PaperBackSwap Blog

Archive for September, 2009

Author Interview with Julie Nisargand

Monday, September 28th, 2009

We would like to introduce you to another talented author: Julie Nisargand.  Thanks Julie for taking the time out of your schedule to share with our members.

Julie Nisargand

At the end of the day we’ll have a random drawing including all of those who comment on the post.  2 Winners will receive a signed copy of Julie’s Book! Can’t think of anything to comment about? Tell us if you’ve ever had an experience similar to Christine Louis’ in “An Exaltation of Larks” where she loses her purse in Paris and has to survive or let us know if you’ve ever felt like a Wednesday Girl!

drumroll…….And the winners of the signed books are:
Cathy W. (Firefly) & Rodney R.
Thank you all for participating!

Julie’s Bio: Julie Nisargand is a native of Seattle Washington and a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema & Television.  After writing screenplays for a while,  she changes her focus to her first novel, The Wednesday Girl.  “One moment I was accepting accolades for my film at the Directors’ Guild, the next, I was peeling duct tape off the floor on the set of a Roger Corman movie. Working sixteen hours a day for $200 a week left me feeling”Read more of what Julie has to say about writing “The Wednesday Girl” here.  Her second novel, An Exaltation of Larks was published by Anima Books in 2004.  An Exaltation of Larks is about a young lady who finds herself in Paris penniless and unable to speak French, struggling to survive.

The Wednesday Girl

How did you come up with the title “The Wednesday Girl“?
The title for “The Wednesday Girl” just happened to come out of the main character’s mouth when she was mad at the older guy she’s dating.  He’s an artistic type who she admires for his mind and his worldliness, but he isn’t much of a scheduler.  When a co-worker asks if she’s seeing her boyfriend on the weekend, she makes the mistake of saying that she’s never seen him on a weekend.  He just comes over when it’s convenient.  The way the co-worker looks at her makes her realize what a horrible mistake she’s made, allowing herself, because of low self-esteem at that point in her life, to be somebody’s “Wednesday Girl” instead of the main attraction on Saturday night!

What inspired you to write your second book, “An Exaltation of Larks“?
My second book was kind of like an “accidental pregnancy”.  I took three weeks off from waiting tables in L.A. –what I was doing to make ends meet while trying to write after college—to go to Europe, Paris in particular.  I didn’t even bring paper.  I was working so hard on my writing that the only promise I made to myself was that I would go to Paris for three weeks and not write a thing.  Just enjoy myself.  Unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of Paris that I didn’t notice when someone stole my entire purse from my duffel bag before I even got to the hotel.  Being alone in Paris, unable to speak the language and without a passport, credit card, traveler’s cheques, or single solitary piece of cash was so scary that as soon as I got my situation straightened out, I sat down in a café and was overcome with the desire to write.  I couldn’t stop the story from spilling out so I used all the napkins on the table to start, then asked the waiter for more.  That was the beginning of the second book.

An Exaltation of Larks

What advice would you give upcoming authors?
My advice to writers who are just starting out—they can be any age because there is no particular age a writer has to be—is to write for free.  In the film industry, they call it “writing on spec”, meaning the work hasn’t been commissioned.  When you write for the pure fun of it (and pure risk), your own voice has a better chance of developing.  It’s like painting anything you want versus doing a paint by numbers.  Secondly, what you as an individual have to say is earthshatteringly important.  No one else lives behind your eyes.  If you don’t describe the view, no one will ever see it but you.  Don’t be selfish!  Share your life!  Lastly, write often but don’t force discipline on yourself.  Your writer is your best friend and probably doesn’t appreciate you being a demanding taskmaster.  The writer part of you is a kid who likes to play and LOVES to talk, only the writer does his or her talking through, you guessed it, writing.

Import your Amazon.com Wish List (or any List of Books) to PaperBackSwap’s WL, TBR, Reminder List, etc.

