A Writer's Edge


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Name: Georganna Hancock
Location: San Diego, California, United States

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Book Publishing Encyclopedia

Book publishing information for writersIn a recent newsletter, Dan Poynter wrote about his latest self-help for self-publishers:

Finding book resources fast. Time is money. Writers, publishers and publicists need access to resources--quickly. Whether you deal in entertainment (fiction) or information (nonfiction), you need information on the book industry.

Dan Poynter's Book Publishing Encyclopedia is the "Book Publishing Answer Book." It has thousands of tips and references in an easy-to use alphabetical encyclopedia. Each fact, figure, resource or reference, in its 222 pages, links to a specific page on a web site for more information.
Red emphasis mine, because it made me assume this is an eBook. How else could it "link" to information on his website? I hurried to Amazon and was confused to find the reference available only as a paperback. Discouraged from buying it, I wondered, what good is a link if it doesn't work? I guess saying "link" was short for "URL" or "web page address", but still, misleading. C'mon, Dan, release this in electronic format with real links.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

PostSecret Changes

For reasons I can only guess about, more people arrive at this website by searching on "postsecret" than any other word or phrase searched. Many of them are looking for images ... hey, if the PostSecret guys are searching for violations of their copyrights or usage agreement, they can lay off my blog. I play by the rules! Anywho, this little tidbit of information piqued my curiosity (but did not peak it or peek it, BTW). I took a look at what's been happening at that titillating website since last we visited. I learned that it has become the largest advertisement-free Blog on the web with 89,073,229 viewers! The participation and usage rules are still the same, but they have accumulated enough material for three books, available at independent book store, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Chapters and Amazon.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun with Palindromes

Writers sometimes use palindromesThis week Silly Saturday was delayed until Sunday (or whatever day it is where you are or when you read this). Thus, I ask what do the following food-related phrases have in common?

No lemons, no melon
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
May a moody baby doom a yam?
Not a banana baton
God! A red nugget! A fat egg under a dog!
Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog

O.K. The "food-related" was a red herring. Yuck! Yuck! The phrases all come from a "song" that Weird Al Yankovich recorded and titled "Bob". If you knew Weird Al, you'll understand that completely. The whole song consists of palindromes, which, if you haven't figured it out by now, are phrases that can be read the same backwards and forwards. It is said that the first one was created when Adam introduced himself to Eve with, "Madam, I'm Adam". Find the entire lyrics at the Seek Lyrics website.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

MFA Programs for Writers

Interested in pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in writing? You can find a free listing of low residency graduate degree programs in creative writing at The Practicing Writer's Primer on Low-Residency MFA Programs. The ebook by Erika Dreifus will only be available until the first of September. After that, the author is retiring this title, but until that time, she's generously giving it away from her shop on Lulu.com. After that time, Dreifus suggests interested individuals contact Anna Mendoza's online resource.

Dr. Dreifus' website The Practicing Writer and her Practicing Writing Blog are great resources, too, for creative writers.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Make Word Writing Easier

Fiction and nonfiction Word writers use wizardry
If you don't use Microsoft Word, you can skip this post. If you use it for any writing or editing tasks, a visit to The Editorium might make your life easier. The website was founded in 1996 by Jack M. Lyon, a book editor who got tired of working the hard way and started creating programs to automate editing tasks in Microsoft Word. Now you might be saying, "Hey, I'm not an editor. I'm a writer!" I hope you edit your own work before you try to sell it or send it to a publisher. So, you might find some help on Lyon's site. His latest additions include:

ListFixer converts automatic numbers and bullets into fixed numbers and bullets-or vice versa-for lists in the active document, all open documents, or all documents in a folder. It also applies fixed numbers and bullets to selected paragraphs, so you can number lists with real numbers in a flash. If you're tearing your hair out over automatic lists, you need ListFixer!

DEXter makes indexing in Word a snap. If you're tired of messing with XE codes and bookmarks, you need DEXter-the first truly professional indexing program for Microsoft Word documents.
Lyon also publishes a free newsletter, often mentioned in publishing circles. That was how I learned about his intriguing macro to create an "exclude" dictionary for the MS Word Spell Check facility. It allows you to also find frequently confused words to see if you've used the correct one (words like "they're" and "there" and "their").

