Monday, 16 February 2009

Books for a Better World

Being a writer I have to be careful not to annoy anyone who might help sell my book once it is published. Being a reader I can not help being frustrated by the way a certain online bookseller does its business.

Last year I heard that publishers were being manipulated by this bookseller in the same way large supermarkets treat our farmers. Margins were being squeezed so tight the profit was turning from black to red. One publisher stood their ground and refused to reduce their rates. The consequence was the seller removed the BUY NEW button from their site, denying the publisher the sale.

I was enraged and vowed to use my library more and only buy books from the High Street.

Last week I was looking for a book called The Hidden History of Glasgow's Women by the eminent Elspeth King. I tried the Mitchell Library first but they only had a copy in a secured shelf. I would have to locker my bag and sit in a secure room to read it. No good. They could order it for me, but I might have to wait a while.

Being of an impatient nature I tried both the large High Street bookstores. Despite the shelves heaving with 3 for 2 offers of American and UK easy Lit I found no joy when looking for this influential piece of Glasgow history.

I had no option but to turn to my old pals the second hand online seller ABE Books. This reliable portal site puts the shopper in touch with many seller across the country.

But each time I use this option I am faced with a dilemma. The poor old publisher and author still miss out on the sale but the recycling aspect of it appeals. This time the seller I found gave me added bonuses.

Bonus One. They were based in Dunfermline, my home town. Income for the Fifers!

Bonus Two. They are called Better World Books, an organisation that helps literacy across the world and saves books from landfill sites.

Bonus Three. I found two books I was looking for at a low price and they arrived on my doorstep within two working days of being ordered.

The result.

A Better World 3 - Greed 0

Monday, 9 February 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

The paid work

It has been a while since I last posted a blog but I have a genuine excuse. Before Christmas I punted a couple of ideas round some learning establishments in Glasgow. I had outlines for two courses I thought would be perfect to deliver into the community; A Guide to Successful Living and How to Survive the Credit Crunch. I figured I would have a couple of months’ breathing space to develop the course before anyone organised themselves and booked me. Wrong! A college in North Glasgow booked me to deliver the Credit Crunch course to three separate groups of women. I am now into the fourth week of a ten week course and am just beginning pull the last pieces of the development work together.

The course looks at budgets, debt, money saving tips, smart shopping and even some microwave cooking. It has been a fantastic learning experience for me and I have turned into a fanatic light switcher-offer and standby plug puller.

The novel

If all this teaching isn’t enough to keep me away from my blog I am delighted to report that I still find at least one half day a week to work on my second novel. It can be frustrating to commit to paid work (the course) and to find it is the perfect catalyst for shifting writers block and leaving you yearning to complete the non paid work (the novel). I now miss my main character Ellie when I don’t spend quality time with her in the week. I am halfway through the first draft of the story and want to finish that by July.

The seeds, the seeds

It is seed time again. My carbon footprint project is also ongoing and even though I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on it I do live the ethos daily. One of my main objectives is to step up the food production in the garden. I planted the first of my seeds yesterday and will gradually increase that as the spring arrives.

A new trial for me is using the inside tubes of toilet rolls to make seed pods. I have been collecting them for ages and I am relieved to get them out the way and in use.

You can see the snow in the barrels outside. I hope my November planted garlic will be OK.