Monday, April 25, 2011

Slammed


I've been absent from the blog recently because I am raising money for a new startup. I came up with a fantastic idea, built a prototype, and filed a provisional patent. It was a lot of work, but so far it has been worth it because when I talk to potential investors, they love it. No one has written a check yet, but I feel that it is only a matter of time.

What is funny is that there are some interesting parallels to publishing. Just like in publishing a good intro goes a long way. Just like in publishing people have to fall in love with your work. In publishing they have to love it enough to push it through through the arduous process, in fund raising, they have to believe in it enough that they are willing to invest some of their precious resources in it. In both cases there is a limited amount of time and money.

Where it is different is that in publishing there is a chance, though small, that you can gain an agent's attention by the query process. In fund raising, that almost never happens. If you don't know someone, it's almost impossible unless your product targets a market with a specialized fund.

I've had some great meetings, but I'm far from done. My writing has effectively been put on the back burner until I get this done, but hopefully soon I'll be back with a vengeance.

Writing is a solitary process and this makes it hard to network. Make sure you take time to expand your contacts, you never know when one of them will turn into the key to getting your work published.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Coffee Shop Roundup, Part III, Now with Random Snorts

This economy blows.

The writing refuge has undergone the slow dance of change. The owners of the coffee shop let go over half the baristas. The evening baristas are out—instead, the owners, brother and sister, work the afternoon and early evening away.

They did not have this in mind when they bought the business I am sure. Some people invest in small businesses as a means to diversify their steady income streams. Don’t stick all the eggs in one basket, and all of that. Hire a good manager and let her sweat the details. Good plan, until everybody starts cutting their spending in half. Suddenly the manager is too expensive. Suddenly the shop needs you not as an investor, but to work.

The coffee tastes the same.

Nubile pretty, Allan is not.

I am sure he wants to go back to playing golf.

Epic Fantasy Book Reading Dude still comes into the shop. Yesterday he was actually reading a smaller trade paperback, obviously borrowed. Indeed, he looked like he was reader twenty-five or something—such was the wear on the book. I wonder if Epic Fantasy Book Reading Dude bought it used. It didn’t have a used sticker on it. The writer in me holds on to the small thread that this is a book passed down from friend to friend.

Work is consuming and too much of it occurs here, not because the economy blows, but because it’s so damn fascinating. Would a less intellectually stimulating job leave room for the fiction that needs to bathe in creative juices?

I wonder.

There are more people here working on… something… in the coffee shop. Handsomely Dressed Expensive Laptop Business Man hasn’t made an appearance in over three months, replaced by three other peoples of various persuasions: Homeschool Mommy with Two Fine Teenage Sons, New College Girl, and Perpetual Frown Woman.

The morning crew is still the same. Replacing the morning baristas would be a colossal business mistake and the owners aren’t dumb. The customers in the morning are all the same too, either people going off to work or mommies meeting other mommies with their bundle of cuteness in tow. I rarely set up shop in the morning, but I wonder if I did, what changes I would see?

There seems to be more readers, in the coffee shop. I spotted a book on an iPad, in addition to the occasional Kindle.

I’ve drank the cool-aid and Kindle got my business. I love reading books on my phone, and my new Windows 7 phone had a Kindle app. It did not have a Barnes and Nobel app like my old phone. It’s not as if I have a particular devotion of Amazon, it’s just blazingly clear that Amazon loves me (or, specifically my money) but all these other sellers don’t.

I only buy books that I would not lend to other people, because Kindle book lending still sucks rocks, but I devour books, selfishly only for me, on my phone. I’ve bought a book in bed. I’ve bought a book at the coffee shop and started reading a minute later. I bought a book at the office during lunch over my PC and told Amazon to send it to my phone.

And it did.

This is a reader drug. I feel like a teenager just discovering that kissing girls is great and wonder what else I can get that girl to do.

Thinking about teens and girls brings up the wondering about the afternoon baristas, and not in an Uncle Pervy way. Those girls loved their jobs. Did they find other afterschool jobs? What are they doing now? The coffee taste the sane, but Allan is no flirt. Maybe I should switch my hours, work in afternoons, and do some writing in the mornings.

Bah. Mornings are too noisy.

This economy blows.