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Virtual Book Tours

Author Brad Thor and his latest fiction bookWe've discussed virtual book signings and recently bookstore tours, but some have asked, "What's a virtual book tour?" Often these involve an author making the rounds of lit blogs, forums and chat rooms. You have an opportunity to participate in a unique version tonight at 9:00 EST as bestselling author Brad Thor (Blowback, Takedown, The Lions of Lucerne, Path of the Assassin, The State of the Union) adds audio virtuosity to his current tour for his new release, The First Commandment. Thor will log onto BlogTalkRadio and open the phone lines for discussion. You can listen online or by calling by calling (646) 478-5945. The website will be streaming the show and also archive it as a podcast for later downloads. According to a news release, Thor "will also be signing books for a select group of fans who tune in to be distributed after the show." He writes in the action genre, featuring spy/terrorist/secret agent men in the ongoing saga of Scot Harvath, a Navy SEAL turned Homeland Security super-agent.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good Writers Get Organized

Good writers get organized for successOne of the principles I harp on a lot is that writers need to be organized in all they do. Julie Hood agrees with her Organized Writer website. Writers often complain that they have so many ideas, they can't keep track of them; or they get distracted by new ideas while trying to work on a novel and it is never finished. Hood knows exactly what they mean and offers some tips to help them overcome this unproductive state. I suspect her book would be quite useful to a new writer overwhelmed with the multiple tasks embedded in the writing life.

Years ago I became a devotee of Steven Covey's "7 Habits" system, from which I learned to prioritize, schedule and effectively use "to do" lists. Hood offers writers a sample weekly schedule of activities online and in a printable checklist. You can adapt it to your type of writing (this one aims freelancers toward sending out a query each week) and get on track to reaching your goal.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paid Professional Writer Signs

Writers gather to help writers and their writingYesterday's list of indicators of a professional apply to all writers, even those just beginning a career. They're solid for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry or any combination thereof. The more I thought about it, I remembered deeper conversations about the meaning of "professional" among more experienced writers who were selling their work. Some of the signs of professionalism for those farther along in a successful writing career include:

* meets deadlines
* progresses in pay rate accepted
* delivers more than promised
* reads the fine print in contracts
* seldom writes without pay
* produces reliably
* participates in professional group

These qualities may further develop and deepen over a writer's career. For the mature (as in years of writing), often the "pay it forward" principle surfaces. The writer may then offer the benefit of his or her experience to repay the writing community for help received in previous years. In life we can seldom give back to the same people who guided us along when we were starting out. We have opportunities, however, to do the same for other beginners. Herewith this blog.

I'm sure there are other qualities different people consider important to being a professional writer, and they're probably common to all professionals. Please do share those that you admire.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Are You a Professional Writer?

Professional writers write fiction and nonfictionA couple of topics often bandied about on forums and message boards for writers begin by asking, "What's a 'writer"?" and "Who is a 'Professional'?" I gave my opinion of the former in my first post over three years ago. Embarrassingly brief, I said more about what a writer is not than a definition of who is a writer (a writer writes). The "professional" status is even more controversial, usually beginning with "someone who is paid to write" and progressing through "on staff", "earns a living from writing" and "published".

Any of those criteria may apply, but I consider more how the writer conducts business (writing is a business, you know). A general description of professionalism I once heard was that a professional does not let his or her emotions interfere with getting the job done. Being a pretty emotional person, that gave me pause! Here are some signs I look for to determine if a writer is professional:

* works regularly
* keeps records
* has business cards
* continues education
* progresses in quality of work
* interrupts schedule only for emergencies
* gets dressed daily
* designates a work space
* builds a network of professionals

You might notice that I don't expect a professional to be paid or on a staff or even to have a college degree, but I do expect the person to act like a business person on the road to success. When you work from home, it's easy to fall into sloppy, then lazy, habits and to allow housekeeping and family matters to take you away from writing. Behave as if you are in an office, in the public eye, and I guarantee it will reflect in your work. Feel free to add your thoughts on professionalism (and to disagree with me) in a comment or email.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Writers Networking Tips

Writers must cooperate to network and move alongIn his Small Press Blog, Tom Nixon suggests some strategies for writers to use when networking in Find the "Big Dog":

The point is that you need to build relationships with the people that can make your career, your website, your book become successful.

Some things to remember are:

1. Build real relationships. No one likes to feel they are being taken advantage of by the new guy. In other words, don't abuse the relationship. Constantly asking for help gets old fast.

