The music…the audience…the joy of the performers….
Hope you have a big smile on your face.
Why Online Book Discovery is Broken (and how to fix it) – Fascinating article by Laura Hazard Owen. This is the first time I’ve heard someone describe it as “broken.” Instead we keep hearing that “discoverability” is the main feature of the online book selling process.
Create a QR Code Campaign to Market Your Book – I have to admit, the picture leading this post got my attention. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
Headline Writing Tips – Whether you are titling a blog post, a magazine article, or a blockbuster novel these tips should come in handy!
3 Common Mistakes Author’s Make While Launching Their Book – Some helpful tips. #3 is particularly insightful.
The First 250 Words of Your Novel – Some excellent advice from Janice Hardy. You have no idea how many proposals fail right here.
Biblio Tech: The World’s First Bookless Library – “Just where I want to go,” he said sarcastically. To a soulless, sterile environment. That won’t be a library…it will only be a fancy Internet Café!
by Steve Laube
What was the favorite book you read, cover to cover, in the last year or so? Why is it your favorite? (It can be fiction or non-fiction. Faith-based or not.) Feel free to tell us in the comments about yours.
Read it Again
Now that you’ve identified the book. Read it again. As Vladimir Nabakov wrote:
“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader.” – from Nabokov’s speech “Good Readers and Writers” (pdf link) delivered in his 1948 Lectures on Literature (Amazon link).
That may seem like an overstatement. After all we have only so much time in a day. Why am I suggesting this?
Please watch this wonderful and inspirational video. While it isn’t “funny” it made me smile.
Below is a trailer for “Landfill Harmonic” an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable orchestra from a remote village in Paraguay, where its young musicians play with instruments made from trash.
Unrelated to the above movie but on a similar topic, if you would like to support underprivileged children in the art of music visit this World Vision site. Here you can support music education around the world. (Thanks to Betsy St. Amant for the suggestion!)
Successful Query Letters for Agents – A fascinating collection of 23 links to actual query letters that sold a book….organized by genre!
Goodreads vs Facebook Ads – an Experiment – A fascinating article by Angela Quarles on two marketing outlets available to every author.
Of Books and Bedbugs – This story is full of the “ick” factor. The article is called “It was a Dark and Itchy Night.” This poor infested library!
Bad Writing is an Oxymoron – Clever article reposted by Nathan Bransford.
An Atheist Church – Gene Veith writes about this new congregation formed in London. He wonders what songs they sing. I thought of a couple: “All Hail the Power of MasterCard”? “Shout to the Bored”?
The Dove Foundation Adds Books – From the press release: “The Dove Foundation (Dove.org), known for awarding its highly-regarded blue-and-white “Family Approved” seal to movies and DVDs, announces the addition of a new books category for reviews and endorsements.” Note that this is different than the Dove Awards (www.doveawards.com) – (Thank you to Deborah Raney for the tip!)
“Bad Writing” Documentary – For the rest of the month of January 2013 this 90 minute documentary is available to be viewed online for free. In it an aspiring poet, Vernon Lott, takes a rather existential journey trying to define bad writing. Along the way he interviews accomplished writers like Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, Nick Flynn, and more. You can click below to watch it here or go over to the Vimeo site and watch it there.
by Steve Laube
No one knows your work or what you are trying to accomplish better than you. In that sense you can be your own best editor.
In a 1958 interview with The Paris Review Ernest Hemingway was asked,
“How much rewriting do you do?”
Hemingway replied, “It depends. I rewrote the ending to Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.”
The stunned interviewer asked, “Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?”
Hemingway said simply, “Getting the words right.”
Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, said, ““By the time I am nearing the end of a story, the first part will have been reread and altered and corrected at least one hundred and fifty times. I am suspicious of both facility and speed. Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this.”
It is the same for both fiction and non-fiction since the principles are similar.
Start the new year with PUNS!
I changed my iPod name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
I tried to catch some fog. I mist.
When chemists die, they barium.
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.
How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.
I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type- O.
Energizer bunny arrested. Charged with battery.
I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Have any you dare to add?
Innaccurate BookScan Numbers and the Plight of the Author – Colleen Doran digs into the sales numbers listed in Amazon’s Author Central. These are based on the National BookScan service used as a bible by major publishers to determine the success of failure of your backlist titles if done by another publisher. We have LONG argued that the Nielson BookScan service does not reflect the majority of books sold. It seems this author agrees.
5 Things Radio Guests Do Wrong (And 7 Ways to Rock the Radio) – Every author who has done or will do a radio interview needs to read this post by Brad Phillips. Brilliant advice.
5 Book Marketing Tips from The Hobbit – Jan Bear has written this clever post. No, one of the tips is not “Shave your feet.”
How to Create Suspense in Your Novel – by Lee Child, NY Times bestselling author. This is from the New York Times so may require registration to read.
I Love This Post about Book Printing! – I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to the book production process. If you never watched a video on it or visited a printing plant, go to this post by Irene Gallo of Tor Books where she has a series of photos showing how the new Robert Jordan fantasy novel came off the presses.
Top 10 Rules of Space Opera – If you love space opera like I do (think Star Wars if you are unfamiliar with the term) you’ll appreciate this post by Annalee Newitz.
by Steve Laube
Note the title of this post did not say “of the year” but “for your year.” It is rare for me to recommend books on writing because there are so many good ones out there, but this one is an exception.
The spiritual foundation of the writer is critical to surviving and even thriving in the call as an artist. Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer (published by Eerdmans) is a book each one of you should acquire and make a part of your reading plan.
The book description includes: “This book offers prayers that correspond with each stage of the writer’s work — from finding inspiration to penning the first words to ‘offering it to God’ at completion. Gary Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney, experienced writers themselves, introduce each chapter of prayers with pithy pastoral reflections that will encourage writers in their craft.” Gary has twice won the Newberry Honor Award for his children’s books and is a professor of English at Calvin College. Elizabeth, Gary’s wife, wrote a wonderful blog called “Language and Prayer” where she introduces the book and she explores the weaving of faith and writing.
Throughout the book I was inspired by material from writers such as Augustine, Dante Alighieri, William Barclay, Thomas Merton, Dwight L. Moody, Reinhold Niebuhr, C.S. Lewis, Soren Kierkegaard, and Richard Baxter. Ranging across the entire spectrum of the Faith. It is a book that should be examined slowly and without haste.
Make this the book of your year and let the words from great writers be a cool splash of water on your soul.
Below is a brief book trailer citing one example from the book.
Amazon is Ripe for Disruption – Interesting article from Forbes Magazine by Suw Charman-Anderson.
Authors Who Say “I Don’t Have Enough Time for Promotion” Are Doomed to Fail – Toni Shannon encourages authors to become disciplined for success.
Can an Old-Fashioned Non-Interactive Author Survive in the Social Age? – A great counterpart to the previous article. This is from PBS and Felicia Pride.
4 Steps to Creating Enjoyable Reader Experience on Your Fiction Author Website – Stephanie Beman shares some good advice.
Looking Ahead to 2013: What Should the Church Expect? – Tom Rainer takes a look at the upcoming year.
What Wikipedia Can Tell Us About the Future of News – A sort of scary article about the speed of news and how it is reported via crowdsourcing. It makes a point that this is the way of the future.
The Twelve Book Days of Christmas – Very entertaining by Roger Tagholm
On the first day of Christmas,
the book trade sent to me
A tablet in a pear tree. (click through for the rest)