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The tool you want to use is the “Book List Import Bookmark” found under member tools.

– Member Tools may also be found in the first column of our footer once logged in.

Give Away: 1 credit to a random member that comments: 1. attempted importing  & had success or failure & 2. which list they tried to import from. Good Luck!

What is the Book List Import Bookmark?

  • It’s a bookmark that you click to import ISBNs from any Webpage you are on (PBS or non-PBS). [Common examples are your Amazon WL, B&N WL, Librarything, Goodreads, etc.]
  • If you are on a webpage that contains Books w/ISBNs, click the Book List Import Bookmark in your browser and you can choose from the list of available ISBNs on that page, and choose which PBS list in your account to which to import them
    • You can import to your Bookshelf, Wish List, Reminder List, Books I’ve Read List, and TBR Pile.
    • You can import one ISBN or many at a time.

Why use it?

  • It makes adding books to a PBS list much easier & saving lots of  time!
  • For example, if you are on a site and you see that there is a book you would like to put on your Wish List, you can simply click the Book List Import bookmark and you can choose that book, then choose to place it on your Wish List.
    • You do not have to copy-paste the book information and go back to the PBS site to paste it into the Search there
    • You can import whole lists– add multiple items to your PBS lists from other sites (ie, your Amazon Wish List) with just a few clicks!

How to Use it:

  • Click the Member Tools link at the bottom of any page on the site.
  • Click the Book List Import Bookmark, and then
    • For Firefox – Right click on this link > PaperBackSwap List Import
      • Choose “Bookmark This Link…”
      • Mac/one-button mouse: control-click
    • For Internet Explorer – Right click on this link > PaperBackSwap List Import
      • Choose “Add to Favorites…”
      • If you receive a warning stating “You are adding a favorite that may not be safe. Do you want to continue?” click “Yes”. This favorite is safe to use.
      • You can also click and drag the links onto your favorites/bookmarks toolbar to add them there.
  • After you have done this, if you are on another site and see a book you want to add to a list in your PBS account:
    • Click the Book List Import bookmark in your browser
    • A list of available ISBNs and book titles from that page information will show
    • Click to place a checkmark beside any item you would like to import
    • The next screen will ask you into which list you would like to import the items–choose the list
    • You are done!  The items will have been imported to the PBS List you chose.

Video Tutorial.

Interview with Author & PBS Member Hillary DePiano

Monday, September 14th, 2009

We would like to introduce you to a longtime member of PBS & talented author Hillary DePiano.

Hillary DePiano

Author Hillary DePiano

Hillary is a fiction and non-fiction author and blogger best known for her play, The Love of Three Oranges which has been performed in theatres around the world and her novella, The Author. She is an avid vintage toy collector and has authored a guide to both My Little Pony toys and She-Ra: Princess of Power action figures and for Priced Nostalgia Press’s Collector’s Inventory series of price guides. Hillary is also an eBay PowerSeller and Trading Assistant and has extensive experience in the world of buying and selling online. She shares her experiences in publishing, marketing, blogging, buying and selling on sites like eBay, Amazon, Lulu and more through her books, eBooks and her e-commerce blog, The Whine Seller. Hillary writes about writing and her daily life in Unpublishable Pennings, her personal blog. For the most up to the minute information about Hillary DePiano, be sure to follow her on Twitter at @HillaryDePiano.

The Author
The Love of Three Oranges: A Play for the Theatre That Takes the Commedia Dell’arte of Carlo Gozzi and Updates It for the New Millennium

Hillary’s fiction work has been honored on several occasions and she has received the following prizes and honors over her career:

  • 2002 C. Willard Smith Award for Creativity in Theatre for writing and directing The Love of Three Oranges
  • Won the 2001 Julia Fonville Smithson Memorial Prize for The Author
  • Won the 2001 West Branch Literary Prize for Fiction for The Author

