Books Archives

bought an audiobook 2014

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Posted on August 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

bought an audiobook 2014

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Posted on July 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Avoid Setting Yourself Up for Ebook Disappointment 2014

Some lessons drawn from the how-not-to-do-it example in Tony Horwitz's New York Times op-ed, "I Was a Digital Best Seller!"

  • If you've had a negative digital publishing experience, talk to a wider range of those who've published in digital format before concluding that your experience represents "a cautionary farce about the new media and technology we’re so often told is the bright shining future for writers and readers." It's possible that the farce wasn't entirely about the platform, but also your use of it.
  • Ensure when you're contracting with a publisher that the expenses they've said they'll cover are covered as you go and that you are contractually well-protected should they not publish the piece as originally planned.
  • Also budget your own expenses and degree of risk and, with those and what you've agreed on with the publisher, stay within the boundaries.
  • Use potential future income as motivation to complete the contracted work, but by no means assume that that compensation will actually come to you. This holds true also for dreams of glorious enhancement of your reputation. Bear in mind, also, as expected sales figures get tossed about that the typical non-fiction physical book sells less than 3000 copies. Be excited about potential upsides, but be realistic—and don't count on them.
  • Once again, ensure your contracts exist and that contingencies are in place which will incentivize the publisher to honor their deal with you and, ideally, publish and pay, or at least pay an exit amount and revert rights to the work to you.
  • If you aren't great at the contractual/financial sides of the business, make sure to involve professionals who are on your side, and preferably with whom you have a long history of working together. They, like you, should be taking the long view of building your success and security. They, like you, should not assume that a single project will guarantee that success or security.
  • Get realistic estimates of potential sales and income not only from the digital publisher who wants you to do work for them, but from others with experience in that industry and with that publisher. Get an understanding of how volitile sales indicators (such as Amazon Kindle best sellers) are and what kind of total sales they represent. It's important to know what kind of sales spike can shoot you to the top of a list and how those spikes relate to aggregate sales of the work over time. Do not assume any understanding you may have of physical book sales indications will translate to these new areas.
  • Do not assume your publisher—digital or traditional—will put in the effort to bring readers and buyers to your work. Get a clear picture of what they will be doing to attract readers to your piece specifically. Above and beyond their planned effort (which like the potential returns must be taken with a grain of salt), you need to prepare to promote the work yourself.
  • Before you take on a project, research and understand the audience(s) for it. What do they like? What formats will they pay for? How much will they pay? Use this as a reality check for the proposed compensation and expenses for the project.
  • Before you take on a project, get a basic plan outlined of how you will reach those audiences. How do they learn about new works of interest to them? Whose recommendations do they trust? What communities do they participate in, and are you excited about participating in those communities too as you promote the work?
  • If your past experience is with traditional publishing only, talk to a variety of authors who've had both success and failure with digital publishing. You should pay particular attention to their experiences with promotion, both what they did and what their publishers did, as well as to what worked and what did not.
  • Thanks to frequently poor online browsing setups for ebooks—yes, iTunes Store, I am looking at you especially—random discovery of your work will be one of the least common ways for a reader to find it. People aren't generally poking around the shelves the way they do in physical bookstores. It's word of mouth and reviews on which you need to focus.
  • Plan to prime the pump for those reviews by building enthusiasm for the piece through your own professional social network. (You have been building a Twitter following around your past work, yes? And you don't have that all muddled up with your personal tweeting, right? Ditto for your professional blog or regular community participation in your areas of expertise.) Thank your readers and encourage them (without being pushy) to review the work or spread the word about it.
  • Work with the publisher to ensure that review copies will be sent out as quickly as possible, including—if you'll be releasing a physical version of the work as well as ebook—a giveaway through Goodreads.
  • Do not assume that enthusiastic readers, the kind who'll recommend your work repeatedly, will be fooled by fake glowing reviews written by publicists or pals of the author. Build enthusiasm in those whose opinions would be trusted and whom you can expect to engage with the work in detail, writing a review that is clearly by someone who cares about the topic.
  • Ensure that you have a contracted and reliable way to get copies of the work for yourself to use in direct sales (for example, at speaking engagements) and as another means to get review copies in the right hands.
  • Once again, make sure that your rights to the work are very clearly spelled out in your contract and that there is a clear path for any rights the publisher has to revert to you under conditions of them ceasing to publish the work.
  • Bottom line: Know the kind of writing you want to do, the hats you're willing to wear in the course of getting it in the hands of readers, and the realistic market for compensation for that writing with different kinds of publishers and (important and different!) through self-publishing.

    Writing is a tough job to make pay; don't enter into the profession with just a dream and crossed fingers.

