Saturday, May 21, 2011

From Prose to Pulp

The problem with starting a blog is that you're always in the position of asking, what on earth do I know? I figured the answer to that was, "Nothing of consequence." I mean, I can talk your ear off about vowel formant measures, but let's face it, there are about twenty people on earth who are crazy about that, and we see each other at conferences. So I figured, why have an author blog? Everyone has an author blog, and I don't know anything that would be interesting to write and read about.

Except for one niggling thing.

I do know books.

Now, I'm not claiming to be the world's biggest authority here. Let's face it; I'm not very old in the grand scheme of things (although I'm getting old enough that I'm peeved that I have pimples and gray hair at the same time), and I've spent a ridiculously inordinate amount of the time I've been a functional adult pursuing some sort of post-secondary degree. There are plenty of people with WAY more experience as authors, publishers, editors, and booksellers than I can lay claim to. But books, and not just reading them, but creating them, understanding them, knowing who gets them to market and how...well, these things have always fascinated me.

My aunt loves to remind me of the story of how, when I was about seven or eight, we were visiting Orlando, Florida and driving down one of the freeways when I pointed at a tall building with a big circular logo on it.

"That's the company* that makes my reading textbook," I said. The adults in the car just stared at this freak second-grader, keeping track of a publishing company. In hindsight, I suppose that was a sign that I was going to be involved with this industry no matter what.

Even with the other things I've done, and the other things I'm pursuing (see vowel formant measures, above) I keep coming back to books. I did a two-year stint at Barnes & Noble, followed by a two-year stint at a small non-fiction house in the midwest, followed by some time as a freelancer, back to graduate school, and am now rounding the corner on another year of being a part-time bookseller at B&N (Edit in 2012: make that another two years!). Thanks to all of this, I've had the privilege of knowing the lives of books from beginning to end--from the idea sparking in my head to the moment I rip the cover off a mass-market paperback and chuck the rest of the book into the recycling bin.

I love books--not just to read, but also to create, to discuss, to produce, to market. And most importantly, I like to talk about them. So, welcome to my corner of talking about books. Thanks for joining the conversation.

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