Tuesday, December 17, 2013

More Writing Cheat Sheets

Since I received a lot of positive feedback on my first list of 'cheat sheets' and was tipped off to several more since then, I thought I'd do a follow-up post. In the season of giving, here's another list of helpful reference web pages:

115 Words for 'Walks'  This cheat sheet upped the ante on 60 Words for Walk. Thanks Alan Donahue!

Taste & Aroma infographic Find the right word(s) to describe what your character is sensing.

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions A color chart with 8 basic emotions and 8 advanced emotions each composed of 2 basic ones. It's simpler to understand than to describe!

Realistic Travel A table for estimating travel times by various means of transport. Even pigeon.

Stages of Grief  Since many fictional characters experience grief at some point, this table can help you get it right.

The Science of Getting Drunk An excellent infographic to help describe realistic alcohol consumption and its effects (click to zoom in so you can read it).

The Limits of the Human Body  Ever wonder exactly how much your character can endure? If they're human, this may help.

The Hero's Journey in chart form. See Joseph Campbell's narrative in a visual progression.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know!

For even more writing tips, tricks, reminders, and cheat sheets, check out my Pinterest board on the topic.

Author Update: While my editor is re-reading the revised Crimson & Cream, I'm working on six chapters of Mirrors & Mist that I decided to re-write after input from my editor. I'm moving the chapters' focus from flashback to real time, with the backstory sprinkled in. While I won't achieve my 2013 release-date goal for Mirrors & Mist, I can promise it will be available in 2014, along with the revised second edition of Crimson & Cream.

Happy Holidays Everyone! See you in 2014!


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : More Writing Cheat Sheets
link : More Writing Cheat Sheets

Read Also


2013

Since I received a lot of positive feedback on my first list of 'cheat sheets' and was tipped off to several more since then, I thought I'd do a follow-up post. In the season of giving, here's another list of helpful reference web pages:

115 Words for 'Walks'  This cheat sheet upped the ante on 60 Words for Walk. Thanks Alan Donahue!

Taste & Aroma infographic Find the right word(s) to describe what your character is sensing.

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions A color chart with 8 basic emotions and 8 advanced emotions each composed of 2 basic ones. It's simpler to understand than to describe!

Realistic Travel A table for estimating travel times by various means of transport. Even pigeon.

Stages of Grief  Since many fictional characters experience grief at some point, this table can help you get it right.

The Science of Getting Drunk An excellent infographic to help describe realistic alcohol consumption and its effects (click to zoom in so you can read it).

The Limits of the Human Body  Ever wonder exactly how much your character can endure? If they're human, this may help.

The Hero's Journey in chart form. See Joseph Campbell's narrative in a visual progression.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know!

For even more writing tips, tricks, reminders, and cheat sheets, check out my Pinterest board on the topic.

Author Update: While my editor is re-reading the revised Crimson & Cream, I'm working on six chapters of Mirrors & Mist that I decided to re-write after input from my editor. I'm moving the chapters' focus from flashback to real time, with the backstory sprinkled in. While I won't achieve my 2013 release-date goal for Mirrors & Mist, I can promise it will be available in 2014, along with the revised second edition of Crimson & Cream.

Happy Holidays Everyone! See you in 2014!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Favorite Writing 'Cheat Sheets'

The day before Thanksgiving (US) may not be the optimal time to post, but here goes anyway. Consider this a little holiday treat and my best wishes that everyone enjoys their holiday (or regular) weekend.

Based on the positive response from my last blog post, I thought I'd share another one of my favorites lists with you. Here's a collection of reference web pages (i.e., cheat sheets) I use when writing, mainly in pursuit of finding the right word. If you have good ones to share, please do.

41 Flavors of Body Language for Writers by Susan J. Morris at Omnioracious  Describing body language of a non point-of-view character is one way to convey their mental state with head-hopping.

Catalogue of Human Features by Majnouna at DeviantArt  An excellent tool to help all your character descriptions from sounding the same. Also useful for those times when you can envision how a character looks, but can't find the right words to describe their appearance.

HTML Color Chart with 140 Color Names  I'm bad at remembering the less common names of colors. This helps me combat that flaw.

Character Trait Chart and Personality Components By Sandy Tritt at Women on Writing  There are a million character trait charts on the Internet, but this comprehensive compilation is my favorite (so far).

60 Synonyms for “Walk” by Mark Nichol at Daily Writing Tips  Walk is an easy word to overuse and it's also a usual suspect for unnecessary adverb addition.

Character Feelings Chart from CALIHOO  Angry, sad, and mad are great, but it doesn't hurt to mix it up a bit. With feeling!

Character Moods of Emotions from CALIHOO  A great list for finding the right word to describe the exact emotion you're looking for.

And one for when you're finished with your masterpiece:

Six Things an Author Should Include at the End of Their Novel by Jessica at Compulsion Reads

Did I miss any of your favorites?  Let me know!

Author Update: Since my last update, I've been finalizing the second edition of Crimson & Cream. I'm hoping to make use of the holiday weekend to finish my re-work (two chapters remain) and send it to my editor in December. Then, I plan to finish implementing her editorial suggestions to Mirrors & Mist (Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy).


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : My Favorite Writing 'Cheat Sheets'
link : My Favorite Writing 'Cheat Sheets'

Read Also


2013

The day before Thanksgiving (US) may not be the optimal time to post, but here goes anyway. Consider this a little holiday treat and my best wishes that everyone enjoys their holiday (or regular) weekend.

Based on the positive response from my last blog post, I thought I'd share another one of my favorites lists with you. Here's a collection of reference web pages (i.e., cheat sheets) I use when writing, mainly in pursuit of finding the right word. If you have good ones to share, please do.

41 Flavors of Body Language for Writers by Susan J. Morris at Omnioracious  Describing body language of a non point-of-view character is one way to convey their mental state with head-hopping.

Catalogue of Human Features by Majnouna at DeviantArt  An excellent tool to help all your character descriptions from sounding the same. Also useful for those times when you can envision how a character looks, but can't find the right words to describe their appearance.

HTML Color Chart with 140 Color Names  I'm bad at remembering the less common names of colors. This helps me combat that flaw.

Character Trait Chart and Personality Components By Sandy Tritt at Women on Writing  There are a million character trait charts on the Internet, but this comprehensive compilation is my favorite (so far).

60 Synonyms for “Walk” by Mark Nichol at Daily Writing Tips  Walk is an easy word to overuse and it's also a usual suspect for unnecessary adverb addition.

Character Feelings Chart from CALIHOO  Angry, sad, and mad are great, but it doesn't hurt to mix it up a bit. With feeling!

Character Moods of Emotions from CALIHOO  A great list for finding the right word to describe the exact emotion you're looking for.

And one for when you're finished with your masterpiece:

Six Things an Author Should Include at the End of Their Novel by Jessica at Compulsion Reads

Did I miss any of your favorites?  Let me know!

Author Update: Since my last update, I've been finalizing the second edition of Crimson & Cream. I'm hoping to make use of the holiday weekend to finish my re-work (two chapters remain) and send it to my editor in December. Then, I plan to finish implementing her editorial suggestions to Mirrors & Mist (Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy).


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Favorite Helpful Websites

I've compiled a list of my favorite 'go-to' websites related to writing, quasi-Listverse-style. Hopefully you'll find a hidden gem or two in this list.

Indies Unlimited  What it is: A blog run by and for independent authors.Why I like it: Indies Unlimited offers 3-4 posts per day, covering a plethora of topics including, but not limited to: free self-service promo features (Freebie Fridays, Thrifty Thursdays, Print Book Paradise), flash-fiction contests, new release announcements, video trailer features, sneak-peek showcases, interviews, guest posts, a bookstore featuring members, and a knowledge base featuring past articles, which include great tutorials on just about everything related to indie writing. Plus, the folks that run IU are nice, helpful, and accessible.

Pro Writing Aid  What it is: A free online editing tool that lets you paste blocks of your writing and then analyzes it and highlights problems and offers tips and suggestions. Why I like it: It's free and has more features than some paid services. I have more details in this post.

Free Thesaurus.org  What it is: A free online thesaurus (duh!). Why I like it: There are a lot of options for free online thesauri, but I like Free Thesaurus.org more than others because of the Visual Thesaurus feature (graphically-linked word diagrams) and it's clean, quick interface.

MorgueFile  What it is: An online database of free reference images (although not public domain images). Why I like it: MorgueFile has a huge selection of images and the usage requirements of each image is clearly described. I use it primarily to find imagery for my blog (see image below), but it can be used for any variety of non-commercial uses.

Visual Dictionary Online  What it is: Merriam-Webster's free online dictionary featuring image-themed definitions. Why I like it: As a visual person, a picture is definitely worth 1,000 words to me. These graphics are great for learning all the various parts and pieces that comprise an object.

Catalogue of Human Features by Majnouna What it is: A poster-like graphic on DeviantArt that displays and labels a wide variety of human features, such as face shapes, eye and hair colors, body types, and more. Why I like it: It's a nice reference chart for describing in writing the characters I envision in my head. Works in reverse, too, when trying to envision characters. Majnouna has a lot of other great graphics on DeviantArt as well.

Spreeder What it is: A free online tool for improving your reading speed. Why I like it: Because it seems to work, and as a writer, I love to read, so the ability to read (and comprehend) faster is a trait I covet. I cut and paste blog posts and other articles I'm interested in, then read them on Spreeder, cranking up my word speed a little every time.

Maxwell Alexander Drake's Class List  What it is: The support website for fantasy author Maxwell Alexander Drake's Creative Writing Sessions, including class handouts and materials. Why I like it: Because I attended four of Drake's sessions at Comic-Con each of the last two years and find myself returning to his class resources for reference and refreshing. I suspect his handouts have stand-alone value, even if you've not attended any of his sessions.

Author Update: After some brain-storming with my editor, I've decided to re-work several (I think six) chapters from Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Basically, I'm removing a lot of flashback scenes and putting more focus on the story's present-time. I'm also adding some of the flashback/backstory to the second edition of Crimson & Cream, to better setup book 2. In December, Crimson & Cream will go back to my editor for a final polish and while she's doing that, I will finish the changes to Mirrors & Mist. Meanwhile, 2013 continues slipping away . . .



2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : My Favorite Helpful Websites
link : My Favorite Helpful Websites

Read Also


2013

I've compiled a list of my favorite 'go-to' websites related to writing, quasi-Listverse-style. Hopefully you'll find a hidden gem or two in this list.

Indies Unlimited  What it is: A blog run by and for independent authors.Why I like it: Indies Unlimited offers 3-4 posts per day, covering a plethora of topics including, but not limited to: free self-service promo features (Freebie Fridays, Thrifty Thursdays, Print Book Paradise), flash-fiction contests, new release announcements, video trailer features, sneak-peek showcases, interviews, guest posts, a bookstore featuring members, and a knowledge base featuring past articles, which include great tutorials on just about everything related to indie writing. Plus, the folks that run IU are nice, helpful, and accessible.

Pro Writing Aid  What it is: A free online editing tool that lets you paste blocks of your writing and then analyzes it and highlights problems and offers tips and suggestions. Why I like it: It's free and has more features than some paid services. I have more details in this post.

Free Thesaurus.org  What it is: A free online thesaurus (duh!). Why I like it: There are a lot of options for free online thesauri, but I like Free Thesaurus.org more than others because of the Visual Thesaurus feature (graphically-linked word diagrams) and it's clean, quick interface.

MorgueFile  What it is: An online database of free reference images (although not public domain images). Why I like it: MorgueFile has a huge selection of images and the usage requirements of each image is clearly described. I use it primarily to find imagery for my blog (see image below), but it can be used for any variety of non-commercial uses.

Visual Dictionary Online  What it is: Merriam-Webster's free online dictionary featuring image-themed definitions. Why I like it: As a visual person, a picture is definitely worth 1,000 words to me. These graphics are great for learning all the various parts and pieces that comprise an object.

Catalogue of Human Features by Majnouna What it is: A poster-like graphic on DeviantArt that displays and labels a wide variety of human features, such as face shapes, eye and hair colors, body types, and more. Why I like it: It's a nice reference chart for describing in writing the characters I envision in my head. Works in reverse, too, when trying to envision characters. Majnouna has a lot of other great graphics on DeviantArt as well.

