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Writing

Build a better business … with Stephen King?
July 26, 2014 | 12:25 pm

king.jpgBusiness Insider, that bastion of cultural and intellectual values, has just pulled together "22 Lessons From Stephen King On How To Be A Great Writer," for its Strategy section, more usually associated with juicy topics like "9 Traits Of Highly Promotable Employees" and "How To Reduce Stress Without Even Leaving Your Desk." Culled from King's celebrated primer On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft , the "valuable insights" are packaged as the insider tips that "earn him an estimated $17 million a year." Of course, in any list like this, it's always possible to pick out stuff to quibble with. Actually,...

Can we trust anything the new Harper Lee biography says?
July 24, 2014 | 12:31 pm

mockingbirdThe publication of the controversial - and apparently unofficial, no matter what the author and publishers originally claimed - Harper Lee memoir has led to coverage in certain journals of all the nuggets on the celebrated author's life that Marja Mills supposedly reveals. For example, Bookriot's Dwight Garner shares the revelations that Ms. Lee has a regular booth at McDonald’s, where she goes for coffee," and "eats takeout salads from Burger King on movie night." Apparently saddened by the absence of more than "hints of a life of the mind," he complains that "She feeds the town ducks daily, with...

Word count infographic shows how many words till Babel
July 22, 2014 | 12:24 pm

wordcountgalleryUK men's lifestyle giveaway magazine ShortList, last seen in TeleRead defending literary coolness, has just aired an infographic detailing the vagaries of literary length by word count, from the very longest epics to haiku. Interestingly, the infographic is credited to printer supplies chain Cartridge Discount, which must obviously be very concerned over all the paper and ink that people are spending on printing out their digitized copies of War and Peace. (Foolish people, haven't you heard of Paperwhite screens?) Anyway, for however many words it's worth, here it is.  ...

Get Qwerky with the retro keyboard of your dreams
July 15, 2014 | 3:21 pm

Retro tech buffs, steampunk fans, or veteran writers nostalgic for the days of the mechanical typewriter may all soon be in luck thanks to a highly successful Kickstarter campaign for "an 84 key, USB, Bluetooth-enabled, typewriter-inspired mechanical keyboard that simulates a tactile clicky feel of a vintage typewriter." The Qwerkywriter, which will feature "custom typewriter-inspired keycaps, an integrated tablet stand, and a detachable USB cable via mini-USB port," has breezed past its $90,000 funding goal with $129,164 pledged, and looks all set to go to market with a target shipping date of just over one year's time. Walnut Creek, CA-based Qwerkytoys,...

Why coolness for writers is utterly beneath contempt
July 15, 2014 | 2:33 pm

ShortList Magazine, a free giveaway glossy from the land of Cool Britannia which "has the biggest circulation of any men's lifestyle magazine in Britain," has shared with us its guide to "The 50 Coolest Authors of All Time."  It begins: "Writing a runaway literary hit is incredibly hard, and doing it with aching volumes of cool (which is how we'd all want to do it, given the chance) is nigh on impossible. These 50 managed it." Well, here's my view on why cool is something that writers - as opposed to readers of freebie giveaway men's glossies - should avoid...

Clifford Irving: Former faker and jailbird, resurrected through ebooks
July 14, 2014 | 11:23 am

Many writers have been using ebooks to revive their backlist and reboot their careers. A Kindle freebie giveaway offer gives a chance to revisit the career of one of the more bizarre exponents of this practice - Clifford Irving, former inmate of federal institutions in Danbury and Allenwood, and author/creator of the fake Howard Hughes autobiography. Described by Newsweek as "the most daring literary caper of all time," the fake Howard Hughes autobiography is still out there and selling. Irving himself has put his entire backlist up on his official website, noting that "a couple of times a week the price...

More posts on pedophilia – can stories be used to “groom” children?
July 14, 2014 | 10:25 am

Following my original post on the pedophile practices of Marion Zimmer Bradley, a victim of another notorious literary pedophile has shared their own experience in the comments section of that article. I won't post her handle here, but her original comment should be easy enough to find by following the link above. She refers to the award-winning English children's writer William Mayne, who, according to his Wikipedia entry, was in 2004, "imprisoned for two and a half years and placed on the British sex offenders registry for life after admitting sexual abuse of 'young girl fans." Mayne died six years...

Test your creative routines against the greatest writers
July 12, 2014 | 5:35 pm

Podio, a Citrix-based platform which focuses on digital teamwork solutions, has shared an interesting infographic on "The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People." And for all budding yet highly insecure writers out there (and what writer isn't underneath?), there are plenty of authors on the list for you to benchmark yourselves against. Customizable in its original web presentation, the infographic ranges from John Milton to Haruki Murakami, and from Flannery O'Connor to Gustave Flaubert. Plenty of non-writers get a look-in too, including Sigmund Freud and Pablo Picasso, but authors appear to have the (literary?) lion's share of the attention. And the...

13 writers you don’t want to be
July 10, 2014 | 2:35 pm

time-cover-franzen_customBustle, which describes itself as "A new force in media that delivers everything you want to know, see and read - right now," has delivered a very funny and all too telling roundup of "13 of the Most Annoying Writers You'll Ever Meet." Courtesy of Tori Telfer, this bulletin from the wilder and woolier frontier of literary endeavor brings together 13 of the authorial types you most hope never to see staring back at you from the bathroom mirror. "Alas, a terrible writer must fall into every struggling writer’s life, and these are 13 of the worst ones out there," says...

Q&A with UK Society of Authors CEO on ALCS report, author incomes
July 10, 2014 | 10:34 am

SoA logoFollowing the release of the UK Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) survey on author earnings, already covered in TeleRead, I contacted the UK Society of Authors to ask for their view on the report. Here are the responses of Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors. TeleRead: The ALCS findings state that average author incomes have fallen by almost 30% in the past decade. Creative Industries Council data shows UK creative industries growing at 5× the broader GDP growth rate. Can you comment on this contrast? Nicola Solomon: We are concerned but not surprised by the findings in this...

James Joyce papers go up online
July 8, 2014 | 6:25 pm

374px-La_Trieste_de_Magris_al_CCCB_37_-_James_Joyce_amb_bigoti_i_ulleres.jpgThe National Library of Ireland has partnered with the Zurich James Joyce Foundation to put a previously inaccessible collection of papers, manuscripts, and personal documents by and about James Joyce online, now publicly available here. The archive includes: Letters of a personal nature to Joyce's son Giorgio, daughter-in-law Helen, and Georgio and Helen concerning everyday matters such as health and weather, offers from publishers as well as Lucia Joyce and her illness. Joyce's marriage to Nora Barnacle in London and the Frankfurter Zeitung affair are also addressed. There are also some letters to Joyce's grandson, Stephen, and to the Joyce family...

Hachette rejects Amazon proposal to give Hachette authors 100% of e-book revenue
July 8, 2014 | 6:09 pm

In the Amazon vs. Hachette feud, the PR moves and countermoves are coming out. Laura Hazard Owen has coverage at GigaOm and the Wall Street Journal also has a piece (paywalled; google the headline to view) on a proposal Amazon has floated to Hachette authors to pay them 100% of all revenue from sales of their e-books—cutting out both its own 30% and Hachette’s 70% share—if Hachette agrees. The revenue split on paper books would be unaffected. The letter is particularly interesting in that, for the first time, Amazon is shedding some light on how the negotiations with...