Commodork

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Commodork

Postby Flack » July 5th, 2010, 8:36 pm

If you have any questions at all about Commodork, feel free to post them in this thread.
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Re: Commodork

Postby AArdvark » July 21st, 2010, 4:57 pm

Just read it again. When is the movie slated to be released?



THE
OR MINI SERIES, EVEN
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Re: Commodork

Postby triverse » July 22nd, 2010, 11:36 pm

I still need to grab a copy of it sometime soon. Keep hearing good things about it.
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » July 23rd, 2010, 8:31 am

AArdvark wrote:Just read it again. When is the movie slated to be released?


As soon as Kevin Smith (aka "Silent Bob") frees up his calendar ...
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » July 23rd, 2010, 8:32 am

triverse wrote:I still need to grab a copy of it sometime soon. Keep hearing good things about it.


Indeed! You can get the PDF copy for $5 from my site.
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Re: Commodork

Postby triverse » July 23rd, 2010, 11:36 am

It's going to be awhile, paying for my car to be fixed this week ($10 part, $250 after installation...).
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Re: Commodork

Postby Kid Ice » June 16th, 2011, 4:08 pm

In case you haven't seen it, The Retroist posted a positive review of Commodork.

http://www.retroist.com/page/2/
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Re: Commodork

Postby Ice Cream Jonsey » July 4th, 2011, 5:39 pm

What did you do to promote Commodork? There was your website, sure, and probably some forums that you posted on. What were your experiences trying to get the world to notice it?
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » July 4th, 2011, 8:52 pm

I originally promoted the book on Digital Press, the only forum I was really active on at the time. I debuted the book at OVGE 2006 and, between Digital Press, OVGE attendees, and friends and family, I sold about 20 copies. I figured if the thing ever sold 100 copies it would be a miracle. Then, Jason Scott wrote a review of the book and submitted it to Slashdot. That day, I sold like 100+ copies. From there on out, the word just spread. In the beginning I sought out magazines that might be interested. I did a phone interview with Earl from Retrobits and at least two e-mail interviews with German Commodore e-zines.

Eventually what I learned was, most websites are dying for content. (Newspapers, too.) I would find websites that were remotely related to computers or retro gaming and send them a copy and they would review the book.

I have been truly blessed by a fanbase that "gets" what the book is about. I've had a few bad reviews from people who, despite what the book's back cover says, think the book is going to be about this history of Commodore computers. Pretty much every negative review has said, "I was expecting X, and got Y." But the people who have liked it have by and large written about it. I've had a great grass roots word-of-mouth thing going. Most of my success, I owe to loyal readers who have helped spread the word.
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Re: Commodork

Postby ubikuberalles » July 5th, 2011, 11:02 am

Have you ever done an accounting of the total books sold to date? 200 copies? 500? A 1000? It's probably pretty easy to track the printed copies but I'm thinking the PDF copies sold would be tough to account for.
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » July 5th, 2011, 12:17 pm

Sadly I lost track of the exact numbers, but I think it's around 1,200. You're right, the printed ones are easy to track. Lulu keeps track of those, and for Commodork it's right at 1,000 while Invading Spaces is much less.

When you start getting into eBook versions, it's difficult to track. For Commodork, there are (a) Lulu eBook versions, (b) Lulu iPad versions (why those are different, I don't know), (c) Amazon Kindle sales, and (d) sales through my website. On the ones from my website, the only tracking method I have is Paypal. The Lulu one seems to track everything, but it separates everything out into different categories and I would have to do a lot of math to figure the numbers. The Amazon one is the worst. By default you can get the numbers for the past week, or the past six weeks. For anything past that you have to download PDF files for each month.

After checking Amazon I just discovered that I am only getting 35% of each .99 sale, since my book costs less than $1.00. What a rip-off. The minimum to get the full, normal 70% is $2.99. I guess based on that, I'm going to raise my Kindle price from $0.99 to $2.99. To compensate, I will lower the PDF price from $4.99 to $2.99 as well. I hope that doesn't upset any of my prior customers. If it does, I will give them something for free.
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Re: Commodork

Postby Ice Cream Jonsey » July 6th, 2011, 8:31 am

I must say I've had much better luck with Mac and Linux sites over the last couple of days. (Nikos Chantziaras wrote an updated Hugo interpreter for Mac, Linux and Windows called Hugor so he could play Cryptozookeeper with full graphics and sound, and that has been instrumental. The previous Mac and Linux interpreter wasn't 100% working.)

