Apr 032014
 
So here's what I asked:

What tips do you have for disposing of a body? A dead one, preferably. 

http://degeorgiskara.blogspot.com
I mean, if it weren't dead, step one would be "kill person." So let's just go with disposing of a dead body. I think dismembering it is key, as is speeding up the decomposition. If you're trying to protect yourself from detection/prosecution, you either want to remove anything that could be a "clue" or plant clues that would lead elsewhere. 

I'm thinking you'd want to disassemble the jaw, making sure to crack all the teeth in order to prevent identification. 

You'd want to peel off the skin of fingertips, too. What else? Is burning the body a rookie move?

Acid? Not too popular. Sinking the body? Yes and no. Mushrooms?

Here. Check for yourself. I've made the post public:

How to get rid of a dead body

Popular suggestion: Reading DEAD PIG COLLECTOR from Warren Ellis.

Of course, wood chippers and soylent green are favorites, too. 

I'm still considering lye vs acid, too.

And if you're going to transport the body, put down some tarp. Do it!
Mar 302014
 
By Kristi Belcamino
I’m just going to say right off the bat that I’m a little bit intimidated to even attempt to fill Joelle Charbonneau’s shoes on this amazing blog.
Why? Well, because she’s a rock star.
Joelle is one of the most dedicated and talented writers I know. And for some reason, I’ve been lucky enough to have her in my corner for the last few years. Damn lucky.
We first met when she judged a contest I entered. She wrote her name on my judging form, and asked me to keep in touch. Ever since that day, she’s been one of the most supportive and nicest writers I’ve ever met. And as I got to know her, I soon realized she was by far one of the hardest working writers out there, as well.
So when Joelle asked me to take her spot here at Do Some Damage on Sundays, I was floored, flattered, and thrilled at the same time. She’ll be back to guest post and I made sure to tell her if she ever changes her mind, this spot is really and truly always hers.
By now, though, you’re probably wondering who is Kristi Belcamino.
I’m a crime fiction writer, Italian mama of two feisty little girls, and a part-time newspaper reporter living in Minneapolis. My first novel, Blessed are the Dead, goes on sale June 10th. It’s inspired by my dealings with a serial killer when I was a full-time cops reporter working the San Francisco Bay Area crime beat.
When my editor and publicist found out I’d been asked to join Do Some Damage, they immediately suggested I reveal the cover for my new book here first. (Just shows how respected and beloved this blog is.)
Steve Weddle was gracious enough to give me the thumbs up on revealing my cover as part of my first post and the stars aligned.
Before I do so, I want to thank Steve and Joelle and all you loyal readers for allowing me to take over the Sunday spot on this blog. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for posts, but am also very excited to hear what you’d like to read about, so feel free to shoot me an email at kristibelcamino@gmail.com and tell me your thoughts and ideas. You can also find out more about me at my website, www.kristibelcamino.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of Do Some Damage!
Here is the back cover copy for my book, Blessed are the Dead

To catch a killer, one reporter must risk it all...
San Francisco Bay Area newspaper reporter Gabriella Giovanni spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares, yet walking away unscathed.
When a little girl disappears on the way to the school bus stop, her quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper, Jack Dean Johnson, who reels her in with promises to reveal his exploits as a long-time serial killer to her alone. Gabriella's passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect Johnson may have ties to her own dark past: her sister’s murder.
 Risking her life, her job, and everything she holds dear, Gabriella embarks on a path to find answers and stop a deranged murderer before he strikes again.
Perfect for fans of Sue Grafton and Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series!

If you want to preorder a copy of the book you can do that here.  
If you don't want to wait, keep an eye on my Facebook page. You might just have a chance to win an early copy. 
And (drumroll please) here is the cover:




 Posted by at 6:00 am

News Ketchup

 Steve Weddle  Comments Off
Mar 062014
 
By Steve Weddle

First off, let's catch up with some things, shall we?

Dana King, friend of the blog, has been running a swell series of Q&As with authors. Check it out over at his site: OBAT.

I'm finishing up FEDERALES, a novella by Chris Irvin. I think you'll like it, as it's about a Mexican federal agent, drugs, and politics. Hop on Twitter and tweet:
"Check out #FEDERALES by @chrislirvin #DSD" something along those lines. I'll look for the DSD or Federales hashtags and give out a couple copies of the book by the end of the week. Also, check out Chris's site HouseLeague Fiction for more about the book.

