Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Around the Word

Mao's ghost: The Chinese blogosphere is abuzz this week with speculation that the Communist Party's ur-text, Mao's Little Red Book, may have been ghostwritten. Once you get past the sensationalist aspect of the Hu-dunnit, the rumors offer an interesting case study on the changing perception of our field. While older Chinese are horrified that the Marxist-Leninist Book may not have come straight from the Chairman's pen, the Independent reports, younger people don't see the problem with collaborating with an editor or ghostwriter. Regardless, Chinese officials, including the rumored ghost Hu Qiaomu, are vehemently denying the rumors to uphold the godfather of modern China's superhuman status. 

ZOMG! It sure is easy to get into the OED: The Oxford English Dictionary has been putting a lot of effort into trying to keep up with digerati these days. Recent additions like "ZOMG," "NSFW," "nom nom" and "nekkid" are all born from Web-speak and Internet memes. While some language lovers see this as an abomination, PR Newser sees opportunity in the alphabet soup. Branded phrases and marketing terms that catch on on the web have been immortalized in the linguistic bible. The recently added "Cyber Monday" started as a marketing term created by the National Retail Federation and caught on as an Internet meme. So just create a blog-worthy catchphrase and you too could make it into the OED. 

Port authority: The worst part of freelance writing for hire, most of our peers will tell you, is the marketing work you have to do. Most ghosts would rather stick an ice pick in their eye than have to make cold calls on a daily basis. Fortunately, as marketing guru Michael Port points out, there are alternatives. Port's book, Book Yourself Solid, is chock full of unconventional tactics that take advantage of your writing skills to reach a broader universe of potential clients. If you'd like a taste of Port's advice, Copyblogger has been kind enough to post an audiocast of an interview with him that focuses on the business of freelance writing and blogging. 

The digital price is right, Part II: Following up on our item yesterday on the logic behind e-book pricing, we saw today that eBookNewser provided some helpful new data to chew on. They surveyed the top 100 paid e-books in Amazon's Kindle store to see which price points were the most popular. A $.99 e-book held the top spot, but lots of popular titles fell at the sweet spots of $9.99, $5 and $7. Even a $12.99 book made the top 10 list. We're curious -- how much are you willing to pay for your Kindle fix?

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