Sunday, April 24, 2011

My writing week 4 (17)

Hi all,

After weeks of doing little writing, except Divine magazine articles, I actually did some editing of my novella last week. Yaaa me. And things are looking good for this week as I have caught up with other activities like gardening and newspaper reading. I still need to strip the rest of the paint off a picket fence and paint it, followed by painting new guttering.


It is amazing how the plot needed to change in my novella after I substituted an ipad for a newspaper. My main character had been reading a newspaper, but as the story is set about a decade into the future, I decided to give him something more advanced, an ipad. He then needed something to carry it in, so I gave him a backpack.

In the novella he has to make a hasty exit. He had previously just dropped the newspaper and ran, but now he had to try and bundle his ipad into his backpack while lurching for the exit. Those in pursuit catch up with him. Previously they grabbed at his clothing, now they had a backpack to latch on to. The backpack is lost, but when found it provides evidence to back up his alibi. The police had been a lot less believing when he just lost a newspaper.

The novella is now 24,000 words.

Ebooks Seem to be Getting Cheaper

I just checked Amazon Kindle’s top 100 bestseller list for the first time in a couple of months. Fifty-two of the ebooks were $2.99 or less, with 28 at 99c and 12 at $2.99. Twelve were $9.99. There were none priced at $12.99. Last time I checked, twenty were $12.99, six were $7.99, nine were $2.99 and twenty were 99c. No other prices had significant numbers.

Ebooks Most Popular Book Format in US

I have read reports from Amazon that they sell 115 ebooks for every 100 paperbacks, but that was just Amazon. Now, according to Jason Steger’s Bookmarks column in last Saturday’s Age, the Association of American Publishers is reporting that the ebook is the most popular format out of adult hardbacks, paperbacks, mass-market, children and young adult hardbacks and paperbacks.

They AAP says print sales fell 25 per cent in the first two months of this year, while ebook sales jumped 169 per cent. And the full impact of the collapse of Borders in the US is still yet to be felt according to Publisher’s Weekly.

The data continues to suggest that print books will be much rarer in the future, replaced by dirt cheap and free ebooks.

Graham Clements.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My writing week 4 (16)

Hi all,

Global Warming

I’ve been catching up on my newspaper reading and the global warming debate is not going well. Clive Hamilton in last Wednesday’s Age sums it up well:

“What do Australians want? The answer is clear. We want symbols of action but not action itself. We want to hear words that make us fell good about ourselves but none that ask us to make any sacrifice. We care about climate change, but we hate the idea of having to do anything about it.”

Even with my household’s limited resources and income we have tried to decrease our contribution to global warming, while people on much larger incomes do nothing, except whinge. We have installed solar hot water and a rain water tank. We upgraded the gas heater to one with a thermostat. Every light fitting has one of those energy saving light bulbs in it. We grow a lot of our vegetables and fruit. We don’t have a car, instead we walk everywhere.

The only good thing about global warming is it makes it very easy to write about future dystopias as the lack of water, food and land, will inevitably lead to civilisation’s collapse in the next century. Just as well I don’t have any kids to worry about. I wonder what those with children think the future holds for their offspring. Are they ignorant (the science is clear) or just selfish.

Arrhhh Dentist

I spent more time arranging dentist appointments and visiting doctors and medicare to get onto the EPC programme last week. By the end of the week it was all organised. $4250 of my dental costs will receive a rebate of around $2750. For a moment I felt a bit of relief, but then got the quote from the dentist - $6090. There were three crowns instead of one, fortunately one of the crowns is not urgent. So the EPC will cover all the work by my dentist except for that third crown. I still will need to pay an oral surgeon around $2400 for the removal of two wisdom teeth and other tooth.

I have set myself up for a really enjoyable week starting the 10th of May when the dental works all begins with three fillings. On the 13th of May (and it is a Friday), I trip down to Melbourne to see an oral surgeon for a consultation. The next Monday I go down to Melbourne to the dental hospital. I am hoping they have an oral surgeon at the training hospital who will extract the wisdom teeth for free or not much more. The next day, it is back to the dentist for the start of the first crown.

Oh the horror, the horror.

In the future dentists will be able to plant stem cells into jaws and grow replacement teeth, which will be protected from plaque by nanomachines. I can’t wait.


