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A Writer's Edge

English words, writing, and books--with a tech touch

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

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Monday, November 30, 2009

e-Reader Magazines Ahead

Magazine publishers are prepping for tiny formats. A lack of good e-readers for magazines isn't stopping them. They are trying to stay one step ahead by readying small format digital versions of their offerings. A digital newsstand just for magazines is coming out in a few weeks, according to MediaWeek.com's e-Reader Mania Hits Magazine Publishing:

Condé Nast last week showed off what an imagined e-reader version of its glossies would look like, starting with Wired. And Time Inc. is developing e-reader versions of such titles as Time and Sports Illustrated; it’s expected to introduce those iterations early next year.
The article mentions other upcoming editorial products that will soon arrive on small media readers, such as the iPhone.

I've read New York Times' stories on a friend's iPhone. It was surprisingly easy on the eyes, but what I'm wondering is how this will affect writers and editors? Are publishers just going to pour the digitized copy into the applications or will writers need to learn a new, more concise method of preparing stories. Or will editors regain their positions of actually working with words? Will this revolution create more employment or continue the trend of consolidation and layoffs?

Just when we're anguishing over languishing magazines, hope pokes over the horizon.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gifts for Writers

Give yourself or writerly friends gifts of services. Design them with me. Ideas: an hour of publishing consultations, any editorial services or manuscript evaluations. Contact Me for details and arrangements or send me an email.

Help is available for improving writing, formatting manuscripts for submission or self-publishing, guidance through the confusing dance of queries, synopses, outlines, multiple submissions, copyright and all the other parts of the path to publication.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Speech Recognition Programs

While I wait to wireless thoughts into my computer, perhaps speech recognition is the way to go. My dear friend Bonnie Boots alerted me to the possibilities detailed in Speech Recognition for Bloggers -- The Ultimate Guide on Vimeo in which Jon Morrow reviews several programs. He's the Associate Editor of Copyblogger and recommends:

VXI Full Duplex USB Sound Pod
Dragon Naturally Speaking (PC)
VXI TalkPro Xpress Headset
Mac Speech Dictate (Mac)

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

To all Friends, Fans, Followers near and far -- practice the attitude of gratitude even if your culture does not have a Thanksgiving Day celebration.

I appreciate you all!

Georganna

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fledgling Wine

Favorite way to promote literacy: drinking wine. See Fledgling Wine



A thankful project of Biz Stone and Ev Williams of Blogger and Twitter with Crushpad and Room to Read:

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Social Media Marketing Contest

Awe+Some=Blog-Off2 Prizes offered by The Community Marketing Blog. One prize I see: following the entries to learn from the best and worst of them.

Andrew Ballenthin says: "This is your chance to really shine (or shine some more) and show how excellent you are as a marketing and/or social media expert in practicing the skills you apply every day for your clients or your company or yourself."

Simply competing will grow your writing and blogging skills!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Zero Cost eBooks

Electronic books seem to have negligible value? According to a writer at Kindle Review, part of ireaderreview.com, the Value Perception of eBooks is going to zero :

eBooks are going to Zero, it’s happening NOW, and it’s INEVITABLE

44 of the Top 50 Kindle Bestsellers are at $0.

The Kindle Store was the best unpolluted channel for ebooks and now it’s dying out.

When people see 44 of the top 50 ebooks free -

* They are reluctant to pay $10 for ebooks.
* They choose free first and read more free than paid books.
* The value perception of ebooks goes downhill.

They think authors who want $5 or more for an ebook are greedy.
I'm not so sure authors are all the problem in Amazon's Kindle Store. Recently I found three of my reviews on sale as digital books for $9.99 (each!). Also, I counted 15 of the top 50 Kindle books with prices. Consider J. A. Konrath's arguments for eBook self-publishing being more remunerative for authors than traditional print publishing. His most notable rant at Newbie's Guide to Publishing runs his own numbers.

Don't forget, you must have a $260-$490 electronic device and a subscription in order to read these zero-cost books. Or my ten-buck book reviews.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Use An Apostrophe


The right ways to use an apostrophe (in illustrated form) from:
How To Use An Apostrophe - The Oatmeal

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Trash Proof News Releases

Save your news release from immediate deposit in the circular file. Most of them drop directly from hand to can, you know. Some publications run them as is, some rewrite, but they are inundated with releases and use only a few.