Spreeder What it is: A free online tool for improving your reading speed. Why I like it: Because it seems to work, and as a writer, I love to read, so the ability to read (and comprehend) faster is a trait I covet. I cut and paste blog posts and other articles I'm interested in, then read them on Spreeder, cranking up my word speed a little every time.

Maxwell Alexander Drake's Class List  What it is: The support website for fantasy author Maxwell Alexander Drake's Creative Writing Sessions, including class handouts and materials. Why I like it: Because I attended four of Drake's sessions at Comic-Con each of the last two years and find myself returning to his class resources for reference and refreshing. I suspect his handouts have stand-alone value, even if you've not attended any of his sessions.

Author Update: After some brain-storming with my editor, I've decided to re-work several (I think six) chapters from Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Basically, I'm removing a lot of flashback scenes and putting more focus on the story's present-time. I'm also adding some of the flashback/backstory to the second edition of Crimson & Cream, to better setup book 2. In December, Crimson & Cream will go back to my editor for a final polish and while she's doing that, I will finish the changes to Mirrors & Mist. Meanwhile, 2013 continues slipping away . . .



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 2

My disclaimer from Part 1 of this post still holds true. Today I'll discuss a free online service called HootSuite, which, like IFTTT, can help you automate and streamline your social media presence. HootSuite offers many features, including tools to manage multiple social networks and schedule messages and tweets to multiple websites at optimal times.

The free plan offers the following features:
  • Manage up to 5 Social Profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Blogger,WordPress, Reddit, and Stumble Upon are most of the big ones available);
  • Basic Analytic Reports (profile overviews, engagement summaries, page insights);
  • Message Scheduling (automatically at times you choose to the sites you choose); 
  • App Integration; and
  • Up to 2 RSS feeds.
I've been using HootSuite for several weeks, but am by no means an expert. From my limited exposure, I've listed my personal Pros & Cons below:

Pros:
  • I use the auto-schedule tool to post to Facebook and Twitter at the 'optimal times' as determined by HootSuite. You can also post whenever you want, without using the auto-schedule.
  • HootSuite lets me see my Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger feed from one dashboard.
Cons:
  • I can't access my Google Plus personal page (which is my personal favorite social media), although I can access my G+ page (which is not the same as my personal stream).  Pinterest and Delicious are not currently supported directly, either. Connecting to your Gmail is available, but not free ($2/month).
  • HootSuite doesn't let you customize the feed options like the individual social media websites do (for example, in HootSuite, I see posts from all my Facebook friends, even ones I've limited or restricted on Facebook).
Instead of re-inventing the wheel or pretending I'm an expert, I'd like to refer you to a couple of very informative posts relating to HootSuite. Both articles were published on one of my favorite blogs; Indies Unlimited and have lots more tricks and tips to share from experienced users:

 http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/10/15/author-tips-smart-marketing-with-twitter/

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/05/08/tuesday-tutorial-hootsuite-101-by-troy-stewart/

Author Update: Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is still being edited with a vengeance. Meanwhile, I'm working my way through the second edition of Crimson & Cream, currently on Chapter 24 of 28. October 2013 will not go down as one of my favorite months, but hopefully November brings better days.  Best wishes to you all!


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 2
link : Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 2

Read Also


2013

My disclaimer from Part 1 of this post still holds true. Today I'll discuss a free online service called HootSuite, which, like IFTTT, can help you automate and streamline your social media presence. HootSuite offers many features, including tools to manage multiple social networks and schedule messages and tweets to multiple websites at optimal times.

The free plan offers the following features:

  • Manage up to 5 Social Profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Blogger,WordPress, Reddit, and Stumble Upon are most of the big ones available);
  • Basic Analytic Reports (profile overviews, engagement summaries, page insights);
  • Message Scheduling (automatically at times you choose to the sites you choose); 
  • App Integration; and
  • Up to 2 RSS feeds.
I've been using HootSuite for several weeks, but am by no means an expert. From my limited exposure, I've listed my personal Pros & Cons below:

Pros:
  • I use the auto-schedule tool to post to Facebook and Twitter at the 'optimal times' as determined by HootSuite. You can also post whenever you want, without using the auto-schedule.
  • HootSuite lets me see my Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger feed from one dashboard.
Cons:
  • I can't access my Google Plus personal page (which is my personal favorite social media), although I can access my G+ page (which is not the same as my personal stream).  Pinterest and Delicious are not currently supported directly, either. Connecting to your Gmail is available, but not free ($2/month).
  • HootSuite doesn't let you customize the feed options like the individual social media websites do (for example, in HootSuite, I see posts from all my Facebook friends, even ones I've limited or restricted on Facebook).
Instead of re-inventing the wheel or pretending I'm an expert, I'd like to refer you to a couple of very informative posts relating to HootSuite. Both articles were published on one of my favorite blogs; Indies Unlimited and have lots more tricks and tips to share from experienced users:

 http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/10/15/author-tips-smart-marketing-with-twitter/

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2012/05/08/tuesday-tutorial-hootsuite-101-by-troy-stewart/

Author Update: Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is still being edited with a vengeance. Meanwhile, I'm working my way through the second edition of Crimson & Cream, currently on Chapter 24 of 28. October 2013 will not go down as one of my favorite months, but hopefully November brings better days.  Best wishes to you all!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Page 99 Test Revisited: "Like a dog with ADHD"

Last October, I blogged about a website called Page99Test. I uploaded page 99 from Crimson & Cream and after nearly a year of being on the website, I received the maximum allowable 30 reviews and have had my page 'retired.'  What I'm sharing with you today are the results of this experiment and the feedback I received, for the purpose of helping you decide if this is worth doing with your own writing.

Page99Test lets its visitors read page 99 from a random, anonymous book. After reading the page, the reader is prompted to answer three questions:

  1. Would you Turn the Page?
  2. Tell the writer why or why not.
  3. Based on what you read, how likely are you to buy this book?

In analyzing the numbers, I averaged almost 3 reviews a month. Of these 30 reviews, 40% of the readers indicated they would turn the page (12 out of 30).

Regarding feedback on how likely the reader was to buy the book, my meager statistics are shown below:

Very Likely
0% (0 votes) Somewhat Likely
17% (5 votes) No Opinion
33% (10 votes) Not Very Likely
33% (10 votes) Definitely Not
17% (5 votes) - See more at: http://page99test.com/my-feedback/1930#sthash.X6JEBbNv.dpuf

Regarding the actual written feedback I received, "No comment provided" was the response from 16 of the 30 readers. Of the 14 considerate readers who took the time to provide feedback, these are the unedited comments I received, which ranged from politely flattering to troll-like insulting.
  • Too much jargon and too many silly names. Can't take it seriously.
  • The tribe of orphans named after animals and gang tags is so cliche – if this isn't supposed to be a parody then it's just a bit ridiculous. The writing is also flat and telly – not much description or emotion, just dry, distant narration.
  • I wish I could talk like this. I mean I really understand making paragraphs after every one or two sentences. It just seems logical to me. It needs more to it, and some grammar corrections.
  • Though it's well written, and the names are interesting (especially for fantasy), the situation didn't leap off the page and the blurb didn't sound bursting with new thoughts or ideas. It'll find an audience I'm sure though.
  • It was flat
  • doesnt flow very well, 2nd paragraph doesnt seem to fit in with the rest of the dialogue
  • It lacked feeling/emotional connection. It seemed more like a list of factual statements given in chronological order than a story to identify and involve oneself in. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as others may prefer this style, but it is against my own taste.
  • I think that you use too much telling as opposed to showing, but the characters have such great names that I would love to know their story.
  • Interesting, though it was probably unnecessary to put everything that was given to him. I usually skip over parts like that, they aren't really relevant or important.
  • Interesting Names and word choice. "Pilfering" is great
  • Not my kind of story, sorry.
  • Good writing but too much rattling off lots of goodies
  • Your sentences sound like they're written by a dog with ADHD. Grow up and write a sentence with more than five words.
  • the short snappy sentence structure works well with the tone of the piece.
So the big questions are Was it worth it? and Would I Do it Again?  Considering it was quite easy and quick to add my page to the website, I would be hard-pressed to deny that it wasn't worth it.  I received free feedback with little effort required on my part.  But will I do it again?  I can't say for certain, but I probably will.  Although the comments were brief, some common themes appeared that have been echoed by my editor in her review of Crimson & Cream in preparation for the revised second edition.  In particular, the following problems are being addressed in the second edition: overuse of cliches, excessive narrative (info dumps), too much telling as opposed to showing, and a lack of immersion. 

So, in summary, I think Page99Test is a useful site to get (a little) more exposure for your writing and receive some unfiltered instant feedback from readers on a snapshot of your writing style.

Author Update: Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is now in the hands of my editor (and yes, I am nervous). While she's covering that document in red ink, I'm working my way through the second edition of Crimson & Cream, currently working on Chapter 21 of 28.




2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Page 99 Test Revisited: "Like a dog with ADHD"
link : Page 99 Test Revisited: "Like a dog with ADHD"

Read Also


2013

Last October, I blogged about a website called Page99Test. I uploaded page 99 from Crimson & Cream and after nearly a year of being on the website, I received the maximum allowable 30 reviews and have had my page 'retired.'  What I'm sharing with you today are the results of this experiment and the feedback I received, for the purpose of helping you decide if this is worth doing with your own writing.

Page99Test lets its visitors read page 99 from a random, anonymous book. After reading the page, the reader is prompted to answer three questions:

  1. Would you Turn the Page?
  2. Tell the writer why or why not.
  3. Based on what you read, how likely are you to buy this book?

In analyzing the numbers, I averaged almost 3 reviews a month. Of these 30 reviews, 40% of the readers indicated they would turn the page (12 out of 30).

Regarding feedback on how likely the reader was to buy the book, my meager statistics are shown below:

Very Likely
0% (0 votes) Somewhat Likely
17% (5 votes) No Opinion
33% (10 votes) Not Very Likely
33% (10 votes) Definitely Not
17% (5 votes) - See more at: http://page99test.com/my-feedback/1930#sthash.X6JEBbNv.dpuf

Regarding the actual written feedback I received, "No comment provided" was the response from 16 of the 30 readers. Of the 14 considerate readers who took the time to provide feedback, these are the unedited comments I received, which ranged from politely flattering to troll-like insulting.
  • Too much jargon and too many silly names. Can't take it seriously.
  • The tribe of orphans named after animals and gang tags is so cliche – if this isn't supposed to be a parody then it's just a bit ridiculous. The writing is also flat and telly – not much description or emotion, just dry, distant narration.
  • I wish I could talk like this. I mean I really understand making paragraphs after every one or two sentences. It just seems logical to me. It needs more to it, and some grammar corrections.
  • Though it's well written, and the names are interesting (especially for fantasy), the situation didn't leap off the page and the blurb didn't sound bursting with new thoughts or ideas. It'll find an audience I'm sure though.
  • It was flat
  • doesnt flow very well, 2nd paragraph doesnt seem to fit in with the rest of the dialogue
  • It lacked feeling/emotional connection. It seemed more like a list of factual statements given in chronological order than a story to identify and involve oneself in. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as others may prefer this style, but it is against my own taste.
  • I think that you use too much telling as opposed to showing, but the characters have such great names that I would love to know their story.
  • Interesting, though it was probably unnecessary to put everything that was given to him. I usually skip over parts like that, they aren't really relevant or important.
  • Interesting Names and word choice. "Pilfering" is great
  • Not my kind of story, sorry.
  • Good writing but too much rattling off lots of goodies
  • Your sentences sound like they're written by a dog with ADHD. Grow up and write a sentence with more than five words.
  • the short snappy sentence structure works well with the tone of the piece.
So the big questions are Was it worth it? and Would I Do it Again?  Considering it was quite easy and quick to add my page to the website, I would be hard-pressed to deny that it wasn't worth it.  I received free feedback with little effort required on my part.  But will I do it again?  I can't say for certain, but I probably will.  Although the comments were brief, some common themes appeared that have been echoed by my editor in her review of Crimson & Cream in preparation for the revised second edition.  In particular, the following problems are being addressed in the second edition: overuse of cliches, excessive narrative (info dumps), too much telling as opposed to showing, and a lack of immersion. 