Meanwhile, our own Holly West has her MISTRESS OF FORTUNE book doing well. I read this one a while back and will be posting reviews soon. Let me tell you, this is one surprising book. I wasn't entirely sure I'd enjoy what looked like "palace intrigue" and all, but I trust Holly. Turns out, this book is pretty damn amazing. The history and mystery meld so well that, a few days after I'd finished, I felt as if I were remembering a movie instead of a book. So, if you haven't checked it out, now is a good time to do so. And if you have, now is a good time to leave a review somewhere.

Also, I'm teaching a 4-week short story fundamentals class at LitReactor starting next week.

Steve Weddle is the author of the novel-in-stories Country Hardball—called "downright dazzling" by the New York Times—and editor of the award-winning short fiction magazine Needle: A Magazine of Noir. And in four weeks, he'll teach you how to write compelling, original short fiction (with skills applicable to longer works of fiction, too).
This class will give the opportunity to hone your skills, using your voice and vision as you craft vibrant, original fiction ready for publication.
Through weekly readings, lectures and assignments, this class will delve into character, dialogue, setting, and plot and will provide you with a range of techniques as you continue to craft your own stories.

Sign up here.

So, last week I visited Centenary College of Louisiana, where I had been an undergrad twenty-something years ago. They'd chosen to use COUNTRY HARDBALL in their English classes this year, and I had the opportunity to chat with students in classes from the freshman level to the 300-level about the book.

Some of the students had questions about particular scenes, while some wanted to discuss more theme-oriented topics. I found out, for example, that while Flannery O'Connor and Steve Wedde both rely on southern churches in their books, O'Connor is more interested in religion, while Weddle is more concerned with congregations.
Photo by David Havird

In two days, I spoke with seven classes, one book club, one radio station, one newspaper, and gave a reading at a convocation. It was, you know, kinda awesome. And what it taught me, or what it showed me up close, is that while different individuals read books differently, different groups of people have different expectations. College freshman read a different version of COUNTRY HARDBALL than do people in a book group. Context is key, isn't it? I've read books for book groups and books for college classes. You think about different questions to ask, different topics. I was talking last night about the book and said that I try to write for a reader who is smarter than I am. I don't like to explain things too much, to hand over the meaning of a scene. I writer for readers who read closely, who will a passage more than once if they don't quite get it. I write for people who might read the book more than once, and I want to make sure that the book is layered enough for them every single time.

And, it turns out, I write for college classes, for book groups, for the woman in the cafeteria who only knew me as author and not as former student. I write for all of them, and they all read the book a little differently. All I can do is make sure whatever I write has enough in it for each of them. Because, you know, I am kinda concerned about all the congregations.


Jan 092014
 
By Steve Weddle

Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame voting is more of a joke each year. Maybe things will get better, but something has to change.

I'm not interested right now in arguing whether Jack Morris should be in, alongside Maddux and Glavine.

But what's going on is a mockery, which is often something I'm in favor of. Not this time.

You have reporters with Hall of Fame votes handing their ballots over to sports blogs. You have other voters turning in blank ballots to protest something something Steroid Era. You have voters who won't vote for Biggio because he played at the same Canseco was taking needles to the buttocks.

People have lost their damn minds.

Voting is a joke and the reward itself, being named to the Hall of Fame, is being pooped all over.

Which brings us to the week in crime fiction.

The Bookernet (as @bookriot calls the book folks who blog/tweet book conflicts on the internet) was on fire earlier this week and last as authors began receiving solicitations for nominations which went something like this: "Hey, I wrote a book called INSPECTOR DOLT SAVES THE DAY. It's eligible for a Stout Award. Can you click HERE and nominate it? kthxbye."

As someone who has done thoughtless, dopey things myself, lemme just say: Dude. Bad form.

Over the past few years, the Bookernet has talked about how book awards seem to be less about the most talented works winning, more about the most marketed book winning.

Of course, these are the same people who were super-duper rioty after a year went by with no one worthy of the fiction Pulitzer.

