IndieView with B.J. Mendelson, author of Privacy

What came easily? There’s a lot of porn involved. I was taking graduate classes at the University at Buffalo, mostly due to boredom, and some of the research from those classes took me into the realm of privacy. George Carlin, Charles Bukowski (or at least, the David Duchovny version of Bukowski from “Californication.”) Bill Hicks. I get really irritated by any noise or disruption when I’m writing, so I just need to be left alone for a while in silence to do my thing. That’s why when people read my stuff, it’s so conversational and simplistic. As far as advice goes, the best marketing tip I can give everyone reading this is to collect as many physical mailing addresses, emails, and phone numbers that you can. It’s because I’m so slow.)
Did you hire a professional editor? Where do you live now? Once you understand that it’s unlikely you’ll be a famous or best-selling author, there are few reasons NOT to go indie. This makes me slower than most writers out there today (it’s why I don’t freelance or do guest posts or anything like that. I should. Was it a particular event or a gradual process? How long did it take you to write it? Slow, but great.  
Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Martin’s Press, but I like the freedom and flexibility that comes with going indie. But with the way I write, even though I write for a general audience, my stuff is pretty polarizing. Since 2012 I’ve lived a mostly nomadic existence of hotel rooms, airbnbs, and my parent’s house. Mendelson exposes the crude reality behind the smiley face of internet networking: data trading. This is the worst answer you can give as a marketing person, but I try to write for a general audience because it’s in the interest of the tech companies to leave the general public in the dark about how they make their money and what they’re doing to people in order to accomplish this. So far, I haven’t been able to choose the cover for all three of my books. The good news and bad news about being an author is that most people don’t read. Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know? My sister listens to music when she writes and it drives me crazy. The book vanished into a blackhole for a while, but it was rescued and resuscitated by my editor. My high school, the insane ayslum-looking building, can be seen across the street from the mall. The only pain in the ass about working with small publishers or publishing yourself is that your book won’t be in stores (and a lot of libraries) without a tremendous amount of work. That I subscribe to the Buddhist belief that we’re just all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. So I know I’m never going to be some huge name author, nor do I want to be. We willingly broadcast every moment of our lives in exchange for a moment’s worth of virtual attention. If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences? We all know how important it is for writers to read. I have two mentally disabled brothers and a mom that requires a lot of attention, so increasingly I’m back in Monroe to help my Dad out as he’s getting up there in age. If you count the ghostwritten book I did, I’ve now done three books on the subject of tech companies and the shady things they do to make a buck. Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself? The book is an attempt to answer that question. Basically, I think what we think of when we think of the word “privacy”, is dead. Everything else is bullshit (or controlled by an algorithm) and it’s difficult to reach your fans and friends. B.J. I wish I had a better answer, but this has honestly been my system since I was 18 and clearly it’s worked, so I’m not about to bullshit you. Mendelson, artfully and through personal narratives and journalism, tells the story of how we have undermined one of our greatest societal assets. What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? The only time I use an outline is when I’m writing fiction, and that’s only to keep me honest because my attention wanders. That’s the bad news. My OCD wasn’t really treated until the Fall of 2016, so I struggled in 2015 with this book, and other projects. Were there any parts of the book where you struggled? I can do (almost) anything I want. About Writing
Do you have a writing process? Once I got that under control, it was relatively smooth sailing. Whilst this is the case, the true perpetrator in this permeating culture of intrusion is not a third party; its our very selves. If so can you please describe it? I did for the first book. Monroe, New York. And for that reason I don’t take much seriously other than to treat others as well as I can treat them. And so this book gave me the opportunity to look at some of the problems the first book addressed and tackle them from a new angle. I used Roger Wilco to edit Privacy: And How We Get It Back, as well as two of my friends who are professional (re: paid) freelance writers and authors. So I edit as I write. Two years, all told. I need complete silence. You either like it or absolutely hate it. In the Fall of 2015. Even if it’s for a single paragraph, I’m on the phone talking to at least three sources and looking up obscure facts and academic papers to support (or disprove) any claim that I’m making. Mendelson – 24 March 2018
The Back Flap
In this forceful short book, technology guru and author of the best-selling Social Media is Bull (St. I used to say Bill Cosby, but any mention of him now makes my skin crawl. I watched a lot of comedy though, and their style and voice, the way they told stories, inspired how I write. The answer is money, advertising dollars, and to keep those dollars coming, your privacy is getting eroded in the process. Where did you get the idea from? No, honestly. I’m writing for the stage and for comedy, and in order to do that, everything you write needs to be simple, clear, and logical. Do you outline? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping? From there, I realized that a lot of the books on the subject are kind of dull, and set out to write something that was more entertaining and friendly for the general audiences. So you don’t have to make yourself crazy with a marketing plan for books, you just have to know how to hit those three points. The good news is that those who do can be reached through radio and podcasts, live events like book signings, and good old fashioned PR. Occasionally I’ll bother him with stuff, but I rather just publish this stuff myself at this point. Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors? I wasn’t a big reader growing up. Oh god no. My next book is called Don’t Be Evil: A Short Guide to Being a Successful Human, and if all goes well with the promotion of the privacy book, that should buy me enough time to finish it and get it released some time in 2019. Yes. Do you listen to music while you write? Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished? Like Facebook telling people they have over a billion users, but then not defining how they calculate their users. I’m hoping that’ll change with the next one. I mentioned the OCD. About the book
What is the book about? What are you working on now? Martins Press) B.J. It may sound like a lot, but I’m convinced anyone can get there if they put the time in. I am happy and thankful to have worked with St. About You
Where did you grow up? Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it? Martin’s Press), without realizing it. I’m a fanatical researcher. Why flat out lie about stuff like that? I have a background as a marketer, so I have an extensive plan for every book. That “1,000 true fans” thing is bullshit unless those 1,000 fans are incredibly wealthy, but 10,000 to 50,000? Usually the more outrageous the better. You’ll notice I went with three comedians, that’s because I wasn’t a big reader growing up. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you? What would you like readers to know about you? Get your copy of   Privacy: And How to Get it Back from Amazon US or Amazon UK. So at this point I can just close my eyes and write this stuff, which is great on one hand, but now I realize I need to start writing about other things otherwise this act will get stale. Everyone knows this place as the home of Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets. End of Interview:
For more from B.J., visit his website. Snail mail, email, and phone are the best, pure ways to reach people, and so you want as many of those as you can get. I wish some of the people I wrote about were fictitious. When did you start writing the book? We are all auctioning our personal information, the book argues, to the highest bidder. Do you have a target reader? So from the research comes the outline. It makes me a great editor. I watched a lot of comedy though, and their style and voice, the way they told stories, inspired how I write. But if you count the time I spent working on it, it adds up to two years. I think I hit on a lot of this stuff in my first book, Social Media is Bullshit (St. I have an agent. Mendelson discusses the end of privacy from a contemporary perspective, including chapters on:
*   Metadata and its uses
*   Data auctions
*   The Internet of Things
*   The use of social media for surveillance and suppression
*   Just how safe is Cloud technology
*   The Big Business of Big Data
*   How online retailers stalk, without permission, their customers
*   Anonymous and web activism
*   The internet’s dark side: Silk Road, hacking, extortion
*   EFF and other bodies promoting internet user rights
When we talk about the so-called ‘end of privacy’, we conjure up images of state-run agencies secretly monitoring and recording our every move. So, if that’s true, then the question becomes what do we do now? About Publishing
Did you submit your work to Agents? It clears my head. I’m totally fine having an audience of, let’s say 50,000 people (at most), and having them buy my stuff when it comes out.