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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
JUN
07

Reading Your Work

I recently did an interesting thing. I read through all my books. Since I've only recently become a Kindle user, I'd never before read them on Kindle. So I decided it might be interesting thing to see what they all look like, what the experience is like reading them electronically. There are small annoyances, like having to either click forward to see footnotes and then click back, or waiting until the end of the chapter to see them, at which point you forget what they were supposed to apply to in the first place. But, as I've previously mentioned, reading books on Kindle is, well, kinda nice. 

The oddest thing about reading your own books is that there are parts you don't remember putting in there. There are events and experiences you may have forgotten, or at least forgotten how exactly it is that they went down. And for my first book especially, granted I wrote it over ten years ago, the writing struck me as...not great. Or at the very least, it made me wish I could re-write it now. Of course, that book more than any other deals with childhood and adolescence, and the more simple writing style was to some extent what I was going for.

This is all to say that the most striking thing about reading all my books, in order and back to back, is how much better the writing gets. My editor mentioned this to me after reading the Newbie manuscript, but until reading them all myself this past week, I hadn't really understood what she meant. Part of me is a tad embarassed over this, when it comes to the older books not being as polished as perhaps they could be, but it also makes me proud to see the progress I've made as a writer. Besides, everyone has to start somewhere, right? I can only hope that I continue to improve over time. Now 60% done with manuscript #5, I'm certainly getting lots of practice!

APR
25

The Argument for Kindle

Honestly, I never wanted one. I've never had any interest in giving up the reading of actual books. Holding them in my hands and turning the pages and hefting them with me on planes and keeping them stacked on my bedside table. I also never wanted to give up the library, and having reason to go there and select my next book. I've really never even considered getting a Kindle.

Had I not been gifted one for my recent birthday, I would have continued to stick to my guns on this, but the fact that the libraries are closed has put me in a bit of a reading pickle. In that my only option really is to use the Kindle. So I'm now in this, if a bit begrudgingly, and felt the need to just sum up how a non-Kindle user (a real book preferer) feels after having begun using a Kindle.

In short, I don't hate it. And I sort of hate that I don't hate it.

Benefits include: having immediate access to pretty much any book, how small and light and easy to transport it is, that you don't have to shine a light on it at night in order to see what you're reading.

Things I find annoying include: being limited to only seeing a couple of paragraphs at a time, having to pay money to read books as opposed to getting them for free at the library.

I still feel like my preferred method of reading is to have an actual book in my hand, and maybe I'll always feel that way. But that said, I am surprised by how much I do enjoy using the Kindle, and once libraries open back up, I can see myself still sometimes forgoing the books on my nightstand and instead choosing to swipe open the Kindle. But only sometimes.

DEC
11

Still Holding Out

I've just gone through the part of the book process that involves approving the Kindle files for the ebook. Something made more difficult given that I still do not own a Kindle. Sure, they have programs that allow you to see a "Kindle view" on your laptop, but as I flip from page to page, I can't help but wonder if this is really how things will look to those who end up reading the book on a Kindle.

I'm probably as close to getting one as I have ever been, what with this whole checking my own ebooks prior to launching thing. Not to mention a couple of coast to coast redeye flights last month where my use of the overhead light was seriously pissing off my neighbor. I know, I know, tough shiz, right? We each buy a ticket, and if your neighbor wants her light on, THEN YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. But I'm a bleeding heart. I feel too much. Plus I don't want people wishing me ill while we're all 35,000 feet in the air. So a Kindle appeals to me more these days. As in bye-bye overhead light.

Yet I still can't pull the trigger on making the purchase. And why? On one hand, it's like Lasik. I could get it, but wearing contacts really isn't that bad. Yet I remember going through the same holdout on an iPod years ago, and after getting one, I've never looked back. The difference, however, is that a world without discmans and walkmans is one I can live with. A world without physical books, however? Not so sure. Which is why I just purchased a portable mini book light for my next night flight. And why if you see anything wonky on the Kindle version of my upcoming book, you can rest assured that everything looked *great* on my laptop Kindle viewer.

