What is a Book?

There has been a lot of discussion about ebooks destroying the publishing industry, and many people crying about the demise of the book.  It kind of begs the question, “what is a book?”  Is a book a collection of paper with a binding, or is it a collection of thoughts and ideas and language?  I think Amazon gets it right in their Kindle commercial when the actor says “this IS a real book.” 

I think the big problem for the publishing industry is that they have been trying to sell paper, when they should have been trying to sell thoughts and ideas and language.  Paper books are just the medium.  We should no more bemoan their loss than we did VHS tape– well maybe a bit more, they have been around for half a millennium or so.  Still, no one cried that VHS tapes were going away in favor of DVD.  We knew that it was what’s on the media that was important.  The same is true for the printed page.  It’s not the paper and ink.  To paraphrase Bill Clinton: “It’s the words, stupid.”

Work in Progress: Five Novels

I’m dedicated to publishing 5 books this year, and I’m still hopeful that working as a writer full time this summer I’ll be able to make that goal.  The first of course is already out: His Robot Wife.  So here’s what the rest of the year will look like:

His Robot Wife
Blood Trade
Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 4: The Young Sorceress
Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 5: The Two Dragons

Book five may be any one of several projects.  Of course I may not make my goal.  I’m hopeful though, as last year I published 5 books.

Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 0: Brechalon
Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 1: The Voyage of the Minotaur
Tesla’s Stepdaughters
Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 2: The Dark and Forbidding Land
Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 3: The Drache Girl.

Second Look: Gods Behaving Badly

I did a mini-review about a year ago of “Gods Behaving Badly” by Marie Phillips. I remarked at the time how much I loved this book. It was funny, sad, surprising, sad again, and then funny again. After a second reading, it is still just as good.

Imagine the Greek Olympians were still around today, power diminished, living in London. Though they still do their jobs– Apollo still sees that the sun comes up and goes down, Ares still manages war, and Hermes still delivers the dead to Charon the boatman as well as over-seeing the world’s money– they have little extra power and have to work for their money. Aphrodite has a job as a phone sex operator, Artemis walks dogs, and Apollo has an idea for a television show in which he plays a psychic.

The book is well-researched and the gods are perfectly portrayed. The two main human characters in the story are very real and their relationship is very touching. Most of all, the book is extremely well-written. It is very witty, well-plotted, and the language use is wonderful.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. If you have a love of mythology or fantasy you will really appreciate it.

You Might be a Bibliophile if…

You might be a bibliophile if…

1. You have more than one bookcase in each room.

2. You spend more time shopping for books than clothes.

3. Sometimes you open a book just to sniff the binding.

4. Your stack of books “to be read” weighs more than you do.

5. Amazon is your home page.

6. You know who Audrey Niffenegger is but have no idea who Simon Cowell is.

7. You named your two sons Barnes and Noble.

8. You think Steven King isn’t so bad looking afer all.

9. You have a book in your hand right now.

10. You hope your favorite book is NOT made into a movie.

Twitter Tracker

I’ve been getting some very nice feedback on my books lately. I thought I would share a couple of tweets that have recently been “tweeted” on Twitter.

BTW “His Robot Girlfriend” is still very popular at Feedbooks.

I love your books

dude people love your shit! It’s true

You can follow me on Twitter @ HistoryWes.

Donation Button

I added a donation button because several people asked me to. If you downloaded and read “His Robot Girlfried” or “Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess” or even “Women of Power” and you want to pay for it you can. Still, I would rather if you liked one of the above books, that you purchase “Princess of Amathar”.

One Year Anniversary Contest

One Year Anniversary Contest

To celebrate one year of the City of Amathar blog, I am holding a contest. Ten winners will be awarded, each receiving an autographed paperback copy of one of the following books:

Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess
His Robot Girlfriend
Princess of Amathar

Winners may choose which book they receive.

Contest Rules:

  • If you are under 18, ask a parent’s permission before entering.
  • Winners will NOT be notified by email. The winner will be posted here on August 13, 2009. If you don’t want to miss the announcement post, be a subscriber to the blog. Look in the left sidebar under Subscribe. Better yet Follow.
  • Make sure your entry can be distinguished by others who post. Remember, you might not be the only John or Jane commenting below.
  • Comment below and you will be entered once.
  • Only one entry per day by commenting, unless you participate in one of the ways listed below.

Multiple Entries for the Contest:

  • Post about the contest on your blog and include the link with your comment and you’ll be entered again.
  • Are you a Blogger Follower of this blog? If you are, mention this in the comment section. That’s another entry.
  • Subscribed by email or with an RSS reader? Be sure to say so. That’s an additional entry.
  • Following me on Twitter? If you mention it, that’s another entry.
  • If you post about this on Twitter, be sure to say so in the comment section. That’s another entry.
  • Stumble this post enter again.
  • Sign up for Friend Feed? Add me as a friend and that’s another entry.
  • Are you a member at Facebook? MySpace? Add me as a friend and that’s additional entries. Be sure to list which ones.
  • Connect with me on GetGlue.com and that’s another entry. Just be sure to include the name you go by on Get Glue.
  • Got another idea for spreading the word about City of Amathar Press? Let me hear it and that will be another entry.

And watch for the announcement of the winners August 13th.

Surprise Listing on Amazon

I was surprised to find the following message from Lulu.com in my email yesterday.

Publish Buy Sell Services

Dear Lulu Author,

Congratulations, your book has been selected for listing on Amazon.com’s Marketplace! As a result, your book will now be easily found on the world’s largest online bookseller.

There will be some differences between your listing on Lulu and your listing on Amazon. Amazon charges a fee to list your book, and in order to cover that cost your book will be listed with a 30% markup; however your royalty will remain the same, and your book’s price on Lulu will not change. Furthermore, your book sales on Amazon will reflect in your Lulu account immediately.

Lulu is committed to helping you increase your book’s sales and we hope you enjoy the benefits of listing your book on Amazon.com.

Kind regards,


You are free to opt out of the program if you are not interested in the benefits associated with having your book listed on Amazon. To do so, please reply to this email with the Project ID of the book you wish removed.

Copyright © 2002-2009 Lulu, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Unsubscribe or update your email address. Powered by SubscriberMail
3101 Hillsborough St Raleigh, NC 27607 U.S.A.

This was all the more interesting since I was approving the hard cover for book store distribution at the same time. It would be cool if a few books were sold on Amazon, but really this book was designed as a freebie. Remember you can buy a paperback basically at cost $4.95 instead of $6.33, by clicking on the right side of this screen, and of course you can download the ebook for free.

The Immediacy of Technology

One of the greatest advantages of all the technology we have around us is our immediate access to our cultural reference material. On several occasions now I have seen authors speaking about their books on television, logged onto the Sony eBook Store and purchased and downloaded their book into my Sony Reader before their interview was over.

The other night, I was watching Terminator: The Sarah Conners Chronicles and heard a wonderfully Scottish song “Donald, Where’s Your Trousers”. I logged on to Amazon to find five or six versions of the song, listened to the samples of them, and purchased (for only 99 cents) the song as sung by The Kerry Boys. I’ve been listening to it all morning as I blog. You can listen to a sample here if you are interested.

Incidentally, today marks the 8th month anniversary of this blog. Yea!

Books Everyone Should Read – Part 11

One of the classic adventures of all time, The Lost World by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been the subject of many movies and at least one television show. The original was published in 1912 and can be found here at Manybooks, along with many other books by this author.