Now, it could be that I am simply not writing about the game in a way that helps people who run PC gaming blogs. I will try to post an example of what I send out. I should probably read a few press releases myself so I know what form they take. But because of the lack of gaming options on Mac and Linux, it's really taken off. Plus, the Mac and Linux game blogs tend to syndicate content. It's been about a week and a half since linuxgames.com posted about Crypto, but other Linux blogs are still passing the link around.

Honestly, one tactic I am thinking of adopting is to create a few articles about text games where I ask questions of new and established authors. I then post them to JC every few days and while people are hopping over to read them, perhaps they click on the link to download my game.
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Re: Commodork

Postby Ice Cream Jonsey » July 6th, 2011, 8:33 am

But. But! Your experience with Commodork, while awesome, drives home the fact that having an audience for your blog is really clutch, otherwise you are at the mercy of benefactors who do have that mindshare to promote things for you. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I mean, that's the way it is, so my feelings are irrelevant BZZT BZZZT but still.
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » July 6th, 2011, 8:49 am

Okay so, here's a good example.

Last night/this morning, I released a collection of Commodore disks that have never been released before. Commodore people find this pretty exciting. Actually, it is pretty exciting and I'll post about it over in the computer forum. Anyway, when I released it, I wrote up a blog entry about finding the disks and whatnot and how I scanned them in. I also snuck in a little comment about my book, and added a link back to the book's page (where you can buy it). I posted it to my blog at 6am this morning. It's 8:40am and I've had about 50 direct links to that page. I also cross-posted the post to the Lemon 64 forums, a big Commodore site.

I always feel like a choad for promoting my book so I tend to do it passive-aggressively, or more often than not, not at all. I'm trying though. Self-promotion is a thankless and tiring job.

So anyway, riffing on that, you could definitely start interviewing IF authors or something and yeah, definitely add a link to your game. You can even do it subtly like, mention Crypto in your question and then just make it a hyperlink to your page and then let people click on it if they want to. That way you're not making the article all awkward. Not that you would do that.

Five (or even two) years ago I would say that having a big blog following was key, but with the Planet IF RSS feed, that thing's gold. I'm betting more people subscribe to that feed than check any one site on it, so posting stuff and getting it to the feed is good advertising. Also, Twitter ... man, I get people adding me all the time on twitter, every time I mention the word Commodore.

It would be interesting to know, and I don't even know how you would figure this out, but it would be awesome to know if (a) people aren't downloading Crypto, (b) people are downloading it but not playing it, or (c) people are downloading and playing it but not writing about it.
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Re: Commodork

Postby ubikuberalles » July 6th, 2011, 2:35 pm

Flack wrote:After checking Amazon I just discovered that I am only getting 35% of each .99 sale, since my book costs less than $1.00. What a rip-off. The minimum to get the full, normal 70% is $2.99. I guess based on that, I'm going to raise my Kindle price from $0.99 to $2.99. To compensate, I will lower the PDF price from $4.99 to $2.99 as well. I hope that doesn't upset any of my prior customers. If it does, I will give them something for free.


Just say the $0.99 price was a special limited time offer price. The limited time is over, that's all.
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Re: Commodork

Postby MagnumIP » September 27th, 2011, 10:46 pm

Just got through reading Commodork a couple of weeks ago and had to comment on how much I really enjoyed it. Not only was it a trip down memory lane as far as the BBS scene was concerned, but the fact that you mentioned AOHell had me reminiscing about those early days of the internet during my freshman year of college. This was on my awesome 486 DX2 66mhz box with 4mb of ram. I learned a very important word from that experience, extrapolate!

I also had some Commodre exp with a Plus4 <which I could never find games for> and a Commodore 64C w/the GE OS. Newsroom and Print Ship were programs I used a lot too. Ahh, I'm rambling now.

Thanks for taking the time to write up your exp with this book, lots of good memories were brought back while reading it.
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » September 29th, 2011, 2:58 am

Thanks for checking it out, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

AOHell, yeah ... good times. When I was writing Commodork I didn't think about co-workers and/or my boss ever picking up a copy. Nobody's ever mentioned the AOHell stuff (which we were doing from work) but, uh ... yeah. It all worked out.

For all the Commodore stuff I've used over the years, I never got into GEOS. It reminds me of the early days of Windows, where it was so much simpler and faster to do stuff via the command line. Come to think of it, some things are still easier to do from the command line ...

I was a Print Shop and Newsroom fool, man. I haven't tried running Print Shop in years. I wonder if those will even run on a modern machine? I'm guessing there are Windows-compatible versions of that and PrintMaster. I should check that out when I get back home this weekend.
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Re: Commodork

Postby MagnumIP » September 29th, 2011, 1:40 pm

I think I remember some of the command line for the C64:

Load somethingorother ,8 ,1

and for Apple II's, I think it was something like:

brun somthingorother

Damn, that's some really buried tidbits in my memory right there. There was this cartridge game I always played on my C64 too, Facelift or Faceplant or something like that. Gah, I just looked it up, it's Facemaker! Man, good times.

