Wednesday, August 8, 2012

July Links & Things

The past five or so weeks have been very busy for me -- but having work to do is always a good thing: it helps to pay the bills. I completed a developmental edit on a manuscript for an unpublished author; I completed a line and copy edit on reprint anthology The Apes of Wrath for Tachyon Publications (edited by Rick Klaw); and lastly, I completed a comprehensive line and copy edit (and some content editing as well) on Kameron Hurley's Rapture, the final volume in her Bel Dame Apocrypha series, for Night Shade Books. Oh, and for my own personal reading (which occurs so seldom anymore), I read the omnibus edition of Wool by Hugh Howey -- one of the finest works of post-apocalyptic SF that I have read in years. I don't recall any typos at all, though there was the occasional dropped word, missing hyphenation, etc., but that's it. Imagine that -- and a self-published book, too!

I also attended Readercon in mid-July; there are aspects of Readercon that I truly enjoy, but too much of it is simply cliquish and pedantic -- and thus not my personal preference; but I attend roughly every other year for the sole purpose of seeing friends whom I would not ever see otherwise. But, it turned out that this year's Readercon wasn't so typical after all, as a lot of controversy ensued afterward. Just search for "Readercon controversy" in any search engine and you'll find enough links. Or, you could check out John Scalzi's blog post: he links to a list of "Readercon controversy" posts, and provides his own personal view on convention harassment. Bottom line: the Readercon board of directors reversed their initial decision regarding a Readercon attendee, and they have all resigned from their positions as directors. You can read the official public Readercon statement.

Now to resume my regularly (albeit late) scheduled programming: 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; 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.

  • If you are a Facebook user -- and a writer -- you may want to add the following group to your FB profile: OPEN CALL: SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY & PULP MARKETS. The majority of posts are made by Cynthia Ward, publisher of Market Maven, but anyone can post an open call for genre submissions. There have been a half-dozen posts already today, which is fairly typical.
  • I recently critiqued a couple stories for a "new" writer, after which he contacted me about ways he might improve his grammar. I recommended that he read works by a few specific authors, one of which was Lucius Shepard. Shortly thereafter I read a blog post by Michael Swanwick (another author whose work I would highly recommend) in which he quoted a lengthy paragraph written by Lucius Shepard; in this paragraph, a tyrant's son restores a dragon skull. The paragraph is approximately 160 words, and includes very few adjectives and only two adverbs. As Michael says about the paragraph: "Beautiful stuff, eh?"
  • On In an article entitled "Thank you for killing my novel," author Patrick Somerville explains how the New York Times "panned my book, then had to correct the review to fix all their errors"; he then shares the email communication one of the book's characters (yes, that's right, a character from the book) had with an NYT editor. (via Curt Jarrell's Facebook page)
  • I do a lot of copy editing in my line of work, and if you've ever wandered just what a copy editor does -- a good copy editor -- then read this next link and be amazed: courtesy of Angry Robot Books (@angryrobotbooks). (also via Curt Jarrell's Facebook page)

I don't know whether to follow-up with another link on Angry Robot Books or another link on editing. Decisions, decisions....
  • Let's go with editing, first: author Rachel Abbott writes about the editing process: "great fun, or complete nightmare?" -- "...I was living under the misapprehension that when somebody edits your book, they find all the bits that could be better, and they rewrite them. Oh no. Nothing like that at all.... You get back your whole book with notes scribbled all over it.... Once I had got over the shock, it was an almost liberating experience." She discusses Point of View, Show and Tell, Emotion, Characters, Action, and Reading aloud. (via @lkblackburne)
  • Here's one more on editing (What do you expect? I'm an editor!): This blog post is from my friend (and fellow editor) Dario Ciriello on the "Slushpile and Editor Mind." Dario writes: "In my own experience with Panverse [an anthology series], I found that only about ten percent of submissions [nearly 500 novellas] need to be read beyond the first few paragraphs, and maybe only half of those to the end. Poor prose skills, muddled thinking, third-hand ideas, a gift for tedium, or simply the absence of anything interesting--all these, if present, will jump out at the editor in the first paragraph or two and earn you a swift rejection."
  • Now, back to Angry Robot Books, a publisher located in the UK: During the first week of July, Angry Robot initiated a new program, called Clonefiles, in which the publisher partners with an independent book store. The first bookstore was Mostly Books of Abingdon, Oxfordshire: When customers of Mostly Books purchase an Angry Robot title, they will receive at no extra charge a "DRM-free eBook version (the Clonefile) of the book as part of the sale, allowing them to read the novel on paper, on their Kindle, or on their ePub-based eBook reader." Kudos to Angry Robot for thinking outside the box. This program will be expanded to include other indie bookstores in the near future. (via @welovethisbook)
  • From The Christian Science Monitor blog: "Some good news for the book business -- BookStats, an annual survey that tracks the American publishing industry, finds that, contrary to doomsday predictions, bookstores and paper-and-ink books are still in demand." (via @HCIBooks1) [I'm shocked, shocked I say....]
  • In a blog post on book research -- "how far does author research need to go? -- author Joe McCoubrey writes: "It is self-evident that the more an author puts into a story, the more a reader will get out of it. Solid research will underpin the credibility of what lies between the covers of a book and help build the trust of those who are paying to be entertained and informed."
  • Via Digital Book World (@DigiBookWorld): The publishing/self-publishing industry was abuzz this past month over the news that author Penelope Trunk, having signed a contract (and collected an advance) with a mainstream publisher for a non-fiction title, determined that the publisher was incapable of successfully marketing her book in today's media-oriented and ebook-centric environment, and decided to self-publish the book instead.
  • The Turkey City Writer's Workshop, now in Austin, Texas, was founded in 1973 and is still active today. Two of its members (or former members), Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner, compiled the Turkey City Lexicon -- "The Workshop Lexicon is a guide (of sorts) for down-and-dirty hairy-knuckled sci-fi writers, the kind of ambitious subliterate guttersnipes who actually write and sell professional genre material. It's rough, rollicking, rule-of-thumb stuff suitable for shouting aloud while pounding the table" (from the second edition's introduction by Bruce Sterling) -- which is available online at the above link. (via @galleycat)
  • And finally, The Opinion Pages in The New York Times asks the most critical, all-consuming question of all time: "So what happens to all my Kindle e-books when I die?" (via @PYOEbooks)

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