Jan 24, 2010

Grand Design and Goal

So, lately I have had a complete inability to actually put any sort of thoughts to written words. For example, my draft folder is, as of this moment, full of half written and completely abandoned attempts to actually update my forsaken blog.

Why, then, the sudden urge to post something? I have set myself a few goals. Actually, I have set one goal (because I have found in the recent past I am not good at accomplishing multiple goals).

First, a little seemingly useless information. But, in the end, I promise you it make a little more sense.

Borders Book Stores. In California alone, there are 91 Borders Book Stores. 91!! Now, in New York, there are only 36. So, lets go ahead and average that out, giving an extremely rough average of 64 stores per state. Now, please keep in mind this is exactly what I said, a very rough average. With that average, if we multiple the average by 50 (because there are 50 states, right?) we get another rough number of 3200. This I believed to be an extremely wrong number. Clearly, the number of stores in California is defined in statistical terms as an “Outlier.” In Statistics, an Outlier is a number that is not used in figuring averages because it is so far skewed in the overall picture.

As it turns out, with a little more investigation, as of 2009, there were 517 Borders retail stores in the United States. On top of that, there are another 466 Waldenbooks stores (remember those little stores in the mall that slowly disappeared? Borders bought them). So, in total, there were (remember, we are in 2010 now), 983 Borders-type bookstores in the US. That’s an average of 19.66 stores per state. Obviously, the number of stores in California is an Outlier to the extreme.

Ok, a small detour in statistics complete, we can safely say there are a lot of bookstores out there. If one were to go into a bookstore, the selection reading material is quite large. So how does this pan out for the author? Obviously, the author makes a percentage based off of the amount of books bought by a particular vendor, but with nearly a thousand stores out there, and we are talking Borders only, we haven’t even included B&N, or the many smaller mom and pop type stores in all of our smaller towns and various old-town shopping centers. And there are hundreds and hundreds of authors out there. Many I have never even heard of and more.

So what does that tell me? It tells me with a little work and a little patience, anyone can get published. Ah, now we get to the meat of the subject. Publication. I have been publishing myself for the past few years. But I don’t believe that really counts.

You may be asking yourself, “What really is your goal here?” And that, my friends, is what I am finally getting around too.

I want to be published.

I have been putting a lot of thought into this idea. I’ve looked around, on line, for various ways and means to accomplish this goal, and this is what I have come up with:

I’m going to get a short story published before the end of the year. That’s almost a full year for me to accomplish my goal, extremely realistic and attainable.

As it stands right now, I have already begun working on this goal of mine. It’s going to be a bit of a lengthy process. There is going to be brainstorming, note taking, trial and error, revisions and more revisions.

And in the end, I am setting myself up for something I have never really experienced before: Criticism from an outside source who doesn’t feel the need to be supportive.

And that, my friends, sets up a continuing saga of blog posts detailing my up coming travails.

This time, when I say stay tuned for more, I really mean it.


  1. Hummmm. If you consider that California has 10% of the US population,then the fact that CA has 10% of the bookstores is statistically consistent. I can't wait to read the story. I have some books that might interest you.

  2. Lay it on us, my friend! Can't wait to see what you come up with. J

  3. You will do a great job! You have a way with words and we look forward to what you are going to do. Good luck!

  4. You and me both, brother. "Be published" was on my list of goals for this year too. Granted, I have no idea what I would write or where I want to be published, but dammit, I'm just gonna put that goal out there and see where it goes.

    Too bad you're not down here in the Bay Area. My short-lived writer's group just up and died after 2 members dropped out. It was nice, for a while, to spend some time with people who had the same aspiration.

    Best of luck to you! I can't wait to hear your adventures in publishing.


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