By now you all know about the new book. And yes, it's my fourth book in 13 months. We're a goddamn family now.
After three books they just slide right out.
I'm not a comics artist. I'm not a graphic novelist. What I've been doing here on my blog for the past four years, is creating little illustrated stories, like little picture-books. And now I've drawn on the picture-book format to create my first book on social media exclusively for grownups. Here it is: ELLO MONKEY: Reanimating Social Media.
It is totally free on Gumroad: choose PDF or MOBI. Just enter "0" in the price box and the credit card window will disappear.
Why Gumroads? I want to give you this book just as if I had posted the story on my blog. Of course, if you really want to support my work, you can always throw a dollar or two my way in the "0+" option. Twist my rubber arm you crazy motherfuckers!
ELLO MONKEY is also on Amazon, set at the lowest price possible. Man, those guys don't make it easy, but they do have visibility. So if you like (or hate) this book, please get your glutes on over to leave a short review and rate this sucker.
For the record, Gumroad was easy to set up and their support on Twitter is stellar. In the future, I'm going to deliver more of my stories as 'picture-books for grownups' and 'picture-books for children' of all ages.
The book will be launched this Sunday night/Monday. Here's the cover:
This is exciting. We've got permission from the Ello founders to use their logo, and some wonderful people will be providing blurbs.
There is a hitch with Amazon - those fuckers won't distribute a book for free *pouts* ...so I'm setting the book up on Gumroad for a 0+ (free) download of PDF and MOBI. It'll also be on Amazon though (for the lowest price possible) because we want the book to be found in search and theirs has range.
But the main link we're pushing will be the free one. And we're going to push it with a vengeance; honest reviews, ratings and shares on every channel will be most welcome.
I hope you're with me on this. Picture-books for grownups: it's a thing.
Depression is a funny thing. Which is to say that it's not funny at all. One moment you're fine and then next you're crushed. I call it "losing my ball". When I lose my ball I can wander in darkness for long months and even years. The cloying sadness is pervasive. Clouds hang over every waking moment.
Push it away, ignore it. It comes creeping back like a gollum, never far.
I feel like I want to die. Which is not quite the same as wanting to kill myself. And at the same time, I have a weird apathy about everything, like even dying is just too much trouble. Fixing myself is too much trouble. Caring is too much trouble.
I laugh at it...but it's bad. Loneliness closes in on me and yet I shut myself away.
If I try to tell people about it they always want to remind me of all my accomplishments in life. It really pisses me off. They're just trying to help but they don't get it.
"Come and visit me! We'll have fun."
"Have you tried exercise?"
"Just change your diet!"
"You can decide not to be depressed, you know."
I can't fall asleep and if I do sleep I cannot wake up. When I finally wake up, I hide under the blankets for as long as possible.
And then one day the darkness lifts. It is literally just like clouds evaporating and sunlight streaming in. I feel fine and strong.
My sun came out a few days ago and I found my ball. I have no idea why or for how long, but I'll take it.
I'm going over the top with tacky photos of my books surrounded by Christmas decorations. If all the shops can do it, why can't I? Amateur is the new Awesome!
I used to get down on myself for sucking.
But you know what? I've sold 17 books in the last 17 days: there are at least 17 people who will see my books on Christmas morning. That may sound pathetic to some but I think I'm doing pretty well for someone who is very bad at marketing.
Those 17 books would not have sold without the help and support of those who shared my books, did book reviews and blog posts and took the time to be generally encouraging and say nice things. I love you forever and back.
And I suppose I should give some love to my bad self for even drawing those books in the first place.
"Three books in one year, JC, on top of everything else that you do. Focus on those 17 people unwrapping your books on Christmas day and smile."
Frolic all day and late into the night on a brand new social media platform: Ello. Everything is magical and there's genuine engagement everywhere you turn. There's nothing like the kind of friends you make in the early adopter rumpus.
And then suddenly there is a shift in behaviour. I feel it. More circles are populating and intersecting. Ellozens who gain more than a certain number of followers and followees begin to interact differently. Some of us lose one another.
It's like a stretchmark on the ballooning Ellosphere.
Some of us begin to seek ways to stay together. Over a few short weeks, there is kinship, support, commitment, ...and love.
Beta is bittersweet in its innocence; it doesn't last forever. Like a child.
These graphics were inspired by the beta Ello experience, and may speak to the ever-changing social media community needs.