Borderline Invisibility

January 27, 2019

We are probably all aware that books by some authors — Clancy, King, Rowling, Martin, Patterson, etc. — sell in the millions of copies.  However, there are authors, and publishers, who aim for a very different market.  Hyperallergic.com has a delightful piece this week about writers and presses that limit their editions to a few hundred copies, and some even reduce their output to single figures.

The main section of the article deals with poet and artist Margaret Galey who published a book of 38 poems, all using only the letters from a sign “Hello, Please Remove Shoes”. The book had a run of just five copies.

The article’s author also contacted Happy Monks Press who limit their editions to 25 copies, of which 10 are for the author.  Others really are one-offs:

“For Alternative Press, which was run by Ken and Ann Mikolowski for more 30 years (1972–2004), Robert Creeley handwrote a poem on each of the 500 letterpress postcards he was given and made no copies. This means his “Collected Poems” will always be incomplete. Creeley’s postcards were put in mailers, along with bumper stickers, bookmarks, and other goodies, and sent to subscribers. The content of every envelope was unique.

Having consciously self-published my own books in very limited editions (though one of mine did break the 1,000 copy barrier), I’m glad to see that writing just for the sake of writing (“borderline invisible”) can still be fashionable.

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A Writer’s Lot is Not Paved with Riches

January 7, 2019

The latest survey on incomes by the Author’s Guild makes sorry reading.  The median income for all authors in 2017 was $6,080 a fall of 42% since 2009.   Median income for all authors claiming it as their full-time work was just $20,300.

Income from book sales seems to have tumbled the most, and most especially for writers of literary fiction.

The Author’s Guild report is detailed and fascinating and worth reading by anyone concerned with the future of literature, reading, libraries, bookstores, and all the ancillaries that go along with the art of writing and reading.


SuperValu: The Bookseller

May 16, 2018

When I published “The Drive some years ago, a number of local bookstores helped me sell the volume, and I thank them for all their assistance.  However, the largest single seller of the book — and they sold several hundreds — was SuperValu at First & Commercial.  They put up a display stand near a cashier, sold the book at full price, and people bought it as an impulse buy (I’m guessing) while they waited their turn in line.  I don’t believe they had sold books of any kind before and it was a positive experience for both the store and me.

Today when I was in the store, they were eager and proud to tell me they now had a whole display of locally written and locally published books.

 

As a Board member at People’s Coop Bookstore, I guess I should be nervous about yet another competitor. However,  I really appreciate the efforts the owner and managers of the supermarket are doing to further the careers of our local authors, and I applaud and thank them!

 

 


Free Speech Is Not For Wimps Or Cowards

February 10, 2018

I believe in totally free speech. Everyone has, or should have, the right to say anything they want on any topic without sanction. That includes comments on this site, no matter how bizarre or off-base they may be.

However, I also believe that right comes with an equal dose of responsibility — that one own one’s own words.

It is not OK to hide your statements behind fake names. It is not OK to pretend to be someone else when making statements. It is not OK to give phony email addresses. Only cowards and deliberate provocateurs do that.

Too often lately, commenters here have hidden their identities, clearly unwilling to be responsible for their own actions. That stops today.  I have been persuaded that some people really need or prefer to use a pseudonym for their own safety (or whatever) and while I disagree with that, I will allow it.  But there is no reason whatsoever to give a false email address, and I will check every new address that tries to leave a comment. Those that fail that simple test will not be posted.

If you don’t like the new rules, don’t leave a comment. Your right to do or not do is completely unharmed.

 

 


Another Medical Hiatus

October 20, 2017

Well, my hope that I would get back to posting in real time foundered on some major infections and a week in Mount St Joseph’s Hospital who discharged me today. At least I can now add their wonderful staff to my praise of the BC Medical profession.

And thank goodness for the images, music, poems, and certain celebrations that I tend to pre-schedule sometimes weeks in advance for keeping the blog ticking over.

Finally back at home, I am keeping my fingers crossed.


What I Do

March 26, 2017

Here on the blog I have a great time publishing my photographs, playing music, beating up on senseless developers and crony-politicians, talking about art, celebrating the odd anniversary, and whatever else comes up. It’s play time.

But each day, whether it is for a long time, or just an hour, I work on my history projects; and this is the real work on which I am engaged. To me, it is a bit like playing the piano — you have to practice every day to keep the muscles limber and the mind sharp.

Much of this effort goes into the Grandview Database. I am currently working on the next version which will be published on 1st April. There are several lifetimes of material still available to be loaded into the database and by that means made easily available to anyone who wants to look. If anything is to be my legacy, I suspect that is it.

But I am also keen to produce another book, this one covering the birth of Grandview from 1860 to 1935 (which will tie in with my earlier book, “The Drive“, which starts in 1935.) To that end, I wrote a book-length series of essays last year, but it didn’t work for me (or my readers), as the book tried to cover the entire period from 1900 to 1970 and there was significant overlap with the earlier book. So, I have begun to rework the material into a more focused and recognizably narrative form, and my plan is to publish drafts of it serially at Grandview Heritage Group as I complete sections  The first part was published today.

In the end, the entire work will be produced as a book. But I hope both those interested in the subject and I will gain something from the serial publishing idea.

 

 


Essays To Come

December 5, 2016

My writing here has been a little less than usual these last couple of months. That is because I have been working on completing my new book: “Grandview: Collected Historical Essays.” The main draft is now complete and I have this week sent out the manuscript to selected professional readers for critical comment. Given that the readers don’t tell me to rip the whole thing up and start again, the plan is to have this in stores by the end of January.

For those interested, the Table of Contents looks like this:

  • John Mason’s House (1891)
  • Creating Grandview (1900-1907)
  • A Little Church In The Stumps (1904-1909)
  • Crime Story I: Wild West and Big City (1910)
  • Boom and Bust (1907-1913)
  • Early Retail on Commercial Drive (1905-1915)
  • Demographics of Commercial Drive in 1910
  • Grandview’s Parks (1890-1930)
  • The Bufton Family (1923-1985)
  • The Viaduct That Saved Grandview (1938)
  • Lawn Bowling Leads to Rock and Roll (1930-1965)
  • Crime Story 2: Just Like In The Movies (1949)
  • The Fight Over The School Site (1940-1955)
  • The Library Saga (1929-1975)
  • Crime Story 3: Robbery Central (1940s, 1950s)
  • The Acronyms of Activism (1907-1967)
  • Getting To Today.

When it becomes available, I will post another notice.