A Hodgepodge of Bits & Pieces – Mid-February 2013

Posted February 20, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Hodgepodge Newsletter

In General

Scams a’Poppin’ – Just a Reminder

You know how much I hate people who scam others, and there’s a lady up in Ottawa who is on the hook for a bad check sent her by one of the mystery shopper companies.

All I’m sayin’ is be careful. If someone sends you a check, a cashier’s check, a money order. Physically take it to the bank. Have them check it out. Deposit it. BUT WAIT until the check completely clears. And I don’t mean simply have the bank credit the money to your account, ’cause it seems that the bank can still declare the check bad. Then you’re on the hook.

The “Overpaid My Bill” Scam

Another scam that came up this week was one in which they claimed to have overpaid their bill and wanted the person receiving the money to refund the difference. Yup, it’s a bad check and, not only are you on the hook for bounced check charges, but you’re also out that refund amount.

Author Solution Scams

The first part of this blog post by Joel Friedlander notes the various publishing houses affiliated as of May 2011 with Author Solutions. The second part explains why you don’t want to go with them as well as what to watch out for with subsidy publishers in general. It’s not a pretty story.

Artists’ Canvases

This was an interesting post by Gerard Blouin on canvases for painting. Thought you artists out there might enjoy Blouin’s dissection on different types.

Just for Fun

10 Bizarre (Adult) Fairytales

Emily Temple over at Flavorwire has a post on “10 of the Most Bizarre Fairy Tale Adaptations“, and it appears quite right to say these are not for children. Too scary! But they do look like interesting interpretations!

Vampire Academy Movie Casting

Chelsea Mueller over at Heroes and Heartbreakers has some interesting news about the Vampire Academy flick and the people being cast into the primary roles. It’s looking good and Mueller says Richelle Mead approves!

TV for Two Kids’ Series

Penguin Children’s is jumping into the multi-platform arena with two separate television series for kids with The Dragon’s Lost Flame from the Hattie B the Magical Vet series (kids six to nine; the first book will be published in June 2013) and another aimed at the tween market with the Shark Wars series. (The Last Emprex, Shark Wars #6, by E.J. Altbacker is scheduled for publication in July.) Read more…

5 Things to Do

I recently started following Joe Warnimont for his inspirational posts…no, that does not mean they are boring! I simply like his fresh style and he’s had a couple I thought might be of interest to y’all. The first is a bit of a bucket list, “5 Things to Do While You’re Young” that will set you up for life. Especially as a writer. The second is an encouragement to pursue what you love, “Myth: Artists are Born“.

Comic to Make You Feel Behind

This one is for those who need a rueful laugh

Hatchet Job Award!

How awful is it that I would want to be able to do a hatchet job on someone’s book as beautifully as Camille Long’s review of Rachel Cusk’s Aftermath. And like the judge, I wanna read it too…!

Check out Prachi Gupta’s article over at Salon for a laugh.

HUP Reviving Dead Books

The Harvard University Press (HUP) is bringing back titles which have gone out of print—”for which the press still has publishing rights”—as “either e-book format or print-on-demand hardcover” with the help of German publisher De Gruyter, starting this spring.

Could be a good idea to check your wish lists and see if the HUP ever published any titles on it!

This year is also (this HUP’s incarnation) 100th anniversary, and they’re planning a series of ways to celebrate:

  • An interactive, online Emily Dickson archive
  • The digital Dictionary of American Regional English will enable readers to find regional words and lots, lots more
  • A plan scheduled in 2014 to put “the complete Loeb Classical Library, more than 500 volumes, online in a searchable format—with Greek or Latin text next to English translations”
  • An exhibition, 100 Years of Excellence in Publishing, at the Houghton Library that runs through April 20: “Books to conjure with, interesting records, correspondence with notable authors, photographs, and ephemera worth looking at”

More BDSM FanFic Signed

Please, I pray thee that Tara Sue Me’s Submissive Trilogy is an improvement on E.L. James’ claptrap…! Penguin is claiming it’s better. We’ll see. The Submissive is available now as an eBook; a paperback is scheduled for June 2013. The other two will come out in August and October. Read more…


An Explanation of Sendak’s Brother’s Book

Renee Montagne over at NPR did an interview with an old friend of Maurice Sendak about the last tale we’ll see from the famous children’s author. The important part of it is that Sendak intended this more for an adult audience, for those who loved his book when they were children.

This post has a transcript of the audio interview.

