Archive for the ‘Reference – Writing’ category

Twitter Novel By Arjun Basu

December 24, 2008

arjunbasutweet122408b

Wonderful.

Follow Arjun Basu on Twitter.

Update: Arjun basu writes in the Comments:

Thanks. But it’s not a novel. I just want to clear that up. Each tweet is a single story. At the max 140 characters. I’m calling them Twisters. Thanks for the support.

That makes what I screensnapped above even more remarkable!

Advertisements

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print: Red Alert!

December 24, 2008

Americans prefer news from Web to newspapers: survey

The Internet has surpassed newspapers as the main source for national and international news for Americans, according to a new survey.

Television, however, remains the preferred medium for Americans, according to the survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Seventy percent of the 1,489 people surveyed by Pew said television is their primary source for national and international news.

Forty percent said they get most of their news from the Internet, up from 24 percent in September 2007, and more than the 35 percent who cited newspapers as their main news source.

Emphasis added by me.

Hey, the Newspaper Fetishists used to whiiiine, “Oh, I can’t think of a Sunday without curling up with The New York Times.”

So, question: Did they all drop dead — or get electronic religion?

And, no, book publishers, the moral here is not “books on TV.”

Get real. Make with the flood of eBooks in 2009!

This Is The Future Of Book Tours

December 23, 2008

I need to do this again because people weren’t listening the first time — and, frankly, many still had jobs in the dying printed books industry and so were too smug to pay attention.

This is what the book tour of the future — the future being 2009! — will look like:

probloggervid01
Click = big

That’s Darren Rowse of ProBlogger doing a special “Christmas party” live streaming videocast via UStream.

What was his big outlay to do it? His existing MacBook Pro! And the connection was via WiFi too!

He was in Australia. There were people all over the world tuning in. One person was from Brazil!

The dying dinosaurs of print have asked: “Well, how can we do an author tour for an eBook? There’s no … um, book for people to bring to a store!”

That’s how. The author doesn’t go to any store. He goes to where the eBook store is — the entire Internet.

People can type questions. See and hear the writer respond. No one has to deal with bad weather or bad schedules. And the videos can be archived for people to see again later.

What about autographs? I did that earlier too.

Instead of sending a writer out on bad plane (or train or bus) trips to bad hotels and the mercy of weather, everyone can stay where they are — the writer at home, the readers at home (or likely stealing bandwidth from work!). It’s all win.

The writer can even, if so inclined, show the missus and child:

mrsproblogger
(Happy holidays, Mrs Rowse!)

Previously here:

Reference: Internet Video Chat
How Our Future Does Things
I Am Internationally Persecuted!
Live jkk & Chippy!

Dying Dinosaurs Of Print Slow Suicide

December 23, 2008

Read it and weep
The economic news couldn’t be worse for the book industry. Now insiders are asking how literature will survive.

The end of days is here for the publishing industry — or it sure seems like it. On Dec. 3, now known as “Black Wednesday,” several major American publishers were dramatically downsized, leaving many celebrated editors and their colleagues jobless. The bad news stretches from the unemployment line to bookstores to literature itself.

“It’s going to be very hard for the next few years across the board in literary fiction,” says veteran agent Ira Silverberg. “A lot of good writers will be losing their editors, and loyalty is very important in this field.”

Who was it that said, “If you want loyalty, get a dog”?

Yes, writers who are treated well are loyal. Stupid us. The rest of the world runs on money.

This is key:

Finally, experts suggest that publishers missed crucial opportunities to cope with digital books, Internet innovations and economic pressures. “The big houses proved incapable of looking at the future. I’ve always been struck at how relatively un-nimble the big houses are,” says Tom Engelhardt, a consulting editor at Metropolitan books and the author of the prophetic novel “The Last Days of Publishing.” He recently wrote an essay about the crisis at his Web site, TomDispatch.com, and says he predicted the crash for years — but no one would listen.

Emphasis added by me.

He’s right. Just ask the newspapers.

Here comes the future:

Neelan Choksi, Lexcycle’s chief operating officer, agrees that the midlist will suffer in coming years. “There’s going to be less support for smaller writers in the traditional publishing model, in the big buildings in Manhattan,” he explained. “But self-publishing and digital books haven’t been considered. This upheaval will cause many authors to look at the alternatives more seriously.” The Stanza reader, for instance, stocks thousands of e-books at varying prices, from free public domain books to self-published titles to 40,000 titles from Fictionwise, one of the leading digital book vendors. That list includes a variety of bestsellers like David Wroblewski’s “Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series and the nonfiction hit “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.”

Emphasis added by me.

Lexcycle will wind up with a store of its own at some point. I hope they do it right, unlike Apple. (Stanza, by the way, just got a glowing PC Magazine review.)

What’s needed is a WordPress-type thing, where authors can set up a site to flog their books. Basically, a blog with transactional capability. It has to all be blogging-easy, too. Writers don’t want to be techies and web designers. In fact, I’m surprised WordPress itself hasn’t added this yet.

This bit was a surprise to me. Writer Iain Levison (who still lacks a new website) alerted me to it via email this morning:

Rumors of publishing’s demise are probably overstated, but the future of publishing may depend on what those laid-off editors, publicists and industry leaders do next. The morning after Black Wednesday, a publishing blogger and e-book aficionado named Mike Cane stirred up his readers with a bite-size manifesto on Twitter: “If the FIRED NY pubstaff are such hot fucking shit, let them coalesce and form an EBOOK-ONLY IMPRINT to crush their fmr employers.” However callous this Twitter-versy seemed at the time, it posed an interesting challenge: Can the publishing world channel all of this collective anger, bewilderment and fear into industry-altering strategies?

