Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, October 25-27, 2012

Apologies for missing you yesterday: 3 hours on the road for a 2 hour meeting will chew up a big portion of a day. So we’ll catch up with a 3-day post today and Monday’s will cover just what’s left of today plus Sunday and early Monday.

Interestingly, the best posts of the last few days have either been about the business of writing, or just plain fun pieces. Nice contrast. Let’s get the work done first.

BUSINESS

We’ve all heard about (pun fully intended) audio books—they’ve been around a long time. Jordan Dane (@JordanDane) writes about her experiences in Self-Publishing in AUDIO on The Kill Zone. She worked with an organization called Audiobook Creation Exchange, so other sites and companies will be somewhat different. For Your Information.

James Watkins (@jameswatkinscom) provides seven reminders/warnings to follow to ensure you Don’t Sabotage Your Writing/Speaking Career on WordServe Water Cooler. Many of these cautions are against having “unprofessional” e-mail addresses, business cards, web presence, social media posts, and so on. Having a bad reputation is, of course, bad. And so is having taken advantage of “free” publishing opportunities in ways that brand you still an amateur. Remember: writing is, at the end of the day, a business.

Along that desperate-amateur line of thinking, Victoria Strauss (@VictoriaStrauss) has put up a couple posts on Writer Beware ® Blogs warning of Two More High-Entry Fee Book Awards and a dodgy America’s Next Author Contest. Strauss goes into detail on why each of these programs are ones you should stay away from. Far away. Desperation to be published is one of the worst reasons to give up your rights as an author. Don’t.

In that same vein, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (@kriswrites) discusses Rights Reversion in her weekly Business Rusch column. What is “rights reversion?” It’s getting back certain of the publication rights (part of your overall set of copyrights) from a publisher after a certain period of time has elapsed or certain conditions have been met. In this very long post, Kris discusses how publishers can play games with authors to keep rights from reverting, and how authors can unwisely sign away any chance of having the publication rights to a given work ever come back to them. This post IS long, but if you don’t read any other one, read this one.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) writes a long post discussing the question Do Publishers Need to Offer More Value to Authors? The key word here is “need” and the underlying question is who has the need. To summarize the piece, Jane says that while authors would like publishers, particularly the “Big 6” publishers, to provide more author-centered service, publishers do not yet see the need to do that, and until they do—and she believes they never will—they won’t. Depressing? Maybe. A case for more and more self- and e-publishing? Probably.

OK, enough depressing stuff. Let’s have some

FUN

Could you write your own memoir in just six words? That’s Rachelle Gardner’s (@RachelleGardner) challenge to her readers in Too Much Coffee? No Such Thing, which, by the way, is hers.

Bad reviews are depressing, right? But what about, in the scope of history, they also turn out to be wrong—really wrong? Enter Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) of 101 Books, excerpting some such reviews from a longer list on Flavor Wire, in “Mr. Scott Fitzgerald deserves a good shaking.” It’s interesting to note how many of these reviews come from the New York “Literary” circles. Guaranteed to raise a smile.

And finally, John Vorhaus (@TrueFactBarFact) complains about (with tongue planted firmly in cheek—I think), then engages in Verbing the Nouns on Writer Unboxed. This is all about playing with words to create our unique writer’s voice, and while it’s laugh-out-loud funny, there’s also a serious point to it. (I know, I know: how disappointing. J)

What Great Stuff have you discovered? Let us know in the Comments.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, July 21, 2012

Well, quite an interesting Saturday. Four items, all completely different.

