Thursday, April 28, 2005

Dancin' by the Nile

Last week I discovered ebay. Yeeha! Or more correctly, Yahoo! Another excuse not to write.

I'm justifying the expenditure (of time and ouch! so much more money than I intended) by finding items related to writing. For example...I'm going to put an ebay addict in one of my current WiPs. And I'm finding lots of great vintage mysteries to rip off--er--inspire me. But best of all, this morning I bought this very cool replica of the Sphinx, which will be the grand prize next spring when SONNET OF THE SPHINX launches, and I do my ususal website contest. I may even pick up a few more little Egyptian-like collectibles for the promo. Since it's the third book in the series, and the final one Pocket has contracted for (so far) I really want to make a fuss of it, and focus a little harder on the promotion.

Speaking of which, according to my editor at Pocket, Micki Nuding, review copies actually should have gone out on VERSE OF THE VAMPYRE. The fact that they didn't can apparently be chalked up to...well, the vagaries of an already vague biz. I feel the lack of reviews really did affect sales, but maybe that's writer paranoia. It is interesting to see if my promotional efforts make a difference. I spent about $12,000. promoting HIGH RHYMES AND MISDEMEANORS (including publicist fees, etc.) and the book did go into a second printing. On VERSE, I spent about $3,000. (no publicist). It's too soon to know what impact, if any, this will have. I hear different theories all the time.

Anyway, back to ebay. I had no idea there was so much WONDERFUL STUFF available. Pink Depression glass candlesticks, ivy china, Dell mapbacks, and vintage jewellery--to name just a few of the items I regularly hunt for. And I do mean, regularly. Yep, I'm addicted to online auctioneering. So much of the stuff reminds me of things my grandmothers owned--etched stemware, milk glass, funky little figurines. You have to wonder about the history behind pieces that have been around for decades--those tangles of old jewellery and incomplete sets of fine china. I wonder if someone is auctioning off their granny's beloved trinkets, but the truth is many of these ebayers simply buy to resell. Apparently there are people who actually try to make money at this game.

Not me. I buy what I love. So I get a little fanatical and overbid. Where they kill you is on shipping. Ouch. .99 for a five piece set of china, and $100. shipping. Yeah, right. I didn't fall for that one, but I did get into a bidding war over a set of cork placemats that I'd prefer not to think about (although I will have to think about it every time we eat dinner). Anyway, here's my ebay tip: DO NOT THINK OF BIDDING AS WINNING OR LOSING.

It's the books that really lure me in. I buy them in lots, and I'm only interested in certain writers or certain art work, so my buying pattern is probably irrational. There's something about the hunt for old books that is like no other. I won five Dell mapbacks yesterday. A couple of them will go into someone's Christmas stocking, a couple of them may be website giveaways--and a couple of them I just cannot wait to read!

Ah, but I see I have 32m to go on a certain item. Must run...

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