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 03:17 PM in Books, warnings & kvetches, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

bought an audiobook 2014

Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hello, China! 2014

Art of the Shim, Kelly's photo, @smisif's drink, Christina's hands in DRiNK

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Posted on March 4, 2014 at 12:04 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Incredibly proud to be on this list! 2013

"At the beginning of 2012 we published a list of the top 20 cocktail books ever published. After two more years of reviewing books we think there are another ten books which deserve to be added to this list. These 'must-haves' will not only teach you the art of bartending but give you recipes to be inspired by and new movements that we think will drive forward the craft. We also welcome our first female authors to this list. They're listed in alphabetical order."

Diffords Guide: "Update: 30 cocktail books you need on your shelves"

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Posted on December 13, 2013 at 06:11 PM in, Books, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

High praise from! 2013

"the book blew away any remnants of scepticism we felt earlier: [the drinks are] punchy, packed full of sharp flavours, none too sweet, none too fruity."

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Posted on November 13, 2013 at 09:51 AM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

San Francisco Book Launch 2013

Photos from my 1st-cousin-once-removed C'Anna:


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"Dinah gets some help serving drinks from a tall handsome stranger" [who was at Alembic Bar when I was there before the event]

"This lucky fellow won a traveling cocktail bar courtesy of Dinah"

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"Kelly quite conveniently won the other portable bar"
[She was super excited about that bar! She and her pals were very keen competitors in our game.]

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Posted on September 23, 2013 at 07:30 PM in Books, Food and Drink, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

San Francisco launch party 2013

Our San Francisco launch party on Monday night has expanded!

From 7:30-9pm at The Booksmith, we'll have a reading, cocktail demonstration, and Q&A with author and photographer!

Then afterwards, come over to The Alembic to mingle more. They'll have drink specials and a special appearance of bartender Rachel Leiderman, formerly of The Alembic and now to be found at Fig & Thistle.

There may also be some special prizes... Stay tuned!

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Posted on September 21, 2013 at 04:08 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thank you, New York! 2013

Thank you, New York! You showed us a great time!

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The great Joaquín Simó! His Flor de Jerez cocktail is super delicious

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Wonderful to get to visit with Kenta Goto at Pegu Club last night. His elegant Far East Side was one of the first cocktails I selected for the book.

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Posted on September 19, 2013 at 06:43 AM in, Books, friends & family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brass Tacks thank you copies 2013

Matt Conway at @brasstacksbar with ‪#‎artoftheshim‬. His 'Spanish Prisoner' is the first drink on my list for the sequel.

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"It's Kelly's book!!" came the exclamation beside me as I presented Matt with his copy.

What a delightful surprise to run into the @ArtfulGent's Nate and Jake and get to give them their photoshoot location thank you copy.

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Posted on September 13, 2013 at 03:35 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

SF book pride 2013

Brian MacGregor on the roof at @wingtip showing SF pride in‪#‎artoftheshim‬‪#‎CoitTower‬ ‪#‎TransamericaPyramid‬

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Posted on September 13, 2013 at 11:03 AM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Announcing The Art of the Shim—a new book from Dinah! 2013

Hooray! My second book, The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, is now out in hardcover and ebook.

Building this book has been a fun time and—due to an aggressive sub-one-year production schedule—a challenge, but the results are beautiful. Kelly Puleio's photography is even better than my high hopes and the production quality on this, the first offset printed title from Sanders & Gratz, is excellent. I'm very happy that the book has the sturdiness to serve its readers many years on their bar shelves.

Along the way I've been expanding my skills even further into the publisher realm. (Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff is print-on-demand in its paperback form, so inventory management and distribution is a new adventure.)

Some of the lessons have been painful. I've now learned the hard way that Amazon's record of a book can apparently get messed up if the release date is before Ingram has their copies on hand—or at least that's the only explanation I can find for Amazon suddenly switching the book's status to "Out of Print--Limited Availability" sometime between midday Saturday and midday Sunday last weekend. We're now on day four of no order button for the hardcover, which is enough to make anyone trying to launch a book tear their hair out.

In the meantime, I'm keeping fans of and the book updated on Twitter and Facebook. Also taking deep breaths and saying "calm blue ocean" a lot.

Copies of the book are now in stock at Ingram's Oregon distribution center and lots more will be arriving at their Tennessee one today or tomorrow. Perhaps that will help kick the Amazon status back to normal (though I fear that if their techs don't identify and eliminate the bug, the problem would just come back the next time Ingram or their on hand count hits zero).

Next Tuesday (9/17) will be the New York launch at Pouring Ribbons bar and a week from Monday (9/23) will be the San Francisco celebration at The Booksmith bookstore. Looking forward to those events very much!

Even with bumps on the road, I'm having a great time as an author and a publisher!

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 03:24 PM in Books, creativity, Food and Drink, publishing, work, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Comstock Saloon thank you copies 2013

So much fun at Comstock Saloon tonight dropping off thank you books to beloved bartenders! Extra pleasure of running into other bartenders from the book on the non-working side of the bar too. (Bonus shout-out to the Netherlands; hooray for San Francisco visitors!)

