Tag Archives: why Amazon sucks

These are a Few of my Favorite (Internet) Things

sheepWe all have a few go-to things we use to cheer up, like Old King Cole who “called for his fiddlers three.” Over and over again, I find myself returning to three quick online videos, when the Tree of Life shakes in The Winds of Adversity, and tumbles me out of my Happy Place.

The shocking thing about this list is that only one of them is a cat video…..

Here’s the Cats with Thumbs video (be sure you watch to the very last second):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6CcxJQq1x8

Here’s the Singing Duck, for difficult days. (Jack says when he hears this coming from my computer, he’s the one who ducks.):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRFoiD6Pptc

And here is The Goat, which you can pretty much pop like a happy pill before doing something you dread:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=793433460668309&set=vb.207933782551616&type=2&theater

And then, just when I thought the Internet couldn’t get any better, someone sent me a link to the Stephen Colbert report on A***on’s new lawsuit. A handful of Little Bookstore Goodreads reviews have said things like “unnecessarily harsh to A***on, which is a great service for self-publishing authors to get their works out there, not to mention great prices.” (BTW did you know that A***on owns Goodreads?)

Mhmm. Dream on, children, that Big Daddy loves you. Meanwhile, watch this. We small business owners are–over, and over, and over, smiling like the evil bad putters-down of the Big A that we are:

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/t1nxwu/amazon-vs–hachette—sherman-alexie

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Filed under bad writing, between books, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, publishing, reading, Sarah Nelson, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

What if Editors SOLD Books (in Big Stone Gap)?

nicholeRegular readers will know that I spent a week in NYC last month, doing a couple of events and goofing off visiting my editor Nichole (in the photo) and agent Pamela. During the course of the week, Jack and I were delighted to have a conversation with Ken, head of independent bookstore sales for Macmillan, and his assistant Matt; we talked about coping mechanisms for small guys, marketing strategies for big guys, and the very hopeful demographics showing rises from 2011-2013 not only in sales of books at indie bookstores, but in the number of indie bookstores that are out there.
After the conversation, Nichole made the casual comment that she wished she knew more about how indie bookstores sold books. “It’s like the Gold Standard of bookselling, the handsell. And I’ve certainly recommended lots of books to lots of people, but I’ve never stood in a shop and sold one.”
Thus an idea was born. Nichole and her trusty assistant Laura have been saying repeatedly they’d love to visit Big Stone Gap. In addition, my publicist Jessica is from Richmond, VA, and she’s never been to the more rural climes. So here’s my cunning plan: we need people to explain to Nichole’s editor-in-chief why Nichole and Laura and Jess could really use a week of handselling experience in a small town.laura chasen
Wouldn’t it be great to have Nichole and Laura (in the photo) and Jess spend a few days RUNNING The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap?  Pamela, my agent, has often said that if prospective authors who send pitches to agents had to sell the books they were pitching, they’d change their pitch—and tune. You have to know what will and won’t sell—and how to sell it—to write a good query letter.
Nichole and I have often talked about the failed algorithms of A**zon, how people who want to read books that don’t quite fit a specific category can’t find them, don’t know they’re out there, and how sales reps (that is, those who sell books in bulk to bookstores from publishers) have to make things easy for the stores and build their own relationships of trust in order to do their jobs well. And that there’s a disconnect between the writers, the editorial shapers, and the sellers. Think of it: Manhattan’s finest editors bridging those gaps (in The Gap!).
jessicaSo here’s what we need: leave a comment on this blog saying why Nichole and Laura and Jess (in the photo of her birthday dinner with us in NYC) should get to spend a week (okay, three days) running our shop. (Don’t worry about Pamela and her assistant Michelle; we have a completely different plan for them.) And while the trio are down here we can show them a good time. Please, in your comments, explain why this is a good idea to Nichole’s boss (who will be interested).
And if Nichole and Laura and Jess get to visit, we’ll throw a party, and y’all can come say hi!

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing

ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY

Jack’s guest blog this week discusses the family of booksellers, from NYC to BSG

Our second NYC visit, to meet up with Wendy’s editorial team at St Martins Press and her agent Pamela, has been great. We were a little more confident about surviving in the Big Apple this time, even able –with the assistance of ‘shop-sitter’ Andrew–to navigate our way around the subway system and cross streets without getting knocked down.

Another reason for being there was an event Jess (our lovely publicist) had organized at Word Up Books, on Thursday evening. Organizer Veronica met us at the door and immediately said how much she had been looking forward to welcoming us as she had read ‘The Little Bookstore’ with growing recognition of everything Wendy had written about pertaining to their store. “Been there, done that”!

What impressed me most about ‘Word Up’ was how it met our paradigm of what a bookstore should be – truly a community center in its neighborhood. Started a couple of years ago as what was meant to be a very temporary ‘Pop-Up’ store lasting for a week in an empty building, it was so successful that the locals demanded it stay on. First it was a month, then another couple of months and finally a permanent institution. It had to eventually move to different premises and ‘crowd-funded’ the necessary $70,000 opening costs in just a few weeks!

Run entirely by volunteers, Word Up provides a space for all sorts of activities, and always have coffee on the go as well. They keep their costs down by getting donations of used books, plus support from the publishing industry itself in the form of seconds, overstocks, and even editors slipping in a few books to handsell—a win-win for authors, publicists, and sellers alike.

We learned that a neighborhood in New York can also be a ‘small town’ just like Big Stone Gap and has the same needs. This neighborhood had a mix of Spanish speakers from all over the world, plus the usual NYC melting pot and the bookstore specializes in Spanish language reading, but also caters for those other cultures

Finally – our event felt like a real family affair as Wendy’s agent Pamela and Pamela;s assistant Michelle, editor Nichole with her assistant Laura, publicist Jessica, shop-sitter Andrew and his significant other Ali, plus Veronica, store owner Gio, and a phalanx of small business owners from the community joined shop regulars. They made us feel like celebrities, but even more fun, we got to talk books and business, and the business of books, with people who live and breathe it as we do.

Woo Hoo – –

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, publishing, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, writing