Friday, December 31, 2010

Writing Goals For 2011

There is nothing quite like giving your hopes and aspirations some substance by writing them down in black and white.

Like most people, I can say, "I'm going to do this" or "I'm planning on doing that" and really mean it, yet never accomplish what I said I was going to do. Sometimes, as it is with ideas for articles or stories, I will actually forget what I said I was going to do. Sometimes, if it is something that is uncomfortable for me to do, I can easily ignore my unwritten intention.

But when you write it down, make a list, type it out and commit it to reality in this world, then those hopes and aspirations become goals; concrete, substantial goals that look back at you as you look at them, reminding you that you gave life to them and are responsible for them and to them.

I've never been one for making New Year's Resolutions as I consider them to, in reality, be short-term, wishful-thinking exercises that seldom, if ever, bear any lasting fruit. But I do endorse setting realistic, reachable goals that will result in long-term growth in your personal and professional life.

These are my writing goals for 2011:

1. Write at least one article for at least two different local print publications.  - There are a few, not a lot but a few print publications in the surrounding areas of where I live and, while I have lots of web writing samples, I need print clips to give some weight to my writing resume.

2. Write at least one article for at least one regional print publication.

3. Write at least three guest blog posts.  - As a way of getting your work out in front of the blogosphere, guest posts are a great way to spread your name and abilities. They also tend to help bring visitors back to your own website and blog, if they are interested in what you write and how you write it.

4. Write at least one article for at least three different online publications, apart from the guest blog posts.  - The web is full of online publishers that need content to fill their web pages and even though I write for 5 of my own pages or blogs, I'd love to extend myself even further to readers around the Internet.

5. Write at least one e-book to give away and one e-book to sell.  - In that order so that I can gain some personal experience in producing an e-book with some helpful and/or needed information before marketing a larger e-book with more substantial information and content that will make it worth a fair price. I've been working on some ideas and need to focus even more sharply on final subject matters for both of these projects.
2011 will be the year that I immerse myself even further in a freelance writing career designed to allow me to write on a variety of subjects while earning a comfortable living and expanding my own knowledge and experience.

Have you made any similar writing goals? Or have you already met those goals and are moving on to new writing peaks? If so, I'd love to hear of your current writing goals or how you met these goals in the past. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

No Demand For Demand Media?

Today's article on the CNNMoney site explains that, while Demand Media's CEO Richard Rosenblatt believes his company has the ability to raise much needed capital through an IPO, Wall Street and the Securities Exchange Commission are not quite so sure. Both its business model and accounting practices are being called into question; chief among them, that Demand's Adsense ratings are completely dependent on the way they have gamed Google's algorithm (and that said algorithms can be altered by Google at any time to stop the high ratings), and the questionable quality of content Demand provides through its cheaply compensated content providers.

On Wall Street, at the very least, it appears there is no demand for Demand Media.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Quote

"Books are becoming everything to me. If I had at this moment any choice of life, I would bury myself in one of those immense libraries and never pass a waking hour without a book." - Thomas B. Macaulay

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Angry Robot Open to Unsolicited Manuscripts for One Month Only!

If you have a science fiction or fantasy manuscript lying in your desk drawer, or an idea for such a story that is about to burst out of your mind and onto your computer screen, then British-based publisher Angry Robot has some good news for you.

For one month only, that month being March 2011, Angry Robot will accept unsolicited manuscripts for possible publication. Like most publishers, Angry Robot usually only accepts story proposals from literary agents, but for the entire month of March 2011 they will review any unsolicited story that is submitted.

Angry Robot’s Editor, Lee Harris, said, "We're delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to unpublished and unrepresented novelists. There are a lot of exciting authors out there, just waiting to be discovered, and we'd like to be able to help them kick-start their careers."

Further details can be found on their submissions page.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stephen King Names The Best Books He's Read in 2010

Stephen King is a regular columnist for Entertainment Weekly magazine and in the issue cover-dated December 17, 2010, Mr. King lists the 10 best books he's read this year, being careful to point out that this does NOT mean they were published this year. I'm feeling a bit culturally deprived because I have not read even one of these books, though a couple have been on my list of "want to read."

