Old timey book reviews

Filed under: News — marcia at 9:01 pm on Sunday, January 27, 2008

“The Atlantic Monthly” has posted some of its book reviews from as far back as the 1800s online. While I wish they had given us access to more than just a smattering of them (as well as access to ones where they were unimpressed by a work that time has elevated to a classic), it is interesting to read contemporary reviews of works of books such as “The Scarlet Letter.”

Publishing resource: Duotrope’s Digest

Filed under: News — marcia at 4:17 pm on Sunday, January 13, 2008

I haven’t had a chance to fully check it out for myself, but this looks like a cool place to find ideas for where to submit your writing: Duotrope’s Digest, “a database of over 2050 current markets for short fiction, poetry, and novels/collections.”

Check it out and tell me what you think. I’ll do the same …


Do used-book sales hurt writers?

Filed under: News — marcia at 10:08 pm on Sunday, January 6, 2008

Novelists Inc. (a nonprofit representing novelists) is pushing for legislation to require used-book sellers to pay a percentage of sales to publishers and authors for any book re-sold within two years of its original publishing date. You can read some discussion about it here.

To me, a law like that sounds like it would lead to more books being thrown away and pulped. Used books are a great way to keep people reading, which helps the industry as a whole.
I can understand that used-book sales don’t count toward an author’s sales numbers and that it must be maddening to see a “Buy This Used for $4″ link on Amazon right alongside the full-price new version of your book. It’s important that people buy your book. But isn’t it important that people read it? (And maybe buy your next book in hardcover because they just can’t wait)

Use These Words At Your Own Peril

Filed under: News — Robin at 2:21 am on Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Each year Lake Superior State University releases a list of words and phrases that should be banished. Some are terms that are overused in the media or popular culture. Others are words that have been mutated from their original meaning to represent something else. Regardless, this compilation is necessary, even if non-binding.

Among the words on this year’s list are surge, organic, and webinar. Thank God on that last one. Webinar a horrible word that embarrasses me when heard or read.

Also on the list were a pair of writer-related words. One I can rationalize. The other is unjustified. The first is author/authored. The list does not condemn the word in its proper use but rather using it as a verb. I have employed it as a verb, and I’ll probably do so again, because I enjoy words that can be used as both a noun and verb, especially in the same sentence (example: “I am going to go fish for fish.”). That said, even my heavy Oxford dictionary fails to list author as a verb, and hence I understand this inclusion to the list. I object to the damning of wordsmith. I’ve always been fond of this term and see no reason for its eradication. After all, writers manipulate languages the way a standard smith manipulates metal. Wordsmith is a sane marriage of shorter words and deserves a spot in the common vernacular.

I love the pliability of the English language. Contorting words and phrases to suit my intentions is a delight I derive from writing. Considering this, perhaps I should be offended that a body exists with the design of removing terms that wordsmiths have worked diligently to generate. On the other hand, webinar simply has to go, and I’m happy that an authority of any stripe has ordered an excommunication.

~ Robin