Write. Edit. Share. Repeat.

About writing, editing, publishing & getting it out there

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Sides forming in the Amazon-Hachette dispute

Anti-Amazon ad

On Sunday, a full-page ad will appear in The New York Times, paid for by a group of best-selling authors and signed by 900 other authors, calling on Amazon “in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business.”

This ad is “the latest salvo in a battle over terms which has seen Amazon delay delivery and remove the possibility of pre-orders on a swathe of books by Hachette authors, including JK Rowling and James Patterson,” The Guardian reported on Friday, Aug. 8. “The online leviathan Amazon says it is attempting to ‘lower ebook prices’; publishing conglomerate Hachette argues that it is seeking ‘terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them.’ Read More

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Criticism: It only hurts for a little while (like a root canal)

manuscript 2Feedback, direct or indirect

At some point in the writing process, you’re going to have to accept some criticism, either direct or indirect. By direct I mean from your writing group or beta readers (if you have them), your editor (if you’ve hired one), your agent (if you’re good enough that one takes you on), or the editors at your publishing house (if you can get in the door).

You don’t have to go through that process at all, of course—after all, mainstream publishing is now represented by merely a handful of gatekeepers, and they’re not looking out for your best interests, right? Or so the self-publishing mavens say. So self-publish, get your book out there, and skip all these steps. Then wait for the sales and rave reviews to pour in. And wait. And wait. Read More

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NaNoWhyNo?

NoNoWriMo ButtonI just signed in to NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t going to do it. I still don’t know if I’m going to do it. It’s a heartwrenching, anxiety-inducing notion that I can write 50,000 words in one month, let alone an actual story. As one writer on the site declared, November brings “Th-angst-giving.”

Is there any writer out there who does not know what NaNoWriMo is? Read More

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For South Jersey book lovers: Collingswood Book Festival, Oct. 5

Collingswood Book Festival logoThis one is for my South Jersey friends and family: Saturday, October 5 is the 11th annual Collingswood Book Festival.

If I can make it down there, I’d love to attend. It’s free—anyone care to join me?

when they were boys

Many authors and writers of all genres will be featured, including Larry Kane, whom Channel 6 Action News fans will of course recognize, with his new book about the Beatles. “When They Were Boys offers gripping, never-before-told stories and eyewitness accounts that tell of the Beatles’ challenges, conflicts, and hardships.”

Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, will also be featured, with his new collection, The Art of Tony Auth: To Stir, Inform and Inflame. 

Tony Auth book

From the Collingswood Book Festival Website:

“Join us on Saturday, October 5, when festival-goers will have an opportunity to stroll more than six blocks of Haddon Avenue, filled with nationally recognized authors and speakers for adults and children, as well as booksellers, storytellers, poetry readings, workshops, exhibitors, kid-friendly activities, and entertainment for all ages. This award-winning festival is the longest-running, largest literary event in the Delaware Valley.”

 

 

 

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Sept. 22: “The largest free literary event in NYC”

Brooklyn book fest logo
SAVE THE DATE: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2013, 10am-6pm, Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza,
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

“The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace.”

Click here for the schedule of events: BBF Festival Events.

Also check out the FESTIVAL’s BOOKEND EVENTS, taking place Sept. 16-22, 2013: “literary themed events taking place in clubs, parks, bookstores, theatres and libraries . . . The Bookends kick off a long literary weekend with film screenings, parties, literary games and author appearances.”

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Book Expo

bookexpo

I was able to participate last weekend in my first ever Book Expo America, which was held at the Javits Center in New York City. What an event. I’ll fill in more details later, but briefly, I was a volunteer for the Editorial Freelancers Association, which I am an active member of. I worked the Association’s booth on Saturday afternoon, ready to answer questions for the many publishers, authors, freelance editors, and occasional artists or other publishing professionals that stopped by the booth.

I was off work on Friday so I was able to spend the whole day there. I talked to some publishing people I knew, met some authors I knew, some of whom I follow on Twitter, including Chuck Wendig, who was signing copies of his new book, Under the Empyrean Sky.

Because the conference floor gets very crowded, I could only take it in small doses. I spent a large part of my time attending talks about writing, publishing, and social media in the lecture halls downstairs. On Friday I joined in on “Twitter 2.0: Twitter Master Class for Publishing Professionals,” given by Cindy Ratzlaff; “Perspectives in Publishing: an Author’s Transition from Traditional to Self-Publishing,” with Guy Kawasaki and Leigh Haber, and “Self-publishing: Disrupter or Defender of the Book Business,” with James McQuiveyChristopher KenneallyAngela James, and Keith Ogorek. All very informative; I confess that I found Guy Kawasaki’s talk very helpful as well as entertaining, but Cindy Ratzlaff also had some great ideas for social media. I took a lot of notes and will pass on some tidbits in another post.

