Friday, March 13, 2009

"Mr. Malcolm's List" is Now Available!

I know there are like six people out there who are really interested in purchasing my second book, MR. MALCOLM'S LIST. Good news! It is now available! Here is a link to it on Amazon.com: Mr. Malcolm's List

I'm not sure why the meta data (that's what we folks in the publishing world call the blurb, cover photo, etc.) isn't showing up yet on Amazon.com. Barnesandnoble.com does have everything updated correctly. Here's that link: Mr. Malcolm's List at Barnes and Noble

If you want to know what it's about, and you're too lazy to click on the Barnes and Noble link, here is the back cover blurb:

The Honorable Mr. Malcolm has a secret. This elusive matrimonial prize, long the target of desperate debutantes and their matchmaking mothers, is well known for his fastidiousness. What is not well known is that he has a list of qualifications for his future bride.

Can any woman hope to win the heart of such a hardened critic? Selina Dalton can only try her best. And when she begins to succeed, Jeremy Malcolm is not sure whether he has discovered the perfect woman…

Or the perfect hoax.
Sounds intriguing, right? Now I bet there are at least eight of you anxious to read it. (Just don't borrow copies from each other. I've got bills to pay.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Writing a Blog is A Lot Like Homework

Once again I’m struggling to understand the popularity of blogging. After jumping wholeheartedly on the blogging bandwagon for a whopping—count ‘em folks—38 hours, I have failed to post anything in the past week. It’s because I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging is a lot like that most dreaded of all activities, work.

Since I already do plenty of things in life that require effort and that do not result in a paycheck (i.e. laundry, showering, etc.) it is a little difficult for me to add another item to that long list. I also made the time-consuming mistake in my second post of creating a flowchart. For all you would-be or nouveau bloggers out there: Never try to create a flowchart if you are not a nerd. It is a lot harder than you might think, and then all your nerdy friends and relatives tell you how inaccurate it is and how they cannot follow a flowchart when the arrows go in two directions or when some of the items are missing arrows. (By the way, the version you see now is about the 100th version I’ve uploaded. So it is slightly better than version 1, but still far from perfect.) The reason I created a flowchart in the first place is because I realize my blog needs some kind of visual stimuli. But since this is a highbrow, conceptual blog (I bet you didn’t realize that, did you?) the pictures require effort, too, and I’ve got to get some napping in sometime.

For those of you who thought that this blog was about life in the high stakes world of publishing, I exhausted that topic in my first post. I hate themes; they box you in. Let’s try to think outside the box, people. (I wonder if a picture of a box would work here. No? Back to the drawing board, no pun intended.) But, since I am trying to promote my new book, Mr. Malcolm’s List, I will tell you that I received the proof copy from the printer Monday and it is absolutely beautiful. Well worth the $10.95 price tag, hint, hint. I’m still not sure what the actual release date is; apparently it hits Amazon.com when Amazon.com feels like updating their catalog. But it should be sometime this month from what I’ve been told.

In the meantime, I’m going to release a Kindle edition, for all you Kindle owners out there. (Maybe a link placed here would make this blog feel interactive. Here’s a link to Amazon.com’s Kindle: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation))

I’m also thinking of publishing a short book of humorous essays in Kindle edition. My next blog entry will contain a sample for your reading enjoyment. (I was going to include it in this blog entry but I just realized I could stretch this one post into two, which will mean I can go take a shower or do some laundry or something.)

Also, until I come up with some better illustration ideas, here’s a picture of my cat, Lily:





(Here's an obscure grammatical challenge for all you grammar geeks: Am I supposed to capitalize the "a" in a title if it's part of the word "A Lot" as in, "Writing a Blog is A Lot Like Homework"? Or is it supposed to be: "Writing a Blog is a Lot Like Homework"? Or even: "Writing a Blog is a lot Like Homework"?)

I think I just proved my point.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Very Relevant Post

So I posted my first blog entry and was immediately plagued with anxiety: What if I’ve now offended French people with my Hachette joke and they all boycott LeMoyne House? (Because we all know what a big market France is for English-language books.) And what if by admitting to the world I’m practically a one-woman publisher they now think anything I produce will be substandard?

So here is a little damage control: I did not actually proof my book all on my own. I am fortunate enough to possess an older sister who corrects other people’s grammar as a hobby. (This is not necessarily a hobby that endears one to others, unless one happens to have a younger sister who needs her manuscript copy-edited.) So I convinced her to help me out, because all small business owners know that unpaid labor is the best kind of labor there is.

WARNING: The following contains highly technical information. If you are not a computer geek, please follow the flow chart…oh, wait, you can’t do that if you’re not a computer geek. Well, never mind.

