


Now available, release schedule be damned.

The Self-Publishing Chronicles Part Ten: It’s out, kinda.

As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I made the decision to surrender control of Kindle formatting to Kindle’s publishing services. Their solicit says that conversion usually takes 2-3 weeks, though after committing to the process and having my credit card charged, Team Kindle let me know that I’m looking at something closer to five weeks.

This has completely thrown off my plan to simultaneously launch the paperback and Kindle versions on June 7. As a result, I’ve been wondering whether I should push the official launch back or do separate releases.

The tricky thing is that the book is now technically available, though I’ve made no public announcement of that fact.  A formal public push and marketing effort will come in June, but visitors to my site deserve an early heads-up. With that, let’s just consider this blog post a “soft release” of the paperback version. Kindle will have to wait.

You can knock $3 off the obscene cover price with a limited-time (this weekend only) discount code on CreateSpace:

The link
The code: RWNDPPKH

CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, but I’m not entirely sure if your Amazon login will work on the site. Let me know if that is/isn’t the case.

If Amazon is more in your comfort zone, you can pay full price here.

Off we go…

Dear iPad, I love you.

Last November, I had one of those milestone birthdays that’s not so much celebrated as it is dutifully acknowledged.  My family was kind enough to honor the occasion with the most thoughtful gift of all: Cash.

I immediately socked the birthday money away, budgeting it for the then-rumored-to-be-forthcoming iPad (which, back then was expected to be known as the iSlate).  I’d long been fantasizing about an all-in-one iPod/book reader/comic book reader/magazine reader/video player/PDA.  It would change the way I travel.  It would change the way I exist.  The promise of this technology supersolution was strong enough to keep me from pissing away the money on passing distractions, or on crazy things like food, clothing for the kids, and utility bills.

My reason for sharing all this information is that I felt it important to make clear right from the start that, yes, the iPad is really expensive.  And by “really expensive,” I mean “REALLY EXPENSIVE.”

I bought the 64 GB 3G model the day it came out, along with a Mobile Me account, wireless keyboard, and protective case.  The grand total for all that?  Well, let’s just say that I didn’t take anything out of the box for a few hours. I spent that time trying to rationalize why I shouldn’t just return it all the following morning.

After hours of internal conflict, I gave in to my base instincts.  I’d been thinking about the iPad for months.  I wanted it.  I needed it.  And then, at around 10 p.m., I opened the box and never looked back since.  Not a shred of buyer’s remorse.  I yelped with excitement when I slid the iPad onto my hand.  Summer camp’s going to be tough to swing for the kids, but–hot damn!-now I can read Stephen King books, listen to Nick Cave albums, email my friends, watch “Land of the Dead” in HD, look through all my photos, manage my datebook, and read the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine…all on the same device.

I’ve read all the critiques of the iPad.  Each criticism worked really hard to find something to complain about.  To address a few:

-I don’t want a camera on my iPad.

-The inability to run multiple apps simultaneously is a non-issue for me.

-The keyboard is much easier to use than I’d expected, so much so that my wireless keyboard is near-unnecessary.

-I’d like Flash for Safari, but my websurfing won’t suffer without it.

Some of the iPad’s core functionality really shines:  The Calendar, Notes, and Contacts applications–all standard Apple stuff–feel much more essential on the iPad.  I’ll never enter another contact into my Blackberry. I’m also very close to ditching the old-school black day planner that I tote around everywhere.  And you can just forget the thought of seeing me scribble another note onto a pen-and-ink legal pad ever again.

Making the Calendar and Contacts more appealing is having a Mobile Me account.  Every change I make to my iPad is immediately reflected on my account “in the cloud.”  The opposite is also true; when I make a change to information via my Mobile Me account, that info is updated on my iPad.

A whole world of apps, some amazing, some much less so, is available through the App Store.  Here are some quick thoughts on those I’ve spent the most time with so far:

Marvel Comics. The comic reader is amazing, and the colors absolutely pop off the screen.  What’s missing, though, is depth.  The store has a meager selection of titles to choose from, which I assume will increase with time, and as more people warm to the technology.  My other complaint is with the pricing:  $1.99 for a digital comic seems too steep.  I’d love to see Marvel (and other existing and future comic apps) adapt a price structure similar to iTunes, in that a single issue would cost .99, and a collected storyline or “digital TPB” would run $9.99.

Zinio. The magazine app.  I wrote Zinio off when it was strictly web-only.  I thought the reading experience felt stiff and unnatural, if not altogether silly. The iPad changes all that; it’s the perfect platform for digital magazines.  The technology is excellent, and the experience is superior to holding a print magazine in your hands.  If I can go the rest of my life without another subscription card falling out of a magazine onto the floor, I’ll die a happy man.  There are a few free magazines to peruse (National Geographic, Car & Driver, Macworld), and that’s how they hook you.  If National Geographic was that enjoyable, I thought after reading it, imagine how amazing a magazine I actually enjoy would be…

Last night, I whipped out my credit card for a 12-month subscription to Spin for $5.  That’s how much it would cost for a single issue if I impulse-purchased it at an O’Hare Hudson News.  Now when I’m done reading a monthly issue, it doesn’t get left on my bedside table for a week or two before it gets chucked into the recycling bin.  Instead, it’s digitally archived for later reference. Or more simply, it’s out of the way, and not a bother.
While there are plenty of “big dogs” yet to come on to Zinio (hurry, Entertainment Weekly!), the available options are impressive.

Scrabble. The only app I paid for ($9.99), and well worth it.  I’ve played Scrabble for PC, iPod classic, and iPhone, and none have been as well-executed as the iPad app.  A variety of gameplay options,  bold, vivid, colors and a fun, clean interface are just some of the reasons this is my go-to pick for business and leisure travel time-killing.

Books. The iPad bookstore app is gorgeous, and iTunes-easy to use.  Unfortunately, similar to the Marvel app, the big drawback to the Apple app is its lack of depth.  I simply couldn’t find a lot of titles I wanted to read.  Because of that, I opted to download…

Kindle. The Amazon Kindle app offers access to the Kindle-friendly library of titles, which can be downloaded and read in the Kindle app.  The Kindle library is impressively deep, and I’ve found titles there to be cheaper than those on the Books app.

Beat the Traffic. Real-time traffic maps that illustrate where the trouble spots are, using your GPS location as ground zero.  An invaluable resource to commuters like me.