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Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Monday Mumblings Checks the Heat Index

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


Yes, it's hot. But wait: It's late July in Texas. Isn't it supposed to be hot? Not 108F, it isn't. The forecast calls for more of the same. But, tantalizingly, a 40% chance of showers on Friday. No break in the temps, though. Hot and humid!

So I'll scattershoot just a bit. And if I veer of course, remember, it's hot and the asthma is kicking up. Lack of oxygen to the brain. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

One link for the hot day: Gail Carriger offers up some plus-size vintage resources. The only thing I can add to that is that because stuff gets re-tailored smaller and fabric shrinks, women who don't think of themselves as plus-sized may find themselves buying larger when they buy vintage or thrift. Think I'm joking? I have stuff that's four sizes larger than I'd wear off the retail rack. Ignore the size tag and go by what fits.

Spent yesterday in meetings. Saturday mostly in bed, trying to sleep. Between the heat and not being able to breathe, sleep is hard to come by. I grab it when I can. It's typical for summer, but it's worse this year because I'm suffering from being "at a particular age." Hot flashes in this heat are just no fun.

Pat Elrod had posted over on her Facebook page (the link escapes me) about someone upset that the royalties from a vanity press aren't what they expected. Let's just say this person was hoping for more than most of us see in advances and royalties. It makes me sad when people expect their book sales are going to buy a house, a car, or cover needed medical expenses. Doubly so when they've paid a vanity outfit to publish the book. Very few people see back what they paid. Authorhouse reported a few years ago that their average title sells 150 copies

Lather, rinse and repeat: Publishing is a business. Even if you're paying to have someone print your books. Even if you're working with a vanity press. Do your homework. Run the numbers. Plan for worst-case scenarios. If you want someone like Authorhouse to print your books and you handle sales and distribution, that's up to you. But please approach it like a business and don't for one minute believe that if you print it, the readers will come. Study the people who have made a success of it and find out what works, while keeping in mind that what works for someone else might not work for you. Borders is going under because someone tried to market books like laundry soap*. Don't make that mistake on your book.

*Yeah, yeah. E-readers rule, printed books drool, and Borders wasn't nimble enough. Uh, just what I said before. Books aren't laundry soap. I've used up lots of pixels complaining about the bizarre stocking methods of my local Borders. The employees were great. But they didn't have any control over the stock.  And ultimately, if you can't get what you're looking for - be it books or laundry soap - how often are you going to keep shopping at a particular store? There was one thing they could have done that would have been ahead of the publishing curve, and they just did it kind of half-assed. They had what was supposed to be a digital publishing center. What it was was a bunch of copies of a self-pubbed book (published under their vanity imprint) about digital publishing and some kiosks. They also had kiosks for downloading MP3s and burning your stuff to CD. Kind of cool, but on the back edge of the curve. If they were going to cater to self-publishers, they needed an Espresso machine. Not only that, but they could have printed any book that they had the rights to print, right there. Why order from Amazon and wait a week when I could go down the street and get it?  What else is the Espresso good for? Want to put together an album of baby pictures for the grandparents? You could do it at the kiosk (and also from the comfort of your own home), but then you had to go home and wait for the book to be delivered. That was really a missed opportunity.

Temp has dropped 1/10th of a degree. Woo ho! It's time for me to go heat up the kitchen for dinner. Actually, I'm doing it smart tonight. I wanted to make a dinner with meatballs. I can buy a bag of frozen, pre-cooked meatballs for the same price as a pound of decent ground beef. Heat in the microwave, brown in the skillet for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and spend five more minutes in the skillet on low heat, and I've got dinner.

Oh, damn. Temp just went up 2/10ths of a degree. Ah, it had been as hot as 109. Stop complaining and get cooking, Julie!

Tags: Life

Filed under: Life   Monday Mumblings         
7/25/2011 2:06:55 PM
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