Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This month has been challenging on a personal and professional level.

One of my very favorite writer's boards went down for over a week. I'm not mentioning the name for reasons that will become obvious. After the first 24 hours of heavy withdrawal symptoms, I finally realized no matter how many times I hit the refresh button, my favorite's link, or the bookmark, it wasn't coming back. At least not for the moment.

The intervening break of about 10 days, gave me a fresh perspective on posting. It also freed up a lot of time, I mean a lot of time.

Have you ever been oblivious to something you pass by every week? You don't really see it because it's always just been there? Sort of like a stop sign on your way home from work, your automatic pilot brings the car to a halt, every day, twice a day. Then a traffic light is installed and for a brief moment you're not sure where you are.

Something similar happened. The post reiterated a rule of the board. I firmly believe that when you post on a board you follow the rules or you shouldn't be posting. The owner of the board has every right to decide what is, or isn't acceptable, on their particular board. But this rule, this rule governed behavior off the board. What the particular rule was, is irrelevant.

When I joined that board, that's all I did. I joined a board, not a club, not an association, not a fraternity, not a vigilante group, not an organization. I joined the board because membership was necessary to post. The topic I wanted to post about was a certain Publishing company in America.

On this particular board you could join and not reveal your true identity. Many members did exactly that. I'm still not sure who some of my favorite members are. I joined as myself and used my real name. With very few exceptions I just about always use my real name.

On that fateful day, just about a week ago, the rule hit me (like the traffic light). Belonging to this board meant I agreed to rules which governed my behavior off the board. The more I thought about it, the more it gnawed at me. Finally it was either be a hypocrite or resign from the board. I resigned. And I resigned in a last message posted to the board, explaining why I was leaving, and since I couldn't delete my membership there, I asked a moderator to delete it.

The reaction was stunning. I had been a member of the board since 2004. I probably made over a thousand posts. Most of the posts were information about the Publisher in America. Many members had thanked me for the information I posted. But not this time. The discussion lasted nearly four days. One of the posters who came to my defense was banned. Another major contributor resigned for the same reason I did. There were all sorts of speculation about why I really resigned. And yet no one thought to email me and ask. No one.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The trials and tribulations of …..

Vacations. Yes that’s right. We’ve finally decided to take three smaller vacations this summer rather than one longer one. The dates have been decided and, after a false start planning a trip to Utah – what were we thinking – the destinations.

You would think the rest would be easy. Not so. Where to stay and what to do? It’s a challenge trying to book a hotel in a city you’re not familiar with. All the hotel websites show off the positive attributes of their facility and ignore the negative, which is to be expected. I found one hotel which looked like it was fairly near the beach and had lovely grounds. I emailed the hotel and asked if the hotel was within walking distance of the beach. A very prompt reply said yes, within four blocks. The rooms had balconies and for a small premium, an ocean view was available. Almost booked it, but decided to visit a couple of those travel review sites.

Well four blocks turned out to be half a mile according to one reviewer. That to me, is not walking distance. Another reviewer commented that although the grounds were lovely, the hotel was located on a very busy street, lots of noise. And finally the ocean view rooms were located above a gas station and the lights at night wrecked the view.

Back to square one. Where to stay?

Dee Power

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

21 Full Grown Elephants? That’s a Lot of Books.

172,000 new books released in the United States, according to Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information. The number of new titles dropped about 10% from the record high of 195,000 in 2004, but 172,000 titles s still quite a few books.

Let me see if I can put this in perspective. If the books were shelved side by side one would need two and three quarter miles of shelving. If the books were stacked one atop the other, they would reach almost nine times higher than the world’s tallest building, the Taipei 101, which measures 1,671 feet. To transport one copy of each title, the vehicle would have to be capable of hauling 86 tons or 21 full grown elephants. Laying the books down in a straight line would require a little over 16 miles of railroad tracks.

If a copy of each title was purchased at retail, the total expenditure would be enough to send one student to Harvard for 70 years. However, it would have only been enough to cover less than 20% of the cost of the most expensive diamond ever sold (A 100.10-carat, pear-shaped, "D" flawless diamond sold for $16,548,750, at Sotheby’s, Switzerland, on May 17, 1995.)

If each author received a $5000 advance, the total would nearly approach $1 billion. And most interestingly of all, if one author wrote all these books, consecutively, he or she, would have had to start writing during the time of Neanderthal Man, nearly 100,000 years ago.

How difficult is it to get a book published by a commercial publisher? Well the odds are better gambling in Las Vegas.

We surveyed over 60 literary agents as research for our book, The Making of a Bestseller. On the average these agents agreed to accept only a little more than 2 in 1000 of the authors who contacted them.

It has been estimated that 25 million people in the United States consider themselves writers and only 5% have been published anywhere. Ready for another dose of reality? Only 1% of manuscripts submitted to publishing houses are accepted for publication.

If 99% of all manuscripts submitted are rejected, by any standard, a writer whose book has been published has achieved a major milestone. However you look at it, 172,000 is a
lot of new titles and a lot of happy authors.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

To blog or not to blog, I've thought about this question quite a bit. The internet does not need yet another blog. I actually opened the account on blogger about a year ago. Why start now? Well I am a writer and this is writing.

Perhaps a brief introduction is in order. I am the co-author of several nonfiction books and the wanna be author of a novel. The novel is written and I'm - we're - making the rounds of enticing an agent to represent it. The nonfiction books are The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories of Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them, Attracting Capital from Angels, and Inside Secrets to Venture Capital.

Brian Hill, my co-author, and I have also written screenplays, several of which are making the rounds in Hollywood. You can find out more about us at our website,

Well I guess I'll just ease into this blogging thing and keep the first blog short.

Dee Power