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Spine, An App for Creating and Collecting Five Sentence Stories

spineLong-form has its place in magazine apps, but if you’re looking for some poetry and prose, great stories crafted with five sentences are now easier to find thanks to this iOS app, Spine. It’s a simple app that lets you publish your own tiny tales, follow other short-form writers, and rate their small stories.

It’s like a social network for poets! If you’re using spine, share your own Spine profile below in the comments to find other Appnewser users.    Read more

Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Quora Hoping to Lure Writers By Granting Access to Traffic Analytics

Quora is giving its writers what they’ve asked for:  better traffic analysis for the content they create. By giving users what they want, Quora has a better chance of retaining writers, while attracting new ones with better benefits.

Quora analytics Read more

Founder of NaNoWriMo Tells How He Created a Following Without Social Media


Chris Baty started a fiction writing movement without the help of Facebook and Twitter. Back in 1999, Baty was a 26 year old who shared a love of books with his friends and wanted to give one of his crazy ideas a try. With six writers and 50,000 words down in 30 days, the experiment was a success.

Today, NaNoWriMo has over 226,000 participants in 90 countries around the world. But how did Baty attract so many followers sans social media? In the latest Mediabistro feature, he tells how the movement grew:

If you had to credit one single catalyst as the reason for NaNoWriMo’s breakout success — in the pre-social media era — what would it be?
The amazing thing is it was truly word of mouth in a time when there were not a lot of easy ways to spread [the word]. It was back when the main social networking tool was email. And also, the year when it really kind of exploded was the third year, and that was 2001, and blogs were just starting to come into their own. I think that National Novel Writing Month was helped by the fact that suddenly there was this category of websites called a blog, which were to be updated regularly, so people needed things to write about. And then a lot of the people who would write about it just to have a blog post would end up blogging about the process.

To hear more from Baty, including tips on how to write a novel in 30 days, read: Hey, How’d You Start a Fiction-Writing Revolution, Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo?

– Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Twitter Mislabeled Philadelphia City Paper as Spam, Breaks Links to News Articles

Journalists and newspapers should be wary of relying on Twitter to disseminate new stories. Last week, the micro-blogging site mislabeled the Philadelphia City Paper as spam and disconnected all links to news articles, prompting some  of the paper’s journalists to hold off on publishing stories, since it will not get the proper attention via Twitter.

Twitter Spam Notice

In fact, the paper had to create a temporary Tumblr site in order to tweet new stories. Sadly, the Philadelphia City Paper is not the only account that has noticed the undesirable spam notice.

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How Have eBooks Changed the Publishing Game?


Kara Taylor is unlike most people her age. For one, she’s already a published author (she wrote her debut novel, Prep School Confidential, while still in college). And while many millennials are struggling to find a job and possibly still living in their parent’s basement, Taylor is jetting to L.A. to help write and co-executive produce a new CW show, The Revengers (created by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack).

Taylor recently spoke with Mediabistro about the struggles of finding a literary agent (she was rejected by over 100 of them), landing her TV writing gig and how digital has changed the publishing game:

You came into the publishing industry fairly recently, in the midst of all of the changes on the digital landscape. How has that affected your approach to your career?
I know with a lot of the [YA] authors, the pressure to churn out a book every year is enormous, and that’s why a lot of authors have turned to releasing short, eBook novellas in between their books. My publisher is a little different. [At] St. Martin’s Griffin, their trade paperbacks, which Prep School Confidential is, come out every six to eight months, so the second book in the series is actually going to be out in March [2014]. So they stick with that model, and they really haven’t experimented a lot with the short eBooks. It’s not something that I’ve considered for this series, but I do know that to have longevity as a writer, if you’re not doing a book a year, it’s hard to stay in the game. I know a lot of people are doing these serialized novels in eBook form, so that’s something that I’d definitely like to dabble in, especially since I write for TV, too. Episodic writing comes naturally to me.

