So Philippa Gregory still has nothing to fear in sales competition from me as the author of “To Truckee’s Trail”, as I have to sell another one million, nine-hundred thousand plus copies before I can even think of buying that tastefully renovated castle in J.K.Rowlings’ neighborhood. I can’t make out from either Amazon’s stats or Booklockers’ how many – if any copies have sold in the last couple of months, because the book distributor Ingram has a four-month lead anyway. And individual POD books like mine are so expensive, relatively speaking, to print when they are done in runs of fifteen or twenty, rather than fifteen or twenty hundred thousand copies at a whack – that bookstores usually can’t get them at a 40% discount… which is a whole nother ball of wax, and the reason that the big-box-bookstores are an un-crackable nut for us independent authors. Thank god for the small local bookstores: I have a book-signing event planned tentatively at Berkman Books in Fredericksburg in December, and another one January 16th at The Twig in Alamo Heights. And my Number One fan, Mom, might be able to twist the arms of her literary friends in Escondido and Valley Center, and schedule something for me over Christmas week. Discouragingly, it still takes months to get reviews, though. Apparently not everyone can read a book as fast as I can.

Still, at least independent authors can get published now – they can get their books out there without having to pass through the gates of the literary industrial complex. There are other options than paying a bomb of money to a printer and stashing crates of copies in their garage. There is another way to find an audience, as independent musicians and independent movie-makers have already discovered. I have gotten together with a handful of other writers to brain storm some marketing strategies; all of us are either small-press or POD and totally exasperated with the current paradigm. There must be a better way for our books to reach interested readers. Without very much more ado, we formed the Independent Authors Guild, put up a website and a discussion group, published a newsletter (which will be a monthly) and began recruiting more members. So far we’re still working out future moves, and putting in sweat equity rather than a lot of cash. Check out the website… my work! (Not the logo, though – someone else did that, and it’s a book, not a pair of panties!)

Oh, and I scored a stack of books for reviews that I have to read and then write about. I promise I will post some more of that good bloggy ice cream here.

And I am four chapters in to the final volume of the “Adelsverein” trilogy – or “Barsetshire with Cypress Trees and a Lot of Sidearms”, and need to do some very specific research on 1) how to harness a team of draft horses to a wagon, and what driving them involved -diagrams would help enormously and 2) 19th century prothesis available for a below-elbow arm amputation. Does the BAMC medical museum have a collection, I wonder?

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