Broderbund still makes Print Shop, http://www.broderbund.com/c-31-the-print-shop.aspx

I can't remember who made Newsroom, but I remember begging my dad to buy it for me. I think it was at like an Egghead Software retail store too. I really like the way they animated everything.
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Re: Commodork

Postby ChrisL » December 14th, 2011, 2:01 am

Coomodork was a great book all around. I'm curious though if you had much experience with the pre-Internet stand alone services? I'm thinking of Compuserve, Prodigy, and Q-Link (which became PC-Link, then AOL). They required a slightly less technical level to get into (though you still had to configure your own modem), and gave the user access to a national group of users. They were also damn expensive if you spent any real time on them. They weren't a real alternative to local BBS's, but they too had their charms.
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Re: Commodork

Postby TheCheesyAssassin » December 14th, 2011, 5:07 pm

:D :D Welcome to the boards... :D :D
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » December 14th, 2011, 7:15 pm

ChrisL wrote:Coomodork was a great book all around. I'm curious though if you had much experience with the pre-Internet stand alone services? I'm thinking of Compuserve, Prodigy, and Q-Link (which became PC-Link, then AOL). They required a slightly less technical level to get into (though you still had to configure your own modem), and gave the user access to a national group of users. They were also damn expensive if you spent any real time on them. They weren't a real alternative to local BBS's, but they too had their charms.


First and foremost, thanks for picking up and reading my book, and welcome to the forum!

I had a little experience with those early online systems both on the C64 and the PC, but you hit the nail on the head -- they were expensive and I was broke.

There were several topics and experiences that I would like someone else to write about so I could read about it! Mostly, online games and those other online services.
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Re: Commodork

Postby ChrisL » December 18th, 2011, 8:26 pm

Then I will respond as best I can. My first experience with such services was with Q-Link. It was was brief and unmemorable (it took me forever to get a local access number and there wasn't much on there to see anyway) as I didn't stay beyond the trail offer period. Compuserve was a little better. They had a more reasonable pricing scheme and (by the time I joined) had a very large customer base to chat with.

In those days, it was the people on-line that were the main attraction for such services, that and a handy email address. Compuserve used the CB channel theme for their chat rooms and tended not to be too difficult about monitoring them. It was fun for a time, but became too expensive to use after a while.

The next service I tried was PC-Link, the successor to Q-Link. I got it when I bought my first PC (an Epson with a 20 meg hard drive and a 1200 baud modem). It was part of a DOS based GUI software package sold by Radio Shack. The system was a bit easier to use (the package handled all the details), but the service itself sucked big time. The major problem (aside from the cost) was that the chat rooms were heavily monitored. It got so bad, that a significant number of people ended up leaving on mass to other services (usually Compuserve).

It was about this time that I got a bit into the BBS scene. While I can't remember the names of the boards (someone in the South Eastern Massachusetts area around the mid 1980's might be able to help with that), I do remember the message boards on them being pretty cool. In any case, Boardwatch magazine became a must read around my house.

After awhile though, life led me away from the online thing. I didn't get back on until the mid 1990's when the Internet appeared. Just in time too, because that's where I met my wife. :)
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Re: Commodork

Postby Flack » December 30th, 2011, 10:43 am

What area code was South Eastern Massachusetts? You should look up your old area code here and see what BBSes are listed: http://bbslist.textfiles.com/usbbs.html

I really wanted an Epson computer back in the day. We had an Epson FX-80 printer for years and I always thought it would be cool to have a computer that matched it.

Congrats on finding a keeper online! I know several people who met their wives either on BBSes or on IRC, and for the most part they are all still together and doing great!
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Re: Commodork

Postby Sumer » July 12th, 2017, 7:10 pm

Flack, sorry to bump this old thread, but just wanted to say:

Loved the book! As I said in another post here on the site, I just purchased a hard copy of Commodork on Amazon at the end of last year and loved it. I loved how you captured the "zeitgeist" of the BBS scene. Made me feel like I was there with you. Since I am a little bit younger than you, I only ever got to dial into a BBS once or twice, so I pretty much missed it. I think the only BBSes I dialed into where Prodigy sponsored ones, or official Prodigy BBSes. After having Prodigy for a few years, it was straight onto AOL for my brother and I in 1995 and then the wider web. The BBS was already waning by then, obviously.

I recently purchased a WiModem, however, and I am really enjoying exploring the surviving C64 BBSes out there these last few months. Really a cool experience to at least see how it was before Prodigy and AOL ruined it all. ;)
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