Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: authors

A Fascinating Story from Wattpad


If you scroll down to the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar and click on “Wattpad” you’ll find this post and 25 more (perhaps more yet if you’re reading this post well after Dec. 2016…).

And, if you can’t find the Top Tags (phones often cut off the side-bar) just click on that last link :-)

If you do take that link you’ll find posts about why I began using Wattpad, plus a number of interesting interviews with Wattpad authors, plus some of the benefits of exploring the Wattpad World…

Today I want to show how folks on Wattpad help each other.

Mary L Tabor - Wattpad First there’s Mary L. Tabor who has 22 different works on Wattpad, has been there since March, 2014, and has this to say in her profile:

“Reader, author, professor, radio show host, columnist. Best advice I ever got? ‘Only connect …’ — E.M. Forster.

“This writer believes the process of writing is an ongoing, changing effort—a deeply human experience. We all have language and the ‘word’, as Emerson said, ‘if traced to its root, is found to be borrowed from some material appearance. “Right” means “straight”‘ he explains in Nature, Chapter IV, ‘Language.’

“Thus, we all own metaphor in our words.”

KL Candela - Wattpad Then, there’s KL Candela, who has 4 works on Wattpad, has been there since March 2016, and says in her profile:

“Endless gratitude to Mary L. Tabor who I met here on Wattpad and who then took me under her angel/professor wing for over a year, never asking for a thing in return, except for me to show up and work hard. During this time she taught me much about the craft of creative writing, while always being fast to remind me not to mess with that mysterious place of invention. (See, this is a good teacher.) This fabulous and whip smart woman taught me not only how to write better, she taught me how to read better, and believe me, I know well, because of her, how these two acts must go together if you want to create great writing. Please check out her award winning writing here on Wattpad.

And for me: Published:
Poetry in Launch Magazine; Short Story in Lake Effects 7 Anthology 2015, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON;

Shortlisted in the Glimmer Train Top 25 Short Fiction Contest 2015

That kind of interaction and instruction and friendship is happening all over Wattpad…

Of course, you can use Wattpad to only read, for free (on your phone, if you like…)…

You might also let the authors you read know what you think about their works…

You might try your hand at some original writing…

And, you might post writing you’ve already done…

The thing is, if you hang around long enough, you’ll find friendly, helpful people (from all over the

World:-)
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#Crowdfunding for #Writers


I have two sources for my report today—I could call this a post or an article; but, because of the way I work here, I can’t help but feel like a reporter, out on my Beat, hunting down stories… 

Crowdfunding for Writers

Image Courtesy of Dominic Morel ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/cx_ed-46386

First, a definition:Crowdfunding (a form of crowdsourcing) is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, today often performed via Internet-mediated registries, but the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods.”

For writers, crowdfunding can also be one of the first methods they use to establish a core group of supporters for their books

The first source for this Report is Crowdfund Insider and their article, Kickstarter Reports: $100M Has Been Pledged to Publishing Projects.

Kickstarter is a well-known facilitator of crowdfunding but there are others (as a link in a post I did in May reveals)

I think the information on Crowdfund Insider about Kickstarter is a great source of encouragement for writers who just can’t find any other way to fund the things they need to do—pay editors; cover designers; possibly, book designers; purchase copies of a book for personal distribution

Of course, the numbers for Kickstarter could be seen as somewhat “representative” of other crowdfunding services

Here are Kickstarter’s Stats for Publishing Projects from April 28, 2009, to August 10, 2016:

* Amount pledged: $100,000,000 
* Projects launched: 33,009 
* Projects successfully funded: 9,660 
* Creators who have launched more than one successfully funded Publishing project: 608 
* Successfully funded creators who have backed at least one other project: 6,414 
* Number of backers: 1,226,438 
* Number of countries those backers have come from: 211 
* Number of times they have pledged to a project: 1,673,631 
* Number of publishing projects supported by the backer who has pledged to more publishing projects than anyone else: 364

Here are the various categories of publishing represented in those numbers:

* Academic: 660 projects launched 
* Anthologies: 231 projects launched 
* Art Books: 2,103 projects launched 
* Calendars: 198 projects launched 
* Children’s Books: 5,349 projects launched 
* Fiction: 8,009 projects launched 
* Literary Journals: 195 projects launched 
* Nonfiction: 7,170 projects launched 
* Periodicals: 1,129 projects launched 
* Poetry: 1,189 projects launched 
* Publishing: 5,020 projects launched 
* Radio & Podcasts: 778 projects launched 
* Translations: 116 projects launched 
* Young Adult: 607 projects launched 
* Zines: 255 projects launched

O.K., now that you have some idea of the breadth and depth of crowdfunding for writers, let’s look at the perspectives in source two—author Ben Galley in his article, Top Tips on Crowdfunding for Authors.