Want to be sure yours is read by the publication's audience? Paul J. Krupin of Direct Contact PR is testing an offer of a *FREE* copy of the ebook version of his Trash Proof News Releases, available from Smashwords. He says, "The book contains 200 plus pages of strategies, tactics, psychology, and sample news releases and can help people do the right thing better than anything else I've seen in the marketplace to date." Get 'em while they're hot!

And if it's so valuable, why would the king of PR give away his secrets? Because, he explains:

My business model doesn't rely specifically on publishing income. But I will be using my writing as a calling card to drive multiple streams of income.

Now this may not fit for those who simply derive income from published works. But I highly recommend this approach to those who can do it diversify their intellectual property, their skills, abilities and knowledge and contract or package their knowledge in other small bite size service deliverable that people will buy whether it be by the page, by the hour, by the day or whatever.
Here today I offer you a two-fer: a free ebook to help you market whatever and insight into the meaning of "platform" and how self-publishing non-fiction books can work for you.

DISCLAIMER FOR THE FTC: I didn't get anything for publishing this post, and it should not be construed or used as a testimonial. I downloaded, but I did not read...yet.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weblog Awards Nominations

Remember these things? They finally got going.

Nominations Nov. 3, 2009 - Nov. 20, 2009
Finalists Announced December 28, 2009
Voting January 4, 2010 - January 11, 2009

A Writer's Edge is already nominated in the Best Humor Blog and Best Twitterer (I did it myself), and My Dear Paige von Liber added it to the Best Literature Blog category. This is a high honor from a woman who just said about herself:

I will just keep on being me ~ the one ~ the most awesome Paige that you know. Yes the Queen of my Paradise Valley. Remember that echo when I’m falling over the edge and laugh, laugh, laugh.
I'm thinking that I should nominate her blog for Best Humor! [Done!]

Please note that voting does not begin until next year. If you want, though, you can sift through the lists of nominations and click on the green button to second, third, etc.--not that it counts, as I understand.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Twitter Means Business

Why does my Twitter page have a higher PageRank (5) than AWE's main page (2)? King content still counts. Does this mean there's more rich content in my carefully crafted one-liners than in my carefully crafted blog posts?

Whatever Google's PageRank algorithm and the Internet community's perception of PR, I think this adds to the case for businesses participating in social media.

Rethinking Facebook for the sixth time.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Selling Books on Amazon

I had the strangest Amazon.com experience last week. But first, as they say on TV, a little background. I occasionally offer Amazon books for sale in this blog. I also sell books through the Amazon Seller program--anyone can do it. Some of the books I've listed are first editions with inscriptions and autographs by the authors. These are categorized as "Collectible." Presumably the author's literal scribblings add value to the literary ones.

On November 10, Amazon sent me a notice which included:

Beginning Monday, November 16, 2009, we will remove "Collectible" book offers that have not been listed by sellers approved in the category. Once listings are removed, only collectible offers from approved sellers will be available for purchase in the Amazon.com Books store.
I thought I was already approved because I've sold in that category for a few years. I also have a hazy memory of filling out a form about it. To be safe, however, I jumped through the Amazon hoops again, and Amazon acknowledged my application. All this on the same day.

Three days later, I received a rejection notice which included the phrase "we are only qualifying sellers to list collectible books that we judge to be experienced, professional collectible booksellers." It also mentioned considering feedback and ratings and performance. I fired back a message pointing out that at no time were we ordinary sellers required to be professional collectible booksellers and cited my excellent scores on all their scales. I refrained from mentioning the lousy grammar.

The same afternoon brought an apologetic message that began with the first identification of who sent it:

Greetings from the Amazon.com Collectible Books team.

The denial message you received earlier today regarding your application to list Collectible books was sent in error. We apologize for this error on our part and regret any concern it caused you. We have reviewed your account again and want to confirm that the information below correctly represents the decision of our category management team.
Absolutely nothing about books is easy. From writing to getting rid of them, it's agony.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Downfall of Grammar


YouTube - Downfall of Grammar
Don't worry if you don't speak German; they added subtitles in English.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Writers Need Rewards

Do writers need to reward themselves? Isn't the joy of writing enough? I don't think so. Celebrate your successes--even the little ones.

This week's Inspiration message "Reward Yourself" appeared a bit disarrayed in the HTML version. I'm not sure how all those errant break codes crept in. I thought to repeat it here, looking better:

"The rewards for those who persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory." -- Ted W. Engstrom

Better parents know that good behavior in children needs to be encouraged with attention and rewards. Trainers feed animals treats when they do something right. Employers and organizations give out raises and recognition to people who have performed well.

