Read a book—1 of 60

Finished reading the first book from my collection since I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year.

Biceps of Death - David Stukas

I finished reading Biceps of Death yesterday when I was supposed to be writing. Oops.

Biceps of Death is a cozy-styled mystery and it was cute. I thought some of the dialogue was a little stilted, but the story pulled me in and kept me reading. It’s the 3rd (or 4th—I’m not really sure) book of a series and I haven’t read the other books so I don’t know how it compares, but I liked it.

I have an odd sense of humor sometimes and this book hit the right notes for me. There were some great funny moments in the book that made me actually laugh out loud. :D

I’ve already started reading another book. I’m not mentioning titles until I’ve actually read each book because book #2 could end up book #8 or some such thing, and while I want to read more, I have no intention of pressuring myself to read anything I don’t want to read. Also, this particular book, I started last year—or the year before, I can’t remember.

The thing is, this next book is a great book so far, so I have no idea why I bailed on it. Honestly, I think I just got distracted. That happens a lot. I have books sitting all around my house with bookmarks in them, just waiting for me to pick them back up again. Lucky for me, I have a great memory of story and don’t usually have a problem starting right where I left off. Yay for me! :D

Procrastinating, of a sort

I’ve been too busy converting and transferring my ebook collection to and from Calibre to Aldiko on both my Android phone and my Kindle so I can have the majority of my books, regardless of format or retailer, available on whichever device I prefer, to write much this morning … and now afternoon, yikes!

It’s obviously been time consuming. Hopefully worth it though. I’d like to get back to reading a book every couple of days. I need to do more reading both because I love it and because it’s the best way to keep getting better as a writer (combined with practice!) and I have so many books but it seems never what I want when I want because my collection is so scattered.

I have both a Nook and Kindle reader. Then both apps on my phone, along with Aldiko on my phone and my Kindle and Calibre on my laptop.

The one thing I almost always refuse to do though is read on my computer. I hate it. If the book doesn’t make it to one of my devices, it doesn’t get read.

I’m sure there are tons of people with more books than me, but I have 4 bookshelves full downstairs, 2 bankers boxes stuffed to the brim, and 2 bookshelves full upstairs. All my shelves are stuffed and many are double-stacked (one set of books in back and one set in front) and turned whichever way makes it easiest to fit more books.

And I have 796 ebooks in Calibre, not counting those I just deleted because there ain’t no way I’m reading them again, ever.

I’m making it a priority to start working my way through this backlog as quickly as possible, print or ebook, whichever catches my fancy. :D

Goal: read at least 60 of these books by the end of the year. I think I’ll start a reading log page here somewhere to keep up.

UPDATE: Yep. I started a log.

Entertaining Article Link

Probably completely inappropriate for a Sunday morning, but yeah, I found the following article a fascinating read, and hilarious to boot.

MONSTER PORN: Amazon Cracks Down On America’s Latest Sex Fantasy  via @YahooFinance

My opinion? The problems come from authors trying to use internet marketing tactics and stuff keywords into the descriptions and titles and covers, and since it’s erotica, well guess what? That leads to taboo words being used in public, because Amazon’s storefront is very much a public place.

I checked out the “Alien Seed” book mentioned, and wow, nice cover. Very classy for the genre. If all the monster erotica books looked like that—and managed similar, understated but effective descriptions of the content—I doubt there’d be half the outcry that’s happened. The sample I sent to my Kindle, well, totally for research purposes for this blog post. :D

Ray Bradbury Quote About the Necessity of Quantity

“WD: You’re terribly prolific, but a lot of writers produce one book in a lifetime. Would you advise young writers to spend all their time polishing one piece or to go for quantity?

BRADBURY: It simply follows that quantity produces quality. Only if you do a lot will you ever be any good. If you do very little, you’ll never have quality of idea or quality of output. The excitement and creativity comes from a whole lot of doing; hoping you’ll suddenly be struck by lightning. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. The history of literature is the history of prolific people. I always say to students, give me four pages a day, every day. That’s three or four hundred thousand words a year. Most of that will be bilge, but the rest … It will save your life!”

I came across this quote used in Quantity Produces Quality – A NaNoWriMo Post. The interview excerpt is from a February 1976 Writer’s Digest interview with science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury.

Read This Book: The Fiction Factory, 1912

The Fiction Factory By John Milton Edwards, Being the Experience of a Writer who, for Twenty-two Years, has kept a Story-mill Grinding Successfully, William Wallace Cook, 1912

The Google Books version is the one I read because it was easiest. There are several fascinating chapters in that book, and the rest is at the very least interesting. I haven’t quite finished the book, but I’m very close. Give it a shot if you enjoy reading about writers’ lives or processes.

(Updated link 2/26/2024)

Sunday Morning Rambling About Some Dude’s Articles

I’ve read three posts by this dude (or dudette, because I haven’t read the about page yet, will do shortly) and I want to get something said before I forget what it is I want to say. His/her—okay, never mind, I feel compelled to read the about page now so time out…

OMG. That’s an awesome ‘about’ page. I know this already: it’s a guy, he’s four years younger than me, we both ran Windows 3.1. What I don’t know is if he’s single and honestly anyone who writes that well and engages readers so smoothly, probably isn’t. Dammit.

Okay—time to move on. :-o

Pixelrage posted “Business Without The Internet?” and although I totally see his point, for me, that’s not the point at all.

