Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Have We Hit A Landmark “Moment” in Self-Publishing?

There’s been So Much press about self-publishing…

Self-Publishing's Future

Image courtesy of Wilton Rodrigues ~

I’m nearly exhausted just trying to keep up…

Now, The CEO of Smashwords says, Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here – Here’s How to Succeed.

The article’s topic headings about the slowdown are:

1.  There’s a glut of high-quality ebooks

2.  The rate of growth in the supply of ebooks is outstripping the growth in demand for ebooks

3. The rate of transition from print books to ebooks is slowing

Then, there are no less than 20 topic headings for How to Succeed in the Future Competitive Landscape

Most of the article is centered on authors who expect to make a living with self publishing.

For those who write and self-publish for reasons other than money, check out the article on The GuardianSelf-publishing’s vices and virtues.

After a penetrative look at the less lovely side of self-publishing, the author says:

“Interviews with many self-published authors have taught me that there are often issues of more importance than sales. For many, the material they want to publish has long burned inside them and the process of self-publishing delivers a profound satisfaction.”

“[Self-publishing]…also allows people to create products that bring huge personal pride, even if they include a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. As a process, the value of self-publishing to communities who want to share or preserve material is huge. But for its reputation to be assured as a medium for reading pleasure, the desire to go public straight away must be resisted. Just because you can share immediately does not mean you should. There is a world of difference between attention and approval.”


There are still huge differences of opinion about why to self-publish; plus, we might be witnessing a major landmark “moment”…

Still, I feel self-publishing is the Future for Books………
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Do You Find Hope In The Books You Read?

So many folks read to escape…

Finding Hope In Books

Image Courtesy of Milan Jurek ~

I don’t blame them…

We live in a world lost in materialism—a world swamped with greed—a world going mad.

Far too many writers try to copy what’s going on instead of engendering what could be.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote a bit about this difference in writers’ purposes—What’s The Writer’s Job? ~ Recording Or Creating?

The New Yorker has a recent article about the National Book Awards but especially about Ursula K. Le Guin‘s acceptance of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

For those of you who don’t take link-outs from blogs, I’ll quote some particularly pertinent remarks she made:

“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope.

“We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.

“Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art.

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.”

And, whether you take the link to that article or not but you want to understand more deeply those words of Le Guin, here’s a video of her speech:

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Friday Poll ~ What Are You Going To Read Next?

First, the results from last week’s poll—What’s Your Writing Schedule? 

What Do You Want To Read Next?

Image Courtesy of Craig Parylo ~

Five time segments were voted high at 12.5% each:

10am – 12pm

4pm – 6pm

6pm – 8pm

8pm – 10pm

No Set Time

The next most-used times to write all had 6.25% of the vote:

4am – 6am

8am – 10 am

12pm – 2pm

2pm – 4pm

10pm – 12am

and, one “Other” vote—“depends upon whatever else I may have going on…”


Now, this week’s poll—What Kind of Reading Do You Want To Do?

Let me mention that our first official Friday Poll, back in August, was What Are You Reading Now?; and, the top vote then was Literary Fiction…

This time, the first two options are *Fiction & *Non-Fiction; then, I’ve listed some common genres…

You can choose either Fiction, Non-Fiction, or both…

You can also choose a Genre…

You could also write-in a Genre in “Other“…

Or, write-in the name of a book in “Other“…

And, you can do All of The Above :-)

Read Some Strange Fantasies
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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Some Questions for The Serious Writer . . .

Alexander M Zoltai:

From the Bio of the author who asks excellent questions:

“This is the story of a journey. The wonder of it. The horror of it. The incomparable moments of it. A blog about the nature of writing–and, I hope, a sharing of the soul of one whose life is consumed by it. I’m an author. I’ve spent my whole life writing. It’s the food I live for. “

Originally posted on Notes from An Alien:

There are few other blogs I follow—would like to follow more—far too busy being a writer… Lynn Biederstadt

One other writer I do follow is Lynn Biederstadt of Sky Diaries.

In fact, I’m as careful to leave comments on each of her blog posts as I am to reply to comments here.

I feel the aloneness of being a writer—not loneliness—and feel I should reach across space and let her know I “understand”

Her recent post, The Van Gogh Teach, begins with her visit to the Van Gogh exhibit in Denver, Colorado.

She goes on to explain a lesson the experience gave her, saying:

“A lesson, as so often happens, made up of many questions.”

I appreciate all her posts but this one has questions about writers dealing with the issue of Recognition—Van Gogh not receiving much in his lifetime.

I’m going to put some of Lynn’s questions…

View original 232 more words

A Psychologist Gets Questioned by A Novelist…

I feel good writers are, in a way, psychologists…

Pinker McEwan Good Writing

Image from Intelligence Squared

They deal in human motivation—cyphering-out character and persona.

And, an understanding of psychology could help any writer portray the complexities of character interactions.

But what of the psychology of writing itself; and, the psychology of the reader?

Enter, stage right, Steven Pinker, “…a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.”

Enter, stage left, Ian McEwan, “a critically acclaimed author of short stories and novels for adults, as well as The Daydreamer, a children’s novel…”

I’ve written here before about Mr. Pinker—Can Experimental Psychology Help A Writer?—and, that post had a short video.

Today’s post has a longer video—more detailed, more entertaining, more valuable for serious writers.

Pinker begins by talking about the bad writing of many scientists, bureaucrats, and academics; then, reveals that his wife is a novelist…

He disagrees with much about the “rules” of grammar and syntax…

He gives an outline of the topics of his book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, and lays out certain basic styles of writing…

Then, at about 26 minutes in, he sits down with McEwan and the serious fun begins…

I need to mention that Pinker had asked many writers if they consulted usage guides and found that most used none.

Near the end of the discussion, Pinker asks McEwan if he references a usage guide and the novelist admits to employing the Burchfield edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage.

There’s also a fascinating exchange with some audience members…

Check Out Our Latest Poll…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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