But how often do you remember to reward yourself for good performances? As you mark milestones on your road to writing success, treat yourself. Give yourself something nice -- a meal in a fine restaurant, a motivational book or tape, even a greeting card you buy for yourself and pin to your bulletin board -- all are fine ways to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Rewarding yourself for small successes is marking the mileposts both in your career and in a long haul project like creating a novel or crafting a nonfiction book. If you plan these celebrations, you have more motivation to reach the next goal. That anticipation can carry you through the dry spells and over the low spots.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blogs as Communities

Must a blog be a community? That was the question I kept asking in a recent Twitter blog chat. The topic was community building. I should probably stop questioning premises and stick to the subject ... but here I can ask it. Can't a blog be just a blog? Must the definition of a blog evolve? Sure, blogs have evolved with widgets and gadgets galore.

Early in blogging history (a few years ago) the focus was on getting started, then drawing viewers, then getting comments, then turning the comments into conversations and now followers, subscribers, "community"--whatever that is. When the marketing bloggers discuss this issue, it sounds more like a hub and spoke, star/fans model.

The potential uses of blogs are far wider than this narrow focus on interactive engagements. I suspect the notion of community also plays into the latest tide of "branding" (more stardom). Certainly the blog owner can supply a forum, or the blog may be part of a ready-made community like Facebook or Ning provides. I'm still thinking Google Wave.

Every additional feature built in or tacked on to a blog requires additional investments of time, thought and energy. If you can entice the audience to contribute (unpaid) such expertise, so much the better. Just don't forget the basis of good blogging: providing rich content. That also takes time, thought and energy.

Is your blog a community? Do you want it to be? What is a community? If you build a community, what part does the blog play and can it get lost? What might you lose? What might your original readers lose? What are the gains? Your contributions in comments are most welcome. Please, do converse and while you're at it, sign up to receive this blog by email or add the RSS feed to your reader. Have I left out anything? Seriously, what about community?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

THE HINDUS Book Review

Guilt urged me to review The Hindus: An Alternative History. I've been reading it for months, absorbing the rich, comprehensive description of the world's oldest major religion. You can read my "official" reactions on BlogCritics; it's the first such composition in which I managed to avoid using "I, me or my." This post is a more personal view of the experience of reading Wendy Doniger's opus. Her work clears up my decades-long confusion about Hinduism as a religion--it's been like the blind fondling an elephant. Every time I approached it, I encountered a different set of stimuli. No wonder! Hinduism, I now understand, is a complex mix of influences, some antithetical, but as a whole, tolerant of it's various practices.

Another benefit of Doniger's book is a correlation of world events through time. I have a much better sense of where and when Christianity and Islam developed and how they influenced the Indian cultures. I'd read Bulfinch's MYTHOLOGY since childhood, but now I see how Greek and Roman thinking fits into a more comprehensive understanding of human history. It is as if I had a set of alphabet blocks scattered about my brain, and Doniger arranged them to spell something recognizable.

I've revealed here how much I squandered my opportunities for a classic education at Northwestern University in the 1960s. It's taken me until MY 60s to self-educate a grasp of world history, human development and religious philosophy. Reading The Hindus felt like dropping in the keystone to my wobbly arch of understanding. Thank you, Dr. Doniger, especially for your very approachable writing style that kept me chuckling as well as intellectually stimulated and, of course, challenged. My readers know I'm a great fan of references and back matter--yours is the best!

The Penguin Press was kind enough to send a copy of the book last spring at my request. I appreciate the gift.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

What's With a Wave?

So now I have a Wave. It's not that I don't know what to do with it, but ... I don't know what to do with it. Seems like it might be a good device with which to teach a class or hold a discussion because it features simultaneous logins by many people. What would you like to see, do, take part in? I wonder if it would work to hold a live author interview? I have a few (authors) at my fingertips. Google isn't calling this one "beta", but now "preview". We're still trying it out. Maybe I'd better just try a "chat" first to see if that's feasible. What do you think?

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Chat with Me

On Twitter today are two chats I usually participate in. Beginning at noon Pacific time (you right coasters--count forward) the Write Chat takes place under the hashtag #writechat . It lasts about three hours.

Then at six p.m. (PST) comes the ever-rowdy, more marketing-oriented #blogchat for an hour or more, depending on how long participants want to continue.

