Standing Against Plagiarism – Part 2

2 September 2014

PG previously had a post about author Rachel Nunes and her claims that another author had plagiarized one of her books.

Rachel has now filed suit against the alleged plagiarist. A copy of her complaint follows:


How Nicole Perlman Became the First Woman to Write a Marvel Movie

2 September 2014

From Time:

Nicole Perlman’s interest in space started early — and with the help of real-life rocket scientists. When she was growing up in Boulder, Colo., in what she calls “a very nerdy family,” her father would host a science-fiction book club that counted among its members many employees of the aeronautics companies based in the area. The rocket scientists would come to her house and discuss their favorite books; noticing her interest, her father bought the 15-year-old Perlman copies of physicist Richard Feynman’s two autobiographies.

That fateful gift started Perlman, now 33, on a path that led to her writing Guardians of the Galaxy, in theaters Aug. 1. The movie is Marvel’s big leap away from its more established superhero properties into the depths of outer space. It’s also the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have a woman as a credited writer — but getting there wasn’t exactly easy.

. . . .

“[Science-fiction movies] are the kinds of movies I enjoy watching, much as I really enjoy history and science,” she recalls, “but I was noticing that I was having trouble convincing people, when I was pitching on projects, that I would be capable of doing this. There was a little bit of an attitude of, ‘Well, you’re a woman, you’re not writing romantic comedies, we’ll give you the Marie Curie biopic.’”

She kept trying. She pitched one company a project with a sample that they loved, but they told her that even though they appreciated her take on the article they had optioned they weren’t sure she could write the more action-heavy parts. “They kept saying, ‘This is a guy’s movie, you know, it’s really a guy’s movie.’ I didn’t want to say, ‘Are you saying a woman can’t write a guy’s movie?’” Perlman recalls. “What is a guy’s movie anyway? If you’re making a movie that’s just for one gender, what’s the point?’”

. . . .

Perlman hopes that, despite reaching a gender milestone at Marvel, being “a woman writer” — as opposed to just “a writer” — is a time-limited thing. Of the attention being paid to comic-book Thor’s upcoming female incarnation and the new Miss Marvel (written by a friend of Perlman’s, G. Willow Wilson), Perlman says she sees why it’s important to pay attention to women making inroads in the comic-book world, herself included. But she hopes that attention is soon paid for other reasons. “I do still feel like it’s a little bit like, ‘Wow, it’s so crazy that a woman is doing this!’ I look forward to the time when it won’t be that crazy,” she says.

Link to the rest at Time and thanks to CG for the tip.

Dead men

2 September 2014

Dead men are heavier than broken hearts

Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Amazon Studios

2 September 2014

From Amazon Studios:

We’re looking for movie and series ideas to turn into great entertainment. Creators of projects added to our Development Slate get $10,000 to start. Submit your finished script, mini-bible, or concept video.

Link to the rest at Amazon Studios and thanks to DC for the tip.

How to Read E-books on a $20 Cellphone: Tips for the Cash-Strapped and Plain Adventurous

2 September 2014

From LibraryCity:

When I ran across $20 cell phones on Amazon, I couldn’t resist buying one to see if I could read e-books on it. Yes, I could—hour after hour.

I’ll never confuse this econo-phone with an iPad Air or upscale Kindle Fire. But e-books and affordable smartphones like the $20 model could help narrow both the digital and book divides in many countries.

The U.S. teems with “book deserts,” including major parts of urban areas; let’s fix that. Even affluent suburbs have “dried up” somewhat.

When I was in high school, I could buy cheap paperbacks of Norman Mailer and Saul Bellow’s novels off the rack at my local drugstore. But now? The much-shrunken racks just don’t offer the same range of books.

. . . .

The overwhelming majority of people in the U.S. can afford much more than $20 cell phones, and many now own other e-book-capable devices, too, such as tablets or Kindles. Frustratingly, however, a fair number of the cell phones popular among the poor are “dumb” feature phones that can’t do much justice to e-books.

. . . .

And, yes, the LG 38c can handle OverDrive library books, as well as the Kindle variety.

Link to the rest at LibraryCity and thanks to Matthew for the tip.

Here’s a link to the $20 LG Optimus Dynamic Android Prepaid Phone

What You Need to Know about Amazon Pre-ordering

2 September 2014

From author Laurie Boris via Indies Unlimited:

When Amazon announced that indie authors other than Hugh Howey would be allowed to offer their e-books on pre-order, the timing couldn’t have been better for me to give it a try. I was in the midst of planning my next book release. The description was ready, the categories and keywords chosen, and I’d just sent the final draft of the manuscript out for copyediting.

. . . .

