Monday, August 31, 2009

E-Books, Kindle, Sony and Smashwords

As all you writers know, the debate and words over the future of e-books continues to rage.

This week, Electronic Alphabet reported on how eBook sales are up 149%! In addition, Smashwords, an eBook publisher, reported on their blog that Barnes and Noble will now be selling Smashwords eBooks.

Finally, JA Konrath reports on his blog about Stanza, a company that will publish eBooks in formats that can be read on multiple readers, and he discusses the future problems with companies such as Kindle who protect their business interests by preventing their eBooks from being read on machines that are not manufactured by their own company or companies with whom they have exclusive agreements. Is this really in their best business interest in the long run? In his most recent posting, he discusses his own experiences with eBooks.

While my S.O. and I work on his next novel with sights on traditional publishing, we are considering releasing his first novel on Kindle.

Has anyone out there published eBooks? Recommendations on companies? Experiences?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Twitter Recommendations

As a recent Twitter joiner, I'm interested in getting to know other Twitterers who would be interesting to follow.

Any recommendations? Feel free to recommend your own Twitter or someone else's who you follow. Thanks!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rejection: It's Not Personal

Some the info below is stuff we've all read before, but it never hurts to read it again. I think Nathan's use his personal stats really drives the point home. Read the following blog post and go to Nathan's site to see the original and reader responses.

Monday, August 24, 2009 Post by Nathan Bransford from his blog, Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent
Agent E-mail Stats
Every Monday morning, as sure as the rooster's cry (I don't actually have a rooster) I can expect to come in to 100+ e-mails from the weekend, mostly queries. I like to think of it as the Monday Deluge, and it means that if I'm going to answer all of them (and oh, I do) plus the regular work for clients and such, it can make for a bit of a hectic day.

It also explains why you may be hearing from me on the weekend: if I put in some Saturday or Sunday e-mail time it makes Monday oh so much easier. But since I was reading manuscripts this past weekend I didn't get to any queries. So: hello 100+ e-mails! Nice to see you this chilly Monday morning.

As I was working through the e-pile, it got me wondering: how many e-mails do I send anyway? Sure seems like a lot.

Well, as of today, according to Outlook I've sent 11,921 e-mails so far this year. That's just for work -- it doesn't count personal correspondence. Most are responses to queries, but it also includes e-mails to clients, colleagues, editors, you name it.

11,921 e-mails as of August 24th translates to about 50 per day, including weekends and vacation time.

To put that in perspective, let's say I worked nine hours every single day, including weekends, and didn't take any vacation or break for lunch. 11,921 e-mails translates to an e-mail every ten minutes. Somewhere in that time I also theoretically have to read manuscripts, have meetings, talk on the phone, and, you know, read the queries I'm responding to, while still maintaining that e-mail every ten minutes pace.

Oh, and in real life I really do take vacation and try to break somewhat on weekends... and thus have to work considerably more than nine hours a day during weekdays.

What does this all mean?

First of all, I'm not complaining. I love my job, even if it means I'm staring at a screen (computer, Kindle or iPhone) for the majority of my waking hours.

But here's what it means for writers: the next time you wonder why agents send form letters or why some don't respond to queries altogether... please remember these stats.

It also means that I necessarily have to make snap decisions when I'm reading queries. I don't really have time to sit down, contemplate, and absorb the aura of a query. There are tons more in line and I have to move quickly if I'm going to get through the day. So if a query is needlessly long or doesn't include key details (published authors, once again: PUBLICATION DATE AND PUBLISHER DON'T MAKE ME GO TO AMAZON ARGH) hopefully this puts into perspective why literary agents turn into lunatics about certain pet peeves that end up costing precious time.

So there you have it. I would write more... but I need to go write some e-mails.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bad Reviews . . . and Bad Reading?

So, me and the S.O. got our first fairly negative review of his book (not such a big deal after several positive reviews from independent reviewers and many positive reviews from people who have bought the book). Because it's not such a big deal in light of the many positive reviews, I don't want to dwell too much on it. Only, I feel compelled to vent a little about one thing. The author of the review was under the impression that a human character in the book was a robot and spent a large part of the review discussing this. Other reviewers for sites such as PODBRAM or The New Podler did not have this reading issue. I also have never heard from anyone who read it that he or she mistakenly thought that any character was a robot (in fact, there are no robots in the book). So, how does one take that in a review? Lol

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mad Men and other great shows . . .

