Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Returning Home to Actual Work (Gasp)

The weather was cooler this morning, so I tested my mother's old Apricot Yummy recipe.

No more of this wedding fun and modeling cute hats and running around Canada trying out one's old college French on the natives. I've had to actually do some work since I've returned to Fort Chapman, California from my petites vacances

For example, besides unpacking and checking in with my California Scrub Jay friends, I had to review the contract for the book I'm planning to produce for The History Press. And I've had to begin the research. Those are two of the hard things about a writing project. The writing part isn't much work at all by comparison.

Ms. Gimpy with her ailerons very askew.

Checking in with my friend, Ms. Gimpy, whom I helped nurse through a serious accident last summer that left her with a gimpy right leg, I find her somewhat the worse for wear upon my return.

Besides being a little miffed at me for going away (she seems somewhat standoffish--as if offended that I wasn't out there every day handing out peanuts per usual) she is losing yet another tail feather.

Like certain women we all know--you can always spot Ms. Gimpy going away.

When she had her run in with that cat or hawk or whatever it was--she lost one tail feather. This summer she lost another, which I actually found in the yard. And now, she has a third one sticking out at an odd angle. None of these seem to have grown back, and I'm beginning to wonder if she'll be able to fly without them. I might have to call someone at the Audubon Society to solve this mystery of the disappearing tail feathers. More research!

One of the books on California available at the website of the History Press.

Meanwhile, back at my real research project: The History Press is just beginning to publish titles about California, which makes this a good time to join them with this small project due in February. Fewer titles in California should mean less competition, one might imagine.

Today, when I spoke with my editor, we also discussed all the new promotional possibilities available for books these days.

The traditional marketing routes still work--radio, TV, print interviews and book reviews continue to be good ways to reach readers interested in regional history. But, now, there are also web sites, blogs, downloadable audio books, downloadable eBooks, Facebook pages, Twitter pages and this new QR code thing you are seeing around.

A QR code, or "quick response" code, as you may already know, is something you can click on with your iPhone that takes you to a web site with "additional information."

I love all of these ideas. As a broadcaster, I suggested to my editor we talk about an audio version of my book, since I would be pleased to record the track for it and I do have many friends who like to "read" books this way. My own voice on my own book seems like a good fit.

A fellow in Portland, Oregon with a History Press book on that city's "wicked" side is exploring the QR code, with the help of the History Press. If you would like to see how he is using it, I'll have a link at the end of this post.

There are lots of other things to consider: from iPhone apps to a podcast on my blog and, as I go forward, I will want to look into all of this. Especially since the Santa Clara Valley--which this book is about--morphed into Silicon Valley, the home of the late, great, Steve Jobs and associated other geniuses.

(I'm interested in hearing from all of you about which, if any, of these ideas interest you as book buyers and readers. The link to the History Press web site is also at the end of this post.)

One important point, however, as I keep telling my friends who are all wonderful, of course, and mentioning "signed copies" and lovely ideas for "author's parties"...

First: I have to write the darned thing!

So, enough of this frivolity. My nose is now headed over to the grindstone for sharpening.

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