Child Care Limitations

11 08 2010

From the Department of Why-I’ll-Probably-Be-A-Stay-Home-Dad-For-A-While comes the 2010 report from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, which includes such gems as:

Child Care Costs are High Compared to Household Expenses
• In every U.S. region, the average center-based child care fees for an infant exceeded the average annual amount that families spent on food. Center-based child care fees for an infant exceeded annual rent payments in 24 states.
• Center-based child care fees for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) exceeded annual rent and mortgage payments in 18 states.
Child Care Costs are High Compared to College Costs
• In 40 states, the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a year’s tuition and related fees at a four-year public college.

So, again, my work will be taking place in the very early mornings while they sleep and I’ll take the day-shift. It’s not an easy choice, but there are worse fates for sure and we really just can’t afford the centers we’ve looked at unless my income really was pretty substantial. It takes a bit of a toll on my feelings of self-worth at times. Ultimately, though, my problem isn’t really with the child care providers so much as it is with the economy in general. The recession is rough. Incomes need to be higher for everyone. That’s where the balance is supposed to be coming from but isn’t.

Martha Woodruff on Self-Publishing Her Novel

11 08 2010

NPR has put up an interesting profile written by Martha Woodruff, who last June published her book Small Blessings on the Kindle.

This is one of the things I think the Kindle does really well. It really has made self-publishing a cinch and that itself has this whole democratic air to it that I find really interesting. I somewhat doubt the ability of even good writing to rise to the top on its own merits, but at least she’s got her work out there instead of sitting in some file on her computer, never to see the light of day in any format. I think I might buy a copy out of solidarity, even though I probably won’t ever read it as it’s not my style. I also hope the NPR story which is making its way through the book blogs gives her a little publicity. I also think she’d have been better served by linking directly to the book on Amazon somewhere in the article, but maybe she felt that was a bit too self-promotional (in this case, I say, one should be bold).

I just wish, again, that Amazon wasn’t the only game in town. I have many bones to pick with ebooks and most of it has to do with everything existing under Amazon’s control and Amazon’s alone. There’s a lot that just doesn’t sit well with me on that. We need a lot fewer proprietary formats and more markets in which to buy books, but really, that’s a whole different topic anyway.

As a final note, I’m very, very glad that she didn’t put her work up there for $0.00. $2.99 seems a great price point for a self-published work. It’s cheap enough that people might just buy it on a whim and take a risk, which is understandable given that self-published works can be something of a crap shoot when it comes to quality. It’s also not free, which means the work has some value, both to her and to her reader. I understand the argument that there’s merit in writing for exposure, but I think most of that is baloney. If you value yourself and your time and expect others to value it as well, nothing you do should be done for free (volunteering for causes aside, which isn’t what this is). So, good on her.