Non-Fiction Works
The Trading Assistant’s Assistant: How to start a part-time job or full-time consignment drop-off business on eBay
The Seller Ledger: An Auction Organizer for Selling on EBay
The She-Ra Collector’s Inventory: An Unofficial Illustrated Guide to All Princess of Power Toys and Accessories (Includes Price Guide)
The My Little Pony Collector’s Inventory: A Complete Checklist of All US Ponies, Playsets and Accessories from 1981 to 1992

The Author by Hillary DePiano

The Author

How did you find PaperBackSwap?
Oddly enough, it was through Rosie O’Donnell’s blog. A reader asked suggested it as an option for fans of hers that wanted to read her latest book but not pay for it. I was in love the moment I first saw the site. My grandparents are always giving me the books they no longer want and none of them interest me. PBS gave me the opportunity to trade these unwanted books away for stuff I actually wanted to read. I also did a few things to upgrade my library such as trading all my paperback Harry Potter books for the hardcovers. I am in love and I have no idea how I managed before PBS entered my life.

What/who inspired you to start writing?
I am a voracious reader (as I am sure most of us are on Paperbackswap) and I think reading and writing really go hand in hand. The more you read the written word, the more you exercise your imagination and your creativity and writing is a natural outlet for that.

How did you choose the play “The Love of Three Oranges” to modernize?
The story of The Love of Three Oranges is inexorably tied with my newest release, The Author. I wrote The Author while in college and won two awards for it: the  Julia Fonville Smithson Memorial Prize and the West Branch Literary Prize for Fiction. In the meantime, one of my majors was theatre and I had been selected to direct a mainstage production. The Love of Three Oranges was one idea kicked around in play selection committee meetings but I kept rejecting it because we couldn’t find a good version. Every version was very stilted and the jokes were no longer funny. In the end, the committee selected Neil Simon’s Rumors and we all went home for the summer. Then I get a frantic call from the college after I was home telling me that I couldn’t do Rumors and I only had a week to pick a new play.
I read an insane number of plays that week and just got more and more annoyed because I couldn’t find anything I wanted to do on such short notice. Finally, beyond frustrated, I said I would do The Love of Three Oranges on the condition that I be allowed to write my own version. The theatre department agreed to this because, as they said, “You won those awards for that story so you must be able to write.” I appreciated their blind vote of confidence but to this day I am pretty sure none of them have actually read The Author and only let me write Three Oranges based on the fact they’d heard about the awards for The Author but, heck, they were willing to accept that as creative collateral and I took it.

I basically started from scratch when working on my version, trying to keep the spirit of the original piece intact but to make the language and humor more accessible. Long story short (too late, right?) the play was a huge success and I snagged the C. Willard Smith Award for Creativity in Theatre for writing and directing it. What was funny, though, was I never saw it as the start of any writing career. At the time, it was just a means to an end. I couldn’t find the play I wanted to direct so I wrote it myself. Now it has been produced all over the world hundreds of times by students and professional actors alike.

The best part about The Love of Three Oranges has been the number of students around the world who have performed in it and written to me later to tell me how much they loved it. That is worth more than anything else.

The Love of Three Oranges

The Love of Three Oranges

Any plans to re-write/modernize any other plays?
I have often thought of doing Carlo Gozzi’s The Green Bird which reads like a sequel to The Love of Three Oranges but that idea is still on the drawing board. I am currently in the middle of two new novels which are on original ideas but I definitely keep the idea of another rewrite on the back burner for the future.

You have written both fiction (The Love of Three Oranges, The Author) and non-fiction (The She-Ra Collector’s Inventory, The Trading Assistant’s Assistant). Which do you find easier?
Non-fiction is often more appealing because I know where I am going from the start. I like explaining things which is where a book like The Trading Assistant’s Assistant comes from. I have worked as an eBay Trading Assistant for many years with success so in that book I am explaining that business that I am very familiar with from my own experience. The more familiar I am with the subject, the easier it is to write about it. I also keep a daily blog called The Whine Seller (www.thewhineseller.com) that is entirely non-fiction and how-to style posts so I keep in practice with non-fiction writing there.
But in some ways, fiction is more rewarding though it’s often harder work. I may not be able to sit down and tear through hundreds of words at a clip like I can with non-fiction but the reward of knowing that I created an entire fictional word from scratch is its own reward.