Look. I get it. You want your book to be noticed. It's a tough market. Being able to put a sticker on the paperback re-issue of your book would be hella sweet. But what are you doing to the process? She with the most email addresses wins? That's what you want to win for?

So I'd like to propose that each of the big awards for crime fiction immediately add some new awards. In addition to Best Novel and Best Debut and Coolest Reader and those, perhaps the committees for these awards can institute awards Most Solicitous or Most Soliciting? Best Marketing Campaign. Most Egregious Etiquette Breach. Most Self-Deprecating Grovel for Attention. Greatest Twitter #Humblebrag. Most RTs of Positive Review. Most Clever Way To Rile Up One's Own Fans To Offset A Two-Star Review. And so on.

Once we can get this done, then we get the baseball writers to select one of their own for Biggest Jerk. They don't even have to be very good writers to win.

After all, many writers seem to care much more about winning a writing award than they care about the writing.
Dec 192013
 
By Steve Weddle

Alex Segura's SILENT CITY will be sticking with me for a long time. In a way I was reminded a little of our own Dave White’s Jackson Donne, with an edgy Scudder twist, but Pete Fernandez is his own character.

The story opens as his life is falling apart, and things just get better from there. For the reader, at least. Pete doesn’t always fare so well. As a newspaper guy, I can tell you that the insider description of the newspaper was pretty spot on. You get the feel of the workplace and of the bar scene in Miami and the neighborhoods and the people.

From the music he enjoys to his slacker wardrobe, Pete is the kind of guy you can see right there, the sort of character you end up rooting for. Pixies. Talking Heads. What's not to like?

The trio of Pete, Emily, and Mike also works well. These people feel like old friends, the way they play off each other. Segura really puts you there, in the middle of the lives, their day-to-day existence. As Pete's life starts falling apart pieces at a time, you get to this points where you're hoping he won't take that next drink, won't do that next stupid thing.

And then his falling momentum begins to sync up with the plot's momentum, so that you're hurled forward in a story that gets more and more developed with each page.

The is a thrilling read that picks up speed with each page. This book was a fantastic debut in the mystery genre, and I’m ecstatic that Pete Fernandez has his own series.

Looking forward to more from Segura.

Check this out for more Silent City news from Alex Segura.
Sep 262013
 
By Steve Weddle

Recently, Brad Listi had Tom Perrotta on the Other People podcast. Perrotta talked about writing novels, as well as his new Nine Inches collection. Perrotta, best known for Election and The Abstinence Teacher, said that writing the middles of his novels is the best part of it.

Short stories, he said, just get going when you have to shut them down.

The first part of novels are essentially laying out the ground-work, setting up characters and plot.

The ending is when the author has to tie it all up into a neat -- or not so -- bow. Or tie it off, I suppose. But, you know, certainly with the tie, Ty.  

I've written four books (one publishable) and I'm starting another.

I dig the research part of writing -- the part where you're reading and taking notes and learning so much. Billy Sunday? OK, let's read about him for a few days. Tenant farming in the 1930s? Why not search the internet for bookstores with old out-of-print books I have to have. Great.

And the first few thousand words, where you're just letting the characters talk and you're doing that scene-setting, that's good stuff. And maybe the ending, if you had one in mind, is a great spot to bring it all together.

But that spot that's 10-30% into the book, words 10k-30k if it's a 100k-word book, that's a rough spot, at least for me. And the 80-90% spot. I hate that spot, too.

The middle, as Perrotta said, is a good spot. Your characters are doing the stuff you want them to do, but they don't have to have everything line up perfectly, as they do in the last part. So often, if a character does a thing in the 80-90% part of your manuscript, that action has to mean something. It has to move forward and look behind. It's connective tissue with a purpose. You know, the connecting.

The first part is the setting-up. The middle part is the action, the story. The doing. And then the ending is, well, the ending. The End. Hooray.

The parts between, that's the hard slogging. That isn't the stained glass window or the beautiful oak door. That's the mortar, that's the part you have to get just right, so that everything settles in perfectly.

