Author Archives: Mike Reid

About Mike Reid

Mike Reid has served as a marketing & publishing consultant for Institute for Humane Studies, the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics, the Mercatus Center, and more. Mike loves expressing big ideas with little words, studying audience data, and experimenting with new technologies connecting audiences with messages they care about.

Literature and Liberty

Literature and Liberty (Cover)Allen Mendenhall’s new book, Literature and Liberty: Essays in Libertarian Literary Criticism is available now on Amazon.com. This book brings together new versions of 7 different Mendenhall essays. Some of these are punchy and short, like “Bowdlerizing Huck,” which discusses the practice of censoring the “n-word” out of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Others, like “Law and Liberty in E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, provide lengthy, contemplative explorations of polycentric law.

This book comes out under the Rowman & Littlefield imprimatur, with the editing and indexing done by Invisible Order.
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And Now, a Word from One of Our Clients

In a discussion over at the Libertarian Fiction Authors association, during a recent conversation about professional publishing assistance, one of our clients recently gave us a ringing endorsement. Here’s the full statement from John Brown, author of State of Terror.

Having a professional do your editing, cover, and interior design is not an option; it’s mandatory. Don’t even think about editing your own writing, even if you’re an editor by trade. And, do you have a solid background in graphical design? How about HTML? Sure, you could just hit a button and publish, but this is one of those things where just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Try to save money by doing it yourself and it will show. In traditional publishing, they do these services for you. With self-publishing, you are still expected to have a polished product. You can afford to pay for your own professional team because you’ll be getting much higher royalties. It’s an investment; you’ll get a return from higher sales and better comments. I think we owe the reading public the very best we can do. If your name is on it, then it should be of the highest quality, something in which you can take pride for many years. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Publishing is much more than just writing. It’s best to put one’s ego aside and think of the entire project as a collaboration. The writer may be the master architect, but there are builders and designers involved, and they play a critical role in execution. Much of the creative process comes from involving others and letting the project evolve in unforeseen directions. For this reason, I don’t like speed writing contests, the 50,000-words-in-50-days type of promotions. Art and craft take time.

I also believe that it’s best to hire professionals who can work together. Handoffs are to be avoided; it lessens responsibility for the final product. That’s why I went with Invisible Order. They do it all, from editing and design, to setting up ISBNs and vendor accounts. Jeffrey Tucker and Wendy McElroy went with IO, and that was good enough for me.

We’re very grateful to John and all the other authors who’ve put their trust in us over the last few years. To see a sample of our handiwork, you can buy the ebook of John’s IO-produced novel, State of Terror, on Amazon.com. We’ll be releasing the print version shortly.

State of Terror.

Click the cover to see this book on Amazon.com.

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Filed under Ebooks, Endorsements, New Releases, Publishing

When Layouts Go Bad

The Poke, a British humor site, has a compilation of print layouts that went hilariously wrong. Their list begins with this news bulletin about the rampage of Winnie the Pooh.

Layout-Failure-Winnie

Click the picture to see the whole collection. (Warning: some lewd humor.)

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Filed under Publishing, Typesetting

Seahorses and Style

Hippocampus hystrix

Hippocampus hystrix

When copyediting,* why is it important to follow a written standard — and when should you part company with that standard?

The prime directive for copyeditors is this: be consistent. Whatever decision you make about spelling, punctuation, or the minutiae of syntax, make sure to apply it consistently throughout the document you’re editing. If you aren’t going to follow the strictures of an established style guide, at least maintain your own style guide, even if it’s only a list of the decisions you’ve made so far. (See “What Is a Style Sheet?” for some notes on the terminology here.)
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Beyond Bitcoin

Swanson-GreatChainSmallSize-20140304Tim Swanson’s useful new guide, Great Chain of Numbers, came out this morning. In it, Swanson explores emerging developments that are taking us beyond cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin into the broader world of “smart property.”

The book is available on Tim’s website for free or on Amazon.com in a Kindle version for just 99 cents.

If you’re wondering what the heck smart property is and how it’s going to change our world, you could do worse than to start with the foreword to Swanson’s book, by Adam B. Levine: 

The physical world has an intractable problem; things exist.

Whether a bar of gold or a bus pass, left to their own devices these valuable objects will not move or act of their own accord. Furthermore, if you want to sell such an item, you have the unenviable task of finding someone who  would like that item from you, is willing to pay you in the thing you desire and is local enough to make such a deal Beyond Bitcoinlogical.

Money used to have this problem; we used antiquated systems that move promises for dollars around the world at 1960 speed. Bitcoin changed the equation, introducing the distributed ledger technology that allows value to change owner with no regard for where the transacting users are geographically located.

Bitcoin is to money what Smart Property is to ownership. A fundamental reinvention of how things should work, and a better way.  The problems are not new, and the solutions enacted to this point were designed with that liability of physical existence in mind.

We are no longer constrained by this liability.

Great Chain of Numbers, now available for free right here.

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Are We Good Enough for Liberty?

20130918_AreWeGoodEnoughforLibertyCoverWe’re delighted to reveal the ebook version of Lawrence Reed’s new Are We Good Enough for Liberty?

