Tag Archives: e-books

Recommended Reading: The Editor’s Eye

The-Editors-Eye-Cover-web1-210x300

The Book: The Editor’s Eye by Stacy Ennis

The Take-Away: The Editor’s Eye is a great introduction to the craft of editing for authors who are writing a book and wondering how the editing process works. It also makes a compelling case for WHY having your book professionally edited is necessary to ensuring the tome’s success.

The Review: I have a reputation in my family for being ridiculously “meta,” so when I heard about this book – which provides an overview of editing a book – I knew I would love it. And in today’s changing publishing environment, it’s no longer a given that everyone involved implicitly accepts that editors are an integral part of the process.

The Editor’s Eye is aimed at first-time authors, but is studded with tips that can help more experienced writers find a good editorial team and can provide editors with new and powerful ways to explain what they do and how it adds value to a manuscript.

One of the biggest strengths of the book is that it is able to provide a reality check for those new to publishing. She provides advice that helps writers learn how to incorporate editing into the writing process from the very first draft – wait, scratch that, from the outline of the book – and devotes a chapter on how to find and work with an editor. Her guidelines, while not dictatorial or rigid, provide boundaries that can help would-be book authors know of they are on track … or not.

The Editor’s Eye is a great gift to a new author embarking on a project, an editor who wants to move into book editing (or explain what he/she does more clearly), or anyone interested in the process of how books come to life.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Write This Way: Top Writing and Editing Links for August 8, 2011

Photo courtesy SXC.

The book is not dead, it’s just shape-shifting | The Observer

Robert McCrum gives an upbeat assessment of recent changes in technology surrounding the book and asserts that, “As in every previous IT revolution, there will be (already is) a creative dividend.”

College Students Miss the Journalistic Potential of Social Media | PBS Media Shift

Devin Harner reports on a curious phenomenon he has witnessed when asking current journalism students to present original reporting on a blog and then market it through social media channels: they don’t see it as “real journalism.” He explores why this might  be so.

Here’s a sample quote:

“If students can’t see that there’s journalism lurking in the everyday things they do with information, especially now that technology has made such things constant, instant and ubiquitous, then we truly do have reason to worry about the future of journalism — particularly if the original digital divide is still a factor.”

HOW TO: Find and Land Freelance Work

Mashable’s Josh Catone interviews 3 freelance professionals to provide targeted advice on how to land work. His best (of 5) tips? Network, network, network; be precise; show passion. (Oh, and following a potential client’s application instructions never hurts either.)

The Jargon of the Novel, Computed | New York Times

Ben Zimmer reports on the work of the Corpus of Contemporary American English, or COCA, which brings together 425 million words of text from the past two decades, with samples drawn from fiction, popular magazines, newspapers, academic texts and transcripts of spoken English. The compiler of COCA, Mark Davies at Brigham Young University, has designed a freely available online interface that can respond to queries about how contemporary language is used.

7 Apps For Writing On Your iPhone | Lifehack

Chris Smith presents 7 iPhone applications that can facilitate quicker and more efficient writing from one’s mobile device. Apps described cover plain-text editors, outlining and mind-mapping, and journaling functions.

Teaching Creative Writing with Programming

Intriguing short post by Klint Finley of ReadWriteWeb, discussing a presentation by Adam Parrish at OSCon 2011. Parrish teaches Reading and Writing Electronic Text at New York University as part of the Interactive Telecommunications Program. Although the title emphasizes teaching creative writing through programming, the reverse is also true: the course teaches programming through experimental writing.

Parrish’s course doesn’t deal with artificial intelligence, or attempts at creating narratives or creating interactive hypertext. It covers, for lack of a better term, procedural poetry. Typically, a student takes a starting set of text, writes a Python program to modify that text and then interprets the results.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for October 16, 2010

Wordle image representing Write Livelihood’s home page.

The Urban Muse: 5 Ways Facebook Can Boost Your Freelance Biz
Susan Johnston describes five ways that time on social media enhances her freelance writing business.

You Ask, I Answer: How Do I Know if My Writing Is Any Good?
Author Linda Formichelli, writing on her blog The Renegade Writer, advises a new nonfiction writer about how to determine if her writing is ready to publish or if it still needs work before “showtime.”