So, in summary, I think Page99Test is a useful site to get (a little) more exposure for your writing and receive some unfiltered instant feedback from readers on a snapshot of your writing style.

Author Update: Mirrors & Mist, Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is now in the hands of my editor (and yes, I am nervous). While she's covering that document in red ink, I'm working my way through the second edition of Crimson & Cream, currently working on Chapter 21 of 28.




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 1

A frequent misunderstanding in some of my blog posts is that because I'm writing about a topic, I'm promoting or endorsing it, which is not the case. This topic in particular, I discuss online tools that I use, but am somewhat on the fence over their actual value or effectiveness. I'm not a fan of spam-style marketing and although this post describes automated online social media posting, I'm a proponent of everything in moderation. Part of me fears these tools are the first step in turning people into spam-bots. However, these services only broadcast to your 'followers,' so ultimately, misuse can come back to haunt the user if they alienate their fan base with mindless spam.

Because indie authors need to market their books, having an online social media presence is a popular way to do this. And as you know, the sheer volume of social media outlets can be daunting. Deciding which ones to use and how often to use them can be time-consuming, to say the least. After all, time is money, so looking for methods to efficiently communicate with your followers is not a bad thing.

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free online tool that allows you to post to multiple social media outlets at the same time. To be fair, IFTTT has more features than this, but in my opinion, its primary purpose and value is consolidation of online communication.

IFTTT, which is characterizes itself as "a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: if this, then that." IFTTT lets you create a 'recipe' that triggers an event on your social media outlet's personal webpage. For example, I created a recipe that sends a message (including a link my blog) to Twitter every time I post a new Blogger entry, i.e., If Blogger postthen send notification to Twitter.

Unfortunately, I've found IFTTT is not a complete one-stop-shopping for every social media network you may use. Although IFTTT currently features 71 'channels' ('If this' options of social media sites) such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Delicious, and GMail, it currently does not include the heavy-hitters Google Plus, Pinterest, or Reddit.

The benefits of IFTTT are that it is simple to use, does what is says, and allows you to use (copy) recipes that others have made, which is even faster than creating your own. It also allows you to auto-archive your posts, etc., by sending copies to Dropbox or Google Drive. On the minus side, I have noticed IFTTT has failed to trigger on occasion, and that to guarantee my recipes 'trigger' I have to log on to the site and manually activate the trigger. I've also encountered a problem trying to activate Hootsuite on IFTTT, and currently am unable to use that 'channel' on IFTTT.

The IFTTT About page has more details, if you're interested. Next post I'll examine the similar but different online tool called Hootsuite.

Author Update: My editor has finished reviewing Crimson & Cream, and having read through her suggestions, I've decided to do another re-read and edit of Mirrors & Mist before sending it to her. Through the editing process, I've learned a lot about the dangers of head-hopping and excessive exposition, and think I can improve Mirrors & Mist significantly with this new-found knowledge, saving both me and my editor time by eliminating some of my chronic mistakes.




2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 1
link : Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 1

Read Also


2013

A frequent misunderstanding in some of my blog posts is that because I'm writing about a topic, I'm promoting or endorsing it, which is not the case. This topic in particular, I discuss online tools that I use, but am somewhat on the fence over their actual value or effectiveness. I'm not a fan of spam-style marketing and although this post describes automated online social media posting, I'm a proponent of everything in moderation. Part of me fears these tools are the first step in turning people into spam-bots. However, these services only broadcast to your 'followers,' so ultimately, misuse can come back to haunt the user if they alienate their fan base with mindless spam.

Because indie authors need to market their books, having an online social media presence is a popular way to do this. And as you know, the sheer volume of social media outlets can be daunting. Deciding which ones to use and how often to use them can be time-consuming, to say the least. After all, time is money, so looking for methods to efficiently communicate with your followers is not a bad thing.

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free online tool that allows you to post to multiple social media outlets at the same time. To be fair, IFTTT has more features than this, but in my opinion, its primary purpose and value is consolidation of online communication.

IFTTT, which is characterizes itself as "a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: if this, then that." IFTTT lets you create a 'recipe' that triggers an event on your social media outlet's personal webpage. For example, I created a recipe that sends a message (including a link my blog) to Twitter every time I post a new Blogger entry, i.e., If Blogger postthen send notification to Twitter.

Unfortunately, I've found IFTTT is not a complete one-stop-shopping for every social media network you may use. Although IFTTT currently features 71 'channels' ('If this' options of social media sites) such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Delicious, and GMail, it currently does not include the heavy-hitters Google Plus, Pinterest, or Reddit.

The benefits of IFTTT are that it is simple to use, does what is says, and allows you to use (copy) recipes that others have made, which is even faster than creating your own. It also allows you to auto-archive your posts, etc., by sending copies to Dropbox or Google Drive. On the minus side, I have noticed IFTTT has failed to trigger on occasion, and that to guarantee my recipes 'trigger' I have to log on to the site and manually activate the trigger. I've also encountered a problem trying to activate Hootsuite on IFTTT, and currently am unable to use that 'channel' on IFTTT.

The IFTTT About page has more details, if you're interested. Next post I'll examine the similar but different online tool called Hootsuite.

Author Update: My editor has finished reviewing Crimson & Cream, and having read through her suggestions, I've decided to do another re-read and edit of Mirrors & Mist before sending it to her. Through the editing process, I've learned a lot about the dangers of head-hopping and excessive exposition, and think I can improve Mirrors & Mist significantly with this new-found knowledge, saving both me and my editor time by eliminating some of my chronic mistakes.




Thursday, September 12, 2013

World-Building from the Pros

This July at Comic-Con San Diego, I attended a wonderful presentation titled "Epic Fantasy." Colleen Lindsay moderated a panel featuring some of the genre's biggest authors: Robin Hobb (Blood of Dragons), Raymond Feist (Magician's End), Django Wexler (The Thousand Names), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn and the Wheel of Time series), Melissa de la Cruz (Frozen), Christopher Paolini (the Inheritance cycle), and Daniel Abraham (The Tyrant's Law).

I admit I was a bit star-struck and would have enjoyed listening to these authors talk about any topic under the sun, although hearing them wax poetic on epic fantasy proved pure bliss. The moderator led with a question to the authors about the importance of world building and how she felt it was the singular identifier of epic fantasy; however, the authors' responses echoed a different perspective.

Robin Hobb was quick to point out that while world building is an important part of epic fantasy, no world, no matter how fantastic or unique, will captivate a reader for an entire novel if the characters aren't deep and compelling. Messrs. Sanderson, Feist, et al, agreed that although epic fantasy features environs full of magic and dragons and more, a character-driven story is still the heart of a successful tale. And while this may seem obvious to some, I understand the lure that word-building has when crafting a novel. It can be tempting to spend months and years constructing the religions, politics, magic systems, geography, weather patterns, economic systems, and other facets of a fantasy world, yet the message was clear that even the best world-building cannot carry an epic fantasy novel alone.

The second theme that Brandon Sanderson championed was the idea that the epic fantasy genre presents a limitless range of stories and plots for an author to tackle. For example, while a mystery novel has its characteristic plot lines and arcs, there is no reason an epic fantasy novel can't be a mystery novel as well. Or a crime novel, or a horror novel, or a romance. Nearly all other genres and plot types can be the foundation for an epic fantasy novel. The fact that epic fantasy can be based in a speculative universe allows immense freedom in not only imagining worlds, but in crafting virtually any type of character and tale an author wants to tell.

So in summary, the two big messages I took away from this panel were; 1) that the most well-built fantasy world still needs a good story and strong characters to complete the package, and, 2) an epic fantasy novel can tell any type of story an author wants to tell, from a 'whodunit' to a love story, and everything in between.

Author Update: I am currently editing Chapter 16 of the second edition of Crimson & Cream. My plan is to finish the Crimson & Cream edits while my editor is working on Mirrors & Mist, volume two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Once the second edition of Crimson & Cream is edited and proofread, I plan to add maps and a glossary and re-publish the second edition on Smashwords and Amazon, and possibly CreateSpace. The year is slipping away quickly, but I'm still hoping for a late 2013 release of Mirrors & Mist.


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : World-Building from the Pros
link : World-Building from the Pros

Read Also


2013

This July at Comic-Con San Diego, I attended a wonderful presentation titled "Epic Fantasy." Colleen Lindsay moderated a panel featuring some of the genre's biggest authors: Robin Hobb (Blood of Dragons), Raymond Feist (Magician's End), Django Wexler (The Thousand Names), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn and the Wheel of Time series), Melissa de la Cruz (Frozen), Christopher Paolini (the Inheritance cycle), and Daniel Abraham (The Tyrant's Law).

I admit I was a bit star-struck and would have enjoyed listening to these authors talk about any topic under the sun, although hearing them wax poetic on epic fantasy proved pure bliss. The moderator led with a question to the authors about the importance of world building and how she felt it was the singular identifier of epic fantasy; however, the authors' responses echoed a different perspective.

Robin Hobb was quick to point out that while world building is an important part of epic fantasy, no world, no matter how fantastic or unique, will captivate a reader for an entire novel if the characters aren't deep and compelling. Messrs. Sanderson, Feist, et al, agreed that although epic fantasy features environs full of magic and dragons and more, a character-driven story is still the heart of a successful tale. And while this may seem obvious to some, I understand the lure that word-building has when crafting a novel. It can be tempting to spend months and years constructing the religions, politics, magic systems, geography, weather patterns, economic systems, and other facets of a fantasy world, yet the message was clear that even the best world-building cannot carry an epic fantasy novel alone.

The second theme that Brandon Sanderson championed was the idea that the epic fantasy genre presents a limitless range of stories and plots for an author to tackle. For example, while a mystery novel has its characteristic plot lines and arcs, there is no reason an epic fantasy novel can't be a mystery novel as well. Or a crime novel, or a horror novel, or a romance. Nearly all other genres and plot types can be the foundation for an epic fantasy novel. The fact that epic fantasy can be based in a speculative universe allows immense freedom in not only imagining worlds, but in crafting virtually any type of character and tale an author wants to tell.

So in summary, the two big messages I took away from this panel were; 1) that the most well-built fantasy world still needs a good story and strong characters to complete the package, and, 2) an epic fantasy novel can tell any type of story an author wants to tell, from a 'whodunit' to a love story, and everything in between.

Author Update: I am currently editing Chapter 16 of the second edition of Crimson & Cream. My plan is to finish the Crimson & Cream edits while my editor is working on Mirrors & Mist, volume two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Once the second edition of Crimson & Cream is edited and proofread, I plan to add maps and a glossary and re-publish the second edition on Smashwords and Amazon, and possibly CreateSpace. The year is slipping away quickly, but I'm still hoping for a late 2013 release of Mirrors & Mist.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

No Names, No Jackets - What is It?

I took a week's vacation to the Midwest and have been digging out since getting back last Sunday. Hopefully, no one missed me!

Last year, I blogged about Page99Test, a website where writers can get feedback on page 99 of their novel. I recently discovered what appeared to be a similar site called No Names, No Jackets.  Using information supplied on their FAQ, I've tried to distill the essence of the site below (and in the process, discovered No Names, No Jackets is quite different from Page99Test).

No Names, No Jackets (3NJ) describes itself as a "blind taste test for books, backed by a StumbleUpon-style lucky dip system and a total and deliberate lack of star ratings, likes, and reviews." 3NJ allows readers to browse chapters from random books and follow updates by RSS. The site is currently free to use and to submit to, but may turn to a fee-based system for submissions to cover the costs of hosting/time.

To submit a chapter of your work to 3NJ, you first need to register. Once you've registered and logged in, choose a chapter to represent your story. On the new entry page, fill in the details and paste your text. Then select the genre(s) you think it fits in.  And finally, provide a source link to the URL of a page where readers can find your book and its author. 3NJ allows you to preview your submission before finalizing and submitting.

