Will Entrekin is a writer who makes extensive use of Lulu and MySpace. I try hard, but I really can't take to MySpace. Must be an age thing.
Facebook seems to be another MySpacey kind of thing, and I gather from today's Times that every self-respecting undergraduate is on it -- 19 million of them. A couple of nice friendly guys have invited me to sign up as a friend, or some such, and if I do, I can apparently participate in all kinds of networking opportunities.
Well, this is all very flattering, I dare say, but I was always the world's worst networker in the old days, and the advent of the internet, plus the need to register before you can see anything, definitely holds no appeal. They don't call me grumpy for nothing, you know. But the young and the technologically fluent may like it.
Galleycat quotes UK Association of Authors' Agents president Clare Alexander, to the effect that, in rights deals, the practice of exchanging Canada for Europe is extremely insulting to Canada. Surely it's even more insulting to Europe?
On the subject of self-publishing, C.E. Petit Esq. reminds me that we should beware of that list of self-publishers which crops up all over the place. You know, the one which includes Byron, Hardy, Proust, Hemingway, and so forth. Yes, I dare say these people did, at one time or another, pay to have something published. But the list is usually quoted (by firms trying to sell self-publishing services) with the implication that, if you just spend a couple of thousand dollars or so, you too can become as famous as Byron, Hardy, Proust, et al. And there's a logical flaw in that argument.
Mr Petit also reminds me, reference my complaint about contemporary book design, that there are some very well designed books about -- including some that he did himself, in a former life, e.g. Al Senn's Power, Politics, and the Olympic Games.
In common with a few other people, C.E. Petit also recommends OpenOffice as an improvement on Microsoft Word, and suggests PageMaker 7 or Adobe InDesign for the layout of books. Word-processor programs are apparently inferior to proper layout programs in two key functions: hyphenation and vertical spacing. See also the comments on my practical books for writers post for more hints and tips on this matter.
The debate continues among commenters on my Kathy O'Beirne post. And defenders of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind seem to be organising a bit of a campaign in relation to my two-year-old review of the book. I don't mind these people slagging me off -- everyone is entitled to an opinion. But does the GOB really come up so high on the Google search results that it seems to be the obvious place on which to enthuse about a book to the whole wide world? If so -- crumbs.
Endings are really rather important. And although this article deals with the endings of famous movies, you might get some ideas from it on the tricky question of how to make your novel/short story really memorable.
The link for the movie endings article, by the way, came from RealityCarnival, which is a very strange mixture of links: eclectic, I think is the word. The subjects linked to seem to include everything from the metaphysics of 4-D hendecatopes (no, I don't either) to the meaning of existence and white peacocks. Thanks to Lynne Scanlon for the link.
Waterstone's have issued a new rate card for space in their shops. Yes, they'll sell anything; even a seat in the loo costs £5. Publishers are howling. Report in Publishing News; link from booktrade.info.
I knew that Ingram was a big name in US book distribution, but I hadn't realised that the Ingram group has a substantial interest in all matters digital. Among other things, they own Lightning Source. And now they announce that, through VitalSource, they have distributed one billion ebooks in the VitalBook format.