Tag Archives: recommended reading

Sunday Mashup and Mashup Tips

Recommended Reading

I’ve had these for a few weeks and keep forgetting to post them on Sunday. Oops.

Finding the Dream, Daring to Dream–no wait, that’s a Nora trilogy
But the dream can be yours! You guys know how much I believe a good critique relationship can help your writing. I really enjoyed this post on how to find your dream critique group. A lot of it is about knowing what you want and need and not being afraid to say so. (via @JamiGold on Twitter)

It’s not about the comments
I got really excited when I read this because the article focuses on a point I think is important: What is the purpose of your blog? Is it to get comments, is it anything to do with the blog itself? Or is it to sell your product? If you sell ad space on your site, then yeah, focusing on building a blog for the sake of building a blog, getting hung up on those metrics makes sense. If you don’t, then…are those stats really a measure of anything that relates to your actual business? (via @JamiGold on Twitter)

The Wheel: Been there, done that
Okay, yeah, I’m still on this blogging/social media thing here. I just got this newsletter in my inbox that supports the idea that everyone loves a good mashup. Sometimes people do write an excellent new take on some aspect of writing craft or social media or something, but it seems a lot of posts fall flat and turn out same old same old. Possibly that’s just a lack of time to devote to the blog and really get into your unique perspective. Know what’s cool? A simple post on 5 great articles about _____. Preferably, in which you write 2-3 sentences about why it’s a great post and why I should go read it. Mashups may not get tons of comments, but people learn to appreciate someone who’s able to find them good stuff to read. (newsletter sent to me by Kait Nolan who knows I think this is part of the solution to the repetition)

Mash-Up Tips
Here’s my recipe for a quick and easy mash-up feature:

1. Keep a Notepad .txt file on desktop called Recommended Reading.
2. Every time something interesting comes up, open the file.
3. Write a title and summary of the post you just read and include the link. If someone referred the post to you, it might be nice to credit them as well.
4. Save.
5. On mash-up day, open the file, select all, copy. Go to new post editor on the blog, click the tab for HTML, paste.

Note: I write in HTML with all my bold tags, hyperlink tags, etc. That’s saves me a LOT of time over copying and pasting the individual links into the link builder of the blog’s editor at the end of the week. If you don’t want to write in HTML, a Word .doc file, set to automatically make hyperlinks, might work better for you.

If you read a lot of blogs and really want to embrace the mash-up, you might keep a folder on your desktop with files for blogs on different topics. Then when you have a number of them you’ll have a practically instant post on 5 Great Blogs About _____.

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#ROW80 update, upcoming release, and some recommended reading

Heroes 'Til Curfew postcard with release information

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So whew, it’s good to have this all settled and to say, “Thanks for asking, it’s coming out around September 2nd!”

Really good.

I’m still wrapped up in this book and not so much active in the next one. I continue to lack true multitask finesse. Once this week is behind me and the book is out, my new ROW80 goal will be to try really hard to leave it be. To not babysit my stats, to not read reviews, etc. To move on to the next thing and let this thing do what it’s going to because once it’s out, it’s no longer in my control anyway.

Been extremely busy this week, so my reading has been limited to my subscriptions. There was some good stuff, though.

Recommended Reading

Big News (Look! My agent!)
Yeah, ’cause it’s all about me, right? LOL. If you’re an indie and you missed this, what have you been doing this week, writing a book? When I read Konrath’s piece on John Locke’s deal with Simon & Schuster in which they’re going to print his books but he’s keeping his erights, I thought Wow, that’s something. And then, Jane, what a BAMF you are. Good job! I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say the end is necessarily nigh. It’s hard not to agree with Jane’s assertion that publishing is full of brilliant people who will find a way to turn things around for themselves. And I figure if she can do HER job every day and still think that, there must be something to it. (via subscription)

Konrath goes #MyWANA?
That’s what I thought when I read this post in which Konrath and Crouch have a back and forth about the future and who has the power in publishing. Where it gets particularly interesting is where they start talking about author to reader direct sales. I sell PDF sewing patterns and have some knowledge of how to set up to sell digital goods directly. I could do it tomorrow, in theory. Notice how I don’t. Because, as a small fish (without a 10K member mailing list), developing web traffic is a marketing issue I don’t want to deal with. And the idea of carrying other authors’ books, having to keep track of THEIR royalties and pay them out…accounting nightmare for me. Not to mention the fact that building a high quality brand means having to tell some people “no” and that’s just awkward. I need to write more books, not manage a store. Never say never, though. And I did like the idea that this post sort of represents a convergence of Konrath and Kristen, two smart people I always want to listen to. (via subscription)

