June 2008

Well the first “official” day of research went well. I scooted over to the library and spent a few hours. Yes I know I could do a lot online and I will, but I just needed to physically get away from my other work and concentrate on the task ahead.

What I learned is that there is a helluva lot already written on my subject area (Gold) and in many different areas of the Dewy decimal system. I am however, undaunted. Still the wide-eyed innocent— humor me. Somehow I am certain my book will be different than all these others and some publisher will just fall all over themselves to get me to sign! Haha. I’m not that naive. Still I will proceed with starting the darn thing and at least writing enough to get a sense of what it will be, draft a compelling query and proposal, and design enough of it to include in the proposal—because THAT’s my hook (or a part of it). And see what happens.

I sat for a couple of hours reading a biography, and wrote a first draft of a sidebar that may or may not make it into the book.

Took a bunch of books home mostly from one section of the aforementioned Dewy, along with a rather good subject area documentary on DVD. This I watched for the remainder of the afternoon. I now have a ton of reading and note-taking to do.

And then there’s all the BEA galleys . . . my reading cup runneth over. Well I haven’t set a time limit for any of this, so it’s all good. Lost doesn’t come back until, what? September? There’s really nothing else I care to watch on TV so that distraction I can live without. So far so good. Gotta go read. . . .

Crazy you say. Perhaps. But it’s all the time I can spare. And I am saying it out loud now, so I will actually have to start doing it. I even sent an email to work:

I’ve come to a momentous decision. I will be reserving Fridays for research and writing on MY book. For the forseeable future actually. I will be working 10 hour days (or whatever it takes) on Mon. through Thurs. to keep my paying work on track/schedule. Fridays I won’t be working, or answering emails, unless it a real emergency—meaning if I don’t do it RIGHT THEN we’ll miss a deadline or something. If you really need something on a Friday put EMERGENCY in your subject line. I’ll do it on Friday then, unless I am on a research field trip—which could happen—I’ll be in the library a lot (just to get outta here in addition to research).

I may even blog about this saga —or not. Depending. Anyway, I start tomorrow.

Well, it’s over. I finally made it back after a nightmarish time trying to get through a line of 200 disgruntled would be United Airlines passengers . . . giving up after two fruitless hour being shuttled from one line to another and buying a seat on Frontier with no waiting!

But here I be, hard at work once again, ;-). Our trip to BEA was fruitful in free books given away by bigger publishers, with money to burn apparently. Is that any way to make money? The show was overwhelming to me. For three days I walked through the hall (picking up freebies) talking to folks, and looking, analyzing, and sometimes puzzling over book cover and interior design choices.

I saw a lot of neat design, some very strange design, and some really awful design. Who knows how or why these will or won’t be “successful” (earn a profit) or how much the design even contributes or takes away from that success or failure.

More than 411,000 books were published in the U.S. last year. Yet, only something like 37% of the population ever sets foot in a bookstore. Clearly this cannot continue. What’s the next big thing in publishing? Technology, for sure, but beyond that? I don’t think anybody knows, but they are spending money like water trying to figure it out.

Meanwhile I’ll keep on doing what I do, trying to do it better, trying to read the trends (and the books) and figure out what makes a successful book design. I’m hoping to outlast the end of the book…if not, well I still know how to garden and raise chickens.

Here’s our little booth. Graphic courtesy yours truly.