Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January Links & Things

This is my monthly wrap-up of January's Links & Things; you can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern. Note, however, that not all of my tweeted links make it into these month-end posts. Hopefully, you find some value in what follows; and if you are new to my Links & Things blog entries, you may want to check out my previous posts: just look for the "Links and Things" tag in the right column of this blog. There are 26 previous blog posts.

  • The beauty of the internet... Where do people find these things? Lee Thomson has posted a PDF of Gene Roddenberry's "First Draft" dated March 11, 1964, of his original pitch for the Star Trek television series -- typos, warts, and all. Unless you are a very hardcore Trek freak, you probably didn't know that originally the captain was named Robert M. April, aboard the Yorktown; and "Mr. Spock" was to be the first lieutenant: with "a face so heavy-lidded and satanic you might almost expect him to have a forked tail. Probably half Martian, he has a slightly reddish complexion and semi-pointed ears." Many episodes are suggested, and if you are a fan of the show, you'll actually recognize a few of these. (via Robert Sawyer's Facebook post)
  • My friend, the author Andrew Fox, whose work includes Fat White Vampire Blues, Bride of the Fat White Vampire, and, most recently, The Good Humor Man (which I edited for Tachyon Publications), was interviewed in The Green Man Review. When Andrew was asked the following series of questions: "Do you read reviews or comments of your work? Do negative comments bother you? How do you suggest handling unfair public criticism?" -- he responded in part: "One of the early reviews of my most recently published book, The Good Humor Man, or, Calorie 3501, included some unfair (and I thought underhanded) criticisms, essentially tarring me with the 'R' word [Racism]....The more you protest, the deeper you end up rubbing the dirt into the carpet. As a satirist, I realize I’m going to come in for some holier-than-thou criticisms from readers who (a) don't get my sense of humor; (b) sense that I may lean in an opposite political direction from them; or (c) are looking for any excuse, no matter how small, to vent their righteous fury in print or pixels. So, rather than engage with that critic, I let it go...." Excellent interview.
  • In a recent blog post I wrote about Sony Corp's recent exhibit featuring a flexible electronic paper (e-paper) device. Well, Crunch Gear recently announced that Samsung had acquired display technology (aka e-paper) firm Liquavista BV. The article provides the full Samsung press release. I suspect e-ink displays will be replaced by e-paper devices at some point in the near future. (via @crunchgear)
  • Are you in the market for a new short story market? You may want to consider Realms of Fantasy magazine. On the Clarion Writers' Workshop blog, RoF editor Douglas Cohen provides some insights into getting published in the magazine. Granted, the magazine has had two new publishers in as many years, but no issues have been skipped since the previous owner's first issue, and the new owners, Damnation Books, have just sent their first issue (February 2011) to the printer. The April issue is on schedule; and the June issue will be 100 pages marking the magazine's 100th issue. (And yes, I am associated with RoF magazine.)
  • Author John C. Wright provides readers his "Patented One Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fiction," which may be one of the best writing manuals, accomplished in a single, albeit lengthy, blog post, that I have ever read. According to John's intro, he put this "lesson" together for a friend who is a nonfiction writer and is toying with the idea of writing fiction. This friend couldn't have had a better instructor. This really is an awesome post on writing. You don't get a teaser/excerpt here from John's blog post; go forth and read it yourself. And check out the 50 comments, too. (via @johnottinger) [Note: After reading John's blog post above, I feel that I no longer have to blurb any other "how to write" posts -- ever; so, that's it, at least for this Links & Things blog post. This is the only one you need to read.]
  • Regardless of how good John Wright's "writing lesson" is, he doesn't touch on the subject of self-editing, which is necessary for every writer, be it fiction or nonfiction. Author Jonathan Danz (@JonathanDanz) talks about the importance of editing your work before you present it to others to read (aka beta readers). He provides a number of resources, including books and web sites on self-editing.
  • Author Saundra Mitchell blogs about why "'Free' Books Aren't Free." Saundra writes: "...the sales figures on Shadowed Summer had a seriously detrimental effect on my career. It took me almost two years to sell another book. I very nearly had to change my name and start over....Meanwhile, 800 copies of my book (worth about $1200 toward my advance, if everyone paid for a copy,) are being downloaded a week." I like to take advantage myself of "free" books, but these are legitimately free books being offered, typically for a limited time, by the author and/or publisher. The not so "Free" books that Saundra is referring to are torrented pirated copies. Granted, not everyone who downloads these illegally "free" books will actually read it (often there is an impulsive need to acquire as much as one can), but if you read the book, and would like to read more by this author -- any author -- then please be aware that by not purchasing said author's book you contribute negatively to the author's career, and thus his/her inability to publish another book. (via Lou Anders's FB post)
  • Joanne Kaufman regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal, and in this post she discusses "How Authors Move Their Own Merchandise." Using specific examples, Ms. Kaufman shares what authors have done -- promotions, giveaways, social networking activities, etc. -- to help promote, and sell, their books. Of course, most of these authors have either very important author friends who help out, or fairly significant significant others (Say that three times real fast!), which leads me to believe that money, and expenses, may not be an issue in these examples. Nevertheless, there is much to be learned here on self-promotion: "The expense incurred by giveaways is often money well spent. Such freebies generate reader goodwill and provide an author with more Facebook friends as well as a larger email list (useful for publicizing the next book and giving the author's agent a bargaining chip when negotiating a new contract with a publisher). Most important, they may goose preorders. Particularly for up-and-coming authors, advance purchases 'get the attention of publishers, which may get them to put more muscle behind the book,' said Anne-Lise Spitzer, the creative marketing director for Knopf." (via @SueCollier)
  • Here is a rather not-so-unique idea: "Don't make enemies of people who may be in a position to help you later on in your career." Ever thought about this? Do you both write and review books as a profession? Do you avoid ever giving a bad, or even mediocre, review for fear that the book's publisher may avoid you in the future? Urban fantasy author Stacia Kane goes on a bit of a rant about this in her blog post "Publishing: It's a Business! And It's Hard Sometimes." It's an excellent blog post, well worth your read, as long as you're not adverse to encountering a few F-bombs in your reading. Stacia talks about the necessity for professional behavior because "after you’re published, reactions to you change, and you need to be more careful what you say because of that." I've personally written many a twitter post, many a sentence/paragraph in a blog post, and then deleted it before sending/posting; I got the words out of my system, but they were really to fill my own needs, not for public consumption. That old DIY saw: "Measure twice, cut once" can apply, with a slight twist, to social networking as well. (via @I_am_Writing)
  • The last entry for this post concerns a Google project: As reported in PCMag.com, "Google has created the Web's largest digital archive of Holocaust photos and documents in partnership with the Yad Vashem museum in Israel. The collection, hosted on Yad Vashem's website, contains some 130,000 high-resolution black-and-white and sepia-toned photos as well as documents related to Holocaust victims." I easily spent an hour on the website, lost amongst all of these photos and docs. (via @LanceUlanoff by way of @KameronHurley via @Alyssa_Milano)

No comments:

Post a Comment