Sunday, April 20, 2014

Local bookstores.

And by local, I mean Central Oregon.

I took some copies of Led to the Slaughter to Sunriver Books and Paulina Springs Books (Sister's branch.)  I wasn't going to do more than mention my book, and if they were willing to take them on, do whatever felt comfortable to them.  Even to the point of giving them some copies.

They both took on some copies on consignment.

Once again I was impressed by both bookstores.  They are very well stocked, a nice curation of good books, and knowledgeable staff and owners.

I told both of them -- though perhaps not in my own best interests -- that I thought they would do well with a bookstore in downtown Bend.  I don't think either of them are interested, though.  I'm sure someone will take it on the task someday.  If I was just a tad younger and I hadn't already diverted my attention toward writing -- I'd be tempted myself.

But having opened and closed 3 stores, I'm well aware that the reality of starting a business is ten times harder than the planning.  And more expensive.

It's not just double the work to have two stores, it's more like triple or quadruple the work.

I could do it, and I'd love the challenge, but I must rein myself in.



Meanwhile, I was reading yet another "expert" on bookstores who made a long list of things he thought he'd do to open a perfect bookstore.

And they were all wrong.  They were all way beyond what any one person could do without burning out in a short time, and way too expensive for more than one person to do in a small town.  In other words, that beautiful store would be doomed.

I would advise the guy to drop every damn thing on his list and replace it with one bullet point:

* Books.

Lots and lots of books, good books, used books, mid-list books, quirky books, cult books, favorite books, best-sellers, classics...

You know books.  The more books the better.  The better the books the better.  Fill every possible inch of the store with books, and do nothing but take care of them.

Forget everything else and carry books.


Not that anyone will ever listen to me.  The "common wisdom" has gone in the opposite direction, and seems to be unstoppable.  Group think is a powerful thing.  So new bookstore owners will dissipate huge amounts of time, energy and space on things that will add very few sales to their store, and even if it doesn't hurt them monetarily it will be almost guaranteed to burn them out.  It's hard enough to run a business when you keep is simple.  Every complication you add, which you then have to continue, makes it that much harder.

Keep it simple and essential, and do a very good job of it.  People will respond.  You'll live to fight another day.  You might even make money.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Free Comic!



The 99 cent sale at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and Apple is coming to a close on May 1, 2014. Then the books go to 3.99 each.

You'd think I'd want the 3.99, but all the .99 books come due on the same day and affect the rankings. And rankings and reviews are everything. 

So you guys would be doing me a huge favor by going to Smashwords or Barnes and Noble or Apple and searching for Duncan McGeary and buying the 3 Vampire Evolution books. 

It won't even cost you anything as long as you can get in the store over the next month or so -- you get a free comic! So the only cost is just the time and effort of going online and making the order. (I mean, you have to buy for 2.97, but I'm re-reimbursing for 2.99....)

Smashword  Links.

Death of an Immortal:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/423727
 
Rule of Vampire:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/423730

Blood of Gold:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/423732


Barnes & Noble Links:


Death of an Immortal:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-of-an-immortal-duncan-mcgeary/1119059121?ean=2940045798402

Rule of Vampire:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rule-of-vampire-duncan-mcgeary/1119059123?ean=2940045798426

Blood of Gold:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-of-gold-duncan-mcgeary/1119059125?ean=2940045798440

Friday, April 18, 2014

What are the stakes?

This is a kind of cluttered blog entry, but here it is anyways.

I'm thinking about the plot to Ghostlander today.

I have an idea that entails a bunch of ghostly situations, but that doesn't a story make.  For the story to matter, a character that the reader cares about has to be in jeopardy -- or at least a character that the reader cares about cares about a character in jeopardy.   Uh... someone has to be in danger.  There have to be stakes.

The general theme of each of the Lander books is:  Faery versus...

So Faery versus Cthuhlu.  Faery versus Werewolves.  Faery versus Ghosts.

But within that larger notion, there has to be people who the reader is identifying with who are getting in deeper and deeper complications, who the reader is rooting for or against.