Learning to Read

The sad part is that there are adults out there who are unable to read for a variety of reasons or, shockingly(!), don’t see how much fun it can be. Eeek!! The good part is there is an organization, “Quick Reads, a book industry charity that supports wider adult readership. We aim to make it easier for those who don’t read — or those who have lost confidence in their ability to pick up a book — to get back into reading.” Something I can definitely get behind!

Note that this is a program, and it costs money. How much? I don’t know. After clicking my way through all sorts of pages, I still didn’t find any data… Not a particularly good sign. Probably means it’s expensive…eek!

Writing Tips

Fellowships in Screenwriting

It’s not a writing tip per se, but since it is about writing…

Entries are being accepted for the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition with the entry deadline set before 11:59 p.m. PT on May 1, 2013. Be aware that the entry fee increases in cost the closer it gets to the ultimate deadline.

This is sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and there are some hefty awards. Check out the article for details on the size of the awards and who may apply. Even more details and the application(s) are available at The Academy’s website.

Editing Tricks

Jodi Meadows has an interesting editing trick that sounds very useful. I’ll definitely be adding this one for my own writing!

FASTR Research!

Hey, I like research, so when I learn about a way to go FASTR, I’m all over it, LOL.

Seriously, FASTR—The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act—is a new bill before Congress that would require public online access to publicly funded federal research IF they have a budget of $100 million or more “no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal”.

What’s sweet about FASTR is the ability to do “computational analysis across the full range of articles submitted”. Read more about the details and the opposition

Writers’ Playtime!!

This sounds like fun! If you’re a writer in England anyway. Katie Allen at The Bookseller reports that the Literary Platform and Bath Spa University have partnered on a new bursary for two bursaries (I’m guessing this is a grant??) of £3,000 which must be applied for by Tuesday March 12, 2013.

The idea is for a team of two: “a writer and a technologist who will work together on a digital literature project for three months this spring” exploring how “the new technologies bring with them new possibilities for writers who are interested in thinking about how telling a story through text on a screen can be different from telling a story on a page”, “experimenting with text, screens, platforms, and stories.”

Get more details here.

Raunchy Teen Lit

This caught my eye after a question from one of my author clients about how far she can go in writing sex in YA literature. I enjoy a wide range of romance novels from the Christian literature to the, ahem, heavily erotic, but I am uncomfortable with raunch in teen literature. I know that as a teen, I sought out the raunch and your kids probably are as well. So sue me for being a hypocrite.

Still, I find this a tricky area and thought some of you might as well, so you may want to check this post by Alice Vincent at The Telegraph as she discusses the new “Steamies”. It’s an interesting article with a number of statistics about just who is actually reading this new genre as well as a bit of history on its evolution.

Power of the Comma

Terrifying to see how one itty, bitty comma can cause such havoc. Margaret MacQuarrie writes of the “Multi-Million Dollar Comma”. Admittedly, a comma is unlikely to cost you this kind of money, but it does prove its power!

SHOWing Off with The Emotion Thesaurus

Now here’s a useful book for a writer’s library! Carolyn Kaufman at QueryTracker.net has a guest post about The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (the poster)

I know I keep telling my author clients that they need to SHOW me, don’t just TELL me what’s going on. Draw me/the reader into the story. Make us a part of it. Hmph, easy for me to say, hard for authors to pull this concept in. Now The Emotion Thesaurus can help you out with an emotional lexicon, helping you SHOW.

There’s one lovely example Puglisi gives about frustration. About not simply telling the reader the character is frustrated, but to help the reader feel his frustration through behavior—because this is what happens in real life.

We don’t show up for the family holiday dinner and announce to everyone that “I’m frustrated”. Instead it shows up as bad behavior, showing up late/leaving early, physical tells, physiological reactions.

Check out the post for a sample of the frustration entry. Then explore the free companion PDF of Emotion Amplifiers—who knew we’d be searching for pain!

The Publishing Business

6 Publishers Accepting Submissions

Brian Grove over at My Perfect Pitch has shared the news about six publishers who are taking on new submissions.

Publishers and Licensing

John Styring of Igloo Books wrote an interesting post for publishers that I think authors should have a peek at. He’s a difficult read for this unsavvy writer, but once you decipher the language—I’m thinking licensor equals author—there are some useful cautionary and informative tidbits of which an author should be aware when considering the various licensing aspects of today’s e- and self-publishing.

Int’l Clearinghouse for Licensing

Speaking of rights, Daniel Kalder at Publishing Perspectives did a post, “On Establishing a Global Platform for Book Content Rights“, discussing IPR License. It’s a new British startup that aims to perform as an international central clearinghouse for all kinds of licensing from books to film, music, art, design, etc.

