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Archives: January 2013

Month of Letters Challenge Returns

Do you miss writing letters the old fashioned way? In February, author Mary Robinette Kowal will host her annual A Month of Letters Challenge, as writers around the world will try to post a letter a day.

This year, the challenge will include letter writer profiles, forums and lots of extra goodies. You can sign up at this link:

In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items. All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month. Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and write for an audience of one. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

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Mediabistro Course

Nonfiction Book Proposal

Nonfiction Book ProposalStarting September 4,work with a literary agent to complete a full proposal that wins an agent and a contract! Ryan Harbage from The Fischer-Harbage Agency, Inc. will teach you how to convey your idea in a winning book proposal format, write your proposal letter, understand the nuts and bolts of the nonfiction book industry, and more. Register now! 

Colin Harrison Promoted to EIC of Scribner

Simon & Schuster has promoted Colin Harrison to VP, editor-in-chief of its Scribner imprint.

Harrison has spent 11 years at the publisher, but he has also written seven novels, including Break and Enter, Manhattan Nocturne and Risk. At Scribner, he worked on many books, including Sam Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon, Doug Stanton’s Horse Soldiers and Dan Okrent‘s Last Call. Previously, he had served as deputy editor at Harper’s.

Here’s more from publisher Nan Graham‘s memo: “Colin has brought prestige and profitability to the house. He began with a bang, acquiring Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead the week before he was officially employed, and went on to publish a range of stellar titles from the mega-New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog to literary gems by Ron Hansen, and Carol Sklenicka’s Raymond Carver … His alliances with colleagues in all departments at Simon & Schuster, his eloquence, conviction and savvy when launching a book, his teacher’s instincts, and his solidarity with our staff make him an ideal Editor-in-Chief for Scribner.”

Kate Winslet May Join ‘Divergent’ Adaptation

Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet might join the cast of Divergent.

At the moment, it’s not certain what role Winslet (pictured, via) will play in this film adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s New York Times-bestselling young-adult novel.

CinemaBlend.com speculates that she could portray one of the three following characters: head villain Jeanine Matthews, mother Natalie Prior and tattoo artist Tori. Variety reports that the movie will hit theaters on March 21, 2014.

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ALA Helps Librarians Score eBook Licensing Deals

As digital book usage grows in libraries, the ALA has released a new tool to help librarians grade the licensing deals they strike with individual publishers.

AppNewser has all the details:

The American Library Association (ALA) has created a new report to help libraries manage eBook licensing terms, called “The Business Model Scorecard.” The scorecard helps inform librarians about the different variables involved in library eBook license contracts to help them negotiate eBook licensing deals with publishers. The objective is to give public libraries ideas to craft their own contracts. The report breaks down 15 different eBook contract variables for libraries, including factors such as eBook pricing and access to patrons.

Comic Book Creators Raise Funds Through PayPal Donations

The comic book creators behind the upcoming Posthuman film decided not to use crowdfunding sites for their work, raising money directly through a website and PayPal instead.

What do you think? Will more creators try to raise money by themselves? Social Times has all the details:

instead of turning fans via Kickstarter or Indiegogo the creators of “Posthuman” are raising money on their own website. The setup is similar to an Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign—there are various perks depending on the amount of money you donate ($10 or more gets you a digital download of the prequel comic book and your name in the credits, $25 gets you an early link to each installment before it’s released and a download of the soundtrack, $50 gets you a t-shirt and “Superpower Button Pack”, and $75 gets you all of the above plus a signed physical copy of the comic book). Roberts explains, “People can donate whenever…directly through PayPal.  We set that up so when people donate they can have the assurance that 100 percent of their donation is going to the project, instead of a percentage going to a third party crowd funding site.”

Do You Write While Standing Up?

In a new series looking at the workspaces of different work leaders, LinkedIn included an essay from Spencer Stuart senior director James Citrin who uses a combination treadmill and desk while working. Here’s more from Citrin’s post:

The ideal walking speed for talking on the phone without getting busted is 0.7 mph. But if I’m writing a document or doing email, then 1.3 mph is my speed of choice. Over the course of a day in the office I will typically walk three miles on this walking desk which I’ve had for about four years. It is a gorgeous high tech machine, with a mahogony desktop that rises or lowers with the press of a button integrated with a low-speed, silent, high-torque walking treadmill. The unit, which has a speed range of 0.3 to 2.0 mph, cost about $4,000 when I bought it. I traded up to this walking dream machine from a stand-up desk which I got about 18 years ago, not long after I started at Spencer Stuart

Do you write while standing up? We’d love to hear how you do it. Studies show that sitting at work all day can actually harm your health. Some writers use standing desks and others use exercise tools to stay active.

Are Small Publishers the Future of the Industry?

In an essay in the Independent Book Publishers Association’s monthly Independent magazine, Ingram content acquisition VP and IBPA board of directors member Kelly Gallagher showed why small and medium-sized publishers are “the industry’s healthiest and fastest-growing segment.”

The article noted that small publishers (the presses that need fewer than ten ISBNs every year year) have increased 69 percent between 2006 and 2011. Bowker now counts almost 21,000 of these scrappy publishers.

What do you think? Is this rapidly expanding segment the future of the publishing industry?

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Celebrate Book Giving Day with a Beers for Books Party

As lovers make plans for Valentine’s Day, book lovers need to remember that February 14th is also International Book Giving Day.

Instead of making fancy restaurant reservation, perhaps you should organize Beers for Books party instead. The basic plan is to partner with a bar, have a good time and raise money for literacy charities. Click here for all the details.

Here’s more about the organization: “The basic idea of ‘B4B’ is that you find a cool bar/restaurant in your neighborhood which agrees to donate $1 for every drink sold on a specific night, you invite all your friends (and they invite all their friends), and every $1 funds a high quality local language book for kids via Room to Read. Since February 2009 we’ve held events on 4 continents and 11 countries to raise funds for books for kids just by hanging out and having a good time. It’s an easy way to do good and learn about the amazing work of Room to Read with fun people.”

Figment Launches James Patterson Insipired Writing Contest

The online writing community Figment has partnered with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to host The Kiss writing contest

Participants have the opportunity to win $500 in prize money and a 16GB iPad mini that contains eBooks by James Patterson. The winning story will be posted onto Patterson’s young-adult website; the victorious writer will also receive a personal message from Patterson on Facebook.

To enter, writers must write a short short story (500 words or less) “about a relationship that no one approves of” and submit it before the February 26th deadline.

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Novelist Seeks One-Star Amazon Reviews in New Contest

Novelist Brian Allen Carr received a particularly mean-spirited one-star review on Amazon that ended with this spiteful comment: “You basically suck as an author and I hope you never publish a book again!!”

Instead of getting angry, Carr decided to embrace his one-star review status of Short Bus, hosting a contest to reward the reader who can deliver the best one-star review of his novel.

HTMLGiant has all the details: “he’s doing a ‘Lone Star’ contest: write the best 1-star review of the book by the end of February, and he’ll give you all three of his books, including the newest, Edie and the Low-Hung Hands (Small Doggies Press).”

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