Before I start a book, I need to have all the ingredients, that recipe that will make the plot matter.  It's better not to start until I have all the portions correct.  Filling the counter with all the things I need doesn't mean I use them all.  But it makes for a more interesting palate.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Onward and upward.

Faerylander is with the editor(s).

The Dead Spend No Gold is set aside to gain some seasoning and perspective.

The next month or two is open for me to work on Ghostlander, starting tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to it.  No distractions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I like books.

I like reading books.  I like writing books.  I like selling books.  I like being around books.

I like filing books.

Spent yesterday afternoon filing books at Linda's store, The Bookmark.  There is something really gratifying about it.  Examining the books, figuring what they're about, maybe reading the blurb on the back.  Seeing how they fit with the other books.  When, who, and why they were published.

Then getting them in the right slot and getting them squared away.

Just very fulfilling somehow.

I could easily run a used bookstore, except for one thing.  Trading.  First person who challenged me on what I offered them, or who  misunderstood the terms, and I'd want to go running.

I have eliminated buying and trading from customers at my own store.  I buy wholesale or not at all.

It would actually be monetarily beneficial to trade or buy books from customers at Pegasus Books.  But it would be psychologically devastating.  My soul would be squeezed.  My emotions would be roiling.

So I made a choice, the right choice, to keep selling books, comics, toys and games at Pegasus Books, but to just be a retailer.

Obviously, as a used bookstore, we need trade-ins.  The more the better.

So having Linda or one of the employees dealing with that is fine.  I can run around her store straightening and filing and be perfectly content.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The pressure is all mine.

I've taken a few days off from writing.  My family is in town.  I was not feeling the re-writing, so I just backed off.

A few days go by and I'm very relaxed.

And it occurs to me that all the writing pressure is self-induced.  No one is clamoring for more books.

I think I just feel like this is the time, that I need to do it, that I'm on a roll, that I've got time to make up, that time is passing quickly. 

So I engender a pressure on myself that feels very real.  Making deadlines, wanting to finish, wanting to get books ready to be edited, and so on.

Because I've got some time before I get Faerylander back from the editor, and because I want The Dead Spend No Gold to gain some seasoning, I can now plunge into yet another new book.

I'm thinking it will probably be Ghostlander, though I thought that last time too, and then suddenly had an idea for a sequel to Led to the Slaughter.

Once I actually start writing Ghostlander, the pressure will be back on -- both because the pressure is needed to get it done, but also -- well, the pressure is real because once I immerse myself in a story, it's important that I finish it.

So back to the writing, probably this coming weekend.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Verisimilitude



Nice word.

The thing I most want to add to The Dead Spend No Gold right now, is some telling and/or historical detail.

I went out into the woods yesterday, broke off from the trail and just headed overland, found a nice spot and sat down with my notebook.

Two hours later, I had four pages of notes from just sitting there.  Two more pages of notes walking back to my car.  I passed some horses in a pasture, and wrote down some notes about horses. I have characters riding horses throughout the story, but barely mention them. So I need to bring the sight, smell and sounds of a trail ride into the story.

For instance:  I went on trail rides as a kid and I remember a lot of the details of long rides, the vinegar smell of horse sweat and leather, the lather and the foam around their mouths, the constantly swishing tails, the eyes that seem both fearful and rebellious at the same time, the curling of their hide to throw off the horseflies.

In other words, just little details to add to the story, make it seem real.

This summer I'll do some hikes in the mountains to get some of the details of a higher elevation.

And I'll also read some western histories and non-fiction books for historical detail.

I have the advantage of actually living in a place where I can actually go to places much like what I'm describing.

When I wrote Star Axe, I had a quest journey that described going over a pass and entering a new climate.  I used the Santiam Pass for details.  There is nothing like actually being there to find those little descriptive details. 

In a way, the first draft comes out  of my head.  But to firm it up, make it grounded in reality, I need realistic details.  It grounds the flights of fantasies and firms them up into something that at least feels like it could happen.