Tag: Articles

Where’d the Discourse Go

I’ve been doing some interesting reading this week that had me thinking. Music used to be a communal experience. Whether it was a guy with an acoustic guitar, or a boom box, music was a shared experience. Now it is pumped directly into listeners’ brain cavities through thin white wires that go into a pocket somewhere. Then there are the serious head hugging Princess Leia cans. You know you’re into your beats with a pair of those. People aren’t sharing their music any more, that got me thinking.

This post isn’t about music. Another story I read was about Facebook’s attempt to incorporate their messaging app’s bubble style into the comments part of posts. This is an attempt, on their part, to engage people to comment and reply more. This is really where I wanted to go and put two and two together. In the months leading up to the inauguration and even the election itself, Facebook posts filled with a back and forth that became heated at times and at other times managed to reach a general consensus. Recently I’ve noticed a definite lack of that. It is almost as if both sides have retreated to their corners, put their blinders on, and plugged their ears. They even have cute names for each other, fascists and snowflakes. There was a time when you could count on the common ground of facts to reign in the debate, but even that is no longer true. Our facts, like our music, are whatever we pump into our brain cavities. In the recent past we would stand in our corners and shout at each other. Now it appears the fog of war is so thick we don’t even see the opposite corner anymore. I am guilty of this too and it bothers me.

The scary part is, if debate is the foundation of an effective democracy, and we no longer have that, how much longer can we expect to have democracy.

Self Published Works Gain Ground

A recent article appeared on the web the other day from Small Business Trends31 Percent of Daily E-Book Sales Are Now by Self-Published Authors. These numbers are taken from the sales reports captured by Authors’ Earnings based on daily sales at Amazon.com. The interesting trend is how the sales have increased over the last few months when they accounted for 27%. Now the Big-5 publishers still account for the majority of sales at 38% but it does not take much mathematics to see that if the trend continues self-published authors will over take them.

I basically take away 2 things from this article. One, readers are hungry for cheap e-Books and are willing to look outside the familiar names in publishing. Two, there is no better time to be a self-published author. There is an audience out there waiting for our works and they are spending. That does not mean the path to riches has been greased or is all downhill. Whatever measure for success one chooses an author is still going to have to cover a lot of ground to achieve it. At least now the barriers for entry to this path are not so formidable, or dare I say, closed off.

Public Libraries Show Why Sharing Culture Should Never Have Been Banned in the First Place

I am borrowing this post from one of my work blogs, MCLC TechTalk, because I think it underlines some interesting points about digital rights and what it means to share items. Would you buy a pair of pants with a smart chip in them that once you wore them it activates and only allows you to put them on? Anyone else and the chip senses the skin type and poof, they breakdown and fall to threads. Yet we are so quick to purchase electronic media with similar code written into it. This is not piracy. This is having the liberty to do what we want with the things we have paid for. At any rate that’s enough of me, read the article yourselves and let me know what you think in the comments section.

Public Libraries Show Why Sharing Culture Should Never Have Been Banned in the First Place, from Torrent Freak.

Why Isn’t Your Book Selling

So you spent the last eight, twelve, eighteen, thirty-six months, working, slaving, sweating and bleeding into your manuscript pages. Your characters are so real they are now a part of your life. The plot is honed, buffed and not a hole in sight. Your style is so well crafted that the prose dances off the page. The book hits Amazon and only your mom buys a copy. Houston we have a problem. What the fudge could have gone wrong? What could these people be looking for? What could you possible have forgotten? What does a writer have to do to sell some books in this crazy digital tromping traditional publishing environment?

I chose my first two books on Amazon primarily because they were never going to find a home with an agent or traditional publisher. They don’t really fit into a clear genre and would have a small audience no matter what. So they were my experiment and I did not have really high expectations. That being said, my sales have have lived up to those expectations. I have since raised them for my next book, Undead Heart, so I eagerly read this article when one of my fellow writers shared it with me. Thank you Gale. The article is from The Creative Pen and I urge you to add it to your RSS feed, as it is a great resource.

