Monthly Archives: September 2011
One of my favorite things about this time of year is that Washington nectarines are at their ripest. For the last couple of years, that means free boxes of red-gold nectarines, lovingly grown by my friends Rick and Terie. But as I bite into these nectarines, I can’t help longing for the white nectarines my Grandma Dorothy used to plop onto our counter, in big brown grocery bags, so full that one time the bottom fell out! She grew hers in her California backyard, not on a farm in Eastern Washington as Rick and Terie do.
Years ago I wrote a poem about those nectarines, and it was my first piece of writing accepted by a popular children’s magazine. Two years later, when it still hadn’t been placed in an issue, I spoke with an editor of that magazine on the phone. I listened anxiously as he rummaged through paper files, then said, “Ah! Here it is!” and read my poem. Sadly, he explained, they were no longer printing free verse; it was confusing to children.
What could I do but thank him, hang up the phone, and laugh. No twenty-five dollar check or free copy for me. And no byline. No readers for my poem. There may have been a tear or two mixed with that laugh. But now I get to share it here, and cultivate confusion along with the love of friends, grandmas, and nectarines.
by Robyn Russell
Full and round with
Ripeness and paper;
My fingers find them
My mouth knows
Rumple, crinkle, bite
Am full and round with
Many more to
I’ve been letting friends and family know about my e-books, and the enthusiasm and support has been incredible. But I have more questions to answer than I expected. After, “You wrote a book?” said with a stunned sort of awe—which reminds me that while I’ve taken the fact that I’ve written books for granted for all these years, writing a book is, by itself, an accomplishment—the next most common questions is, “What’s an e-book?”
And this is the moment when I want to hug my friends, but slap myself in the forehead. Doh! I’m trying to get the people I love excited about buying my e-books, and most of them have never read one. The excitement came easily with the slightest slip of my news. But the second part, buying the e-book, turns out to be more difficult to make happen, not because of price or apathy, or just being unaware that my book exists, but because of confusion about e-books.
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. I didn’t know until a few months ago that you could read an e-book on your Mac, PC, or phone—and you should’ve seen my teen friend’s face light up when I told her she could read books on her phone—but I thought I was just behind the curve. After all, I’ve never been very technically inclined, never an early adapter. Still, I was caught off guard when asked, “What’s an e-book? How do I get one? How do I read one?” I posted an answer to these questions on my Venture Books blog, and thought I’d share the link here, just in case I’m not the only author trying to answer such questions for those who want to buy our e-books, but aren’t quite sure how e-books work.
What about you? Are e-readers common in your area? What have you been surprised to learn about e-books?