It sounds easy, and I plan on submitting a chapter once the second edition of Crimson & Cream is finished. The million-dollar question is how large of a reader base can 3NJ amass? If it catches on, it could prove to be a great showcase for indie authors.

Author Update: While I was traveling, my editor was cranking away on the second edition of Crimson & Cream. I've fallen a few chapters behind her, but am editing at a steady pace and currently working on Chapter 8. So far, my biggest issues have been inadvertent head-hopping (POV-switching), excessive info dumps, and purple prose. I'm also focusing on improving the immediacy and immersion of my writing and fleshing out the supporting characters (among many other things). I hope to finish the Crimson & Cream edits while she's working on Mirrors & Mist, volume two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy.



2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : No Names, No Jackets - What is It?
link : No Names, No Jackets - What is It?

Read Also


2013

I took a week's vacation to the Midwest and have been digging out since getting back last Sunday. Hopefully, no one missed me!

Last year, I blogged about Page99Test, a website where writers can get feedback on page 99 of their novel. I recently discovered what appeared to be a similar site called No Names, No Jackets.  Using information supplied on their FAQ, I've tried to distill the essence of the site below (and in the process, discovered No Names, No Jackets is quite different from Page99Test).

No Names, No Jackets (3NJ) describes itself as a "blind taste test for books, backed by a StumbleUpon-style lucky dip system and a total and deliberate lack of star ratings, likes, and reviews." 3NJ allows readers to browse chapters from random books and follow updates by RSS. The site is currently free to use and to submit to, but may turn to a fee-based system for submissions to cover the costs of hosting/time.

To submit a chapter of your work to 3NJ, you first need to register. Once you've registered and logged in, choose a chapter to represent your story. On the new entry page, fill in the details and paste your text. Then select the genre(s) you think it fits in.  And finally, provide a source link to the URL of a page where readers can find your book and its author. 3NJ allows you to preview your submission before finalizing and submitting.

It sounds easy, and I plan on submitting a chapter once the second edition of Crimson & Cream is finished. The million-dollar question is how large of a reader base can 3NJ amass? If it catches on, it could prove to be a great showcase for indie authors.

Author Update: While I was traveling, my editor was cranking away on the second edition of Crimson & Cream. I've fallen a few chapters behind her, but am editing at a steady pace and currently working on Chapter 8. So far, my biggest issues have been inadvertent head-hopping (POV-switching), excessive info dumps, and purple prose. I'm also focusing on improving the immediacy and immersion of my writing and fleshing out the supporting characters (among many other things). I hope to finish the Crimson & Cream edits while she's working on Mirrors & Mist, volume two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Literrater--What is it?

In mid-July, I saw a post on one of the excellent Google Plus writing communities I frequent (Writer's Discussion Group) from a website called Literrater, who described themselves as a social reading and writing platform. It sounded interesting (among other things), so I decided to investigate.

Initially, it reminded me of Wattpad, because of this quote from the Literrater page: "We’re improving writing by letting readers edit and provide feedback as the story is being written, this helps writers knows what they need to change to make their stories successful." Literrater allows readers to "rate characteristics like romance, action, mystery, sex, language etc. instead of a 5 star rating which is often nearly meaningless." However, Literrater claims to be more than just a public showcase and sounding board for your work.

Conceptually, the premise sounds like it may have merit, although getting readers to provide feedback has so far proven problematic for many indie writers. Literrater entices readers to rate and review books by rewarding them with free books and a weekly giveaway (a $10 book of your choice). Literrater also lets authors reward their favorite contributors by sharing book proceeds (should they so generously desire).

Literrater includes a unique book search engine. Their search function offers readers the ability to look for books (within their library) based on setting characteristic sliders. Looking for a high-action, PG-13, horror novel? Move those sliders all the way up, and leave the humor and romance settings at zero. Your recommended books will change as you adjust the various sliders up and down. Click here to see what I mean.

I did notice there was no slider for a book's genre. This may not be a drawback, but it struck me as somewhat odd that this was not included. I think the option to look for speculative fiction (for example) may be a useful tool. There is the option to use tags, and this seems to work similar to a built-in filter. For example, typing in 'fantasy' for a tag brought up books by Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Lindsay Buroker, and other speculative fiction authors (once I manipulated the sliders).

For writers, Literrater provides a platform to present your work-in-progress to the public, get feedback on your writing, build a fan-base, and even solicit crowd-source funding. I could find only one existing work-in-progress project, and did encounter some dead links, so Literrater is still developing features and options, while trying to build a pool of writers and readers.

Literrater lists a variety of perks for authors, such as helping find editing and cover design services as you write. Literrater boasts that if you write a significant part of your book on their website, they will pay for a cover design and have a professional editor do a developmental and proofreading pass on your book. This link shows you an example book detail page on Literrater, which does not sell books directly, rather, links to the author's Amazon page.

I signed up for Literrater using my Facebook account and intend to provide updates as the service grows and expands. I'm considering starting a project on their page, but am not pulling the trigger yet. But if I do decide to start a project there, you'll be the first to know.

As I see it, the viability of Literrater not only depends on a sustainable business model, but maintaining a deep and varied pool of authors who are read and reviewed by an even larger community of readers. The concept shows potential, and I can think of a variety of compatible tools and services that could be added to the framework to cast a wider net. I wish the folks at Literrater the best of luck, and hope to see more from them in the future.

Author Update: I've chosen an editor for Mirrors & Mist, but since it's the second book of a trilogy (and I had a different editor for book one, over a decade ago), I decided to have my new editor start with Crimson & Cream, which has turned out to be a good decision. In addition to releasing Mirrors & Mist in late 2013, I'm also planning on releasing a second edition of Crimson & Cream, which will feature the newly-edited and revised text, along with some other perks like maps and a glossary.


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Literrater--What is it?
link : Literrater--What is it?

Read Also


2013

In mid-July, I saw a post on one of the excellent Google Plus writing communities I frequent (Writer's Discussion Group) from a website called Literrater, who described themselves as a social reading and writing platform. It sounded interesting (among other things), so I decided to investigate.

Initially, it reminded me of Wattpad, because of this quote from the Literrater page: "We’re improving writing by letting readers edit and provide feedback as the story is being written, this helps writers knows what they need to change to make their stories successful." Literrater allows readers to "rate characteristics like romance, action, mystery, sex, language etc. instead of a 5 star rating which is often nearly meaningless." However, Literrater claims to be more than just a public showcase and sounding board for your work.

Conceptually, the premise sounds like it may have merit, although getting readers to provide feedback has so far proven problematic for many indie writers. Literrater entices readers to rate and review books by rewarding them with free books and a weekly giveaway (a $10 book of your choice). Literrater also lets authors reward their favorite contributors by sharing book proceeds (should they so generously desire).

Literrater includes a unique book search engine. Their search function offers readers the ability to look for books (within their library) based on setting characteristic sliders. Looking for a high-action, PG-13, horror novel? Move those sliders all the way up, and leave the humor and romance settings at zero. Your recommended books will change as you adjust the various sliders up and down. Click here to see what I mean.

I did notice there was no slider for a book's genre. This may not be a drawback, but it struck me as somewhat odd that this was not included. I think the option to look for speculative fiction (for example) may be a useful tool. There is the option to use tags, and this seems to work similar to a built-in filter. For example, typing in 'fantasy' for a tag brought up books by Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Lindsay Buroker, and other speculative fiction authors (once I manipulated the sliders).

For writers, Literrater provides a platform to present your work-in-progress to the public, get feedback on your writing, build a fan-base, and even solicit crowd-source funding. I could find only one existing work-in-progress project, and did encounter some dead links, so Literrater is still developing features and options, while trying to build a pool of writers and readers.

Literrater lists a variety of perks for authors, such as helping find editing and cover design services as you write. Literrater boasts that if you write a significant part of your book on their website, they will pay for a cover design and have a professional editor do a developmental and proofreading pass on your book. This link shows you an example book detail page on Literrater, which does not sell books directly, rather, links to the author's Amazon page.

I signed up for Literrater using my Facebook account and intend to provide updates as the service grows and expands. I'm considering starting a project on their page, but am not pulling the trigger yet. But if I do decide to start a project there, you'll be the first to know.

As I see it, the viability of Literrater not only depends on a sustainable business model, but maintaining a deep and varied pool of authors who are read and reviewed by an even larger community of readers. The concept shows potential, and I can think of a variety of compatible tools and services that could be added to the framework to cast a wider net. I wish the folks at Literrater the best of luck, and hope to see more from them in the future.

Author Update: I've chosen an editor for Mirrors & Mist, but since it's the second book of a trilogy (and I had a different editor for book one, over a decade ago), I decided to have my new editor start with Crimson & Cream, which has turned out to be a good decision. In addition to releasing Mirrors & Mist in late 2013, I'm also planning on releasing a second edition of Crimson & Cream, which will feature the newly-edited and revised text, along with some other perks like maps and a glossary.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Is Self-Publishing Ruining Literature?

As you may have noticed from my prior blog post and other social media blurbs, I attended San Diego Comic-Con last week. One of the many writing-related panels I attended featured a publisher moderating a group of traditionally-published authors. The panel topic was Publishing Science Fiction/Fantasy in the Digital Age, which was promoted in the Comic-Con guide as a discussion of the impact of the digital age on writing, publishing, reading, bookselling, and the traditional book as we know it.

Like at many of the Comic-Con panels and seminars I attended last week, the subject of self-publishing came up, due to what I considered a potentially leading question. What surprised me was the insightful answer offered by one of the panelists.

The panel moderator, Timothy Travaglini of Open Road Integrated Media, asked the panel (I'm paraphrasing due to lack of photographic memory) what impact self-publishing had on today's literature. And I cringed. At other panels (and waiting lines outside panels), I'd heard the oft-repeated (and potentially justifiable) assertion that self-publishing has flooded the market with low-quality writing, burying the good stuff like a needle in a haystack.  Now I feared self-publishing was poised to take the blame for the erosion of modern literature.

I can only speculate on the rationale behind Mr. Travaglini's question, however, as an indie author, I feared an impending witch hunt. After all, the purpose of such a query is to garner opinion as to whether self-publishing is good or bad for literature. And as all of the panelists were traditionally-published authors responding to a traditional publisher, I don't think I was being paranoid in anticipating a less-than-favorable response.

While I sat there wearing my self-promoting, indie-author tee-shirt, formulating a (futile) mental rebuttal, one of the panel authors quickly responded with an answer that echoed my thoughts. The author Cory Doctorow responded to the moderator's question with insightful clarity.  Again, I will paraphrase/summarize, and try to do Mr. Doctorow's eloquent response justice. At the core of the author's answer was the idea that it is good for literature when more authors are able to reach more readers than ever before.

Wait, what? Yup, that's right, a published author not disparaging self-publishing, but actually promoting it as something good for humanity's literacy. More people writing and reading = good for literature.  Not surprisingly, that's how I look at it, too.

Obviously, there are valid concerns with the quality of many self-published works. People will continue to self-publish poorly-written, unedited work. Because they can. That bridge has been crossed--there's no turning back, and there's no stopping it (with the exception of the zombie apocalypse). The 'good old days' of publishing houses being the ultimate arbiters of mass market literature are gone.

However, the often-repeated lamentation that self-published work has flooded the market with so much crap that it's impossible to find the good stuff doesn't hold water. It's easy to avoid self-published works if you so wish. Just eschew Smashwords et al., and continue buying your favorite authors from your favorite publishers. Problem solved.  Just don't complain when you miss out on the next great indie author--you won't find a hidden gem while walking the well-traveled path.

And on a final note, I did enjoy the panel. Mr. Travaglini did an excellent job moderating an informative discussion. I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that there was any indie-bashing going on. That, and Mr. Doctorow's response, were a pleasant surprise.


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Is Self-Publishing Ruining Literature?
link : Is Self-Publishing Ruining Literature?

Read Also


2013

As you may have noticed from my prior blog post and other social media blurbs, I attended San Diego Comic-Con last week. One of the many writing-related panels I attended featured a publisher moderating a group of traditionally-published authors. The panel topic was Publishing Science Fiction/Fantasy in the Digital Age, which was promoted in the Comic-Con guide as a discussion of the impact of the digital age on writing, publishing, reading, bookselling, and the traditional book as we know it.

