Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

There’s a new, short post up on Gratitude and Growth.

I’m angry that Borders is closing the two stores within a decent driving distance from me. As much as I prefer spending my money at independent bookstores, there are times when Borders came in handy, and the two stores they’re closing were packed ALL THE TIME. As in, six check out people and a line winding back and forth no matter what day of the week or time or day I was there. There is no reason to close those stores other than Borders Corporate Management is greedy and bad at what they do (hence having to file for bankruptcy). They keep touting the website, but it sucks, and they’ve never gotten a single order correct for me, so I stopped using them. I’ll close out my gift cards and then, to hell with them. I feel bad for the wonderful people in my area who worked for them and were helpful, friendly, and supported local authors. But management in the head office? Deserve to be kicked to the curb. Corporate office management has sucked for at least the past five years, probably longer.

It’s not the death knell for bookstores. What this does is open slots for more independent bookstores (I’m so lucky that the Cape is full of them), and also, make room for a hopefully more successful, literate, book-friendly (meaning both digital and print) model. The death of the Corporate Bookstore is only going to help actual individual booksellers, authors, and readers. There are other business models where everyone wins. I’m not going to bore you with them here, but I’ve researched and written about those possibilities elsewhere, and how to make them work. Unfortunately, because so many publishers are now corporations, too, it makes it harder to convince the big houses there’s a better way to do things.

Someone stopped following me on Twitter because that “person” — I think it was a fake name — kept sending me links to write for content mills & I asked the person to stop, saying I don’t write for content mills and they couldn’t afford me. So I’m “dropped”. So sad. Not. 😉

Working on a set of proposals for some for-hire work. Tight turnaround time, clean copy, write fast and well, mimic the style previously set up. I can do all that. An assignment from a one of these establishments wouldn’t be easy, but I think it would be good experience, so I’m going to toss my hat into a couple of rings and see what comes up. If they like me, they’ll keep me on file and contact me whenever it seems there’s a good fit. It could be intermittent, short-term work that pays decently, and I can manage it with my teaching schedule and my own writing. And I’ve got some more teaching proposals to get out, for in-person, local workshops.

It’s all about time management. We all have 24 hours in every day. It’s how we choose to use them that defines us.

And my work is not separate from my life — few fiction writers’ work is. It is INTEGRATED into my life.

I finalized another deconstruction workshop for May — someone dropped out and they asked me to take over, so I have to get up to speed on the books — they’re on my To Be Read list, but now I have to sit down, read them back-to-back, taking notes, and read them for an entirely different perspective than to read it just to read it. Should be fun.

The work on the book went slowly, but pretty well yesterday. I need to get some more done this morning before I pack up and head up to Site #2, where I’ll be for the rest of the week.


Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 9:44 am  Comments (7)  
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  1. Sadly, the big bookstores already forced our independents out of business, so now when they close down we have no alternative. I hope the independents come back.

    I do like the atmosphere and ambience in the likes of Borders, Books etc, Waterstones, and so on, but I think that’s because I love books and it’s nice to be surrounded by so many that look so nice and pristine, with soft, squidgy armchairs to sit in while browsing too. But I used to love the old, dusty, cramped and packed local book shops as well.

    Do you think you’ll ultimately end up doing more teaching than writing? The teaching seems to have filled the theatre gap … Did you want more teaching time or more writing time? I can’t teach and write any more. The teaching drains my creativity.

    • I have to make sure I get my writing done before I get back online to teach, and divvvy up my day and my energy carefully. I learn a lot from the teaching, and it’s helping me catch errors in my own work that I catch in their work — breaking bad habits I’ve fallen into, etc.

      Eventually, I’ll move away from teaching again. Right now, I’m able to balance them, and the teaching income makes it possible for me to write. I enjoy it, I’m good at it, and my students are getting published, so they’re getting something out of it.

      Because i push them to look at their work in different ways, it also gives me more tools when something’s not working in my writing. I remember something we did in class, and apply it.

      At this point, the teaching is helping the writing. If and when it starts to interfere, I’ll start cutting back.

  2. We’ve still got a handful of independent bookstores that I love here in Phoenix, but those are the folks I visit when I can be leisurely. Borders was where I went on a mission: e.g., must-have-now books for an author interview in the next day or two. So, now I’ll need to make a bunch of phone calls to the indies to see who has what I need, or ante up for Amazon overnight. Grrr.

  3. They are closing BOTH in your area? I am sorry to hear that!

    Sounds like you have some good independent bookstores around you to make up for it. So, that’s a plus.

    I am bad and order most things through Amazon. Because I can get a book for $2–slightly used. And with shipping I can still get it for less than bookstore price. Since I don’t have a Half Price Books around here, I generally go that route.

  4. The closest Borders we had was a small mall store, a Borders Express. But, it was closed 2 years ago. I wish the bigger stores would realize they don’t have to fill the stores with DVD’s and toys to draw customers. Over half of that junk ends up on clearance anyway.
    Hope you’re back is feeling better and that you’re having a good day.

  5. Devon, I don’t know about you, but I’m a little tired of hearing how digital is killing the book sellers. It’s not. I buy more books now than I did in the past. However, I do buy them from the independents. I like Borders for the atmosphere, but not so for Barnes & Noble. I objected to B&N when they charged for a membership card that others gave for free. And on my daughter’s first trip to a B&N, she revealed exactly my thoughts: “I thought there would be more books there.”

  6. I agree with Lori re the digitial point. I was gutted when the Borders in Edinbugrh closed because it was a great store with lots of atmosphere. It also catered as much for writers as readers so it was a great place to be.

    However, Edinburgh is chock full of indie booksellers so I am never short of paper reading in this little town – thank goodness 🙂

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