Archive for the 'Navel-Gazing' Category

Jan 05 2013

Some Brief Observations on Writing From a Marketer

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

  • If you’ve ever wondered why so many stores use bizarre prices rather than whole numbers (e.g. $9.99 rather than $10), check out my article on pricing psychology. (Short answer: the prices look cheaper, so customers are more likely to buy).
  • Ads with the word “you” or “your” are generally more likely to persuade readers to make a purchase. Personally, my ads with “you”/”your” are about 11% more persuasive. I’m not sure that people consciously notice these little personal touches, but they definitely have an effect. 
  • Some people read an ad and are wavering so close to making a purchase that even a little burst of enthusiasm might seal the deal. My ads with a single exclamation point are 6% more persuasive. Fortunately, nobody likes multiple exclamation points. I’d go crazy if I had to write like this!!!
  • I mainly write 2-line online ads for Google, so my perspective here may be biased. In my limited experience, customers are more receptive to an unsubstantiated claim (like “Great [products]”) than any sort of evidence to substantiate the claim.
  • The average customer actually does care about proofreading. My strongest recommendation for young writers would be to pay attention as closely as possible to spelling/punctuation/grammar in schoolespecially if you are thinking about possibly pursuing a full-time writing job.


2 responses so far

Aug 06 2012

I Got Published

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I’m working with Hyperink on an ebook of superhero movie reviews aimed at prospective writers and movie-makers. I’ll let you know more details as they become available. Thanks for your help, everybody!

49 responses so far

Jul 22 2012

Superhero Nation’s RSS Feed

Published by under Navel-Gazing,RSS Feeds

You can read and/or subscribe to Superhero Nation’s RSS feed at Feedburner. If any other services ask you for the feed URL, it’s available at . Please let me know if you have any questions.

No responses yet

Jun 20 2012

Nagoya Is Awesome… Besides the Typhoons

Published by under Navel-Gazing

In other news, I’ll be in Japan for the next 10 days or so. My access to a computer is limited, so updates will be sparse.

3 responses so far

May 24 2012

If You’re Interested in Superhero Writing Advice, Please Sign Up For My Email List

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I’m working on a proposal for a superhero writing guidebook, Don’t Forget the Death-Ray. If you might be interested in buying a copy when it comes out, please sign up for my email list here so that I can show publishers that there is demand.

No responses yet

Mar 24 2012

Please Donate

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I would appreciate if you would consider making a donation. Thanks.



16 responses so far

Jan 01 2012

2012 Resolutions and 2011 Summary

Published by under Navel-Gazing

My 2011 resolutions for SN:

  • Increase site traffic from 150,000 hits to 200,000 (around 25% growth).  I actually had about 219,000 (roughly 38% growth).   
  • Write at least 100 writing articles.  Including guest articles, we had about 105.
  • Get published.  Not yet!


My 2012 resolutions for SN:


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4 responses so far

Jul 18 2011

Rapid City interviewed me…

Published by under Interview,Navel-Gazing

I talked a little bit about my writing advice, amusing personal tidbits and The Taxman Must Die with the author of Rapid City, a superhero comic blog.  Among other dark secrets, you will learn which one of the following is not true:

  1. I once worked for the least badass police agency in the world.
  2. I was probably the beneficiary of my high school’s senior prank.   Either that, or everybody in my high school was ****ing blind.
  3. It’s harder for me to deal with comments like “This is really good–when’s it coming out?” than “This is awful–go die in a fire.”
  4. I think the most common problem with superhero scripts is that most authors don’t spend enough enough time developing interesting superpowers.
(#4, by the way).

22 responses so far

Apr 18 2011

Medical delays…

Published by under B. Mac,Navel-Gazing

I have surgery on Thursday and I anticipate that I’ll be more or less out for 3-5 days. (Then again, they told me 3-5 days last time, and it ended up being half a day). Sorry for any delays. If you need a quick response on something, your best chance is to contact me before Wednesday night.

7 responses so far

Apr 17 2011

1,000,000 page-views!

Yeah, I’m still getting eviscerated by auto-tuned cats, Newsweek and Lady Gaga.

6 responses so far

Feb 28 2011

I’m recovering very nicely!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

The surgery to remove my wisdom teeth went unusually well. I should be responding normally to comments/emails by tomorrow (Tuesday).

If you’re waiting on a response, please post a comment below to remind me.

26 responses so far

Jan 06 2011

New Year’s Resolutions for 2011

Published by under Navel-Gazing

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10 responses so far

Jun 30 2010


I passed the Foreign Service Exam.  Getting closer!  The Personal Narrative Questions are next.  🙂

5 responses so far

Jun 24 2010

P. Mac to server limits: “Screw you, hippie!”

Published by under Navel-Gazing

P. Mac (my unevil twin?) got 100,000 readers last Saturday after the New York Times linked one of his posts.  So he performed some dark sorcery on the server and now the server’s sites (including this one) can cheerfully handle tens of thousands of people.  Good times!  I remember when 12,000 people caused SN to crash.

No responses yet

Jan 28 2010

A conversation from today…

Published by under Navel-Gazing

The fact that I found this amusing is probably my body’s way of telling me I shouldn’t stay up this late.

