Saturday Summation – 24 May 2014

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Reading Stuff:

Last week I posted a link from an author who convinced Chipotle to offer cup-space for mini-stories. #WeNeedDiverseBooks because I did not look closely at the fact that the included authors, while not exclusively white, still failed to include a most obvious choice as a Mexican or even latino author. Hector Tobar talks of this issue and of how at least one Mexican fast-food restaurant is responding.

Also last week I talked about the dirty – or if not dirty, at least unpleasant — tactics of Amazon and its dealings with Hatchette Book Group. This week, the battle has worsened with Amazon removing pre-order links, interfering with search tags and recommendations, and in some cases, removed order links altogether. Should a single company have that much control over book sales? At what point do we understand that this hurts authors – and not just the ones who don’t necessarily need the help (such as J.K. Rowling, whose newest book is from Hatchette), but “mid-lister” authors who simply want their work to reach the readers who want it. Barnes & Noble had done a little of this when they were embroiled in contract disputes with Simon & Schuster (which surprised me, given their status up against the likes of Amazon), but even I have to say that Amazon’s tactics in this and other instances gives me pause. I saw a lot on Twitter that encouraged readers to buy elsewhere and criticizing Amazon. Sometimes social media can be strong enough to make an impact. We’ll see where all of this goes.


Writing Stuff:

Stephen King may be a highly esteemed writer, but dang if he didn’t ruin everyone on using adverbs in their writing as though they are evil. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION, FOLKS. Plus, if you use them well, then no one will even notice you’re using them at all. Okay, that’s my rant – all in praise of Robin Black’s post about reminding you that you really can love adverbs, in spite of King trying to say we’re all on the road to hell with them.

I haven’t shared much recently about self-publishing, but this post from Daisy Harris caught my eye as it gives a great, balanced opinion about a truth in the choice to self-publish (or attend conferences, which she eclectically included): the limiting factor in success within such a venue is yourself. If you don’t have the skills or the desire to put the time into the skills for successfully marketing your books, then it’s probably not the right route for you. Guess what? That’s okay.

Kait Nolan tells us that even if you are not going to self-publish, you should know how to format for ebooks. If you use writing software like Scrivener, you’re a lot of the way there, but if you use Word, her post also includes many important tips about cleaning up Word’s formatting to make eformats much easier. Check out her convincing reasons for understanding how to do a pretty straightforward process.


Video of the Week:

Have you seen the latest Kid President video? You know you want to if you haven’t. Check out his dancing and also the good cause he’s promoting for making sure kids don’t go hungry once they are out of school for the summer.

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