Like at many of the Comic-Con panels and seminars I attended last week, the subject of self-publishing came up, due to what I considered a potentially leading question. What surprised me was the insightful answer offered by one of the panelists.

The panel moderator, Timothy Travaglini of Open Road Integrated Media, asked the panel (I'm paraphrasing due to lack of photographic memory) what impact self-publishing had on today's literature. And I cringed. At other panels (and waiting lines outside panels), I'd heard the oft-repeated (and potentially justifiable) assertion that self-publishing has flooded the market with low-quality writing, burying the good stuff like a needle in a haystack.  Now I feared self-publishing was poised to take the blame for the erosion of modern literature.

I can only speculate on the rationale behind Mr. Travaglini's question, however, as an indie author, I feared an impending witch hunt. After all, the purpose of such a query is to garner opinion as to whether self-publishing is good or bad for literature. And as all of the panelists were traditionally-published authors responding to a traditional publisher, I don't think I was being paranoid in anticipating a less-than-favorable response.

While I sat there wearing my self-promoting, indie-author tee-shirt, formulating a (futile) mental rebuttal, one of the panel authors quickly responded with an answer that echoed my thoughts. The author Cory Doctorow responded to the moderator's question with insightful clarity.  Again, I will paraphrase/summarize, and try to do Mr. Doctorow's eloquent response justice. At the core of the author's answer was the idea that it is good for literature when more authors are able to reach more readers than ever before.

Wait, what? Yup, that's right, a published author not disparaging self-publishing, but actually promoting it as something good for humanity's literacy. More people writing and reading = good for literature.  Not surprisingly, that's how I look at it, too.

Obviously, there are valid concerns with the quality of many self-published works. People will continue to self-publish poorly-written, unedited work. Because they can. That bridge has been crossed--there's no turning back, and there's no stopping it (with the exception of the zombie apocalypse). The 'good old days' of publishing houses being the ultimate arbiters of mass market literature are gone.

However, the often-repeated lamentation that self-published work has flooded the market with so much crap that it's impossible to find the good stuff doesn't hold water. It's easy to avoid self-published works if you so wish. Just eschew Smashwords et al., and continue buying your favorite authors from your favorite publishers. Problem solved.  Just don't complain when you miss out on the next great indie author--you won't find a hidden gem while walking the well-traveled path.

And on a final note, I did enjoy the panel. Mr. Travaglini did an excellent job moderating an informative discussion. I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that there was any indie-bashing going on. That, and Mr. Doctorow's response, were a pleasant surprise.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Comic-Con--It's for Writers, Too!

Here in San Diego, Comic-Con has been a big deal for decades.  I've been attending every year since 2007 and will be going again this year.  Although Comic-Con started as a comic book convention in 1970, it has grown into an all-encompassing entertainment expo, including writers and writing resources of all kinds (but especially speculative fiction).  Since this is a writing-themed blog, I'll focus on the writing-themed portions of Comic-Con, although it's but a fraction of the total spectacle.

Every year, best-selling authors attend the conference, meet with fans, speak at panels, and more.  A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a panel featuring the late Ray Bradbury, one of my all-time favorites.  Hearing Mr. Bradbury speak left a lasting impression on me.  This year I'm excited to see a panel featuring some of the great writers in epic fantasy, including another one of my all-time favorites, Robin Hobb (Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden) who will be speaking along with Raymond FeistBrandon SandersonDjango Wexler, Melissa de la Cruz, Christopher Paolini, and Daniel Abraham.  How cool is that?

One of the few downsides to Comic-Con (besides crowds and getting tickets) is deciding exactly what events you want to attend.  For example, during the Epic Fantasy Panel I plan to attend, another one of my favorite epic fantasy authors will presenting be in a different panel going on at the same time.  Needless to say, it was a gut-wrenching decision to skip George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones Panel, but since I saw GRRM & the HBO gang last year, I can't imagine passing up a panel with Hobb, Feist, Sanderson, et al.

Decisions, decisions . . .

In addition for the opportunity to get my fanboy on, Comic-Con also offers a plethora of writing-based classes.  Last year, I enjoyed two classes taught by fantasy author Maxwell Alexander Drake, who returns this year with additional classes I plan on attending.  About this time last year, I was preparing to self-publish my first novel Crimson & Cream as an e-book and attended a panel on self-publishing that was chock-full of helpful information.  I also met the nice folks at Compulsion Reads, who I ended up working with.  And this is really just skimming the surface of what's available at this massive show.

So if you happen to be attending 'The Con' this week, keep an eye out for me and say hi if you get the chance.  I'll be giving away free e-book coupons and wearing a tee-shirt with this Crimson & Cream word cloud on the front (and no, I don't cosplay--yet):


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Comic-Con--It's for Writers, Too!
link : Comic-Con--It's for Writers, Too!

Read Also


2013

Here in San Diego, Comic-Con has been a big deal for decades.  I've been attending every year since 2007 and will be going again this year.  Although Comic-Con started as a comic book convention in 1970, it has grown into an all-encompassing entertainment expo, including writers and writing resources of all kinds (but especially speculative fiction).  Since this is a writing-themed blog, I'll focus on the writing-themed portions of Comic-Con, although it's but a fraction of the total spectacle.

Every year, best-selling authors attend the conference, meet with fans, speak at panels, and more.  A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a panel featuring the late Ray Bradbury, one of my all-time favorites.  Hearing Mr. Bradbury speak left a lasting impression on me.  This year I'm excited to see a panel featuring some of the great writers in epic fantasy, including another one of my all-time favorites, Robin Hobb (Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden) who will be speaking along with Raymond FeistBrandon SandersonDjango Wexler, Melissa de la Cruz, Christopher Paolini, and Daniel Abraham.  How cool is that?

One of the few downsides to Comic-Con (besides crowds and getting tickets) is deciding exactly what events you want to attend.  For example, during the Epic Fantasy Panel I plan to attend, another one of my favorite epic fantasy authors will presenting be in a different panel going on at the same time.  Needless to say, it was a gut-wrenching decision to skip George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones Panel, but since I saw GRRM & the HBO gang last year, I can't imagine passing up a panel with Hobb, Feist, Sanderson, et al.

Decisions, decisions . . .

In addition for the opportunity to get my fanboy on, Comic-Con also offers a plethora of writing-based classes.  Last year, I enjoyed two classes taught by fantasy author Maxwell Alexander Drake, who returns this year with additional classes I plan on attending.  About this time last year, I was preparing to self-publish my first novel Crimson & Cream as an e-book and attended a panel on self-publishing that was chock-full of helpful information.  I also met the nice folks at Compulsion Reads, who I ended up working with.  And this is really just skimming the surface of what's available at this massive show.

So if you happen to be attending 'The Con' this week, keep an eye out for me and say hi if you get the chance.  I'll be giving away free e-book coupons and wearing a tee-shirt with this Crimson & Cream word cloud on the front (and no, I don't cosplay--yet):


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grammarly (A Review)

Hi everyone! This post is a week late, and my blog now has a different color scheme, but everything else should be the same. I'll still try to deliver a weekly article relating to the DIY self-publishing indie writer, and hopefully indirectly convince a few people to try my book (soon to be books, as in plural, hint, hint).

If you're wondering about the color scheme change, I received some feedback regarding the difficult-to-read white text on dark background and decided to do something about it. I also realized that with my book being titled Crimson & Cream, using those colors on my blog and web page may not be a bad idea. As in, Duh! Why didn't I think of that a year ago?

And if you're wondering what happened to last week's post, between the day job, updating my blog and website, the Independence Day holiday, and making some graphics for my Comic-Con tee-shirt (see image at bottom), I missed my self-imposed deadline (and I do feel a bit guilty about it).

So with all that out of the way, let's get started on the meat of today's post: Grammarly. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to receive a free two-week test drive of Grammarly's premium account. Grammarly, if you don't recall, is an automated proofreader and personal grammar coach.

I'll start with the bad, because some of these 'turn-offs' may dissuade you from going further. First off, Grammarly is not a free service, and their website requires you to fill out the sign-up page (including your e-mail) before pricing options are revealed. You have the choice to pay for your subscription by the month ($29.95), the quarter ($59.59), or annually ($139.95 USD), although Grammarly does offer a 7-day free trial for you to try their service at no cost.

To use Grammarly, you paste text into their web page and click 'start review.' You are then offered the choice to select the type of writing style: general, business, academic, technical, creative, or casual. I checked the 'creative' option, since I was using a chapter from my upcoming novel Mirrors & Mist (Book Two of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy) for the test drive.

Grammarly provides the option to check for plagiarism (it took about a minute to scan my 3,300-word chapter). After confirming my text was original, I began the actual checking of my text (this also took roughly a minute to process 3,300 words on my two-year-old PC with cable internet). Grammarly inspects your text against the following categories, offering advice and solutions in either long or short form (depending on your preference):

  • Article usage,
  • Pronoun agreement,
  • Adjectives and adverbs,
  • Confusing modifiers,
  • Verb form use,
  • Punctuation within a sentence,
  • Spelling, and
  • Commonly confused words.
The best way I can describe Grammarly is to compare it to the Microsoft Word Spelling and Grammar Check tool. Similar to Word, Grammarly checks your document from start to finish, with a pop-up window offering you suggestions on detected problems. Obviously, Grammarly appeared more robust and in-depth than the Word editor.

Similar to Word, the pop-up window gives you the option of ignoring one or all of a certain type of problem. With potential spelling errors, you also have the option of adding words to your personal dictionary, so they are no longer flagged as misspelled. The add-to-dictionary option is a big help for fantasy writing, as more than half of my red flags were in this category, courtesy of my plethora of made-up names and places.

The pop-up windows also contain the following prompt: Have questions? Ask the community. If you choose, your question will be posted to Grammarly Answers — a community-driven quality-assurance website for English grammar and usage. I didn't test this option, but it is a potentially helpful component of Grammarly's portfolio.

In addition to the text checking and plagiarism tools, Grammarly also has a synonym function that suggests alternative word choices to enhance your vocabulary. This works similar to an auto-thesaurus, finding words suitable for potentially better alternatives.

Grammarly also provides members with a dashboard page that tracks your personal writing statistics over time and offers users a 'personal writing guidebook' tailored to your writing deficiencies.

Yet another option is the ability to upload your document to Grammarly and use the service as a cloud-based repository of your writing files. If you're not pressed for storage, it still provides a handy back-up option and organizational tool.

And finally, Grammarly also offers Grammarly for Desktop, which is a downloadable executable file that includes MS Office™ integration. Because I haven't yet signed up for a full subscription, I didn't test this portion of the service, although I suspect I would use it if I did become a paying customer.

In conclusion, my experience with Grammarly showed me a robust text editor with a variety of extra options and enhancements. It's an easy-to-use, customizable interface with perks for the frequent user. The cost, however, cannot be ignored, and is likely too steep for all but the serious (or affluent) writer. For now, I'm weighing my options before signing on with Grammarly. If you're a Grammarly user (former or current), please let us know what you think.

Author Update: The second draft of Mirrors & Mist has now morphed into the third draft and I'm working on the text daily. Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is still on track for a late 2013 release.


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Grammarly (A Review)
link : Grammarly (A Review)

Read Also


2013

Hi everyone! This post is a week late, and my blog now has a different color scheme, but everything else should be the same. I'll still try to deliver a weekly article relating to the DIY self-publishing indie writer, and hopefully indirectly convince a few people to try my book (soon to be books, as in plural, hint, hint).

If you're wondering about the color scheme change, I received some feedback regarding the difficult-to-read white text on dark background and decided to do something about it. I also realized that with my book being titled Crimson & Cream, using those colors on my blog and web page may not be a bad idea. As in, Duh! Why didn't I think of that a year ago?

And if you're wondering what happened to last week's post, between the day job, updating my blog and website, the Independence Day holiday, and making some graphics for my Comic-Con tee-shirt (see image at bottom), I missed my self-imposed deadline (and I do feel a bit guilty about it).