On Saturday, Neil Gaiman was speaking. I was able to snag a seat in the third row on the side, so I had a great view. He was as entertaining in person as I’ve seen in videos, and he was generous with the audience. He’d signed 1,000 books prior to the event and gave audience members two of his newest books.

As a newbie at the conference, I didn’t plan too well. The first day I was carrying too much. I’d brought a shoulder bag with my laptop inside as I had work to do—big mistake. I ended up with nine books, one of which was a hardcover, plus a bunch of business cards and brochures from publishers and other editors and authors.

 

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Badly edited books

I’ve joked about poorly edited books on Twitter, but in reality, I don’t think it’s a joke. It’s something that bothers me quite a bit.

I’m an editor, so I realize I’m biased, but I’m a reader first. I can grit my teeth and overlook one or two typos in a book, not one or two per page. It makes me very frustrated when I try to be supportive of indie authors, and I feel bad for the ones who know how important it is to clean up a book before setting it loose in the world. I don’t understand it. Not everyone is a great writer, but it you want to be recognized for your writing (and I assume a writer wants to be recognized for his writing if he’s published a book) you are shooting yourself in the foot if you produce something riddled with mistakes.

At least part of the reason I’m on GoodReads is to discover new books and writers. If someone sends me an invitation to an “event,” ie, the publication of his new book, I’ll look at it and consider it. If it’s free, I’ll download it only if there are no mistakes in the promotional copy. If it’s not free, I’ll check out the cover and title first, then the description, and then the reviews. If it seems like something I might like, I’ll buy it. I’m not saying I do this every time someone sends me such an invitation (I’d never be able to keep up) but I’ll do it often enough. It’s fairly random.

Recently, I was burned by a particularly bad indie science fiction book. I won’t go into the fact that the plot line, the dialogue and the characters all needed a lot of work, probably more than a basic copyedit could fix. What an editor would have caught was, among other things, a constant ping-ponging between tenses:. “He says,” in one paragraph, “She said,” in the next one. And that was just one of the more obvious errors. The image below is a screen shot from a completely random page; the first page I landed on happened to have this nugget:

snip of bad writing

I think this kind of carelessness makes a book unreadable. Sure, if you have a fantastic story and great characters, maybe you could get away with more mistakes, but then again, if you’ve got that great of a book, you owe it to yourself to ask a professional or a few highly skilled friends to read it and edit it.

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Whatcha reading today?

Walrus mosaic in subway 013113This is my ongoing, regular challenge to authors and bloggers to share about their work—or to share about others’ work that they’re enjoying.

This week I’m finishing up The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, finally. And I’m a good chunk of the way into The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan, a terrific story about some of the dancers who were painted by Degas. I wrote on GoodReads earlier this week about how I was suckered into a free book “event” and was horrified by the many, many typos, not to mention a bad plot. Painted girls cover

I’ll give the author a break and not mention his name here, but you can see it on my GoodReads page if you follow me. Please, please, please, if you want to be a writer and you are going to put your book out there, have someone who’s qualified read it. Of course I would like people to use me as an editor; that’s what I do for a living. But if you’re broke, I understand–just get some intelligent friends to help. It’s embarrassing.

Call to action: Post a link, a one- or two-line description of what you’re reading (book or blog) and a few words about why you like it. Or you can post something freaky, funny or horrible you just read—go for it!

Question of the day: Who was your favorite childhood author (and why)?

Please share!

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Whatcha reading today?

Walrus mosaic in subway 013113This is my ongoing, regular challenge to authors and bloggers to share about their work—or to share about others’ work that they’re enjoying.

This week I’m reading The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright, Private Berlin by James Patterson, and Victory Garden by Meredith Allard. Also still reading The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin. I also just finished The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Smashwords founder Mark Coker, which I highly recommend to authors. (I’m not counting it as one of my 100 books because it has fewer than 100 pages). Forgotten Waltz

Post a link, a one- or two-line description of what you’re reading (book or blog) and a few words about why you like it. Or you can post something freaky, funny or horrible you just read—go for it!

Question of the day: If you read both print and ebooks, which do you prefer and why? 

Please share!

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Whatcha reading? Should we check it out?

Walrus mosaic in subway 013113This is my ongoing, periodic challenge to authors and bloggers to share about their work—or share about others’ work that they’re enjoying.

Post a link, a one- or two-line description of the piece and a few words about why you like it. Or you can post something freaky, funny or horrible you just read—go for it!

Question of the day: Do you start a new book if you’re already reading one? (If yes, how many books are you in the midst of now? For me it’s four, although I’m actively flipping between two at the moment, one on my Android Kindle and one on my Nook).

Please share! I hope to build some momentum on this.