Mar

5

2013

News You Can Use – March 5, 2013

Happy National Grammar Day! – Yesterday was the day. But in honor of it click here and read some silly grammar jokes. Mark your calendar for next year.

Malcolm Gladwell on Literary Genius – Best-selling author looks at the nature of artistic genius and when it blooms. Be on the lookout this Fall for his new book called David and Goliath.

7 Tips for Writing Great Copy – read this when creating your “back cover copy” for your next book proposal. Excellent article.

Is Traditional Publishing in a Golden Age? - Read the highlights from this interview with the CEO of the Hachette Book Group or listen to the entire interview online.

10 Essential Questions to Ask if You are Hiring a Writer – If you are a freelance writer, can you answer these questions if asked?

A Brief History of the Typewriter – Okay, its a little geeky to find this interesting…but enjoy the article anyway.

Writing Historicals – How Accurate Must You Be? - The movie “Lincoln” has come under criticism for certain historical innacuracies. Anne Cleeland asks some good questions for those writing historical novels.

Mar

4

2013

Ancient Wisdom from an Ancient Editor

by Steve Laube

LXX scroll

I came across a remarkable section in a book written around 124 B.C. The editor of the book wrote the following preface to help the reader understand his methodology and purpose. It shows the concern a good editor has for the ultimate reader. His job was to abridge a massive five volume work into an abbreviated 16,00 word document. Can anyone tell me where this comes from and the name of the editor? (Without googling the text!) I’ll reveal the answer in the comments later in the day.

The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult.

Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy. But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events.

I am not the builder of a new house who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive. The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion. So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.

Note a few pearls of eternal wisdom from this ancient editor:

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Mar

1

2013

Fun Fridays – March 1, 2013

I want to feel like this when I wake up!

or

This is an illustration of what it is like to get that phone call offering you your first book contract.

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Feb

28

2013

A Great Hook!

by Tamela Hancock Murray

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I’m at the Florida Christian Writers Conference today, so while I’m away, you can have fun!

When reviewing proposals, I have noticed one particular element can present a challenge. That element is the hook.

What does the hook do?

Just as its name suggests, the hook lures the editor to keep reading. Challenge is, the hook must be succinct. One sentence is ideal. For example:

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Feb

27

2013

Get Thee to a Writers Conference

Guest blog by James Scott Bell

jamesscottbellJames Scott Bell is a bestselling thriller writer and long time friend. His most recent release is Don’t Leave Me. He is also the author of the #1 writing books, Plot & Structure and The Art of War for WritersIf you do not have them buy them today (He has five other must-have books on writing too.

__________

I am asked all the time by ambitious, up-and-coming writers what they should do to get in the game. I tell them to do three things:

 1. Produce the words.

 2. Study the craft.

 3. Attend a good writers conference.

 The first is non-negotiable, of course. The most important thing a writer does is write. But that should be accompanied by a study of craft, because it does no good to put down words if common mistakes are being made and bad habits ingrained.

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Feb

26

2013

News You Can Use – Feb. 26, 2013

Buy Your Way onto the Bestseller List – Will the deceptive practices ever end? (The Wall Street Journal article link may not last without subscription so I linked to this blog instead.)

Instead of Physical Books at a Signing, e-book Vouchers – Let us know what you think of this new idea!

60% of All Audio Sold is Now Digital – Try to find the audio books section in your local store….this is why.

Amazon Penalizes Those Who Link to Free Books – Fascinating. Read this article carefully if you use the Amazon Associates program to monetize your web site.

Jeff Bezos’ Wife Publishing a Book…But Not with Amazon – There is all sorts of “interesting” in this article.

AOL is Still Making Nearly $200 Million on Dial-up Customers – And that is in just the 4th quarter! This bring back any memories?

Book Murals from Around the World - Fantastic Photos. I want the one with the steps leading up to my office.

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Feb

25

2013

A Time to Mourn

by Steve Laube

Autumn Pine Forest

This past weekend was a time to mourn. We attended two family funerals here in Phoenix. The first for my wife’s grandma, Izora Weed. An amazing woman who was 101 when she passed. The second was my wife’s Uncle Ken Merrick who brings to mind many fond memories.

It has been a tough year. The loss of far too many family friends (including another this past week). My father last September. The family members mentioned above. And even our family pet of 16 years.

Loss after loss. Grief after grief. Before long it becomes a question of “How much more of this can we take?”

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Feb

22

2013

Fun Fridays – Feb. 22, 2013

Have you ever had a similar, but virtual, experience while buying something online?
Very clever two minutes:

HT: Kim Moore

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Feb

21

2013

Dear Editors

by Tamela Hancock Murray

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Dear Editors:

When I first started writing, not for a letter grade in college, but in hopes of a paycheck — or at least a byline — I solicited you with many articles, devotionals, short stories, and book-length manuscripts. Each was posted with dreams of finding your favor. More often than not, you sliced those dreams with your pens of rejection.

And for that, I want to thank you.

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Feb

20

2013

Down in the Valley

by Karen Ball

I see you

Imagine awakening one morning, not knowing where you are, utterly unable to move or speak. Imagine coming to the slow realization that you are in a hospital, and that the people all around you are looking at you and talking to you, but you can do nothing in response. Imagine doctors telling that, at the age of 43, you’ve suffered a stroke that has caused what they call “locked-in” syndrome, where your body is frozen but your mind is fully functional. Fully functional…and trapped. Imagine realizing that the only thing you can move is your left eye. That’s it.

One eye.

Such was the case for Jean-Dominique Bauby (Jean Do–pronounced jhan doh–to his friends and family), a one-time editor of ELLE magazine. I’d never heard of him until I caught the fascinating docudrama, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  But get this: the movie is based on Bauby’s memoir. Written after he had the stroke! Remember, now, he can only move his left eye. That’s it. He cannot speak. Cannot respond in any way except to blink that one eye. And he wrote a memoir.

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