Showing posts from April, 2011

Penguin Says If You Can't Beat Self Publishers, Join Them

So, anyone remember back when Harlequin tried to open a self-publishing branch, Harlequin Horizons ?  They were pretty much reamed for smearing their good name with a venture into Vanity Publishing. Victoria Strauss on Writer Beware reported: Like West Bow, Harlequin Horizons wreaths self-publishing in nebulous, glowing verbiage, extolling benefits and ignoring downsides. With West Bow Press, you can Begin Your Legacy. With Harlequin Horizons, you can Reach the Stars. And just like West Bow, Harlequin Horizons cordially extends the carrot of commercial publication: "While there is no guarantee that if you publish with Harlequin Horizons you will picked up for traditional publishing, Harlequin will monitor sales of books published through Harlequin Horizons for possible pick-up by its traditional imprints." Unlike West Bow, Harlequin Horizons bears its parent's name. And that is making some Harlequin authors quite unhappy. On the Dear Author blog, a lively discussion

Silly Sketch


A Tale of Two Email Folders

On my hard drive, I have a place I archive old mail. I have a number of folders organized by type of mail. One folder is titled, "Queries." By the whim of alphanumeric order, the folder, titled "Reviews" falls right below it. As I was sorting mail, I accidentally clicked on the wrong folder, and opened an old letter from Queries. It began, "Thank you for sending me your mss, but I'm afraid I just didn't love it." Oops. It was a letter from one of the many, many agents I had queried once upon a time. I clicked the right folder, the right letter. From a reviewer. "Thank you for sending me your book. I LOVED it!" Same book. A year later. Life is sweet.

The Grad Student and the Fairy

A parable with Amazon Associate links .  ;) One evening a grad student working on her Master's degree was studying alone in the library, nodding off over an impenetrable tome of postmodernist literary theory, probably something by Butler , when he heard a tiny voice cry out. Startled, he jerked awake. A very soft, high-pitched voice wailed, "Help me! Help me!" He searched the stacks with increasing alarm as the tiny plea grew more desperate, then sputtered into a scream of pain. At last he saw it...a big, ugly rat, dragging a little pixie girl by the ankle. The rat was as fat as the hardcover edition of  Of Grammatology by Derrida, and the fairy as slender as a No. #2 pencil. No matter how she fluttered her translucent wings, she could not yank her leg free. The grad student, quick of wit, grabbed   Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach  off the shelf and knocked the Derrida rat smack between the eyes. The villainous varmint thus vanquished, the grad student lifted

An Agent Reflects on Ebooks and Gatekeeping

Agent Jenny Bent  ruminates on the difference between being a gatekeeper vs a conduit . An agent friend and I were e-mailing today about "reader taste" vs. "publisher taste." I think I've always had a case of "reader taste" because many of the books that I've really loved I've had a tough time selling or sold for very little money. Yet most of them have gone on to do very well indeed, many of them hitting the Times list. I would list them, but I'm not sure the authors would appreciate me telling the world that their book was hard to sell. Regardless, I loved these books, and I knew readers would love these books, but publishers often weren't so sure, probably because the books were considered "quiet,"i.e., not "high concept," or because they were aimed at readers in Middle America, or because they were quirky and hard to categorize. Look, I don't want to be too hard on editors and publishers. We're all doi

Strunk and White Revisited

Young writers often suppose that style is a garnish for the meat of prose, a sauce by which a dull dish is made palatable. Style has no such separate entity; it is nondetachable, unfilterable.  - Strunk and White, p.69 For my academic course, we've been asked to revisit some of the Classics of Good Writing. Strunk and White. Bird by Bird. I've read both before, of course, but haven't re-read them in ages, and it was good to do so. I remembered endless rules for commas in Strunk and White, as it turns out an exaggeration of my memory. This time I merely skimmed the grammar rules, which I know, or know to look up if I need them. Instead, I enjoyed the essay on style. Even more than what Strunk and White said, I enjoyed how they said it, how they demonstrated in writing what they demanded of writing. TECHNICAL NOTE: Nooksters, I do not know what the problem is with Initiate and Taboo going up on the nook. My Tech Guy uploaded them for me, but the administration page stil

If you shop at B&N be careful

If you shop at Barnes & Noble, be careful, it was one of many large corporations that suffered a huge theft of identities lately. You can read more here .

Blog Under Construction

The blog looks a bit garish right now. I'm still working on it. I will find something better soon. I hope. Addendum: I took out the extra starry background, which helps. I'm still not sure about the header. It fails, for instance, to say the name of the blog, which, one would think, might be useful.

Three Kinds of Reading

I posted my JBR List two posts back. It was incomplete; none of the nonficiton I read was on there. I've been thinking about how I read, and I have admit, I don't read every book the same way. 1) Fast reading. This is also called "speed reading," like the reading you learn in "speed reading" classes. I did not learn to read this way from a class. It was my natural way of reading, and later I learned that other people did not read the same way. Basically, I skim along the sentences very fast, taking in the information visually, not by subvocalizing the words. This means I can read a novel in a few hours, but it has its downside too. I am terrible at proofreading, because my eyes simply skip along the text, and if there are missing or misspelled words, my brain simply fills them in correctly. I often don't consciously experience the words qua logos but as images, like a movie playing in my mind. 2) Data mining. This is a technique for reading non-f

Last Chance To Get Taboo at $.99

The price of Taboo is going up to its regular price of $4.95. Reviewers, don't hesitate to email me if you haven't received your free copy yet.

My JBR List

I've made more time to read fiction this year. (Some New Year's resolutions do happen.) As a child, I devoured fiction, which, unsurprisingly, is where I learned to write, and more importantly, learned to yearn to write. After a while, my non-fiction reading took over, leaving me few hours for novels. I decided to make a conscious effort to make time for fiction. Fortunately, thanks to my Kindle, it's easier to find odd moments for fun reading, when I wouldn't be able to do school-related reading anyway. Here's the JBR list -- "just been read" -- books I've read so far this year (since Jan. 1): Faefever Bloodfever Save My Soul My Sister Writes Porn Soulless A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Enemies and Allies Slave The Crown Conspiracy Avempartha Nephron Rising The Emerald Storm Wintertide A Discovery of Witches House of Skin Firelight I also have a long TBR List. I'll list those books as they are converted to