Monthly Archives: August 2013

Formatting Error Causes George R.R. Martin’s Name To Randomly Appear In “A Feast For Crows”

30 August 2013

From The Digital Reader:

Here’s a typo you don’t see very often any more.

Is anyone reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series? I know that most of us are probably watching the TV series based on it, but if you’re reading the books then I want you to keep an eye out in the 4th ebook.

Apparently there’s a formatting error in one version of A Feast For Crows which seems to be randomly inserting the author’s name in the text:

a1

. . . .

a2

. . . .

It looks to me like this is either an example of a poor conversion from a PDF or it is the result of a bad scan job. The only times I have seen the author’s name and the book title inserted like this was when someone wasn’t careful when working from either a PDF copy or a scanned copy of a book.

You won’t find this all too often in an ebook produced from scratch, but if you scan the page of a paper book you will sometimes get a mass of text that includes the author/title header at the top of the page. And sometimes when an ebook formatter will be handed a PDF to work from that PDF has the same header as in the print edition.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to Meryl for the tip.

Kindle Direct Publishing Now Available for Mexican Authors and Publishers

30 August 2013

From the Amazon Media Room:

Amazon.com.mx today announced that independent authors and publishers are now able to make their books available in the newly launched Mexico Kindle Store using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (http://kdp.amazon.com.mx). Mexican independent authors and publishers can utilize the Spanish-language KDP website to make their books available to customers in Mexico, and more than 175 countries worldwide. They can also price their books and receive payments in Mexican Pesos all while retaining control of their content and copyrights.

. . . .

Today Amazon also launched the Mexico Kindle Store (www.amazon.com.mx), offering Mexican customers the largest selection of the most popular eBooks, the most Spanish-language best sellers, over 1,500 free books in Spanish and a broad selection of titles from leading Mexican authors and publishers. In total, the Kindle Store offers over 2 million titles, hundreds of thousands of which are exclusive, and more than 70,000 in Spanish, including titles from authors such as Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende and Paulo Coelho, among other Mexican and internationally known authors.

Link to the rest at Amazon Media Room

The Role of Literary Criticism and Amazon’s Wisdom of the Crowd

29 August 2013

Thanks to Eric for the tip..

Way down deep

29 August 2013

Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.

Jim Davis, creator of “Garfield”

Creating Powerful Scenes

29 August 2013

From NYT bestselling author and former writing professor, Dave Farland:

I’m a bit preoccupied with the question of “What creates a great scene?”

You’ve probably had movies and books that come alive for you, where the story seems to leap off the page and become more of a part of you than the life that you live. So there are probably dozens or even hundreds of scenes from stories that have become a part of your psychic makeup, and in a way, these are very important: these story fragments create experiences that are shared often by millions of people, and so they are ties that help bind us to a much larger world.

. . . .

So we know that these moments from a story can be important, but what makes for a vivid, memorable, captivating, and glorious scene? You can probably give examples of a dozen or so right off the tip of your tongue, but have you ever taken time to analyze them, to figure out what works and how to create your own?

As an author, you need to know how to do that. Every story is composed of parts. I’ve talked about some of the larger building blocks of a story before—the inciting incidents, the try/fail cycles, the climaxes, reversals, and the denouement.

But in order to create a story, you need to dissect it into smaller parts—individual scenes. Your inciting incident for example might have as few as one scene or as many as twenty—little snippets where your character discovers that he has a problem and that the problem is so massive that it is life-altering.

As an author, it is your job to imbue those scenes with enough information, energy, passion and interest so that they come alive in the mind of your reader.

Some new authors think that it is just enough to “introduce their characters” when they begin writing a story, and because they strive for too little, usually their stories will feel fake, flimsy, and boring. They haven’t learned to recognize the components of a good scene, to see how it might fit within the overall scheme of a tale, and then build a scene from those components.

. . . .

