Friday, 22 April 2011

'… the earth did quake, and the rocks rent …'

Good Friday and I'm in the north for a few days longer. Sky and sea today are shades of grey and sombre green. Rain falls, drums, and stops. Silence presses in. This feels suitable for a day on which, in some parts of the world, we're given the chance to ponder human frailty and courage, idealism, barbarity and treachery, pain, loss, and much more. Bach's St Matthews Passion (on the radio today) helps access those shadier realms of the heart.

Now where am I going on this my more pragmatic blog as I've come to consider it? I've been thinking about sales and how, although ebook purchases, in the US at least, are reported to be outstripping purchases of hard-copy books, here on Rosa Mira, we're still in modest figures. And yet (perhaps I'm a Pollyanna, but Pollyanna's a happy gal) each of the sales that burps into the inbox (I probably should change that email alert tone to something more up Polly's alley) gives a lift to this publisher's spirits. Each buyer becomes a dear reader. I silently thank each and wish each a rich reading experience. If thousands of buyers were streaming through each day, I'd have to automate and delegate and give mass blessings like the pope.

What am I trying to say? Buy now while the benedictions are still personal? I'm saying that, for now at least, small is beautiful; that quality is speaking louder than quantity. However, for Dorothee's sake and for the sake of the 'luscious story' (I quote our latest dear reader) I trust and intend that over time, sales will boom, and that The Glass Harmonica becomes the talk of a town or a book group near you.

Still, today's been a good one for pondering the power of one at a time: one publisher, one writer, one book, one reader.

One man, one 2000-year-old story.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Between laptop and sea

Three slightly peculiar love stories a day. That's been my goal this week and by some grace I've managed to stick to it. I'm checking that each of the 20 authors has semi-formally agreed to publication, and has sent me a biographical note and an enticing line from their story.

I'm standardising fonts, spacing, paragraphing, quote marks, en dashes, and ellipses — all the while enjoying again the style, atmosphere and dynamic of each, appreciating the special something that drew me to each and that expresses the writer's spirit and particular, peculiar take on the world. On love.

I roughed out this posting on the beach. I can't stay away while the last sun is stretching pohutukawa shadows over the sand; giving halos to little dogs, girls' hair, and driftwood alike; throwing into halves of light and shade the perfectly proportioned little white rowboat with oars pulled up at the lapping edge.

If I were bolder, I'd make twelve strides down the beach, rock it loose, push it out, and jump aboard.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

It is warmer

Up here north of Auckland you can swim in the sea without gasping, even in April. Then you can walk back to the cottage you're house-sitting and go on with your work, swivelling often to take in the sky's drama played out on the sea.

Two generous people I want to mention before we go off to yet-another beach: Emma of Snowblog is giving away "two whitepapers on eBooks: how to create and how to sell". I'm always on the lookout for new hints and tips so big thanks to Emma who's a publisher at Snowbooks: "a feisty, award-winning independent book publisher" in the UK.

Danielle Wright has done a sterling job here in NZ publicising Rosa Mira Books and the launch of The Glass Harmonica. It hasn't been an easy road, since NZers are only slowly finding their way to digital reading, and then there was the earthquake, shoving weeks' worth of news aside. Anyway she has a new website and you can check out what she has to offer on The Wright Press.