NOV
30

Reasons Why I Do Not Have a Kindle

All this Kindle talk has made me think about Kindles. And how I don't have one. It seems like a must-have for any reader, but here are the reasons why I have not yet jumped on the bandwagon:

1. I don't have much time for reading. I feel shallow and ignorant for admitting this, but reading always gets pushed to the bottom of the list, and I usually only do it when I can't do anything else. Like when I'm on a plane. Or in the bathroom.

2. I like real books. No matter what you say about being convenient or saving space, I have no issues with slipping a book in my computer bag before a flight. In fact, I always plan on devoting a small pocket of space just for this purpose. And I enjoy physically holding a book in my hands, admiring the cover, smelling the pages, using a book mark, etc.

3. I want to be in control. Maybe I have the wrong idea about what using a Kindle is actually like, but I'd prefer to see the whole page at a time instead of scroll a screen up gradually to see the next couple of paragraphs. I'd rather use my hand to flip to chapter 10 than clickity click my way through some sort of table of contents. I sneak glances at fellow passengers as they read on their Kindles, and it just doesn't look like a reading experience that I would enjoy. At all.

4. I fear the end of the brick and mortar bookstore. It's already happening and there's probably nothing we can do, but my heart aches a little when I think about what it would mean if everyone had a Kindle and exclusively read with it.

I'm sure all you Kindle fiends could argue that I would love a Kindle once I tried it, and you might be right. Back when ipods were new Back when I realized that ipods existed, I couldn't think of any reason why I would ever want one. Then I got one. And now I can't imagine life without it. Still, I'm planning on holding out on the Kindle. The only compelling reason I've come up with for Kindlizing is that I don't necessarily want to buy (as in add to my own book collection) every single book that I want to read. So a Kindle would be a nice way for me keep my bookshelves less crowded. That said, for now I still choose to buy a physical copy of books I hear about that I want to read.

You know, as long as we're talking about it, what I really want is a way to borrow or rent books without having to add them to my personal collection. If you're thinking this sounds a lot like a library, you'd be right. But time is money, my friends, and I don't want to have to drive anywhere. Or search alphabetical listings. Or wait on a list for my turn to check out my library's single copy of something. What I want is a Netflix for books. Could someone please get that going? #ipromiseiamnotaslazyasisound

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NOV
27

Download 'Schooled' for free!

Well, it's that time of year again: The time of year when Starbucks brings out their festive red cups. I'm not a coffee drinker myself, but I love those red cups (I suggest a Hazelnut Steamer if you don't care for coffee). I love everything about Starbucks, from its Pacific Northwest origins to the way they have the whole world happily overpaying for warm bevs. I mentioned this to someone recently, my respect for the stronghold that Starbucks' marketing has on our wallets, and they had a hard time understanding where I was coming from. "Wait, you LIKE the fact that they make us all overpay for coffee?" The answer is yes. Yes I do.

It's not that I like overpaying, but the genius of Starbucks is they have created an experience that we all want. That we all need. Because of this, it's not like we stand there in line stewing over how much we hate being ripped off. We WANT to pay it. We CAN'T WAIT to pay it. We consider our lives better and ourselves more trendy for overpaying being Starbucks customers. That's why we keep coming back. And the ability to create that kind of devotion (at a premium, no less) is impressive. More than that, it's the ultimate success when you've got something to sell.

Marketing and selling books is a completely different matter. (Hello, Captain Obvious. Welcome.) There's nothing luxurious per se about a book, and unlike a drink you can sip and instantly confirm that you like (or a piece of art or jewelry that you can form an opinion on immediately), books require reading before the buyer really knows whether they are worth his investment. So more often than not, he doesn't invest. It's even more difficult when the author is a nobody. Like me. All you can hope for is word of mouth. Which is a problem when no one knows about you. So on Wednesday and Thursday of this week (Nov. 28 and 29), Schooled will be available as a free Kindle download. Download it, tell your friends, tell them to tell their friends, and remember that my holiday promotion still applies for those who like it enough to post a review. It's the perfect thing to read while sipping something hot from a festive red cup.