Load a draft copy of your manuscript. If you enable the right settings, it will NOT be available for sampling or download on Amazon, so no worries that readers will get a sneak peek of something unedited. BUT, in a last-minute and disturbing discovery, if you load your book to Goodreads during the pre-order period, your preview WILL be available to US Goodreads users. [The preview is a feature Goodreads just added.] When I asked KDP about this, they suggested I talk to the Goodreads people. I’m not holding my breath for a quick solution. In the meantime, I’d suggest either loading up only your print version to Goodreads [previews are not available for print] or making sure the manuscript you submit to KDP is either the final version or one of at least the quality you’d be comfortable submitting as an ARC (advance reader copy.)

. . . .

1. Be careful with your deadline. Yes. You get a deadline. When you choose a pre-order date, KDP works backward ten days and gives you a drop-dead for loading your final materials. I guess they want to make sure we’re all tidy and ready for our close-up. Or that they will have sufficient time to calculate your pre-orders into your sales ranking.

Choose your date carefully. At this point, I expect to be “all systems go” before the actual date I entered. (It’s that advertising background, I guess.) So I assume I can change my release date to something earlier if I want to. Missing your deadline, however, comes with penalties. One, you will be banned from pre-order privileges for a year. Two, and more importantly, your credibility with your fans could take a hit. Depending on your genre, and if you’re writing a series, fans’ tolerance for the next installment varies. Three, love Amazon or hate them, but they’ve given us an opportunity. If we give them enough evidence that we can’t keep our promises, I can’t imagine that they will continue to offer the privilege. After all, “customer satisfaction,” at least publicly, drives the company.

. . . .

3. Pre-release reviews are not possible, at least at this point. Apparently you can’t upload a review until the book is released. But…your pre-order period seems like a fine time to solicit prepublication reviewers, if you’re so inclined.

4. You can monitor your pre-order numbers in the KDP dashboard. It even lets you know how many you got on specific days. This is great because you can roughly attribute pre-orders with any specific announcements you’ve made. For example, I sent out an email newsletter to my list and saw a spike soon afterward in my pre-order numbers.

Link to the rest at Indies Unlimited

Here’s a link to Laurie Boris’ books

The Maze Runner

2 September 2014

Here’s a link to James Dashner’s books

What future for writers in Scotland after the independence referendum?

2 September 2014

From TeleRead:

One of the highlight debates of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, “Writing the Future: Being a Writer After the Referendum,” hinged on the question of what the actual results of the independence referendum vote – whether Yes or No – might be for writers in Scotland. The panel brought together writers, publishers, and cultural policy professionals, from both sides of the Yes/No divide.

. . . .

And the participants brought a level of engagement and passion to match the occasion, although by no means working from a simplistic Yes-is-good-for-Scottish-writers premise. All the same, “one thing that always struck me was the amount of respect shown to writers in Ireland … respect built into the way Ireland works,” said journalist and commentator Lesley Riddoch, mentioning, among other things, “the tax concessions, which make it much easier to be a writer or any kind of artist or creative person in Ireland.”

“There’s something else that comes from being an independent country. You get to a stage where you know your native culture and know its worth .. your own culture is your main selling point internationally,” she continued. “In Scotland there’s a two-tier set of values. There’s an official culture… There are two realities in Scotland all the time. There’s the mainstream British culture, which has occupied most of the space… and then there’s Scottish culture, sitting on the margins, in the corners, actually thriving, like a plant that adapts well to being stuck in funny wee corners … Scottish writing has thrived because it’s had to. lt’s been the carrier of different visions of what Scotland has been, could be, might become.”

. . . .

From the No perspective, publisher Hugh Andrew, Managing Director of Birlinn Limited, complained about the “stupendous disinterest” demonstrated so far by the current Scottish government in cultural issues. However, he also linked Scotland’s cultural and literary problems to structural issues in publishing. “There are five gigantic corporations who control 90+ percent of the market,” he noted. “I am the last substantial Scottish-based Scottish-owned publisher in existence.”

Link to the rest at TeleRead

In Defense of Amazon

2 September 2014

From author Neal Pollack via Slate:

Last August, Amazon flew about 80 writers on its Thomas & Mercer mystery and thriller imprint—including me—to Seattle for a conference. They put us up at the Westin downtown, a nice hotel by any standard, and spent the weekend feeding us well and serving us top-shelf booze at an increasingly fabulous series of parties. There were tourist outings, the usual conference mix of panels and workshops, and a non-stressful visit to the Amazon Death Star. Also, they gave us a free Kindle Paperwhite, a nice touch.

