Surrey, B.C…. It’s like another country!

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Have been in Surrey, B.C. for 97 minutes. Still have not tasted poutine. Am too self-conscious to ask the front desk staff about it. Drove to mall where Pokemon tournament will take place tomorrow to make sure we could find it. Discovered they have enough seating for a Neil Gaiman reading, which should be more than enough. Have already scouted outlets for tomorrow’s long event.

Realized I packed my laptop but not my powercord, leaving me with nothing but the charge on a four and a half year old laptop battery. Bought replacement powercord at Mall. Wept tears of blood over price tag. Consoled myself that I completely funded an injured child’s MRI, probably.

Ate at food court at insistence of boy. Not only was food terrible, there wasn’t enough of it. Returned to hotel room to discover this is the only Best Western on the continent to not have a list of local pizza places that deliver in the room.

Boy has declared Surrey much more “futuristic” than Seattle based on an elevated train and hi-rise apartment buildings. How did a kid born in 2001 come to embrace the futurism of the 1930′s? Have tried to convince him that a “mooney” is a coin worth a million dollars, but he is not convinced.

Now he wants to see the hotel pool. May be getting wet soon, but in metric units of water.

Rental car acquired

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In a few hours my son and I will be taking off for Surrey and the Pokemon Regionals there. I won’t be dropping by bookstores or meeting folks: this trip is about my son and his fun. I do plan to work on my book while my son plays.

Anyway, progress on A BLESSING OF MONSTERS has been tough lately… right up until yesterday, when I had a great day. Protip: It’s hard to be motivated to write when you know every word is just going to be cut in the second draft. Yesterday I reached a part I knew I would keep, and things magically became easier.

With luck I’ll have time to write a bit later so I won’t lose the whole day. But tomorrow should be better.

Follow up to Wednesday’s post about Agency pricing and the online store

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First the store: It’s not working and I don’t know why it’s not working. Shopp’s help system isn’t very helpful but I plan to create a help ticket (or whatever they call it) sometime tomorrow morning.

Until this gets fixed, everyone who buys a story directly from me will have to wait for me to email the file to them. I’m terribly sorry, but I don’t see another way to handle this for right now. To complicate things, I’m going away this weekend and don’t know how much internet access I’ll have. No matter what, I hope to get some Starbucks time to check emails and so forth.

Anyway, yeah I suck. No big.

About the agency pricing thing: John Scalzi already wrote some sensible advice for people who root for one side or the other in the ebook price battles. But one thing I want to point out (and I’ve talked about this before, bear with me) is that these changes are not the result of some inexorable process.

For too many people, the changes we see around us are treated as though they’re the result of “natural” progressions. They think that New York City has a bunch of highways cutting through it because people like cars, and that’s also Los Angeles dumped the trolley system in favor of all those freeways. But that’s bullshit; people made those decisions, and they didn’t make them because Americans were clamoring for it. They had the power to do what they thought was best and highways were it.

You can argue whether it was a good choice or not (I think not) but despite the fact that people love cars and were buying cars as fast as we could make them, other choices could have been made, other directions taken.

The same is true for ebooks. E-readers and ebooks are beloved by some people, and they want more and more of them. I don’t find ebooks very convenient but I’m not against them–the first half of this post was all about the difficulties I’ve had selling them.

Still talking about “publishers fighting to protect their old business model” or “Time to get ready for this new economy” is childish crap. It’s Naivete dressed up in Cynicism’s old clothes. There is no unavoidable future here, there are only choices. Either we make the choices, or people with money and power will make them for us.

Personally, I’d like to see us work on a system that fosters competitiveness and openness, and you don’t get that with either collusion or monopolies.