10. City of Thieves by David Benioff

9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (the first one of these on my "want to read" list)

8. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

7. Blood's a Rover by James Ellroy

6. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

5. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

4. Savages by Don Winslow

3. I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

2. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (the second one of these on my "want to read" list)

1. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Have you read any of these books yet? If so, would you count them as a "best book read in 2010"?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is Your E-Book Watching You?

I have a Kindle, an iPhone and a laptop; all of which I read e-books on. I enjoy the convenience of being able to download books immediately and at my convenience. I enjoy getting popular books at a discount and being able to read quite a number of books that interest me for free.  I enjoy being able to move from one device to another device and picking up where I left off on the previous device.

Now, like the TV's in 1984 that watch the viewer, we find out that our e-books are watching us and the data they are compiling is astounding.

"They know how fast you read because you have to click to turn the page," says Cindy Cohn, legal director at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation. "It knows if you skip to the end to read how it turns out."

And obviously where you purchase your e-reader or book from will have a database full of information on YOU.

"[The Kindle] is just one more string in their bow," says author Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild. "They could tell you with precision the age, the zip codes, gender and other interests of the people who bought my books. Now you can throw on top of that the fact that a certain number of them quit reading at Page 45."

But more than that simple information is stored in their databases.

According to the NPR article, the day may not be far off when someone's alibi is called into question because their e-reader's built in GPS will show that they were not at their alibi location when they claimed to be, but rather were at the point of the crime.

Ultimately, the more networked we become the more personal information we give up to enjoy the benefits of that networking. All that convenience comes with a price and some, like best-selling author Stephen King, acknowledge the duality of the situation.

"Ultimately, this sort of thing scares the hell out of me,"
King says. "But it is the way that things are."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interview With Science Fiction Author Greg Bear

Lightspeed Magazine just posted a Feature Interview with Greg Bear, conducted by John Joseph Adams & David Barr Kirtley. Bear is the author of several Science Fiction novels, including his latest "Hull Zero Three" which I finished a couple of months ago after being given a pre-publication copy by the lovely Gina at Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville, NC.

This is an interesting interview an encompasses more than just Mr. Bear's writing accomplishments. We get a peek into his thought processes when coming up with a story, as well as a bit of his history apart from writing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Google eBookstore Opens

Google's foray into the ebook business, which was supposed to happen earlier this year, was officially unveiled today with the launch of Google eBookstore.

I've already downloaded the iPhone app and a couple of free books so I could take it for a spin. I found the experience comparable to reading on my iPhone using Stanza and by that I mean enjoyable and easy. You can choose your preferred font, adjust font size, line spacing and choose day or night reading mode.

There are more than 3 million books available and enough free ones to last you the rest of your life. In perusing the list I noticed most bestsellers priced at $9.99 and some as low as $4.99. The books are readable using iPhone and Android apps, web-based reader software for your laptop or desktop and on most eReader devices...except the Kindle.

The books are kept "in the cloud" allowing you to access them from anywhere an Internet connection is available. You can bookmark a spot while reading on your laptop and pick up at the same point on your smartphone or eReader device. And you can buy your books through Google or any of several independent partners. No matter where you buy your eBooks, they all appear on your bookshelf which, by the way, has unlimited storage.

Do you read eBooks? And if so, is the Google eBookstore something you would try?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2010

Today's New York Times Sunday Book Review section carries their list of 100 Notable Books of 2010. I note with some dismay that I can find not one of their chosen tomes in my own list of books I have read this past year (see my "What I've Read In 2010" sidebar on my blog site), but I see several in their list that I intend to read in 2011. I'm particularly interested in "How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe", "American Subversive", "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and "Life."

Almost as interesting as NYT's choices is their Books Blog post of November 24, 2010 explaining HOW the 100 are chosen. However, it's not the explanation of their methodology (which is, as they freely admit, rather subjective) that holds my interest; rather, it is the comments that contain the titles of books NOT included which piques my interest. That and the fact that only 18 people commented.

Have you read any of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2010?
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