01. June 2009 · Comments Off on Monday Morning Doldrums · Categories: General, Home Front, Tea Time, Working In A Salt Mine...

Still recovering from a bad allergy cough that sounded as if I were bringing up a lung – the very sound of which made people edge nervously out of range and ask, with deep concern, if I was all right. I had to beg off working the usual Saturday evening at the hell-hole telephone bank, taking reservations because – it sounds bad to the prospective guests when the reservations agent is hacking away like Camille dying of tuberculosis, and besides, I could barely talk above a whisper. So home and to bed very early, loaded up with over-the-counter stuff which is supposed to help … and this morning was the first time in a week I opened my eyes and felt something close to normal.

Which is all to the good, because I have a book club meeting in Beeville next Monday – this sort of thing is meat and drink to writers, a room full of people who have actually read the book and have serious questions. I got some lovely ideas for the next round of writing about early Texas from the last book-club meeting – so, we’ll see how it goes. Also putting together an IAG-All-Texas writers event for a bookstore in Fredericksburg late in July, the very day after another event for me at the Pioneer Museum. The owners at Berkman Books were all very keen on the idea, so here’s hoping for the best. Hard to tell, how it will all go town, with the economy apparently on the verge of tanking like the Titanic. I’m kind of worried about the other independent bookstore that carries my book, the Twig in Alamo Heights. I managed to scrape far enough ahead of the bills that I could use my royalties to buy copies of the Trilogy for consignment sales, but the Twig management only wanted one of each. When we stopped by to drop them off last week, Blondie noticed that – although there were no gaps in the shelves, they didn’t have much in the way of the other knick-knacks and little non-book items that they usually had in stock before.

I put some more work into on-line marketing, though – Amazon.com has set aside Author pages for a wider array of scribblers than formerly, so I’ve been spending some time this morning uploading the necessary files to expedite the “search inside” feature. Yea on many moons ago, I had uploaded “To Truckee’s Trail” as a Kindle book, and had such an awful time doing it and no appreciable uptick in sales, that I had written off doing so as wasted effort. This was just after Amazon had launched the Kindle Reader Mark One, so I guess the bugs in their system were to be expected. I didn’t upload the Trilogy as a Kindle book until January, when some of the other IAG authors began discussing it; lo-and-behold! Uploading them, and adding the necessary links to the paperback version suddenly was a lot less fraught. I’ve actually had a good few sales of all four books, ever since. Don’t know how or why someone suddenly added Tabasco sauce to Amazon.com’s wheaties, but I’ll play, as long as they’re in a helpful mood.

Ordinarily, my vision of Amazon is that of a huge, cavernous underground warehouse, piled highe with books and other goods, sort of like that in the final scene of the first Indiana Jones movie. Up in the dim ceiling overhead, there is some kind of vast, clanking machine, with tracks and pulleys and long arms which reach down and pick up something, and carry it away. I visualize those items being dropped into a huge hopper, and eventually they emerge on the other end – which is an anonymous UPS drop-box on an anonymous street in a featureless urban warehouse development. The point is, there don’t ever seem to be any humans involved, save for someone in a long gray cloak that slips around the corner and runs away, immediately you catch sight of them … or the whole place may be run by rubbery-tentacled aliens, like the Thermians in Galaxy Quest. In any case, interaction with a real human at Amazon is just about impossible.

Oh, and you’ll never know it, if you get your news from major media outlets, but the San Antonio Tea Party is perking along, planning our big 4th of July bash. It’ll be at the Rio Cibolo Ranch, just east of town, with live music, and speakers and singers, and games, and consciousness-raising, and hay-rides and a herd of long-horns … everything but the kitchen sink. Think of it as a conservative Woodstock. But that’s a month away, and ever so much more to do for it… sigh, back to work.

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