Latest Spam no.4

There’s been quite a lot of spam recently in response to The Agent’s Cipher blog post, but that is now closed to comments, so those adverts for American football shirts will be coming your way soon.

Today, I received a very nice comment from a man called Xoy Chaopi, who might be Aztec, I’m not sure. Anyway, here’s my line by line response.

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Match of the Day v Kick Off

If you don’t like football, switch off now. This is a 100% footie post, with a difference. It’s not about football itself, but a television phenomenon that may outlast the pyramids.

Saturday nights in the 1970s had a certain pattern to it: The Generation Game, Starskie and Hutch, and the evening finished off in the smokey company of Parkinson. Sandwiched between Huggy Bear and Michael Parkinson being attacked by a puppet emu was Match of the Day.

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Latest Spam no.2

Another lonely communication between the nether regions of the internet.

And continuing my generosity in helping the sad and confused (kindred spirits) I’m sharing another message in the hope that some of you might find sympathy and empathy with our less fortunate cousins.

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Airfix isn’t the only company that makes construction kits, but like Hoover and Biro, the name means the same thing. Before robots took over the world Airfix kits were the go-to hobby for millions of kids.

You could build anything with an Airfix kit (although a lot of the stuff I’ll describe in this post could have been produced by someone else such as Revelle or Tamiya.) Yes, anything: aeroplanes, ships, space ships, cars, bikes, tanks. . . . Between 1972 and 1992 I probably made them all.

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Latest Spam no.1

I often read posts and articles about people who are inundated with spam, bothered by scamsters and what have you. Unfortunately for me, the TotenUniverse is such a lonely place even the spammers don’t come by very often.

But occasionally one gets through, like today, so instead of hitting the delete button I thought I’d share the message of this other lonely tosser trying to make a buck (or earn a few quid as the Americans say).

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Ads and Adblockers

I was in a shop recently, a real bricks-and-mortar high street shop. I bought a magazine and the shopkeeper said “no, it’s free.” Free? He pointed to the walls of his shop, floor to ceiling advertisements.

“Everything in the shop is free. My income comes from the adverts.”

“Good for you,” I said before realising the doors were locked. “I can’t get out.”

“No,” said the shopkeeper. “You can only go when you’ve looked at all the adverts.”

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4 Absolutely Sure Fire Ways of Making Money Online Guaranteed

A quick blog, knocked out in ten minutes. The reason for the speed is because I’m practicing writing for a living. Yes, I know I’m already a professional published author (2015 income was in triple figures: $4.22) But there are more ways to skin a cat.

In the great tradition of blogging, I need to pander to those short of time, with narrow attention spans, and that don’t recognise letters unless there’s a number or a bullet point in front of them. For you, and other normal people here are three to four guaranteed ways to earn money by writing stuff* online.

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What Is Going On At The Kindle Store?

I’ve learned that keywords for books uploaded to Kindle don’t have to be single words, the phrases vampire mystery, paranormal suspense would be counted as two keywords by the system if they’re separated by a comma, so with this in mind I’ve set about changing my keywords.

I’ve also been using a technique which involves typing keywords and phrases into the Kindle Store search box to find  sub-categories with fewer books in them. (Fewer books, but falling under popular keyword phrases.) However, I’ve discovered something that may or may not be, let’s say . . . not quite cricket!

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The Bridge

There was a time when Sweden’s reputation centred around Abba’s spangliness and Volvo’s lumpen reliability. And then a darkness befell the nation from which we ultimately tripped over The Bridge.

To those who aren’t interested in trivia, when the Øresund Bridge was built, connecting Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden, it was the first time human beings had travelled ‘overland’ between the two countries since the Ice Age. If the photography in The Bridge is anything to go by the Ice Age never went away.

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Query letter sample

I don’t normally do this, get all self-indulgent with post after post about my work, but I had an idea today which I really need to pass by someone. I’m sitting in a cafe wracking my brains to come up with a query letter to literary agents and can’t get beyond the boring standard method of approach. You know the old routine: ‘I’m looking for representation and I saw your website and read about how you’re looking for a fresh voice and strong storytelling…’

Bearing in mind the fact that literary agents might not actually read beyond the first line of a query letter I had a moment of brilliance/madness (delete after you’ve read this post) and I’d like an independent opinion. Without saying any more this is what I thought of using as my query letter: (Let’s assume the agent’s name is Jane Smith.)

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Some people write in silence. I’m writing this post listening to the bawdy racket that is Unheilig. There is noise and there is noise. Noise we can hear and noise we can ignore. Noise is a weird thing in that it can be deafening and unheard or quiet and infuriating.

I’m suffering from a third type of noise at the moment: a combination of deafening and infuriating and try as I might, I can’t find where the noise is coming from. All I know is that the noise emanates from somewhere near the rear wheel of my car. Continue reading

I Don’t Know What To Say.

Check out any site by or about literary agents and one thing you’ll be told is to include a bit about yourself in the query letter. This is the paragraph where you astound the agent by telling them about the competitions you’ve won, the articles printed in the New York Times; and how you met your MP husband/wife.

Some of us haven’t achieved any of that, and some of us (about 0.3% of the population) have never done anything. That part of the paper where the biography is supposed to sit is so blank you can see the watermark.

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