I’m a sexist pig
Okay, not actually a pig, maybe, although I did participate in an objectification of Tom Welling on Twitter the other night. Again. My double standard about men should be men but women can be anything, is something I know about myself and am working on. Andrew highlighted that in his Girly Man post this week. He picks up a discussion about how the issue of fewer young male readers maybe shouldn’t be about the lack of “boy” books, and moves it into his take on life as an open-minded guy who doesn’t need gender bias to make his choices for him. Which is, undoubtedly, part of his charm. (via subscription)

#UnicornLoverz Unite
Beverage warning applies to this brilliant bit of hand-drawn comic goodness from Claire. Claire reveals what it’s like for an author and her unicorn when the author gets in “the zone” and the world is blotted out by her own awesomeness. A must read. (via subscription)

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#ROW80 and Recommended Reading

Things are going well for me. In my measurable goals, I’ve managed to participate a little on Twitter and to post to my FB page every day this week, and I’ve kept up with my blog schedule, including scheduling posts at least a day in advance to be sure I don’t forget.

In writing, I’m continuing to work on my blueprint for HEROES UNDER SIEGE. I’m at the stage now where I’m gathering up the list of things that need to happen, things that need to be planted and shown along the way, and trying to come up with a list of specific scenes to write. Kind of the real getting down to outlining business part of the process. But next is actually writing.

I took a day off from that yesterday to map out something completely different. I don’t usually think of anything else except the Talents, but sometimes your brain needs to do something else just to remember that it can. I came up with a world, problem, and character list for a new YA trilogy. I also came up with general ideas for all three books and a plot skeleton for the first one. I have a lot of Talent work to do and I don’t know when I’d ever get to such a thing, but I wrote it all up and sent it to Jane to see what she thinks of the idea. Now so I got that out of my system for a bit and it’s back to work on the Talents.

Speaking of Jane, I think I might be interrupting Friday’s regularly scheduled post to bring you some news about HEROES ‘TIL CURFEW. Maybe. Ack.

While you’re waiting you can check out this week’s

Recommended Reading

Superman, like Shrek, has layers
I know, as soon as I said that we all started thinking of parfait. Or maybe that’s just those of us with a sweet tooth who didn’t have breakfast. Well anyway, I found What Does Superman Stand For? to be a very thought-provoking article on Superman’s motto Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Recommended for Superman fans and general malcontents. (via Twitter @slackerheroes)

Writing: a force for good in the world
No matter what your level in the writing thing, you need to read every word of Holly Lisle’s Money From Nothing: The Economic Value of Writing Original Fiction. It will explain to you how, even if you kinda suck right now, you’re adding awesome to the world. And as you improve, your contribution of awesome seems to increase exponentially. A joyful read for all of us who scribble. (via subscription to Holly’s newsletter which should be mandatory)

Don’t make me send you back to the kids’ table
This is a bit old and has probably made the rounds because it’s pretty awesome. But if you haven’t read Self-publishers Need To Start Minding Their Manners, I suggest you check it out. Catherine Ryan Howard reminds us of just how good we have it–so don’t screw it up. (via Twitter @Belinda_Pollard #MyWANA)

This is neat
That was just my reaction to seeing this blog by the awesome Vicki Lieske. If you’re wondering “Why is my book not selling?” you can submit it to this blog and she’ll go through your listing, give her reactions to the cover, blurb, writing, etc., and make some suggestions. She’s not tearing these listings apart. I found the posts to be very polite and professional, and very much in the spirit of being helpful. No surprise there. (via Twitter @VictorineLieske)

She’s 94 years old!
Piper Bayard runs a regular feature on her blog called “The End Is Near–and we deserve it!” It’s a spotlight on…the foibles of humanity? Okay, really, on people who must be smoking crack. This week’s clip is a crack up. It’s just over a minute so get over there and click it. She’s also got a list of recommendations for you. The apocalypse is freaking nigh, people. Nigh! Get a move on. (via subscription)

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#ROW80 and Sunday Reading Recs

So, to further confound my ROW80 efforts at getting back on track with writing and the online stuff, I went to Florida where I’m almost never online at all. Hence when I checked my file for recommendations this week, I found it a bit old. But if they’re things you missed when they were knew, I hope they’re still interesting.

Meanwhile, though I at least posted a few times on the blog this week, I didn’t keep my schedule, my email is still a mess and I’m pretending I don’t know where Twitter is. Not doing great. Still, we’re hoping for better things after school starts.

I’m  still working on my blueprint for the next book, just not as much as I should be. And though Joss and Dylan were all over each other in the car last night on my way home from seeing Harry Potter, I don’t have a whole lot written down. I need to get on brainstorming for that while Kait’s brain is freeing itself on Red and before she gets on to the next thing.

