Paula Hendricks

Author ~:~ Writer ~:~ Book Designer ~:~ Book Producer

Posts Tagged ‘books

Making room

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I’m weeding out my books. I need to make room… for something else. I’m removing things from my shelves. Books I have not opened in 10 years. Books I cannot remember the plots of. Books that don’t nourish me on a deep level. Books that someone else valued more than I do. I no longer need them here. I can always go to the library or a museum or look them up at Google books to see them, again. I don’t need to own them.

I’m going to get rid of things that “I might need someday”. These things I’ve kept for a rainy day have rarely been used. The adhesive on the bandages is probably dry. The expiration dates have long passed. The batteries are probably drained. I may regret this. But again I might not.

My father was a tinkerer. He’d fix things up. He’d figure out how to make something work better. And his workshop was a wonder. I loved his workbench in the garage, with that anvil looking thing that held things in place. By turning this little handle the jaws of this device would squeeze together and hold what you were fixing steady. And on the walls hammers and screwdrivers and paintbrushes, crescent wrenches and needle nose pliers and metal files. I loved the needle nose pliers the best.

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Written by phwebnet

December 14, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Posted in books, memory, photo, place

Tagged with , , ,

Our President-Elect reads books

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It matters to those of us in the book world that people read, or don’t read, books. We have all read the sad statistics* about books and reading, such as:

  • 58% of US adult population never reads another book after high school
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book
  • 33$ of high school graduates never read another book
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion

And yet… our president-elect, Barack Obama, reads books. And there is a great picture of him (http://papercuts.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/what-obama-is-reading/) at the airport in Bozeman Montana – he has his finger in a book to mark his place. What a great image!

Why does this matter to us?

Books are important. Books are about ideas and about communicating ideas. Some have called Obama brilliant, curious, and prepared. I believe books are part of who he is and who he has become. Reading is a critical act and helps train our brains to be critical as well. Words allow our minds to imagine things as we read, where pictures and TV and videos can often limit this activity.

It matters because the president leads us by example. Others will copy him. More people will read books because he does. The fact that he reads books and talks about what he reads and his staff talks about what he reads makes me believe that the statistics about reading books may well rise over the next few years. They may even rise in our poorer communities. He even admits he reads books more than once. This has to be good for everyone in the book world.

There also seems to be a book bubble right now. I see books by the left and the right and everything in between – by reporters and professors and intellectuals.

It’s good to know many are reading books and that books seem to be in the news more now. But, in some ways this doesn’t really affect us. We still need to go through the steps of publishing – making sure our books are written, edited, designed, and produced professionally. And to succeed, we need to market our books and our authors well.

But what it does do that helps us is perhaps give us confidence that we are moving into a time when books matter, when ideas matter, when thoughtful consideration of issues matters. This is true no matter your point of view. And this is true for fiction as well as non-fiction. I find myself interested in what progressives and economists and conservatives have to say. I find my brain lighting up with all these points of view and this sense, this deep sense, that all these words printed on pages matter and I am at a feast.

What a great time to be in the book business!

* Sources for statistics about books, the book industry and reading:

http://www.parapublishing.com/sites/para/resources/statistics.cfm

http://www.bookpublishing.com

Written by phwebnet

November 30, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Finding the right energy

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Another letter for the BAIPA News (July 2008)

Being an author and a publisher can pull at us in different ways – and being small, independent publishers means that there are dozens of tasks we need to complete on a regular basis. Some days I get up gung-ho and step right into the external tasks on my plate – calling people, making connections, negotiating, asking for help. And some days I turn off my phone and write or read. I used to fight this. I used to push myself to make those calls or I’d get angry with myself if I couldn’t sit down and read a manuscript or write.

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Written by phwebnet

July 12, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Beyond the money. Living in the book world.

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I have been writing articles for the BAIPA News — and thought I’d post some of them here. I hope they are helpful to you. (May 2008)

I have been working on projects recently where I’m dealing with the business realities of publishing – how to make enough money to pay for all the things needed to build the books and generate the sales. At times it seems difficult, if not impossible, to make it all work, especially because I personally don’t like selling and don’t want to be doing the things it often takes to sell a lot of books. I like writing books. I like designing books. I like managing book projects. I like helping others with their books. That’s where my heart lies.   
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Written by phwebnet

May 10, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Find what works for you

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There is no one right way to write or to create a book or to be published. There are so many choices today. Find the path that’s right for you.

Some books are written from the inside out. The book shapes itself. The book and the characters take over and tell you what is happening. You may not even know what kind of book you are writing until you are deep into it. Trust this process. Trust your instincts. I heard a writer, I think it was Isabelle Allende… anyway, she said her job was just to get out of the way; that the book used her to get written.

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What I am reading today: 5/9/06

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I am reading a new author, Allison Brennan. The book is The Kill. Another mystery. I am also reading Under and Alone, by William Queen. And I have just finished Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiasen. He is so funny. I loved Stormy Weather.

Written by phwebnet

May 10, 2006 at 4:26 am

Pocket books no longer fit in my pocket

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This is a rant. Many new mass market paperback books are being issued in a larger size. These books are taller and often wider than the old mass market paper backs I usually buy. They also cost about $2 more, bringing the cost of a paperback to almost $10.

On some of these books there is a sticker that says this design is for more comfortable reading. I have spoken with employees of Borders and written to Simon & Schuster. I have been told that these books have been designed for easier reading. I suspect they mean the baby boomers are getting older and finding it more difficult to read small print. Okay, I get that.

But, I am a baby boomer. I carry books around with me in my shoulder bag (I use public transportation and walk), so I’m literally carrying books with me every day. I am a voracious reader. I also read in bed. One reason I resist buying hardbacks is because they are heavy. I can’t easily carry them around with me. My hands are small and they are heavy, making them uncomfortable for me to read, especially at night in bed.

I am pissed. I am angry. Some of my favorite authors like James Lee Burke now have new paperbacks out only in the new size and I refuse to buy them. I can read the small print okay, but I do not want to add any weight to my shoulder bag and I want to continue to read in bed. What’s a girl to do.

I suspect this is also about money. The new size books are priced higher. I’m sure the publishing industry is looking at ways to increase income. So, greed is involved here, too. I returned the first book in the new size I bought by mistake and I refuse t buy new ones. I am searching for authors who publish in my size.

I mean they already had the trade paperback size. It is bigger than the mass market size and cost more than $13 or $14. Some books I see now are available in several sizes: hardback; trade paperback size; this new size; and some in mass market size. That’s what I recommend. Don’t take away something I am happy with and replace it with something I can’t use. I buy new books. I buy a lot of new books. I want my books. Give them back to me.

Who said, “Make it easy for your customers to do business with you?” I’m offering them money, but I want my books. My smaller, mass market paperbacks. Give them to me.

Written by phwebnet

May 1, 2006 at 3:39 pm