A Hodgepodge of Bits & Pieces for the 2013 New Year!

Posted January 4, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Hodgepodge Newsletter

In General

Backup Your Twitter Archive

Katharine O’Moore at CE-L Tools posted a notice that you can now download an archive of all your tweets by opening up your Twitter account > Settings > scroll down > click on the “Request Your Archive” button.

Debate on the Right Book for Your Child’s Reading Level

This is one that’s keeps bothering me. How do I choose or suggest a book for a child to read? What’s their reading level? What do I need to consider content-wise? What about word usage?

I want my young friends to be encouraged and excited about reading, which makes choosing a critical consideration. Tim Winbourne through Reuters has posted a debate on this topic at the New York Times.

Just for Fun

20 Sites for Book Collectors

Melissa Tamura from Zen College created a post listing 20 sites for book collectors. Those of you looking for the rare and obscure, trying to find that one elusive volume, or simply trying to replace a tome damaged in some catastrophe, may want to check these out.

A Critic’s Tour of Literary Manhattan

Dwight Garner with the New York Times wrote a fun article about today’s literary haunts in Manhattan. If you’re heading to NYC, you might want to make a list of places to check out. Certainly explore the literary hotel possibilities!

More Jane Yellowrock!

Just got notice that Faith Hunter has signed a contract with Penguin ROC for three more Jane / Beast stories…woohoo! They won’t come as quickly as the previous stories to give Faith time to develop some spin-off stories.

Which eReader is Best for You?

Laurie Gold has posted a very useful analysis of available eReaders over at Heroes and Heartbreakers, Which E-Reader is Best for You?” and includes some important points for each person to consider for their own purposes.

Harry Potter Shop Opens at King’s Cross

Ellie Lewis posts her verdict on the new Harry Potter shop that opened on Platform 9-3/4 at King’s Cross Station in London. Discover what she finds from wands to Horcruxes to clothing.

Obsolete Words Heather Wants Back

There are some fun ones — I love freck! — in this post by Heather Carreiro on twenty obsolete words she thinks need to re-enter today’s vocabulary. Check ’em out and deliciate in ’em!

Why Authors are Crazy

Graphic from Ilona Andrews

I suspect many of the clips here from Ilona Andrews at Tumblr will resonate for some of you authors. At least you know you’re not alone!!!

And you’ll LYAO!


E.L. James’ 50

How depressing…E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy is on the top three of the Apple’s iBookstore sellers for 2012 and the third installment was the top of Amazon’s Books for 2012. Considering how incredibly awful her writing is…I’ll just say it again. D.E.P.R.E.S.S.I.N.G.

Cautionary Tale about Kids’ Reading Apps

Hmmm, Lisa Guernsey and Michael Levine posted a cautionary warning about “Educational Apps Alone Won’t Teach Your Kid To Read“, noting that many of them are no better than flash cards.

For those of you considering creating interactive eBooks for kids, do read this article as the authors point out some great information on the considerations that do make for a great learning experience for kids.

Another article points out the interactive conversion of Lawrence Treat’s Crime & Puzzlement into an app combining its’ game/story/puzzle possibilities. Options, options, options…

Writing Tips

Laughing Online in Other Languages

This was just too funny. And, if you’re writing about people from other countries. AND, you happen to have them laughing “online” as part of their dialog, this could be useful information.

Check out what Megan Garber at the Atlantic has to say about “55555, or, How to Laugh Online in Other Languages“.

Government’s Latest Style Guide

Angel Candelario over at Tech Writer News has posted a free download link of the most recent version of the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual. Very useful if you write for the U.S. government or if you plan to write requesting a grant and want to improve your chances of winning.

How Detailed Should You Get in Your Story?

C.S. Lakin over at Live Write Thrive had a great post on the difference perspectives on writing a universally appealing story: go for the nitty-gritty details or broaden it into nothingness. Read “The Universality is in the Details” for something to think about.

Vagina Envy

Okay, it’s not as funny as previous posts I’ve reblogged on such as Sarah Anderson’s “Names for the Vagina“, but Jill Sorenson does bring up an important topic that makes a lot of women squeamish. Finding words that don’t squick us out about a woman’s vagina. At the least, some of the words Jill lists will make you laugh…

Resources for Authors

I found this to be a great list of “Eight Resources No Author Should Be Without” by Michael LaRocca. Authors should check these out!

Especially the “Tracking Tutorial” (#6). I agree with Michael. I cannot imagine editing my clients’ work without it!!

Penn Tips for 1st Draft

Joanne Penn over at the Creative Penn has some tips for authors, “5 Ways To Get Your First Draft Material Out Of Your Head And Onto The Page”, and it’s certainly given me a good kick as I’ve been mentally moaning and groaning about where to go next.

(I have so much research to do into what the terrain is like between Ostia and Velletri and no really interesting descriptions; and, I just have to be perfect! What a whiner I am!).

The Publishing Business

Looking for Authors

I got this email from the Book Hub (they have a goal for 2013 to publish 1,500 eBooks) that they are looking for eBook authors to submit in the following categories:

Young Adult
Popular Culture
Photography Books
Graphic Novels
Health and Fitness
And many more!

I don’t know anything about them, don’t recognize the titles they have already published, and their email is a bit vague, so I advise checking them out.

Speakers & Programs Needed for BEA 2013

Publishers Weekly notes that the 2013 BEA conference program and uPublishU at is now accepting submissions for programs and speakers.

New Ruckus Reader App

Calvin Reid has written a post on Ruckus media re-releasing its Apple app making it universal for all Apple devices. Read more at “Ruckus Media Debuts New Ruckus Reader App“.

Audio House Moves into Print/eBook Market

Publishers Weekly has a post about yet another publishing house jumping into the eBook market—Brilliance Audio, an audiobook publisher, getting into the print and eBook market.

Book Cover Design & Typography 101

Loretta Boyer McClellan posted a useful article on considerations in designing your book cover and includes good info on images, typography, and composition. Although, I’m not too impressed with the small font-size and color in the post.

You might also want to have a look at J.M. Ney-Grimm’s analysis of a book cover workshop she took: fonts, contrast, proximity, alignment, and repetition. She does a very nice (graphic!) display of font usage and includes before and afters of her own covers.

Marketing News

Market Like the Big Boys

Kimberly Lew over at Publishing Trends has a post on “DIY IP: How Publishers Develop, Exploit and Deploy Their Own Intellectual Property“, which looks into how you as an author can leverage your children’s books beyond just books. Creating apps and games that can take advantage of the burgeoning digital tablets market.

Indie Bookstores OK

Leslie Kaufman had a Dec 17 post in the New York Times that was rather heartening about independent bookstores doing well in the run-up to Christmas.

Books for Young Latinos Exist – Just Not in the Classroom

There’s a lovely response in Publishers Weekly to an earlier New York Times article on December 4 about not enough books getting into the school system for young Latinos. Another article from Publishers Weekly by Paige Crutcher, “Books for Young Latinos Exist – Just Not in the Classroom“, points out a number of smaller publishing houses that were never mentioned in the New York Times article.

Check it out to find out who and where. Ensure our kids are well-rounded by pushing your schools to include books about minorities!

3 Social Media Myths that Can Cripple

Kristen Lamb had a fascinating blog on “3 Social Media Myths That Can Cripple Our Author Platform” with the primary reasons why authors need to be aware. Truly excellent advice.

We get so caught up in all the “must-do”s, that we tend to forget the more important why. Read this one and stick it on a Post-It by your computer!