The Nature of Existence
My step-daughter got me the boxed set of Hawkman's The Illustrated: A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell. Let me give you my review here ...
Yep, that's my review. The trouble with these books is that they don't connect to anything in our real experience. Everything is imaginary ... totally speculative while disconnected from perceptual building blocks. I just read a statement by Schrodinger last week that I had never seen before which says exactly what I've been saying all along ... that we can only understand something when it's in terms of things we can see (with our eyes), i.e. geometric structures. Even Hawk pays lip service to this demand when he uses graphics to depict imaginary "branes". You see a wavy field being pinched off by a ring thing (string theory entity). But this is not what Schrodinger meant.
You can't just show a geometric structure and another and say something like "This is a kahumphka (field) and this is a kribbertam (ring thing) ... and together they discombobulate the crimshaw". Geometric entities don't make any sense unless the interact in understandable causal ways ... like "the kribbertam shrinks so obviously the kahumphka expands in a 4 to 1 ratio as can be easily seen from the diagram". You must have geometry doing geometrical things in a clear cause-effect scenario.
In books about string theory, they never show any of the equations of the genre. They just give you words made up to describe what they say they've found ... lots and lots of new words. In most other good textbooks (even ones for "outsiders") there is usually an equation or two per page to go along with the text which explains those equations.
And ... I sometimes also wonder about the self-deprecating language invented by these people to describe their "work". Imagine using a phrase like "p-brane" to describe something that you've spent your life on. This is fodder for psychologists I'm sure.
Suffice it to say that I get almost nothing out of such books in the way of functional ideas. But the graphics are GREAT!!!
My book will not be able to compete in the graphics department
I can only have black line drawings for the price I can pay but they will do. I'm only going to use them to augment the text ... to show explicitly ... only when they can take the place of a good deal of extra text. A good graphic to me is one which explains more than I could in text in the same amount of space. I have about one hundred little graphics most of which are modified from or pulled straight from my web site.
This is not a long book either. I managed to squeeze it down to 145 pages at 50,000+ words. I used 10 point Arial to pack the pages tighter. I like skinny books with high idea density ... a little bone with lots of meat instead of a big fat bone with gobs of fat dripping from it. They may taste good but you'll be blowing intellectual farts for weeks.
I'm going to price it a $21.95 + shipping. This is a little high but I don't get really intimidated by a book's price until it gets over 30 bucks. I figure I can pry an extra 5 bucks or so out of your wallet if you are really interested. If not, you wouldn't buy it for ten either. See?
At first, I will sell it just off my site for maybe three months (check or money order only - NO CASH PLEASE). Then I will go to Amazon for another three months ... then evaluate what I should continue with. If my site drives most of the traffic to Amazon, why cut them in for
And out of my 45% (of the list price) ... I have to pay for the book, do all the work of making it ... pay to have it shipped to me ... then pay to have it shipped to them a few at a time. Well, that may work if the increase in volume makes up for it. For their part, they take credit card info and direct deposit $$$ into my bank account every month. No bother on my part. That's better than a real publisher who takes 90% off the top then requires that you throw in your sister with the deal.
Last year I had 391.000 distinct visitors to my site. I need to sell them a total of 100 books this year to consider myself a success as an "author". I don't have any experience with selling anything off my site but I think this goal may be reasonable. We'll see.
I still await RR Bowker's ISBN numbers. They say 10 days. After 13 days I send them an email inquiry. I get back "Well, you didn't specify express delivery". If I don't get it in another 3 days I will be pissed but there is nothing to be done. They have a monopoly.
This is culmination of my intellectual life
You'd think I'd be really excited or something. I don't "feel" anything. It's just another day. I do calmly enjoy the process of putting together another "thing" ... integrating disconnected data into an orderly presentation. It doesn't matter what the data is ... just that I can put it to order. That's all I really ever cared to do. Well, maybe one other thing ... make something real. Build something after I've designed it. Now, that for me would be the ultimate kick.