Wednesday, November 29, 2006


It has been so cold here that I’ve resorted to heating the cat food in the microwave so they’ll eat it. (How warm? To the temperature of mouse blood!) I’ve been so hunched over to keep warm, that my shoulders ache. And that’s with an electric laprobe, two layers of fleece, and long underwear. This old house leaks little knife-edges of chill when the temp goes below zero. But today we’re up to eight above and headed for the twenties tomorrow.

That wasn’t the biggest problem: my internet provider had what they called an “issue” with “authentication” for several days. Since when did the cyber community begin to pick up psychotherapy talk? Anyway, I was left adrift for a while and had to resort to filing, which was a rather psychotherapeutic occupation in itself. What do I REALLY want to keep? Where are the boundaries? What is the core issue in this file? Why am I doing this anyway?

Self-publishing is going slowly. Some friends claim they are buying dozens of books -- not knowing that I can see at my Lulu website every sale made and so I know they’re fantasizing. But when I search my name or the title of the book it comes up everywhere. It’s on Amazon, Powell’s, etc. even as a “used” book. How can it be used? It’s Print On Demand -- unless someone bought copies to resell. But I’d know that -- I can account for every sale so far. Quarterly, one is supposed to be sent one’s profit and the third quarter check (Aug, Sept, Oct) was supposed to come in November so I’m sitting here like a little bird with its mouth open, beseeching for a worm. Tomorrow is the last day of November.

One childhood friend, who has not bought a book and does not read my blogs, and yet protests that she thinks I’m a fabulous writer and so on, became so angry -- when I boasted about getting a thousand hits a week on my main blog and expressed some worry about starting a literary career at 67 -- that she told me off. I think she wrote me off because she was afraid that I might write her off -- self-fulfilling prophesy. You can’t fire me -- I quit. So, if I DO have a literary career, how many friends will it cost me?

Indigo agrees to highlight self-published Canadians

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail

Toronto — Canada's largest retail book chain, Indigo Books & Music, has agreed to carry a selection of books by self-published Canadian authors, provided those books are packaged by iUniverse, the Nebraska-based affiliate of U.S. super-retailer Barnes & Noble.

Participating authors will have to process their books through iUniverse's Premier Plus system which, for a $1,349 fee, gets a writer an editorial evaluation of his or her manuscript, custom cover and book design, a "marketing tool kit" and other services. Copies of the books will be published on an on-demand basis, with the author paying for the print run, the fee being based on a discount of the book's retail price.

There's a selection process for all titles and those chosen will be displayed in "high-traffic areas" of Chapters, Indigo and Coles stores "for at least 60 days -- longer if the book keeps selling."

This strikes me as a sort of hybrid (i.e. half-assed) approach to coping with the new technology/old venues. is much less expensive for just printing and listing ($100 for an ISBN and Amazon, et al) but if one took advantage of the adjunct offers for design, publicity, marketing kits, and so on, it would be pretty easy to spend that much. Probably the most expensive part of this would be the editorial evaluation, but how does one know whether it is worth anything? Back in 1961 I was stung by Famous Writers, which was all encouragement until one was signed up for an expensive course with an airtight contract -- then an instructor’s assault began that was pretty hard to withstand for a person just starting out. The idea was to install writer’s block so you didn’t send any more assignments -- just checks. It worked, well, “famously.” Until the law caught up with them.

The “best” part of the above Canadian arrangement is the display deal, if they actually carry through. The most insidious part is “the author paying for the print run.” Don’t have to do that at unless you’re going to buy a bunch of your own books and sell them from under your arm at a conference or something.

I predict a lot more blundering and experiments before we settle into a new pattern. The headache of it is that one must commit to strategy without knowing whether it will ever amount to anything more than... well, dust bunnies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fer crissakes, woman, get up and move around before you are found frozen at the computer, like a crew member of the Lost Asteroid Station.

Here is another eastern Montana blogger for your collection.