Archive for January, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (January 31) to…

January 31, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (January 31) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

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Man Booker literary prize loses its main sponsor

January 30, 2019

Man Booker literary prize loses its main sponsor

Literary prizes matter.

Winning one of the major awards has made people’s careers.

That may be more true now than it was 15 years ago. The rise of e-publishing, which democratized getting books to readers, has meant that many more books are in the market. It makes discovery far more complex, and prizes are one way to shine a beacon through the fog of books.

That’s one reason I was brought up short yesterday when I saw the headline on our**

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

that the prestigious Man Booker prize was losing its sponsor.

Well, it’s not the only source of funding, but it is literally the “Man” part, since it is the investment firm the Man Group (involved since 2002) which is ending support after 2019.

It seems pretty likely that funding will come from somewhere…but that could also lead to rule changes.

It was controversial when, in 2013, the prize eligibility rules changed, eliminating a need for submitting authors to be citizens of certain countries…the books had to be in English and published in the UK, but the author could be a citizen of the USA, or Canada, or Cambodia…didn’t matter.

Greatly expanding the eligibility was seen by some as diluting the value of the prize.

A new sponsor might want to refocus the prize. Here is a British perspective on that:

The Guardian article by Alison Flood and Sian Cain

People will be closely watching the

official site

I’m always interested in hearing your opinions, so I’ll give you one main prompt this time: what would happen if Amazon became the primary sponsor? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

** Note: the link is to the current generation of the Echo Show…we have the 1st generation, which is no longer sold new directly from Amazon.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Happy bookish birthdays (January 30) to…

January 30, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (January 30) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Have you written but not sold a science fiction/fantasy novel? You can pitch it to agents on Twitter on 30 Jan

January 30, 2019

Have you written but not sold a science fiction/fantasy novel? You can pitch it to agents on Twitter on 30 Jan

I recently wrote about

The writers community on Twitter

and one thing I said was this:

“…It clearly helps people when you follow them. If you were an unpublished author trying to attract an agent (that’s another thing this community facilitates…connecting authors with editors and agents, since all three groups may use it), and you had a million Twitter follows, that’s a point of evidence that you already have a built-in audience.”

Tomorrow (as I write this), 30 January is a recurring day set up for just this purpose.

In 2014

Dan Koboldt (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

an author of science fiction, and

Putting the Science in Fiction: Expert Advice for Writing with Authenticity in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Other Genres (at AmazonSmile*)

started #SFFPit (Science Fiction/Fantasy Pitch, I assume), based on

@BrendaDrake’s #PitMad

The basic idea is that authors pitch their completed but unsold science fiction/fantasy novels in a single tweet (well, you can tweet once per hour during the ten hour period…8:00 AM Eastern to 6:00 PM Eastern), and agents can read through the tweets (which are identified by the #SFFPit hashtag), and possibly express interest.

As you can imagine, to make this successful (communicating enough information for potential agents without a lot of extraneous noise), there have to be very specific guidelines for how it is done and abbreviations to be used. You can see all of that here:

http://dankoboldt.com/sffpit/

If you are an author with a completed but unsold SFF novel, and/or an agent (hey, some people are both), I strongly recommend you read every word of the above page before pitching.

If you do pitch, good luck! I’d really appreciate you letting me know if you have success, especially if you first heard about it here. Even if you don’t have success, I’d be interested to hear about your experience. Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I link to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Congratulations, 2019 Caldecott & Newbury award winners!

January 29, 2019

Congratulations, 2019 Caldecott & Newbury award winners!

The American Library Association announced their 2019 “youth media award” winners yesterday in this

press release

This year’s John Newbury Medal (for outstanding contribution to children’s literature) goes to

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina | 4.7 stars out of 5 | 26 customer reviews at time of writing (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The two Newbury Honor Books this year are The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani and The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (illustrated by Ian Schoenherr).

The awards go back to 1922. Previous winners & honorees include: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Hugh Lofting); Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág; Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field; Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater; Sounder by William H. Armstrong…

The Randolph Caldecott Medal (distinguished American picture book for children) for 2019 goes to

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall | 4.7 stars | 30 reviews (at AmazonSmile* )

The four Caldecott Honor Books are:

  • Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star written and illustrated by Grace Lin
  • The Rough Patch written and illustrated by Brian Lies
  • Thank You, Omu! written and illustrated by Oge Mora

The Caldecott goes back to 1938. Some previous winners: Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey; Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans; Stone Soup by Marcia Brown; Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss; Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak…

Those are the two awards which get the most attention, but there are actually a whole slew of them, including five different ones named after Coretta Scott King.

Congratulations to the winners!

Enjoy!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

 

Happy bookish birthdays (January 29) to…

January 29, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (January 29) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

The writers community on Twitter

January 28, 2019

The writers community on Twitter

Generally, writing is a solo activity.

Oh, certainly, traditionally, there are other people involved, but it’s more of a serial thing than a group thing. The author writes, then submits material to an editor, who makes comments, gives it back, the author revises solo, gives it back, and so on.

