Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Shadow At the Entrance

As I entered Barnes and Noble I was presented with a salesperson hawking THE NOOK, B&N's e-reader. Now, I have nothing against The Nook, although I am a Kindle Person myself. However, as I watched the salesperson and the interest in this reader, and as I watched the employees behind the cash registers, at the cafe, and milling about as they serviced the different shelves and fielded questions from customers, I wondered what they were thinking? Were they looking at The Nook and seeing their future? Were they considering a recent article where the number of e-books sold last quarter constituted a sizable chunk of the market.

A great many folk will point out that a tremendous number of folk love books...that which they can hold in their hands and collect. Ignoring the diminishing number of titles being released and the collapse of the magazine fiction market, these folks point to the cost of an ebook, which isn't always a bargain when one is considering new releases.

I am not taking one side or the other in the e-book v. book challenge. I am merely an observer. I was also an observer in the cd v. vinyl war and the famous mp3's v. cd apocalypse. I recognize change is inevitable and while some will dig in and rail against it, the less stressful path is to either throw open one's arms and welcome the new, or else take the role of quiet observer. But be careful folks, it ain't about the aesthetics, it's about the economics, and who can control more while squeezing the most out of it.

Capitalism isn't about philanthropy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Looking For The Ravening

Someone told me they purchased a copy of The Ravening from Barnes and Noble. They went into the store, asked for it, and the store ordered it. When it came in, the person picked up her copy. Apparently the store ordered at least five copies of the book, probably figuring if one person ordered it, surely there would be more customers.

I decided to visit Barnes and Noble. There's nothing quite inspiring as seeing one's book on a shelf. I looked...and looked...and looked...and nothing. Puzzled, I went to the service counter and asked if it was in stock. "Yes," said a bright young man, and proceeded to lead me to it. The books were on a bottom shelf, impossible to see, in the general fiction section!!!


"This is a horror novel. Shouldn't it be with the other horror novels? Maybe sitting next to some of the other zombie books?"

He shrugged. I nodded and went back to the general section, bending over sideways so I could see the title through the deep shadows of the bottom shelf of the general fiction section.

It could have been worse.

Oh..and a post script...if any of you have read the book and liked it...would you consider posting a few kind words of review on either the Amazon site or the Barnes and Noble site. Heck, you could even spread the love through Goodreads.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Rejection..The New Pragmatism

With the new year comes new opportunities...and some rejections, but such is the life of a writer.

I recently had a discussion with some other folk about rejection, something people should expect to receive more of as the number of publishing venues shrinks. The discussion trended toward...

1) What was the fastest you've ever been rejected (my own self? Three days..fastest acceptance? A few hours.)
2) What was the most frustrating rejection? (One friend received someone else's form letter)
3) What was the most encouraging? (When I was twenty, I sent a short story to the New Yorker and received a personalized, several paragraph hand-written response).

Mostly, when I've had a story returned and thought about it, I tend to find something to change, or I realize I should have done a better job researching the market and meeting the editorial needs. I've also had the opportunity to talk to editors and hear their stories about psychotic writers, but I'll let others speak to that.