Friday, April 14, 2006

Getting Blurbed

This is not a post about getting renowned authors to give you an endorsement for your book.

It's about a company--a POD company--named Blurb.

Ever heard of them? Neither have I. But they've done something amazing: they've managed to generate some interest among venture capitalists (in the already well-stung San Francisco area) in their Print-on-Demand operation. In fact, they've raised eight million so far.

I'm not sure what they are doing is any different than CafePress or Lulu, but Publishers Lunch recently mentioned that they are "in talks with Major League Baseball about a project to allow fans to create books about their favorite team." Sounds like a blog--in print.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The cost of doing business (relatively)

You should check out this article in BusinessWeek about folks writing books to help the bottom line of their businesses. It's a bit off topic, but it has some interesting numbers at the bottom. (And keep in mind that business books tend to find an audience more readily than fiction.)

Granted, everything discussed here (like, you're much happier if you have an agent and a publicist) falls into the "lessons learned" category, but it never hurts to hear it again. And again.

From the article:
"Our survey showed that 51% of authors invested personal funds in marketing their books. The amount they invested ranged from $1,000 to $150,000. The median amount was $4,500."

On a more fun and uplifting note, check out Susan Henderson's blog this morn. She has a great mini-interview with author Bonnie Glover about her road to publication.

Monday, April 10, 2006

THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND THE SEA by Christopher Meeks (Lulu)

I’ve always been choosy when it comes to short story collections; I find it annoying, usually, to have to reinvest myself into different characters and scenes time and time again.

Call me lazy.

That said, I've managed to find five exceptional collections over the past year (
1 2 3 4 5). Now I can add the first for 2006.

Christopher Meeks has put together a collection that is so stunning, so impeccably written that I could not help but move on to the next story each and every time, until a quick glance of this book turned into a consumption.
THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND THE SEA is comprised of 13 stories, each about the human experience. (Granted, that is one overused term, but nothing could fit these vignettes any better.)

Meeks has a real talent for giving you everything you need to know about the characters and setting without letting details get in the way. In the first story of his collection, Academy Award Afternoon & Evening, a mere three full pages long, Meeks gives you the full details about the four characters in bite-sized chunks and leaves it at that:

As we approach the counter that divides the two rooms, I see Lila wears a baggy, gray sweatshirt that gives little sense to her form, as if she is out of focus.

Perhaps the most amazing element of the set is the title story, which brings together two men (related only by having married women who are sisters) of completely different types, who share a fishing expedition where the revelation of one's impending death becomes the topic of conversation.

I'm telling you: the human experience.

Meeks is a talent to watch, a writer blessed with a genuine gift for narration and storytelling. And should he produce a full length novel in the near future, it will certainly get bumped to the front of the line with me. For now, though, just enjoy
THE MIDDLE-AGED MAN AND THE SEA. Believe me, you will.

Grab it on Amazon for$12.94 or in e-book form from Lulu for only $3.56. Also, you can check out a video interview with Chris Meeks right here.