Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Doomed, Part V

Used under the fair use doctrine for commentary purposes.

Because I enjoy navel contemplation, I’ve been thinking about how my own book-buying habits relate to the fact that I want to write books and, more importantly, that I’ve written a book I’m editing and hope soon to start farming out to agents.

So how do my habits impact my future as an uthor?

I’m doomed.

Doomed before I even take the vow.


Because over at Nathan Bransford’s blog, the question came up: What advice would you give bookstores? Here’s my response:
My advice: Surrender Dorothy.

I have lots of books. We've got shelves and stacks of them in the study, plus the five boxes, no, six, for which we've got no room. The kids' rooms are overflowing with books.

We get about 90 percent of them from the local thrift store. Another five percent comes through the book order forms the kids bring home from school. The rest come from used book purchases via the Internet.

Stocking used books is a good idea, if the prices are right. I laugh out loud at the prices at our regional used book store when I can go to the thrift store and find the same used books for substantially less.

I love all of you folks who go to the new book stores, buy new books, read them, put them on a shelf and then, after a while, get bored with them and take them to the thrift stores so I can buy them cheap. Keep it up. Don't buy e-books, though, they're not resellable.

Keep taking your rare and collectable books to the thrift stores, too. I've found several that are worth upwards of $30 to $50 at Powells for $2 or $3 at the thrift store.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I bought a new book.

Hence, I am doomed.

I want to write books. I have written a book. But if everyone in the world is like me, the only way I’ll get any money out of it is to open a thrift store and sneak copies of my books onto the shelves and then pocket the money when and if they sell.

That brings up other tantalizing questions: Self-publishing? E-book-only publishing?

No. I need an editor, a disinterested outside observer to tell me where I’ve gone wrong. I’ve read enough poorly-written self-published stuff to know better. Of course, I’ve read enough poorly-written traditionally-published stuff to know better as well.

What to do, Dorothy, what to do?

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