News You Can Use – Nov. 22, 2011

Six Things Jeff Bezos Knew Back in 1997 That Made Amazon a Gorilla – Excellent article from Forbes magazine.

Reward Yourself with Kittens! – This free “Written? Kitten! tool” provides you a blank page on which to type. But every writing goal you achieve (100, 200, 500 and 1000-word settings are available), you get a picture of a cute kitty! – Part of the NaNoWriMo incentives.

Books-a-Million to Open 41 New Stores this Season! – Anyone who says all bookstores are going away has not been paying attention.

Interview with Nora Roberts – The most prolific author of our era. Amazing.

Special Thanksgiving Special from The Savvy Book Marketer: They are offering a 25% discount this week on these book marketing and publishing guides. The Thanksgiving Special coupon is valid through Friday, November 25. Just enter this code in the coupon field at checkout to save 25% on your order: thanks2:

Ebook Publishing Success
How to Get Your Book Reviewed
Virtual Book Tour Magic
How to Sell More Books on Amazon
Selling Your Book to Libraries
Directory of Top U.S. Libraries
Successful Social Marketing
Twitter Guide for Authors
Facebook Guide for Authors

INFOGRAPHIC:
The Freelance Revolution – While it isn’t a perfect application to all writers this is a very intriguing infographic.

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Fun Fridays – Nov. 18, 2011

No. These are not original. But they are delightful to read again!
Do you have any you can add?

A Little Bit of Fun for Lexophiles (Lover of Words)

I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off?
He’s all right now.

The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference.

To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.

We’ll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.

The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.

The dead batteries were given out free of charge.

If you take a laptop for a run you could jog your memory.

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail.

A bicycle can’t stand alone; it is two tired.

A will is a dead giveaway.

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

A backward poet writes inverse.

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France, resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.

He broke into song because he couldn’t find the key.

A calendar’s days are numbered.

A lot of money is tainted: ‘Taint yours, and ‘taint mine.

A boiled egg is hard to beat.

He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

A plateau is a high form of flattery.

When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall.

If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

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Floating Body Parts

Writers conferences and blogs talk about this topic often so I don’t pretend to be breaking new ground with this post. Yet I still see some floating body parts and cliches creep into otherwise great stories. No, I don’t mean murder mysteries depicting a stray arm floating in a river. I mean much gentler fare.

Yes, floating body parts offer the reader — and writer — shortcuts. But relying on them as description in narrative doesn’t challenge anyone’s imagination.

Rolling eyes

The offender I see most often is:

“She rolled her eyes.”

Yes, we all know this means that her eyes went from the ceiling and back. No, wait a minute. Her eyes didn’t go the ceiling and back. Her gaze went to the ceiling and back. See the difference? No pun intended.

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How Things Used to Be

My family and I have discovered a new TV channel we absolutely love: ME TV. No, it’s not about being egotistical. ME stands for Memorable Entertainment, and its lineup boasts all the old shows that we used to watch when I was a kid. No fooling! It’s like my youth has been reborn! Everything from Rockford Files to Wagon Train, Perry Mason, to Dick VanDyke, Hawaii 5-0 (the REAL 5-0) to Family Affair, Columbo to The Guns of Will Sonnett…so many shows that, even at the earliest age, caught my imagination and introduced me to the power of story. Each show, in it’s own way, drew me in, making me a part of the drama, adventure, or romance. I knew, even back then, that I wanted to be a part of all that. Of weaving stories. Of letting them bring truths to life in a way that engaged the heart, imagination, and mind.

But as I’ve watched these old shows, I’ve discovered something. Something that absolutely astounded me. God is there. Up front and center.

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News You Can Use – Nov. 15, 2011

The End of Borders and The Future of Bookselling – BusinessWeek article shows why Borders failed and why it doesn’t mean the demise of bookstores. Every writer should read this.

Another Change in How We Read Books? – Cloud-based book rentals…is it the future?

You Don’t Have to Accept Rejection – Copyblogger makes the case for the Indie route

Does Your Web Site Use Flash? – If so, then it is time to change. It is no longer supported by Adobe.

Random House of Canada to Try New Book Tour Model – Selling tickets that include the price of the book. Thus the book is “free.”

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Owns the Web – A fascinating article from Wired magazine

Kindle’s Cost More to Make than What Amazon Charges – Obviously a “loss leader” that gets readers buying tons from Amazon.

A Fascinating infographic. Enjoy! (Click through to the original blog post to see the infographic.)

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Would You Buy Your Own Book?

When I ask a room of writers if they would buy their own book if they saw it on the shelf at a major bookstore I am met with a variety of reactions. Laughter. Pensiveness. Surprise. And even a few scowls. How would you answer that question?

But the question is meant to ask if your book idea is unique. Whether it will stand out among the noise of the competition.

It is not a question of whether your book is important or valuable or even well written. It is ultimately a question of commercial viability.

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Fun Words

I don’t usually stay up late enough to watch Conan O’Brien but awhile back I caught a show during which he campaigned to bring back use of the word thrice.

Thrice. Indeed, a fun word.

Yesterday Karen wrote about beautiful words so well that today I thought we could play with words and look at those that are entertaining. I’d like to suggest some other fun words that I think just aren’t used enough.

Slapdash

Because I’d rather negotiate contracts, send out proposals, and encourage writers, I employ a slapdash approach to housekeeping.

Draconian

While Steve Laube is draconian regarding book proposals, cooperative writers are rewarded with praise and contracts.

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Beautiful Words…100 of Them!

As someone who has studied other languages (French, Spanish, and Russian), I love the physicality of words. When you speak either French or Russian, your whole lower face gets a workout. It’s as though you’re tasting the words as well as speaking them.

Happily, English has words like that as well. Consider the following:

• impecunious
• circuitous
• mellifluous
• exsanguinate
• ebullient
• flummery

Words like these are not only fun to use, they’re fun to say. The feel of some even reflect their meaning. Impecunious has a tight, stingy feel to it. Mellifluous rolls off the tongue. Flummery feels a bit foolish as it escapes you.

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News You Can Use – Nov. 8, 2011

10 Great Tips for Self Editing – Teach these at a seminar and you’ll sound brilliant. Why? Because many writers have never considered them.

Self-Promotion Should Not Be a Dirty Word – Ronie Loren provides some excellent advice.

How Long Can Your Novel Be? – A case for the longer novel

Should Huckleberry Finn be changed? – Joseph Bentz looks into the question of modern day censorship of the classics.

An Author Fails to Deliver the Big Idea – Marshall Poe in ”The Atlantic” admits to failing to deliver an acceptable manuscript.

Is This the End of Books as We Know Them? – Scott Turow explores the future.

Congregation Versus Audience – Barnabas Piper talks about a common problem converting spoken words into written ones.

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