Emphasis of me by me.

But really, that guy is a pain in the ass! I should know.

Still, that challenge holds. I’d like to see those book people get back into books — as eBooks. Apple isn’t doing writers any favors and we need book people.

We just don’t need Big Corporate Dying Dinosaurs of Print book people.

And neither do the Big Corporations, either.

Writer Michael Muhammad Knight In NYT

December 23, 2008

Young Muslims Build a Subculture on an Underground Book

CLEVELAND — Five years ago, young Muslims across the United States began reading and passing along a blurry, photocopied novel called “The Taqwacores,” about imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo.

“This book helped me create my identity,” said Naina Syed, 14, a high school freshman in Coventry, Conn.

A Muslim born in Pakistan, Naina said she spent hours on the phone listening to her older sister read the novel to her. “When I finally read the book for myself,” she said, “it was an amazing experience.”

The novel is “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims, said Carl W. Ernst, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Springing from the imagination of Michael Muhammad Knight, it inspired disaffected young Muslims in the United States to form real Muslim punk bands and build their own subculture.

Emphasis added by me.

I just wanted to emphasize once again that this was a direct publishing Win. From photocopied novel to printed book to New York Times coverage and a movie. (And I await Soft Skull Press doing the eBook versions!)

“I’m a Muslim and I’m 100-percent American,” Ms. DeWulf said, “so I can criticize my faith and my country. Rebellion? Punk? This is totally American.”

The novel’s title combines “taqwa,” the Arabic word for “piety,” with “hardcore,” used to describe many genres of angry Western music.

For many young American Muslims, stigmatized by their peers after the Sept. 11 attacks but repelled by both the Bush administration’s reaction to the attacks and the rigid conservatism of many Muslim leaders, the novel became a blueprint for their lives.

Emphasis added by me.

There’s the power of a writer.

Mr. Muhammad Knight was born an Irish Catholic in upstate New York and converted to Islam as a teenager. He studied at a mosque in Pakistan but became disillusioned with Islam after learning about the sectarian battles after the death of Muhammad.

He said he wrote “The Taqwacores” to mend the rift between his being an observant Muslim and an angry American youth. He found validation in the life of Muhammad, who instructed people to ignore their leaders, destroy their petty deities and follow only Allah.

After reading the novel, many Muslims e-mailed Mr. Muhammad Knight, asking for directions to the next Muslim punk show. Told that no such bands existed, some of them created their own, with names like Vote Hezbollah and Secret Trial Five.

Emphasis added by me.

He imagined it and readers created it.

At school, her Koran teacher threw chalk at her for requesting literal translations of the holy book, Ms. Arzay said. After she was expelled from two Muslim schools, her uncle gave her “The Taqwacores.”

“This book is my lifeline,” Ms. Arzay said. “It saved my faith.”

Emphasis added by me.

It just takes one writer to say the things he or she really feels to start something. That something can be helping people not see themselves as alienated or it can be creating an entire social movement.

That is the power of writers and writing.

This is an interesting report about writer Michael Muhammad Knight and the sub-culture his book has helped to form:

Previously here:

Two Books To Read By Michael Muhammad Knight

Apple Approves Of Shooting Nurses In The Face!

December 23, 2008

mj via Twitter informed me of a game available on the UK iTunes App Store, called Silent Hill: The Escape.

This is the listing at the UK App Store:

silenthillappstore
Click = big

In this not-so-charming little game, one of the things to do is shoot nurses in the face:

silenthillnursejpg

Don’t look for it in the American App Store. I already did. It’s not there.

That raises several questions:

1) Was it rejected for inclusion in the American App Store?

1a) If so, how can Apple approve it for the UK App Store?

2) If it’s still pending approval for the American App Store, will it now get it?

3) How is shooting a nurse in the face not worse than using “objectionable” language?

4) If an argument is made that the nurse is “imaginary,” guess what? So are the characters in an eBook!

5) Is provoking people to actively shoot nurses in the face better than passively reading, say, the word fuck in an eBook?

6) Does Apple at this point have any leg to stand on in terms of defining what’s “objectionable” and what’s not?

7) How can Apple claim a moral high ground in terms of eBooks when it continues to make epic profits from music and movies that are far worse than language in eBooks?

8) When will Apple stop making itself a hypocritical laughingstock?

Supplemental:

Silent Hill on App Store

Previously here:

God Bless Writer Derek Raymond
How Many Of THESE eBooks Will Apple Ban?
Apple Bans ANOTHER Book From App Store!

The POPE Endorses eBooks!

December 23, 2008

Sacred texts: Vatican embraces iTunes prayer book

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is endorsing new technology that brings the book of daily prayers used by priests straight onto iPhones.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications is embracing the iBreviary, an iTunes application created by a technologically savvy Italian priest, the Rev. Paolo Padrini, and an Italian Web designer.

The application includes the Breviary prayer book – in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Latin and, in the near future, Portuguese and German. Another section includes the prayers of the daily Mass, and a third contains various other prayers.

After a free trial period in which the iBreviary was downloaded approximately 10,000 times in Italy, an official version was released earlier this month, Padrini said.

Don’t be fooled. The Pope has the Final Say over there.

And dig it:

Pope Benedict XVI, a classical music lover who was reportedly given an iPod in 2006, has sought to reach out to young people through new media. During last summer’s World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, he sent out mobile phone text messages citing scripture to thousands of registered pilgrims – signed with the tagline “BXVI.”

Emphasis added by me.

Who knew?