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2 responses so far

Jan 01 2010

2010 Resolutions and Recap of 2009

My resolutions for 2009 were:

  1. Expand SN to 500,000 hits and 1.5 million page-views. That didn’t happen, but I did end up increasing my hits by 100% and my page-views by 150%.   I’m especially happy about getting my bounce-rate from 59% down to 52%.
  2. Get a comic book published. It hasn’t happened yet but I think I’m at the finish line.  I submit in late February and anticipate the first round of responses by May.
  3. Finish writing the nonfiction book. I have finished the manuscript, but I think it’ll take me a year or two to get it published.  (I need to get some fiction published first).
  4. Work on my novel. I gave up on this, actually.
  5. Find a fulltime job. Got it!

My resolutions for 2010 are…
Continue Reading »

5 responses so far

Dec 03 2009

A resume a day keeps the repo man away

I’m applying for a job a day for two weeks.  So far, I’ve gotten an offer I’m considering.  And a bait-and-switch scam.  I forgot the cardinal rule of writing: any writing job that pays more than $10 an hour is a lie.  (I’m exaggerating, but not much).

11 responses so far

Nov 23 2009

34 pages!

So far I’m up to 34 pages on my first comic book issue. I think the first draft will be ~40 pages and then I’ll edit that down to a final draft of 32 pages. I terribly underestimated the amount of space I would need for each scene. For example, in my original outline, I estimated the two main characters would meet on page 8. As actually written, they meet on page 28.

Anyway, if you’d like to review the first draft, I will have that ready by Friday. If you’re interested, please let me know so that I can e-mail it to you.

9 responses so far

Oct 26 2009

A few notes for SN’s prospective colorers

If you’re here because you’d like to color the comic book I’m working on, please keep reading. If not, you’ll probably find this pretty boring.

Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Oct 16 2009

Index Update!

Published by under Navel-Gazing

I’ve been updating the index of writing articles like a fiend.  Give it a look!  Yesterday it had 80 articles, and 120 today.  Unfortunately, I have about 150 more to go.

No responses yet

Aug 30 2009

I’m off to Washington!

Published by under Mea Culpa,Navel-Gazing

I’ll be back in a few days and won’t be on much until then.

3 responses so far

Aug 16 2009

Would SN webcasts be helpful or gimmicky?

I just bought a webcam, but I’m ambivalent about using it here.  Would it be helpful if I supplemented our usual lineup of written advice and reviews with some webcast material? Or would it feel like a gimmick?

Here are some of the factors I’m considering. What do you think?

1. The visual element can provide a solid opportunity for style and personality. For example, Angry Nintendo Nerd’s rants and Ask Prudie’s etiquette advice both use the author’s presence to create flair.  However, quite a few webcasters waste that opportunity by dully reading a script.  What’s the point?  I wouldn’t subject my readers to something that’s slower and more complicated unless I was confident that I had the style to make it work.

2. Webcasting generally strikes me as more entertaining but less informative than pure text. For one thing, it’s harder for readers to follow a video at their own pace and it’s easier to misconstrue something that is spoken rather than written.  However, university classes about fiction writing often involve a lot of oral instruction.  So I think something like a video-lecture is plausible.

Continue Reading »

22 responses so far

Jun 24 2009

Please take our survey!

Hello.  If you haven’t taken our survey yet, I would really appreciate if you gave us 10 minutes of your time.  That will help us get published.  You can take it by clicking here or by reading under the fold.
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No responses yet

May 06 2009


Published by under Navel-Gazing

We just got up to 10,000 comments. Congratulations to Holliequ.

8 responses so far

Apr 07 2009

1000 Posts!

It took us three years, but we finally got to 1000 posts.  These include about 400 writing articles totaling ~150,000 words.

3 responses so far

Apr 03 2009

We have a favicon now…

Now we have a tiny favicon to help you keep track of which browser tab belongs to Superhero Nation. Favicons are only 16 pixels by 16 pixels, so they’re very hard to read. Here’s the 64 by 64 version.


I was mulling over a few alternatives, but they were fairly uninspired or unworkable: a book, a cape, something with a pen, etc. I’ll let you know if this significantly affects user-retention rates.

What do you think?

12 responses so far

Mar 29 2009

Our Performance for March 2009

It’s been our most successful month so far.

  • Most importantly, we completed the first draft of our nonfiction query.  We are almost ready to start pitching to agents.
  • We had 15,000 visitors, about 500 a day.  In contrast, we only had 350 visitors per day in February.  A 40% growth rate is pretty impressive.  We can’t sustain that rate of growth, but if we could, we’d be up to 10,000 visitors each day by December.
  • Our readers spent a combined 1310 hours here.  That’s 65% higher than our previous record.
  • We doubled our amount of review forums.

2 responses so far

Mar 21 2009

Site Update: Behind the Scenes at SN

If you look at the top of the site, you’ll find a link that says Behind the Scenes at SN.  Here are a few of the things we’ll cover there:

  • How to join our volunteer staff
  • Details for our staffers
  • Our statistics

One response so far

Mar 20 2009

Some Random Thoughts from B. Mac

  • Notre Dame just announced that the President is doing our commencement speech this year.  I’ve always been opposed to the idea of commencements and do not plan to attend mine, regardless of the speaker.  This announcement merely makes it absolutely certain that my absence will cause my parents to flip out.  They’re still sore that I successfully missed my high school commencement, even though I had a valid excuse then.
  • In other Notre Dame news, the police busted my St. Patrick’s Day party.  Very exciting.
  • Over these past three days, we’ve been averaging 1000 visitors per day.  That’s about three times as many as normal.

16 responses so far

Mar 13 2009

Developing a Loyal Audience

Here are some brief tips for stimulating visitor loyalty on your site.

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4 responses so far

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