Thursday, May 31, 2012

The doppelgänger of the water filter

For years we've had a Brita water system for our drinking water and have changed the filters religiously (that is, we put on a hat).

Michele said this morning that the electronic filter indicator had crapped out and would not flash either green, to show that the filter is working, or red, to show that we need to replace the filter. Without the light, how would we know when to replace the filter? What if we became overchlorinated? What if there was a sudden surge of residual copper or cadmium? The speculations gave me pause. A filter generally lasts two or three months, so Michele changed it today. Then she announced, "I've turned into Jack."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tidy boyz in the 'hood

Our neighbors are very tidy guys.

For example, we know when Paul's girlfriend is coming for the weekend, because he always does a thorough cleaning.

When Michele came home from work this afternoon, she asked quietly, so as not to disturb the process, "Did you see what Mark is doing?" I told her I hadn't and asked what he was doing. She said, "He's washing his car." I'm glad he could repurpose a commercial-grade tool for home use.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Your life story would not make a good book. Don't even try."--Fran Lebovitz

Is it just me, or have the self-published authors been coming out of the woodwork lately? (Oddly enough, Ina is the only one who does her homework, markets her books aggressively, and gets someone to edit her work.)

How did you get this number? Where? Why?
Last week we got a phone call from an independent author who wanted to know how to get on our bestseller list. Linda, who answered the phone, said, "You sell a lot of books in our store." The man said that the book hadn't been published yet (street date of May 15), but he was doing some preliminary planning. We're generally interested in books with a local connection, so Linda asked what the book was about. The man said that he had been imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and had written a book about his time in prison and corruption in Louisiana politics (always a hot seller in northern New Mexico, which redefines "corruption in politics"). While Linda took that in, he asked, "Where are you?" Linda told him that we are at the corner of 15th and Central, right next to the Bradbury Science Museum. "No," he said, "I mean what state?" Linda said that we're in New Mexico. After he complimented Linda on how well she spoke English, he asked whether we were the bookstore at 109 East Palace in Santa Fe. She told him that there's no bookstore at that address and that we're in Los Alamos. He told her he was in Louisiana, complimented her again on her excellent command of English, and rang off, presumably to continue working down his list of every independent bookstore in the country.

You'll lose money and credibility, but can I do this anyway?
A local independent author has just published a six-volume series of mystery books for middle readers. As free ebooks. Available only on (or, as we call it, "the great Satan"). He wanted to know whether we'd promote the books in the store and have an event for him.

Advice for poets
If you're going to attempt Parnassus, do not use the ode or the sonnet to announce that it's going to rain tomorrow because your corns are shooting. Your overwrought, febrile, portentous free-verse musings on the virtues of single-payer health insurance may be profound to you, but they're hilarious to the rest of us. You do not want to descend into bathos at a public event. Trust me.

Everyone I know is interested in my book, except my immediate circle of friends
When a local independent author wants to do a signing or reading from a book we've taken on consignment, I always ask for a list of at least 25 email addresses so that I can send invitations to the author's friends. One author gave me the mailing list of the Unitarian Church. Another author said, "I don't know 25 people who would be interested in my book"; further comment is superfluous.

Would you proofread this for me?
I will read your manuscript for a price. I will edit your manuscript for an even higher price. I will consult with you on how to market your book for an even higher price than I charge for editing. You can't afford me.