Friday, January 30, 2009

Odds & Ends

Okay, it's 2009 now. That means... it's Derby Trail Season. Yipee! I love the three-year-olds. Mary Forney's Blog is doing a good job of keeping me updated on the west coast contenders. Thanks. :) I'm growing fond of The Pamplemousse despite the name.

Sorrow: Curlin is retired. So is Big Brown. Hopefully in a few years we'll be seeing their colts on the track.

In a complete change of subject: The Holy Revision of the Dark Servant continues. If anyone is interested in proof-reading the ms, let me know. My eyes are starting to cross when I stare at it for too long, and the Workshop is sooo slow.

Someone suggested I go ahead and write the Hybrid as YA and someone else that I write the Dancer as erotica. That made me wonder... YA and Erotica in the same series?! With a murder-mystery in the middle?! Am I insane? Is that how I've managed to come up with this stuff?
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Future of Bookstores

"In looking over the F&SF shelves, there was a very clear pattern. All that was left were the most recent paperback releases of name authors." L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

I've seen this pattern in most bookstores myself, including independents, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. I've even told management in these stores that I would have bought more if they'd bothered to stock Books 1 & 2 of so-and-so's trilogy. But they probably lack the power to change that. By not stocking the backlist, they reduce their own sales. But if they did stock every author's backlist, arguably, they'd soon run out of space.

Because of this trend, however, I am buying more and more books online. Amazon has better prices anyhow, and I don't have to spend another $25 for their discount membership. I've never quite gotten how I save money by spending the amount of a hardcover to get a savings club membership card. Waldenbooks Otherworlds Club discount card was free. With Amazon, I not only get a free discount, I can be pretty sure that they'll have the author's backlist.

The downside to Amazon is that there is far less impulse buying. The consumer is far more likely to only buy the book by the author that they're looking for and not pick up the book on the next shelf because it looks interesting. Amazon doesn't have shelves. And sometimes I wonder who decides on the books that show up at the bottom of the screen that proclaim "People who liked X also liked A, B, C, D."

But I remain aware of new and mid-list authors, and I look for them a couple of ways.

The used bookstore is my first stop there. I don't spend as much on the book, so I'm a lot more willing to take a chance. If I like the book, I'll add the author to the list of who I'm looking for at Amazon.

Another method is to read the reviews on Locus. Not 100% foolproof, but they have turned me onto some great books over the years.

I don't know what the solution is for the brick and mortar bookstores, but if I had to guess, it's going to be POD. Problem is, there's not much difference between shopping online and browsing POD titles. You can't pick up the book and skim a few pages. I've heard that it will soon be possible to have a POD kiosk inside a bookstore. You select your book, pay for it, and the machine prints and binds it while you wait.

This might be the solution for backlist. Put the newest offerings on the shelves to attract customers, then have the other books obtainable through the POD. One stop shopping that's actually competitive.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

ICU eavesdropping

Our redoubtable night shift charge is fond of challenging us to think outside the box. On the question of patient/family complaints about noise, he had this to say:

Pretend you're not a nurse. Walk down the hall, stop and listen outside of each room for a moment, then move on.

Some results:

1. "Don't put that thing in there!"
2. "Squeeze!"
3. "Work it!"
4. "Suck it in harder!"
5. "Blow blow blow blow blow!"
6. "Yes, you do have to do that."

There was nothing inappropriate going on in any case, but feel free to guess what the actual situation is. I'll post the real answers tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Works in Progress Eternal

Works in Progress (as of 1/8/09)


Ydron Chronicles (510,549)

1. Dancer (Rak 1) (55,098)

2. Novice (Rak 2) (55,726)

3. Priest (Rak 3) (33,405)

4. Dark Servant (Rak 4) (210,474) (Complete, in revision)

5. Thearch (Rak 5) (87,062)

6. The Hybrid (Stand alone) (68,784) (Complete, in revision)

7. The Temple (Stand alone) (Outline only)

Science Fiction

Rovanis Chronicles (61,648)

1. Yeri 1 (10,650)

2. Yeri 2 (15,919)

3. Yeri 3 (8,491)

4. Yeri 4 (6,404)

5. Yeri 5 (20,184)

6. The Forest (Stand alone) (Outline only)

Dark Star Chronicles (157,051)

1. Razorback (39,000)

2. Ghost Fleet (Outline only)

3. Last Stand (66,513)

4. Masquerade (86,638)

Total Word Count: 729,248

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

Courtesy of the night shift ICU charge nurse comes the best New Year's resolution I've ever heard.

"This year, I resolve not to make any resolutions."