Saturday, April 26, 2008

Too Many Books, Too Much Snow

There is an essay in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review worth checking out. It's about the self-publishing industry. It seems that about 400,000 new titles were published or distributed in the U.S. last year, many of them self-published. The average self-published work, according to iUniverse, sells fewer than 200 copies. I have met hundreds of authors who have self-published. A tiny handful--Vince Flynn and Steve Thayer being two examples--have parlayed their effort into successful careers. The rest have basements and garages and car trunks full of unsold books. I guess it like anything else--you takes your chances. We woke up in Minneapolis this morning to winter all over again. April 26, the ground is covered with snow, it's still snowing and blowing and it's freaking cold! A hundred or so miles north of us they are looking at 4-8 inches, with blizzard conditions. If you have never experienced blizzard conditions, it's like this: You walk out to your mailbox and never return. Those who know me well know that I am an avid mushroom hunter. I've been picking, identifying, and eating wild mushrooms since 1972, when I stumbled across a patch of Morchella esculenta. So extraterrestrial-looking; so delicious! Around this time of year I get pretty wound up--the morels will be back in a couple of weeks, to be followed by many other delectable species. I've been reading mushroom books (a.k.a. "fungiporn") at night, and I'm looking forward to the MMS (Minnesota Mycological Society) meeting on Monday. I mention this now because it is so depressing to see all this snow on the ground, I just have to remind myself that buried beneath it are quadrillions of miles of mycelia poised to send forth their fungilicious fruits. Stay tuned: There will be pictures.

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