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text 2016-08-30 14:16
Now Arriving on the New York Subway: Free E-Books, Timed for Your Commute

(reblogged from NY Times)

 

The author Harlan Coben used Subway Reads, a program that lets riders download novellas, short stories or excerpts from full-length books published by Penguin Random House. Mr. Coben showed Subway Reads to Rainier Velardo, right, a retired Sanitation Department employee.
 

Rainier Velardo watched the basketball-player-tall man in the blue shirt who sat down next to him — the man had gotten on at the last subway stop, West Fourth Street in Manhattan, and this was an F train going to Brooklyn. Mr. Velardo watched the man tap the screen of an iPad. He heard the man chuckle and say: “You’d think I would know this. I wrote it.” And then, with even more of a chuckle, “Didn’t see that twist coming.”

Mr. Velardo, 66, perked up at what the man said next: “Actually, it’s a big enough font. I can read it without my glasses.”

 

The man in the light blue shirt was Harlan Coben, the prolific, best-selling author whose fans really do not see the plot twists coming. He writes mysteries and thrillers — page-turners, some people might call them. But that term seems to have been forgotten in the universe of cellphones and tablets. “Page-swipers” conveys the notion of motion — the reader’s finger gliding on a glowing screen — but as a locution, it will never catch on.

 

And here on the F train, he was in the digital universe, trying out something called Subway Reads, a web platform that can be reached from a subway platform.

On Sunday, Subway Reads started delivering novellas, short stories or excerpts from full-length books to passengers’ cellphones or tablets. The idea is for riders to download a short story or a chapter and read it on the train. Subway Reads will even let riders choose what to read based on how long they will be on the subway — a 10-page selection for a 10-minute ride, a 20-page selection for a 20-minute excursion, a 30-page selection for a 30-minute trip. Delays not included.

 

“I would like to do it,” said Mr. Velardo, a retired Sanitation Department employee who was on his way to a bottle distribution center in Brooklyn.

 

He can, for eight weeks. Subway Reads will last longer than a summer romance, but not much longer. It was intended to promote something that will not disappear, something that transit officials see as a milestone in the digital age: Wi-Fi service in 175 underground stations.

Subway Reads allows riders choose what to read based on how long they will be on the subway.
Richard Perry / The New York Times
 

Transit officials approached Penguin Random House, the publishing colossus with more than 250 imprints, because it had run a similar e-book promotion in the London Underground last year, celebrating Penguin’s 80th anniversary. Transit officials said they were open to other platforms from publishers, and platforms for more than books — anything to draw passengers to the Wi-Fi service.

 

But there is a difference between the e-books on Penguin Random House’s own website and the 175 selections on Subway Reads. The ones on Subway Reads will be free.

 

“When e-books first came out, everyone thought they’d replace the book,” Mr. Coben said. “As a writer, I don’t care if you read me on stone tablets, as long as you read me. If you give me 10 minutes and don’t like it, fine; I’m not for you.”

 

But he made a prediction: “Try it. I’m going to get you after 10 pages.” (He apparently got Bill Clinton, at least once. After the former president had heart surgery in 2004, a photographer caught him carrying a copy of Mr. Coben’s novel “No Second Chance.”)

Subway Reads may turn out to be another way to reach the younger, mobile-savvy readers that publishers worry about, and the idea of timing selections to the length of a trip may appeal to people who know exactly how long their commutes take. And no, Subway Reads will not force slow readers to skip over the good stuff. If someone does not finish a 10-minute selection in 10 minutes, it will not disappear.

 

Subway Reads is offering five novellas or short stories, what Penguin Random House calls e-shorts. Three are by contemporary writers: “High Heat” by Lee Child, “3 Truths and a Lie” by Lisa Gardner, and “At the Reunion Buffet” by Alexander McCall Smith. Two are classics: “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe. There are also dozens of excerpts from books, fiction and nonfiction.

 

The e-shorts come with pull quotes in the text, for easy sharing. Readers can tap a Twitter symbol above the quote, and it will go out on their Twitter feed. A Penguin Random House marketing official showed Mr. Coben one of the quotes while they were waiting for the F train at West Fourth Street.

 

I’m underground, he thought. I’m underground.

And then he started to scream.

 

“This is a really creepy quote,” Mr. Coben said.

 

Read the rest of the article here.

