Friday, March 01, 2013

Weekend Reading: The Writing and Libraries Edition

You are all probably well aware of the fact that I have a children's book coming out next Tuesday, March 5. (Mark you calendars!)  So in honor of that, I thought I'd make this week's links all about books and writing and libraries.

First, via @CaleeL (who runs the company publishing my book), I offer you a nice post about what we can do to support the authors whose work we love. Even before I decided to try to get my "zebra story" published, I was interested in the changes happening in publishing, and how authors could find an audience- and a paycheck- in this changing landscape, so I like to think that I'd like that post even if I didn't have a book coming out next week.

I have, in fact, been trying to do more to spread the word about books and stories I like for awhile now. I've done two links posts with short eBooks, and I am trying to write more reviews on Amazon. I also finally joined GoodReads, and will probably write reviews there, too. I guess once I started thinking about the economics of being a writer, I realized how much that enterprise depends on volume!

Given all of this, when I came across this post at the Guardian looking for good Indie Sci-Fi and Fantasy, I decided I had to post my recommendations. I wasn't even deterred by the need to register on their site to post, which is what usually stops me from commenting on any mainstream media sites. I think you can find my comment on page 3. I recommended three short eBooks, two of which I've included in earlier links posts, and one that is on the list waiting for my next eBooks recommendation post.

I do not discriminate against independently-published books, particularly not short ones that don't require a large investment of time or money, but I am also not convinced that they are the future of publishing. I agree with a lot of the issues Chuck Wendig spells out in this post about how not every writer wants to be a publisher. Certainly, I had no desire to be a publisher once I thought about what that would actually entail.

There was a recent dust up about libraries and their impact on book sales. I won't link to the original article that started it all, because I never bothered to read it. I got enough of a flavor from the quotes in the reactions to it to make an educated guess that it wasn't something I wanted to spend time reading.

But there have been some really good responses. I like Paul McAuley's defense of the economics of libraries, and John Scalzi writes beautifully about the importance of libraries in his life

I have to admit that I am far from impartial on this front. My father is a retired librarian, so I may have even more fond memories of time in public libraries than most. I can still remember the thrill of discovering a new author- bonus points if that author had an entire series of books I could read! I remember when I first got interested in science, thanks to a series of books about the human body that I checked out from the library. And I remember when I was finally old enough to go out into the grown up section of the library to look for books to read there. One of the first grown up books I remember checking out was a book about modern epidemiological mysteries called The Medical Detectives (it may have been this one, but I'm not sure). I loved that book, and I was also inordinately proud of how thick it was- it was the thickest book I had read to date.

I think libraries are hugely important, and am sad that they are facing attacks from people who should know better in addition to declining budgets. However, like all institutions, they may have to look at new ideas to stay relevant. So I am intrigued by the idea of libraries as start-up incubators. (Also, it is nice to see some good news out of my home state!)

That's all my book and library links for now. Feel free to leave your thoughts and memories about libraries and/or your thoughts about the business of writing (or anything else, really) in the comments.

And here is a completely unrelated by truly awe-inspiring video to send you into the weekend in style:



(found via Boing Boing)

2 comments:

  1. Oh, my God, I LOVED Medical Detectives. Yes, it was that one - essays from the Annals of Medicine series in the The New Yorker. I have one of his essays in my teaching file - it's about a young woman with myasthenia gravis and it taught me more about the diagnostic process and listening to patients than I learned in all of medical school.

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