Alas, book sales are dropping off and it looks like we’re pretty much out of steam for the first edition of Poor Leo’s Computer Almanac. Que will have sold 35,000 books in five months which I’m told is very respectable. Thanks so much to those of you who bought copies!
On the strength of this year’s sales, the publisher is planning a first printing of 50,000 for next year’s edition. I hope to sell even more. I can tell you that it’s going to be much better with a lot more content. Laura and I are working our buns off on it already. She’s doing the “this date in history” stuff and I’m collating existing web content and writing a bunch of new material.
I’m using Movable Type, this blog software, to create an online database that she and I can use to collaborate on the book. (She’s in the South Bay and I’m in the North Bay so we can’t work face-to-face.) In fact, I’ve just imported nearly 3,000 web articles from Call for Help and The Screen Savers into the Poor Leo blog. I’ll use Movable Type to edit, categorize, and assign articles to each day of the year. MT’s calendar interface will make it easy to access one day at a time. Laura will add her daily bits to each day. And then I can export it to a big text file and use Perl to process it for the publishers.
We’re scheduled to finish the book by the end of July to get it into bookstores by September. The new title is tentatively, “Leo Laporte’s 2003 TechTV Almanac.”
Meanwhile, if you’d like me to autograph the 2002 edition, send your copy to me with a postage paid self-addressed mailer to:
650 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94103
I’ll sign your copy and pop it right back in the mail. I’ve done this for several dozen folks so far and it seems to work pretty well. I can’t be responsible for copies lost in the mail, but as long as you’re willing to take that chance and pay the return postage, I’m glad to put my John Hancock on it.
I met with a bunch of folks from my publisher, Pearson/Que Publishing, on Friday. They were very positive about my book. They said its sales continue to rise, which is very unusual. We’re doing about 100 copies a day on Amazon alone. In fact, I’m currently Pearson’s best-selling book on Amazon.com. Their number 2 book is Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Wow! Actually it’s pretty amazing that Strunk and White is still selling so well after five decades. I’ve got my copy and use it religiously. It’s a must have book for writers.
So I’m beginning work on the next edition of Poor Leo’s Almanac. I spent some time talking with them about how I’d like it to be different this time. There will be much more content, including personal tech like cell phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players. It will also be more like an almanac with a table of contents up front and folksier production. They seem to agree that it should be a Leo book – not a compendium of other people’s stuff. They really liked the personality and voice of the book. They also like the page a day idea so it will be somewhat thicker. We may include a CD or DVD, as well. But we all agreed to keep the price where it is.
All in all it was a very satisfactory meeting. They think the book will become a very successful series – with a new one each year. I’m totally thrilled. Thanks for all your support (and putting up with the incessant plugs)!
I’ve added a nice new feature to the blog – thanks to Ben and Mena at Movable Type. If you want you can have new entries e-mailed to you directly just enter your address into the form at the bottom of this page. As always, I promise I won’t sell or use your address in any way except to mail you the blog entires.
Unless I hear an uproar to the contrary, I’ll also start sending new entries to the members of the Laporte Report mailing list. So if you’re signed up there no need to sign up below. Goodness knows the mailing list needs some new content from time to time.
Some happy family news I wanted to share. My brother-in-law, James Bundy, has just been named Dean of the Yale University School of Drama– the most prestigious theatre school in the nation. Congratulations, Uncle James!