There may be Hope for Johnny (the Book Formatter) Yet

ODFLogo 010Earlier this year I wrote one of the more successful entries I’ve posted at this site thus far. It’s received over 1600 reads to date, and is titled Why Johnny Can’t Format (a book). In it, I recount the tale of how Microsoft came to wipe out competition on the desktop, with the result that word processing innovation came to a screeching halt over 20 years ago. Today, that long period of stagnation may have come to an end. Continue reading

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A Reader of Reviews of your Own Books: To be or not to be?

Scales 120All authors can be divided into three categories: those who read reviews of their books, those who don’t, and those that do and claim they don’t. It would be fair to say that all authors can also be divided into those that are successful enough to ignore reviews, and, well, all the others (like me). Continue reading

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The Future of Competition in Publishing: Be Very Afraid

Lord Stanhope Printing Press 120If you were to count up all of the earnest articles, blog entries, and even Colbert Report routines that have been dedicated to the Amazon vs. Hatchette dispute, well, you wouldn’t have an accurate number, because more would have been written while you were counting. Curiously enough, almost 100% of them  miss the point of greatest concern to authors. The real issue isn’t whether the on-line retailer or the publishers win the current battle, but whether there will be any real competition in the marketplace in the future regardless of who wins. Right now, it’s very hard for me to see how there can be.  Here’s why. Continue reading

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A Writer’s Journal: Managing Complicated Plot Developments

Escher 120When you’re really on your  writing game, the words flow effortlessly from your mind’s eye to your fingers. But at other times, and especially if you’re working in a plot-driven genre, presenting the next developments in your narrative may be laborious and exacting. That may include puzzling out how to help the reader thread her way through the thicket of details that you’ve concocted while also keeping the reader’s interest and maintaining pace. Unless you’re unusually good at juggling lots of writing demands at once, that’s a process that’s not likely to come so effortlessly. So how to you get through that thicket yourself? Continue reading

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A Writer’s Journal: Linear vs. Scene Writing

Lafayette 120Most fiction authors, I expect, start in the beginning of the story and write their way straight through the plot until they reach the conclusion, and certainly that seems to be the most logical way to go about the enterprise. But what if that just isn’t working for you? Continue reading

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Amazon or Hachette: Which Would George Washington Choose?

Washington 120Unless you’ve been taking a holiday from the news for the past month, you are already aware that Amazon is in the midst of a very nasty negotiation with Hatchette, one of the “Big Five” U.S. publishers. Together, as a result of a decades-long series of acquisitions, these five companies have consolidated virtually all of the most-revered, but now conglomerate-owned, publishing houses in the U.S. Given the degree of respect that books still command, the dispute has attracted far more public commentary than commercial disputes in such a narrow market usually attract. Continue reading

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New Reviews (and Thanks!)

Cover 120I’d like to share some recent reviews, say thanks to those that wrote them, and also share with other authors the observation that if you aren’t active at Goodreads yet, you might wish to give it a try. It can be a great way to get to know other avid readers, many of whom are kind enough to share their opinion of your book when they’ve finished it (most will also copy and paste their reviews over to Amazon as well). You can find more about how Goodreads can help you here. Continue reading

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