Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July Links & Things

This is my monthly wrap-up of July'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. Previous month-end posts are accessible via the "Links and Things" tag in the right column.

July turned out to be a fairly slow month, newswise. Not sure if it was because of summer vacations and downtime, or possibly I was busier than I realized this month and didn't pick up on as many newsworthy items as in past months.

  • In a previous blog post entitled "Writing with Style (Sheets, That Is)," I hoped to rally authors to use style sheets. In all the hundreds of books I have edited and/or copyedited over the past 10-plus years, I have only had two authors provide me with a style sheet -- Mark Teppo and Michael Stackpole -- and both of those were just in the past couple years. Until now. Kameron Hurley, author of God's War, Infidel, and the forthcoming Rapture (all from Night Shade Books), has gone one step further than a style sheet: she has created the Bel Dame Apocrypha Wiki for her trilogy of books. When I proofed and copyedited the first two titles in the series, I created my own style sheets, as it were -- a listing of all the proper nouns (and often hyphenations), unique words, etc. Now, I can simply look them up on the wiki.
  • I recently created a Google+ account. Within my profile, I created a "Professional" circle for all my followers. I think I've checked my Google+ Stream maybe a couple times a week. Personally, Twitter and Facebook now require so much of my time that I simply don't have the desire to venture forth into yet another social media time-suck. I see Google+ as having two useful features that are currently unavailable on either Twitter or FB: First, you can create multiple circles, limiting those circles to specific people (say, immediately family, or employees, etc.) and then posting a msg only to that circle, which no one else will be able to read. Second, is the "hangout," which is more of a real-time group chat, ideal for brainstorming meetings, critique groups, or just, well, hanging out. has a blog post on the Google+ hangout, how to set one up, suggested parameters. etc.
  • My friend Pat Cadigan (@Cadigan) announced this past month that her entire backlist of titles would be published as part of the new Gollancz "SF Gateway" program. According to the press release: "Gollancz, the SF and Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, announces the launch of the world’s largest digital SFF library, the SF Gateway, which will make thousands of out-of-print titles by classic genre authors available as eBooks.... the SF Gateway will launch this autumn with more than a thousand titles by close to a hundred authors."
  • has an eye-opening piece entitled "The Biggest Losers from the Borders Bankruptcy": "...more than 3,000 claims have been filed against the Borders estate for a total of well over $1 billion. That means many of the biggest unsecured creditors—mostly book publishers—are likely to get pennies on the dollar for the millions that Borders owes them." The top 15 claims are listed, with Penguin Putnam topping the list with just over $41million. Keep in mind that this list does not include the $9million owed in back taxes and interest or the $6million in legal fees.
  • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (@SFEncyclopedia), first published in 1979 and revised in 1993, has announced that it will soon be available online in a newly revised third edition. The link is to the SFE site, which in turn has a link to the July 5th press release.
  • Author Jeff Carlson (@AuthorJCarlson) guest blogs on SFSignal (@sfsignal) in which he discusses the importance of "Bad Reviews." But he also shares with readers "some of the over-the-top experiences I've had with folks from the fringe." Jeff has had his share of nut-jobs, including the woman who felt so offended she had spent money on his book that she gave it to her dog to eat, and snapped a picture of the dog and said book, and shared it with the author.
  • You've undoubtedly heard about the nefarious "slush pile." In fact, you may have experience with such piles of slushy fiction. On her blog Floor to Ceiling Books, Magemanda shares her experience as a reader for Angry Robot Books (@angryrobotbooks) during their one month of open submissions: "...I looked at approximately five hundred submissions – across the full spectrum of fantasy, science fiction and horror – and I asked to receive just 61. And I suspect that number is artificially inflated because in the beginning I asked for some that, by the end, I would have dismissed." She provides additional details, along with some pros and cons for authors who are going through the open submissions process for any publisher. (via @gavreads)
  • The Wall Street Journal online has a Postmodern Times column, whose July 1 entry was entitled "Cherish the Book Publishers—You'll Miss Them When They're Gone." Columnist Eric Felten writes: "The stodgy old gatekeepers are to be replaced with 'social media.' But self-publishers are finding that getting the attention of the crowd once their e-books are out there isn't easy. Which leads to efforts to game the judgment of the new and amorphous network of influence." (via @sfsignal @zite)
  • I'll conclude this blog post with an item on "bodice ripping." Sound intriguing? It might, especially if you are a reader of Victorian era paranormal romances, or alternate histories, or anything involving such attire. Romance novelist Deeanne Gist "has gone to lengths to show, there was no such thing as a steamy, quick undress 150 years ago." The UK's MailOnline has an article entitled "Romance novelist buys full set of Victorian undergarments to understand what makes a bodice-ripper." The article includes some period photos as well as a 2-minute video in which Ms. Gist demonstrates the various layers of Victorian garb. (via @KateMayfield via @Eithin)

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