Here's a happy Lindsey Baird (of Comstock Saloon and Brass Tacks) with her copy. Hooray!

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More Comstock hijinks (or is that high kicks?)

That's Michael Bacon and Jeff Hollinger.

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Posted on September 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

continuing Amazon problems 2013

Irked to report that @amazonbooks is *still* working on getting‪#‎artoftheshim‬ back on sale (& not falsely "out of print").

Please stand by (or buy from an indie bookstore) and I apologize for the inconvenience!

At the moment (just after midnight PST Tue/Wed) the Kindle version is orderable through Amazon and the hardcover is still, as the Germans might say, upgefucht. I am being patient. Deep breaths. Calm blue ocean.


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Posted on September 9, 2013 at 06:31 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

maddening Amazon behavior 2013

Maddening to an author, but soon to be fixed, is showing the book as unavailable at the moment. They're just confused because it's been released but their copies haven't reached them yet. I've reported the issue and that order button should be back soon. *sigh*

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Posted on September 8, 2013 at 03:52 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

more thank you copies 2013

That's Michael Cecconi below, and Mikha Diaz here, of Two Sisters Bar & Books. Their drinks The Iggy and the Port of SF are in the book, along with some great photos of Michael.

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Lance Arthur, founder of Tipple Tuesday, has been a great supporter of the book and my sanity.

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Posted on September 6, 2013 at 07:05 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

copies are in stock 2013

San Franciscans, rejoice, for you can get a book into your hot, little hands right away: copies are in stock for you at The Booksmith, Cask, and Nosa Ria Market.

And now at The Green Arcade too!

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Posted on September 6, 2013 at 07:02 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

The first book from is out! 2013

The first book from is out!

It's been a busy week. Thanks perhaps to favorable winds over the ocean, we got the surprise call from our shipper to coordinate delivery of 2000 copies of The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level a week early. Whee!

Due to a series of mishaps denying us expected resources, Dinah unloaded all 101 boxes before assistance arrived. Yes, cocktail nerd, author, stevedore; the complete Renaissance woman.

By this afternoon, books are scattering toward their future homes. Those of you ordering from bookstores or Amazon will be gratified to learn that your copies are already making their way to the distributor and thence to you. Ebooks will soon be available through multiple sources.

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Posted on September 6, 2013 at 07:00 PM in, Books, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

delivering thank you copies 2013

The most fun has been delivering thank you copies to the folks who have supported the project along the way: bartenders, advisors, beta readers, cheerleaders.

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Posted on September 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM in, Books, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

about one month from release 2013

We're about one month from release, so I'll start whetting your appetites with the complete list of the book's 53 tested and true recipes: 
Adonis, Alfonso, Amaretto Sour, Americano, Antique Sour, Apparent Sour, Backpedal, Bamboo, Ben's Good Humor, Bitter Giuseppe, Bloody Betty, Bored Stiff, Boulevardier 1934, Champagne Julep, Cherry Mixture Cocktail, Chrysanthemum, Coffee Cocktail, Devil's Cocktail, Diamond Daisy Shim, Diplomat, Dubonnet Velvet, Epiphany, Far East Side, Fino Noir, Fire-Breathing Devil, Flor de Jerez, Flying Horseman, Grasshopper, Haberdasher, The Iggy, Jeff's Whimsy Shim, Lindsey's Whimsy Shim, Lodestone, Michelada, Nopa's Grapefruit Cocktail, Pantomime Cocktail, Perfect Thyming, Pimm's Cup, Pleasant Evening, Port of Havana, Port of SF, Rhum Dandy Shim, Rose (fallen), Satan's Whiskers (curled), Sherry Cobbler, The Shortie, Silver Ruby, Sloe Gin Fizz, Snow White, Sophia Loren Shim, Spion Kop Cocktail, Spring Green, Teresa.

Where possible recipes have been confirmed with their creators. When multiple recipes exist, for example with the Pimm's Cup, different versions were tested to select the best. (Thank you to my group of "guinea pigs" and their eclectic palates!)

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Posted on August 14, 2013 at 09:00 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

ebook users input? 2013

I know most folks will want this book in its beautiful hardcover form, but many have also made the jump to ebooks. Whether you like browsing through a lovely "coffee table" book on your tablet or want a handy pocket version for your phone, I'm eager to hear about what devices and programs you'll want to use with The Art of the Shim.

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Posted on July 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bookstore Launch Party 2013

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Posted on July 16, 2013 at 03:24 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Booksellers can also pre-order now 2013

Booksellers can also pre-order now through Ingram Distributors, the world's biggest book distributor (which means you, dear reader, can almost certainly pre-order through your favorite bookstore!)

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Posted on July 16, 2013 at 02:29 PM in, Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Now available for pre-order on Amazon, The Art of the Shim 2013

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Posted on July 16, 2013 at 02:27 PM in, Books, writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

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