Monday, August 15, 2011

Around the Word

Special agents: Literary agents are often cited as a likely casualty of the publishing e-volution. After all, if you can print, publish and market your book with just a laptop and an Internet connection, why would you need to hire someone to rep you? But Mark Coker, founder of the indie e-book publishing service Smashwords, says don't write off the agent just yet. In an eye-catching, man-bites-dog piece he recently posted on his company blog, Coker argues that these literary sherpas will actually be instrumental in shaping the digital future. The rise of indie e-books and self-publishing gives agents the opportunity to take a chance on a work they feel strongly about, Coker says, instead of only picking up authors guaranteed to score with traditional publisher. So, fellow writers, do you see an agent as part of your digital future? (h/t GalleyCat)

The first rule of Write Club is. . . .: From the first time we were asked to put pen to paper in elementary school, we've been learning the rules of writing: no passive voice, skip the adverbs, show-don't-tell. But sometimes too much focus on writing rules can stifle creativity and distract from your writing process. If you're feeling bogged down by do's and don'ts, check out our friend Rachelle Gardner's recent post on rethinking the typical typist's conventions. Her advice: "Whenever you get frustrated by the rules, or can't figure out why or if you should follow a rule or break it, go back to the reasons behind the rules and ask yourself: Does following this rule strengthen my work?"

Character-in-Chief: Though most real-life newspaper editors are no longer the chain-smoking, suspender-wearing, verbally abusive characters of yesteryear, the occasional hard-boiled editor archetype still makes an appearance in a modern play or movie. In fact, there seems to be a rash of bombastic editors in recent theater productions, including J. Jonah Jameson in "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." For a history of the on-stage editor, and a peek into whether any Times editors resemble their fictional counterparts, take a look at this Sunday New York Times survey of the tough editor character through the years.

No comments: