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Archives: August 2011

How to Report Scraper Sites to Google

Scaper sites have stolen content from writers for years, building spam websites that copy and paste your writing into a new online location. Now Google needs your help to weed out these sites that clog search results and pirate content.

Check it out: “Google is testing algorithmic changes for scraper sites (especially blog scrapers). We are asking for examples, and may use data you submit to test and improve our algorithms. This form does not perform a spam report or notice of copyright infringement. Use [this link] to report spam or [this link]  to report copyright complaints.”

These phantom websites sometimes score higher than the original content in Google search results, frustrating thousands of writers. The data you share with Google will help the search giant block these online pests. (Via Jose Afonso Furtado)

James Ellroy Beethoven Playlist on Spotify

James Ellroy has a portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven mounted above his bed. Inspired by the crime novelist’s love of the great composer, we’ve created a three-hour Spotify playlist collecting James Ellroy’s favorite Beethoven music.

Read more about Ellroy’s favorite classical music here. In an interview, Ellroy once explained: “Classical music brings back the awe of life to me and the essence of drama, and I grew up digging big, thunderous, important (music). And wanting to create it in my own way. Which could only be the word.”

Follow this link to get a Spotify invite for the free service. Once you have an account, check out our Haruki Murakami Spotify playlist, our Patti Smith Spotify playlist, our Geoff Dyer Spotify playlist and our new James Ellroy Spotify playlist.

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Elementary School Math Homework Goes Digital

Think first, second and third graders should do their math homework in workbooks? Think again. A company called StudyPad has developed a new way for young elementary school kids to do their math homework using an iPhone or an iPad.

The company has released Splash Math Grade 1, an iPhone and iPad app for math homework. It comes with a series of comprehensive math worksheets for first, second and third graders. And the company is pitching teachers to use these worksheets in the classroom in lieu of traditional print workbooks.

The $4.99 app includes exercises and games to teach basic math skills such as addition, time, money and measurements. The app also gives parents weekly progress reports of the child’s strengths and weaknesses every Saturday morning via email.

Video: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week

In this week’s episode of “5 Things You Need to Know This Week,” we give a lesson on human reproduction, talk about the U.S. Open, sit down with Julian Assange, and, oh yeah, cover that Irene thing everyone’s been talking about.

For more videos, check out Mediabistro.tv, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV


Wattpad Counts One Million Users

Digital publishing community Wattpad now counts one million registered users. The free site lets readers discover new books and writers share their work with new audiences.

Wattpad CEO Allen Lau announced the news on the company’s blog yesterday. He wrote: “We are thrilled to say that today the 1 Millionth user has just agreed with us! Our team has been growing as well; from two people to the fifteen of us today; we are growing very fast and  improving Wattpad all the time and we can’t wait to show you what we’re working on next!”

In the post Lau also hinted that the company has some more big news coming down the pike. (Via TeleRead)

What Does It Take to Write a Second Book?

Does writing your second book require a completely different mindset? Love in Mid Air author Kim Wright tackled this question in a guest post on K.M. Weiland‘s blog Wordplay.

Wright argued that it is difficult to recapture the same feelings and passion an author felt while writing their first book. There’s also the possibility that the writer no longer writes exclusively for him or herself during the second book; their growing readership may influence them in some way.

Here’s more from her blog post: “But the biggest reason book two is hard is because the writer is like my grandfather’s bird dog—shaken, spooked, and just plain not right. Even the most successful debuts have moments that sting—bad reviews, declines in sales, that time you drove three hours to a reading and two people showed up. Like a veteran marathoner or a woman pregnant with her second child, the experienced novelist knows precisely how much it’s going to hurt.” What do you think? (via Elizabeth S Craig)

Michele Bachmann Inks Book Deal with Sentinel

Presidential candidate and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann has landed a book deal with Penguin Group’s Sentinel imprint.

Publication for the currently untitled book has been set for November 21. The book will include “previously untold stories about her life outside of politics.” Publisher Adrian Zackheim acquired the book and the politician won’t receive an advance (in accordance with congressional rules).

Bachmann had this comment in the release: “People are the most important ingredient in life. I love people, and I care deeply that our nation’s economy turns around so they can realize their American dream. This book will help to share my enthusiasm for an energized, pro-growth economy, and the life experiences that inform my optimism for the American people and for American greatness.”

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The Rum Diary Trailer Released

The first trailer for the adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson‘s The Rum Diary has been released.

We’ve embedded the video above–what do you think? It will hit theaters in late October this year. As we previously noted, Oscar nominee Johnny Depp stars in this film about young writer living in Puerto Rico.

Depp actually played Thompson in the 1998 adaptation of Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. (via Deadline)

Jack Shafer: ‘Everybody Should Be Expecting a Layoff in Hard Times Like These’

Just days after getting laid off by Slate, media critic Jack Shafer shared some tough advice for all the working writers in the audience during an online interview at Poynter.

Check it out: “Everybody should be expecting a layoff in hard times like these … Do you know the play/movie Glengarry Glen Ross? There’s a cliche the boiler-room salesmen in it use: ‘ABC,’ which stands for Always Be Closing. I believe in ABL for journalists: Always Be Looking. No matter how good your job is–and mine was great–you should always be looking for your next gig.”

Shafer (pictured, via) will keep writing for Slate as a freelance contributor. The online magazine laid off a few writers last week and ended their contract with freelance books editor Ann Hulbert. What survival advice do you have for writers struggling to survive in this ongoing recession?

Anna Dewdney, Peter Bently & Vanessa Diffenbaugh Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

We’ve collected the hardcover books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending August 28, 2011–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #4 on Children’s Illustrated) Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdney: “Ah-choo! Uh-oh, Llama Llama’s nose is feeling tickly, his throat is feeling scratchy, and his head is feeling stuffy. Back to bed, no school today for Llama Llama! Instead, he’s home with Mama. By lunchtime, though, he’s beginning to feel a tiny bit better. But now someone else has the sneezes . . . Mama! And who will help her feel better? Why, Llama Llama, of course!” (August 2011)

(Debuted at #9 on Children’s Illustrated) King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently & illustrated by Helen Oxenbury: “Jack, Zack, and baby Caspar spend all day fighting dragons in their homemade fort. But when Sir Zack and Caspar are taken inside for bed, King Jack – alone on his throne – finds himself feeling a bit less brave . . . especially when he hears a thing approaching, a thing with four legs.” (August 2011)

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