Tell us a little about your background?  Where are you from originally, etc.
I am from New Jersey which means that I tawk about shopping the mawll and walk my dawg awll the time. Actually, my Jersey accent is much more in check since college. I went to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania where my accent was mocked out of me. It was actually something of a shock when I got to college to discover that I even had an accent since everyone I knew talked just like me. Now I only have an accent when I get agitated so you better not get my Jersey up!
I currently live with my husband Denville, NJ.

What advice would you give new & upcoming authors?
The best advice I can give is to just sit down and write. So many people get hung up on statistics about how hard it is to get published or be successful and they stop before they have even begun. They never even put pen to paper because they are thinking to themselves, “What’s the use, it won’t get published anyway?” You need to banish those thoughts. While I cannot guarantee that your story will be published, I can guarantee that it won’t be published if you never write it down at all, so get writing!
Another important thing is to know when to take off your author hat. It happens during editing and especially during marketing after a book is published, where an author is so enamored with their work that they cannot make the changes they need to or effectively promote their work. There comes a time when you need to take your author hat off and look at your work with cold objectivity. The means not taking every bad review personally and realizing that the part that you absolutely loved writing may need to be cut from the story to make it read better. You need to be two people: the writer and the writer’s advisor. It can be a real challenge to keep those parts of your separate but it is essential for success.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to give copies of your story away. It kills me when I see authors who make their own parents BUY a copy of their book. The people who you are closest to you are the ones that are going to give you your best reviews and word of mouth. You buy yourself a little more of their goodwill by not making them purchase a copy. Comp your friends and family and it will pay off in word of mouth and free publicity. Also, list a copy of your book on Paperbackswap. As it gets passed around between readers, you win yourself more reviews and word of mouth from every new reader and that can be some very powerful marketing.

Dear Librarian: USPS Delivery Confirmation, Two copies of the same book, Import your Amazon Wishlist

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Dear Librarian-  I was excited to try the free trial of PBS-DC, and I printed out the wrapper with the DC barcode on it, and added postage (remembering to include 19 extra cents for the USPS electronic-DC fee).  So far, so good.  But then I took the book to my PO and they tried to scan it and couldn’t!  They told me the number was invalid and they wanted me to buy DC from them for 80 cents!!  I think your free trial thingy is broken. What do I do?? –Flummoxed in Fairview

Dear Moxie,

We’re sorry you had this experience!  The free trial thingy isn’t broken, but sometimes things don’t go perfectly when you get to the PO.  If they have trouble scanning the barcode this could be because their scanner is not powerful enough (this might be true especially if it is a “pen” style scanner), or because of the way it was printed (if you printed using “scale to fit” in the printer settings, this can space the bars in the barcode out just enough to cause problems with the scan, or if you used colored paper that can cause poor contrast of the black ink of the barcode; or if you put a lot of tape over the barcode, especially if more than one layer or there are wrinkles or bubbles in it, that can inhibit the scan).  But those are really uncommon problems.

Since your PO used the word “invalid” we think the problem may be that the USPS system has not synchronized to include the barcode yet – the DC barcodes are generated by USPS, and there is a short lag time before all the USPS computers will recognize the barcode that was generated centrally. If you printed the wrapper and took the package to the PO very quickly, it’s possible that the barcode generated by the central USPS computer didn’t have time to be registered in the system where your local PO could access it.  If this happens:  Don’t purchase DC from the PO – this will not earn quick credit and will cost you 80 cents!  Don’t let the clerk cover up the printed PBS-DC barcode.  Just send the package as is.  It will probably be scanned en route.  If you check the DC barcode now by entering it on the usps.com site, you will see that it is recognized by USPS and is not invalid.