2. Look for the "big dogs," but don't hound them. Yes, lousy pun, but you get the point.

3. You need to promote the "big dogs." One way people reach that level of big doggedness is that others link to them and mention their writing/blog/book.
His points are so accurately on the mark! I can't count the number of emails I receive from complete strangers asking me to link to their websites (sometimes not even related to writing). That's all. That's all they say, just asking for a big favor. Free advertising. I literally can't count them, because the messages go to the electronic equivalent of a round file (they're deleted). I don't ask much from others, but I mine the "big dogs" mercilessly for materials, promote them and then let them know about it by simple Blogger emails that say "FYI" and give links to the posts mentioning them. Don't skip the "build a relationship" part when networking, or it all falls apart.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Worst Buzzwords

Some writers sound like a clownWhat's wrong with this sentence:

"While we're leveraging our assets, can you synopsize the mission-critical meeting, then relanguage it by the targeted completion date?"
According to BuzzWhack: 13 Most Dreadful Buzzwords, that one sentence alone contains five of the worst buzzwords of 2006. The one that gives me the creeps is "relanguage", about which the website offers, "relanguage: Term used by $300-an-hour consultants when $1 words, such as reword, rephrase or rewrite, would work just as well." Now, I've been accused of trying to sound snooty or pedantic by using (not utilizing) my vocabulary of big words that just come naturally to me, but at least I don't make up new words. Not really. Not often. Only for a humorous effect. $300 an hour, huh? Let me just relanguage my curriculum vitae and get back to you.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Poetic Rhetoric Discourages Readers

Poetic tastes and audiences differIn a forum recently someone asked, "How do you judge poetry?" I sensed an explosive topic immediately, probably posted by a frustrated poet . Frustrated at not getting work published, not winning a contest and most likely not appreciating someone else's poem that won a contest. I didn't step into the fray, feeling that critiquing poetry is even more intensely personal than writing a book review. As Nancy Breen points out in her post in Poetic Asides:

No wonder it's so hard to attract readers to poetry. Once they sense that one way or another they're going to get dragged into an intellectual throw-down ("Ewww, you read that guy?" "Oh, please--poetry that doesn't rhyme is just crap!"), they run for the hills.
You don't have to defend your work, style or taste if others don't appreciate it--you probably don't like theirs, either. Let's de-escalate the rhetoric that surrounds poetry and get on with the enjoyment!


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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Good Writing or. Sloppy Copy

Writers can produce good writing or sloppy copyWhat you write anywhere is a sales sample. It doesn't matter whether you contribute to a blog, forum, website, ezine, email or in a printed brochure or other type of publication. I've seen these called "virtual salespeople".

When you write something you want to sell, some proofreading and/or editing is usually necessary. How much easier and faster it goes if the writing is already nearly perfect in punctuation, spelling, capitalization, grammar and syntax. Such good writing is a habit that you can develop. Take advantage of every opportunity to practice good writing, and it will become automatic. Then you can write faster and produce more than one who has to go over and over his/her work simply to get into readable shape.

Sales samples and speed are two great benefits to developing your good writing skills until they become automatic. That's why I often suggest online that people work on those skills if their posts contain obvious and repeated sloppy writing.

This doesn't mean that I denigrate content or demote it to a secondary concern. On the contrary, if you write well from the start, you have more time and energy to concentrate on the content. Granted, I may get a bit carried away, especially advocating letter-perfect emails, but why make sloppy writing a habit with email if you're going to be sending email queries and submissions?

And I'm not beyond making a typo, either, and failing to find it when I preview my posts.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Writers on Vacation

Writer in paradiseHello? Hello? Is anybody out there? Or are you all on vacation, taking it easy and not commenting on blogs? I don't believe I've ever seen such a long stretch without at least one comment on each post ... or none at all on a page. You would let me know if the comment function wasn't working, wouldn't you? I know some of you don't have a Blogger account and philosophically object to having to register someplace just to comment. I felt the same way when previously unbarred websites like the NY Times started requiring registration just to read the freebie articles. However, it does usually keep out the spam-a-lot riff-raff.

Speaking of writers on vacation, do you make the most of yours if you take a trip? Because I enjoyed my work so much, hauling along a camera, tape recorder, notepad and pens didn't seem like a chore. Taking notes on places the family visited wasn't neither difficult nor intrusive and often brought us perks the usual tourist didn't receive (guided tours, access to usually locked spaces, interesting tidbits we wouldn't have otherwise heard about).

