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About writing, editing, publishing & getting it out there


Sat., Oct. 25: Benefitting from self-publishing, EFA LI branch

EFA_logo_100Long Island branch meets in Port Jefferson

If you’re an editorial freelancer on Long Island (or nearby), please join us for the October meeting of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Long Island branch.

You do not have to be a member of the EFA to attend this meeting, although I think joining is beneficial for those trying to make a go of freelancing.

I have asked my scheduled speaker from the last meeting to return, as we had a small turnout and he did not give his full presentation.

Topic: Self-Publishing’s Here to Stay—Benefitting From It

Our guest speaker is Stephen Tiano of Tiano Book Design (http://www.tianobookdesign.com/), a book designer, page compositor, and layout artist. His topic is about the impact of the growth of self-publishing on book design, freelancing, and freelancers’ rates.

Among other aspects of this topic, Steve says he’ll discuss strategies for dealing with self-publishers who have a tendency to want us to price our freelance services in line with their DIY mentality. That is to say, cheap …

I expect there will be some back and forth about negotiating rates and demonstrating our value to self-publishers.

Meeting info:

Time: 4:30-6 pm
Location: Panera Bread, 4959 Nesconset Hwy, Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776. We’ll be in the private meeting room.

Contact: Jan Arzooman at chap_longisland AT the-efa.org.

Please let me know if you are coming! 

Add to calendar




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


Book Expo


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.



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.


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!


What am I going to read? (part 1)

NYPL books 1 020113Since I got my Nook a few years ago, I know that my reading patterns have changed, and I’ve been mulling over the choices I make in what I read—as well as how I read. I know some of my generation still cling to only print books. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading the old-fashioned way and it has its benefits—it’s easier to see how far along you are, it’s quicker for flipping back to a previous page, it’s often easier to figure out which chapter you need to go to.

And I still browse bookstores, although, honestly, it’s pretty darn rare these days for me to buy a new book from a bookstore.

Read More


Why give it away?

secrets to ebookFree is the most misunderstood and underutilized book marketing tactic for indie authors. It’s one of the best-kept secrets for the best-selling authors at Smashwords… “

That’s from Chapter 11 of the free book, Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, by Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords:

He continues: “Publishers have legitimate business reasons for their decisions. Because they’re in the business of selling books, they must try to acquire only titles that they think have the greatest commercial potential. The challenge here, though, is that although publishers are smart, well-intended people, their decisions are ultimately guesses. Readers, and specifically the word-of-mouth of readers, determine which books go on to become bestsellers….

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First Kindle-exclusive deal: The 4-Hour Chef

4 hour chef

Kindle’s popularity changes publishing | Entrepreneur | Financial Post.

“The future of publishing is here, and you can download it for $9.99. Amid a flurry of controversy, New York Times bestselling author Tim Ferriss recently launched The 4-Hour Chef. Published by Amazon, it represents the first “Kindle-exclusive” deal the company has signed with an author, and a huge inflection point for the publishing industry as a whole.

“Now, the dust has begun to settle, and with more than 60,000 copies in print and ebook form sold during its first week, the results lean heavily in favour of a landslide “Four-Hour” victory.

“But make no mistake, this the future of book publishing.”

Read more here.


Never Mind E-Books: Why Print Books Are Here to Stay – WSJ.com

Ever since Amazon introduced its popular Kindle e-reader five years ago, pundits have assumed that the future of book publishing is digital. Opinions about the speed of the shift from page to screen have varied. But the consensus has been that digitization, having had its way with music and photographs and maps, would in due course have its way with books as well. By 2015, one media maven predicted a few years back, traditional books would be gone.

Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter.

Click to read more: Never Mind E-Books: Why Print Books Are Here to Stay – WSJ.comBy NICHOLAS CARR


Copy editors’ group plans national summit on plagiarism, fabrication in journalism


Plans are taking shape for a summit on plagiarism and fabrication being organized by the American Copy Editors Society. ACES President Teresa Schmedding called on other national journalism organizations to join ACES in tackling the problem.

The event will take place April 5 in St. Louis during ACES national conference.

Former ACES Executive Committee member Bill Connolly, a retired senior editor of The New York Times and a co-author of its style manual and its policy on ethics and conflicts of interest, will lead the team. Connolly is a founding member of ACES and has served as the president of its Education Fund.

Click for more: Copy editors’ group plans national summit on plagiarism, fabrication in journalism.