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Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) more!

book news Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!

RIASS stuff:

Back to the books giveaway hop: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles'(open to all)

Book Review: The Land of Stories ' The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer'Rating: star Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!star Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!blankstar Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!blankstar Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!blankstar Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!

In my own bookish news, my little book is currently with editors. I am that girl over there in the corner eating lots of chocolate.

Sorry about the lack of updates over the weekend. For some reason the lifts in my office were locked, and I decided to take that as a sign to take the weekend off. :)

Other bookish stuff:

A brief history of the @ symbol, which has been around since 1536'With an originally varied meaningtowards, at, or even the designation of units of wine called amphoraeit then came to be employed in commerce to mean at the rate of. It fell by the wayside with the invention of the typewriter, though, which didnt include the symbol. Fortunately, Roy Thomlinson decided to whack one on todays computer keyboards.

An interview with Jeff Sparrow about politics and his latest book'Money Shot'Sparrow argues that censorship has the most profound influence on those already without a voice and without power, and is never the answer. He points out that the strictest censorship in Australia occurs not in Canberra, where things like internet filters are bandied about, but rather in the remote communities of the North Territory.

How to ask a famous author for a blurb'This takes a bit of pride swallowing, but the author notes that its important to find an author whose work targets a similar audience to your own, to create a personal connection, and brace yourself for a possible no. Its an interesting post, as Ive often heard that its more of an agents/editors job to do the blurb begging thing in order to keep things slightly separated. But then, I suppose that contacting reviewers directly never used to be an authors job, either. (If you dont read this article, be sure to check out this article by AJ Jacobs on the blurbing compulsion)

The diary of a mad fact-checker'The author, a fact-checker, notes that fact checking (looking for imprecision, not necessarily untruths, as the author describes it) has become of late quite the fashion in the smarty-pants, literate sets in light of a series of recent embarrassing events. (NB: thats an assertion, not a fact, but you get the gist)

Editor Molly ONeill talks writing craft'ONeill point outs that although there is huge emphasis on the vagaries of the market and on social networking for promotion, craft remains a key factor in writing success and being a good writer. Its not as sexy as those things, and its not as easily measurable, but it provides a solid foundation upon which to build your work.

How to write and plan a book series'Mystery author Frances Brody discusses planning a mystery series, taking into account things such as setting (it needs to be a place where a high body count works), the need for your protagonist to be surrounded by people who can help/hinder them in solving the crime, and a familiarity with the conventions of the genre (eg, killing off your victim by page 100).

On buying your way into libraries'A librarian discusses the recent acquisition of the Smashwords back catalogue and raises some interesting points about buying into an agreement without control over titles. What, she asks, are libraries willing to give up in the name of providing a research? By buying a chunk of titles, are libraries focusing on breadth of information over the suitability of a collection, ie, a collection designed to suit the needs of their communities?

How to read like a writer'Part of a reader's job is to find out why certain writers endure. This may require some rewiring, unhooking the connection that makes you think you have to have an'opinion'about the book and reconnecting that wire to whatever terminal lets you see reading as something that might move or delight you. (Go on. Can you really resist something written by someone whose name is Francine Prose?)

Scholastics Cheryl Klein on her editing process'I found Kleins musings about the'weight of the problem interesting. She discusses that whether its worth bringing up an issue with an author can depend on a few things. The type and severity of the problem, how much work will be required to fix it, whether it needs to be fixed right now or might be done in subsequent edits, whether readers will notice/care, and whether correcting the issue in question would conflict with the authors vision of the book.

Honestly, as tired as I am of hearing the word sockpuppetry (really? Really, guys? Must we persist with this word?), Im still masochistically interested in reading about authors and fake reviews. Heres another article on the topic.'Theres also been some mischief on the behalf of RJ Ellory, whos been (allegedly) writing delightful reviews about his own books, and some not so nice reviews about those of his competitors.

Is'Fifty Shades of Grey a success story? Catherine Ryan Howard notes that shed never heard of the series, which was apparently a word of mouth success, before the publishing deal. She goes on to add that without the traditional publishing deal, the books wouldnt have attained anywhere near the success they have today.

A podcast interview with Hannah Richell about writing her book'Secrets of the Tides (which I reviewed here and highly recommend)

An interview with Kerri Sackville, who managed to catch a publishers eye through Twitter.'I had tweeted that I was writing a book, and a Twitter buddy (who I'd never met in real life) told her agent about me. The agent started reading my blog and asked me if I'd like representation. By the time the book was finished my agent had got several publishers interested, and I was offered a book deal with three of them.

pixel Bookish thoughts 3 Sep: the @ symbol, blurb fu, writing craft, naughty authors (again) & more!


  1. Interesting article about the fact that 50 Shades is not a self publishing success story. My argument is that it wouldnt have got the big publisher deal without the word of mouth success that came before it. I had certainly been hearing about it for at least a couple of months before it was sold to the big name publisher!
    Marg recently posted..Saturday erm Sundayerm Monday Snapshot

    • Stephanie /

      Its definitely an interesting take on the phenomenon. To be honest, I hadnt heard of it either until the deal was reported, so perhaps it depends on which circles readers move in?

  2. The whole sock puppetry thing is appalling though not surprising. I dont trust Amazon or Goodreads reviews without viewing the history of the reviewer personally.
    shelleyrae @ Bookd Out recently posted..It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

    • Stephanie /

      Im exactly the same as you, Shelleyrae. Im always suspicious of anything posted by someone I dont know!

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