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Writer Resources

Does the English Language Drive You Crazy?

Does the English language drive you crazy?

Gregory Brown and Mitchell Moffit, the co-creators of the AsapSCIENCE YouTube channel, have written a poem called “English Is Crazy!” The two collaborators posted a poetry video on their second channel, AsapTHOUGHT, featuring Moffit as the narrator.

The Huffington Post lists some of the reasons why English can cause frustration; “grammar rules can be inconsistent, spelling nonsensical and don’t get us started on plurals, pronouns and pronunciation. Tough, cough, bough and dough. Enough said.” What do you think?

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Are You For or Against the Oxford Comma?

Do you regularly use the oxford comma in your writing? The animated video embedded above features a three-minute TED-Ed lesson called “Grammar’s Great Divide: The Oxford Comma.”

This linguistics lesson focuses on the debate between those for and against what is “perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time.” Back in 2011, the University of Oxford Writing and Style Guide noted that use of the serial comma should be generally avoided.

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Laugh Riot Press to Launch E-commerce Site For Indie Authors

laughriotLaugh Riot Press, a new site dedicated to indie authors and humor books, plans to launch an e-commerce website this year.

The website will be designed as a location for writers to connect directly with readers looking for funny books. The platform will give writers publishing and social media marketing tools. The site will be genre-specific, focusing on humor, in an attempt to garner a more focused readership.

“I wanted my books to have a life of their own as soon as possible, my theory being the more funny books in the world, the better,” explained Rich Leder, screenwriter, novelist, and founder of Laugh Riot Press, in a statement.

Amtrak is Offering Writer’s Residency on Trains

amtrakWriters residencies just got mobile. Amtrak is now offering free rides to writers on long rides so that they can get some writing done.

The idea came from a Twitter. Inspired by an interview that discussed writing on trains, writers Zach Seward and Jessica Gross tweeted their desires for a writers in residency program on Amtrak. Amtrak responded to the tweet and offered Gross the chance to test drive the idea. She took a ride from New York to Chicago and back. The Wire has the story:

She rode the rails from NYC to Chicago to NYC again, writing the whole time. No one else on the train knew about her residency, Gross said, or if they did, they “definitely didn’t act like it.” Now, perhaps the most important point: The residency was free. According to Gross, all Amtrak asked was that she send out a few tweets while she was traveling, and do an interview for the company’s blog at the end of her trip.

20 Authors Share Tips for Writing Love Scenes

book heartAre you spending Valentine’s Day at your writing desk? For those who are crafting fictional romance stories, we’ve collected 20 tips on how to write love scenes. The various authors who contributed advice specialize in the young adult and adult fiction genres. (Photo CreditJudy Van Der Velden)

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Louis Sachar: “Always be willing to rewrite.”

LouisOver the weekend, Louis Sachar visited New York City to headline an event for the 92Y’s Children’s Reading Series. Attendees listened to him perform a reading and joined in on a Q&A session.

When asked for writing advice, Sachar (pictured, via) recommended that one “always be willing to rewrite.” He shared that he always comes up with the best ideas as he is re-writing. He feels that initial ideas can sometimes seem superficial and it is only in subsequent drafts that those ideas become more substantial.

For Sachar, each book typically requires him to write six drafts. He usually devotes the first three or four drafts to ironing out the plot and character development. For his final drafts, he tries to write the story in the most artistic way he can. What do you think?

Noise Trade Books Helps You Market Your Book

noisetradebooks
NoiseTrade, a music marketing startup founded in 2008, has expanded its platform and to help authors and publishers market books.

Authors and publishers can take advantage of this platform by releasing free chapters or entire books and giving this content away in exchange for customer data.  NoiseTrade Books lets authors make content available to readers for free and connect directly with content creators in exchange for an email and a zip code. The idea is to help authors build up their own mailing lists. NoiseTrade also sends out a weekly email highlighting eBooks and audiobooks and this email goes out to 1.2 million people.

Authors including Cory Doctorow,  Guy Kawasaki and Dave Ramsey, as well as publishing sites DailyLit and Byliner are already using the platform.

DIY Tips to Help Market Your Book

market-book_articleSo let’s say you’ve published your book (hooray!) — no doubt with the help of your stellar nonfiction book proposal. Your work is done, right? Not exactly. Your next step is crucial: you need to get people interested enough to actually buy your work. That’s where the marketing efforts comes in.

In the final “Book Publishing” installment of our Profit From Your Passion series, we talked with a variety of publishing experts about how to promote your book, even if you can’t afford to hire a publicist. One of the biggest lessons learned? Don’t stop writing:

There are literally thousands of magazines and websites that regularly hire freelance writers (see our How To Pitch column for leads), and if you’re interested in penning an op-ed or trend piece around one of the topics in your book, it can be a great way to actually get paid to promote your own work. ”It’s important to think about not only the topics that the author has the authority to write and that may interest them, but also how it ties in to the book,” says [Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity]. “If your audience mostly reads a lot of hard news, then you want to be pitching CNN, the Wall Street JournalThe New York Times. If your audience reads more lifestyle stuff, then going to women’s lifestyle publications and websites makes sense.”

For more book-marketing tips, including advice on how starting a blog can help, read: 6 Ways to Effectively Market Your Book.

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.

Experts Break Down the Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal

book-proposal-2_articleAs part of this week’s Profit From Your Passion series, yesterday we offered advice on how to get your book proposal off the ground. Now that you’ve got an outline in your head for your nonfiction book idea, the next step toward attracting a publisher is to sit down and compose the formal proposal. Although easier said than done, the process can actually help you narrow your focus, determine what your unique angle is — and help you stay organized.

We talked to seasoned writers, agents and editors about the basic elements of a nonfiction book proposal, mistakes to avoid and more. The takeaway is that your book proposal shouldn’t be taken lightly:

One thing [Brian Klems, author and online editor for Writer’s Digest] wishes he’d known ahead of time was that writing the proposal, even after having done most of the research, takes a really long time. “I thought the hard part would be writing the book, and that I’d knock out the proposal in one night. A friend of mine said no, don’t do that… don’t hand it in, give it a couple of days to sit down and start going over it. This is your one shot, you want to get it as right as possible.” In light of how we writers tend to be perfectionists, however, he adds, “You always feel like you can improve, but at that point, you do have to cut yourself off and say, it’s time for me to put it out there.”

For more information on how to write a compelling nonfiction book proposal, read: Getting Started on Your Nonfiction Book Proposal.

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.

How to Get Your Book Proposal Off the Ground

a12000So you’ve got a great idea for a book. Congrats! Before you plunge right in, you’ll want to take some time to craft a book proposal. A few questions to ask yourself: Do you have some knowledge of the publishing industry? Could you be considered an authority on the subject of your book? Are you ready to wholeheartedly promote your book for about a year following its release?

In the third week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, we talk to three leading industry experts, who discuss the various stages of the book-proposal process.

Rachelle Gardner, literary agent at Books & Such, states that you’re likely ready to write a book when you’ve spent years “thinking about [your topic], studying it, writing about it, both in your personal journals and in public spaces, possibly speaking to audiences about it, getting a degree in it or building a career around it.” Your own expertise is an essential selling point in the eyes of an agent or editor. Gardner adds, “You’re ready to write a book when you know what everyone else is writing about your topic, and you are confident that you have something fresh to add to the conversation.”

For more information on the book-proposal process, read: Laying the Groundwork for Your Book Proposal.

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.

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