Download the MOBI ebook (for Kindle)
Download the EPUB ebook (for everything else)

Lawrence Reed is of course the president of the Foundation for Economic Education, the author of innumerable articles, and a very prominent speaker for radio, TV, and conferences around the world.

This beautiful book includes, not only Dr. Reed’s own writing on character and liberty, but also the famous “I, Pencil,” by Leonard Read, the founder of FEE. 

It’s available for free in ebook form here, and in PDF and print form here.

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Our Experience in Your Hands

Every time we assist you with a publishing project, you get the benefit of our experience — and complete control over your project.

Whether you’re getting our help with editing or ebook creation or print-book creation, you’re really buying 2 things.
(1) Your book the way you want it. 
(2) Our advice on what you should want.

For big issues (cover design, overall appearance, matters of content, etc.), we tend to check in with you and have a discussion about the options. In those cases, our advice comes explicitly as part of that conversation. We usually show you several different approaches, explain what we think should be done, and explain our reasoning based on our experience with print and digital writing and publishing.

For the myriad of small issues that come up in each book (comma placement, ebook file structure, exact print-book gutter margins, etc.), we generally just produce the book the way extensive experience tells us it should be — and then we ask you to review it and make sure you like what we’ve done. 
In that sense, we embed our advice in the product itself. 

Any time you wonder about (or dislike) the way we handle those small issues, we’ll be happy to separate out the advice and explain the decisions on those details. But if we explain our thinking, and it doesn’t fit with your vision, or you decide you’d like something done differently for any reason, you still get #1: your book the way you want it.

To find out how we can help with your next publishing project, just email us at invisibleorder@invisibleorder.com, or click here to use our contact form.

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“The New Marijuana Is Not the Old Marijuana”

TimKennedyPresident Obama recently remarked that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol (a sign of more lax federal enforcement?). But former Rep. Patrick Kennedy has now countered, saying,

In fact, today’s [marijuana is] modern, genetically modified marijuana, so its much higher THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] levels far surpass the marijuana that the president acknowledges smoking when he was a young person.… He is wrong when he says that it isn’t very harmful, because the new marijuana is not the old marijuana.

Kennedy believes, of course, that the government must crack down on pot smokers to save them from this deadly modern marijuana. But why exactly did pot get so much stronger? Well, for that you might want to check out BK Marcus’s Freeman article from last year, where he hit it on the nose:

If you prohibit a drug, the potency of that drug on the black market will increase.

In other words,

It was the War on Drugs itself that had made the pot more powerful.

For the full story, and the economic laws that made the rise in weed potency inevitable, read BK’s “Why Rhett Butler’s Weed Is So Strong.”

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Filed under Austrian Economics

TV’s Third Golden Age

FreemanHouseOfCards4IOOur own BK Marcus is in the Freeman again today, with a post on the latest wave of great TV shows.

As he explains,

TV dramas now are cinematic in their production values, carefully edited, and serial in their narrative structure. In the first golden age, mistakes by the actors and mishaps in staging went out live to the TV audience—and the best remembered dramas were complete, single-episode stories, written and directed as stage plays for the camera.

Perhaps most significantly, the shows that stand out today—Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Breaking Bad, and Spacey’s own House of Cards—are produced for cable networks, premium channels, and private subscription services, where advertising is minimal or altogether absent.

In contrast, the era that first became known as the Golden Age of Television was arguably pure advertising: sponsors not only attached their names to the TV shows they sponsored—Kraft Television Theater, Goodyear TV Playhouse, The US Steel Hour—they developed shows, produced them, and paid the networks to put them on the air.

What really makes great TV? Read BK’s complete article to find out.

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Hedwig Kiesler (Hedy Lamarr), Ekstase (1933

Hedwig Kiesler (Hedy Lamarr), Ekstase (1933

Over at the Foundation for Economic Education, BK Marcus has a neat piece up about a beautiful actress, an inventor of torpedo technology, and a misguided idealist — and they’re all the same person: Hedy Lamarr.

His article begins

Hedy stands naked in a field. She looks off-camera in dismay as her horse gallops away with the clothes she had draped over its back so she could take a dip in a woodland pond.

She is not called Lamarr yet. That name will come later, in Hollywood. For now she is still Hedwig Kiesler, a Viennese teenager in Prague, playing her first starring role in a feature film, Ekstase (“Ecstasy,” 1933). The controversial Czechoslovakian film will become famous for Hedy’s nude scenes and its sex scenes (which show only her face, in close-up, in the throes of passion).

The film will give Hedy her first taste of fame. She will be known as the Ecstasy girl. An Austrian director will tell the press, “Hedy Kiesler is the most beautiful girl in the world.” Later, MGM movie mogul Louis B. Mayer will repeat the claim, using the name he insisted she change to: Hedy Lamarr.

But while the world of her time will remember her for her photogenic beauty, history will remember her as the inventor of frequency hopping, the foundational technology of today’s mobile phones and wireless Internet.

How a Hollywood starlet invented the means of secure wireless data transfer is fascinating, and there are thorough accounts of the story in recent books and television shows. What is less thoroughly addressed is why an invention from World War II didn’t see widespread use until the turn of the century.

Read the full story at FEE.org.

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