And, as I usually do in my reportorial blogging, I encourage you (since you’ve actually read this far...) to go read Ben’s full article

Here are the bullet points for his top four tips:

Confirm: Is your project worth it?

Compel: Make it irresistible

Prepare: Don’t assume your project will fund itself

Reward: Make it worthwhile for your backers 

And, I must finish this post with a fascinating quote from Ben:

“Using the crowd isn’t a new concept – the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was heavily ‘crowdsourced’…”

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Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century


I don’t really “review” books here—I tend to mention them, make somewhat desultory comments that I hope characterize them (somewhat), then let you decide… Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century

So, this book—Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century.

I’ll first share what their blurb says:

“Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in the fifteenth century introduced an era of mass communication that permanently altered the structure of society. While publishing has been buffeted by persistent upheaval and transformation ever since, the current combination of technological developments, market pressures, and changing reading habits has led to an unprecedented paradigm shift in the world of books. Bringing together a wide range of perspectives — industry veterans and provocateurs, writers, editors, and digital mavericks — this invaluable collection reflects on the current situation of literary publishing, and provides a road map for the shifting geography of its future…”

I, personally, don’t feel it provides a “road map”—more like a large group of “potential hints”

Here are a few excerpts that I found to be particularly potent:

Most people walk around with some kind of device or have access to some kind of device that allows them to choose how to use their time. . . . In a world with that much choice, books need to continue to evolve to compete for someone’s time and interest.”

“Evolve” toward something more than “content” to feed the ravenous masses, I hope………

Books travel through the world collecting strangers. They are public spaces. Readers meet in the margins, at the edge of a text they share in common.”

“The audience is as ready for change as we are; they’re ready to be addressed as readers sharing the common space of a book, strangers ready to recognize each other across difference.”

“A culture of reading makes an economy that is, like reading itself, slower than shopping. It’s conversational, open-ended, interested in detail, difference; it goes on and on, back and forth; it accepts what is available, rather than unilaterally demanding satisfaction.”

Now, a few that trouble me (from a variety of essays in the book):

“How the digital age might alter attention spans and perhaps even how we tell one another stories is a subject of considerable angst.”

“As Wired put it, when you buy the Kindle Fire, ‘you’re not buying a gadget—you’re filing citizen papers for the digital duchy of Amazonia.’”

“Some people still confuse the newspaper literary culture—a small subgroup, almost a fetish really—with literary culture as a whole.”

“Today, not many university presses are flourishing…”

Now, a particularly damning statement:

“Those of us who’ve worked in literary publishing for years know that some pigs are definitely more equal than others. You add class into it and you see that the literary world at the highest levels is a group of tastemakers comprised by a majority of male writers and editors who frequently hand publications, prizes, and other essential forms of recognition back and forth to one another.”

Here’s one from an extremely clear-headed person:

“The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: ‘How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?’”

And, there are one or two very biased individuals in the book (the following quote omits to mention that traditional publishing is just as much “counting on a miracle”…):

“There’s a role for self-publishing, definitely. But just playing the odds, if you’re a new author, it’s almost always going to make sense to publish with a big or small professional publisher, if you can—a proper editor, some degree of marketing, some degree of professionalism and advice. Want to upload your book onto a self-publishing platform along with hundreds of thousands of others that month, and hope for the best? That’s fine, but you’re basically counting on a miracle.”

Also, that last quote makes the assumption that self-publishing authors don’t avail themselves of editors and never think about book promotion

Still, the variety of voices in this book, from a wide range of disciplines and businesses, is a valuable consideration for those of you who want some important issues to think about—issues that do and will continue to matter in the Book World

So, to bring this non-review to an end, one humble, pithy, utterly true quote:

“One may counterpose the book to many things, but technology shouldn’t be one of them. The book is not counter-technology, it is technology. It is the apotheosis of technology—just like the wheel or the chair.”

