Thursday, November 24, 2011

Changing The World...

As we head towards the end of November, the calendar starts telling you that every day is now filled up with something important. You begin to wonder how you will stretch your energy levels and/or brain cells to organise, prepare, plan, execute, remember, 1001 tasks before (insert next important date/time) tomorrow.
So here I am trying to organise my scattered thoughts coherently enough to give you a run down on what the most talked about topics in the writing blogosphere were this week.

The Amazon library lending saga goes on and on with Penguin withdrawing its books from the service and then earlier today doing an about face and then a 180. 
Yup it is all over the place. Read Porter Anderson on this issue and also the other big issue of the week….

Penguin again…this time with the launch of Book Country, their new publishing arm, for people who want help to publish. Is it vanity publishing? Opinions are divided. 

Is there something in the turkey stuffing over in America?

Thanksgiving is kicking off about now and the wonderful Jami Gold has a fun post on what to get writers for Christmas…actually some uninterrupted writing time would be great at any time…. Check out her list and start dropping hints. 

Over Thanksgiving while you are trying to digest the huge feast your fingers will probably be getting a workout on Social Media sites. Shrinking Violet Promotions has a handy guide to how to survive Social Media if you are a writer.

The Passive Guy (writing lawyer) gathered together a list of all the posts he has done on the ethics of Agents and conflicts of interest and surprised himself with how many times the issue keeps coming up.

If you are a follower of Roz Morris, she has a wonderful post on her secret life as a ghost writer and how she ghost writes for someone who is her complete opposite. (outdoors, military…Clue sleuths are hitting the comments on this one.) 

Futurebook has wrapped up a series looking at the digitisation of the book industry in comparison to the music industry…It is an interesting read and has a big picture snapshot of what is happening and where it might go.

Over in the craft section...
Victoria Mixon has a great post on 3 characteristics of your protagonist.

Yesterday was a day of joy and sadness.
I had the great pleasure of telling a young writer they had won a wonderful writing award…who knows what the future holds for them…and it was with great sadness I heard of the death of one of my favorite writers, Anne McCaffrey. The Pern series was the first time I encountered female characters who could and did kick butt as strong protagonists. This was a wonderful thing to discover as a teen growing up in a rural area where girls actually finishing 7th form were a rarity.  
We need our heroines to be as strong as our heroes for the hope they bring that we can change our world.
R.I.P Anne McCaffrey

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learning to Play With New Toys

This week has been one of huge technological change in our house. My camera failed during my column assignment and I had to get a new one, learn how to use it and reshoot the subjects in a very short space of time.
In this disposable age the shelf life of some technology is over before you take it out of the box so it pays to do as much research as you can and buy the best you can for the long haul. Our old camera had done a great job and was pretty nifty when we bought it six years ago…and we borrowed money to buy it. The camera’s available today almost make you a coffee as well…and all manuals are online…this is tricky if you are also learning to use a new computer. Talk about a steep learning curve with a three hour deadline.

The new computer was essential as the old one had the screen constantly failing and the keyboard wearing out. (Oh joy…) Researching for big buys are essential and also giving yourself time to learn to navigate the new really saves on stress.

This week there has been stress bouncing around the blogosphere as authors get a good look at the Amazon lending programme and don’t like what they see.

We all like to support libraries but Amazon may have taken this a bit far with their one buy, lend 1000 times, no due back date, model…the authors miss out on revenue and it is their livelihood.

Independent authors have been called names and traditional path authors have been pointing fingers, sometimes in rude ways.
This diatribe, which I won’t link to, caused a lot of anger in the indie author community. It follows on from a conversation I linked to last week about when to successfully go it alone as a self pubbed author. Bob Mayer has an excellent response to the diatribe and I urge you to read the comments to get the fuller picture.   

The Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators have taken issue with the publishing industry in an open letter addressing the response length of time. This issue is dear to my heart as I have been caught by publishers hanging on to my manuscript for up to a year and then sending it back with a positive rejection. Unfortunately with one particular manuscript it has happened five times…It’s a great story, we nearly published it…Ah well I’ll publish it myself and move on!

Jane Friedman has a new feature on her popular blog…Ask Jane. First up a brilliant article on how to spend money wisely on book promotion. Frankly following Jane is the best move you could make!

The wonderful Elisabeth Spann Craig has a great article on talking to readers. She has a huge list of questions readers ask which you can build talks around. This is really helpful when you are put on the spot to do a presentation.

It is half way through NaNoWriMo and there are heaps of tips out there on writing for those who are hitting the keyboards. Media Bistro has a link to a cliché calculator. 
Victoria Mixon is guest blogging on Jami Golds blog with a killer post on story climax. This is a wonderful two for one deal with two great guru’s in the one place.

For a change of pace check out Christopher Hitchens advice to an 8 year old…(hmmm) and for a creative jolt in the arm Lateral Action’s video’s and website.  

To finish,
I was roaming around the library the other day and saw a pile of books in the YA section that had adult authors by lines on them…yes writing YA is the new trend for those established authors looking to jump on the YA sales bandwagon. The Boston Globe has just confirmed my suspicion.

On steep learning curve with new computer.... 
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