Modern Journalists Technology Toolkit To Cover Live Events
Editor and blogger Neerav Bhatt, writing on his site, Rambling Thoughts Blog, discusses (and shows photos of!) the multimedia equipment that journalists need to adequately cover media stories. (Hat tip to Teaching Online Journalism for the link!)

Mutating books, Evolving Authors
Scott Rosenberg, the author of Say Everything and Dreaming in Code, writes on his Wordyard blog about his attempts to stay current on the impact of e-reading devices and e-books on the print publishing industry.

My favorite quote:

“I don’t see the point in hand-wringing … I still plan to write long-form non-fiction and hope to earn at least some portion of my living doing it. So I’m going to do my damnedest to try to understand the changing publishing environment and figure out the smartest way for an author to navigate it. I’d rather adapt and evolve than gripe my way to extinction.”

Welcome Back Wordle… Plus 7 Other Free Word Cloud Generators!
Michael Gorman, writing on his 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning blog, discusses the pros and cons of a number of word cloud generators. Although he’s writing for teachers, the clouds could be used in a variety of ways by writers and editors — analyzing frequency of word usage, summarizing long passages by looking at keywords, taking a fresh approach to self-promotion by generating a word cloud from one’s resume, etc.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for September 24, 2010

Photo courtesy Julia Freeman-Woolpert via SXC.

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words « Steve McCurry’s Blog
An amazing photo essay with lots of shots of people around the world interacting with the written word in various ways. Beautiful!

The powers and problems of the audio slideshow « Adam Westbrook
A British journalist discusses the pros and cons of audio slideshows as an online media format and provides links to some good examples.

AP Begins Crediting Bloggers as News Sources
From The Next Web. In a major shift in policy, the Associated Press released an announcement to its affiliates that bloggers could and should be sited as news sources in AP stories.

3 iPad Apps that Reinvent News Reading
Jennifer Van Grove, writing on Mashable.com, reports on Pulse News, Flipboard and FLUD, 3 iPad apps that allow readers to customize their media reading experience and share information on social networks.

The Future of Social Media in Journalism
Vadim Lavrusik outlines some very provocative, but possibly accurate scenarios for how journalism will be affected by the evolution of social media and how it is impacting journalism.

Storyful.
Storyful uses professional curators to gather social and web content and produce a story out of it.

BONUS LINKS!

Can Twitter Make You a Better Editor?
Erin Everhart, a marketing associate for 352 Media Group and a freelance journalist, argues on the Journalistics blog that Twitter has forced writers to become better at editing their own work — especially when that work has a character count of 140!

Confessions of a Recovering Bookaholic
Victoria Vargas, author of the Smaller Living blog, discusses applying her philosophy of simpler living to her passion for collecting books. Good tips, and the comment stream includes a variety of solutions and perspectives on the importance of books in our lives.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for February 10, 2010

Photo courtesy SXC.

I’ve had just a few moments this week to search out links… but the blog-o-sphere is positively ablaze with non-fiction writing news!

TALK: The Future Journalist–Thoughts from Two Generations

Sree Sreenivasan and Vadim Lavrusik present a savvy, rich talk about what specifically journalists and editors need to do to adapt their profession–with all its ethics and standards–to today’s technological and social media environment.

News Site in a Box

A helpful toolkit from J-Learning.org that helps citizen journalists (or start-ups) create a credible news site using free or low-cost tools.

The Digital Book in Practice: Valentine’s 14 Languages, Multiple Formats, Wireless Delivery

Alex de Campi discusses the digital graphic novel she is collaborating on with artist Christine Larsen. Every month, readers pay 99 cents and get 70-75 screens of action, adventure and suspense. VERY COOL IDEA!

Better User Experience With Storytelling – Part One – Smashing Magazine

Deep, detailed post on traditional storytelling notions and how to employ them to improve user experiences on the Web. (And elsewhere.)

Welcome to the Virtual Antique Typewriter Museum

A cool online tribute to what the curators call the “ultimate writing machine.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way: Top Writing and Editing Links for January 12, 2010

Photo courtesy SXC.

Bloggers, like other writers, can make yearly resolutions, and one of mine related to my Write This Way link posts is to trim them down so readers can spend more time digesting and acting on the information I’ve linked to and less time reading.

In 2010, I’ll pick my top 2 links and comment on them each time we run Write This Way, and provide one additional bonus link for fun and edification. Be on the lookout for a new feature—Write This Way, Condensed—which will be a quick post of my favorite links of the moment, all presented “bonus link” style.

