TLDR: so just how short should your online article be? (The Guardian)

It’s why the inverted pyramid remains a useful model on which to craft story telling. Created for print to allow subeditors to cut copy from the bottom of an article with impunity, the inverted pyramid imposes a discipline on the writer. It dictates that the most newsworthy information leads, followed by the important details and finally the general information and background (what Delaney calls B matter).

The TeleRead Take: How could I not excerpt an article about article length in a roundup? Back when I was taking journalism class in the ‘90s, I was told to write stories that way so readers who move on after the first couple of paragraphs have still gotten most of the important details. It’s interesting to see that as many things have changed, that one still holds true.

The rise of the mobile editor (

We don’t consume information the same way on our watch and our tablet, so why should it be presented similarly?  The mobile editor is the person who understands the story and the platforms, and makes sure the delivery takes advantage of what each platform can do to present it more functionally.

The TeleRead Take: This seems to complement the idea of TLDR above. Mobile platforms with their tiny screens, after all, would have to be the epitome of of “TLDR.” It’s interesting to see that various publications are starting to take notice. I would have liked to see more specific details about how these publications adapt their stories to portable platforms, though.

The Difficulties of Publishing a Novel As a Teenager (Huffington Post)

I’ve always entertained the notion that some book agent, somewhere, would endorse my work because I’m a spry little writer still fomenting my talent in high school. Truthfully though, I believe that my age is the one factor that is hindering the success of my novel (which may not be superb, but is certainly comparable with other YA books on the market). After all, what adult is really going to take the fiction words of an eighteen year old seriously? Although I haven’t yet had the wholesome life experiences necessary to craft a great American novel, I do know how to write engaging stories about teen angst and troubles (after all, I am a teenager). I would love for book agents to take my work seriously because my voice, not just those of adults with a few years and gray hairs on me, deserves to be articulated among the masses as well. I want to grovel on my knees before Knight Literary Agency or The Seymour Agency and proclaim "I know how to write! Take me seriously like any old adult! My characters have just as much merit as Stephanie Perkins or Gale Foreman!"

The TeleRead Take: The author is familiar with self-publishing, but she wanted to get her book out via a traditional publisher and all her query letters have bit the dust. I can certainly understand the frustration inherent in this kind of experience. (I’m in my 40s and I still don’t know if I’ve had the kind of “life experiences” necessary to write a Great American Novel.) But it also seems to me to be the very same kind of frustration any author experiences no matter what their age. No publisher is going to take a chance on every work, and when you’ve got a work written by an actual teenager, you run into the situation where it’s very hard to get anyone to take you seriously. Teen authors tend to have to prove themselves, like Christopher Paolini did by selling self-published copies out of the back of a truck at swap meets, before that kind of thing can happen.

UK Group to Fight Bias Against Older Debut Authors (Publishing Perspectives)

[48-year-old novelist Claire Fuller] notes that there obviously a lot of work to be done. Recently, a member of the group announced that he had been asked to attend an event at a bookstore with a panel of first-time authors. Unfortunately though, he wasn’t there to be part of the panel, which was strictly for “young debut authors.” Because of his “advanced age” (he was in his early 50s), he would be chairing the event.

The TeleRead Take: So apparently debuting when you’re too old is just as bad as debuting when you’re too young. Who would have thought?

Putting an End to Returns: Utopian Publishing Dream or Eventual Reality? (Huffington Post)

Somewhere once upon a time, the notion that a book could or should be returnable was a good idea. I read but can’t corroborate that Simon & Schuster came up with this idea to give themselves an edge on the competition — and then it became industry standard. The problem with book publishing is that the world has changed, but the model is still the same stagnant one that gives massive cuts to retailers and allows them to return whatever they can’t sell — even though the most massive retailer out there (Amazon) is nimble and knows how to order what it will sell.

The TeleRead Take: I seem to remember hearing that the return system got launched during the Great Depression as a way the publishers (not affected as badly by the economic downturn as retail businesses) could convince struggling bookstores to take a chance on a product that there was no way to be sure any customers would actually want. Such a system would make sense during tough economic times. That said, it’s hard to disagree that it’s one of the most antiquated aspects of any modern business—but still a huge part of the publishing world today.

It makes it all the more ironic that the major publishers desperately tried to hold e-books back and protect paper bookstores—even as paper bookstores continue to churn through so much fuel and paper, while e-books simply don’t have unsold volume to ship back. You’d think that if any bookstore had the necessary clout to put an end to the return system, it would be Amazon—but Amazon more sort of ignores the return system, as it has the storage space, nationwide demand, and logistical management savvy to minimize the amounts of returns it needs to send back compared to the average retail bookstore. It’s even used that very system as a weapon, when it simply cut back on the amount of backstock it carried from Hachette during the dispute with the company, so it could take weeks to fulfill Hachette orders. So it happily lets the system shackle the rest of the industry while it proceeds merrily along without worrying about it.

Today in Tabs: Copyright Law was Not Created to Protect People from Fatwas (Fast Company)

[Garcia vs. Google] was a case about [Cindy Lee Garcia’s] right to control her exposure on the Internet. But in her quest to end the barrage of hate aimed at her, she ended up in a messy collision with copyright doctrine, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Communications Decency Act (CDA), and the First Amendment.

The TeleRead Take: This excerpt from Sarah Jeong’s book The Internet of Garbage tells the interesting story of a legal case in which Garcia attempted to harness copyright law in order to force down a video that was resulting in her harassment. The case itself was interesting enough when it happened, but the really interesting thing about this chapter is how it shows that copyright has simply become the go-to method of enforcement people immediately try to use, simply because it’s met with so much success in prior cases where copyright-holders wanted material off the Internet. Hence, the best way to force material off the Internet is to find some way to make it seem like you’re the copyright holder—even when, as in this case, you really aren’t.


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