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inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #51 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Fri 26 Mar 99 18:04
    

But not to give the wrong impression -- I loved usenet.  It was a lot of
fun, quite the community.  And most of the email I got was totally benign.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #52 of 128: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 26 Mar 99 18:22
    
When did you get involved in USENET, Laura?  Any great adventures from the
old days?
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #53 of 128: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Fri 26 Mar 99 22:55
    

Wait, is there no more usenet?
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #54 of 128: Daphne Merkin's spanking piece (chuck) Fri 26 Mar 99 23:03
    
Usenet is bigger than ever, and yet a pale imitation of itself.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #55 of 128: Ford Prefect (dsg) Sat 27 Mar 99 06:39
    

I'd like to echo #43.  When I was managing the late, great Cybersmith in
Harvard Square, we sold a lot of geeky-type books on programming stuff.
Customers would ask me all the time to recommend them.  I pushed the
O'Reilly&Assoc. series until I checked out Laura's books (waaaay before I
came to the Well and noticed who <mtrbike> was).  I was so blown away by
your very accessible writing style.  I basically recommended nothing but
your guides for the last year I was there, and at least a dozen customers
came back later and thanked me.  They always said, "this is about the best
written computer nerd book I've ever seen. This woman's a genius."

I'm just quoting what they said.  So my question, Laura, is a writer-geek
question:  Who do you like ot read?  Clancy?  Romance novels?  Cosmo?
<plum>'s books?   Marvel comics? Stephen King? Douglas Adams?  I'm very
curious.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #56 of 128: impoverished intervallic palette (castle) Sat 27 Mar 99 12:59
    

I was actually surprised to hear that mtrbike was a redhead, since the
first time I met her she had blue hair.  I should add that this was at a
STC Northern California Technical Writing Awards banquet - a professional
association competition for excellence in technical writing, and Laura's
first book, "Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML In A Week" had been
nominated.  As I recall, it did not win; is that right, Laura?  I was
astounded at the short-sightedness of the judges on that count.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #57 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Sat 27 Mar 99 14:32
    

Usenet most certainly does still exist, but there's a whole lot more
of it, and it really doesn't have the feel that it did (insert cranky
nostalgia curmudgeon thing here).  When I was deeply into usenet (87
to 93ish), you could read a whole lot of groups in a few hours, you
ran into quite a lot of the same people, and there was no spam.  It
really was a totally different place from what it is now.  In fact,
old-timer well people just hate this when I say it, but one of the
reasons I joined the well, and one of the reasons like the well so
much, is that it reminds a lot of what usenet used to be like.

Do I have any good usenet adventures?  If I had any, I appear to have
repressed them all.   

I did spend about six months feeling kind of bored and antagonistic
and spent a lot of time posting in alt.tasteless.  I occasionally get
an email from someone saying "you're not the *same* Laura Lemay from
alt.tasteless, are you?"  Ummmmmm, errrrrrr.....

Oh, and I met my boyfriend, Eric, on usenet -- in alt.angst.   

But mostly I hung out in soc.singles and gave relationship advice.  Of
course, I was 22 and unable to sustain a relationship myself for more than 
6 months or so, so I wasn't exactly the best person to give relationship 
advice to anyone, but hey!  This was usenet!  
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #58 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Sat 27 Mar 99 14:44
    

I did indeed not win the STC tech writing contest -- an OO progamming
reference from Taligent won instead.  <sob>

I still got a nice 2nd (and 3rd, my other book was nominated, too)
certificate to hang on my wall.  
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #59 of 128: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 27 Mar 99 15:16
    
So when's your big relationship-advice book coming out?
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #60 of 128: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 27 Mar 99 15:38
    
Actually, I want to see Teach Yourself Investing in 21 Days.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #61 of 128: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Sat 27 Mar 99 15:48
    

Me too!
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #62 of 128: impoverished intervallic palette (castle) Sat 27 Mar 99 19:09
    

I want to see Teach Yourself to Become a Millionaire in a Week.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #63 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Sun 28 Mar 99 11:17
    

If I knew how to do that, I would probably just be doing it and not be
writing about it.  :)
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #64 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Sun 28 Mar 99 11:29
    

Re 55: What do I read?  No one's ever asked me that before.  That's
kind of like showing you my underwear.  In fact, I think I'd rather
show you my underwear. What one reads is really one of those things
that one can be so easily judged on.  Am I reading enough literature?
Am I reading too much literature?  Am I reading the wrong kind of
authors?  eeeek!  Are you sure you wouldn't rather see my underwear?

Well, I have one cop-out: I read primarily non-fiction.  Just about
anything that catches my eye in a bookstore or wherever.  Business
books, investing books, cook books, gardening books, history books,
books about peregrine falcons.  I don't read a whole lot of computer
books, actually, because I absorb technnical information really easily
and things like online help and specs -- raw data -- work much better
for me when I need to know something.  I also think the vast majority
of computer books suck, to be absolutely blunt about it.

Fiction?  My fiction tastes are so wierd.  I either read modern genre
fiction -- fantasy and horror -- or older literature.  The exception:
when I travel I have a severe weakness for lawyer thrillers.  For some
reason, airplanes and Grisham novels just go together.

I do read comic books, and I am not ashamed of it.  I've been reading
comics since I was ten.  There is so much good work being done in
comics, and being dismissed because it is in comics.  Unfortunate.
Very unfortunate.  I read just about everything in the Vertigo line
from DC, Transmetropolitan and Preacher my faves.  I also read X-men
and most of the sidelines, just because I've been reading them for 20
years and it would be a crime to stop now (although they are alas, not
very good); and I dip into other lines here and there.  I have to
resist the urge to buy everything that looks interesting, because I'll
end up with comics stacked up all over the house.