Recommended Reading

Superhero Romance
Ooh, a post about superhero romances! Always good reading. (via Twitter @AMhairi_Simpson)

Ebook Vending Machines
An article on an ebook vending machine unveiled in Japan. It’s about time. I don’t get why this didn’t happen right away. I don’t get why the big chains didn’t set up ebook buying and put kiosks in their stores with self-checkout and point of sale displays of SD cards and other portable storage devices to encourage impulse buying from all book readers. Being in the bookstore makes you want to buy books, and if you’re an e-only convert, you have to go home and order it? Impulse sale fail. Anyway, interesting news item. (via Twitter @aeTyree)

Pantsting is okay but…
In a recent blog post, Joe Konrath talks about writing deliberately. He writes, “But if a writer is completely aware of why they wrote what they wrote, and can explain the reason for every chapter, scene, and sentence, I’d call that deliberate, and by definition, it can’t be crap.” Discovering a story by writing by the seat of your pants is an exciting process that often feels magical. And if that’s the way you roll, great. I think a lot of stories suffer, though, by the fact that too many unrelated bits of awesome escape the editing axe. A book only needs so many bits to give it character and style and some of those just need to go. One of the reasons I prefer to plot is that it’s intentional. The awesome bits I come up with are more likely to be related to what I meant to write about just because I sat down at the keyboard knowing what I set out to do. And then I don’t have to kill as much, which no one likes doing. Anyway, the post goes on to detail a number of things that can help you decide if you’re an idiot, which is also worth reading (esp. if you’re not as ZOMG-serious as some of the commentors). (via subscription)

On Borders
Kathleen Schmidt, aka @Bookgirl96, explains what Borders’ closing will mean for non-mega-star trad published authors. (via Twitter #MyWana @Elizabeth_Aston)

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#ROW80, Recs, and Talent Chronicles plans

So the ROW80 stuff… Proving that I can only concentrate on one thing at time, I missed my Friday blog post because I was working on planning out the future of the Talent Chronicles. This was something I had wanted to work on during this round. Agent Jane called me on Thursday and asked me to write something up for her about where I see the series headed. So of course I was like “Oh sure, no problem.” [hangs up] “Oh crap, where is this thing headed??”

Fortunately, all this stuff in my head that feels very scattered and choppy actually came together better than I thought it would. Me being me this meant I wrote over 8,000 words on Friday and by the time I was finished Saturday night I had nearly 11,000 words and 18 pages of notes for over a dozen more books. I think maybe this was overkill, but I sent it to her this morning so we’ll see.

The important thing was that I had an absolutely fabulous time doing this, and am so excited about what I’m doing.

And on to…

Recommended Reading

Save the comma!
Short and sweet, this post from Stephanie DeVita both amused me and made a good point. What are bits of bad writing advice you’ve read? (via subscription)

That’s my girl!
I’ve been out of it and totally out of the loop, so it should come as no surprise that I did not know that the reason Harry Potter hasn’t been available in e-book is that JK Rowling retained those rights herself, not because the publishers were holding them back. Oh! Jane Dystel talks about that and what it means for indie publishing in this post. After reading this, really, how excited am I all over again that this is the person representing my work? Very. (via subscription)

Novel Killer!
Kait and I used to exchange scenes every day and polish each scene as it got written. While we learned a lot by doing this and it helped develop our working relationship, overall it wasn’t good for the work and we decided that were going to stop editing on the first draft and avoid reading each other’s work until the draft was finished. Much better. In Meet the Novel Killer, the brilliant Kristen Lamb explains why editing the beginning before you’ve reached the ending is such a bad idea. While I kind of disagree about taking it to the extreme of not even being able to correct spelling errors when you see them, I do know that since I started to avoid reading and working my own early pages before the end of the first draft, I’ve been much more likely to actually reach The End. And when I do go back and read, I find a bunch of cool things I did at the beginning that relate to the end that I don’t even remember putting there. Awesome! (via subscription)

Speaking of Killers…
Nothing kills a read for me like overwriting. And in the ebook world where you’ve got 3 screens of text to snare me in the sample before I move on, if those three screens are full of wordy descriptions and the like, I might not even get that far before I have to go away. In In Which We Have Sprinkles, Writer_Monkey makes a nice analogy for this common problem. (via ROW80 Check-in)

And she was never heard from again…
Earlier this week I talked about the kinds of video games I liked. Topping the list are the Sims franchise from EA Games and Pop Cap games like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. So then I came across an article announcing that EA has acquired Pop Cap. Surely this means my doom. DOOM! Okay, not recommended reading for most of you, but perhaps interesting to a few. (found because I got video game recs in my comments this week and was checking them out when I was supposed to be sleeping.)

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