Thursday, January 07, 2010


For those of you not in the UK, let me tell you that it's been snowing the last couple of days. And by 'snowing' I mean 'snowing a lot.' Because of this, I've been working from home, which is nice because the commute is shorter, but not so nice because you begin to feel a little bit isolated after a while. I didn't speak to anyone yesterday, for example; Facebook has become my sole contact with the outside world. And I miss my daily coffee, particularly so because Starbucks sent me vouchers for every day this month and at least two have gone to waste now.


Another aspect of this isolation is that I find I start thinking about things in considerable detail. This can have both positive and negative aspects, depending on what you're thinking about. Negative, for example, as in you find yourself standing in front of the mirror worrying that you might've put on a bit of weight because you've not been able to get to yoga and you've only done one pitiful run this year.

I, however, have chosen to focus on the positive, which has led me to think about my New Year's resolutions. I've decided on a three-pronged resolution attack this year, although they're all kind of linked.

Resolution the first
After reading six less books in 2009 than I did in 2008, I've decided that my first New Year's resolution is, quite simply, to read more. And it's going rather well so far, thank you for asking. I'm on book three already (although this might also have something to do with the fact that I had begun to get a little bit scared at how immense my stack of books to read had gotten).

Resolution the second
My second resolution is simply to buy more books from actual bookshops. I was absolutely horrified at the closure of Borders last year, although quite frankly I no doubt contributed to its demise by ordering most of my books from Amazon. But no more! I'm pledging, where possible, to buy my books from real shops in real streets and shopping centres. I was in Foyles in Westfield the other day buying a book for a friend's birthday present and happened to mention this resolution to the lady at the till. "I like that resolution," she said. Then we both smiled at each other.

Although Amazon do their best to try and replicate the experience of a real shop with their 'you bought this, you might also like…' thing, you really can't beat browsing the shelves of a real bookshop, can you? There's something almost magical about it, and it would be a shame to lose it - so I'm doing my little bit to fight back.

(And if any independent book shops in the West London area come across this post, please leave details of who you are and where I can find you in the comments section, or email me, so I can come and buy books from you)

Resolution the third
Heh, this is the best of them all, and I've chosen to write about it here so I actually get motivated into doing it. If by year's end I've shown no sign of fulfilling this resolution I'll invite some of you to come and hit me with sticks.

Resolution the third is quite simply that I'm going to start my own little independent publishing company specialising in fiction, but also with an eye towards anything else that might take its fancy. I say 'simply,' but there's a rather steep learning curve to do with prelims, ISBNs, distribution and whatnot. The current plan, which I've been working on for several months now, is to do something with my long-overdue novella as a test, then follow that up with an anthology of fiction and art towards the end of the year.

Groovy, huh?

This all kind of stems from the fact that I love the sort of books that come out of publishers like Fantagraphics Books in Seattle and Drawn and Quarterly in Canada. They make books that not only tell incredible stories, but are beautifully designed objects. And that's where things like ebooks will never - I SAY NEVER! - beat a traditional bound book. Plus I don't think the UK has an equivalent publisher to Fantagraphics and D&Q, and I'd like to fill that void. They also have cool bookstores (here and here), which is something I'm dreaming about in the potential longterm.

So, I've finally admitted my great plan for 2010. Time to make it happen, eh?

(Oh, and if any independent publishers out there read this and want to offer some advice, I'm quite literally ALL EARS. Unless you tell me not to do it, in which case I'll "HARUMPH" comically)


Tara said...

My poor mom is feeling very isolated lately - not just because of the snow and ice we have, but the whole recovery thing. If I visit her this weekend she wants me to see if her car starts up, and she wants to tag along to the garage just to get fresh air.

Best of luck with all three of your resolutions, especially the third one!

And there's just no replacing an actual bookstore with online shopping. So that 2nd resolution sounds perfect.

Tim said...

Oh blimey, yeah I can understand that. I'm sure she'll be feeling better and less isolated when the weather improves, and until then I'm sure your company will perk her up!

CyberPete said...

I'm very excited for you. If you want, I can come over and guard you when IDV comes running at you brandishing his stick. He'll try that no matter if you succeed or not. Mind you, I hope and wish it'll happen for you of course.

You could combine amazon and the actual bookshops couldn't you? I meanyou can plot in what you own and amazon has all the suggestions and you'll just write down the ones you like and go hunting at the real shops.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Reading books = Good.

Buying books = Good.

Publishing books = Good.

Not publishing books so I can hit you with my stick = Excellent (in a Mr Burns style, of course)!

Inexplicable DeVice said...

'Petra! Fancy sneaking in before me and thwarting my comment.
Are you a witch?

CyberPete said...

No, but definately something that rhymes with it

Tim said...

Cyberpete - A personal security guard, eh? Interesting … I might have to take you up on that! As for Amazon, yeah, I'll still be using it, but only as a last resort. Will still get DVDs and stuff from 'em!

Inexplicable Device - PUBLISHING WILL HAPPEN!!! PUT AWAY THE STICK! Ugh! I don't want to be hit by your stick. Disturbing…

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Honestly, you do make a fuss. I was, of course, referring to Broom.
It was only a little incentive...

CyberPete said...

Somehow all this talking reminds me of that Lady Gaga song..

Yet still IDV keeps saying it wasn't with his disco stick.

Tim said...

Stop saying disco stick!