Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

in praise of paper, or not… October 18, 2011

Filed under: Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:13 pm
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Here’s a link to a blog post by a young lady in Toronto who LOVES books, Kelsey Bhatia.  She is vocally anti-electronic book.  I keep trying to convince her, but she isn’t buying the concept.   😉  Yet.

See my response to her comments below her blog.

When I look around my house that is exploding with books, I know I have a problem. I have over a hundred books just ‘about’ in my living room within sight of where I type at this moment, and two shelves of cookbooks in the kitchen, stacks on the backs of the toilets in two bathrooms.  There are two shelving units packed with books in the guest room, and 14 4′ long book shelves in my family room, 4 shelves in my craft/laundry room, and six 6 foot book shelf units in my office (where most books are laid in vertical stacks, in double layers), plus boxes and bags of my ‘class room library’ books in office and garage.  Obviously, I love paper books, but I am so thankful that the e-reader is storing 60 books that don’t have to find a space for in my house!  I hear that you can store well over 2000 books on a new generation Kindle, and that makes me very, very happy.  An entire library in your purse, all the time.  So far I’m fine with my Sony e-reader (despite my frustration that Grace Awakening is STILL not showing up on the Sony Store!)


More e-pub vs trad pub info August 12, 2011

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:22 am
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It’s official.  E-publishing is taking off.  Between Feb 2010 and 2011 e-book sales increased over 200%.  Here is an interesting look at the stats by Martin Taylor of Australia.  US Publisher upheaval ahead as print book sales see sharp decline. 


The end of the bookstore August 1, 2011

Filed under: Commentary,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:07 am
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I love bookstores.  I love wandering in them.  I love scanning titles.  I love the smell of ink and paper.  I love the graphics of gorgeous covers.  I love horses, too.   They’re majestic creatures.  Riding one is fun, but I prefer to go to Vancouver by car.

Times change.  It’s not a value judgment; it’s a fact.

Here is an excellent article by Dave Bricker about the changing publishing world.  He ruminates about the bankruptcy of Borders Bookstores and the future.  Hint: it’s ebooks!


A World Without Borders – The End of the Bookstore


Smashing! July 24, 2011

Filed under: Commentary,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:20 pm
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According to the July 21, 2011 site update from, they uploaded 6,500 titles in the last 30 days.  Wow.  I had heard that Amazon was getting 1000 titles a week, but if Smashwords alone uploaded 1625 titles a week in the last month, there must be closer to 2000 titles being uploaded every week.


Say it again,


That’s a lot of authors taking advantage of the opportunities offered by e-books.

If you have an e-book reader, you already know some of those opportunities for you as a reader: the convenience of carrying an entire library in one slim volume, the ease of acquiring your books, the huge numbers of books available to you, etc.  You may also have discovered the pitfalls, in particular the large amount of poorly written books to weed through.  The preview is the most valuable defense against this.  I dismiss a lot of books a couple pages into the preview.

For an author, there are different considerations.  If they are already published, it provides a way for them to release out of print titles.  If they are not published, it allows them to skip the long, painful process of waiting for a publisher to take interest in the book, and go straight to the readers.

There’s a problem with this though, because sometimes it isn’t a good idea to go straight to the readers!  Too often authors are in love with their words and their ideas and they don’t recognize that they need to edit for flow,  form and grammar.  There can be a little bit of conceit here or a bit of naivete.

The story has to follow the rules.  It has to make sense.  It has to be written properly.  It has to have good grammar and punctuation.  If it doesn’t, the readers are not going to come.  If you upload a novel before it’s ready, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot, and earning a reputation as a poor writer.

The easy road can be a dangerous one.  The harder road provides enough road blocks for the project to be perfected along the journey.

Of course, we’ve all come across books by reputable publishers that made us shake our heads and wonder how it came to be published.  With the e-book scene growing like crazy, hopefully we’ll soon see many talented authors that don’t have paper editions, developing a well-earned following.   Those authors aren’t getting there on their own, though.  They must have a team of readers and editors helping them to fine-tune their work.

Success is a team effort.  In e-book publishing, the author is the one in control of the team, so it’s important that it’s a good one!

If you’re considering e-publishing, there is a lot to know.  Read and learn.  Ensure that you’re putting out the best possible product.  Know your audience and your genre.  Be sure that your work has been read and reviewed by your audience. Your reputation is important, you need to keep it shiny.


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