Let me know if you enjoy this new slimmer format, or if you see any writing or editing-related links you think need more exposure!


News orgs’ goal for 2010: Imagine tomorrow’s media world today

Gina Chen has written an insightful post on what news organizations should be doing this year on the Nieman Journalism Lab blog.

As she puts it,

“The legacy press — or the traditional media, or whatever we’re calling newspapers these days — has one main challenge for 2010, and it’s not finding a new business model. It has to do with vision. It has to do with being able to imagine a world that does not yet exist.”

This quest is more difficult than it first appears, but Chen notes that this is not the first time in history that a business entity has faced such a challenge related to figuring out how to make products that customers will find useful. IBM face a similar challenge in popularizing the concept of a personal, desktop-based computer, and the inventors of the microwave had to wait nearly a quarter century from the time the device was first offered in the late 1940s until it caught on in America’s kitchens.

In both cases, the businesses had to make a guess as to how future customers would want to interact with their products, and overcome resistance related to attachment (both by customer and manufacturer) to the current state of technology. According to Chen, journalists need to focus their attention on these areas, as well.

“The challenge for the news biz is to look ahead and imagine how people may want their news and information. It’s about format (online, by phone, through social media) and content (aggregated, local, tailored to their needs.) For local news operations, this mean “organizing a community’s information so the community can organize itself,” as Jeff Jarvis puts it.

“ …This doesn’t mean news organizations should be inventing technology. I think that’s probably out of the pervue of most journalists. What I’m talking about is envisioning a new way to use technology, in this case the Internet and the cell phone and likely other tools that others will invent. The new business doesn’t need to invent the tools — just figure out how to use them to best serve their readers.”

Chen’s post hones in on the primary issue that’s strangling the news business right now, particularly in print newspapers: lack of forward-facing customer focus. I’ve seen post after post about stop-gap measures such as government grants for investigative reporting and setting up nonprofit foundations, but this post does something that those do not—it assumes that news media organizations can still survive as business entities, and it provides the million-dollar (or more) question that they must answer in order to thrive: what do our readers want from us?

Forget E-Books: The Future of the Book Is Far More Interesting

This post is Number 8 in Adam Penenberg’s very interesting “Viral Loop” series on FastCompany.com. The author of 3 books, including one on the Viral Loop theme, he posits a provocative vision of how the printed book, and the book-reading experience, will evolve.

He argues that e-books do NOT represent the long-term future of reading matter.

“It’s the end of the book as we know it … It won’t be replaced by the e-book, which is, at best, a stopgap measure. Sure, a bevy of companies are releasing e-book readers … but technology marches on through predictable patterns of development, with the initial form of a new technology mirroring what came before, until innovation and consumer demand drive it far beyond initial incremental improvements. We are on the verge of re-imagining the book and transforming it something far beyond mere words.”

Penenberg argues the reading experience of the future will be one that, like our online (and increasingly, our mobile) experience, is rich and multi-faceted.

“For the non-fiction author therein lie possibilities to create the proverbial last word on a subject, a one-stop shop for all the information surrounding a particular subject matter. Imagine a biography of Wiley Post, the one-eyed pilot from the 1930s who was the first to fly around the world. It would not only offer the entire text of a book but newsreel footage from his era, coverage of his most famous flights, radio interviews, schematics of his plane, interactive maps of his journeys, interviews with aviation historians and pilots of today, a virtual tour of his cockpit and description of every gauge and dial, short profiles of other flyers of his time, photos, hyperlinked endnotes and index, links to other resources on the subject.

“Social media could be woven into the fabric of the experience–discussion threads and wikis where readers share information, photos, video, and add their own content to Post’s story, which would tie them more closely to the book. There’s also the potential for additional revenue streams: You could buy MP3s of popular songs from the 1930s, clothes that were the hot thing back then, model airplanes, other printed books, DVDs, journals, and memorabilia.”

Novelists won’t be left out of the cyber-cornucopia, either, he says. Imagine video games where readers alter the storylines as they see fit, or digital “rainstorms” of words, images and audio to reinforce metaphors for the reader.