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Write a Story Online

An interesting new (to me) online service called Our Story provides multiple possibilities for writers. You could use it as a creativity tool, design a different kind of memoir, build a feature for your website or blog, collaborate with others in creating a story. They call it a timeline, and on the surface a snapshot of it looks like this:

However, churning below the surface of this video (it scrolls to the right when it is activated) are descriptions of the events depicted on the timeline. The website offers both free and premium accounts. See the Examples page for more ways to use this feature-rich technological service.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Writers Shop Online

Online shopping resource for fiction and nonfiction writersMy early morning routine involves steaming mugs of Bigelow's Hazelnut Vanilla tea, which I order online because local stores stopped carrying it, and waking up to the Today Show. This morning I was pleased, but not really surprised, to see our prime sponsor, BizRate.com, mentioned as a recommended shopping site. It's obvious from their ad in the top of the left column that they offer computers and other electronics. I wondered what other items useful to writers might lurk there. Right off I spotted a section on Books and Magazines and found Language Arts books. Imagine, a redneck dictionary for only $4, and Office Supplies carries everything from desks to pens. One of the warnings mentioned in the Today Show segment was to look out for shipping costs that inflate prices online. In the Special Offers section, I found a linked list of stores that offer free shipping. The site has multiple search features and even rates the stores. I noticed at the bottom of the pageExcellent writers' resource that it won a 2006 Circle of Excellence award.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Banned British Words

To be more accurate, the following terms are banned in one place or another of the United Kingdom, according to the Phrase and Word Origins page of the English Usage website:

* nitty-gritty (offends Negros, blacks, colored people)
* good egg (same)
* homosexual (gay men)
* history (women)
* hard-working (disabled)
* gobbledygook (?)

This is a small example of political correctness run amok (oops! does that word tick off someone? An Alaskan Indian tribe perhaps?) (Double oops!! Make that "native American") Oh, it's enough to make a writer give up the art and craft. Not only can you not please everyone, it seems that you can't write or speak publicly without treading on tender toes. Will the overly sensitive wussies please sit down!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Silly Cats

More Katz 'n' Riters! Cats and writers seem to go together. At least, I've never heard of a cat-hating writer. Consequently the Silly Saturday gang loves to visit LOLCATS.COM - IT'S BACK BABY!, and it's subsidiary, I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? To wit:

Cats are the bane of a writer's reading

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Based on the Book

Books are made into moviesMy real-life book club met yesterday to discuss Debra Ginsberg's Blind Submission. Several members remarked about striking similarities to The Devil Wears Prada, one irate lady declaring that the author had just taken the plot and changed the names and location. Eventually, in a discussion of just how bitchy a major character is, another member commented that the character in the movie was toned down quite a bit from the one in the book. It turned out that she was the only one who had read the Prada book and seen the movie. All the rest of the members were referring to the movie. This whole "book varies from movie" discussion reminded me that the Mid-Continent Public Library, based in Independence, Missouri, has a high-tech branch online with an applicable resource anyone can use: Based on the Book, a catalog of over 1,200 books, novels, short stories, and plays that have been made into motion pictures.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blogging for Jobs

Natalie Bovis-Nelsen claims her blog has lead to writing assignments and jobs she might have never obtained elsewise. She writes about the experience at Mediabistro in Blog Your Way Into Writing Work. If you want to try this approach, basically she advises:

* become an expert
* focus on quality
* post often
* get noticed
* give link-love

My mileage varies from hers. For example, my blog does make money. It pays for itself, my cable connection, and additional email services. I don't find writing jobs because of the blog, but it certainly helps establish the facts that I am reliable, dependable, and most importantly I kan spel rite. Most of my work comes from the website's pages on writers' services and editing. Most of my clients come to me from the results of a Google search, and it is the blog posts that bump the website up in the ranks of returns.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Runaway Writers

Writers can run away to get over a blockRunning away from your problems is only a sometimes solution. If the problem is within yourself, well, wherever you go, there you are. And your problems drag along behind, but eventually catch up to you. However, creative people can use a different kind of running away to recharge their creative batteries and get over a Writer's Block slump. The escape may be as drastic as a tropical vacation or as simple as a walk in a local park, sitting by a lake or other body of water (I like running streams). It is a beneficial practice to schedule regular breaks from writing work, both for physical exercise and mental revival. Expose yourself to other forms of creative endeavors, even if you have no immediate interest in them. You don't necessarily need to participate in another medium; just observing and soaking up someone else's creative vibes can rejuvenate your own.

