Celebrating Independent Bookstores: Schenectady’s Open Door

August 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Like most men, I typically wait until the last minute to purchase birthday and holiday gifts. But when my company, Empire Information Services, Inc. (today: readMedia, Inc.) was located in Schenectady, NY, I could always find something–whether I needed an anniversary present for my wife or a birthday or holiday present for my kids–at the Open Door Bookstore and Gift Shop.

Also, like most men, I’d probably never walk into a gift shop on my own for fear I’d either break something or have to ask what something was, and we men don’t like to ask for directions when we’re lost or what something is that’s prominently displayed in a gift store.

Thank goodness shopping for a non-book gift at The Open Door is not intimidating at all and the clerks are always happy to answer even the dumbest questions.

According to Janet Hutchison, the current owner, The Open Door was founded as a children’s bookstore in 1971 and has always been at its current location on the corner of Franklin and Jay streets in downtown Schenectady. Janet and her husband purchased the store in 1983 and have expanded it to accomodate the transition to carrying a larger selection of books as well as the gift section, which now includes jewelry and toys.

No doubt the Hutchison’s have entertained suggestions that they move to the suburbs or to a mall, but they’ve stuck with downtown Schenectady through thin and thinner. These days a local resident tells me things are looking pretty nice downtown and parking is not a problem. There’s a free 2-hour parking lot west of the store that runs between Union St. and Liberty and some decent places to grab lunch on Jay Street and around the corner on State Street.

Janet has graciously set up a date for me to sign copies of The Expendable Man and Making the Grade at the store. Richard Russo, Bill Kennedy and many others have done the same over the years. I’ll be there Saturday, Sept. 8 from 1:00 to 2:30 PM. But if you can’t make it during those hours, I’ll try to keep the store stocked with copies of both books.

So, if you need a book or a gift and you haven’t been in downtown Schenectady for a while, you can’t go wrong at The Open Door.


Expendable Man Price Reduction

May 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

In honor of the release this month of Making the Grade, my second novel, I have lowered the price of the print edition of The Expendable Man to $11.99.

Print copies of The Expendable Man are available online from the CreateSpacBookstore, from Amazon, and from Barnes and Noble’s online store.

Print copies of The Expendable Man are also available from the following bookstores:

Digital copies for the Kindle, IPad, Nook and other readers are available as well from their appropriate dealers or from Smashwords. Search on my name or the title. Digital copies retail for $4.99.

Editing Making the Grade––My Second Novel

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

After I paid good money for my first novel to be proof-read, a woman who had been an editor found 10 typos; months later another careful reader came up with 8 more. Many were minor––a missing comma or “feel” when I meant “fell,” but naturally, as I am about to embark on publishing my second novel, I want to do everything I can to avoid a repeat.

A writer has to focus on the story. Crafting a story that is unique and holds the reader’s interest is not easy. Writers with many notches on their sixguns sometimes shoot blanks.

Then one has to deal with the grey areas of English grammar––when to use a comma, how to handle quotes, capitalization issues as well as issues of literary style––how to present dialogue without saying “she said” after every quote, and so on.

That’s why writers need editors––especially self-publishing writers who don’t have the benefit of an agent and a publishing house.

Recently I tried to drum up assistance in proofing Making the Grade by offering a signed print copy to anyone who would buy a digital copy for $0.99 and send me a list of the mistakes.

Few responded, but a suggestion was made that I liked: break up the manuscript (or should it now be called a compuscript) and distribute it to those willing to read a few chapters.

So here’s what I’m offering: Proof-read a few chapters for me and not only will you get a signed copy of the finished product, but I’ll gladly edit an equivalent number of pages for you.

Use the contact form on my website (www.petergpollak.com) to let me know if you’re interested.

P.S.: If you purchased a copy of The Expendable Man and would like me to send you the list of 18 typos, use the same method to contact me.

WAMC Interview

December 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thank you to Joe Donohue and WAMC for interviewing me today during their Roundtable program. Joe and I discussed my debut novel, The Expendable Man, and the travails of self-publishing.

You can here it in its entirety at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wamc/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1882651

Hello world!

February 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

The Expendable Man is the title of my first published first novel.

By creating this blog I hope to keep people up-to-date about the world of self-publishing and about my personal fiction writing activities.

About being self-publishing. 

Because this was my first attempt to finish a novel, I decided to self-publish.  Given today’s publishing marketplace, which is undergoing cosmic changes, I didn’t want to invest the time or effort in trying to find an agent for this book.  That doesn’t mean I will necessarily self-publish my next novel, although at the moment I can’t see why not given how quickly the public is accepting inexpensive, self-published writing. 

Needless to say, I welcome feedback and questions.  My email for such is: peter@expendableman.com.

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