To hear more about how she achieved her early success, read Hey, How’d You Become a Published Author and TV Writer at 23, Kara Taylor?

Aneya Fernando

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Should You Pay to Get an Interview Transcribed?

For writers and media pros, getting the most out of an interview is of utmost importance – especially on a deadline. Whether you’re a newbie writer or just introverted, it can be difficult to keep your cool while fumbling for your notebook or dealing with an uncooperative recording device. In the latest Mediabistro feature, veteran scribes give tips on how to get the most out of an expert interview. Luckily for us, there are a myriad of options to make transcription easier:

For a free option, try Express Scribe Transcription Software or use the Dragon Dictation app for iPad and iPhone. The downfall of using a free service is that you will often have to go back in and edit words and add punctuation. If you don’t want to worry about this, one of our Mediabistro editors recommends the Rev Voice Recorder app, which accurately and quickly transcribes interviews for $1 a minute. Before you write off the idea of paying for a transcription service, stop and think about how much you’re worth. For example, if it takes you two hours to transcribe a 50-minute interview, and you value your time at $50/hr, you’d be better off paying the $50 to have the interview transcribed than to waste $100 of your time.

For more, read Get the Most Out of Your Interview With an Expert.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Rev Voice Recorder Test Drive

Earlier this year, I wrote about the best free apps for transcribing recorded interviews, speeches, videos or other audio content.

If you don’t want to do the work yourself, there is another option. For $1 a minute, you can transcribe pre-recorded text using the Rev Voice Recorder app. At a conference last week, I tested out the platform with a ten-minute speech.

I recorded 10 minutes of a speech on the app’s “normal” setting from my seat in a hotel ballroom. I recorded the speech and uploaded it to the Rev translators straight from my phone at 2:30 in the afternoon. They emailed me back a clear and accurate transcript at 9:00 pm the same night.

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750 Words Helps You Meet Daily Writing Goals

Do you struggle to meet your daily writing goals? Buster Benson has created 750 Words, a way to make sure you keep writing every day.

You can sign up for the free service, track your daily writing and earn stickers for your accomplishments. Benson created the site as a digital twist on “morning pages” from The Artist’s Way. That handbook suggests you write three longhand pages every day. Check it out:

Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in “long hand”, typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It’s about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day … This site of course tracks your word count at all times and lets you know when you’ve passed the blessed 750 mark. And it gives you a nice big screen to write on, automatically scrolls as you write (like a typewriter), and automatically saves your writing as you go.

Star Wars Saga Reimagined as William Shakespeare Play Complete with Elizabethan Iambic Pentameter

The force is with this eBook: William Shakespeare Star Wars. Iambic Pentameter? Check. Elizabethan inspired drawings? Check. Kindle Version? Check. Unfortunately, this book does not double as a light saber, but I know where to get one.

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ‘Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

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Miranda July Curates Celebrities Emails in New Digital Art Project

If getting inside the heads of celebrities sounds appealing to you, then you are going to love Miranda July‘s latest project “We Think Alone.” The author/filmmaker has asked ten famous people to share previously sent private emails so that she can use them to craft digital portraits. Participants include: Kareem Abdul-JabbarLena DunhamKirsten Dunst, Sheila HetiEtgar KeretKate and Laura MulleavyCatherine OpieLee Smolin and Danh Vo.

Readers can opt in to receive a weekly email newsletter with communications from all ten of the personalities. The emails were all sent prior to this project to someone in their life. The emails were personally chosen by the sender. Every week will have a different theme. The first theme is money. Here is more from the project’s description:

…our inner life is not actually the same thing as our life on the computer — a quiet person might !!!! a lot. A person with a busy mind might write almost nothing. And of course while none of these emails were originally intended to be read by me (much less you*)  they were all carefully selected by their authors in response to my list of email genres — so self-portraiture is quietly at work here.

Follow this link to sign up.