My Theory on Conspiracy Theories

Who loves a good conspiracy theory? I know I do. In the wake of the #EpsteinSuicide, it seems all manner of conspiracy theorists have weighed in on what might have really happened. And hey, I’m one of them. Which is why I wrote this piece. What makes us gravitate towards stories that don’t have all the facts yet? Here are some of my thoughts on this phenomenon.

The Writer’s Lens E59: The Exalting and Glorifying of Ideas

After a couple weeks’ break, we’re back to finish this small series on Exploring, Exposing, and now, Exalting Ideas. What does it look like when an idea is glorified? And how might we be more cognizant of the ideas we are ingesting?

This one got a little ranty, but that comes with the territory.

Forget Generation X, Y, or Z – This is Generation DC (DisConnected)

When a senseless tragedy occurs, it’s no simple feat wrapping one’s head around it. Finding proper blame is a high priority. But what can be worse is the lack of compassion we see in the wake of such horrible things.

With innovations like Google, the Internet, and social media dominating free time once allocated for climbing trees or grilling out with a neighbor, has our culture collapsed into complete and utter disconnectedness?

The Case of Jeffrey Epstein and a Lesson in Temptation

Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes are despicable. But what else needs to be discussed in the wake of his arrest?

My latest article talks about temptation and how none of us are immune to its hooks.

Narrative Wars: 09: “Why Is It So Hard To Change People’s Minds?”

Ever have a conversation where you couldn’t convince the other party of something? You have all the facts. You have all the information. But for whatever the reason, the other person just won’t see things from your perspective.

Never? Yeah, me neither (insert sarcasm).

Changing someone’s mind is hard. We aren’t really as open as we’d like to think (cruel irony there, is it not?). New ideas can rock our worldview. And it can make for some rather uncomfortable situations if we’re discussing them openly with another who thinks differently than us.

From a writer’s perspective, storytelling – effective storytelling – is a powerful means by which to change the course of someone’s mindset. A great story can make someone aware of something he never knew or even cause him to consider making a 180 on his own thinking.

This episode of the #NarrativeWars is a deep dive so be sure to stick with me till the end.

Every Person Has a Goliath, But How Do We Conquer It?

We all have fears. Some of which feel overwhelming when we confront them. You might even say they are “giant-sized”.

The tale of David and Goliath chronicles how a young boy overcame insurmountable odds – a literal giant. A soldier who towered above the rest. It’s heralded as one of the greatest underdog stories of all time. But I’m willing to contend that it’s not. My latest piece takes a deeper dive into the dynamics of David and Goliath and how David may have bested his opponent without simply luck on his side.

The Minimizing of Sin, the Maximizing of the Autonomous Self

Here’s my most recent article discussing a topic I have been especially challenged by as of late. Not by a belief in God, but by the ramifications for not taking sin seriously.

The Writer’s Lens E58: Can Telling A Story Expose Something?

In my last episode, I talked about exploring ideas in story. In this one, we’ll talk about how stories can bring to light something that might be wrong. Whether it be from a personal, subjective experience, or from a seemingly large scale issue.

And I also give some insight into what I used to binge on when I was a poor college student.

The Joy of a Husband When His Wife Gives Birth

There’s a lot that husbands and new dads go through when a baby arrives. It’s easy to look at what lies ahead and feel overwhelmed, even ill-equipped. Your wife or the mother of your child has done the bulk of the heavy lifting while you have been twiddling your thumbs. But you don’t have to keep twiddling those thumbs. There’s real joy to be had for the father who invests. This article is an attempt to talk through that narrative and begin that discussion.

Link:here

Amazon’s Amazing Deals Are Affecting…Amazon?

I’ve been self-publishing material through Amazon for a few years. I didn’t start out that way. I was originally working with a publishing house out of Indiana before I decided to part ways with them. They put me through several channels, including Amazon, as it was the fastest-growing distributor on the Internet. At that time of my departure, I made a jump to CreateSpace’s platform. They had an intuitive program for self-publishing and I enjoyed the freedom. But then CreateSpace was reabsorbed by…well, Amazon. The entire program was taken into Amazon’s publishing platform and I, along with likely thousands of other authors, was taken up along with it.

You can probably discern the pattern by now. If you’re in the business of building a platform – as a writer – it’s difficult to avoid the goliath that is Amazon. Jeff Bezos’ company is the biggest online retailer in the United States. It’s a multi-billion dollar agency. Its reach far exceeds that of its closet competitors and every aspiring author, like myself, knows it.

That’s why so many writers inevitably find themselves within Amazon’s premier marketplace. The allure of Amazon is its possibility of overnight success. Newbies to the industry are probably thinking just that. If I can get on Amazon, then I increase my chances of selling more books. All I have to do is publish through them and get some reviews to boost the algorithm. No sweat….

There’s nothing wrong with that sort of thinking. I’ve thought it. I still do, to some extent. And if I’m thinking like that, then I know others are doing the same. Namely, those looking to take advantage of people like myself.

Recently, Amazon came under fire for selling counterfeit copies of a book through its online marketplace. An author was notified by one of its readers how there were several typos present. The situation cost the author close to $240k in possible revenue – a massive hit – but avoidable, nonetheless. Why could something like this even occur? David Streitfeld of The New York Times sums up the situation quite well:

“The company (Amazon) sells substantially more than half of the books in the United States, including new and used physical volumes as well as digital and audio formats. Amazon is also a platform for third-party sellers, a publisher, a printer, a self-publisher, a review hub, a textbook supplier and a distributor that now runs its own chain of brick-and-mortar stores.” 

One can see the ripple effect. When you’re that big and you can do that much, it’s hard to keep tabs on everything. To Amazon’s credit, they’ve tried to address this issue, including the claims of Mr. Streitfeld. But this isn’t the first time it’s happened. In fact, it keeps happening; a reality which raises the concern as to whether Amazon will need to take further action as 2019 rolls onward.

Either way, this situation showcases one of the dangers associated with becoming such a big distributor. For the ones looking for a personal touch and a steep attention to detail – aka the aspiring author – Amazon may lose potential clients. Though many will still look to garner reviews from the tech giant, there’s no guarantee new authors will flock to Amazon for their publishing needs. Time will tell, of course. If Amazon can crack down on these problems and assure its customer base these mishaps won’t happen (at least not regularly) then that will only encourage more up-and-comers to sign with Amazon.

As for me, I like to keep my ear to the ground. Amazon does have a massive reach. Amazon does bolster an intuitive platform. And if I’m honest, I’m not really sold on other made-to-order publishers just yet. But that doesn’t mean I can’t shop around in the meantime. There’s still traditional publishing, among other alternatives for a writer with a platform. Amazon isn’t the only player in the game.

And yes, I am aware how one could say, ‘at least for now, there are options’. But I’d prefer not to end on such a morbid note. There are other online sellers like Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million providing similar publishing services. So the biggest question is not whether Amazon will rule the world, but if buyers and authors will continue to choose the Amazonian giant down the line. Can Amazon overcome its surplus of “good problems” so as to become more streamlined and author / reader friendly?

Well, that story is still an unfolding one. Happy Amazon Prime Day, everyone.