So with all that out of the way, let's get started on the meat of today's post: Grammarly. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to receive a free two-week test drive of Grammarly's premium account. Grammarly, if you don't recall, is an automated proofreader and personal grammar coach.

I'll start with the bad, because some of these 'turn-offs' may dissuade you from going further. First off, Grammarly is not a free service, and their website requires you to fill out the sign-up page (including your e-mail) before pricing options are revealed. You have the choice to pay for your subscription by the month ($29.95), the quarter ($59.59), or annually ($139.95 USD), although Grammarly does offer a 7-day free trial for you to try their service at no cost.

To use Grammarly, you paste text into their web page and click 'start review.' You are then offered the choice to select the type of writing style: general, business, academic, technical, creative, or casual. I checked the 'creative' option, since I was using a chapter from my upcoming novel Mirrors & Mist (Book Two of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy) for the test drive.

Grammarly provides the option to check for plagiarism (it took about a minute to scan my 3,300-word chapter). After confirming my text was original, I began the actual checking of my text (this also took roughly a minute to process 3,300 words on my two-year-old PC with cable internet). Grammarly inspects your text against the following categories, offering advice and solutions in either long or short form (depending on your preference):

  • Article usage,
  • Pronoun agreement,
  • Adjectives and adverbs,
  • Confusing modifiers,
  • Verb form use,
  • Punctuation within a sentence,
  • Spelling, and
  • Commonly confused words.
The best way I can describe Grammarly is to compare it to the Microsoft Word Spelling and Grammar Check tool. Similar to Word, Grammarly checks your document from start to finish, with a pop-up window offering you suggestions on detected problems. Obviously, Grammarly appeared more robust and in-depth than the Word editor.

Similar to Word, the pop-up window gives you the option of ignoring one or all of a certain type of problem. With potential spelling errors, you also have the option of adding words to your personal dictionary, so they are no longer flagged as misspelled. The add-to-dictionary option is a big help for fantasy writing, as more than half of my red flags were in this category, courtesy of my plethora of made-up names and places.

The pop-up windows also contain the following prompt: Have questions? Ask the community. If you choose, your question will be posted to Grammarly Answers — a community-driven quality-assurance website for English grammar and usage. I didn't test this option, but it is a potentially helpful component of Grammarly's portfolio.

In addition to the text checking and plagiarism tools, Grammarly also has a synonym function that suggests alternative word choices to enhance your vocabulary. This works similar to an auto-thesaurus, finding words suitable for potentially better alternatives.

Grammarly also provides members with a dashboard page that tracks your personal writing statistics over time and offers users a 'personal writing guidebook' tailored to your writing deficiencies.

Yet another option is the ability to upload your document to Grammarly and use the service as a cloud-based repository of your writing files. If you're not pressed for storage, it still provides a handy back-up option and organizational tool.

And finally, Grammarly also offers Grammarly for Desktop, which is a downloadable executable file that includes MS Office™ integration. Because I haven't yet signed up for a full subscription, I didn't test this portion of the service, although I suspect I would use it if I did become a paying customer.

In conclusion, my experience with Grammarly showed me a robust text editor with a variety of extra options and enhancements. It's an easy-to-use, customizable interface with perks for the frequent user. The cost, however, cannot be ignored, and is likely too steep for all but the serious (or affluent) writer. For now, I'm weighing my options before signing on with Grammarly. If you're a Grammarly user (former or current), please let us know what you think.

Author Update: The second draft of Mirrors & Mist has now morphed into the third draft and I'm working on the text daily. Book Two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy is still on track for a late 2013 release.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Alliance of Independent Authors

Somewhere on the interweb I recently stumbled across The Alliance of Indie Authors (ALLi). The name excited me--an alliance of indie writers! Visions of a horde of e-book-wielding authors storming the trad-pub castle danced in my head. Cool--where do I join?

Not so fast, young indie. Although ALLi represents itself as a "a nonprofit, professional association for self-publishing writers" it doesn't mean the club is not exclusive. Just because the organization is nonprofit doesn't mean you can waltz in for free. After all, nothing is really free (even free e-books; there's always a catch or hook or ulterior motive).

Okay, understood, a fee for any professional organization is reasonable and expected. So what will it cost to join ALLi? They offer four membership options, with varying degrees of benefits. The least expensive is $60 USD a year. Want to call yourself an ALLi author? That'll be $99, please. The professional membership goes for $139 annually (as does the partner package).

Whoa! My initial reaction was that this is a little steep for a penny-pinching indie like myself. But I didn't want to jump to conclusions, so I poked around to learn what benefits I would reap for my money. With all four membership options, you receive a membership badge and ALLi's Code of Standards, neither of which have actual monetary value (based on my return-on-investment analysis), so I moved on to the tangible perks.

The Member Benefits page of the ALLi website summarizes what you receive for your membership fee. The first benefit listed is world-class Self-Publishing Advice & Guidance via regular online sessions with key advisors addressing your self-publishing quandaries and queries. ALLi does boast an impressive stable of professionals on their team, and the ability to interact with these folks has value. However, my concerns are the actual availability of these obviously-busy professionals. How often will they be online and interacting? What will be the advisor-to-member ratio? What are the odds someone will answer my question with the information I couldn't find elsewhere? The website promises 'regular' online sessions, but I would prefer a more defined commitment. What does ALLi mean by regular? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? I don't know, but I would like to, because I think this membership benefit promises the most value.

The second benefit--Meetups & Contacts--includes perks such as a searchable member database, Offline MeetUps & Events, Closed Online Forums, Publishing Contacts (publishers, printers, booksellers, distributors, book fairs, self-publishing services and rights agencies), evaluation of self-publishing services and a few more. This also seems promising, however, assuming these contacts and services do not interact exclusively at ALLi, these resources should be available elsewhere on the web. Your searching of these resources appears limited to the pond of ALLi-allied professionals.

The remaining member benefits are categorized as Encouraging Excellence, Self-Publishing News & Information, Advocacy & Campaigns, and Member Discounts & Incentives. This last group of benefits aren't described in as much detail as the first two, and overall, seem a bit nebulous in regard to their cash value.

As a side-note, Grammarly found two typos in the text I copied from ALLi's website. Worldclass and quandries can be found on ALLi's Member Benefits page. I realize it's very nit-picky on my part to point this out, but I do find the presence of typos discouraging on a website that's promoting self-publishing excellence as part of its membership package.

In summary, I feel the urge to cough up the money and join, yet I question whether my motivations are driven by the value of the membership, or the draw of joining an exclusive organization where I may get a chance to hob-nob with some of the big fish in the self-publishing pond. For now, I'm staying on the fence. What about you?


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Alliance of Independent Authors
link : Alliance of Independent Authors

Read Also


2013

Somewhere on the interweb I recently stumbled across The Alliance of Indie Authors (ALLi). The name excited me--an alliance of indie writers! Visions of a horde of e-book-wielding authors storming the trad-pub castle danced in my head. Cool--where do I join?

Not so fast, young indie. Although ALLi represents itself as a "a nonprofit, professional association for self-publishing writers" it doesn't mean the club is not exclusive. Just because the organization is nonprofit doesn't mean you can waltz in for free. After all, nothing is really free (even free e-books; there's always a catch or hook or ulterior motive).

Okay, understood, a fee for any professional organization is reasonable and expected. So what will it cost to join ALLi? They offer four membership options, with varying degrees of benefits. The least expensive is $60 USD a year. Want to call yourself an ALLi author? That'll be $99, please. The professional membership goes for $139 annually (as does the partner package).

Whoa! My initial reaction was that this is a little steep for a penny-pinching indie like myself. But I didn't want to jump to conclusions, so I poked around to learn what benefits I would reap for my money. With all four membership options, you receive a membership badge and ALLi's Code of Standards, neither of which have actual monetary value (based on my return-on-investment analysis), so I moved on to the tangible perks.

The Member Benefits page of the ALLi website summarizes what you receive for your membership fee. The first benefit listed is world-class Self-Publishing Advice & Guidance via regular online sessions with key advisors addressing your self-publishing quandaries and queries. ALLi does boast an impressive stable of professionals on their team, and the ability to interact with these folks has value. However, my concerns are the actual availability of these obviously-busy professionals. How often will they be online and interacting? What will be the advisor-to-member ratio? What are the odds someone will answer my question with the information I couldn't find elsewhere? The website promises 'regular' online sessions, but I would prefer a more defined commitment. What does ALLi mean by regular? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? I don't know, but I would like to, because I think this membership benefit promises the most value.

The second benefit--Meetups & Contacts--includes perks such as a searchable member database, Offline MeetUps & Events, Closed Online Forums, Publishing Contacts (publishers, printers, booksellers, distributors, book fairs, self-publishing services and rights agencies), evaluation of self-publishing services and a few more. This also seems promising, however, assuming these contacts and services do not interact exclusively at ALLi, these resources should be available elsewhere on the web. Your searching of these resources appears limited to the pond of ALLi-allied professionals.

The remaining member benefits are categorized as Encouraging Excellence, Self-Publishing News & Information, Advocacy & Campaigns, and Member Discounts & Incentives. This last group of benefits aren't described in as much detail as the first two, and overall, seem a bit nebulous in regard to their cash value.

As a side-note, Grammarly found two typos in the text I copied from ALLi's website. Worldclass and quandries can be found on ALLi's Member Benefits page. I realize it's very nit-picky on my part to point this out, but I do find the presence of typos discouraging on a website that's promoting self-publishing excellence as part of its membership package.

In summary, I feel the urge to cough up the money and join, yet I question whether my motivations are driven by the value of the membership, or the draw of joining an exclusive organization where I may get a chance to hob-nob with some of the big fish in the self-publishing pond. For now, I'm staying on the fence. What about you?


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Data Crunching, Converting, Counting, and More

This week I'll present some free online utilities that can help you analyze, count, data crunch, and convert your text.  Although the tools I'll discuss don't address grammar, spelling, etc., these handy utilities are still useful to a self-publisher.

Character and Word Counter with Frequency Statistics Calculator

This webpage offers a clever tool for calculating the number individual words in your writing (not just total words--a total for each word). It allowed me to paste my entire first draft of Mirrors & Mist into it (73,000 words), and found I used the word "was" 589 times! Ouch! It also has sort functions and some other data-crunching tools that let you analyze your writing based on the words you've written.

EPUB Validator

If you're self-publishing through a service like Smashwords, et al, you may not need EPUB Validator; however, it's a good quality control tool to have at your disposal, especially if you create your own EPUB files, or are having problems with one of your EPUBs.  The tool is simple to use--just choose your EPUB file from your hard drive and click validate (and hope for no errors)!

Readability Index Calculator

This website allows you to paste your text and then provides you a readability score (Flesch-Kincaid) for English text (Spanish, French, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish language versions are also available via a drop-down menu).  Why would you want to do this?  A readability score can give you an indication of how complex (or simple) your writing is to read based on a standardized scale.

Convert Number of Words to Number of Pages

This website may not be relevant to eBook publishers, but it's a handy little tool if you're looking for a quick answer.  This utility allows you to specify the font, font size, and line spacing for a given quantity of words and then calculates how many text pages this amount of words is equivalent to.

Cute PDF Editor

If you don't have pdf editing software (aka Adobe Acrobat) on your computer, this is a great free online utility that lets you edit pdf files.  No need to download and install a program, the cloud-based Cute PDF Editor lets you  re-size, rotate, crop, delete, duplicate, extract, reorder, insert, merge, add headers & footers, and more.

Hopefully some of these websites are new to you and come in handy at some point in the future.

Author Update:  The first draft of Mirrors & Mist has now morphed into the second draft and I'm working on the text daily.  I still have much to do, but progress is being made toward a late 2013 release.  I also bit the bullet and signed up for a Twitter account.  If you can't get enough of me here, you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cmskiera.



2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Data Crunching, Converting, Counting, and More
link : Data Crunching, Converting, Counting, and More

Read Also


2013

This week I'll present some free online utilities that can help you analyze, count, data crunch, and convert your text.  Although the tools I'll discuss don't address grammar, spelling, etc., these handy utilities are still useful to a self-publisher.