Every week I try to visit museums and shows that cover the gamut of arts and crafts. I usually learn something new, make new connections, deepen my understanding of the creative process. Sometimes I lurk behind a docent or professor giving students a tour. Yesterday I heard explanations of why Harry Callahan's photography was so innovative 50 years ago. It was the second time I'd visited that show at the Museum of Photographic Arts. I still don't think much of those photos, but I know a tidbit more about the evolution of photography as an art form. I can see the relationship to composition that I'm reading about in a book on painting with acrylics. None of this is immediately applicable to anything I'm writing about, but expanding my thinking and making new connections can't be detrimental and may help. Anyway, it was good to run away from the computer and walk about for a few hours.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Independent Bookstore Tour

Book stores are authors' lifebloodIt's been a couple of years since I wrote about bookstore tourism, a trend just getting itself organized then. Since that time, Larry Portzline's website and blog have flourished. Now he's planning an exciting-sounding Cross-Country "Why Indie Bookstores Matter" Tour. The intent of the ten-week road trip starting next April is "to raise consumer awareness of independent bookstores and celebrate the indie spirit." He plans to visit at least 200 locally owned book stores in all 50 states (flying to Alaska and Hawaii). Along the way, he'll be posting notes, photos and podcasts of his interviews with store owners and customers of whom he'll ask, "Why do indie bookstores matter?" The tour has it's own special blog site. We have a few indies in San Diego, and I'll have to pass along the info and perhaps persuade Larry to visit here.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Electronic Writers

Resources to keep writers on targetIn the past year, F+W Publications, the parent company of Writer's Digest and Writer's Market Place, exploded in a frenzy of electronic presences. Adapted from a recent newsletter:


Poetic Asides by Nancy Breen and Robert Lee Brewer blog on poetry

The Writer's Perspective, by Maria Schneider, is dedicated to the publishing industry and other writing-related news. She'll keep you up-to-date on the writing essentials, all while providing links that might interest you and commentaries on the industry's hottest topics.

Questions and Quandaries, by Brian A. Klems, answers some of the most pressing grammatical, ethical, business and writing-related questions. This is an extension of his popular column in Writer's Digest magazine.

This Writer's Life, by Kevin Alexander, gives his witty take on starting a writing career. Join in his often amusing, occasionally heartfelt experiences trying to get a leg up in this challenging field.

Guide to Literary Agents by editor Chuck Sambuchino for all the latest news and views on literary agents.

The company is also active at MySpace with the following profiles:

* Writer's Digest Books http://www.myspace.com/wdbooks

* Writer's Market http://www.myspace.com/writersmarket

* Writer's Digest http://www.myspace.com/writersdigest

* CWIM's Alice Pope http://www.myspace.com/alice_cwim

The Market Books now have mini-sites with information about each book and a place to sign up for a free newsletter. To check these mini-sites out and sign up for the free newsletters, go to:

* Novel & Short Story Writer's Market www.novelandshortstory.com

* Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market www.cwim.com

* Poet's Market www.poetsmarket.com

* Guide to Literary Agents www.guidetoliteraryagents.com

* Photographer's Market www.photographersmarket.com

* Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market www.artists-market.com

* Songwriter's Market www.songwritersmarket.com

This is all in addition to the U.S. www.writersmarket.com and www.writersdigest.com, and if you're interested in markets in the United Kingdom and Ireland there's Writer's Market UK at: http://www.writersmarket.co.uk.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Writers' Bidding War

Writers bid for writing jobsOver on the Writer's Digest website Michelle Strait has written about the Bidding War some writers choose to enter in an article about sites like Elance and Guru. She explained:

Freelance-bidding sites operate much like eBay: A buyer posts a job assignment, writers bid for the job and the winning bidder gets to complete the assignment. The lowest bidder usually wins. As you can guess, quality has little to do with the process.
Unfortunately, as the quality and professionalism go out the window opened to low ball bidders, the dissatisfaction with what they produce rises, and some employers don't hesitate to complain online. Even experienced writers/editors are being forced to lower their prices to compete, but that means they must increase their volume of work, and the temptation to cut corners becomes overwhelming. One freelance editor confided to me, "At these rates, I'm certainly not going to do a top-notch job!"

I've even received personal job offers (as opposed to the open bidding process) soliciting my writing skills for less than a penny a word. I was so insulted that I didn't bother to respond. I have the luxury of simply not working, but others aren't so lucky. What can we do to restore the previously too low rate of pay?

