Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vote for Your Favorite Writing Book

Dear readers and writers,

I've collected writing books for years.  Some have lived on my shelves for a while, then gone to the library for their book sale.  Others have been used over and over and as far as I know may stay with me forever.  I'm curious if you have the same favorites I do.

I wanted to run a poll but I've tried the Poll gadget on Blogger from three different web browsers and it won't work.  I get a message asking me to correct my nonexistent errors, or it won't save it after repeated tries.  So, I'll put my list at the bottom of this note.  Comment with your choice (blog is moderated to exclude Asian smut and drug offers, so it may take a few hours to appear).

If you have others to suggest, please put them in the comments.  I'll probably try them out and someday they may be on my top choices list, but meanwhile you'll share them with a lot of other writers here.  BTW, if you've rejected King's because you don't read horror, give it a try.  I was glad I had stopped avoiding it the minute I began to read.

If you have advice about the Poll function, I'd love to have that too!


Photo credit: Wikipedia, with thanks.

1. Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
2. Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write
3. Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
4. William Zinsser, On Writing Well
5.  Stephen King, On Writing
6. Barbara Abercrombie, Writing Out the Storm

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Silent Scream #Friday Fictioneers

Hi readers and writers,
This week, Madison Woods' posting is gruesome but surprising. Her photo shows the results of a vertical series of cutbacks of vegetation along her road by a road crew...kill or cure this plant invasion seems to be the message.  Such a painful looking response to a cut of a grapevine!  Anyway, by Friday I had to write 100 words about this. They appear below.  Visit Madison's website to join in the #FridayFictioneers fun.

Silent Scream
I welcome criticism or any kind of suggestions for improvement.

They told me I would understand the animal when I wore this ring.  But this is stranger, more painful, not at all what I bargained for.  Those road workers just wanted to keep the woodsy road clear for vehicles I'm sure.  But the wholesale hacking got these reactions from the plants, especially the grapevines, reactions that felt just like they were screaming with pain.  Can a cut be like a burn?  I don't know, but that's what I'd describe it as, after listening to these agonized vines for two days.

I know I could take off the ring.  But I bargained to get it so I could get a message from the birds, and I don't have it yet.  I'm stuck listening to any being with something to say.  Please, vines, heal yourselves fast.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Self-Publishing Explosion

Dear readers and writers,

I'm blown away by these numbers.  In 2010, there were 133,036 new ISBNs registered for self-published books, according to Bowker.  In 2011, there were 211,269.  It seems inescapable to conclude  that the main stream publishers have been acting as a dam holding back the words of thousands of would-be authors.  The niche market book needs of the US are now probably solved.  If we publish 300,000 next year, can they be sold to anyone?

Maybe.  After all, if you read about magazine markets, there are evergreen types of articles they discuss, ones that more or less can be updated annually and still interest people.

Here are a few more details about what kinds of books are self-published today.  Last year, fiction was 45% and nonfiction 38%.  The average price of self-published fiction is $6.94, but the average for nonfiction titles was $19.32.  E-books were 41% of self-published books but only 11% of sales income because the average e-book sold for only $3.18.

 You may have noticed that there are more ways to get reviews of self-published books now and self-published books have been generating awards systems, since most mainstream awards rule them out.  It looks like a whole parallel structure is growing out there, led by CreateSpace, Lulu, and others, and much larger and more lucrative than the mainstream publishers.  They are still claiming the quality high ground, although they've notably signed a few of the most successful self-publishers recently.  

Food for thought!