Character and Word Counter with Frequency Statistics Calculator

This webpage offers a clever tool for calculating the number individual words in your writing (not just total words--a total for each word). It allowed me to paste my entire first draft of Mirrors & Mist into it (73,000 words), and found I used the word "was" 589 times! Ouch! It also has sort functions and some other data-crunching tools that let you analyze your writing based on the words you've written.

EPUB Validator

If you're self-publishing through a service like Smashwords, et al, you may not need EPUB Validator; however, it's a good quality control tool to have at your disposal, especially if you create your own EPUB files, or are having problems with one of your EPUBs.  The tool is simple to use--just choose your EPUB file from your hard drive and click validate (and hope for no errors)!

Readability Index Calculator

This website allows you to paste your text and then provides you a readability score (Flesch-Kincaid) for English text (Spanish, French, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish language versions are also available via a drop-down menu).  Why would you want to do this?  A readability score can give you an indication of how complex (or simple) your writing is to read based on a standardized scale.

Convert Number of Words to Number of Pages

This website may not be relevant to eBook publishers, but it's a handy little tool if you're looking for a quick answer.  This utility allows you to specify the font, font size, and line spacing for a given quantity of words and then calculates how many text pages this amount of words is equivalent to.

Cute PDF Editor

If you don't have pdf editing software (aka Adobe Acrobat) on your computer, this is a great free online utility that lets you edit pdf files.  No need to download and install a program, the cloud-based Cute PDF Editor lets you  re-size, rotate, crop, delete, duplicate, extract, reorder, insert, merge, add headers & footers, and more.

Hopefully some of these websites are new to you and come in handy at some point in the future.

Author Update:  The first draft of Mirrors & Mist has now morphed into the second draft and I'm working on the text daily.  I still have much to do, but progress is being made toward a late 2013 release.  I also bit the bullet and signed up for a Twitter account.  If you can't get enough of me here, you can find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/cmskiera.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Draft 2 Digital for Self-Publishers & Indie Authors

Last week I posted about FastPencil, a self-publishing platform. Thanks to +Shah Wharton, I learned about Draft 2 Digital, yet another platform for self-publishing authors.

Whereas FastPencil appeared somewhat overwhelming with all its options, Draft 2 Digital is nearly the opposite. A clean, uncluttered interface with just five tabs, the Draft 2 Digital website is simple and easy to navigate. Draft 2 Digital doesn't have its own ebook storefront (like Smashwords) and it currently doesn't distribute to quite as many retailers, however, it current sales channels include:
Speaking of CreateSpace, which is a rather unique option for an ebook publishing platform, Draft 2 Digital states: "We can create paperbacks for any books generated through our conversion service (that is, everything except pre-formatted epub uploads). Simply choose CreateSpace as one of your sales channels at the publishing stage, and we'll begin the process."

According to their FAQ, Draft 2 Digital is currently pursuing distribution agreements with:
Saving the best for last, let's look at pricing. For books sold, see this chart detailing Draft 2 Digital's pricing.  How does this compare with the competitors? For a 'preferred status' book (more that $0.99 list price), Draft 2 Digital and their distributors take roughly a 40% cut. FastPencil and their distributors take a 44% cut, while Smashwords averages about 40% and BookBaby ranges from 30%-50% depending on the distributor, so Draft 2 Digital looks competitive in this area.

So what's the final word? Draft 2 Digital looks like a competitive option for self-publishers, and as its distribution network expands, combined with its CreateSpace printed book support, it has the potential to move to the front of the pack. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Author Update:  As Mirrors & Mist inches closer to self-publication, I'm also planning on re-releasing an updated version of Crimson & Cream, which will include minor text revisions based on another round of editing (with a new editor), and some extra content goodies, such as maps and a glossary. Below is the draft of one of the maps to be included, which covers the setting in which all three Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy books will take place. And I'd like to give a special shout-out to thank the folks at the G+ Community Map-Making in Games, who provided loads of good advice to this novice cartographer.  Thanks again for your support!


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Draft 2 Digital for Self-Publishers & Indie Authors
link : Draft 2 Digital for Self-Publishers & Indie Authors

Read Also


2013

Last week I posted about FastPencil, a self-publishing platform. Thanks to +Shah Wharton, I learned about Draft 2 Digital, yet another platform for self-publishing authors.

Whereas FastPencil appeared somewhat overwhelming with all its options, Draft 2 Digital is nearly the opposite. A clean, uncluttered interface with just five tabs, the Draft 2 Digital website is simple and easy to navigate. Draft 2 Digital doesn't have its own ebook storefront (like Smashwords) and it currently doesn't distribute to quite as many retailers, however, it current sales channels include:

Speaking of CreateSpace, which is a rather unique option for an ebook publishing platform, Draft 2 Digital states: "We can create paperbacks for any books generated through our conversion service (that is, everything except pre-formatted epub uploads). Simply choose CreateSpace as one of your sales channels at the publishing stage, and we'll begin the process."

According to their FAQ, Draft 2 Digital is currently pursuing distribution agreements with:
Saving the best for last, let's look at pricing. For books sold, see this chart detailing Draft 2 Digital's pricing.  How does this compare with the competitors? For a 'preferred status' book (more that $0.99 list price), Draft 2 Digital and their distributors take roughly a 40% cut. FastPencil and their distributors take a 44% cut, while Smashwords averages about 40% and BookBaby ranges from 30%-50% depending on the distributor, so Draft 2 Digital looks competitive in this area.

So what's the final word? Draft 2 Digital looks like a competitive option for self-publishers, and as its distribution network expands, combined with its CreateSpace printed book support, it has the potential to move to the front of the pack. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Author Update:  As Mirrors & Mist inches closer to self-publication, I'm also planning on re-releasing an updated version of Crimson & Cream, which will include minor text revisions based on another round of editing (with a new editor), and some extra content goodies, such as maps and a glossary. Below is the draft of one of the maps to be included, which covers the setting in which all three Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy books will take place. And I'd like to give a special shout-out to thank the folks at the G+ Community Map-Making in Games, who provided loads of good advice to this novice cartographer.  Thanks again for your support!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

FastPencil compared to Smashwords & BookBaby

I was going to write a post comparing Smashwords (which is how I self-published) to BookBaby (which I have not used).  However, in my research, I came across this excellent post from last year that gives a much more in-depth comparison than I planned on doing.  Since it's silly to re-invent the wheel, I thought I'd link to this post and move on to another topic.  If you're interested in comparing the two self-publishing services, check out Giacomo Giammatteo's fantastic guest post (and resulting comment thread) on How to Successfully Self Publish.

A third self-publishing/distribution service, with certain similarities to Smashwords and BookBaby is FastPencil (which I have also not personally used).  So I wondered if FastPencil was different than Smashwords and BookBaby, and if so, how?

For starters, FastPencil is a self-publishing platform that targets not only authors, but publishers and enterprises as well.  From my perspective as an indie author, I'm most interested in the self-publishing component of FastPencil, but details for publishers and enterprise can be found on their web site.

For the self-publishing author, FastPencil offers four different publishing packages, ranging from the free DIY package to the $1,999 Gold package.  What services you receive from these suites can be found in the Publishing Packages table. FastPencil also offers a variety of 'a la carte' services (too many to list) but they can be found in this Publishing Services table. In addition, FastPencil also has three imprint options, which are described on their Author Page. FastPencil provides a variety of options, although all but the base services cost extra.

FastPencil takes 20% of the retail markup when you sell through the FastFastPencil Marketplace. By comparison, Smashwords takes 26% from books sold on their page and BookBaby doesn't sell directly on their site (as far as I can tell).  For books sold through their distribution network, FastPencil and their distributor take a 44% cut, while Smashwords averages about 40% and BookBaby ranges from 30%-50%  depending on the distributor; which brings us to our next topic:  distribution. FastPencil distributes ebooks to:
  • Apple iBookStore, Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes&Noble.com, Kobobooks.com, Powells.com, Ebookmall.com, Diesel-ebooks.com, Booksonboard.com, Lulu.com, Lybrary.com, and the FastPencil Marketplace.
FastPencil includes this disclaimer:  Outside of the Amazon Kindle Store for ebooks, it’s important to remember that FastPencil has limited control over which book retailers actually list your ISBN title, i.e. we place your title in catalogs, and it’s up to the retailers to fetch and list them for sale on their websites.

FastPencil's 20% 'internal sales' cut is less than Smashwords; their distributor sales cut is in the same ballpark as Smashwords and Bookbaby; and their distribution network is comparative, including all of the big players. To me, their website is a bit more overwhelming than Smashwords and Bookbaby, but that may be due to the variety of options and platforms. Sticking to the free self-publishing components would likely streamline the experience.

I'm interested in hearing from people that have published through FastPencil's free package (or used any of their fee services, for that matter). If you have, please let me know. How easy/hard is it to publish your book? How is the customer service? Please share!

Mirrors & Mist update:  I'm currently polishing chapter 17 of 18.  Once I've filled in the holes, I'll edit the chapter, then move on to number 18.  Here's another map (a zoom-out of last week's figure) from the Oxbow Mountain Kingdom setting (the City of Dwim-Halloe, which sits in a mountain pass):





2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : FastPencil compared to Smashwords & BookBaby
link : FastPencil compared to Smashwords & BookBaby

Read Also


2013

I was going to write a post comparing Smashwords (which is how I self-published) to BookBaby (which I have not used).  However, in my research, I came across this excellent post from last year that gives a much more in-depth comparison than I planned on doing.  Since it's silly to re-invent the wheel, I thought I'd link to this post and move on to another topic.  If you're interested in comparing the two self-publishing services, check out Giacomo Giammatteo's fantastic guest post (and resulting comment thread) on How to Successfully Self Publish.

A third self-publishing/distribution service, with certain similarities to Smashwords and BookBaby is FastPencil (which I have also not personally used).  So I wondered if FastPencil was different than Smashwords and BookBaby, and if so, how?

For starters, FastPencil is a self-publishing platform that targets not only authors, but publishers and enterprises as well.  From my perspective as an indie author, I'm most interested in the self-publishing component of FastPencil, but details for publishers and enterprise can be found on their web site.

For the self-publishing author, FastPencil offers four different publishing packages, ranging from the free DIY package to the $1,999 Gold package.  What services you receive from these suites can be found in the Publishing Packages table. FastPencil also offers a variety of 'a la carte' services (too many to list) but they can be found in this Publishing Services table. In addition, FastPencil also has three imprint options, which are described on their Author Page. FastPencil provides a variety of options, although all but the base services cost extra.

FastPencil takes 20% of the retail markup when you sell through the FastFastPencil Marketplace. By comparison, Smashwords takes 26% from books sold on their page and BookBaby doesn't sell directly on their site (as far as I can tell).  For books sold through their distribution network, FastPencil and their distributor take a 44% cut, while Smashwords averages about 40% and BookBaby ranges from 30%-50%  depending on the distributor; which brings us to our next topic:  distribution. FastPencil distributes ebooks to:

  • Apple iBookStore, Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes&Noble.com, Kobobooks.com, Powells.com, Ebookmall.com, Diesel-ebooks.com, Booksonboard.com, Lulu.com, Lybrary.com, and the FastPencil Marketplace.
FastPencil includes this disclaimer:  Outside of the Amazon Kindle Store for ebooks, it’s important to remember that FastPencil has limited control over which book retailers actually list your ISBN title, i.e. we place your title in catalogs, and it’s up to the retailers to fetch and list them for sale on their websites.

FastPencil's 20% 'internal sales' cut is less than Smashwords; their distributor sales cut is in the same ballpark as Smashwords and Bookbaby; and their distribution network is comparative, including all of the big players. To me, their website is a bit more overwhelming than Smashwords and Bookbaby, but that may be due to the variety of options and platforms. Sticking to the free self-publishing components would likely streamline the experience.

I'm interested in hearing from people that have published through FastPencil's free package (or used any of their fee services, for that matter). If you have, please let me know. How easy/hard is it to publish your book? How is the customer service? Please share!