Maybe some writers hate starting books, but I can't believe that. Why would you keep writing? Why sit down to the desk in the first place? And everyone loves to finish writing, at least in that moment. Before a few days pass and you remember all the stuff you should have put in the book. The research you forgot about. How you'd meant to include a section about tenant farming, but forgot all about it once the sheriff shot that woman. Time to go back in and add a scene, I guess. Probably, of course, around page 40.
Sep 192013
 
By Steve Weddle

And speaking of time shifting, my chat with Alec Cizak airs today at KMSU at 10:30 am Central Time.

Why is it Eastern and Central and Pacific? Does anyone say Eastern and Western? Atlantic and Pacific? And what's what Mountain Time Zone? It's like that woman in the corporate meeting who has three things to tell you -- "First, I'd like to start with" and then launches into "and B, we need to" and ends with "and finally."

"The history of time in the United States began in 1883."

So one of the weird things being an "Author" and not a writer, aside from never again having to pay for books, alcohol, or housing, is knowing things you can't share.

http://heyauthor.tumblr.com/image/25641914783
When you sell your book rights to the French or the Venetians or the Czechs, you've got a lag time of when you can make that announcement. Your agent will call or email and tell you about it. You'll up it or down it. Then the deal will get nailed down. But you can't say anything until X happens -- papers get signed, proposals accepted, clauses struck, etc. So you're sitting on news you can't announce.

As a reader, I never noticed the lag or, to be honest, really gave two poops about it. But as an author, well, you want to post it up there for folks. You want to let people share the news with you. "Hey, people who are traveling with me on this journey, look at this cool building over there." Only, you're the only one who can see it right now. In a few weeks, you'll be allowed to point it out. "Pleased to announce we've sold Aleutian rights to CYBORG LESBIAN VAMPIRE ASSASSINS."

Or you'll get a nice review you can't share until the magazine is printed in a few weeks. Or you just talked to Marc Edwards at Dark Tiddlings Studios about a movie adaptation of your book to appear, possibly maybe, on the Ovation channel in 2016. Or a thousand other things.

As an author, you get excited and you want to share it with your friends and neighbors (Twitter, GeoCities, LiveJournal, Facebook), but you can't. Instead, you make vague references that might lead people to think you're either phony or a butthead. Or both.

It's weird.

And then you go out on book tours to talk about your "new" book that is out, a book you started writing seven years ago and finished two years back. And people ask you questions about characters you've forgotten. Or plot points.

Because you're writing the third book in the series and only the first one is out. And, in your mind, that waiter the interviewer is asking about died six months ago. Which, um, you know, you probably shouldn't mention.

Add to it that you're probably writing about a universe that doesn't exist in real time -- either it's an alternate now or it's 1863 Nebraska -- WHEN THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE STANDARD TIME.

But, you know, we already have Eastern and Pacific and Mountain time zones. Just add in Author Time.

Because the train for "Standard Time" has left the station. Or, you know, it's about to leave five minutes ago.
Sep 052013
 
By Steve Weddle

Folks have been really nice about sharing the recent Publishers Weekly review of COUNTRY HARDBALL. If you haven't read it, here you go. I was too anxious to read the whole thing closely, but I'm told it says that purchasing the book will make parts of you bigger where you want and smaller where you want and help you live a better life and get to Heaven and stuff like that.

Here's the thing that happens when you combine your need for promotion with the kindness of people -- they help promote you. I have found, at least in my case, that people have been far nicer to me than I deserve.

So let's look at interviewing, shall we?

I've done some interviews. People have asked me questions. I've asked them questions.

Here's a list of some of the times people have asked me questions: Interviews with Weddle.

I've talked via video with people, on the phone, on the email machines. Radio and podcast. Print and dig.

And I've interviewed people, both during my newspaper time and my blogger-ing time.

I've had the pleasure of chatting via telephony with Frank Bill and Hilary Davidson and Lynn Kostoff and others. Those are available at the DSD Podcast.

I've done video interviews with folks, including JT Ellison.

I've been on both ends of the emailing of TEN questions and/or answers. Or one at a time.

All this to say, I have had ample opportunity to see how to screw this up in every single way you could think of.

Maybe you're interviewing people. Maybe you're being interviewed. Lately, though, I've had the experience of being interviewed, so I thought I'd share some thoughts I kinda wish I'd had a while back.

