the long explanation of a simple concept

Back in the depths of time, long before (well, some months, anyway) Steve Madere and his wacky crew at Deja News (which became Deja which was acquired by Google) began archiving the vast storehouse of knowledge affectionately known as Usenet, the happy-go-lucky-malarkey-smart-alecky denizens of the small corner of Usenet known as MISC.WRITING plotted a plot.

The denizens, who included amongst their numbers well-read (and lotsa books sold too) writers and some definitely top-drawer marketing wizards, crafted a means of boosting sales of their precious and oh-so-wonderful written works.

The misc.writers created the euphoniously-named Book Turners Club and pulled together a Book Turners Club List which listed written works by denizens of misc.writing. (A current copy of the BTCL is available through links at the top and bottom of this page.)

Anyone was/is eligible to join. You, in fact, by reading this far, are a member. Fear not. The initiation fees are not beyond the means of the humblest, nay poorest, of writers in his/her/zir garret.

They are, in fact, zip, zero, zilch, nada.

The Book Turners Club is based on one simple concept.

Upon joining the BTC, the member swears with a hand on the m.w BTCL or (on the screen from which the member is reading the BTCL) to keep the precious and oh-so-wonderful written work of their m.w partners/comrades/compadres front and center, facing the browsing book buyers on bookstore shelves, because everyone knows that a spine is a meager sales tool for the book-buying public when compared to THE COVER.

BTC members are obligated to ensure that writings by misc.writers are given the respect and honor they deserve.

BTC members solemnly promise to Turn any Book that is listed on the BTCL that they may find shelved spine-out, from spine-out to cover-front-and-center.

BTC members will also move any writerly works listed in the BTCL that they may find in a less-than-ideal location (the dark shelves in the corners, down near the floor, up out of reach) to a position where the title will be hard-to-miss: on the table nearest the checkout lines, atop the stack of books at the end of the aisle, at eye level in the best seller section.

BTC members are also obligated, as much as their personal financial situation allows them, to purchase any BTCL books that pique their curiosity, paddle their canoe, call to them in sweet, soft Siren voices or sternly order them to add the items to their stack of purchases.

Owing to their new, more auspicious shelf placement and to the book-buying obligations of BTC membership, the books on the BTCL will be sure to find buyers, which will not only be a "good" thing for the m.w partner/comrade/compadre who wrote the work and but also will make the writer in all of us whistle happily as we go about our daily lives.

The BTCL was originally maintained by The Judge, aka William Thomas Quick, until a dastardly fate rose up and the list met a nasty accident.

In the Spring of 1995, an age ago in Usenet years, when voices in misc.writing began crying "Alas!" at the lack of a current BTCL, Ms Wendy Chatley Green took on the task of re-creating the lost list and maintaining it, updating it and posting it periodically to misc.writing. She filled her duties admirably over the eons until the fading days of Spring 2001, when she decided the time had come to find another BTCL Keeper, which is where I come in.

In the closing days of Spring 2001, in a fit of overly-abundant community spirit, I volunteered to become the Keeper of the BTCL.

As a first cut at doing something useful and productive (not on par, mind you, with Ms Green's original re-compilation of the List), I've created a Web version of the BTCL and have [gasp] alphabetized the list by author -- because I happen to be as compulsive as the most compulsive mouse in a Skinner experiment.

The BTCL will exist in the future as both the Web version you've stumbled across today and as a periodic text posting to misc.writing.

What follows is a short explanation of what does and does not make the cut for the BTCL.

Numero Uno: Periodicals edited and/or published by misc.writers are listed on the BTCL. Regular columns in periodicals are also listed as are chapters in published books and short stories in published anthologies.

The aforementioned magazines and journals must be available for Turning. i.e. articles and/or columns for Web-based periodicals or Web sites do not qualify for the BTCL.

This standard, such as it is, has been in place for a long, very long, time and will stay in place for a long, very long time more. I mean, think about it. Can you Turn a Book that is only bits and bytes? Anyone?

If someone has a book that is a print book with an e-edition or if someone has an e-edition that can be printed and shelved and Turned, the title may be a candidate for the list.

Numero Dos: Out of print titles that are still available through may be kept on the list.

Or not.

Depends on the fickleness of the List Keeper's mood. I'm currently mulling over tossing out references to books that are listed as OP through We may, perhaps, want to start an auxiliary list of titles by misc.writers that are OP but available through the magic of searching for copies from used book sellers.

Remains to be seen. All youse with strong opinions yea or nay, please open a discussion in misc.writing.

Numero Tres: The List Keeper sometimes tracks down titles and information for works by misc.writers and sometimes not. Tracking down work is done out of the goodness of the Keeper's three-sizes-too-small heart and is NOT a responsibility of the Keeper.

Numero Cuatro: If you'd like me to list a title that is planned but is not yet in print, I may. Maybe. *IF* the title can be purchased from

I know.... That's tweaking the definition of book turning but, it gives a chance to m.writers to purchase a book that's not yet in print and gives a heads-up to m.writers who may find a copy on the bookstore shelves ahead of the "official" date of publication

If you have a title you think should be included, contact the Keeper .

Not every title makes the cut. Any complaints about the Keeper's favoritism or lack thereof can be taken public and we can discuss the Keeper's attitude, sweetness and lack of humor on misc.writing, where such discussions will do the most harm to the Keeper's already shabby reputation.

Numero Cinco: m.w denizens who have left the fold remain on the list in fond hopes they will return (even though they talk about hell freezing over in the same breath as misc.writing).

Please send corrections, additions, updates and bribes to the Keeper.

Go forth now, to your nearest bookstore, with a copy of the BTCL in hand
and fulfill the sacred duties required of all BTC members.








Explore the communal lore, learnedness and occasional lewdness in
MWURLs: Indecent Exposures -- the homepages of misc.writing Denizens
Wander around in The Annex: Web Pages Maintained by misc.writing Denizens

Join the conversation! Read misc.writing

Search recent misc.writing discussions for:
Search using Google
Search this site or the web powered by FreeFind

Site search Web search


you are here:
© Reproduction or other use without permission will trigger unfortunate consequences.
Last updated on 2005-05-20.
Who is Sal Towse?