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To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.

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Recent Posts

What’s On Your Desk? (Part Two)

Last week I told you about my writing books, those valued, printed friends who’ve gone through this writing/editing/agenting journey with me. This week, I want to introduce you to some buddies that are too often ignored. Or avoided. Or cursed.

Yes, my friends, I’m talking about grammar books.

I, too, am less than delighted with grammar. However, I’m delighted by the following books that are a wonderful—and fun!—resource for those of us who work with words. So, without further ado…

Of course, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is front and center. I have the little book with a white and red cover, but in ’05 I received a wonderful gift from writer/editor Erin Healy: The Elements of Style, Illustrated. It’s a beautiful clothbound version of EoS, with lovely, four-color illustrations that bring the examples to life. I love it!

Then there are the style and grammar books by Karen Elizabeth Gordon:

The Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, a Beastly Guide through the Writer’s Labyrinth

The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed

I’m telling you, no one can make grammar more fun than this author! She uses gothic narrative to explain every rule with precision and clarity. Consider the following examples:

The Subject:

The werewolf had a toothache.

The afflicted fang made him wince.

Intransitive Verb:

            The chimera coughed.

            The god thundered.

And this explanation of Participles:

            Now we’re encountering a beast that is so multifariously useful that it tempts you to overuse and misuse and misplace.

And the illustrations are outstanding! Great fun.

One that I discovered in recent years is Lapsing into a Comma: A Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print—and How to Avoid Them. This gem was penned by Bill Walsh, the copy desk chief of the business desk at the Washington Post. Just reading some of his chapter titles and section headings tells you what fun you’ll have reading this one:

Dash It All, Period

Sloppy Similes

Moniker Lewinsky

Retronyms, or Sometimes a Muffin is Just a Muffin

And last but not least, there’s the old fav, Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande. The subtitle on this one says it all: “A Guide to Language for Fun & Spite.” Again, perusing the chapter titles gives you a glimpse into the fun contained in these pages:

For Whom the Snob Trolls: Who/Whom and Why You’re Right Not to Care

To Boldly Blow: Only Windbags Fuss over Split Infinitives

Snobbery Up With Which You Should Not Put: Prepositions

SO, those are my go-to grammar grapplers. How about you? What books do you rely on…no…upon which books do you rely…hmmm…In which books do you put your reliance…

Oh, never mind! Just share!

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News You Can Use – October 16, 2012

Is Apple Promoting Original Sin? – Orthodox activists in Russia are objecting to Apple’s logo depicting a bite taken out of an apple. They say the image glorifies the sins of Adam and Eve. It is important to note that in the Orthodox tradition “a person experiences the faith in the Orthodox Church through its art and symbols.”

The E-mail is Legitimate – I’ve had clients ask if the email they received from Amazon promising a rebate on e-book purchases is real or a scam. It’s real. If you bought e-books from Barnes & Noble or Apple you should be getting another letter. It is a part of a lawsuit recently settled over e-book pricing.

Perfect Your Knife Skills – If you ever want to write about a chef or the parts of a carving knife…do your research. I’ll admit to learning something by reading this short article (the “tang” of a knife).

Your Self-Published Book isn’t Selling, What Do You Do? – Ten helpful ideas from Joanna Penn.

Ten Words You Literally Don’t Know You are Using Incorrectly – A helpful self-test to remind yourself of proper word usage.

Wikipedia is as Accurate as the Encyclopedia Brittanica – This article, written in 2005, makes this claim. What do you think? Has it become as reliable as the venerable encyclopedia’s of the past?

Watch this great three minute video about Branding:

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Book Industry Trends

by Steve Laube

Publishing is partly an exercise in guessing what might be the next surprise bestseller. Some of it is an educated guess based on certain trends we see in the industry and in society at large. Any exercise in naming these trends bears the risk of expressing the obvious or being out of date the moment they are stated. So bear with me as I tinker with some of the things that are either influencing trends or are trends within themselves.

The Blockbuster Mentality

If it was your money you would likely “bet” on those book ideas that you know are going to sell a ton of copies. And only those who already have a track record are assured of a ready-made buying audience. In addition, for the non-fiction writer in particular, there is a demand for the author of have a visible or quantifiable platform from which they can launch their book ideas. Much ink has been spilled on defining platform and how to build one, and for good reason.

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Happy Birthday Winnie-the-Pooh!

by Steve Laube

On this day in 1926 the book Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne was published by Methuen in London. Our household has celebrated this day each year with my wife baking Winnie the Pooh shaped cookies. (Yes, it is a scary thing to be a man in a house of Winnie the Pooh celebrations…)

Some say the real birthday is the day Christopher Robin Milne was given his stuffed bear (August 21, 1921). But since I’m in the publishing business I prefer to mark the date with the publication of the book that started it all. And if you collect rare books I found this listing where Ernest Shepherd’s own copy (he was the illustrator) can be purchased for only $95,000.

So, “Happy 86th birthday!” to Winnie the Pooh.  (Go bake some Winnie the Pooh cookies and celebrate.)

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Fun Fridays – Oct. 12, 2012

Baptist Children’s Books

FakeJDGreear and ChurchCurmudgeon had a good time this Summer with their series, Baptist Children’s Books. Too much fun.
(HT: Trevin Wax)

Charlie Spurgeon and the Chocolate Factory
Green Eggs and NAMB (North American Mission Board)
Danny Akin and the Dinosaur
Goodnight Lottie Moon
Chick-Fil-Little: The Biblical Definition of Marriage is Falling
Harry Potter and the Not-Really-Blood Communion
Platt the Bunny
Douglas J. Can Moo, Can You?
Charles Deacons’ A Tale of Two Committees
Nancy Drew and the Mystery of Male Headship
Are You My Mohler?
Oh, the Places You’ll Boycott!
More Wrinkles in Time
The Really Fat Cat in the Hat
Huckabee Finn
One Fish, Two Fish, Roy Fish, Go Fish
Hardy Boyce
Michael Horton Hears a Who
What can you add to the list?
From your denomination? (Remember this is for fun, not trying to make doctrinal points.)

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