We’re sorry you had this bump in the road but PBS-DC really works very well!   We hope that you give it another try.

Dear Librarian– I’m in a quandary.  I really wanted a particular book and I put every version of it on my Wish List.  I was offered the book 4 days ago and I was thrilled!  Yesterday it was marked mailed to me – hallelujah!   But then today I was offered ANOTHER version.  What do I do?  I don’t want TWO copies of this book.  But I’m scared the first one won’t arrive, and if I pass up the second, I won’t get ANY copy of the book.  I AM FREAKING OUT.  –Distressed in Duluth

Dear Luthy,

Ah, yes, the dilemma that can happen to any PBS member who uses the Wish List!  When it rains it pours: you’re offered a second version of a book before the first version has come in the mail.   Should you trust that the US Mail will bear version #1 safely to your mailbox, and decline the offer of version #2?  Or should you grab version #2, knowing that if you end up with both you’ll have to mark both received?

It’s an individual decision.  Remember that less than 1% of packages get “lost” by USPS, so the odds are good that you’ll get version #1.  Of course, if you believe in Murphy’s Law, then you may think that the ONLY book that will get lost or misdelivered in your account will be this one you want so much, and that will make you accept the second version so you’re sure to end up with at least one copy of the book!

You have to follow your heart here, and consider this: Would it be worse to get NO copies (by declining #2 and having the bad luck of #1 not arriving), and have to go back into line on the Wish List again?  Some members who have a lot to read and aren’t very anxious to get a specific book would choose that tactic, and take the small risk of getting no copies of the book.   Or would it be worse in your mind to end up with 2 copies?  Since it’s a Wish Listed book you could just repost the extra and send it out – if you really want the book you would go that route.   We can’t make that decision for you but we’re sure you can choose, based on which “worst case scenario” would be easier for you to bear.  The good news is that this situation, because it requires some coincidences to occur, won’t happen too often.

Dear Librarian,

I just discovered PBS and I love it!  I have been keeping a Wish List of books at Amazon.  Is there a way to import that list easily into my Wish List here?  –Exploring the site in Exeter

Dear Dora the Explora:

Welcome to PBS!  We’re glad you asked about this.  Yes, there is an easy way to import lists, or single books, from pages outside the PBS site, into your PBS lists.   You can use the PBS Book List Import Bookmark.  This is a bookmark you can add to your browser (Internet or Firefox), and when you are on a site (like your Amazon Wish List or basically any other place you see a book or list of books) you can click the bookmark and like magic you will be allowed to import any ISBNs that are on that page, into the PBS list of your choosing.

It goes like this:

You: Gee, I would like to put my Amazon Wish List books on my PBS Wish List.  I have downloaded the PBS Book List Import Bookmark and now I go to the Amazon Wish List page and click the bookmark in my browser bookmark toolbar.

PBS: SHAZAM!  Here is a list of all of the books we found on the page you were on.  Check the boxes next to each book to tell us which ones you would like to import, and then choose the list (Bookshelf, TBR, Books I’ve Read, Wish List, Reminder List) you would like them to go on.

You (checking all boxes, choosing Wish List, clicking Continue): I would like ALL of them to go onto my Wish List at PBS.

PBS (puts books onto list): Your wish is my command!

You: Wow that is nifty!

Remember that if any of the books is available here it can’t be put on your Wish List here; available books can’t go onto a Wish List.  They can go on your Reminder List, though – or you can just order them here, and grant some of your own Amazon wishes!

You can read about using the Book List Import Bookmark here in the Help Center – and you can get the bookmark from Member Tools at the bottom of any page on the site.  The bookmark works for Internet Explorer and Firefox, and yes, even if we do say so ourselves, it is very nifty.


