Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Around the Word

Google+ a net plus for writers? If you have yet to get your Google+ invite, you might want to start hounding your friends -- especially if you have a new book to promote. GalleyCat reports this week that the new social networking site may soon make the necessarily evil author e-mail blast a thing of the past -- and make awareness-raising much easier. Google+ Circles enable you to create more useful groups to connect with readers by assigning every contact to a circle dependent on their relationship to you. "This new stream will allow you to share news about your book with an engaged readership," reporter Jason Boog advises, "but it will help you avoid passing news to people who don't want to know about your writing life." Try it out the next time you've got something new to promote and let us know how it works for you.

The serial comma survives (phew): Twitter was recently abuzz with news that the Oxford University Press changed their style guide and dropped their namesake, Oxford Comma. But it turns out this was a false grammar alarm. To find out how the linguistic hullabaloo started -- and get a little helpful historical context -- check out this informative post from our friend Grammar Girl.

These words will be music to your ears: In latest digital publishing news of note, eBookNewser reports that Cathedral Publishing has announced that their e-books will be a sanctuary for song as well as prose. Cathedral's new publishing platform, "Book IS the Store," allows authors to sell songs from within an e-book and is intended for self-published authors who might also be musicians. Specifically, authors can imbed songs into their e-book as a soundtrack and sell the songs as MP3s through links within the store. How do you feel about the merger, do the two belong side-by-side?

Novel summer fun: Looking for a fresh alternative to the usual run of summer fun (charades, Scrabble, backgammon, etc.)? The New York Times recently suggested trying out what might be called The Paperback Game, "best played in beach and lake houses and old inns, all of which tend to collect visitors' random and abandoned books." Any kind of books will do, but genre books (mysteries, romance, etc.) tend to be the most rewarding (re: entertaining.) Each player takes turns being the "picker," selects a book from the pile, and reads aloud the back cover copy. Everyone else then writes down what they discern a credible first line of the book might be. The "picker" transcribes the actual first line and the submissions are mixed and then unveiled. Each person then votes on what they think is the real first sentence. If someone votes for your bogus one, you get a point. If you select the real one, you get two points. Give it a shot and let us know if turn outs to be as fun as it sounds on paper.

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