Friday, July 29, 2011

Around the Word

Crowdfunding conundrum: In these e-volving times, book lovers are getting creative when it comes to funding book projects. Unbound, described as "Kickstarter for books," is an attempt to crowdfund books by unknown authors. Though it has received much attention and adoration in the media, Unbound has been relatively unsuccessful. A recent Business Week article provides some insight into the problems with the service, and why funding from Unbound might still leave your project unfunded and unfinished. What do you think? Is crowdfunding a viable model for publishing? 

Don't, uh, knock the, er, pauses: The traditional rules of public speaking dictate that verbal stumbles make you seem unprepared and nervous and are distracting to your audience. But author and journalist Michael Erard, who has written a whole book on the subject of "um," argues in a Slate column this week that filler sounds have an important place in language. Pauses give listeners a chance to prep for what you're saying next and they make you sound more natural. Though we would suggest that there is a difference between a thoughtful, silent pause and a jarring "um," "er" or (heaven forbid) "like," Erard's defense of these public speaking pariahs is definitely worth, uh, considering.

Battling the blogosphere: The blogosphere can be an infuriating place for the accomplished writer, with blogs putting out mediocre and/or unoriginal content often filled with typos that draw thousands of followers and hundreds of likes and retweets. But writer and marketing pro Jeff Goins suggests on Copyblogger that there may be more upside than dark side for writing professionals. Not only does the packed blogosphere create a sense of competition that forces you to write content that stands out over the noise, but bad bloggers also need good writing coaches and ghosts like you. How have you leveraged your writing skills to make your mark on the digital discussion?

Your favorite author's favorite tunes: Now that the music-streaming service Spotify is available in the United States, GalleyCat is wedding music and literature by creating playlists inspired by some of their favorite authors. So far they have mixes for Haruki Murakami and Kate Christensen. What other writer-inspired playlists would you like to see?

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