Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

A Few of My Favorite Libraries by Django Wexler

Today’s re-blog makes brief visits to a few fantastical libraries :-)

Nerdy Book Club

When I was thirteen or fourteen, I got my first job, as a page at my local library. The work was just a few hours of shelving books every week, but simply being in the library a lot left quite an impression on me. I was already an avid reader, but up to that point I’d mostly used the school library, which had a relatively circumscribed collection. The public library, however, had an excellent science fiction and fantasy shelf, which I dove into with gusto. (One of the perks of being a page was being able to take out more books at once than an ordinary patron!)

Whatever else it left me with (I still keep the many bookshelves in my house neatly alphabetized by subject), working at the library left me with an attraction to the atmosphere of libraries.  Quite apart from how fun and useful they are, there’s…

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Eleven

The Woman of His Dreams

à la Aesop

Alexander M Zoltai
Dedicated to


He was sure he had her.

No doubt.

She was his.


That was what he thought…


This is what happened:

They met at the local Harvest Festival—danced the night away—lingered after everyone left the fairgrounds…

He persisted in what he wanted, she continually refused.

He pushed a little too hard, she escaped…

Weeks went by…

She contacted him.

He backed away.

She disappeared again.


We’re back to the beginning of this story:

He was sure he had her.

No doubt.

She was his.


Actually, he was hers and she was cultivating him for later interaction…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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How to Cope With Getting Emotional After Writing the End of Your Story #writers

Today’s re-blog may seem like an overreaction from this writer; but, I can attest to similar feelings when I finished my novel :-)


Writing the End of Your Story

The idea for this blog post came to me after I finished writing the final epsiode of the Diary of Roxy Collins series(to be published on my blog in the next few weeks) and I was left an emotional wreck.

I was sobbing, reaching for the tissues, blowing my nose loudly and making whimpering noises as I wrote the final scene.

After wiping my eyes I quickly nipped onto a Writer’s Facebook group and posed the question – am I the only one who feels like an emotional wreck after writing the end of a story?  It seems I am not alone.

Here are some reasons why you might find yourself lying on the floor sobbing your heart out, after writing the final chapter of your story:

  1. As a writer you live through the eyes of your character so by the end of a good story you both will…

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Credit Where It’s Due ~ #TraditionalPublishing and #SelfPublishing

Regular visitors here know I’ve been covering the Traditional Publishing beat (this post will be in the collection at that last link…).

But, I’ve given space-preference to Self-Publishing.

You probably know that there’s been a Digital Book Revolution; but, if you haven’t been involved in deep study of the Book World, you may not have noticed how it can appear that traditional publishers are in the position of a critical need to adapt or die

And, it can certainly seem that those publishers are in as much denial as the folks who think there’s no climate change

Still, it was the old guard publishers who gave most of us the books we’ve treasured (unless you happen to be under the age of 20 and got into e-books very early).

So, I’ll work backwards into what got me writing today:

There was a man named Leonard Shatzkin who passed away in 2002.

He was one of those legendary figures who is said to have been “…responsible for innovations that became industry practice…”.

He seems to have been best known for a particular book he wrote, In Cold Type: Overcoming the Book Crisis.

Here’s one significant excerpt:

“For every copy of a hardcover book sold at its normal retail price, one book is sold as a remainder— a book that goes from the publisher to the remainder dealer for less than the cost of producing it and with zero income to the author. No other industry can make this claim.”

Continuing to back into what got me writing this post today, Leonard had a son, Mike, who’s referred to as, “…a widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry.”

In an article about his father, Mike said:

“…the percentage of titles that don’t even recover their direct costs is rising. It is actually getting harder and harder to publish new titles successfully, even if the standard of success is lowered…”

O.K., now I’ve backed all the way up to what got me here today—Mike’s recent article, The Reality of Publishing Economics Has Changed for the Big Players.

I’ll share just a few excerpts:

“In the 1970s….With five thousand individuals making the decision about which books to take, even a small minority of the buyers could put a book into 500 or 1000 stores.”

“Now there are substantially fewer than 1000 decision-makers that matter. Amazon is half the sales.”

“The agent who was confirming my sense of these things agreed that the big houses used to be able to count on a sale of 1500 or 2000 copies for just about any title they published. Now it is not uncommon for books to sell in the very low triple digits, even on a big publisher’s list.”

And, for me, the most telling statement in that article:

“This is a fundamental change in big publisher economics from what it was two decades ago. While the potential wins have become exponentially bigger than they were in bygone days, the losses have become increasingly common. And while it is still an open question how well anybody can predict sales for a book that isn’t even written yet (which is the case for most books publishers acquire), there is a real cost to getting it wrong, even when the advance being paid is minimal.”

I find it interesting that Leonard, the father, was edging toward digital publishing when he died; and, it’s said about his son, Mike: “His insights about how the industry functions and how it accommodates digital change form the basis of all of the company’s consulting efforts.”

I, personally, feel that Traditional Publishing’s struggles with the Digital Revolution will tell the tale of whether they’re somehow reconciled with Self Publishing; or, they pass completely away

For those whose work demands a close and deep look into these territories, Mike Shatzkin’s Space on the ‘Net would be worth close inspection
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

On Writing: Go for the Long Vision

Today’s re-blog holds a Wealth of clues about how to become a devoted writer………

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Patrice Gopo Patrice Gopo

In early March, I send a note to one of my writing teachers. “I’ve been frozen with my writing since I finished [that] essay… I have a low-grade thought in my mind that I’m done, I’m finished. I’m not going to be able to produce another essay I like that much.”

I think of the pages of nonsense mounting in my composition notebook. I focus on the feelings of dissatisfaction that ripple through me after a writing session. And I remember the excitement I woke to weeks before when I knew I had a viable project forming, taking shape, and moving toward completion.

What happens when something reaches the end and the next thing refuses to emerge? What happens when everything new I write embarrasses me and makes me wonder how I could be the same writer who wrote and submitted that finished piece? Have you ever been…

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