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 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.