IPR is a paid-membership set-up: with an initial fee of £99 + VAT (sales tax to us Yanks) for an individual and then an additional £60 each year to maintain the membership. The initial fee “includes upload/registration of up to five full-length manuscripts (novel, non-fiction or finished collection of poetry/stories)”; poets with “individual, uncollected poems available [should] please contact us for information”. Additional manuscripts would cost an extra £25 and an extra “£10 per upload of supporting materials or updated work”. In the second year, you can upload additional manuscripts (above the initial five) for £5. IPR will also register your copyright for £10 per manuscript.

Once your titles are uploaded, you can detail the rights you hold to them (maximum three-chapter previews are made available to potential buyers), “or assign your rights to existing books on the platform (there are 13 million existing titles). IPR License has a team that approves rights listed to ensure accuracy and they will also work with members to upload information on their behalf.”

IPR states that it “links authors’ work with overseas publishers to greatly increases the opportunity of a translation deal and opens the doors to new marketplaces that authors might not necessarily have even considered viable”. Just sayin’.

It’s an interesting concept and might be worth it if you feel your book has appeal as a film or would appeal to the readers in a foreign country. IPR does claim that their in-house readers will pass on to interested agents any works they find interesting. Truth or enticing come-on?? Who knows. It’s always buyer beware.

The Copyright Clearance Center is the U.S. Version

The Copyright Clearance Center is doing something similar in the U.S. for publishers and authors as “a global rights broker for millions of the world’s most sought after materials, including in- and out-of-print books, journals, newspapers, magazines, images, blogs, ebooks and more”. They appear to have a variety of licensing possibilities from corporate to academic to foreign authorizations to point-of-content.

Getting Permissions

It seems the Copyright Clearance Center can also aid in gaining copyright permissions for those pesky quotes ya just gotta have or to “use and share content from the world’s leading titles in science, technology, medicine, humanities, news, business, finance and more”.

Co-operative Publishers?

In a post by Edward Nawtoka at Publishing Perspectives, Javier Celaya made some interesting points about the cost of starting up a publishing company: pooling certain backoffice tasks and costs—legal(!)—; subscriber services such as Booquo, Skoobe, 24Symbols; and thinking globally like Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. There’s even a PDF download available, How to collaborate with startups — International study conducted by Dosdoce.

Inaugural Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Conference

On April 15, 2013: “In a new one-day conference, Writer’s Digest will host a lineup of experts who will examine new publishing options and opportunities and share actionable advice for writers who are thinking about — or who are actively pursuing — the self-publishing route. The inaugural Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Conference will take place … at the Sheraton New York Hotel in New York City. Full details and registration information can be found online at

New Publisher, New Style?

A new player with a new style in the self-publishing biz, Net Minds—Jim Kerstetter at cNet talks about this “sort of an Amazon self-publishing service on steroids” in which the author submits an explanation and then shops his project to a variety of freelancers including ghostwriters, “editors; illustrators and cover designers; and a sales and marketing team for promotion” while the distribution is handled with Ingram. The royalty share-out is amazing and team fees are flexible in how they’re paid out. You definitely want to read more!

Kerstetter includes some thoughts from Nolan Bushnell…

Marketing News

Free Exposure for Your Books

Contact Lewis Cunningham to discuss his new site, About First 750, where he will post “the first 750 words of their story and the cover photo with a link to the store of their choice”. Cunningham “may end up doing some interviews and such also. Hopefully, it might generate a little bit more word of mouth. I’d facebook and twitter (and g+, etc) each post. The site would take no rights beyond the right to publish the first 750 words and the photo of your choice.”

He isn’t taking money to do this; it’s simply a different way of marketing his own work while building word-of-mouth and generating traffic for everyone.

The restrictions include no porn and it must be published and available for downloading or buying. He does reserve the right to say no.

Doesn’t look like a risk, and it’s certainly a reasonable fee, LOL…

Rick’s James Mason Community Book Club

In the same vein, Rick over at the James Mason Community Book Club has issued an open invite to post your books, website, and other links on his +6,000 member Goodreads group.

Another Distribution Channel to Keep in Mind

Calvin Reid over at Publishers Weekly posted about Apple’s iBookstore having a new category, Breakout Books. Most of the titles are currently from Smashwords, and, “according to a spokesperson for Smashwords, ‘Since Christmas, iBookstore customers have downloaded an average of more than 1 million free and priced Smashwords books a week.’

Finding an Agent

Tim Sunderland has an interesting post with a trick to add to the “finding an agent” arsenal.

Unique eBook Sales

Aptara has a post about a new company, ToolBoox, which offers to sell you a chapter of a book at a time.

Different Sort of Licensing

Okay, this article by Karen Raugust at Publishers Weekly, “Print-on-demand technology allows fans to create their own licensed designs”, was not what I was expecting, and I thought y’all could use a heads-up as far as future possibilities. Do read through the entire article—I almost quit “above the fold” thinking this was a mistake and took control out of the author’s hands!

Instead, this could well be a brilliant marketing move with a bit of passive income. Check it out.

Jan 2013 eBook Cover Awards

I always find this an education to go through the covers submitted to Joel Frielander at The Book Designer blog. He doesn’t comment on every cover, but those he does will give you ideas of where to and not to go with your own cover design.

Excerpt Creation

Discover a Book (DAB) has posted a press release for a service they’re offering that will create an excerpt from the first chapter in your book for a “mere” $35 per book.

It does claim that “Publishers Portal will “format it to display well on both computers and mobile phone/tablet devices; distribute that excerpt to websites for display in catalogs of libraries, online retailers, book distributors, and other sources of book information; and, gives authors an html/xml text file of their first chapter excerpt to use however they choose by linking it to websites, blogs, Facebook or Twitter”.

Besides an excerpt from the first chapter, “they can upload the 13-digit ISBN, title, sub-title, author(s), copyright holder, copyright year, table of contents and about ten pages of initial text or the full book from which DAB extracts the excerpt.”

Excerpts are made available to e-commerce book-selling sites, book distributors and libraries within two weeks of upload. It does not say how long the service will last for any one book. Read more.

If anyone has had an experience—or has one in future—I’d appreciate learning (and passing on) what you discover…

First Sale Rights & Resale

Calvin Reid had a somewhat convoluted post at Publishers Weekly on the current big issue in the eBook world—the ability re-sell your eBook when you’re tired of it. Some interesting points are made, and I suspect technology has a way to go yet before Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other eBook sellers will be comfortable with it.

State of the Indie Bookstore

Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly reported on Teicher’s “State-of-the-Union for the independent bookselling trade”, pointing out that, despite some dismal reports—notably about Barnes & Noble—”that indie stores are ‘actively and aggressively adopting’ new and ‘appropriate’ technology including that which eases the back office work and social media interaction.

I did like the comment Teicher made about “Kobo’s support for open platforms and the adoption of industry standards which “ensures customers own the books they buy and are never locked into one platform, or one service”.

Online Sales Tax?

Judith Rosen at Publishers Weekly has written a post, “Could This Be the Year for Online Sales Tax?“. I think she’s saying that an online sales tax—the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013—would only apply to the big boys who are selling online, and not the little guys like us who sell our art, product, craft, or services online.

Explore Interactive Books

This is an intriguing little post from Aptara Editorial about “an interactive eBook … nominated for the Publishing Innovation Award for Best Digital First E-book”. It’s not so much this particular book that caught my attention as the list of books mentioned as well as some of the features. Y’all might like to take a look and make note of features that might work in your own books.

A post by Karen Raugust at Publishers Weekly discusses how to determine what kids want in an interactive book, and Victor Lee, v-p of digital marketing at Hasbro, makes some excellent points. Check it out here. Heck, I never would have thought of reworking Swiss Family Robinson the way Raugust writes of it.

iBookstore to Highlight Self-Published

check this out

Konrath Plays Amazon Numbers

Joe Konrath is infamous(?), famous(?), notorious(?), for promoting self-publishing and is well worth paying attention to. In this post, he discusses playing around with KDP Select. I’ve been reading so many conflicting stories about him and his experiments, well, I just figured it was worth my paying attention.

World Book Night – 4-13-2013

World Book Night (WBN) is this coming April 13, 2013, and they are proud to announce giver applications are ahead of last year’s deadline with more libraries signing up and “twelve simultaneous World Book Night Kick-Off Events around the country on the evening of Monday, April 22 featuring WBN authors”. If you’re interested, keep track of who is anchoring these events and explore the map through the WBN.

The WBN “will give away half a million free books” this year!

Building Your Own Website

Much More Full Set of Characters

Jordon Kalilich over at the World of Stuff has a nice set of characters for the Internet OR your computer.

Some Breaking Space News

Wikipedia has an interesting little chart of spaces. For when you need a French space, a quad space, wide space, thin space, a bit of space around that thar’ em dash, or perhaps symbols for space. Hey, now you can get as spacey as you like.

3 responses to “A Hodgepodge of Bits & Pieces – Mid-February 2013

  1. Wow thanks for sharing my articles from Write With Warnimont. I’m glad you liked them. Keep on writing, your blog is great!