But here is what I’d like to start with today: if you’ve written a scene that just “doesn’t work,” recognize that you can make it better. Perhaps your character isn’t properly motivated to do what you have him doing. If so, you have to consider: is there anything that I like in this scene at all—the setting description, a snippet of dialog, or an intriguing conflict? If not, definitely throw it out, every piece. It won’t fit in your story anywhere. But if there is something that strikes you as grand, beautiful, and useful in that scene—it might be nothing more than the description of a chair—then consider saving it away in a file for later use.

Link to the rest at David Farland

Ebooks Breathe New Life Into Novellas

29 August 2013

From Forbes blogs:

Many of the most loved, famous and influential books in modern history have been novellas. John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Stephen King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde… the list goes on. These are classics and there can’t be many who would argue that their brevity diminishes their quality.

But in recent years, the popularity of the novella has waned, with publishers shying away from these mid-length works.

. . . .

“Readers aren’t as aware of page count in the electronic realm as they are in a paper book,” he says. “There just isn’t that strong visual element to the length of the story, and where you might be within it at any particular point. Electronic books are a fluid medium: they don’t seem as fixed in space as paper books. Also, the way the it is written might be a factor: I really tried to pack each page with ideas and images and incidents. I wanted the form and the feel of the book to match the main character’s body as the overloaded signals took possession of her skin. I had the idea that the story should overflow the pages, in some way, so that it didn’t matter how long the book was in reality: the story was the thing.”

. . . .

“It’s just how it came out,” says Marion. “It’s not the epic saga that the actual sequel is going to be; it’s a smaller, more intimate story that further develops these characters and their world, while also setting the stage for what’s coming in the sequel. Stretching it into a standard-length novel would only dilute it.

“Every story has an ideal natural length. Some stories meant to be brief, enigmatic vignettes; some require more of an arc but are still streamlined enough to fit in a single-sitting, cinematic timeframe; others require hundreds of pages to fully realise their ideas. I think trying to force a story into a length it wasn’t born for leads to books that feel either underdeveloped or overstuffed.”

Link to the rest at Forbes and thanks to Abel for the tip.

It’s Just Books

29 August 2013

From author Lara Schiffbauer:

Now, as we know, some writers have (what appears to be) lucky success. I’m not saying they don’t work hard, or aren’t talented. But, how many hard-working, talented writers do you know? That’s right. Quite a few, huh? And what makes any one writer who has that crazy-good success better than any of the others that you know? See what I mean? For every one lucky hard-working, talented writer there are many hard-working, talented authors who just didn’t have the stars align in quite the same way.

. . . .

I’m a very competitive person. I’m so competitive that I don’t compete. I hate losing that much. Plunk me down in the middle of a competitive field like writing, and I’m sure to have some mental ticks.

. . . .

And the truth of writing is the majority of authors are going to be disappointed over something, sometime. Maybe even frequently disappointed. Heck, even those with crazy-good success blog and post on Facebook about how disappointed they are with something that would make 99% of other writers drool. (Can I just say how irritating that is…)

. . . .

It’s just books.

All of it is not life or death. Whether I sell a zillion copies or two copies, it really won’t change the important things in my life. I’ll still be a wife to my dearest husband, I’ll be mother to two of the quirkiest, most-lovable kids in the world. I’ll still have a job as a social worker if I want it. I’ll still be a daughter and an aunt, and a friend. I’ll still write and create the fantastical and magical.

It’s just books.

Link to the rest at Motivation for Creation and thanks to Stacy for the tip.

Kobo takes on Amazon with new e-reader line-up

29 August 2013

From The Telegraph:

Kobo has launched a new range of e-readers and tablets in the UK, in a bid to challenge Amazon’s popular Kindle devices.

. . . .

The range includes the Kobo Aura, a traditional 6-inch e-reader with a black-and-white e-ink screen, as well as the Google-certified Kobo Arc 10HD tablet and two Kobo Arc 7 tablets, all of which have capacitive touchscreens and run Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

. . . .

