I was forcibly reminded this week of one of the major
weaknesses of the current site design, so I got energetic this
morning and replaced it with a different weakness.
The problem is that when I started publishing on the web I had
the fantasy that this would lead to a thriving (or at least
regular) print publication business. And at least until this morning, there were still
vestiges of this fantasy on the site where I claim that I will send you a
handsome spiral bound book for the costs of printing and
This would probably be an OK way to spend a couple of hours a
week if you had several orders a week and could get reimbursed
for the time spent finding stamps and going to the post office
and adding paper to the printer over several orders. But if
there’s less than an order a month, you would have to charge a
lot to get your time compensated by one order.
What happened this week is that I got an order from someone who
gets really frustrated and angry whenever she has to deal with
computers. This is the only way I’ve ever seen her; a mutual
friend whom I trust assures me that in other contexts she’s
quite pleasant, and not at all stupid. My first interaction
with her was when she was ranting at me because she was trying
to print a book and had printed 40 pages and only had half
of it. Since the book has 21 songs and each song takes 4 pages,
this didn’t seem like a cause for wonder or astonishment or anger
to me. Anyway, none of our subsequent interactions has been any
more fun than that one, and they’ve been nothing like as good a
When I gave up on having an easy, hassle-free shopping cart on
my own site, I started using lulu.com to do not only
printing but also downloads of PDF’s. I kept the PDF’s that I’d
previously allowed people to download for free on my own site,
especially since the lulu shopping cart doesn’t know about
multi-volume sets, so there’s no way to enforce that people buy
all the part books if you’re printing in part books.
But this seemed like an emergency, so I put the canzonets for
two voices up as two separate books, with dire warnings that you
can’t play the pieces unless you buy both books.
Longer term plans
If this works, and I don’t get lots of angry phone calls and
emails from people who only got half the pieces, I’ll put up the
Morley Canzonets for three voices and other part books.
Longer term, if I really want a publisher, I should get a block
of ISBN’s and get listed on Amazon and some of the book
wholesalers. I’ve been reading the Self-Publishing yahoo group,
and it looks like the people who are trying to get rich selling
the picks and shovels to the internet entrepreneurs have some
picks and shovels for self publishing that work some of the time
for some people.
It would be a modest investment in money, and a fairly large
investment in time, so I don’t know for sure that I’ll do it,
but I do think about it.