You see, I’m an employee, but I’m treated very much like a consultant and I have done some consulting work on the side a few times. I’m tired of it… so, so tired of it. I admit, though, that my current work on websites is more like that of a hobbyist than a professional (don’t tell the IRS though, they get picky about that stuff when you claim losses!). That’s not to say I don’t think of my websites as a business, because I do…I just don’t treat them that way because frankly that takes all the fun out of it. I have the kind of career where I can easily transition to my own business (professional services I won’t name because I’m not ready for my bosses to discover me here and realize I’m unhappy in my choice of career), but I don’t want to.

The silence I get from working at home, alone? That’s the sound of peace and contentment, and I admit it. You want a poster child for who this woman, author of Quiet, is talking about? That would be me. Running my own consulting or product business? Diametrically opposed to the things that drew me to the internet to begin with and not a road I want to go down.

My point is that I see why affiliate marketing is running into problems. The other 2 articles I read address the problems quite well when Pixelrage talks about the 2012 affiliate marketing apocalypse and how Google is against you if you have an affiliate site, particularly a storefront. The good news is that I’ve never done storefronts. They suck and I know they suck and Google’s dude has it right when he says they’re “…just an unnecessary step in the sales funnel.” They ARE. Face it. That’s what stings, when you already know or suspect something and someone comes along and confirms it for you when you really just want to hear that you’re being silly and that of course your work is great…when it’s really not.

I’ve had that happen a lot and it, too, sucks. But we all have to face it sometime. We’re often less stellar than we’d like to believe, and more ordinary than we ever want to imagine. The good news is it doesn’t matter. There’s still no one else who can live your life, and we each get to decide what we’re going to do a moment from now and even if the choice is terrible, or the consequences are disastrous, we can own that decision.

If brands are where it’s at, there’s still a chance to make a career out of something that doesn’t leave you holding an inventory of products and dealing with clients every day in your consulting business, or your lawn care business, or your sports memorabilia business.

There IS.

I’m not going to ramble about all that authority website crap that’s all over the internet these days, because the fact is, I feel like it’s stupid. You’re not an authority because you say you’re an authority. You’re an authority because other people say it. You need to be a destination, not a train depot. But you also need to have roads leading out to other interesting places, or you’re just a dead end. Get it?

This is going to be the difference between dead affiliate storefronts and actual internet businesses that don’t rely on Google to survive.

Pixelrage says it quite clearly when he says, “Become a Brand” and “This truly is the only way to stay alive these days: brands, as defined by search engines, are most likely websites that have real shopping carts and checkout systems. They supply products themselves, instead of shilling affiliate links to real storefronts” and I can’t disagree with the message, but I do disagree with the point. There are a lot of brands online, places I visit day in and day out, without any help from Google or any other search engine, that don’t sell their own product or service in the way I think he’s talking about, not the way a consultant sells a service. Their service is being a destination website. I don’t care about authority. I want to go somewhere to browse and hang out and waste what little free time I have. I tell my friends about these sites. I revisit when I want more information or another perspective or a few minutes to think about something besides the drudgery of my job.

Easy money days might be gone forever when it comes to internet businesses based on the affiliate model, but if I can build something that’s important because of what it is, not where it sits in Google’s search results, then I don’t know that I care. Work is only drudgery when you’re doing something you don’t want to be doing. Working hard for your money (thank you Donna Summer) doesn’t have to suck.

Dude Has a Point But What’s the Point?

So I was looking for something to distract me today and I came across some new podcasts about a topic near and dear to my heart. Websites! :)

Anyway, the topics of the podcasts were pretty standard stuff, but the content was really good. If you’re into building websites, especially the kind that focus on one or two main topics and branch out from there—as in not just a blog of whatever’s going on in your life—you’ll probably enjoy listening to these.

I needed a break from real life for a few minutes, and I had a drive ahead of me too, so I queued them up on my phone and listened. The guy has a really nice voice too so that helps. ;-) Apparently he runs the site Universe Today, a site about space and astronomy, a topic I’m halfway interested in. Space, not astronomy. LOL.

What I found most compelling, and most vexing, was his assertion that working on multiple websites is going to mean you create sites that are only good enough, and that’s not good enough, according to him.

I actually agree. But that’s not what I do. I’ve gone back and forth with this issue for the last 5 years and I keep ending up back at the same place—with too many websites to keep even half of them straight in my head.

The only problem is, I didn’t see any real income growth with my hobby turned business until I started building all these other sites. I spent years chasing my passion with a site that now gets almost a thousand visitors a day and I haven’t updated it in over a year at this point. But I grew away from the topic, and where does that leave you? I mean, I have a short attention span, really. How do you deal with building up only one site over the span of 10 years and then deciding you really don’t like it that much anymore after all? What’s the point? That’s what happened to me a few years ago, and no, this wasn’t some whim. I had loved that industry, that topic, for 10 years before I ever started a site on it. I could never have imagined I would outgrow my passion for the site. But it happened.

So although I agree with him in principle that if you want to build something that stands the test of time and is really the best it can be, working on one site at a time is about the only way to go unless you have money to burn and can afford to hire lots of help.

In actuality, it’s a lot more complicated than that. It takes a long time to get a site to the point that it will earn a living. I never got that monster I created to that point.

Listening to: The Cure – Just Like Heaven; Eric Church – Homeboy; Pink – So What