The same kind of thing can happen with “beta readers”. Those aren’t editors…they are more like a test audience for a TV show or movie. They give feedback…ideally, they let the author know what things they liked and didn’t like, what was confusing, and what was clear, but not how to fix it. That’s how it should work, but it’s not always that pure.

Some people do write as a team. My Significant Other would write an annual holiday song parody for work…my SO had good ideas and would know what topics to cover, and I would often refine the lines and add some humor.

It was also one of my favorite things about writing for a local (community access) show in San Francisco. It was actually a lot of fun to sit in a “writers’ room” (in someone’s house), and bounce ideas off each other and work collaboratively.

However, it’s always been complicated for writers of fiction to get that sort of feedback.

With Twitter, there’s a way to do it…and it can be a lot of fun! It’s not all work. 😉

I’ve been much more active on Twitter in the past year or so. That really hasn’t taken away writing time from other things…it tends to be catch as catch can, and just very short time needed each time…not something that works well for my blogging or other writing.

I have two Twitter accounts:

The first one is my general one, and I do some regular features through it:

  • My blog posts tweet to that account automatically (at least, my two main blogs do)
  • The daily Bookish Birthdays
  • #1TweetExpert (I ask people if they could explain a concept in 1 tweet…and then do it myself the next day. When I’ve done enough of those, I may approach a Page-a-Day calendar company with them)
  • #SourceIt (I put in a quotation, and have people guess where it came from)
  • I just started #ILearnedReading (I think this could be fun, and a discovery tool. I tweet something I learned while reading, and link to the book…I don’t get a benefit from the link, that’s just for discovery’s sake)
  • #AlexaKnows
  • #TeachAlexa

The second one was there so I could text my This Day in Geeky History tweets…it ties into The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip although most of what gets tweeted I haven’t been able to add to TMCGTT yet. I also end up doing some more general things from that one, too…it’s hard to keep them that separated. No special #s for that one, really…just #OTD (On This Date), which is widely used.

Speaking of hashtags (#s), I think I should explain that a bit and how it ties into what I was saying about writers.

On Twitter, there are two main symbols that are used. They can be confusing:

  • # which is a way to basically index or highlight something. It’s mostly going to be for concepts. The purpose for it is to allow other people to find the tweet if they search for that particular hashtag
  • @ is a way to call the attention of a particular account (a person or organization) to your tweet. It addresses the tweet to that account

So, #StephenKing  might be used by people discussing that author’s work. @StephenKing would be to address it to the author…doesn’t mean Stephen King is going to respond to you, but King could tell that something had been “sent”.

There are hashtags used by writers. They may be used socially, to find out about other writers, to announce a publication or signing with an agent, or they may be used to get help with something. On the latter, which may be of more interest to my readers, I see people asking for opinions about something a main character (MC) may do, or the use or the connotations of a particular word. Some of that is addressed to readers; some more to other writers (overcoming writer’s block, for one). There is a lot of talk about how to stay motivated writing, and how to balance writing and other parts of your life.

It’s worth noting on the latter topics that I don’t see “brand name” authors joining in on those, as a rule. Sure, the aforementioned @StephenKing tweets a lot, as does J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling), and they do interact with fans, but a lot of it seems to be political and societal issues, rather than the work-a-day world of writing.

That’s not to say that published authors aren’t part of the Twitter writing community! Many are, including tradpubbed (traditionally published) ones. I would say that the vast majority of involvement comes from people who are aspirationally writers, though…people who would like to be earning more as writers, or who simply want to be better writers without income being a specific goal. I know, I know…some of you think that everyone would like to earn more in their field or be better at it. 😉

Before I start listing some specific hashtags (and individual accounts), I want to mention one of my favorite things which happens: writing prompts. People will specifically prompt creative writing responses, maybe by posting a picture, or posing a scenario. There may be rules, such as is the case with a “Six word story” prompt…you have to keep your creative response down to six words or fewer.

I have great fun with those, and I get some good responses (retweets and likes). Unlike many people, I love rules! My Significant Other often kids me about how my family makes up complicated rules…our last name is Calvin, and yes, there may be some parallels with Calvinball from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip although the name is a coincidence.

I used to manage a gamestore (after I managed a bookstore), and games are all about the joy of rules.

Last thing before I list: following and liking. It clearly helps people when you follow them. If you were an unpublished author trying to attract an agent (that’s another thing this community facilitates…connecting authors with editors and agents, since all three groups may use it), and you had a million Twitter follows, that’s a point of evidence that you already have a built-in audience.

I follow a lot more people than follow me, and that’s fine with me. I’d almost always rather help people than be helped myself…I feel good helping people, they feel good because I helped them, so the net amount of joy in the world grows more quickly by my following than by my being followed. Isn’t growing the joy in the world a good justification for your existence? That’s a book that I have in my “Idea Garden”: Grow the Joy, which would be about ways to do that.

