Thursday, October 20, 2011

Andromeda/Your Turn: What are you reading (online) now?

I get a little stuck in my habits, and though I spend (and waste) plenty of time online, I forget to find new reading and writing blogs to keep me connected with what's going on in the literary world. (Here at 49 writers, we can only do so much!) Some of my old favorites died off or went away, and I haven't found many substitutes.

So I'd like to ask you: help us freshen up. What blogs have you discovered? Are you using online sites and social media in a different way lately? Talk to us about the AK perspective on this, or just share your thoughts. Innovators, mavens, and Luddites all welcome.

To warm up the dialogue: Earlier this week I discovered "The Quivering Pen," David Abrams's blog, which includes book reviews, book giveaways, literary reflections, and a weekly feature called My First Time, "in which writers talk about virgin experiences in their writing and publishing careers, ranging from their first rejection to the moment of holding their first published book in their hands." Abrams, who lives in Montana and calls himself a "book evangelist" (gotta like that), is a reader of this blog and a graduate of the UAA [correction: UAF!]MFA program. He has a forthcoming novel about the Iraq war, called Fobbit (Grove/Atlantic). Abrams also writes for January Magazine.
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There was lots of talk at the recently-concluded Frankfurt Book Fair about the digitalization of the book and increasing potentials for interactivity. All over the world this month, people seem to be talking about the idea that the most important relationship will not be between the writer and the publisher, but between the writer and the reader. People are buying more books online and doing more impulse-purchasing of books (especially easy with ebooks), and Amazon continues to rattle its mighty chains as a force for swifter and more direct delivery of content to consumers. As the NYT reported four days ago, Amazon has stepped up as a publisher and will bring out 122 titles this fall in both physical and ebook form. They're even paying out some big advances -- $800,000 to actress/director Penny Marshall, for starters.

Amazon isn't the only one flexing its muscles. Readers seem to be doing the same, championing their own roles as taste-makers and critics by posting their own reviews at Amazon and Goodreads, for example. (Old news, yes, but not old news when it's starting to change who gets published, and where, and for how much money.) Readers can track down their favorite authors on Facebook (I know I've "friended" several of mine) and Twitter, and will expect more and more direct access to enriched content, to authors, to opportunities not just to read, but to somehow engage with the reading process in more social ways.

And finally, starting today, the writer will get a kind of power previously limited to publishers: fast access to sales information. As the LA Times reported, Amazon announced it will give authors access to previously expensive and essentially inaccessible Neilsen Book Scan data, which tallies about 75% of overall sales. Now, an author can sweat over their book sales in closer-to-real-time terror! More significantly, seeing where copies are being sold and when can help authors tailor their own marketing efforts, both physical and virtual, and monitor if certain experiments (an online book tour or virtual book discussion, for example?) had any real effect. What will authors do with that information? As one author who has felt left in the dark on many an occasion, I'm fascinated to watch.

My question for you: Are any of you actually seeing any of this happening? If you're an author with a book coming out soon, what are you doing to fit into this changing social media world? If you're a reader, are you starting to demand more? What aspects of this Brave New Literary World do you love, and which do you loathe?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to check out the sites you mentioned, Andromeda. Thanks. Here's a grab bag of some writing sites that I frequent.

For its wit and instruction: You Don’t Say – English grammar, language, usage and journalism blog by John E. McIntryre – The Baltimore Sun

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/

his blurb:
John McIntyre: mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics.

For wit and instruction: Janet Reid Literary Agent
http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/

For concrete examples of what works and doesn’t work in a query letter: Janet Reid’s Query Clinic

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/


Sites I check occasionally when I want good distraction and to be entertained:

STORY, which is sponsored by the BBC, lists essays about the short story from the perspective of writers, publishers, editors, agents, broadcasters, and book sellers.

http://www.theshortstory.org.uk/thinkpiece/index.php4

******

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Short stories to make you laugh out loud, and so much more.

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/

Their blurb:
McSweeney’s is a publishing company based in San Francisco.
As well as operating this daily humor website, we also publish Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Believer, Lucky Peach, Wholphin, Grantland Quarterly, and an ever-growing selection of books under various imprints.

PS My husband took me out for lunch today and informed me that today is National Writers Day. So there's a good reason for anybody to beg off on cooking dinner...
Cheers

Therese Harvey

Anonymous said...

I don’t use any social media but I check several blogs each day that relate to writing.

For its wit and instruction: You Don’t Say – English grammar, language, usage and journalism blog by John E. McIntryre – The Baltimore Sun


http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/

his blurb: John McIntyre: mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics.

For wit and instruction: Janet Reid Literary Agent
http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/
For examples of what works and doesn’t in queries: Janet Reid’s Query Shark

http://queryshark.blogspot.com/

Sites I check occasionally when I want good distraction and to be entertained:

STORY, which is sponsored by the BBC, lists essays about the short story from the perspective of writers, publishers, editors, agents, broadcasters, and book sellers.

http://www.theshortstory.org.uk/thinkpiece/index.php4

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency - Short stories to make you laugh out loud, and so much more.

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/

And, finally, a blog about fishing, not writing. It’s Tele Aadsen’s site. She trolls out of Sitka, AK.

http://nerkasalmon.wordpress.com/

PS My husband took me out to lunch today and informed me that today is National Writers Day.
Happy day to all of us!
Therese Harvey

Anonymous said...

A few sites I check regularly -

Janet Reid blogs:
http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/
http://queryshark.blogspot.com/


John McIntyre blog:
http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/

McSweeney’s blog with short stories and so much more:
http://www.mcsweeneys.net/


PS My husband took me out to lunch and informed me that today is National Writers’ Day. So if you need a reason to take yourself or somebody else out for dinner – there you go. Happy day to all of us.
Therese Harvey

Green Mountain Realty said...

I am so happy that so many writers have so many great ways to get published and read these days.

Melodie Wright said...

There are SO many blogs out there on writing. I've listed a few of them on my blog and on The Palmer Post's blog roll.
I love Literary Rambles, Mother.Write.Repeat, Pub Rants, and Nathan Bransford, among (many) others.