The best way I've found to participate is through Tweet Chat. Sign in with your Twitter info, then enter the hashtag of the chat you want into the space at the top of the page and click on "Go". Zip! You're in the chatroom, ready to begin.

Introduce yourself and say you're new to the chat. We'll be kind! To catch someone's attention, begin your message like this: @GLHancock. Plunge into a convo or initiate one of your own and maybe someone will respond. Messages are limited to about 120 characters because TweetChat automatically appends the hashtag of that chat room. Look around the boxes, and you'll see helpful icons like character count, ways to control the refresh speed, reply and retweet symbols, and even a way to eliminate annoying bots and spammers from view ("block").

If you want to try to participate in a chat via your Twitter interface or mobile device, search for the one you want by hashtag. You'll need to remember to put that hashtag in each post or your message won't go to the chat, just out in your regular Twitter stream. All your remarks in a chat go into your main stream, too. Take care, it's easy to forget that in the heat of debates. Also, you may need to keep refreshing the view to see new tweets. See you there?

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

AWE & Me & BlogCatalog

I have enjoyed being a supporter of BlogCatalog lately, as the lovely logo indicates. And I just posted to my Shoutbox there:

Now that Technorati diminished my Authority rating to 1 and took away the fans, I really appreciate all 214 of you here who signed up "A Writer's Edge" as one of your Favorites. Thanks so much!
If all goes well, you can see the fans on their special page. Hi, Guys! *waves madly*

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Friday, November 06, 2009

APA Manual Reprinted


The Education Services News blog has a good roundup on the APA6 debacle. Apparently when the American Psychological Association printed the newest edition of its Publication Manual, no one proofread it. Ever. This is only the style guide used in most all social science disciplines. After great brouhaha, including a Facebook page campaign, the APA has agreed to reprint the manual, presumably with the typos and foofaws corrected, and send them to those who purchased flawed versions.

I've held off buying one because I finally found software that will apply the APA6 format to any document, including the dissertation I will be editing shortly soon some day. Maybe this year.

Act quickly, though, if you bought the first version. See the information in the APA PM blog. If you need a replacement, the offer will be available only until December 15.

Now I'm wondering, what will they do with all the unsold flawed copies already printed?

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Twitter on the Couch

Apparently Klout - Twitter Analytics Content for Georganna Hancock (GLHancock) disagrees somewhat on recent top retweets:

RT @GLHancock Don't confuse rewriting with editing. Don't bother to edit until you've finished rewriting. Proofread very last. #writechat WritingSpirit 17129

RT @GLHancock: I suspect the most basic need to blog successfully is the ability to communicate clearly. Writing well=win. #blogchat hacool, JDEbberly, knmu 8303

What's the longest ~ RT @GLHancock: Keep the convo going by replying to comments on your blog posts. (SO TRUE!) #Blogchat CASUDI, JDEbberly 7670

RT @GLHancock: You can start with a blog and build the website around it. That's what I did #Blogchat JDEbberly 6468

RT @GLHancock: I have declared Twitter chats to be typo amnesty zones. #writechat #blogchat

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Most Retweeted Tweets

Crowdsourcing tips from my Twitter stream -- these are some of the most retweeted (so they must be good, right?) If you want an explanation or elaboration, tell me in your comment.

Flaws. Fiction: rotten writing, no story. Nonfiction: rotten writing, no logic.

Even if you think you write only novels, you *must* be able to write nonfiction shorts: for promotion.

I left out blog posts and tweets in my list of nonf. items all must be able to write. Don't waste fic on blog

Most any pub that pays well and on acceptance is a "good market" to me.

Absolutely don't put anything on a blog that you intent or may want to sell some day. Blogged IS published. *

My point is that you make ALL work you display to others, the best you can produce Emails too.

Can we offer amnesty? Moratorium on judging by typo? * [in Twitter chats]

You never comment on others' blogs, on forums? Excellent places to show you write well.

No query needed for SS. Just be sure pub takes unsolicited submissions.

Don't confuse feedback for a critique. Know differences between amateurs, readers and professionals.

It's good to consider the source of the slings and arrows that fly about Twitter chats! *

* top retweets

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

All Boobs, No Tubes!

Best Boob Job Ever!

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Nominations Not Yet

Ready to go nominate your favorite blogs for this year's awards? Wait! There's another delay. You can string people along only so far, and then they tend to lose interest, huh?

Hint to Kevin: Start programming earlier in the year.

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