At TMCGTT, at time of writing, I’m following 4,490 and have 1,855 followers. At ILMK, it’s 4,732 following, and 2,481 followers. Would I like more followers? Sure, that would be nice. Quite unlikely it would catch up, though. If you like or retweet something, I’ll check your profile, and the vast majority of times, I’ll follow you. It’s okay if you have different political opinions than mine. I just had a weird thing with that, where I mentioned a fictional work, and didn’t realize it had become a symbol to a group of like-minded people. I was suddenly getting lots of followers…unintentionally. I tweeted about that, just because people might have gotten the wrong impression. Why do I choose not to follow someone? Mentions of alcohol in their profiles would be one…I don’t like to promote alcohol use, although I wouldn’t stop people from using it. I probably should learn to ignore that one. If I know your account is going to have a lot of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) pictures, I probably won’t follow you…that just complicates things. I can follow someone who has an obscenity in their profile (that happens a lot), but if you say something that is…condemnatory of a group of people, I won’t want to follow you. For example, use of the word that rhymes with witch will be a big negative.

Okay, let’s get down to brass tacks…er, hashtags!

Capitalization doesn’t matter on hashtags on Twitter: #SourceIT is the same as #SourceIt. I’ll use Tweetreach to get some sense of the reach of the terms…that’s a fluid number, though. If you click on the Tweetreach link, you can see lots of interesting things, including most active accounts using it, and recent tweets.

Here are some with the most popular first:

There are lots more…anybody can create a hashtag just by using it. There are many for individual genres, for example.

Update: I’m going to list more but I won’t always include the detail I did above:

  • #SFFPit (a twice a year day for authors to tweet descriptions of completed but unsold science fiction/fantasy novels in hopes of interesting an agent | I ran the numbers on one of those days (30 January 2019) at about 7:00 AM Pacific: 184,920 impressions
  • #author | 751,913 impressions
  • #book | 284,185 impressions

They also tend to use more universal ones, like #MondayMotivation and #FF (Follow Friday…you suggest accounts for people to follow).

Next, I want to mention some initialisms/acronyms you might see, and that people will generally assume you will understand. Tweets aren’t constrained to be as short as they used to be, but they are still short. Readers who go back close to a decade with me will know I did that for the Amazon forums (yes, I had to resist writing fora…I’m geeky like that). 😉 I’ll be happy to add things to this if you have suggestions:

  • WIP=Work in Progress
  • MC=Main Character
  • VSS=Very Short Story (I think that’s always one tweet)
  • TBR=To Be Read

Now, I’d like to mention a few specific accounts which I follow. Note that I don’t have any financial connection with them, and if I know any of them outside of Twitter, I’ll let you know. These are just a few highlights, not meant to diminish anybody I don’t list…

  • @AgathaChocolats | great six word writing prompts which get many responses | 18.9K followers
  • @TheLaceyLondon | writing prompts and funny writing/reading related pictures | 111K followers
  • @JeffaryWrites | early stage writer (in college to become a copy editor)…posts interesting VSS (Jeffary taught me that TLA…Three Letter Acronym) and quite active in pleasantly responding | 2,769 followers

Well, hopefully, you’ve found this post helpful! Are there terms/accounts you think I should add to it? As a writer, do you find Twitter useful? Do you think having an active Twitter account is important for popularity/commercial success for a writer? Is it more distraction than it is worth? As a reader, have you discovered any writers you liked through Twitter? Has an interaction with an author with which you were already familiar (a like, mention, or reply from them) made your day? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I link to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Happy bookish birthdays (January 28) to…

January 28, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (January 28) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Happy bookish birthdays (January 27) to…

January 27, 2019

Happy bookish birthdays (January 27) to…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

Spend $20 on Kindle books and get $5! Good through 28 January in the USA

January 27, 2019

Spend $20 on Kindle books and get $5! Good through 28 January in the USA

This one is easy to do! Start here:

Amazon offer page ( at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Activate it there, spend the money…and that’s about it!

You need to buy $20 or more in the USA Kindle store by January 28th. A few days later, you’ll have a credit on your account which will automatically be applied when you buy Kindle books (you won’t select when to use it, from what I see). You’ll have 30 days after it’s applied to spend up to $5 on any USA Kindle store e-books.

I keep saying “USA”…it’s possible it applies outside of there, but it’s clear it needs to be from Amazon.com.

It doesn’t apply to pre-orders, but otherwise, it’s pretty much any Kindle books.

As happy

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

members, we don’t do a lot of piece buying (paying for an individual book). However, we do love giving them as small gifts at the holidays! You can buy a book now, and delay the delivery (that’s not a pre-order, it should count) or have it sent to yourself so you can give it whenever you want.

I’d check my wish list (I’m recovering from major surgery…more reading opportunities), but it’s too close to my birthday and Valentine’s Day to risk buying from it. 🙂 I’ll likely look for gifts for other people, maybe look at their Amazon wish lists. Hm…I may also look for non-profits looking for e-book donations…that may be the best way to go for me.

I’m not sure how many of them ask for them, but you could start here:

AmazonSmile Charity Lists (at AmazonSmile*)

You may be more interested in this when you are redeeming (although saving money when you are getting to the $20 makes sense, too…it just means more books needed to get there), but here is Amazon’s

Deals in Kindle Books page (at AmazonSmile*)

Do you have any other creative suggestions? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog


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