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Showing posts from June, 2010

Catch them with a Hook

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Some would argue that the only line in a book more important than the first is the very last line. I'm not sure I would go that far, but as a reader, I know I've been sold by an opening line in the past. I discussed hooklines about two years ago, but it is a fun subject I'd like to expand upon.

When I'm in a bookstore, browsing, the very first thing that draws me to a book is the cover. They always say not to judge a book by its cover, but marketers aren't stupid so different genres tend to have their own 'look'. By designing covers which look 'the same but different' within a genre, the marketing people have conditioned readers to gravitate to books that display certain visual elements. Once the cover has done its job and urged me to pick up the book, I flip it over and scan the back blurb. Now, you must understand I don't actually read the blurb. I just scan the first couple lines of the blurb. As a whole, I've grown to dislike blurbs bec…

Let's talk eReader Applications.

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Yesterday I blogged about my growing tolerance for reading electronically. I've only read a handful of eBooks, and all of those on my iPad. I'd like to play with one of the readers with eInk, just to see the difference, but I'm not sure I could justify a dedicated reading device at this point. After all, my iPad also plays movies, games, and can use a number of somewhat productive apps. Also, as I'm not ready to give up my dead tree books yet, a dedicated device might be wasted on me. Currently, at least.

That said, I have been fiddling around with the four main reading apps (iBooks, Kindle, Stanza, and B&N reader) on the iPad. Most of the eBooks I've downloaded have been free or 'specially priced' but they've given me a chance to become accustomed to eBooks and the apps which the iPad uses to display them. I have come to the following conclusions

iBooks
Aesthetics of ebook: 5/5
Ease of use: 4.5/5
Shopping/browsing: 2/5

When you first open iBooks, th…

On eBooks and iPads

Recently there has been a ton of chatter about eBooks. With Amazon going to war with publishers over pricing, the release of the Nook--the first major competitor of the Kindle (not that there haven't been other eReaders, but just like Harry becoming the chosen one because Voldemort decided the prophecy referred to him, Amazon singled the Nook out as THE competitor) and then, of course, there was the stir over the introduction of iBooks. My observation has been that over the last year or two eBooks have gone from primarily a distribution tool used by small specialty markets (like small press erotica publishers) to a mainstream alternative to paper.

A few years ago, eBook sales were not significant enough to track. While I can't put my hands on the report right this moment, if I remember correctly, last year eBooks made up a little less than 4% of all book sales. While 4% of the market is not much, if you look at the trend, it's obvious eBook popularity is growing, and fast…

On dreams and writing

As the TriMu blog is currently on hiatus, I'm going to steal some of the questions which were asked for our "Mailbag Monday" posts and answer them here. You guys won't object to that, right?

Back in February Heather Y asked: Do you ever dream about your characters after you've written their story?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: (come on, you knew that one was coming.) Not that I remember once I wake up in the morning. Once I start writing a character they seem pretty content to live on the page and in my conscious mind. Characters typically have well defined personalities in my head by the time I start actively writing them, which doesn't tend to meld well with the more random nature of dreams. That said, often when I'm blocked and thinking about the story before I go to bed, I wake up with the answer of how to fix whatever issue I was banging my head against the night before, so something must happen while I'm asleep. But I never remember specifical…

Back from ConCarolinas 2010

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I spent this past weekend in Charlotte, NC at the wonderful little Sci fi/Fantasy convention, ConCarolinas. Unlike Steampunk World's Fair which was more of a vacation trip with light networking, ConCarolinas was a working convention for me.  I spoke on eight or so panels over the course of the weekend and typically sat at my book table when I wasn't at a panel. I reconnected with a couple writers and readers I'd met at previous events, met a good dozen writers for the first time, and I had the opportunity to chat with a ton of amazing readers both during panels and in the halls. This was my first year attending ConCarolinas as a guest, but I've attended the con and sat on the audience side of the table for several years now and I have to say, this is my favorite small (but growing quickly) regional con. I feel very fortunate that I was able to be a guest this year, and I hope they invite me back again next year.

This Con marked a first for me in that I had my own (half …