Besides organising all things dental again last week, I spent a bit of time as DIY Graham. The plumbers arrived and laid the new pipes I then filled in the trench, which wasn’t as easy as that sounds because I had to make sure the heavy clay soil got under the pipe and down its sides. I also planted a tree.

The next door neighbour’s son – who lives in the garage – decided that the best time to chop wood for his fire was in the middle of the night. I dragged myself out of bed to inform him that it was not. I suggested he make himself a nice pile of chopped wood during the day. He also woke me up on two other nights with his music. I suggested to him that I might contact the council.

I am wondering whether he is legally able to live in the garage. I remember when I lived in Sydney in a share house that one of my co-occupants was kicked out of his mum’s garage by the council. He was a moron as well.

The combination of tiredness, anguish and other things to do, meant that once again I did very little writing last week.

I have decided to change the title of my blog to: Why I didn’t Write Last Week. The change will be made as soon as I get time…

Graham Clements.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My writing week 4 (15)

Hi all,

I had a bugger of a week last week. It all seemed to be about damage control. I went to the dentist and found out I needed a bit of work. She directed me to an x-ray clinic for a mouth shot. I found out I need to go and see an oral surgeon to get a wisdom tooth and its neighbour pulled. Their roots are too close to a nerve for the dentist to pull.

Just the removal of those two teeth will cost me somewhere between $1500 and $2000. I also need a root canal ($1500) and a cap on a front tooth ($1450) and some other things done. All up the initial bill was around $6,000. As I am trying to survive on a part-time writing job and newstart, I don’t have that sort of money lying around.

But by the end of the week, it looked like I can get onto a special medicare programme for those with chronic illnesses (like my ulcerative colitis). It pays up to $4650 over two years. My GP says I am eligible and is currently, I hope, doing the paperwork.

I’ve made appointments for consultations with two oral surgeons – even the consultation will cost, after a medicare rebate, $70 and one of those consultations will involve a trip to Melbourne.

The need for the dental work is partly my fault and that of the previous dentist. Seems he was cheap because of the quality of his work. Lots of his ex-patients are now getting their fillings replaced. I was stunned when a 12-14 year old entered the waiting room and said he had to have three fillings replaced. I only went to see that dentist because he took over the surgery from the previous one.

I said my fault too. I did not get my teeth cleaned last time I saw that dentist a year and a bit ago. It was in the middle of getting my cataracts removed and placing my dad into a nursing home. I was somewhat distracted. And of course I could have done a better job cleaning my teeth.

While arranging and doing many things dental, we found out the drain pipe down one side of the house were clogged with tree roots. So water from the roof was just flowing under the house. Not wanting the house’s stumps to rot, we had arranged to get the drain pipe replaced. To save money I have the dug the pipe up. It was full of cavities. I just finished digging it out this morning.

Universal Remote Controls Article

I just submitted another article to Divine. This one is on universal remote controls. You know I could not find anyone who had tested remote controls for use by people with disabilities. Remotes are hard enough for people to use who are able-bodied, but imagine you have motor control issues, like arthritis, or poor vision.

Self Publishing Ebooks

In promoting my latest article on Divine about self-publishing ebooks, I got into a debate on one of the writing sites I frequent, where an article on Salon by Laura Miller was mentioned. That article epitomises the reasons for and against self-publishing ebooks. And it has a lot to do with marketing.

The article mentioned Angela Hocking, who is now an ebook self-publishing millionaire, has just signed a traditional publishing contract. She is happy that she won’t now have to spend all her time marketing. While Barry Eisler knocked back a half-million dollar contract from his publishers for two new books because he wants to self-publish them. Part of his reason is he didn’t like the marketing his publisher had done on his previous books.

Other Writing

At the end of last week I actually did some editing of the much neglected novella. But then while taking a walk I thought of a great idea for a story. It might distract me further from the novella.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My writing week 4 (14)

Hi all,

Last week was one stressed out week, but compared to how this week has started it was like sitting in front of the telly watching a Red Dwarf marathon with a keg of beer.

One good thing has happened in the last couple of days, I have a new article up on Divine about self-publishing ebooks. It contains a warning that authors should not expect to make any money out of selling ebooks.

Hopefully I will make time to finish an article on universal remotes that I was supposed to finish last week.

No editing of novella, little reading, just one moment of stress after the other. I am definitely on a roll.