Posts Tagged ‘readers’

Writing a synopsis…the ugliest baking you’ll ever do!

Yeah. There are fun parts to writing…the plotting, the moment when you get that INCREDIBLE IDEA, the research, getting a peek at the new bookcover. Then there are those moments which are just about as much fun as crawling through thorn bushes in your birthday suit. The most wretched task for this writer is whipping up that synopsis. This is a process by which you take an amazing idea, strip it of all the art and charm and whap it out there in all its ugly horror for your editor. Oh, and you have to do this while somehow showing you are a master of your craft. Sigh. Here’s a video to describe the process.

So what part of your job or chore list would you be happy never tackling again? Do tell!

A thank you note to Ms. Rowling

 

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Dear Ms. Rowling,

Every once in a while there’s a person who elevates your whole profession. Jerry Jenkins did that for Christian Fiction. You, Ms. Rowling, did that for the entire fiction industry. On the 20th birthday of your Harry Potter series, it seemed fitting to thank you. Though I will never even approach your level of genius, I slog away within the little box of my genre. You, Ms. Rowling, wrote your fantastical series without regard for labels or genres. Perhaps that is why yours is the only book series I’ve ever encountered that enchants kids and their parents. Your series put the match to the reading flame again, reminding folks that an exceptional book can cross lines of age, race, geography, etc. And to think, Ms. Rowling, you produced your first Harry Potter novels without the obligatory Facebook following, Instagram horde, or even a You Tube channel. You unleashed your book on the world without so much as a hint of the crucial writer’s platform. You transported us with your words, your worlds and sent both old and new readers scrambling to pull up a chair and tuck into your stories. Thank you for changing the world of fiction, Ms. Rowling. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

Sincerely,

Dana Mentink

P.S. Blog readers, why do you think Ms. Rowling’s books captured the world’s attention?

Book lovers…remember the Doctor? A missing treasure uncovered.

 

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I’m not talking about Dr. Who. No, I’m referring to that amazing Doctor who wrote a book on a bet and created the most beloved stories of all time…Theodor Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss! Twenty years after his death there is BIG news because his wife discovered two complete  Seuss manuscripts while she was cleaning out his study. The first entitled “What Pet Should I Get?” will be released by Random House this July.  It features the same brother-sister duo that appeared in “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” Now isn’t that exciting throwback news?

Did you grow up with Doctor Seuss? What was your favorite title?  

Does Springsteen have writing talent? Why it doesn’t really matter.

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That baby Outlaw Pete certainly gets around! He’s the hero of Bruce Springsteen’s first children’s book and the star of his song, Outlaw Pete. Springsteen was inspired by a 1950’s children’s book entitled Brave Cowboy Bill. So does a rock star have the chops to write a children’s book? The answer is…it doesn’t really matter. He’s got what matters more, an amazing platform.

A platform is basically an author’s access to readers. Springsteen has plenty of access with 64 million albums sold in the U.S. alone. Other celebs like Dennis Rodman, Madonna, Henry Winkler have nifty platforms as well. Publishers will scoop them up because their name on the cover will sell rafts of books. Does that sound cynical? Should I be peeved because I’ve worked at my craft and struggled through years of trying to establish a platform by being devoted to the writing business?

Here’s the way I look at it. Those celebrities have worked just as hard to create their individual platforms. Dennis Rodman (while I am not totally sure he’s of Planet Earth) strove to become an excellent basketball player and Bruce Springsteen labored just as diligently in building his music career. They are creative, talented people who, because of their hard work, moved easily into the writing business. Besides, these creative, original thinking celebrities may have plenty of writing talent. I remind myself that one of the children’s books that had a profound influence on me was just such a novel written by Julie Andrews, entitled The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. Sure, she might have gotten an easy in with her publisher because of her celebrity status, but as it turns out, she is a pretty nifty creative writer. Talented people are often talented in many ways.

Would you buy Bruce Springsteen’s new book? Why or why not? Giving away a signed book, a Starbuck’s gift card and a fall surprise this month.

The book biz is going down the tubes? No way!

Doom and gloom for the book business! Boy, I get tired of hearing all these depressing proclamations! Personally, I see some very positive things about this crazy industry so for what it’s worth, here are my two cents on the GOOD things happening for people who love books.
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#1) There are more books available now than ever before. Ebooks, print books, iBooks, fan fiction. You name it and you can find it. There is also that old fashioned invention called, The Library. A whole world of prints books (and now ebooks!) available for absolutely nothing. Could there be anything better?
#2) Young folks are reading. Yes, I know they’re spending plenty of time texting, Facebooking and the like, but they are also reading online content. Unlike my generation, these pups have grown up getting their information via the screen versus the written page. That doesn’t mean they don’t value reading, they just do it differently.
#3) Online reviews are tools to point you to (or away from) books before you plunk down the dough. As someone whose books are constantly reviewed (by fans and haters alike) I have experienced both edges of the review, but as a reader, I am happy to peruse a few commentaries on a book before I purchase. I don’t always allow reviews to color my decision to buy, but it’s nice to be able to feel the waters before the money leaves my pocket.

So what do you think? Are these things you see as positives? Are there other things you’ve noticed about the book biz that please or displease you?

Have you traded the printed page for a screen?

The numbers are staggering. Amazon reported a 70% increase in their digital sales last year. As for print books? They’ve increased a paltry 5%, the worst growth rate in 17 years. Surprised? I’m sure you’re not. Show of hands, how many of you have e-readers? I do and I love my trusty Kindle. The instantaneous gratification cannot be beat. The storage? Super duper compared to my shelves full of dusty old tomes. So why, I ask myself, with a world of digital books at my fingertips, ready to be loaded onto my Kindle, do I also possess a teetering stack of books? There’s no sense to it really. Obviously we’ve all embraced the digital generation (which accounts for the 23 million digital products sold via Amazon last year.) My question is…once we’ve tasted the digital Kool Aid, is there any turning back? I speak for myself here when I say I still nurse a craving, deep down, you understand, for the feel of a book in my hands. I long for the smell of an old, musty volume that hasn’t left the bookshelf in decades. Yes, I eagerly click that button on my Kindle and move the percentage finished bar along at a good clip, but sooner or later, I’m going to need my “real” book fix. I realize this is probably a reflection of my advancing age. Youngsters are weaned in front of the screen now, so perhaps this “book craving” is not a part of their psyche.

What about you? Do you read exclusively on a -e-reader? Or do you also hear that siren song of the printed page? Comments get you entered in the March drawing for a Starbuck’s card. Cartoon mom