…helping you tell a better story

Linked Up: October 15, 2013

Okay, I admit it. I’m a terrible blogger. I can talk one-on-one, or in front of a group, for hours about the do’s and don’ts of publishing. (Don’t test me on this.) But when it comes to regularly knocking out all of that knowledge down into readable, general chunks for writers, I get stuck. Or I forget. Or I get busy.

So let’s try something different. Let’s start small.

Once a week, I’m NOT going to blog. But I am going to point you to five other people who do, or to five media sites with relevant articles. And I’m going to tell you why they matter. If that works, maybe I’ll expand.


1. Self Publishing Output Jumped 59% in 2012 

Best quote: “The analysis also found that more than 80% of self-published titles ‘came to market with the support from just eight companies, including Smashwords and CreateSpace.'”

Why it matters: Three hundred and ninety-one THOUSAND books. In a single year. And those are just the ones the publishers didn’t support. Publishing is getting easier and easier, especially through those mega-author services companies. But breaking through the noise and getting a book in front of the right audience? That’s going to keep getting harder.


2. Mother of Nine Accidentally Launches NFP Bestseller; Needle Buried on Irony Meter

Best quote: “‘I didn’t even have time to think about it,’ Fisher said. ‘I still had to drive the kids to a birthday party and go grocery shopping.  It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m beating out the Pope.  And St. Augustine.  And the Bible.  Oh gosh, when does the dump close today?  I told you boys to sort that recycling!'”

Why it matters: No, not just because it’s really funny. (And it is.) But because out of 391,000 books releasing this year, this self-published title is finding its audience. It helps that the author has a long-established following on her blog, but even more that she knows how to write an article like this one that’s bound to go viral. Aspiring writers can learn a lot from this case study.


3. Why Read?

Best quote: “Stories are prepackaged units of defanged secondhand experience, a sort of vaccination, that help us as individuals and cultures to cope, learn, grow, survive, and thrive.”

Why it matters: My colleague at The Editorial Department, Peter Gelfan, reminds us why humans feel an innate pull toward storytelling–and by extension, why our writing matters.


4. Goodreads: Where Readers and Authors  Battle It Out in an Online ‘Lord of the Flies’

Best quote: “The comment [author Lauren] Pippa posted to the member’s rating and complaints she made in a Goodreads forum garnered some scathing responses from other commenters and a rash of one-star ratings from their friends. This in turn prompted some of Pippa’s friends to fling insults at her critics, which led even more Goodreads members to include her forthcoming book in their “do not read” lists. Pippa complained about all of this on Twitter, which led to even more retaliation, until finally she announced on her blog that she’d been “bullied” into canceling the release of her book and threatened with violence.”

Why it matters: This is why we can’t have nice things, people. Authors, it’s your responsibility to act like the grownups when you go out in public. Even if you don’t like what someone says, you just make it worse when you pull in your clique of mean girls.


5. October 17 Meeting–Editing for the Digital Age

Best quote: “…the rules and techniques of written communication don’t change, and going digital is not an excuse to sacrifice quality. A work, regardless of the medium or the size of its publisher, is judged on its professionalism, and in a time when peer reviewers can (and do) immediately warn other readers about shoddy editing or sloppy formatting, a publisher can not afford to cut corners and put a work out into the public sphere that’s less than polished and competitive.”

Why it matters: Because this is where I will be on Thursday, talking to small and independent publishers at Book Publishers Northwest about the role of editing and editors in the new publishing paradigm. The event is free and open to the public. Care to join us?


(This blog idea is loosely based on the “Six Links Worthy of Your Attention,” a weekly feature at the fantastic Six Pixels of Separation blog.)

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