  • We’ll start with Erika Robuck’s (@ErikaRobuck) A Gift for You on Writer Unboxed in which she makes the case for going to a writer’s retreat, even if you have to scrounge up the money to do so. She writes, “…with each conference I’ve attended, I’ve reached a new level in my profession.” That’s a pretty powerful statement.
  • Greg Johnson, the founder of the WordServe Literary Agency, offers advice on how to Be Your Agent’s Dream Client. The details of the advice may not be new to everyone, but worth reviewing from time to time.
  • Roni Loren (@roniloren) guest posts on Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants blog: Blogging Authors Beware! You Can Get Sued. The original post appeared on Roni’s own web site and includes the links that dropped out of the Pub Rants post. The suit had to do with a copyrighted photo Roni used without permission and got caught. The post is her cautionary tale of what can happen and how to avoid it. Roni links to Meghan Ward’s (@meghancward) Where to Get Photos For Your Blog, which has good info, especially on how to read the Creative Commons logos and codes associated with images that have the Creative Commons copyright. Every blogger needs to read these posts!
  • And finally, something not serious…or maybe it is. Joe Hartlaub announces, We Will Read No Book Before Its Time, a post on The Kill Zone about a book published in Argentina. The book, titled “El Libro que No Puede Esperar” (The Book That Can’t Wait), is sold in an air-tight plastic wrapper. When the book is taken out of the wrapper and exposed to light and air, the ink begins to fade. After 60 days, it completely disappears. Why in the world would a publisher do that??? To get people to read the book and its new authors right away, the publishers say, rather than let it sit for months while they fail to get a readership for their work. There’s more on the Los Angeles Times‘ web site, including a promotional video put out by the publisher. The Kill Zone’s commenters are split on whether they like the idea or not. I think it’s interesting: it certainly generated a lot of buzz. That’s good marketing. What do you think?

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, July 3, 2012

I’ve discovered a purpose for Mondays: so bloggers can put together great stuff that they then post on Tuesdays! To wit: a Tuesday full of terrific stuff. We’ll start with the one negative thing and then get to the positives.

  • Kathleen Pickering (@KatPickering) writes in Identity Theft:Cloud Files and Urgent Phone Calls about a recent encounter she had with an aggressive phone scammer, her reactions to him, and her actions since. I have no opinion plus or minus on the specific anti-identity theft tools/services she recommends but her 6 specific action recommendations are things we all can do easily and at little or no cost.
  • Moving on to a more positive and interesting, but perhaps still a little scary subject, we go to Hugh McGuire’s (@hughmcguire) short (13 minute) TEDx Montreal talk, discovered via Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) via Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman), in which he asks, eBooks Gone in 5 Years? One reason why I don’t own an e-book reader isn’t because I’m a Luddite (I’m writing a blog, after all, on a computer), but because I see them as transitional devices. As tablets like the iPad and Microsoft Surface get more and more powerful, not to mention smart phones, I see e-book reader software migrating away from single-purpose devices like the Kindle to similarly-sized multi-purpose devices like the tablets. McGuire’s take is a little different–that the future of e-books is in a much more interconnected, interactive, hyperlinked, format which retains and even improves on the quality of the content now associated more with printed books than the internet. Scary for some writers, maybe, but fascinating and exciting for those of us willing to explore this terra incognita.
  • The next logical stop on today’s tour, I guess, is Victoria Strauss’ (@victoriastrauss) repost of something she first put up on Writer Beware (R) Blogs! a couple years ago: Rights vs. Copyright. This is a good summary of the difference between literary rights and copyright, a difference every writer needs to understand.
  • Going back yet farther into the writing process, we find Therese Walsh’s (@ThereseWalsh) A Study in Opposites on Writer Unboxed, in which she describes how she used some time spent with  thesaurus.com before she began writing a story. She started with two words with opposite meanings and connotations, then created lists of synonyms and antonyms via the thesaurus as a way to develop ideas for characters, plot events, etc. To my personal tastes, this feels too much like a writing exercise, which I generally don’t like, but you might find it interesting or helpful, so pop on over to her post to get the full, um, story.
  • I’ve saved the best for last today: Rachelle Gardner’s (@RachelleGardner) 6 Things To Learn From Hemingway. Rather than take a literary-criticism approach to the subject, Rachelle looks at different aspects Papa H’s process, from what other writers he read to what he did with a “completed” work before it was truly done. Professionalism, every step of the way. And things we can all do.

Great stuff, I think you’ll agree.