PaperBackSwap Member of the Month – September

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Elizabeth B. (Cattriona)

Elizabeth B. (Cattriona)

Elizabeth is a frequent Forum poster and a Tour Guide; we have been getting MoM nominations for her for a long time, even before she became assistant/finishing editor of the PBS Cookbook (anyone who wants more information about the PBS Cookbook can read about it here, and pre-order a copy here).  Some of the comments we got about Elizabeth include:

“She is always there with helpful guidance for both new members and old, and always does it with a (virtual) smile.”

“…Her posts are always informative and helpful. She is so polite and friendly in how she responds to posts.”

“…for the hard work and countless hours she has volunteered in order to make the PBS Cookbook a reality for all of the PBS members.”

“She’s a sweetheart,always willing to help…she really brightens up every corner of PBS she visits.”

Elizabeth, you’re really cookin’!  You are our Member of the Month for September.  Congratulations!

If you have any nominations for Member of the Month,
submit them to us here.  Your nomination will not “expire”–anyone you nominate will have a chance at getting Member of the Month if enough nominations accumulate over time. Each month the person who has the most votes accumulated when the Newsletter goes to press gets to be Member of the Month and gets a newsletter mention and a nifty MoM icon to wear on profile and forum posts with pride.  So go for it! Tell us who’s helped you in the Forums, who’s been a great swapper, who in your opinion is a credit to PBS.  We are keeping a list of all the nominated members.  Who knows–one of them might be YOU!

PBS Local Book Club News

Friday, September 11th, 2009

New Local Chapter Leaders:

If you want to be a Local Chapter Leader for PBS, you just need to have a PBS NIckname, a viewable public profile, and some organizational skills…check the Local Chapter Leaders Forum List of Official Chapters to see if your area already has a local Chapter.  If not, and you want to do this, just contact us.  There are no formal guidelines for being a Chapter Leader.  All of the information is in the Local Chapter Leader Discussion Forum topic.    If you are an official Chapter Leader and want us to include your upcoming meetup in the Newsletter, send in a message to us with the date, at least a week before the end of the preceding month.

School Daze – Check out these great books, currently available to request…

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

The Kalahari Typing School for Men
Mystery… The Kalahari Typing School for Men. The fourth in the delightful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, this book features Mma Precious Ramotswe, the head of the agency, content.  She’s in her mid-thirties (“the finest age to be”), she has a house, two adopted children, a fine fiance. But, as always, there are troubles…  Don’t forget the others in the series...
Joy School
Contemporary FictionJoy School. In this luminous novel by bestselling writer Elizabeth Berg, the narrator Katie has relocated to Missouri with her distant, occasionally abusive father, and she feels very much alone: her much-loved mother is dead; she’s not fitting in at her new school. When she accidentally falls through the ice while skating, she meets Jimmy….   Joy School illuminates how the things that hurt the most can sometimes teach us the lessons that really matter.
The Charm School
Thriller …The Charm School. Something very strange — and sinister — is going on in the Russian woods. In a place called Mrs. Ivanova’s Charm School, young KGB agents are being taught by American POW’s how to be model citizens of the USA, in order to infiltrate the United States undetected.  An unsuspecting American tourist stumbles upon this secret… The Charm School is a chilling story of cold war espionage that is relentlessly suspenseful right up to its white-knuckle ending!

Carrie by Stephen King
Horror….Carrie. Yes, we know you’ve seen the movie. But have you read the book?   The story of misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge is the one that started it all for Stephen King. Practically guaranteed to come with a nightmare!  Horror aficionados really should not miss this one.
So You're Thinking About Homeschooling
Homeschooling…So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It.  (Well, and why wouldn’t you, after reading Carrie?!)  Yes, indeed, that IS Blair from The Facts of Life, presenting 15 homeschooling families as examples of how to make homeschooling a reality for your own family.  A nuts-and-bolts approach, dealing with common questions of time management, teaching weaknesses and outside responsibilities, as well as social and sports involvement, learning disabilities and boredom.