Nathan Bransford's post yesterday was on the tv show Mad Men. Although he proposed much food for thought culturally, I wanted to focus simply on his emphasis on the quality of Mad Men as a show.

In the past 10 years, many TV shows have emerged as some of the best writing of their time in the film medium. In a 2009 summer podcast, Bill Simmons actually suggested that the best films of the past 10 years may not be movies per say, but some of the TV shows, such as The Sopranos, The Wire, etc., which have graced certain cable channels.

What TV shows are you addicted to for the writing? Or for the art? Or both?

On a related note, I have noticed that the intros to some shows have gotten arguably more artistic than in the past. Are there any intros that blow you away? (Mine are Dexter, True Blood and Mad Men)

Monday, August 17, 2009


A little nervous here . . . I am officially on Twitter at

Are any of my readers on Twitter themselves? Or interested in following me on Twitter? If you're on Twitter or follow others on Twitter, what is your opinion of it?

I finally set up a Twitter account because it seems to be hot in the world over, the writing world not exempted. As you can see by my "twitter name" (writeandpublish), I am looking at my Twitter account as an extension of my blog, though I expect that it will take me awhile to use it regularly. I am also trying to learn the technology because I expect that, as part of the author as more than just a writer (see Nathan Bransford's recent blog on The Myth of "Just an Author"), my significant other will also be learning this technology soon . . .

Thoughts about Twitter?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Conferences, Contests, etc.

Today I'm writing to let people know about a couple of potentially great writers conferences coming up. I recently attended the Midwest Writers Conference and won't be attending another conference until next year, but if I hadn't, I would definitely be looking at one of the following two conferences:

1) The Writer's Digest Conference, Sept. 18-20. This conference has a heavy focus on publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, and marketing. It has a big line-up of speakers. It looks like a conference that would be very helpful for pre-published or newly-published writers who are still learning about the whole industry and making decisions about what is right for their books.

2) The Backspace Writers Conference, Nov. 5-6. The Backspace Writers organization is a great one to check out. Visit their website if you are looking for more community, learning and support for and from writers. Their conference caught my eye because it emphasizes an agent-author connection, and I know one author who befriended the agent who eventually became her agent at this conference.

Finally, for a fun little writing contest (25 word limit with the potential to be published in an anthology!) check out JA Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, which can be found on the left-hand column on my page. He has all the details and links for you.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lara Zielin and Donut Days

If you have ever checked out the blogs in my blog list, you'll see that I follow new YA author Lara Zielin's blog. Lara is the creator of the infamous "Editing Letter" video (look it up on youtube or her own site if you're a writer who hasn't seen it yet) and also the author of the newly published (Aug. 6) YA novel, Donut Days, which I am looking forward to reading.

You can read a reader review of her novel at:

Books Love Jessica Marie is also a great site to go to to win free novels. You can see on the lefthand side of her blog that she is constantly running contests to win a free copy of different books. Check it out and have fun!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Great Blogs and Writing Inspiration

So . . . since I will be on vacation, and the "writer-partner" will also be on vacation for the next two weeks, I won't be posting as much on the topics of publishing and marketing. However, I will recommend Nathan Bransford's Guest Blog for today on blurbs- great stuff for burgeoning writers! It was a great entry and you can link to it on the left-hand side of my page under Nathan Bransford.

On the topic of writing, I am in New York City and I have to say I can see stories all around me. I walked through Central Park today and saw a couple lying down in the shade. The man was casually reading a book while the woman was lying on her back with her legs draped over his waist as he read silently. I surreptitiously snapped a photo and plan to use it as inspiration for 2 poems later. So, in that vein, I ask, What have you seen recently that has inspired you?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Writer Fun for the Day

In light of the recent announcement that Robert Ludlum's The Parsifal Mosaic is going to be made into a movie by Ron Howard, Andy Carvin of NPR has run a story, and contest, called, "Be Like Robert Ludlum: You, Too, Can Create An Absurd Spy Movie Title" . Go to the site of the article or the twitter and submit your own absurd movie title. Given that Andy Carvin said his favorite formula for an absurd, Ludlum-inspired title was: "The" + [Greek mythological hero OR theoretical physicist's surname] + [noun relating some type of situation], my first contribution was "The Athena Quotient." Have fun writers!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nathan Bransford Blog Entry

Hi all! Just a reminder to check out Nathan Bransford's blog this Monday. He'll be posting my blog entry, "Working with your Partner, the Writer."

Click here for Nathan's blog

On a side note, keep your eyes open for the launching of John Lacombe's website later this week at