C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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Egypt: Solidarity Against Oppression

Somebody (don’t recall who) ranked Mubarak as the 15th worst tyrant in the world. I sure hope rulers 14 through to one are taking notice and not sleeping so well.

I don’t usually touch on politics much. It’s all about writing and publishing every day. I’d prefer to avoid it for this blog, in fact.

But how could I not?

This is one of those cases where if you say, “on the one hand on then on the other…”

you’re a douche.

When the people arise, the government must fall.

Filed under: Media, Uncategorized, , , ,

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Nomination (via View From the Publishing Trenches)

Everyone who promotes books, loves books and buys books (and possibly even read books) should be appreciated. There’s a hard working author behind every book who is grateful when word of mouth brings their baby into the light. Excelsior!

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Nomination I don't know who to thank, so here's a blanket thank-you to whomever nominated this blog of scribblings, random thoughts, and gripes for the Book Blogger Appreciation Week Award in the Best Publishing Industry Blog category. If you want to cast your vote, you can just click here: Looking at the timeline on the BBAW website, voting will be open September 7-12. (Don't worry, I'll remind you!) Thanks again to whomever nominated me! … Read More

via View From the Publishing Trenches

Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday Reward: Giant Bubbles

Filed under: Uncategorized, web reviews,

The Editing Lesson

We've had this knife for 3 or 4 years and it s...

Image via Wikipedia

Elimintae extraaneous verbiage.

Eliminate extraneous words.

Eliminate extra words.

Take out extra words.

Delete extra words.




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What Makes a Good Editor? (via Sharron’s Blog)

I write a lot about writing and publishing. I thought I should say something about editors. Then I read this, so thanks to Sharron for picking up the torch on this subject.

When I teach my writing and publishing classes, I often get students who tell me they've always wanted to become a writer. I also get students who tell me they love finding errors in books and magazines when they read them. Then they tell me they think they want to become editors. What makes a good editor? A good editor is well read in many areas. To limit one's expertise to one or two topics is to limit one's ability to edit well to those few to … Read More

via Sharron's Blog

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Random advice from the Napa Writers Conference (via Fog City Writer)

I can’t be in Napa so a little bit of Napa came to me. Thanks to Fog City Writer for this post from the writers’ conference!

This is just a fun list of some of the helpful tidbits I picked up while at the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference last week: – The train has to leave the station quickly at the beginning of a story. This is a clever way of saying that you need to get a plot/conflict going sooner rather than later and that your characters’ desires/goals/motivations need to be made known quickly to draw the reader into your story. If your reader gets to page 25 of yo … Read More

via Fog City Writer

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Twitter Addresses of Literary Agents Who Twitter (via Ramblings of a Raconteur)

This is useful. When you’re on the hunt for an agent, here’s a place to look first.

Twitter Addresses of Literary Agents Who Twitter Below is a listing of  Literary Agents with Twitter accounts. @4writers / Jennifer DeChiara @AffinityArtists / Ross Grossman @AgentPete / Peter Cox, Redhammer @agentrobert / Robert Brown, Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency @allanguthrie / Allan Guthrie @amblit / Amy Moore-Benson @AndyBarzvi / Andrea Barzvi @BeMissH / Holly Bemiss, The Susan Rabiner Literary Agency @BookEndsJessica / Jessica Faust @Bookfan / Kae Tienstra @BookJacquie / Jacquie Flynn, J … Read More

via Ramblings of a Raconteur

Filed under: Uncategorized

A Few Things Publishing Has Taught Me (#1 of a series)

1. They’re called deadlines, not livelines. Ignore them and you only make yourself miserable and worse, less productive.

2. Publishing is not a romantic pursuit 99.9% of the time. We think of cocktail parties and rubbing shoulders with the glitterati. Mostly it’s hard slogging, alone at a desk developing hemorrhoids.

