Friday, October 21, 2011

Around the Word

Why I Write: Thursday was the third annual National Day on Writing and to celebrate, the National Writing Project asked writers of all stripes to submit essays on why they've chosen to be professional word nerds. The responses they got provide a illuminating cross-section of writerly motivation and affection. If you have some free time, we encourage you to check them out here. You can also search #whyiwrite on Twitter to read some additional commentary. And if you are feeling particularly inspired, tell us what moves you to write.

Hard Times in New York town: Monday's front-page New York Times story on Amazon's (relatively) new publishing venture continues to provoke strong reactions in book world. As we noted, the response from those who have followed this story from the beginning ranged from "Duh!" to dumbfounded. Publishers Marketplace dissected the kerfuffle yesterday and concluded that, instead of taking a balanced look at the digital e-volution, the New York Times is now basing all their publishing coverage on the idea that "everything is a response to Amazon." What do you think about the criticism of the Times coverage?

Perils of publishing, part two: One overlooked nugget in the Times Amazon article is the story of how novelist Kiana Davenport got dropped by her publisher after she self-published some old short stories on Amazon. If you didn't catch it, Penguin imprint Riverhead Books cancelled Davenport's novel and asked her to return the advance after discovering she had published the stories on Amazon to make some extra cash, ostensibly violating her contract. Davenport's story is a cautionary tale to those trying to make ends meet by bridging the digital-analog divide and possibly a sign that publishing contracts desperately need an update. Check out the Times' follow-up blog post sharing more details of the complicated story.What do you think of the controversy?

Avoid dreadoric, write redonkulously: Say what you will about the Internet's effect on the English language, but one result of writing on the web has been a new crop of very fun made-up words. Ragan polled its readers to find out their favorite neologisms, and compiled a list of the top ten responses. Two of our favorites: "amazulous" (amazing and fabulous) and "drismal" (weather that is cold, gloomy and drizzling). If you have your coinage you'd like to add to the realm, let us know.

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