Mirrors & Mist update:  I'm currently polishing chapter 17 of 18.  Once I've filled in the holes, I'll edit the chapter, then move on to number 18.  Here's another map (a zoom-out of last week's figure) from the Oxbow Mountain Kingdom setting (the City of Dwim-Halloe, which sits in a mountain pass):





Thursday, May 16, 2013

Running Best-Sellers through an Online Writing Editor

Did you ever wonder what an online editing program would say about the work of a best-selling author?  Well, I have, and to satisfy my curiosity, I ran portions of three famous books through the Pro Writing Aid free online writing editor. The results of my experiment are described herein.

If you're asking "What's the point?" I wanted to see if there were any mechanical deficiencies in my writing that best-selling authors had mastered (i.e., too much passive text, too many pronouns, excessively long or short sentences, etc.). These are the types of analytic data an online editor can provide (among other information).

A secondary question was to see if the information provided by an online editor offered any insight on the marketable quality of the writing. I'm already convinced that there are enough features in a good online editor to make it worth my while to use in self-editing my text, so this wasn't an exercise to determine if there was value in using editing software, because for me, there is.

I also wanted to prioritize the myriad of report outputs provided by the editor.  For example, which 'red flags' deserve the most attention?  Which ones are less important for fiction (as opposed to non-fiction)?  Can any of these critique categories be safely ignored entirely?

In the table below, I summarize select portions of the Pro Writing Aid report that were easy to compare in a quantitative manner. The text I ran through the editor was selected from excerpts available online, each by different authors of famous speculative fiction series (ones involving dire wolves, a young assassin, and vampires, respectively).  I added a fourth column from a portion of my upcoming novel Mirrors & Mist (Book II of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy). For comparison purposes, each selection of text was approximately 2,000 words in length.

Disclaimers:  The table below is not the only information you receive in a free Pro Writing Aid report, it's only a portion of a full report. Furthermore, I do not advocate the use of these editors in lieu of (or as a replacement for) a human editor, rather as tools to polish your work before passing it on for review.

GRRM Hobb Rice CMS
Overused words 7 3 6 2
Redundancies 12 2 2 0
Passive index (target <25) 4.2 1.8 5.4 4.3
Pronoun % (Target 4-15%) 15 11.5 11.6 6.5
Initial pronoun % (Target <30%) 39.6 23.6 47.6 12.3
Sentence Length (target 11-18) 13.7 8.3 13.9 13.4
Sentence variety (target >3) 6.9 5.3 9.4 4.6
Long sentences 14 1 17 1
Vague & Abstract Words 71 36 46 26
Sticky sentences 10 21 17 3
Glue Index (target <40%) 44.7 48.4 49.3 36.7

So what did I learn from this exercise?  I learned several things, including:
  • Not surprisingly, best-selling authors keep passive text to a minimum, and use pronouns within the 'target' range (as determined by the online editor). However, the use of initial pronouns (first word in a sentence) can be well outside the target range without any apparent ill-effects to book sales.
  • The use of long sentences (>30 words) does not appear to be an indicator of success or quality; however, sentence variety and average sentence length does.
  • The 'vague and abstract words' report is not a good quantitative comparison tool for speculative fiction, due to the many fantasy words typical of the genre. 
  • Even among the best-selling authors, there is a wide range of results in many of the categories.
On a personal level, I've learned that the quantified portion of my writing style (as evaluated by the online editor) is not vastly different (or worse) than a best-selling author. However, I realize this says nothing about my story-telling abilities. This research also reminds me not to obsess over everything an online editor flags, because obviously, you can sell millions of books without getting a 'perfect' score. The one item that did jump out at me was my score for sentence variety--it was noticeably lower than the other authors and will be something I take a closer look at.

So there you have it--a glimpse into the strange things I ponder and the obsessive-compulsive exercises in futility that those thoughts inspire!

In regard to an update, I'm still plugging away on the 1st Draft of Mirrors & Mist. I'm currently editing Chapter 16 (of 18) and am at just under 72,000 words. I've also been making maps of my fantasy setting (using ProFantasy Software's Campaign Cartographer 3). Here's an example:


2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Running Best-Sellers through an Online Writing Editor
link : Running Best-Sellers through an Online Writing Editor

Read Also


2013

Did you ever wonder what an online editing program would say about the work of a best-selling author?  Well, I have, and to satisfy my curiosity, I ran portions of three famous books through the Pro Writing Aid free online writing editor. The results of my experiment are described herein.

If you're asking "What's the point?" I wanted to see if there were any mechanical deficiencies in my writing that best-selling authors had mastered (i.e., too much passive text, too many pronouns, excessively long or short sentences, etc.). These are the types of analytic data an online editor can provide (among other information).

A secondary question was to see if the information provided by an online editor offered any insight on the marketable quality of the writing. I'm already convinced that there are enough features in a good online editor to make it worth my while to use in self-editing my text, so this wasn't an exercise to determine if there was value in using editing software, because for me, there is.

I also wanted to prioritize the myriad of report outputs provided by the editor.  For example, which 'red flags' deserve the most attention?  Which ones are less important for fiction (as opposed to non-fiction)?  Can any of these critique categories be safely ignored entirely?

In the table below, I summarize select portions of the Pro Writing Aid report that were easy to compare in a quantitative manner. The text I ran through the editor was selected from excerpts available online, each by different authors of famous speculative fiction series (ones involving dire wolves, a young assassin, and vampires, respectively).  I added a fourth column from a portion of my upcoming novel Mirrors & Mist (Book II of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy). For comparison purposes, each selection of text was approximately 2,000 words in length.

Disclaimers:  The table below is not the only information you receive in a free Pro Writing Aid report, it's only a portion of a full report. Furthermore, I do not advocate the use of these editors in lieu of (or as a replacement for) a human editor, rather as tools to polish your work before passing it on for review.

GRRM Hobb Rice CMS
Overused words 7 3 6 2
Redundancies 12 2 2 0
Passive index (target <25) 4.2 1.8 5.4 4.3
Pronoun % (Target 4-15%) 15 11.5 11.6 6.5
Initial pronoun % (Target <30%) 39.6 23.6 47.6 12.3
Sentence Length (target 11-18) 13.7 8.3 13.9 13.4
Sentence variety (target >3) 6.9 5.3 9.4 4.6
Long sentences 14 1 17 1
Vague & Abstract Words 71 36 46 26
Sticky sentences 10 21 17 3
Glue Index (target <40%) 44.7 48.4 49.3 36.7

So what did I learn from this exercise?  I learned several things, including:
  • Not surprisingly, best-selling authors keep passive text to a minimum, and use pronouns within the 'target' range (as determined by the online editor). However, the use of initial pronouns (first word in a sentence) can be well outside the target range without any apparent ill-effects to book sales.
  • The use of long sentences (>30 words) does not appear to be an indicator of success or quality; however, sentence variety and average sentence length does.
  • The 'vague and abstract words' report is not a good quantitative comparison tool for speculative fiction, due to the many fantasy words typical of the genre. 
  • Even among the best-selling authors, there is a wide range of results in many of the categories.
On a personal level, I've learned that the quantified portion of my writing style (as evaluated by the online editor) is not vastly different (or worse) than a best-selling author. However, I realize this says nothing about my story-telling abilities. This research also reminds me not to obsess over everything an online editor flags, because obviously, you can sell millions of books without getting a 'perfect' score. The one item that did jump out at me was my score for sentence variety--it was noticeably lower than the other authors and will be something I take a closer look at.

So there you have it--a glimpse into the strange things I ponder and the obsessive-compulsive exercises in futility that those thoughts inspire!

In regard to an update, I'm still plugging away on the 1st Draft of Mirrors & Mist. I'm currently editing Chapter 16 (of 18) and am at just under 72,000 words. I've also been making maps of my fantasy setting (using ProFantasy Software's Campaign Cartographer 3). Here's an example:


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A New Twist on Dictionaries

"Mom?  How do you spell precocious?"
"Look it up in the dictionary."
"But I don't know how to spell it!"

Ah, the dreaded dictionary. For many of us, our first experience with one was an indirect childhood punishment. A dry, sterile, overwhelming tool. No fun at all. Look up a word, and find it described by other words you don't understand. So you look them up, and then repeat. Next thing you know, you've accidentally learned something.

My favorite entries in the dictionary were always the ones with pictures (they still are, truth be told). Seemed to me, every entry should have a picture (not possible, I realize, but such was the case with many of my childhood wishes). That leads us to today's post, where in keeping with the overall theme of this blog, I'll describe some free, online resources that I've found valuable, especially as an indie author.

First, a dictionary where every entry does have a picture! The Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online contains 6,000 full-color images of a wide variety of objects from all aspects of life. I've included an example entry below:
elements of ancient costume [3] - Visual Dictionary Online
Similar to the Visual Online Dictionary is the Photographic Dictionary, which has full-color photographs (and simple definitions) of over 5,000 words. An interesting feature of the Photographic Dictionary is the ability to browse or search for words not only by letters or category, but buy rhyme as well.

Another website I love is the Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture. Again, every entry has an accompanying illustration. Although this website focuses on medieval architecture, much of the terminology still applies to modern architecture, and many of these styles and structures still exist throughout cities of the world.

An exciting resource I've recently found (and have yet to explore fully) is the Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary. While this resource doesn't provide illustrations or photographs of words, it does provide dynamic diagrams detailing associations with other words and concepts. It's difficult to explain, so I'd recommend checking out the link.You won't be disappointed.

I also frequently use the Visual Thesaurus at Free Thesaurus.org, which is concept similar to a simplified Visuwords™. It's a quick and easy way to find alternate words, and see them arranged graphically.

So the next time Pro Writing Aid tells you you've used the work 'brown' 14 times in your chapter, maybe one of these sites can help you out.

Mirrors & Mist update:  I'm still editing draft one of book two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Current word count broke 70,000 last night, which feels like a milestone. I'm now editing Chapter 14 of 18, so I'm getting closer to the 2nd draft. Please stay tuned!
2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : A New Twist on Dictionaries
link : A New Twist on Dictionaries

Read Also


2013

"Mom?  How do you spell precocious?"
"Look it up in the dictionary."
"But I don't know how to spell it!"

Ah, the dreaded dictionary. For many of us, our first experience with one was an indirect childhood punishment. A dry, sterile, overwhelming tool. No fun at all. Look up a word, and find it described by other words you don't understand. So you look them up, and then repeat. Next thing you know, you've accidentally learned something.

My favorite entries in the dictionary were always the ones with pictures (they still are, truth be told). Seemed to me, every entry should have a picture (not possible, I realize, but such was the case with many of my childhood wishes). That leads us to today's post, where in keeping with the overall theme of this blog, I'll describe some free, online resources that I've found valuable, especially as an indie author.

First, a dictionary where every entry does have a picture! The Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online contains 6,000 full-color images of a wide variety of objects from all aspects of life. I've included an example entry below:

elements of ancient costume [3] - Visual Dictionary Online
Similar to the Visual Online Dictionary is the Photographic Dictionary, which has full-color photographs (and simple definitions) of over 5,000 words. An interesting feature of the Photographic Dictionary is the ability to browse or search for words not only by letters or category, but buy rhyme as well.

Another website I love is the Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture. Again, every entry has an accompanying illustration. Although this website focuses on medieval architecture, much of the terminology still applies to modern architecture, and many of these styles and structures still exist throughout cities of the world.

An exciting resource I've recently found (and have yet to explore fully) is the Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary. While this resource doesn't provide illustrations or photographs of words, it does provide dynamic diagrams detailing associations with other words and concepts. It's difficult to explain, so I'd recommend checking out the link.You won't be disappointed.

I also frequently use the Visual Thesaurus at Free Thesaurus.org, which is concept similar to a simplified Visuwords™. It's a quick and easy way to find alternate words, and see them arranged graphically.

So the next time Pro Writing Aid tells you you've used the work 'brown' 14 times in your chapter, maybe one of these sites can help you out.

Mirrors & Mist update:  I'm still editing draft one of book two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Current word count broke 70,000 last night, which feels like a milestone. I'm now editing Chapter 14 of 18, so I'm getting closer to the 2nd draft. Please stay tuned!