Know The Format

Is this a conversational interview or a straight Q and A? I'm more of a conversational guy, in that I tend to look for connective tissue in everything. An interview can be a string of thoughts flowing into each other, building and collapsing throughout the hour. Or an interview can be more of an informational gathering process. Informal or informational? Shit. Prolly shoulda used that as a header somewhere.

If you're in a conversational interview, keep it loose but on-track. I've heard far too many interviews in which the whole thing jumps the track, plows through the water tower and into the orphanage. Don't do that. The kids. For the love. If it's conversational, you'll want to engage the interviewer and, by extension, the audience. No matter what side you're on, this isn't all about you. If you're a jerk like I am, then you're still convinced it's mostly about you. But you'll want to talk with your chat companion, not at him/her. If you're asked about the best book you're read recently, you probably don't want to put your interviewer on the spot by saying "Chris F. Holm's BIG REAP. Have you read it?" Because, you know, maybe she hasn't. Maybe you say the thing about Holm, but say "It's about a war between Heaven and Hell, kinda. I like book with big themes that seem grounded in the personal" or something along those lines, to which your interviewer can say something about Holm or, on the off-chance that he/she hasn't read, something more general. But you're engaging, at that point.

Let me be clear, here. Do or don't do. Whatevs. I'm not saying that you should say this thing or not. Just, you know, something to think about. That's all. It's your interview. Do whatever you want. Just offering some ideas. K? K. *hugs*

If it's more the "here's a question-give an answer" kind of interview, you'll definitely want to review the types of questions the interviewer asks. Are they big questions? Are they the same for each interview? I used to have this thing where the last question I asked was always about the favorite room in the person's house. When I was doing reporter-y interviews, it was always whether golf was a sport, because ha ha.

With my book (there goes Weddle again. it's all about him.) the bigger questions tend to be about economics in the rural south. That's from people who have read the book. If people haven't read the book, they can ask "Tell us a little about your book."

Either way, figure out which type of interview you're lined up for and give it some thought ahead of time.

Of course, if the person is emailing questions instead of doing so in real time (phone, skype, etc) then forget everything I've said. (Pause. Wait for joke.)

Have a thing

John Locke, who sold a gazillion books and was a darling until some people got the angers about paying for reviews, said you'll need to communicate one thing when you're doing an interview. That's good advice I hadn't considered.

If you're doing an interview with someone, you'll want to wrap up something nice and hand it over as a present. Maybe it's a particular anecdote you want to share this one time with this one audience.

I don't have the maths, but many of the questions you'll get as an author are the same from interview to interview. "What's your process?" "Do you enjoy editing?" "What are some of your influences?" "Do you find toothbrushes as gross as I do?" "What are you working on now?"

Interviewers and readers can get Interview Fatigue. Engaging the interviewer is one way to beat this, but so is dropping in something fresh. Have a story in your pocket that you want to convey to people. A thought. Maybe you want people to know that you wrote the book in just under ten years. Or that proceeds are going to help train-wrecked orphans. That all kinda lead to our next and (checks clock) final point:

Know Your Audience

People read books differently. Some people will read a book and see an aging headmaster trying to hold on to control after one of the students he's failed tries to take over the world. Others will read the same book and see three wizards coming of age. You have to figure out what your interviewer and his/her audience will see. You have to connect before you connect. Hmmm. Something like that.

If you're being interviewed on Wake Up, Metroville, then you're going to want to connect with whoever the hell is up at 5 am. Worker people? Stay-at-homes? Invalids? I dunno. Whoever that is. Maybe watch the show. Do they do consumer tips? Local history? Somehow, you'll want to tie in to the things they talk about. "You know, Annabelle, I saw your segment last week about preventing pick-pockets and it reminded me of this scene in my book." Um, maybe not that obvious.

If you're Joelle Charbonneau and you're writing the Glee Club Mysteries, your responses are going to be much different if you're talking to the Chicago Tribune or the Valleydale High Glee Club Newsletter.

My book has baseball, mills, convenience stores, VCRs, meth, an elephant, a funeral, deviled eggs and so forth. If a cooking mag wants to talk to me about all the food in the book, I'd better know the difference between paprika and nutmeg.

Mostly, I think, it comes down to knowing that each interview is different and preparing accordingly. Don't just show up and figure you don't have to do any work if you're being interviewed. You spent years writing this book, yeah? Don't screw it up now.

And be nice to the interviewers. Their time is valuable and they're hella nice for bothering with you at all.
Aug 082012
 

By Steve Weddle

So Chris F. Holm listed his “5 Favorite Musical Artists of Author Chris F. Holm” and, inasmuch as the list follows the title, I assume he is correct. I have no reason to doubt that these are Mr. Holm’s favorites. Perhaps he had originally thought REO Speedwagon or Air Supply could creep in around the top of the list, but wanted to maintain his street cred. I have no way of knowing this for certain, though. This was a list for a writer, Chris F. Holm. (PS Buy this book.)

Music for writers is different. Perhaps music for swimmers is different still. Music for neurosurgeons. If either one of my current psychiatrists were to tell me that his favorite musical artist happened to be, say, Nine Inch Nails, that would cause me some concern.

I wrote many stories this past year or two after getting some Drive-By Truckers stuck in my head. Frankie Bill sent along a CD with “Decoration Day” on it, and I misheard the line “The state let him go, but I guess it was best cause nobody needs all us Lawsons alive.” To my hear, the line ended “nobody needs all this loss in his life.” That sent me off writing a story about a man who tries to fake bravery to help his son.

I imagine that happens to most writers. You hear a line, rightly or wrongly, and it pushes into you, earworm.

While we’re hanging out in the “D” section of the library, I should mention The Decemberists, Dawes, Damien Rice, Dog’s Eye View, Dead Milkmen, and probably many others.

From “That Western Skyline” by Dawes, via John Hornor Jacobs:
So I followed her here to Birmingham, where the soil is so much richer
And though my aching pride might guide my hand, she did not ask for me to come.
So I wait for her all through the day, as if I wait for her surrender.
And every time I get her to look my way, she says I'm not where I belong.
But I watch her father preach on Sundays.
I know the hymnals all by heart.
But oh Lou, no my dreams did not come true.
No, they only came apart.

The best songs, the best songs for writers, are those that not only tell a story, but make you want to tell a story. Tom Waits. Bob Dylan. Afghan Whigs. The Avett Brothers. Dinosaur Jr. Pixies. Elvis Costello. Neko Case. Hub. Steve Earle. Emmylou Harris.

Maybe when I’m doing the actual writing, I’d rather have Gould’s Goldberg in my ear. (Not the more recent version, of course. Blech.)

But when I’m letting my brain mush slosh around a bit, ready to sponge up bits here and there, I’d rather listen to some Iron & Wine, Gillian Welch, or Justin Townes Earle.

The best songs, for writers, end up being writing prompts, with a little banjo on the side.





It seems like the unraveling has started too soon,

Now I'm sleeping in hallways and I'm drinking perfume.
Aug 012012
 

By Steve Weddle

Sheesh. Where to start, right?

First, our own Jay Stringer has his OLD GOLD out. It’s a great book. I’ve read it. I dug it. You should read it. In fact, I’ll grab a commenter and get you a copy.

Also, Sean Chercover's THE TRINITY GAME is just out. Look here and you'll have to get your own copy.

There’s this thing about Carroll Bryant.

And I guess I should mention some of this Harrogate-gate stuff. (In America, we end all scandals in “-gate” ever since President James Buchanan was caught one Thursday night, nuts-deep in a bowl of Watergate Salad.) Anyhoo, you can catch up here and here.

A couple of issues raised from the same author. One is alleged racism.

The other is that an author creates a bunch of accounts using faked names and gives himself many positive reviews. We’ve walked around this issue before and, certainly, will do so again.

This week, I’m thinking about books and video games.

Someone said something sometime along the lines of this: “If video games had been invented before books, we’d be telling our kids to quit staring slackjawed at sheets of paper and get interactive by joining their friends playing video games.”

It’s a matter of the more established thing being established because it had been established, I suppose.

So, along the lines of “what if this thing had come before that thing,” today let’s play THE LIBRARY GAME.

Imagine for a second that public lending libraries never existed. If you wanted to read a book, you had to buy it, or perhaps borrow the one book from your friend, who had to buy it.

Heck, maybe used bookstores don’t exist, either.

Imagine a world in which, in order to read a book, you had to purchase a copy of that book. In hardback.

Imagine how happy publishers would be. I picture them all having lunch in Manhattan, frolicking about in their bowls of Watergate Salad. (Do Yankees eat Watergate Salad?)

Consider that the norm for, let’s say, a thousand years.

Now, go out and try to start a public lending library.

Hey, we're going to let you have this book for a few weeks. You don't have to purchase it. Just bring it back when you're done, so we can let someone else read it for free.

Bwahaha. Fat chance, right?

Seems to me that, if libraries didn’t already exist, you’d never be able to start them.

The ebook lending fight is just a small part of it, you know.

Take this, from a PW article last year:
When it comes to e-books, the numbers are especially notable, because only half of the big six currently allow libraries to lend e-books (Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan currently do not enable e-book lending). In 2010, Macmillan CEO John Sargent called library e-books “a thorny problem” for publishers. “It’s like Netflix, but you don’t pay for it,” Sargent famously said. “How is that a good model for us?”

So, the library buys a couple of copies of SALAD RECIPES and lends them out to a couple of people every 14 days. You want to read SALAD RECIPIES, so you add your name to the waiting list. Which is fine, as you’ve been reading THE HARRIET LANE STORY for the past week and are due to get BACHELOR CONFIRMED when a patron returns it within the next few days. You’re set. You read many, many books from the library. Your tax dollars at work!

Publishers, and some authors, get mad when you use the library. Or when you buy a used book. I’m reminded of something Neil Smith said on Twitter one day, many months ago. He said that he didn’t care whether you got his books used or at the library or found them in a dentist’s office. He was just hoping folks read and liked them.

And, yet, there’s a huge disagreement in The Community about whether --
Writers who sell their Kindle books for 99 cents are devaluing writing
Free book pushes online are a bad thing
Libraries are draining sales 
Ebooks being lent is ruinous 
And on and on.

I grew up visiting my town’s library, my school’s library. I’d find books I liked by authors I liked, and I’d end up buying other books by those authors. I think many people do that. The library might have two of seven books from an author. If you like those two, maybe you'll buy the other five.

I don’t get to the library as often now as I did when I was a kid, but I still scan the catalog often. If I’m interested in a disposable book – some thriller I’m not likely to savor – I might check the library. If they don’t have it, I’ll check the bookstore – either physical or digital. Maybe I’ll grab the book there. For me, libraries are still important, still vital to finding new authors.

I’m much more likely to take a chance on an author if I see a good-looking book on the Just Arrived shelf than if I see that same book for $25.95 at my local indie or $12.95 online.

I am not a full-time author. I am not the president of a book publishing company. I don't see libraries as taking money out of my pocket, and I don’t have their much more nuanced understanding of what this means for profits.

I’ve worked in the newspaper industry for (counts fingers, removes socks) years. We’ve always sent subscriptions to local libraries so that patrons can read the paper without having to purchase copies.
I’ve never considered that money out of my pocket.

But publishers and authors are looking for the right “model,” and that’s not exactly the same thing that the libraries are looking for.

Libraries are successful when 1,000 readers line up to read the two copies of GONE GIRL. For publishers, this could be seen as a problem.

You can search the Internet yourself if you want, but various sites suggest that libraries account for about 10 percent of book sales for authors. Do indie bookstores account for more?

Are used bookstores "lost sales" for authors? Are yard sales?

For some authors and publishers, libraries are "lost sales" in the same way piracy is -- or used books.

When someone tells you -- "Oh. Here's my copy of GUN MONKEYS. You have to read it. Here. You'll love it" -- does Victor Gischler die a little inside?

Some authors, including Neil Smith, love for you to get a used copy.

Some authors, including Paulo Coehlo, love for you to get pirated copies of their ebooks.

Cory Doctorow loves for you to get his ebooks, many of which are free.

Other authors want to hand you a free copy of their first book in a series in hopes that you’ll spend $9.99 up the new second book.

And in with all of this is the fight over ebooks in libraries and, oddly enough, paper books in libraries.

Seems odd to ask if there’s a storm that’s been brewing, that’s getting more stormy -- with libraries on one side and publishers and authors on the other, but, well, there it is.

How did libraries become the bad guy?



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