On Not Knowing Books

So I’m most likely the most literary-minded person at my store, right? I know about books, publishing, and lots of news. But I’m still only one person. And I’m still 24-years-old. I can’t possibly know EVERYTHING.

Well recently a coworker discovered a number of books I’d not heard of. Some books for young readers. I still have no idea what the books are about, but she was quite surprised when I told her I didn’t know whatever books she was asking about. And she already knows I mostly read Mr. R.L. Stine when I was younger, and she still made fun of me. 😟

Have you ever been asked about a classic and knew nothing about it?

If you Could Build a Library

A little late today because I decided to sleep last night rather than write a post. And then this afternoon I wanted to talk to the girlfriend instead of write this. Eh.

But I was thinking about where I might build  library if I had the chance to do so. Not a Little Free Library, a free standing private library. What I’ve decided is pretty simple and straightforward. I’d look at the city of Houston and identify as many as 10 areas that lack a library altogether or have one in need of financial support. Then I’d research for a year to determine the specific location. I’d cater the events and inventory to the people in the surrounding community.

The library would have ultra high speed internet and typewriters for use. And the entire staff (as much as possible) would live within five miles of the branch. Why? Because they’d have a vested interest in helping as many people as possible. It wouldn’t just be an “easy” job for them.

Lastly, friends of the library sales wouldn’t be operated the same as other libraries. Paperbacks would be the standard $0.25 each and hardcovers would be $0.50, but only once a customer has already gotten 10 books free of charge. Because if the money is there to finance the day-to-day operations of the library, then there is no reason to charge everyone for books that have been read dozens of times.

I’d also name the library after someone who has a history of promoting literacy and reading. I wouldn’t name it after the city or after myself. The name would be one synonymous with books.

Where would you build your library if you could?

On Author Events (again)

We don’t have too many author signings at my store. We have some. They’re generally on Saturday afternoons and the store manager makes announcements so customers know who the author is and what they’re promoting. We had one last Saturday and it got me thinking.

The author was a local author who was more of a big deal than we’d hosted in recent months. So her books were available to purchase from the store instead of from her. And she had a reading.

But her event got me thinking about what the store could do for me. Some co workers of mine have told me I should do one there, but I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure the fact that I work there would help me sell more books, but still. It isn’t only about selling as many books as I can. It’d be weird promoting a book I wrote almost three years ago, a book that isn’t as good as it could be.

But on the other hand, it would be nice to somewhat get back into the swing of things as a writer.

I need to write something new. Maybe then I’d be more comfortable doing an event? I don’t know.

What would you do?


 

We Need Diversity in…Publishing

Remember that whole thing that started in 2014 about the lack of diversity in books? You know, the one that had readers changing their profile pictures on social media to show their support for the movement. Well a new study suggests they were asking for the wrong thing.

Diversity in publishing is what we need. Because then diversity in books would slowly follow. Here are some stats from the survey conducted by Lee and Row over the course of a year.

78 percent of industry employees are female.

79 percent are white.

86 percent of executives are white.

82 percent of editorial staff are white.

84 percent of editorial staff are female.

This was a voluntary survey sent out to dozens of publishers and journals. There is no way for the results to be 100 percent accurate. But if these numbers are even close to being true they make you think about something people say very often, that publishing is dominated by old, white men. I don’t know. Maybe it is. But maybe that’s just an easy way to criticize an industry with blanket statements that people won’t argue because they only know the few super authors they read (who happen to be old, white men).

If books lack diversity (which they do) it isn’t because of the authors writing the books, it’s because of those who work to publish them. Let’s make sure we’re pointing our fingers at the right people here. All this crap people say about not reading white men is absolutely ridiculous.

The whole thing is stupid. Read whatever you want. Or at least have more fact than speculation on your side.

What do you think? I say diversity in publishing leads to diversity in books. And right now we have neither.

You can read the results here.

I #CantDoNothing. What about you?

This will be my second non-bookish post of the last few days. But it’s something that is very important to me.

I imagine that nearly all of the people on WordPress are in the developed world. And maybe some in the developing world. Which means most of you all are at least mildly aware of the refugee crisis happening in and around Syria and other countries. Maybe you don’t go out of your way to read about it and maybe you don’t even care because it’s “their” problem. That’s fine. No one is required to care about anything.

But let me remind you of something. Most of the major conflicts and catastrophes in history have been resolved because people decide to help other people. Natural disasters. War. Epidemics. And the crisis in Syria is our chance.

Obviously not everyone has money to spare to give to organizations on the ground, and that’s okay. Actress Milana Vayntrub (you may know her as Lilly on the ATT commercials) has started an organization called Can’t Do Nothing to spread awareness about the refugee crisis currently ongoing, and to raise resources to help those on the ground.

She isn’t asking you to give her your money. She’s really just asking you to watch her short documentary (13 minutes long) about what she’s seen firsthand in Greece, where refugees are arriving every hour. And if you’re moved to action you can donate your time, money, or voice to help one of three organizations she’s partnered with.

The situation for most of these refugees is extremely dire. They lack access to medicine, shelter, clothing, diapers, food. All things most of us have at our disposal. Things we probably take for granted on a daily basis. These people don’t have, and they don’t have them because of things entirely out of their control.

And the thing is that they aren’t looking for handouts. They’re looking for an opportunity to begin again. One man Milana spoke with during her documentary said he wanted to continue his grad studies. There are so many more refugees exactly like him.

I don’t know when or if the United States will resettle refugees here at home, but our government doesn’t have to keep us from making a significant difference in the lives of others.

I #CantDoNothing after what I’ve seen. What about you?

You can visit the organization’s website at cantdonothing.org

Below is Milana’s short documentary on her experience.

Another Trump Book

Ugh. Donald Trump isn’t fading in the most recent polls released. He’s actually widening the gap between himself and his GOP counterparts. So it isn’t surprising to see another book about Trump climbing up the bestseller charts on Amazon.

But this time it’s something we can laugh at. The book is written by a comedian. And it’s called Trump Temptation: The Billionaire and the Bell Boy. 😂 It’s already been rated 174 times on Amazon. And it’s ranked #365 in the Kindle store. I’m not sure it’ll be able to become a NYT bestseller, but it really doesn’t matter. If we’re forced to hear about Trump because of his standing in the polls, then I want more things like this.

Are you interested in some Trump erotica? I’m not. But it’s only $1.99 on Kindle. Ha!

Bill Cosby Nabs Book Deal

I’m sure you’ve heard of the accusations made against Bill Cosby in recent months. Lawsuits and criminal investigations followed thereafter. Well a Pennsylvania judge dismissed a civil defamation case against him last week. And now he’s got a book deal to tell his side of things.

This just shows that publishing is no different from other types of media that tend to blow up controversial figures and events. But it makes me sick thinking about this man still being able to profit from his side of things. You know the book will become a bestseller and no admission of guilt will be made. Ugh.

What do you think of controversial figures getting lucrative book deals? I know it happens, but that doesn’t make it okay.

PS: Bill Cosby hasn’t reportedly been offered a book deal to tell his story. But I wrote this to show that it’d be believable if he did. People sometimes put publishing up on a pedestal, and there’s really no reason to do so. It’s about making money. Just like every other industry. If you comment what you think of Cosby’s new deal, I’ll know you didn’t read all the way through.