I hate Adobe. Okay, that’s not too technical. All the salivating computer geeks are now bored with my blog and are headed back to their white papers. (And now my book will be boycotted by French people and Adobe Developers.) But it really defies comprehension that such an illogical, awkward-to-use software became the industry standard in the design world. If anyone has ever had to get a file ready for printing they will understand where I’m coming from. (So now I’m connecting with like, 1 person out of the 8 or so who actually read this blog. Way to be relevant, Suzy. You go, girl.) I know it’s cool to hate Microsoft because they’re the big, bad software giant, but at least they’ve got decent documentation and their software is fairly user-friendly. But Adobe is like: “Let’s hide half our settings in an obscure place, like a printer properties box, and then let’s put the other half in a different program, and then we’ll make those settings counteract the first ones. And we’ll give all the settings names that don’t make any sense, like ‘Save the PDF settings in the Adobe PDF.’ We’ll charge users an exorbitant amount for our overly-complicated software, provide documentation that never answers their questions, and watch in glee as they all slit their wrists in frustration.” (Maniacal laughter follows.)

DISCLAIMER - Any personal opinions expressed in this blog are not intended to offend the reader and are in no way representative of LeMoyne House or its authors. Herewith, aforesaid, forementioned, party of the first part, legalese, etc. etc. etc

That sounds official, right?



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Building of LeMoyne House



I have felt for some time now that people who blog have way too much time on their hands. I have also felt that they must be somewhat egotistical, not to mention foolhardy, to post their inner ramblings on-line where anyone could read them, and then assume there are people out there who would actually want to read them.

Well, I guess I’m a narcissistic fool with nothing better to do because here it is, my first blog entry.

I decided in January to begin my own publishing business, not realizing the magnitude of the project I’d undertaken. My first book, INCOGNITO, was published by a division of Time Warner, now known as Hachette books. (That is not pronounced the same way as “hatchet”, by the way. I learned this when I called them up to question them about my royalty payments and they treated me even worse than they had when they were known simply as AOL Time Warner. Apparently you pronounce Hachette in the French way, with your nose up in the air and with a feeling of superiority toward whomever you’re speaking. It sounds something like “Hay–shette” but if you were to say it that way I’m sure they’d correct you.)

Since I’ve already admitted to being a bit of an egotist, it may not surprise you to learn that I thought I could do a much better job publishing my second book, MR. MALCOLM’S LIST, than a publishing company that’s been around for dozens of years. (Actually, I’m not sure how long they’ve been around and am too lazy to look it up. I’m not getting paid to write this, after all, and it’s common knowledge that all information on the internet is of questionable accuracy.) So I went through the many steps involved in self-publishing, and found it tedious, complicated, and incredibly frustrating.

I neglected to consider that a publishing house is usually not a one-person show. They have designers, editors, proof-readers and myriad other employees on staff who specialize in only one aspect of the publishing process. But I am not easily deterred. So I applied for my ISBN numbers, signed up with a printer, designed a cover, learned the ins-and-outs of Adobe Distiller (or enough to get by) and spent hours verifying highly controversial grammatical portions of my manuscript were correct, such as whether or not a comma goes inside a quote that is inside another quote. (I’m still not entirely sure I know the answer to that one. Apparently it depends on whether you’re British or American. Since my novel is set in Britain but I’m American, I was faced with quite the conundrum.) I said to myself, “This is a quote, but if I were to recite some bit of poetry here, like ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud,’ I’d have another quote inside my first quote and then I’d have to figure out if I put the comma inside the inside quote or whether or not I should even use a comma.” It’s quite the exciting life I lead as a publisher/editor/designer/grammarian.

Surprisingly enough, one of the hardest parts of this whole process has been the writing of one little paragraph, called the author’s bio. I hate the bio. I know it’s not strictly necessary, but if my little book doesn’t have a photo and bio paragraph on the inside back page I’ll feel like it’s not quite the equal of all the other books out there and it may be sneered at. I wouldn’t want that for my little book. But every time I think of the bio, this anti-authoritarian, rebellious feeling wells up inside me, like society wants to define me by what school I went to, where I’ve worked and whether I’m single or childless. Who cares? Does that kind of list really describe my soul, my heart, who I am, really? How can society want such a sterile, pretentious, dried-up thing as an author’s bio? So this is what I came up with instead:

Suzanne Allain is a philosopher, a poet, a sage, and a jester. She is the embodiment of everything and the substance of nothing. She is every woman you know and yet you’ve never met anyone like her. She is self-effacing, modest, and above all else, absolutely ridiculous.

What do you think?