Friday, April 10, 2009

What I Said

Biologists are sometimes divided into sorters or lumpers, which speaks to how they classify things -- kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, as I recall.

Recently, to gather material for a non-fiction book on writing, and one on martial arts, I went through ye olde blogge with the sensibilities of a sorter, and I came up with four main categories of posts over the last few years.

1) Writing
2) Martial Arts
3) Guitar/Music
4) Other

The largest collection is 4) Other, because it takes in all matter of things, ranging from the weather to philosophy to book reviews; from personal matters, medical to moral; politics, family, and sitting nekkid in the snow. Exercise, diet, and funny things on YouTube. The odd short story, previews from upcoming books and those in progress, all like that.

Perhaps not surprisingly, in the single-subject categories, the numbers of posts and words in the remaining three are -- in order, from most to least -- Writing, Martial Arts, and Guitar/Music.

(You know there is a website called The Blackbelt Guitar Academy, don't you? Such a wide world out there ...)

There were enough posts on or about writing -- and I include funny stories about the biz, either literary or LaLaLand, in these -- to fill a fair-sized book. I know this because I did just that and shipped it off to my agent, who seems to think there is enough merit in the notion to pursue it. It's rough, but with some trims and additions, we might actually have a saleable product: No Man But a Blockhead, the working title.

There were not quite as many, but still a goodly number of martial arts posts, and enough to put together a book of those, too, and the result can be purchased here for the bargain rate of U.S. $5, in a convenient PDF. Look over there, to the right, under the title: But What if I Did This?! Enough people have already plunked down their money through PayPal so that I am a hundredaire, and if you haven't gotten your copy, why, here is the perfect time. Go ahead and order, I'll wait .

Dum dee dum, dum, dee, dee, dum dee dum ... You back? Good.

The third category, guitars, is somewhat leaner -- still a fair number of posts, but only fifteen or so thousand words. Partially that's because I don't know all that much about playing the guitar. Partially, it's because many of the posts were vids, of me or others much better at it doing so, and they don't count.

When and if I get enough material in that arena, I'll clump it together into a book, too, and the working title of that will be Woodshedder.

Here's the lesson -- a writing one -- in this. Whatever you write, you hang onto. Never toss anything, because you don't know when it will come in handy.

I started the blog for fun, have offered some stuff I thought was amusing or useful, and had a couple hundred thousand people drop round to have a look.

I knew all along that some day, some of it would almost certainly be ore that I could mine, smelt, and maybe cast into ingots of metal worth something. Perhaps not gold, nor even silver, but copper or zinc can sell for enough to help feed the dogs.

Keep this in mind if you are a writer. Not only is everything grist for your mill, if you write it down, it will keep until such time as you might find a use for it.

(The illo, by the by, will likely be recognized by tai chi players, but for those of you who don't do that dance, the position picture is called "Play guitar ..."

3 comments:

Formosa Neijia said...

And that's a great plus for us writer that blog. Second, we've already gotten some feedback on the ideas presented. Makes cleaning up copy and ideas even easier.

Good post.

Joe said...

How about a print edition via lulu.com ? I'd buy it! So would a bunch more...

Steve Perry said...

Joe --

Problem with self-publishing or POD is the cost and hassle. If I want to let them publish my MA musings, I'd have to charge twelve bucks a copy to make five. Then go through the process to get the ISBN # and onto the distributor lists, plus other things like accounting and stuff.

The MA collection was a labor of love, and people can read it on e-readers, laptops, cell phones, or print it out at home and still come out cheaper than buying the treeware version. Five bucks for the PDF, maybe two dollars worth of paper, if that.

As for the how-to-write book, that might wind up either a paper or e-book, but I'd rather let my agent take it around, get a publisher to sell it for me, and let them worry about the business end.
If that doesn't work, I can blogflog it and there's no overhead, no inventory, and very little work unless it takes off like a rocket, in which case some publisher will be willing to take another look.

My time is better spent writing than selling, I figure.