The specifics of his prophecy are “out there,” to be sure, but not by much. I’m in agreement with Penenberg that “all writers should be optimistic” because “where there’s chaos, there’s opportunity.” Much like the previous link, the author’s willingness to focus on a literary world that doesn’t exist yet, and play with product ideas that would meet reader/audience needs in a new way, is exciting and has set my mind to imagining rich-media extensions of the book proposal ideas I’m currently incubating.

Bonus Link!

8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist

Vadim Lavrusik defines 8 roles that 2010-era journalists need to be ready to fulfill–including entrepreneur, programmer, curator, blogger, community builder, multimedia storyteller and more.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Write This Way: Top Writing and Editing Links for October 6, 2009

1068821_40183445

Photo courtesy SXC.

International Association for Journal Writing

A tip of the blog to Eric Maisel’s Sunday newsletter for bringing this link my way. The IAJW is a coalition of journaling experts (therapists, writing teachers and others) and those who have been helped by the practice. The association says on its home page that it aims to help members “juice up (their) journaling” and it provides plenty of tips for doing just that. The site offers help for budding journalers, articles related to specific journal writing issues, and merchandise to help get the most out of journal writing, including e-books, classes and journaling software.

The association charges $49/year for membership, but also offers quite a bit of “sample” information for free. If you teach journal writing, or take the practice seriously as a writing-related discipline or a healing/self-discovery tool, this site may be worth checking out.

Top 10 Blogs for Writers – The 2009/2010 Winners

Michael Stelzner of Writing White Papers has once again tallied the best writing blogs and announces the winners. This year, there were 27 finalists. Winners included blogs that I regularly link to and admire, including Editor Unleashed, Write to Done, Urban Muse and Quips & Tips for Successful Writers, plus a few blogs new to me, such as Michelle Rafter’s WordCount and Fuel Your Writing.

The lists of winners and finalists form a great blueprint for setting up an RSS aggregator that provides a quick, enjoyable education in writing’s craft and business sides. For writing bloggers such as myself, it also provides a wonderful cadre of aspirational peers to admire and emulate.

Three Hot Books You Can’t Download

FastCompany.com reports on why three new books by the late authors Vladimir Nabokov, Frida Kahlo, and Ted Kennedy won’t be coming out on Kindle or another e-book format. It’s not (necessarily) because all 3 authors have gone to that great writing garret in the sky; and it’s not (necessarily) because of the subject matter, or printing requirements of the books, although those do factor into the decision to hold off on e-publishing in at least two of the three books. (Kahlo’s book is image-rich, of course, and Kindle doesn’t currently reproduce color imagery; and Nabokov’s unfinished work “The Original of Laura” was originally written on index cards and never organized by the author during his lifetime, so the printed version allows the reader to punch out the pages and rearrange them and he or she wishes.)

No, there’s no common theme that unites this paper-bound trio of books, but it does illustrate that despite the sharp rise in the popularity and profitability of e-books, and Jeff Bezos’ aggressive vision “to have every book ever printed, in any language, all available in under 60 seconds on Kindle,” not every book is appropriate for digital distribution, and that it’s still important to consider the individual title and its requirements before determining whether to go the e-book route.

What Makes a Story Work

A brief, powerful post from social media expert Chris Brogan’s blog. He quickly demonstrates why “the very best content is that which leaves us feeling like the hero.”

He elaborates on the hero-making theme, saying,

“Think about the movies you love. Think about the songs you replay over and over. Think about the books you read. When we participate in stories, the ones that move us the most are those where we see a bit of ourselves in the storyline, right?”

His tips for achieving this goal are as relevant for corporate deliverables as independent projects. They include:

  • Let them feel smart and included by letting them be introduced as “part of the group” or “in the know.”
  • Give them a solid map. The only time readers shouldn’t know where they’re going, Brogan says, is if they’re reading a mystery, or a Chuck Palahniuk novel.
  • Reward readers of longer pieces with checklists, summaries, etc., anything that validates that they’ve reached a certain level and are ready for your next step.
  • Respect their time by being as brief as possible.
  • Write about them, not you. Or, if you have to write about you (memoirs or biographies come to mind), give them something they can do to make meaning of what you’ve shared.

Overall, this is a great post, which can be consumed and digested in the time it takes to read it on your coffee break.

Bonus Links!!

She Writes

She Writes is a social networking community for female writers of all levels and genres. It also welcomes men to its community.

The Only 12 1/2 Writing Rules You’ll Ever Need

A great poster about writing from AllPosters.com.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,573 other followers