“Help my book isn’t selling. What can I do?”

I flirted with some of these ten tips previously but for my next book I am working my hardest to use every single one. Some of these will involve spending money and that is the hardest thing to wrestle with. How much is enough to spend and how much is too much? You must always be aware of the return on your investment. They key to being a professional is to think like one. Spending more than you can or should reasonably expect to make is just bad business. But as the saying goes it takes money to make money. I think I might append that to say, “it takes money to make money and treating your work as a professional is the first step to being professional.”

Advice From a Master

H.P. LovecraftThis post came across my Facebook Newsfeed from the Lovecraft eZine.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Aspiring Wirter’s, 1920

Lovecraft’s first point is the recognition of what judicious reading can do for the aspiring author. I would go so far to say that if you consider yourself a writer but right now are not in the middle of a book or just starting one you obviously do not care very much about your style. There is no magic potion, no book, conference or class that gives you all the skills you need to write a great piece. You must assimilate all that you can. That does not mean just literary works or even works of impeccable style. You need to learn what not to do as well. Just shut up and read.

Another important tip is the one about finding your muse in nature. To make your writing really stand out it needs to come alive. You need to infuse it with all manner of description, sights, sounds, smells, that will draw the reader in. No matter where you are you should tune yourself to the surroundings, make a mental note of what you see and smell and anything that stands out as you can and will find a place for it in your work. The same goes for people watching. I love going to Las Vegas. I don’t drink, party in clubs, gamble (maybe a little), but I love sitting in the casinos and malls watching the people who go by. Who are they? Where did they come from? What do they like, dislike? How do they live? These people are all potential characters if you pay attention.

At the end Lovecraft gives us a list of the 20 most common errors he comes across from aspiring writers. So here the guides and attention to grammar do come in. The rules exist not to thwart creativity but to allow it to spread and reach others. You cannot make a reader love your story but you can make them hate it if your style fails to convey to the reader, in the most efficient way possible, the story you are telling. We all learn a little from those we look up to, even when we are not expecting it.


Final Entry in POV Series

The final entry in my series, Point of View for Writers is now up for viewing on the League of the Iron Quill. This final part of the series part looks at the use of Tense in narrative writing. A big thanks for the League giving me the opportunity. I hope to have more coming to the League in the future.

On a related note I will also be presenting a session on Point of View at this year’s Avondale Writers’ Conference. I’ll provide a URL as soon as the official site goes live.

Why Book Marketing is Like Gardening – The Savvy Book Marketer

http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/2012/07/why-book-marketing-is-like-gardening.html This is a great post from The Say Book Marketer. In the on and off debate on how much marketing can help a writer I like this analogy. I think many writers are in danger of either paying too much attention or too little attention to the marketing of their works.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Buying a Tablet

I wanted to share a post I wrote for the MCLC TechTalk blog on purchasing my Toshiba Thrive Tablet. Since getting an iPad I have been using a tablet to write on and found it more convenient and comfortable than my lap top. I knew I wanted one for myself but the price of the iPads kept them out of my reach. You can imagine how happy I was to find an Android tablet with similar if not better specs at a much lower price point. To top it off Android has a pretty usable text editor that is perfect for writing on the go. But I’ve said to much read the rest in the post.

Buying My Tablet — MCLC TechTalk

The Secret of Self-Publishing

A co-worker sent me a link to the following article from the Wall Street Journal Online. It is a great read for self-published authors and writers aspiring to be published. Any reader of this blog knows that the rise in self-publishing is a trend that I am really excited about and think that the growth will be incredible. One thing I liked about this article is while it tells the story of the successes it also takes the reader back down to reality with some more Earth bound numbers. I can say for myself that my sales have not lit my bank account on fire, but I can see things trending upwards. I will be beyond happy to come back to this article in a year and see how my experience fits in.