Brief Detour From Beer

This is the kind of thing that makes me long for a nervous breakdown (because then I could retire to a darkened room with a cool cloth over my eyes and forehead):

According to this piece in the current issue of The Futurist, 70% of literary agents recommend that authors spend five hours a week blogging.

Okay. Sure. I’ll get right on it. I’ll squeeze that in between the speaking gigs, interviews, op-ed pieces, TV news contributions, and the rest of the activity related to my work as an observer of the business of making and drinking beer; and in between the job that consumes most of my time, namely the research and writing for my next book (a history of meat in America from 1870 to the present); and after I’ve finished buying groceries, fixing dinner, doing the laundry, and spending time with my family in, ya know, my three-dimensional life.

Oh, and after I get some sleep. (I’m not Buckminster Fuller or Thomas Edison; I NEED SLEEP.) And after I expend mental energy worrying about the fact that the kind of book I write requires years of research and writing and according to the experts on the digital future of publishing, that makes me a dinosaur. (If anyone’s interested, the beer book took five years and four months of my life).

And after I contemplate the idea of the book not as a printed object, but as a digitized entity consisting of text, interactive images, and hyperlinks, but hey, first I’ve got to wait for my publisher to decide that, in fact, the printed book is dead, and then someone needs to come up with a functional device for reading the new, groovy, sexy, interactive version of my books and then I’ll have to re-think the notion of “publishing” and what it means to be a “writer.” (*1) Yes. I’ll get right on the five-hours-a-week-devoted-to-blogging thing.

Enough ranting. Seriously.

Anyway. I gotta go. Gotta write my next blog entry on my usual topic, beer. Five hours a week? FIVE HOURS?

Later addition to this entry: check out this New York Times article about a new e-reader with a “flexible” screen.  (*2) I rarely blog about the process of writing or the business of publishing. That’s the equivalent of Click and Clack devoting their radio program (or blog) to discussions about setting up the microphones and adjusting sound levels before each program, or to providing the minutes from the last meeting of the National Auto Mechanics Association. That’s NOT why we listen to them. (*3)

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*1. I ponder publishing’s (digital) future and my role as both reader and writer on a regular basis. I don’t have much choice. Publishing is changing. I have to change with it. The piece in The Futurist is worth reading.

*2:  I’m all over the idea of an e-reader. The pleasure I derive from reading is based on the content, not on the smell of the ink, paper, and glue. I want an e-reader and I want one now. (Mr. Jobs, are you listening???) The Kindle is a step that direction, but I gather it’s deeply flawed and that’s one reason that publishers are resisting a whole-hearted embrace of e-publishing.

*3:  To be fair, blogging has been good to me. Thanks to blogging, I’ve been contacted newspaper editors and television producers, and people who’ve hired me for speaking engagements, and of course, most important, readers. Still, it’s a challenge. Every day, I scramble to come up with a substantive but brief, comment on (usually) beer. (Because I know rule number one about blogging: the blog needs to be focused and topic-specific. Yeah, I keep breaking that rule because, you know?, life is interesting! Rants happen!)

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