[personal profile] rj_anderson
Janet Ursel, a fellow fantasy author who was kind enough to accompany me to my first school visit in Ottawa last week, posted this on her blog and it is well worth watching -- if for no other reason than to find out how a book gets put together. But really, the idea of books-on-demand is simultaneously thrilling and harrowing, don't you think? Behold, the Espresso Book Machine:



And here's a couple of pictures of me talking to the crowd at that school visit -- 200 kids at Knoxdale Public School, on April 27th:

Photobucket

Photobucket

When I looked at these photos my first thought was, "Wow, that's a lot of kids," and the second was, "Man, I have really terrible posture." Do they still have those charm schools where you learn to balance a book on your head?

Date: 2009-05-05 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mary-j-59.livejournal.com
Yes, that's a lot of kids! And I don't think your posture is bad; it's hard to avoid stooping when you're speaking to people smaller than you, isn't it? Especially when they're sitting on the floor.

As for the espresso book machine, what I want to know is: where can I get one? Self-publishing! Yay! Four-color illustrations! Oh, well - they probably cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to speak of the paper and ink. But maybe a bunch of writers could conspire to share one? Power to the people!

(We wants it, we wants it, precious!)

BTW, I got my hands on Knife read it in a day, and have posted a review on the library's myspace and on amazon. I'm going to be passing it on to a couple of kids I know for their input, and I think they'll love it. )

Date: 2009-05-05 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
Thanks for the great review!

BTW, I like crows too, and in a way I felt sorry to make them the villains. But I needed a bird that was clever, large, carnivorous and common enough to be a persistent threat rather than just an occasional one... and owls, of course, only hunt at night.

Date: 2009-05-06 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mary-j-59.livejournal.com
True. In our area, a red tailed hawk would fit the bill nicely (pun not intended!), but large raptors are not so common in England. I did wonder about the "carnivorous" bit, though. Of course, crows rob nests and kill nestlings, but it seemed to me a grown faery would be a bit bigger than that.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the review. I liked the book. )

Date: 2009-05-05 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pigrescuer.livejournal.com
I thought 'minimum human intervention' meant not even an author. *headdesk*

That's pretty cool. Even if it comes in 'an infinite variety of sizes between 4 inches and 11 inches'

Date: 2009-05-05 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alawston.livejournal.com
Your posture looks OK to me. I'm a terrible slouch but weirdly I seem to slip into ramrod straight posture whenever I'm doing a performance of any kind, without thinking about it. Even when I was playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and was supposed to be a scruffy little oik.

YOU!

Date: 2009-05-05 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] melissa-tlc.livejournal.com
I owe you a big email. But for now let me say OMG YOUR BOOK IS PUBLISHED AND I'M SO PROUD AND HAPPY THAT I USE BIG SCREAMY HARRY!BOOKFIVE CAPS.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Re: YOU!

Date: 2009-05-05 11:05 pm (UTC)
ext_6531: (DW: CSI - Gallifrey)
From: [identity profile] lizbee.livejournal.com
YOU! YOUR BOOK WAS AWESOME TOO! It's next to Rebecca's at my work.

Re: YOU!

Date: 2009-05-06 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rj-anderson.livejournal.com
LOL on your icon! And xoxoxoxoxoxo to you too.

Date: 2009-05-05 11:04 pm (UTC)
ext_6531: (DW: Time War)
From: [identity profile] lizbee.livejournal.com
My former employers have an Espresso Book Machine in their main store, but I've never gotten around to actually going in and looking at it. Given the number of out of print books I crave, I probably should...

Date: 2009-05-06 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tunxeh.livejournal.com
But where does the espresso come out? And wouldn't it make your new book all soggy?

Date: 2009-05-06 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
You're so funny. As if anybody was worrying about your posture. You were fine.

I don't think the Espresso Book Machine should be causing any writers to despair. Quite the contrary. It means that as long as readers are asking for a book, it can be printed, even if a timid publisher has not committed to a large print run. Publishers, on the other hand, are going to have to do a major rethink of their business model if this machine catches on, which I suspect it will. A publisher's name on a book will be primarily a sign of quality, and in many cases, perhaps the sign of a certain kind of book. Their function would primarily be editing, cover design, and promotion. Personally, I think it's very exciting for authors, giving us the possibility of developing a readership slowly, instead of having to prove our worth in a narrow timeframe when many readers haven't even heard of us yet. I get so excited about the possibilities, I'm halfways tempted to go open a bookstore centered on a couple of book machines.

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