Kobo also plans to launch a new dedicated kids store in North America this Autumn, with safe-search features and accounts for kids, and has also expanded its children’s selection to almost 100,000, with titles like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Day Crayons Quit, Wonder and Catching Fire.

Finally, for readers who prefer a dedicated reading experience, Kobo has launched the Kobo Aura 6-inch e-reader, which features an “edge-to-edge”, high-resolution (212 dpi) touchscreen display and a front light for reading at night.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

Children’s Ebook Revenue Nosedive Drags Down Trade in 2013

29 August 2013

From Digital Book World:

Revenue for children’s ebooks was down nearly 44% to $59 million in the first four months of 2013, likely due mostly to an unfavorable comparison with the previous year. In other words, no titles have stepped in to replace the void left by The Hunger Games trilogy once its sales slowed.

Meanwhile, sales of adult ebooks were up about 12% to $437 million .

. . . .

Ebooks now represent 28.7% of trade revenues across those three categories [adult, religious and childrens].

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Why Teach English?

28 August 2013

From the Page-Turner blog on The New Yorker:

Whence, and where, and why the English major? The subject is in every mouth—or, at least, is getting kicked around agitatedly in columns and reviews and Op-Ed pieces. The English major is vanishing from our colleges as the Latin prerequisite vanished before it, we’re told, a dying choice bound to a dead subject. The estimable Verlyn Klinkenborg reports in the Times that “At Pomona College (my alma mater) this spring, 16 students graduated with an English major out of a student body of 1,560, a terribly small number,” and from other, similar schools, other, similar numbers.

In response, a number of defenses have been mounted, none of them, so far, terribly persuasive even to one rooting for them to persuade. As the bromides roll by and the platitudes chase each other round the page, those in favor of ever more and better English majors feel a bit the way we Jets fans feel, every fall, when our offense trots out on the field: I’m cheering as loud as I can, but let’s be honest—this is not working well.

The defenses and apologias come in two kinds: one insisting that English majors make better people, the other that English majors (or at least humanities majors) make for better societies; that, as Christina Paxson, the president of Brown University, just put it in The New Republic, “ there are real, tangible benefits to the humanistic disciplines—to the study of history, literature, art, theater, music, and languages.”

. . . .

So why have English majors? Well, because many people like books. Most of those like to talk about them after they’ve read them, or while they’re in the middle. Some people like to talk about them so much that they want to spend their lives talking about them to other people who like to listen. Some of us do this all summer on the beach, and others all winter in a classroom. One might call this a natural or inevitable consequence of literacy. And it’s this living, irresistible, permanent interest in reading that supports English departments, and makes sense of English majors.

Bill James dealt with this point wonderfully once, in talking about whether baseball is, as so many people within it insist, really a business, and not a sport at all. Well, James pointed out, if the sporting interest in baseball died, baseball would die; but if the business of baseball died—which, given all those empty ringside seats at Yankee Stadium, doesn’t seem impossible—but the sporting interest persisted, baseball would be altered, but it wouldn’t die. It would just reconstitute itself in a different way.

And so with English departments: if we closed down every English department in the country, loud, good, expert, or at least hyper-enthusiastic readers would still emerge. One sees this happening already, in the steady pulse of reading groups and books clubs which form, in effect, a kind of archipelago of amateur English departments.

. . . .

If we abolished English majors tomorrow, Stephen Greenblatt and Stanley Fish and Helen Vendler would not suddenly be freed to use their smarts to start making quantum proton-nuclear reactor cargo transporters, or whatever; they would all migrate someplace where they could still talk Shakespeare and Proust and the rest.

. . . .

But the best answer I have ever heard from a literature professor for studying literature came from a wise post-structuralist critic. Why was he a professor of literature? “Because I have an obsessive relationship with texts.” You choose a major, or a life, not because you see its purpose, which tends to shimmer out of sight like an oasis, but because you like its objects.

Link to the rest at The New Yorker

PG ever-so-humbly opines that this essay does a better job of demonstrating the problems with contemporary college instruction in literature than it does defending the continued existence of such instruction.

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