Monday, August 27, 2007

Last Chance ...

Feels like I have flogged this contest forever. It has been several months of my exhorting everyone to Read! Read! Read!

In that time period I myself have gotten through about a book a week. But those don't count towards the charitable donation. Only books read by you all do!

[Puts fundraiser hat on] Yes, the total is up to $47 as of today. That is great, more than I could have hoped for. Did you notice how close to $50 it is? $50 is a nice number, isn't it?

Just think of all the things that libraries have done for you in your lifetime. I'm sure of all the people who have participated so far, there will be three more books read by the end of this Friday.

That would be great! Yes, that nice round number of $50. Yes, three more, that's nothing. How about 8 more?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don't Blink ...

There are times when I stare at the blog beast. Right into its dark, cold eyes. Stare, stare, stare. And come up empty.

That is to say: I've got nothing.

Could be working 4 of the past 5 nights. Could be the web project I promised a friend I'd help with that has now come due. Could be the final, full days of summer.

Some days are better than others. Fortunately, there's a brand new 24 hours tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Some Links Are Better ...

Matt Jarpe's debut novel, Radio Freefall is now available. Go buy it. You'll enjoy it. Really. I'm not kidding!

Camille Alexa has a poem, "Blind Date", up online at Bewildering Stories. Go read it. You'll enjoy it. Have I ever steered you wrong?

Camille had a post on her blog about time wasting sites. It's a bit past expiration to post there, but I will give up a link that won't take up too much of your time. I found it via William Gibson's blog. I'm not linking to his blog. He links to way too many cool things for me to enable you that way.

I'll just include this one item, a site called PlanetHiltron, that uses Photoshop to make celebrities look like ordinary people. Go laugh at the pictures. It won't take long. I promise.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ex-Size Part II ...

There is a lot of advice for writers: free, expensive, great, terrible, contradictory. One tidbit that I think all writers should heed is this: Do what works for you.

I'll add to it: Be honest with yourself about what works. For example, editing after each draft had been a soul-grinding fight for myself.

In a prior post I had to get a story down to 6,000 words to meet a submissions guideline. Editing to that goal worked well. It was not drudgery, it was a puzzle to be solved, word by word, sentence by sentence. Not only was the story shorter, it was tighter, cleaner, better. (Okay, who else hears the intro from the Six Million Dollar Man in their heads?)

I repeated the process on another story. It had been rejected four times. I could have sent it out again, but tried this first. The story had a word count north of 7,600. Using Cheryl Mills' suggestion of 10%, I went at it.

On the first pass, I cut as if with a machete. Second time with a scalpel. How do I get rid of a word in this line? Five in this paragraph? Twenty on this page? It was, dare I say it, easy. Almost, fun. It made editing enjoyable. The word count went south of 6,900. And it is a tighter, cleaner, better story.

It works for me. Maybe not for everyone. What works for you?

Monday, August 06, 2007

What Would You Pay ...

While browsing in Borders the other day, I pulled a book by Terry Pratchett off the shelf. To my surprise, the book cost $7.99. Eight bucks for a paperback? Did I miss something?

I pulled other books off the shelf and saw the same price. I reached for the thinnest volumes which were slightly less at $6.99 each. This seemed much higher than before.

Back home, I looked at the Pratchett book I had bought last year: $7.50

Then the one from two years ago: $6.99

An increase of 14% over two years? Have gas prices pushed the cost of distribution that high?

In terms of a price point I'd have to say $8 is too high for me to try out a paperback book by an unknown author. It's borderline too high for any author. I could get a hardcover edition of the Pratchett book on eBay for $8 plus shipping.

Yet, new hardcover books don't seem to be that much higher in price than before. Perhaps this is because of deep discounts on release and the even deeper discount once the hardcover hits the remainder tables. Are paperbacks subsidizing the hardcover discounts?

What do you all think? Would you pay $8 for a paperback from your favorite author? For a lesser known one? For an unknown one?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Swag ...

Just four weeks left, a mere 28 days, in the Summer Reading Contest. As of this writing $31 has been raised by seven diligent readers.

The prize package for the contest has now been posted. Just click on the contest link above to see what wonderful goodies you could win.