I was hurt to the quick of my Scots soul the other day (I blame my "cheap gene" on my Scottish heritage—this is naught but base bigotry, so, sorry, all you Scottish people), when several readers revealed they had bought extremely expensive cameras recently but forgot to use my links, even though they like TOP and had intended to use them.
Days when people buy cameras are cause for celebration around here. I'm a camera store, you know, and a book store.
It's a dilemma. I can't remind people every day to use my links, because it would bore you, and it would make me come off like a greedy bugger, which is the case but not something I like to have pointed out all the time.
Amazon and B&H don't charge you any more when you buy through TOP, they just divert a bit of their profits to me. And not many people buy much of anything in February or August. I don't really know why. It's when they're paying for Christmas and for summer vacation, maybe?
August has been a tough month. I need to sell 64 more items (they don't have to be expensive items, just items) through Amazon to make it to the next percentage tier, and I'm never going to make it. Not enough days left in August. Scots soul, melancholy, woe is, etc.
Anyway, just a reminder that if you are going to buy Snow Leopard from Amazon anyway, might as well buy it through TOP! Thank you. Thank you. Greedy bugger out.
We passed 35,000 comments on the day Ted Kennedy died. Not all about Ted—I mean since TOP started here at TypePad in June, 2007. (I was on Blogger before that.) The 35,000th commenter was awarded $10,000 and a Nikon D3X. (Well, not really, but how would you know?)
We have some big anniversaries coming up—on Tuesday, it's Ctein's third anniversary writing regularly for the site (to mark the occasion, he's going to pass along something a little birdie told him), and in November we come to the end of our fourth year in existence. Four years. Who'da thunk? I have a personal milestone coming up on September 10th, too, but I'll tell you about that when we get there, if I feel like it.
Also, I need to announce that I've brought my link ad program to a close. The square "Sponsor" ads are still available, and the three larger ads at the top left-hand side of the page. (There aren't actually three ads there. There has only ever been one—first it was Fabio Riccardi at LightZone, now it's Michael Tapes at RawWorkflow.com. But there are two more spaces available just in case Nikon, Canon, Epson or Adobe ever get wise to the fact that we have a big, smart, influential readership. I'm still waiting.)
I'm writing a book. After a couple of false starts, I decided to write a book about photography that is 100% new from start to finish, imagined afresh and freshly expressed. My goal is to make it fun and tasty to read for people like you, i.e., the people who read this site. My objective is to try to put in everything I've ever learned about photography, photographers, cameras, and pictures—even though sometimes I feel like that isn't much. In fact I'm toying with the idea of calling it Everything Mike Johnston Knows About Photography Isn't Much. The work is going surprisingly well—turns out, despite the working title, I know rather a lot about photography, once you wind me up and set me on a level surface and point me in the proper direction. There's a lot I don't know. I'm all too aware of that. But I know enough that all the things I don't know don't seem like such a lack. So far some of the chapters are "Lighting," "Beautiful Cameras," "Making Money," "Having Fun," "The Magic of Lenses," and "Going Fishing" (that last is about editing). Among others.
I worry about two things, first that it isn't technical enough and people won't buy it as a how-to book. Seems people really like how-to books, and they like how-to books about very specific nuts-and-bolts subjects. This is more of a "why-to" manual. Second, I worry that no one has ever written a book like it before. Here's something Paul Krugman wrote this on his blog the other day, which contains an idea that I liked (he was talking about the reappointment of Ben Bernanke to the Fed):
Thus, you’re not considered serious on national security unless you bought the case for invading Iraq, even though the skeptics were completely right; you’re not considered a serious political commentator unless you dismissed all the things those reflexive anti-Bushists were saying, even though they all turn out to have been true; and you’re not considered serious about economic policy unless you dismissed warnings about a housing bubble and waved off worries about future crises.
Serious Person Syndrome—so true. It's better to agree with everyone else, and do things the way everyone else does them. I tried to pitch my book to a "serious" publisher, and they sent me back a formula for how they like their books to be organized and written. Mine will not be organized and written that way. Maybe people will not like that. I am forging ahead anyway. The success of TOP is giving me the time and the opportunity, and I feel obligated to try to take advantage.
Hope you have a nice Sunday. I am going to try to unchain myself from the computer. I intend to watch some golf on TV, take the dog to the park, and fret some more over whether I should buy an A850 or not. (I don't know why I linked that—nobody has ordered an A850 through our links yet. Probably five people bought one, and intended to use our links, but forgot.)
"Featured Comment by Fraser: "Mike, as a Scot, no offense taken. I regularly roll around on my big pile of money like Scrooge McDuck, contemplating getting my castle wired for electricity and subsequently dismissing it on the grounds of cost.
"I look forward to you book being published and will definitely borrow it from the library once it comes out! ;-)
UPDATE: Whoa, 55 items sold on Sunday! And I made a full tenth of August's Amazon income as a result. Thanks, everybody. Among the things people bought: A copy of Graham Greene's The Quiet American; a KitchenAid blender; a Sony A900 (thanks for that, really); an MP3 of "The Young Big Bill Broonzy" (Bill Broonzy is an ancient bluesman, for those of you who don't recognize the name—and by the way, MP3's do count);a Kindle book of Guilty Pleasures; a Leatherman MultiTool—and, yes, three copies of Snow Leopard.