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text 2016-07-11 13:49
37 Free Online Writing Courses from Top Universities

(Reblogged from Better Yourself Online)

 

 

Writing and Reading the Essay – MIT

Writing and Reading Short Stories – MIT

Professional and Technical Writing – Purdue University

The Writing Process – Purdue University

Principles of Research and Problem Solving (Powerpoint Download) – University of Michigan

Introduction to Novel Writing – University of College Falmouth

Writing for Children – University of College Falmouth

Critical Reading and Writing – University of Massachusetts at Boston

Start Writing Fiction – Open University

Writing What You Know – Open University

Technical Writing – New Jersey Institute of Technology

Flash Fiction – University of Iowa

How to Find the Short Story Within Your Novel – University of Iowa

Intermediate Writing: Research Writing in a Persuasive Mode – USU

Introduction to Writing: Academic Prose – USU

Writing and Rhetoric: Writing about Sports – MIT

Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric and Contemporary Issues – MIT

Writing and Experience: Reading and Writing Autobiography – MIT

The Creative Spark – MIT

Writing and the Environment – MIT

Writing on Contemporary Issues: Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about the Cultures of Food – MIT

Expository Writing: Analyzing Mass Media – MIT

Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace – MIT

Writing on Contemporary Issues: Imagining the Future – MIT

Writing and Experience – MIT

Science Writing and New Media – MIT

Writing with Shakespeare – MIT

Writing About Literature – MIT

Writing and Reading the Essay – MIT

Writing About Race: Narratives of Multiraciality – MIT

Writing and Reading Short Stories – MIT

Writing and Reading Poems – MIT

Genre Fiction Workshop – MIT

Transmedia Storytelling: Modern Science Fiction – MIT

Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice – MIT

Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues – MIT

Popular Culture and Narrative: Literature, Comics, and Culture – MIT

 

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text 2016-07-11 13:35
Crafting Serial Fiction: An In-Depth Guide

(reblogged from M.L. Gardener )

 

Crafting Serial Fiction: An In-Depth Guide || MLGardnerBooks.com
 
A serial is a short but captivating story published in installments. And I really, really love them. When I contemplated using a serial format to continue The 1929 Series, I did a lot of research on how they're done. Like anything else, there's tons of information and opinions. Some of it's good, some not so much. But I muddled through it all and took away what made sense to me.
 
A serial is much more than just breaking up a book every 8,000 words and putting it out there.
 
I have found that if people get out of each written episode what they'd get out of a TV episode, they are happy.
 
If they feel like they are being drip-fed a few chapters at a time, they feel ripped off simply because it is impossible to price below 99¢ on Amazon and it undermines the episode experience. Episodes of a season are like mini books within a bigger book.
 
Serials aren't crafted like novels. Nailing that experience is key.
 
A serial should be the equivalent of a book (80,000 words), and I chose to release Purling Road in ten episodes of 8,000 words each. You could do a few more or a few less. I wouldn't advise going too short, though. It's better to launch a second season than put out 4,000-word episodes that drag on and on. Eight to twelve episodes would be ideal.
 
For the episodes themselves, even when compiled into a one-season ebook, don't follow the same rules as a novel. Serials don’t have the traditional three-act structure. To get a feel for how I wanted my serial to read, I abandoned novel advice and followed the guidelines of the experts—television. I binged-watched a few of my favorite shows and took notes on how they were crafted.
 
In every show, there is one overall problem or threat that lasts the entire serial, another that lasts the season, and every episode there are mini threats or challenges that are resolved in that episode.
 
In Downton Abbey, it's the survival of the house/legacy as well as true happiness eluding every member of the household, upstairs and down, that continues throughout.
 
The Walking Dead is simple. Not to say the writers are not brilliant and creative and what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in the writers’ room. But the overall threat is trying to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world.
 
Seasonally, the threat is surviving in what is currently home, fighting the alive and undead, and every episode that survival is threatened in one way or another. All the while, the evolution of each character is background noise and amazing. The strangest combination. For those of you who aren't TWD addicts, just know they have crafted characters so well that it's almost impossible to get rid of the main cast now.
 
I like Downton Abbey as an example because it shows how a serial at the opposite end of the spectrum can be just as successful. Downton isn't the running, sweating, fight-for-your life, action-packed heart-pounder that TWD is, but it has its share of rabid fans. In my opinion, it's a lot deeper and more complex too.
 
They layer drama like an ar-teest.
 
They've also done a good job with evolving characters and adding extra layers by giving each character seasonal and episode challenges. The ones that don't have major challenges aren't on screen (a point to note). High drama with high tea at all times. There is little to no fluff. There is a faster pace. There is a time gap between episodes. Downton is famous for having months and months go by between single episodes! (Also points to note.)
 
With such a large cast, it's necessary to rotate through them so it doesn't seem like they are picking on one character all the time and we forget that another still lives there.
 
Except poor Edith. Her serial, season, and episode challenge is all the same and like a running joke. The writers really beat on that girl.
 
So here's a breakdown of what I learned by reading, watching, and doing.
 
—Have an overall threat to the entire cast that can carry over for many seasons to come. (Hint, it doesn't have to be dramatic, only long-lasting.) In Purling Road, they are surviving the Depression. That's the overall theme of every season and without it, the serial would collapse. The threat isn’t spoken about in every episode—it’s simply there.
 
