31 May 2012

Dawn Is Breaking

To feel up to date on happenings in the publishing industry, you really need to follow it like Perez Hilton does celebrity gossip. Okay, maybe not quite as voraciously but you need to pay attention to a few things at least. The problem is, there are so many sites and blogs out there vying for your attention that following more than a handful isn't viable.

Personally I'm as finicky about sites as Goldilocks was about her porridge. The site can't post too frequently, it can't post too infrequently, it has to have longish articles, it has to have non-repurposed content, it has to blah blah blah. A guy's gotta have standards right? In my never ending quest to pare down my RSS feeds, I've had to de-follow anything that has to do with the following topics. Or at least stop taking the time to read articles about these subjects:

  • Is Amazon going to kill everyone, circle one: yes/no/maybe. Wouldn't you rather read about Amazon's warehouse working conditions?
  • The future of publishing. I've read too many of these. See above. Quick answer: nobody knows.
  • Going indie versus traditional. Especially the "I decided to do this and it's been so great" perspective. Hello can we say super biased? Of course you love the one you're doing!
  • How much more money you can gain by ePublishing. 70% royalties is more than 25% or whatever, we know, we know. Yes, as writers we suck at math but we're not that inept. Greater than, equal to, abacus schmabacus.
  • Are eBooks better/worse than real books. I'd prefer to debate this one in person at social gatherings with lots of acquaintances. "But I love the smell! But I love the convenience! Everyone just stop and look at this (inevitably not) hilarious YouTube video!"
  • How-to articles. I'm torn because I do want to know how to effectively build worlds, create compelling secondary characters, and end my chapters with suspense but really, I've gotten this far in life without knowing any of the above so why start learning things now.
Actually, here's the site that I've had to quit the most: The Passive Voice. I'm not gonna lie, the post titles used to always get me but I decided to stop following because most of the articles were excerpts and links to other articles. It was starting to get very HuffPo-y. (I don't even know what that means, I just wanted to say it.)

It's aggravating to just read the first fifty words of every article, which is what The Passive Voice tends to do. Give me the whole damn thing or give me death. I refuse to click through anymore. The jaunty "link to the rest at xxx" link placed at the bottom of each post insults me. It used to be a constant struggle to figure out if this teaser would be worth clicking through for. I've decided it never is and just stopped following the site entirely. Maybe you'd enjoy it though. Maybe.

There are a few sites that remain must-follows. I am talking about The Millions, Bark, NYT's The Book Bench, Nathan Bransford's blog, and Mike Shatzkin's Idea Log. I've tried quitting them all at one point or another but can't seem to ever do it. The Millions especially. I want to stop but I'm just too weak.

The thing I like best about these particular sites is that they are either focused on providing me with nice news aggregation or they have content that can't be found elsewhere. There's a word for this latter bit: original. Always a huge plus. Also, aside from Branford's blog, there's not a lot of "what do you think dear reader?" requests. I'm beginning to dislike those too.

I should really revamp my YA blog roll actually. There's been many changes. In the meantime, if you read a lot of longish articles, I can't recommend Instapaper enough. Nowadays I save everything using Instapaper bookmarklets and return to read them later. It's improved my RSS flow quite a bit. I even got the paid version of Instapaper for five bucks. Yes, me, paying for apps. It's a brand new day.

In unrelated but really important things, this new Les Misérables movie is totally unnecessary but if you're just going to throw Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway at me, I'll take it. Still, let's not kid ourselves here. With Avengers hype now over, the most anticipated movie of the year is Magic Mike. We all know Soderbergh deserves an Oscar for this. I'm already on my feet for the inevitable standing ovation.