Wednesday, July 4, 2012

June Links & Things

This is my monthly wrap-up of June's Links & Things. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern; or Friending me on Facebook (FB). Note, however, that not all of my tweeted/FB links make it into these month-end posts. As with prior months, June was a busy month, so there is a lot of content here. Previous monthly recaps are accessible via the "Links and Things" tag in the right column.

  • Mediabistro's @galleycat recommends that writers try SmartEdit, a free software program. No, this program won't edit your manuscript, but it will find clichés, along with overused words and phrases. The link showcases a SmartEdit of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I've tested the program on a couple short story manuscripts, which revealed little of interest; but I'll be using it shortly on a novel I am editing.
  • Speaking of editing: Guest blogger @JaneFriedman shares an interesting piece [hint, hint] entitled "How to Influence Editors in a Way That 90% of Other Writers Don't." Jane writes: "One of the most important qualities of successful people I know (regardless of profession) is that they understand what motivates the people around them. Some authors—even though they are experts in understanding the hearts of their characters—forget to look into the hearts of editors and agents.... Well, how do you win anyone over? You start by listening and showing you understand." (via @RachelleGardner)
  • I found this next link via the Facebook page of Testy Copy Editors [And though it's not my page, I certainly would qualify!]: From comes "Why 'Amercia' needs copy editors.": "But most important is that a copy editor stands in for the reader, gingerly reshaping, clarifying and correcting things before the reader can see them and post an excoriating comment. But more and more publications are laying off their copy editors, replacing them with Web designers or more reporters, or with nothing."
  • In past "Links & Things" I've included links to blog posts by both Kristine Kathryn Rusch (@KristineRusch) and @DeanWesleySmith, both of whom post regularly on the business of books and publishing. In a recent "Business Rusch" post, Kris tackles the difference between traditional publishing and indie publishing, or, as she words it: the difference between "hurry up and wait" and "wait and hurry up." This latest Business Rusch post has more than 75 comments, too.
  • After reading "The Business Rusch" above, you might want to read this post on duolit entitled "8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Self-Publish," by guest poster @AndrewGalasetti: 1) How will my readers benefit? 2) Do I mind the long wait for traditional publishing? 3) If so, is it because I'm impatient? 4) If so, will my impatience negatively impact the quality of my writing? 5) What skills do I possess? 6) What skills can I outsource? 7) How will I outsource these skills? and 8) How bad do I want it? You'll find the details at the link. (Via Hugh Howey's FB page; see my May Links & Things for more on Hugh Howey's self-publishing success.)

It's great when these blog posts don't always have 10 numbered points; here are two with 7 points each:

  • Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn) has "7 Networking Tips for Authors": 1) Start slow and adjust your expectations; 2) Be exclusive; 3) Use social media (especially Twitter) to make connections; 4) Go to as many readings as you can; 5) What can you do for them? 6) Attend writers conferences, book fairs, and summer workshops; and 7) Assess where you’re at as a writer.
  • And from Big Spaceship comes "7 Strategy Tips From the World of Screenwriting," most of which is appropriate to all types of professional writing: 1) Get a Logline (ie. a 2-sentence pitch); 2) High Concept; 3) Plot vs. Story; 4) Hero: Want vs. Need; 5) Structure; 6) Signposts; and 7) Focus on Your Outline. The author, Victor Piñeiro, also includes a 64-page slideshow at the bottom of the post on "the screenwriting process and how it helps craft better stories." (via @ColleenLindsay; via @CanonFodder at @BigSpaceship)
  • On Amazon's Omnivoracious, Susan J. Morris discusses "The Tricks and Traps of First Person" in a world where everyone writes an online journal, be it a blog or on Facebook. "But, while writing a journal provides excellent writing practice, when it comes to your actual story, there are a few important differences. For one, your online journal has context: you! For another, the reader has no expectations of an entertaining, immersive, world-shaking story from an online journal."
  • From Digital Book World (@digibookworld): "According to an upcoming study from the Book Industry Study Group...95% of publishers have had the experience of creating their e-books with one set of metadata and seeing an altered set of metadata at the point of sale..." (e.g. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple) "Metadata is a buzzword in digital publishing today. Publishers know they need to do it right, but there seems to be a poor industry-wide understanding of what exactly it is. Think of it as the digital version of everything you would find on a physical book's book jacket: author; title; ISBN number; blurbs from luminaries praising the book; the book cover; a summary of the content and description of the book; an author’s biography; and so on."
  • Here's a line from the 99¢ Nook edition of Tolstoy's War and Peace: "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern..." The reader thus discovered that every instance of "kindle" was replaced by the word "Nook"! The article from The Guardian UK, entitled "War and Peace ebook readers find a surprise in its Nooks," contains a couple more examples and attempts to answer the question "Why?" (via Ari Marmell's FB page)
  • "It's no secret that discovery—how, when, and where readers 'discover' the books they choose to buy and read—remains a top priority for everyone in publishing. Goodreads is uniquely positioned to provide this information with our deep pool of 317 million books cataloged. In the past six months, we've done a lot of research into how readers find books, and we've presented our findings at several conferences, including Tools of Change and, most recently, the International Digital Publishing Forum." Goodreads presents "Anatomy of Book Discovery: A Case Study." (via @JaneFriedman’s FB page)
  • On a less pleasant subject: hate mail. Author @KameronHurley shares some recently received hate mail with us. One wonders what motivates an individual to contact an author—or any stranger for that matter—for the sole purpose of simply being nasty to that individual; and then to be stupid enough as to include one's email address:, are you out there? Readers, please feel free to contact the Google Gmail Police on behalf of all the intelligent, considerate, and pleasant people of the world.
  • And finally for June, China launched a Shenzhou 9 spacecraft with three astronauts aboard, one being the first Chinese woman astronaut: Liu Yang, a 34-year-old fighter pilot. I've included three links here for further information: on Liu Yang; on the mission itself, which will rendezvous and dock with an orbiting space laboratory; and lastly a nearly 15-minute YouTube video of the Long March 2F rocket launch, which carried the Shenzhou 9 into space. (via @spacefuture and @SPACEdotcom)

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