Magazines?  I devour anything investment-related: Money, Smart Money,
Worth, Kiplinger's, Barron's, etc.  I have a subscription to the
Economist, but I never finish reading it before the next issue arrives
(the Economist makes me feel really really dumb.  They can WRITE all
this good stuff in a week and I can't even manage to READ it all.
Yikes!).  I skim Wired, mostly it bores me.  I think I am Tired.  The
only women's magazine I read regularly is Self, because its less heavy
on the clothes/makeup/fashion thing.  I get all my
clothes/fashion/makeup advice from the plumage conference here on the
well. :)

I own all of <plum>s books dating back to a very well-worn paperback
edition of "Sex Tips for Girls."  I have managed to refrain from
gushing hysterically over <plum> up until now because, well, I'm too
cool for that.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #65 of 128: Undo Influence (mnemonic) Sun 28 Mar 99 12:47
    

mtrbike, I applaud your sticking with Marvel's X-men, etc. I got off them in
the late '80s or perhaps the early '90s and now find them unreadable. This
is not to say that I don't recall their earlier stories with great
affection.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #66 of 128: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 28 Mar 99 17:34
    
Before I forget, or the seller takes the picture down, I wanted to mention
this eBay item:

http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=77962842

and ask if the Madame was any relation.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #67 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Sun 28 Mar 99 17:40
    

Not as far as I know.  Wish I had known about that earlier, though,
I would have bid on it!  Just the thing for the mantlepiece!
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #68 of 128: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 28 Mar 99 18:01
    
Well, keep your eye out.  Where there was one, there must eventually be
another.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #69 of 128: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Mon 29 Mar 99 13:14
    

what is it?  don't make me go to ebay today!

So how about that stock market, Laura?  Oooh boy!  Those white boys were
happy today!
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #70 of 128: dragging in Hyperborea (dbdoty) Mon 29 Mar 99 14:49
    
I saw a _Teach Yourself Perl 5 in 21 Days_ book from Sams at Printers Ink in
MV last night, but it was by another author. Is this an older edition that
yours is replacing or ...?
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #71 of 128: Ford Prefect (dsg) Tue 30 Mar 99 08:03
    

Thanks, Laura. In addition, thanks for the offer of underwear info, but I'll
pass.
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #72 of 128: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 30 Mar 99 23:40
    

How do your publishers promote your books, Laura?  Do you do promo tours and
the like,  or do good tech books just happily cruise off the shelves of
their own accord?
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #73 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Wed 31 Mar 99 17:21
    

Re: 69:  The Ebay thing was an old bottle, for Madame LeMay's Antiseptic
Vaginal Suppositories.  "For the Immediate Relief and Permantent Cure
of Leucorrehoea, Ulceration, Turmors or of any other form of imflammation
or disorder affecting the female pelvic organs."

Also Re: 69:  The stock market makes me so very happy (and I'm not
even a white boy).  Even when it goes down, I'm happy.  Every day, and
adventure!  like business safari!

Re: 70: There are indeed two previous editions of Teach Yourself Perl
by people other than me.  And I'm told that my name is in really itty
bitty type on the cover of the one written by me.  So watch out, don't
end up with the wrong one!
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #74 of 128: Laura Lem (mtrbike) Wed 31 Mar 99 17:31
    <scribbled by mtrbike Wed 31 Mar 99 17:31>
  
inkwell.vue.34 : Laura Lemay: Brain the size of a small planet!
permalink #75 of 128: ciderpunk (mtrbike) Wed 31 Mar 99 17:34
    

(yuck, many typos)

 Promotion and computer books.  Good question!  Computer books are kind
 of wierd in the book world because the author's name ranks really low
 in terms of what makes a customer buy a particular book.  More
 important things: what the book is about, and the series that book
 belongs to.  SO, for example, if you need a book on MS Word, you might
 go to the MS Word section and you might look for a Dummies book or a
 Teach Yourself.  Or if you're into Unix you might go straight for the
 O'Reilly books.  There's only a handful of author names that garner
 any recognition -- and even then, the recognition is more within
 computer book people than amongst computer book readers at large.
 
 So do publishers do promotion?  Sure.  They promote series brands.
 They promote particular tech topics (Office 2000 books being the big
 thing right now, I believe).  But actual author promotion is minimal,
 and tends to be limited to bookstore events at bookstores near enough
 to where the author can drive (so no one has to pay for it).  Computer
 book authors can really go far here by being super proactive and
 promoting thier own books (although I guess that's true of any form of
 publishing).  I've heard a lot of stories of computer books selling
 surprisingly well based on no support from the publisher and the
 author going out and being agressive in marketing the book themselves.
 
 That said, things with me have been kind of unusual for me because
 I've been one of the few authors that do have some small bit of name
 recognition.  I have done a fair bit of promotion organized by the
 publisher, including a mini-tour a while back with Barnes & Noble, a
 number of Borders lectures in various cities, and a whole bunch of
 stuff in independent book and computer stores around the country.
 Lots of online chats -- which are great fun -- and a number of radio
 shows and interview-like things.  I also do the (admittedly minimal
 and poorly maintained) web sites for the books.

 Unfortunately, with a ton of books out in the last bunch of years,
 my attention really got pulled in a whole lot of directions, so
 I wasn't able to really focus on any one book or bunch of books.
 So I can't say if all my promotional efforts have paid off in 
 great strides for any of my books.  But I figure they can't hurt.
  

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