With a few exceptions, none of the writers at the conference were particularly famous; some had only published one or two books, all with Amazon. The Seattle trip wasn’t normal treatment for them, or for anyone. I’ve published books with independents and with big corporate imprints, and I’ve published books on my own. Each of these experiences was positive in its own way. But never before had I been treated quite like this. It felt like I’d entered a glorious new age. Amazon had given me a free sneak preview of what book culture would be like from now on.

As usual, I was naive.

A year later, Amazon is embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the Hachette publishing company over e-book pricing, in which Amazon has delayed shipments and removed discounts and pre-order buttons from Hachette titles. This is a literary feud unparalleled in vitriol since Gore Vidal compared Norman Mailer to Charles Manson. One evening, I turned on The Colbert Report to find Hachette author Stephen Colbert sticking his arms up through an Amazon box, middle fingers extended. On Twitter, Colbert urged his viewers to #burndowntheamazon. Meanwhile, 900 writers, many of whom I respect greatly and some of whom I know personally, signed a letter under the name “Authors United”—apparently united by novelist Douglas Preston. They argued that Amazon was establishing some sort of corporate crossfire zone, with best-selling authors as the innocent villagers, the collateral damage. This statement appeared in that last refuge of the literary underdog, the New York Times. It read, in part, “we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business.”

The Times has been running several negative articles about Amazon a month, usually by David Streitfeld, grinding the sharpest ax since Snow White’s Huntsman. Salon seems to publish a Laura Miller anti-Amazon screed every hour. Meanwhile, Bookpeople, the excellent independent bookstore in my hometown that had been so important to starting my own writing career, refuses to carry my Amazon-published books. My Facebook feed is a morass of authors, known and unknown, linking to anti-Amazon articles, comparing Amazon to the Nazis or to Pol Pot. When I waded into one conversation to say, “Hey, Amazon’s not so bad,” someone referred to me as being like “the Vichy French, taking money to cover up crimes.”

. . . .

But while everyone seems to hate Amazon, my personal experience with this supposedly evil corporate behemoth has been fantastic.

. . . .

I haven’t gotten rich, but I haven’t dropped into poverty, either. Even though none of my books has sold more than 15,000-ish copies, Amazon continues pay me to write them. The idea is that eventually one of my efforts will hit, and then the backlist will rise. The advances aren’t huge; they’ve all been in the low—and I do mean low—five figures. But that strikes me as exceedingly fair pay for mediocre-selling serialized novels about an L.A. yoga detective. It’s not enough money for me to stop doing other, nonfiction-writing work. But I don’t want to stop doing other work. What I do want is to get paid for writing fiction, and that’s happening. Amazon has allowed my novels to be part of the mix. If, someday, they become a bigger part of the mix, well, that’ll be a bonus.

. . . .

My friend Deborah Reed, a wonderful writer but not a household name, has sold more than 100,000 copies of her novel Things We Set on Fire—virtually none of them in a conventional bookstore, since conventional bookstores won’t sell Amazon Publishing–produced novels. “Being able to reach hundreds of thousands of readers through Amazon’s database has allowed me to build a career and support myself, which is highly unusual for a writer,” she wrote in an email. “Rather than my books falling into obscurity after the initial launch, Amazon has the capability to keep the interest going by highlighting a book years after it was published.”

. . . .

So when I hear people say Amazon is “destroying” literary careers, it just doesn’t make sense—it actually seems to be making them.

Link to the rest at Slate and thanks to Matthew for the tip.

Here’s a link to Neal Pollack’s books

Millions of historical images posted to Flickr

1 September 2014

From BBC News:

An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historical copyright-free images.

Kalev Leetaru has already uploaded 2.6 million pictures to Flickr, which are searchable thanks to tags that have been automatically added.

The photos and drawings are sourced from more than 600 million library book pages scanned in by the Internet Archive organisation.

The images have been difficult to access until now.

Mr Leetaru said digitisation projects had so far focused on words and ignored pictures.

“For all these years all the libraries have been digitising their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable works,” he told the BBC.

“They have been focusing on the books as a collection of words. This inverts that.

“Stretching half a millennium, it’s amazing to see the total range of images and how the portrayals of things have changed over time.

. . . .

“Most of the images that are in the books are not in any of the art galleries of the world – the original copies have long ago been lost.”

The pictures range from 1500 to 1922, when copyright restrictions kick in.

. . . .

The Internet Archive had used an optical character recognition (OCR) program to analyse each of its 600 million scanned pages in order to convert the image of each word into searchable text.

As part of the process, the software recognised which parts of a page were pictures in order to discard them.

Mr Leetaru’s code used this information to go back to the original scans, extract the regions the OCR program had ignored, and then save each one as a separate file in the Jpeg picture format.

Link to the rest at BBC News and thanks to Tony for the tip.

And here’s a link to the Internet Archive Book Images on Flickr

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