Table of Contents:

Reading the Tea Leaves: Notations on the Changing Look of the Literary SVEN BIRKERTS

The Ends of the Book: Reading, Economies & Publics MATTHEW STADLER

The Amazon Effect STEVE WASSERMAN

The Self-Hating Book Critic JESSA CRISPIN

The View from a University Press DONNA SHEAR

Poetry in Translation: Hemispheric Perspectives GABRIEL BERNAL GRANADOS, KRISTIN DYKSTRA & ROBERTO TEJADA

VIDA: An Interview with Erin Belieu ERIN BELIEU & KEVIN PRUFER

19 Things: More Thoughts on the Future of Fiction JOHN O’BRIEN

Hold the Damn Door Open: Idealism Is No Currency MEGAN M. GARR

Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing DANIEL JOSÉ OLDER

Comics Publishing DOUGLAS WOLK

The Art of Agenting: An Interview with Chris Parris-Lamb CHRIS PARRIS-LAMB & JONATHAN LEE

The Open Refrigerator GERALD HOWARD

A Culture of Competition: Some Notes on Writing Contests & Literary Publishing KEVIN LARIMER

Coming to Milkweed Editions DANIEL SLAGER

The Overnight Success of Lookout Books EMILY LOUISE SMITH

The Southern Review at Eighty JESSICA FAUST & EMILY NEMENS

What Is the Business of Literature? RICHARD NASH

The Future Value of a Literary Publisher JANE FRIEDMAN

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

7 Interesting Articles for #Readers & #Writers


In the last 5 years and 4 months, this blog has offered 1,463 articles (posts) to its readers (many of whom are writers).

7 Interesting Articles for #Readers & #Writers

Image Courtesy of Allyson Correia ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/Allyson-36254

Since last July, I’ve written a full article on each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; while offering re-blogs from a group of wonderful writers on the other days of the week.

Today (a Monday), due to vast and tumultuous internal goings-on, I can’t seem to get into the space where I write a full article

So, since I spend a significant part of every day locating articles on the web that I can report on here (once in awhile I actually write the full post from my own brain and heart; though, I like being a reporter and gathering info from all over for my readers… {if you want to read stuff totally written by me, try some of those freebies in the left side-bar}); and, since I have somewhere over 500 articles bookmarked for possible reportage, I’ll share a number of them with only brief snippets from me ( I’m fairly sure I’ll be back to my usual talking-about-one-other-article by Wednesday :-)

And, the first offering is from The Millions and is suitable for readers and writers ( and writers who read :-) :

The Private Library: What Books Reveal About Their Readers

Next, from The Economist, an article that I feel most writers will definitely read and some readers (those who know a writer) will like:

The Unsurprising Link Between Authorship and Espionage

Perhaps readers will like the next one more than writers? Though, I’d recommend writers do read it… It’s from Canadian NewsWire:

Libraries Call on Multinational Publishers for Fair Ebook Pricing

The next one, from Salon, has an incredibly long title:

Erased from history: Too many women writers — like Constance Fenimore Woolson — are left to languish in moldy archives. What will it take to bring them back?

Now, from the indefatigable blogger at Brain Pickings:

Umberto Eco on the Future of the Book

And, from Medium, a look at patterns—weirdly interesting:

Punctuation in novels

Finally, from The Paris Review:

How Repulsive ~ On the merits of disturbing literature

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

All About #Authors, the #WritersLife, and #WritingTips


Woah—I’m all Twitterfied in that post title

Actually those three hashtags could apply to this blog (especially if you scroll and explore the left side-bar…)—looking into the Top Tags will reveal my dedication to sharing information that writers can use (plenty of info for readers and publishers, too).

And, as I usually do, I must warn you to take Any writing advice with tender caution

However, today I’m going to feature two other folks who devote their time and effort to informing writers.

First is Jon Winokur who blogs at AdviceToWriters.

One of Jon’s specialties, on the blog and on Twitter, is sharing great quotes from writers—it’s the first category in his left side-bar

Then, his side-bar explodes with “Rules and Commandments”, Articles and Essays, Resources (a little gold mine all by itself), Interviews (Many), Literary Journals, Blogs, Magazines, Organizations, Audio Recordings, Podcasts, Videos, Nobel Lectures (Amazing), Twitter Feeds, Literary Agents, Self-Publishing Resources, Sui Generis (meaning “Unique”), and the surprising last category, Discouragement

And, as if that weren’t enough, his top menu bar has a link to his own books

The second person I’ll introduce today was actually introduced yesterday because of the start of NaNoWriMo.

Here’s her autobio:

“I’m Ava Jae. I write. I read. I edit. And then I talk about it all across the interwebs. My debut YA Sci-Fi, BEYOND THE RED [ <—Preorder ]…If you like your YA SF of the extrasolar planet variety with aliens, monarchies, explosions and kissing, you might like it.

She blogs at writability and she has her own YouTube channel—bookishpixie.

Here are a couple of her High-Energy vids:


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