3. Authors aren’t entitled to a sense of entitlement, but we need it. We should be humble considering our real place in the grand scheme of things. However, we must have a sense of entitlement. We must not be humble. Otherwise, we wouldn’t dare do this (and expect to be paid for it!)

4. Publishers and agents say they aren’t cynical. Many (most?) are. They say, “If we weren’t cynical, how could we be in this business?” Actually there are several answers to that, #1 being that many of them are english majors who are otherwise unemployable. (Many agents are way too snotty to be baristas.) However, much of the time, heavy skepticism serves them. Why? Because I’ve worked a slush pile and know that most manuscripts are not ready to be considered for publication.

5. It’s not just the bad writers who get rejected. People who consider themselves “real” writers delude themselves. Good writers get rejected, too. Shrinking budgets. Smaller staffs. Corporate giants have swallowed publishers up so there’s a greater emphasis on quick returns. Being a midlist author with a track record can be worse than being a newbie with no sales figures to drag down a publisher’s hopes for your next manuscript.

6. Publishing is always, and has always been, a business first. We talk about art on NPR and CBC Radio. At the sales meetings we do not talk about art. We use another word: “Product.” Yeah, that’s right. I said it.

7. Bookstore owners got into selling books because they loved books. (Past tense.) In practice, they spend more time calculating the GST on their (shrinking) sales than reading. This makes some of these disenchanted survivors—these noble few—stargazers with unreasonable hopes for the future and an enduring love of books. For many, their love of books is bittersweet nostalgia for when they were still freshmen. A whole whack of bookstore owners and staff are also some sad ass, cranky mofos.

8. Publishers often don’t know what they’re doing. The big publishers today won’t necessarily be the big publishers of the future. They aren’t agile enough or willing to change. A friend who worked for one of the largest Canadian book publishers confessed to me once, “I can’t find anyone in this office who can tell me what a book actually costs!” And that publisher went away. What a surprise. No other industry tolerates such a high failure rate as does publishing. Many of the reasons for that (to be explored in future posts) are out of the publishers’ control I don’t blame them for that. I do blame them for not fixing those faults which are under their control.

9. If you want to see innovation, watch the smaller publishers. They change fast because they have fewer people between now and a decision. They also adapt faster because there’s no money cushion. They have to change.

10. Changing publishing is like trying to herd cats. At a recent publishing conference I watched a publisher wring his hands about the ebook future. It’s coming. Instead of worrying about yes or no, the question is, “How are you going to ride the wave? Swim or sink!”

11. Publishers as a community should be organizing and lobbying for one epub format. Multiple formats cost more money for an industry that can’t afford inefficiencies. That change won’t happen soon. (Though, like gay marriage, it will eventually be the universal rule, so why don’t we just get on with doing the right thing from the get go?)

12. Your advance for your first book shall be pitiful. Doesn’t matter. It’s all going to the publicist you will hire.

13.  Prioritize. Authors spend too much time thinking about the health of the industry and not enough time on the health of their manuscripts…uh-oh. Gotta go.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Random Rejection: The Eclipse Comics Saga Part I (via James Viscosi’s Scribblings)

Rejection makes you sad. Like a bad date, you have to assume it’s not you. It’s them. Publishers don’t have all the answers. It’s subjective. Also, sometimes they can be just…well…disorganized goofs. Great post on an aspiring comic book writer running into the wall (and eventually making a hole in said wall.)

Random Rejection:  The Eclipse Comics Saga Part I So this week I pulled something really juicy out of my pile of rejections. I may have mentioned before that a number of my books, including Night Watchman and Dragon Stones, started out as comic book series proposals. I was working with an editor at the now-defunct Eclipse Comics on developing several of these. Unfortunately I'm not a particularly good artist, so I was submitting them as scripts that would be illustrated by others. How did it all … Read More

via James Viscosi's Scribblings

Filed under: Uncategorized

Best Spin City joke ever!

Mike, upon learning somebody’s dating a writer:

“A writer? A writer is just an actor who’s too lazy to wait tables!”

Filed under: Uncategorized, Writers


Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

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