The Blog

Pretty Lilacs. Because I cannot brain today.

It’s been a bad day for no reason. That happens sometimes, and it always chafes. Childhood conditioning lies like “If you’re resting, you could be achieving,”  are clingy, annoying, happiness-sucking monsters. Because I could.

If I had to, if my survival depended on productivity, I could be productive.  I could make more writing progress than I’m making. I could do more around the house, make more, be more.

But that productivity would exact a high physical and emotinal price, and  pushing costs down the road until there’s a meltdown or a crash just so I can say I MADE A THING is a bad life strategy. I know that.

My world is better and more pleasant when I do not drive myself hard. When I let days be days, even when days turn into weeks In Which Nothing Gets Done, I still get back on track faster than if I push.

But I’m not good at feeling it. Patience requires faith. Faith is slippery.

That’s where the flowers come in. Stopping to take pics & inhale fragrance and soak in colors is a reminder of how full my life is already, and that being here now is enough. Even on (the many) days when I don’t feel it’s enough. Especially then.

I’m in a good place. I won’t starve or be thrown out of my home or lose my health coverage because I didn’t create or reach a word goal or clean or bake or do anything but read and eat treats today (ditto yesterday and the day before, and the day before…) That’s a marvel and an astonishment I do not undervalue.

(Okay, on all the days I “did nothing” I did read, ate treats take care of many minimal personal & environmental care things that kept me active and comfortable, so clearly I need to revisit the whole concept of “doing nothing” at some point.

But not today. Today I am enjoying lilacs and resting.

(You can also view this pic on Instagram http://bit.ly/2Jwl7ZX)

 

Want Books?

TL;DR summary: for the next couple of months, if you want one of my books in paperback and don’t like shopping on the ‘Zon, buying direct from me will be the only way to get them. WHICH YOU CAN DO! Just contact me by email or through the site contact form. Or come to Indy Pop Con where I’ll be in June, or visit Printers Row in Chicago the same weekend (my books will be there but not me) or…well, you get the idea.

Anyway. I digress. Onward to the rest of the post.

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I’ve gone to a bit of trouble to make sure my books exist as real, “ink-on-paper pages wrapped in nice, pretty paperback covers” BOOKS. Books with real publisher logos on them and everything. Ones you could order from bookstores.

Well. Until recently. But not at the moment.

At the time of this post, my only paperback printer/distributor/retailer is Amazon.com. That’s a temporary situation, but one I felt you dear readers should know, just in case you might be looking to purchase a book or four from your local independent bookstore in the near future.

Beginning this summer, Ingramspark will become my primary book printer, and Ingram LightningSource will be responsible for distributing my paperbacks to print book markets.

So. There’s a switchover process. Changes are coming down the road, and that means bumps in the road. So. In the meantime…

Why start with one company and move to another? Well, now. There’s a story.

(of course there’s a story.)

Back when I was getting started in this writing & publishing gig, I seriously doubted  any humans outside my immediate friends & family circle would want Real Live Paperbacks of my stories. It was simpler (by FAR) to let Amazon handle print distribution to book retailers as well as the orders made through their site.

I mean, it wasn’t like people were hammering down the doors of their local retailers to get my books, nor was I retailing books myself. Easier just to have one-stop setup for al things book. So that’s the path I took. Least-resistance routing.

Welp, on the meandering road of life, I’ve come ’round to the same intersection again, and this time, I’m going down the road not-yet traveled.

Simpler never meant better. It didn’t even mean cheaper. It definitely didn’t mean superior quality control. So, for those reasons and more,  I’m maintaining an Amazon print account for Amazon sales only (should any more Amazon orders of my books ever occur) and moving all other paperback ordering and brick&mortar distribution needs to another company: Ingramspark Lightning Source (No, I do not know why they have such an unwieldy moniker. I can understand why they go by LSI in most situations.)

Now. A disclaimer. DO NOT IMAGINE THIS CHANGE MEANS MY BOOKS HAVE SUDDENLY BECOME POPULAR AND/OR LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE CLAMORING TO BUY THEM. That would be inaccurate. Wildly inaccurate.

Wrong, even.

I’m investing the time & money in this setup with Ingramspark because things have changed a LOT in the 5 years since I first did a print edition–both on my side, and the publishing side. Ingramspark always had a lot more to offer than Amazon, I’m at a point where I can handle that more-ness, and Ingramspark now offers me an incentive to make the jump.

They used to charge an arm & a leg to set up a title for printing & distribution. Now it’s down to $50 a title AND they credit back that $50 if  you order sufficient number of copies. In 2014 I couldn’t imagine selling 50 books. Now? Now that’s doable. Books don’t go bad like fruit, after all. I’ll go through 50 copies eventually. I won’t sell ’em fast, but I am regularly selling at conventions now & have my own Square account so mail-order is possible. (hint. hint.)

Ingramspark also offers a better selection of  bindings and formats for Print On Demand clients than Amazon’s printing service does too. HARDCOVERS, anyone? Staple-bound chapbooks for novelettes or samples? Duplex covered paperbacks that have that extra style? For me, format options inspire content creativity.

Plus they’re set up to honor sales tax exemption for resellers and retailers…like, say, me.  That balances out a slight increase in printing costs. And based on the delightfully transparent printing process, I expect to be getting a more predictable print quality too. (Fingers crossed, candles lit and all that. Testimonials from others are positive.)

Wrapping up, I have a good quantity of books on hand now, and I have the technology to make them yours, but ordering them anywhere but Amazon will not be happening for a undetermined time.

I’ll keep the world updated.

Until later.fullsizeoutput_149b.jpeg

Random thinky-thought

I’m testing out a new approach to my work/life balance: ranking comfort & happiness higher than Greater Productivity.

It feels strangely subversive, even radical, to take care of myself first, to rest when I’m exhausted, to do what feels good, even if that means not doing a thing.

“No pain, no gain,” is the mantra of the modern world, and our culture shouts, “You Are What You Make/Do/Consume” from every platform. “How much have you made?” is the standard metric for measuring value.

It’s HARD to stop treating time like it’s a commodity to be spent, to stop asking “what have I got to show for it?” as a measure of an activity’s value.

All those lessons on The Intrinsic Value Of Hard Work I absorbed growing up? They’re not easy to set aside.
But I’m trying.
Because…I kinda like it.

Also, there’s the part where my joints are enforcing the slowdown by flat-out REFUSING TO FUNCTION if I push them too hard, so there’s that.

The shoulders and wrists and hips and suchlike gotta last me a few more decades, so if protecting them means I write less, lift & haul less, DO less, then well…then I will practice enjoying what I can do with ‘unproductive’ time. There’s a lot I can do. “Stay active but be more careful” covers a lot of ground.

And yes, I’m aware of how lucky I am to be in a position where I can choose to do less and still continue to eat, have a roof overhead etc. Yeah. Gratitude is a thing too.

Anyway. It was on my mind, now it’s on the blog.

Until later.