* Refuse to participate in such bidding
* Refuse low-paying jobs
* Demand higher pay
* Don't try to underbid
* Highlight the advantages of quality

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Cat Scratch Fever

Continuing in the "writers and cats" mode, this is an example of handiwork by Destroy Websites. (Those are supposed to be cat scratches.) I created one of these hoaxes previously, with muddy boot prints all over the page, but I lost the name of the service that time. It's silly, but fun.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Writers Conferences

Networking helps fiction and nonfiction writersOne question many new writers ask is, "How can I find a writing conference to attend?" The most comprehensive listing I've seen are the ShawGuides, Inc. | Writers Conferences & Workshops. They have details on 353 upcoming activities for writers. A better question, however, would be, "How can I make the most of a writer's conference?" Some tips involve preparation. Attend armed with:

* business cards
* copies of synopsis or outline
* recording device
* elevator speech
* open, positive attitude
* easy smile

Writers attend conferences for various reasons. Some are there to learn from workshops, seminars, lectures. Others come for the networking, access to agents and editors. There's no reason not to go for both, and don't discount the camaraderie with other beginners (you can learn from your peers, too.)

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Writers Internet Research Resources

A generation that can't remember life without PCs, the World Wide Web, and/or Wikipedia may never know the joy of browsing through a real life encyclopedia. The venerable Encyclopedia Britannica (full or Junior set) was once considered the last word in reference material. For some of us, it was the first or only resource we used. At the library. Teachers accepted its citations without question. I'm sure plagiarism was rampant then, too. Now students are taught to use the Internet. Thanks to projects digitizing the contents of great libraries and journals making issues available online, soon electronic research will be king. For some, it is already, with their first and last stop the Wikipedia. It was probably the first attempt to offer knowledge on the web, but unfortunately many users don't realize it is a very volunteer effort and quite vulnerable to manipulation. Even the managers have had to publish a disclaimer, but I wonder how many people even see it or read it. The general disclaimer takes pains to point out twice, "Wikipedia cannot guarantee the validity of the information found here" before the ubiquitous C.Y.A. statements.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Made in the U.S.A.

The U.S. flag -- symbol of a patriotic American writer

And Damn Grateful!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reader knows best

According to John Kremer's latest newsletter, Reader knows best. He also excerpted from the manifesto of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's manifesto:

1. Happy customers are your best advertising. Make people happy.

2. Marketing is easy. Earn the respect and recommendation of your
customers. They will do your marketing for you, for free.

3. Ethics and good service come first.

4. You are the user experience (not what your ads say you are).

5. Negative word of mouth is an opportunity. Listen and learn.

6. People are already talking. Your only option is to join the conversation.

7. Be interesting, or be invisible.

8. If it's not worth talking about, it's not worth doing.

9. Make the story of your company a good one.

10. It is more fun to work at a company that people want to talk about.

11. Use the power of word of mouth to make business treat people better.

12. Honest marketing makes more money.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

New Book Videos

Earlier this month, Simon & Schuster and a company named TurnHere sent me a news release with some real news! It was about videos that the second company is producing and posting on YouTube.com, little movies about S&S's recent books released. They have 18 up at BookVideos.tv. They also sent two dead or malformed links in the release, but nonetheless I nosed out the correct URL for the movies that offer:

"... sneak peeks at new and upcoming titles and in-depth information about authors' lives and the inspiration behind their work. ... You can even easily embed the videos in your own website or blog ...

Simon & Schuster is one of the first book publishers to integrate online video and social media on the Web. Together with TurnHere's online video production expertise, the company hopes to develop a whole new relationship between readers and the authors that they love."

And now for Play Dirty By Sandra Brown -- TAA DAA! (if it works)

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Overcome Writer's Block

Blogger Nate Whitehill suggested five ways to overcome writer's block in a post specifically for techie-type writers (bloggers). He explained:

Writer's blocks is something everyone experiences at times, and it is especially frustrating for bloggers that are dedicated to regularly publishing unique and interesting content.
Then he offered these methods to get over the hump:
Fiction and nonfiction writers get locked up
* Take a Break
* Read a Few Related and Interesting Blogs
* Have a Conversation
* Check out Technorati's Top Searches
* Reread Your Reader's Comments

The last one rings so true in my experience. Just this week a comment in my Orcut group on Writer's Block sparked another idea in my mind, a technique for getting fiction writers out of a slump. I'll write about it here in the next post in this series.

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