—Have a seasonal threat (or two) that will be resolved by the end of the season, while leaving the series threat intact. This can linger in the background or mesh with the overall threat.
 

—Have a smaller threat in each episode that is resolved by the end of the episode. You have some liberty with this. Some drama is better played out over two episodes or left hanging so you can weave back in a later episode to resolve. Get creative but always resolve.

 

Read the rest of the post here.

 

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text 2016-07-02 17:16
#TheBookies: A Hashtag Game for Bookworms

(reblogged from Wind Eggs)

 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a hashtag game fan, or you’ve never played. #TheBookies (@BookieWordGames) offers bookworms a Twitter playpen to launch verbal jousts, puns and tongue twisters. Readers meet Indie Authors face-to-face and authors find new followers for their books.


Bookies Logo 

 

Take a look at this weekly game, sponsored by Authors Professional Coop in partnership with IndieBooksBeSeen, and you’ll find a new weekly passion. @stephens_pt (me) posts the topic immediately after the previous game and once a night for the following week.

 

Players tweet all day Wednesday. I declare the winner at 6:30 pm EST and e-mail an eBook by a Coop author to the winner.

Join the #TheBookies a hashtag game for bookworms every Wednesday. The moderator @stephens_pt highlights his favorites starting at 4:30 pm EDT, and announces a winner at 6:30.

Booking #TheBookies

When I suggested that the Facebook group #AuthorProfCoop (Author Professionals Coop) promote their books with a hashtag game, I was surprised to discover how few writers actually played hashtag games on Twitter. After all, writers make a living from verbal jokes and puns, right?

 

If you’ve never played a hashtag game, the rules are simple. The moderators post the hashtag. The players respond with a joke, and often a related pic.

For instance #MyWorstNightmare might prompt:

 

  • My ex returned and now she’s pregnant
  • Mother called and said she’s coming to visit
  • The election’s over and (Trump or Hillary) won
  • I dieted for three straight months and gained ten pounds or a simple image

Jehovah's Witness canvassing

 

In the case of #TheBookies, this doesn’t mean players can’t stray from books with their entries, but the judge prefers entries that play on fictional characters and titles. (More about the judge later). Past games included:

 

  • #FastFoodActionThrillers
  • #DrunkTweetsFromOz
  • #FairyGodmotherBadAdvice
  • #RomComWesterns
  • #ShakespeareAfterHours
  • #2016ScarlettLetters

Here are some of the Tweets from #FastFoodActionThrillers:

  • Dial M for McDonalds
  • The French Fry Connection
  • Midnight in the Olive Garden of Good and Evil
  • 007: For Your Fries Only
  • Men in Baby Back Ribs
  • True Fries

I’ve heard every excuse in the book not to play, and most of them revolve around not knowing what to say.

 

You’re readers and writers. Words are in your blood. Even so, here are some things to remember:

 

  1. Don’t know any detective novels? (Or Sci Fi, or fairy tales?) Do what you did  in school when you partied instead of studying. Google. “What are the most famous detective novels?” “Who are the most famous fictional detectives?”
  2. Don’t worry about the rules. Hashtag games don’t have rules. Seriously. Don’t know any novels? Tweet movies and TV shows. In a recent serial killer installment
  3. #SerialKillersInTherapy (I’m Okay, You’re Delicious), players tweeted real serial killers.
  4. Check out other hashtag games. Download the Hashtag Roundup app. It lists dozens of hashtag games you can play besides this one just to see what others are doing (with a lot more players than we have).

My favorite games are: @FriMemeGirls, a meme spoof, on Friday Nights at 9pm EDT and @HashFakeFacts, a liars game, at 1 pm EDT on Sundays.

 

Read the rest of the post here.

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text 2016-06-24 16:49
Authors, Send in Your Submissions!

(reblogged from Adopting James)

 

 

 

My publishing studio has just opened up for more submissions.

 

Check out Endever’s blog and peruse through the new menu options at the top. There, you’ll find an expansion on our mission and method, updated personal bios on me and my colleague Lynn, detailed information on how to submit, and a snippet of of our upcoming projects.

 

We know how it is to submit endless amounts of queries to agents and search ruthlessly for publishers in hopes that they’ll even look at your submission. Endever Publishing Studios, LLC is a safe and reliable publishing home for authors.

 

We’re currently looking books in any genre. If you have submitted to us before and we rejected your proposal, please know that you are always free to resubmit different ideas.

 

Normally we accept manuscript ideas and even partial manuscripts, and we still do. But we want to put an emphasis on any manuscript that is completed, even if it’s just a first draft since we have room in our circulation right now.

 

Maybe you’re not a writer, but everyone knows one. So share this post on your social media sites and get your writer friends to submit so we can consider taking a chance on them.

 

Have an awesome Friday, and remember, just because it’s the weekend doesn’t mean you quit working – it’s the time to invest in life-enriching work.

 

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