More on B&N's retail setup; making semi-decent advice suck

Edward Robertson is looking at Barnes & Noble now and deciding that it's going to be really hard to build an audience there because it's set up so that people who aren't already looking for your book are unlikely to come across it. Yup. Not that I've had huge sales anywhere, but I've had some sales everywhere except B&N.

And Passive Voice linked to an interview with Sue Grafton, in which she takes a kernel of semi-decent advice (don't publish before something is ready, which--hm, I could debate that one, actually, since as much as I love polish I think that as a practical matter you're better off erring on the side of getting it out there) and buries it in a truckload of horseshit about how self-publishing is lazy and stupid, and how you're better off spending six years being told that your stuff is great but they can't publish it anyway, because that is the sort of useful, high-quality, craft-honing feedback you can only get from traditional publishing.

If you're wondering why writing professionals need to stay on top of their industry, this is why--so you can give advice to young writers that won't harm them. Grafton's advice reminds me of when I was graduating from college and wondering how to start a career, and my mother suggested that I should move back home (to a place with truly epic rates of unemployment) and do charity work (until I got married, of course, at which point all of my problems would be magically solved forever). She gave me this advice in 1992, not 1962, if you're wondering. Anyway, it wasn't just quaint and old-fashioned--it was truly terrible career advice, and had I followed it, I simply would have never had a professional career. Grafton's advice is equally out of date and equally pernicious.