This week in writing… Shakespeare edition

To commemorate The Bard, I thought I’d do this post in iambic pentameter. And then I remembered who I was… and who I wasn’t.

First things first. You know that  Pottermore is up and running, right? Good.

Next up, we recently celebrated the Bard’s birthday #448, and still looking good! Mark Ravenhill wrote a new sonnet to commemorate the great playwright. There’s also a meme circulating the interwebs of all the words that we use today because Shakespeare made them popular. Haven’t seen it? Here you go.

Also, big news, the world of Children’s Literature has “exploded.” (Um. I think we already  knew that.)

On the SCBWI blog, Malcolm Gladwell (of Blink and The Tipping Point) talks about the future of publishing and why editors are “king.” Over at Horn  Book, Stephen Roxburgh also takes a look at the future of publishing in this very, very, VERY lengthy article. (The upshot: authors and illustrators are OK but publishers are screwed.)

Speaking of publishers, Forbes discusses Amazon and Apple’s effect on  publishing, and how big publishers who are now shunning Amazon are probably going to come crawling back. Yowza.

The Hunger Games is doing for North Carolina, what Twilight did for Forks, W.A. Readers are flocking to the destinations of their favorite books. And speaking of Hunger Games, last weekend it got knocked off the top spot for movie-goers, replaced by Think Like A Man.

At the LA festival of books, some YA authors talk about inspiration, and some interesting hate mail.

For newbies, a list and definitions of basic publishing terms from Jane Friedman. You may need to know those if you’re going to query Capstone’s new trade publishing division for young readers.

As for our future writers… is there any hope to develop good writing when a computer robo-reads kids essays? I’ll tell you right now that I’ve been teaching my older kid that there are two ways to write: the right way, and the way that will get you points on a test.

That news may make you grumpy as a parent, but know who’s really grumpy? These 10 writers, courtesy of Flavorwire. #1 Franzen. #2 Sendak. Awesome. What do they have to be so grumpy about? Sheesh! (On the list is my fellow Trinidadian, V.S. Naipaul, who seriously, seriously needs a kick in the ass. He should move back to T’dad. You can’t be grumpy on a tropical island.)

And, you’re going to want to see this documentary: Library of the Early Mind. Here’s the trailer. Enjoy!

[Shakespeare image via Wikipedia]

This week in writing… bully edition

Amazon continues to be the 300lb gorilla this week as everyone is worried about how they might crush the publishing industry. And once the bane of the industry, especially independent bookstores, Barnes and Noble is coming out looking like the New Hope, a potential David to Amazon’s Goliath.

Publishers are cheering the fact that Barnes and Noble have refused to carry any books published by Amazon in their stores. While publishers are thrilled that B&N is standing up to Amazon, at least one writer thinks that B&N would be wise to play nice.

Publishers also aren’t making any friends with librarians. Their insistence on restricting library access to ebooks has irked the mild-mannered bibliophines enough to issue a statement saying basically, enough of that crap.

Publishers’ fear of ebooks and what they mean to the print business isn’t unique. Jonathan Franzen shared his own fear of ebooks saying, “The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing — that’s reassuring.” So… ebooks change text every time you pick them up? Wow! Oh wait. They don’t.

Ebooks are kicking up even more dust as some publishing houses try a new delivery format: novels by committee in which the author releases a book, and readers give input on what should happen next, that the author then writes to satisfy. There, there, Franzen, don’t weep. Some people think this is great. Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary said this on her twitter feed in response to a reporter’s dismay: “Oh, please. All this shows is how clueless the reporter is… Like god forbid anyone get any entertainment out of reading. Or try something new.”

Maybe it doesn’t work for storytelling, but it might be good for information-gathering. UK publisher And Other Stories gets readers together for a report on which books to take on for translation, rather than using a traditional written report. What a good idea!

Where are all the good books anyway? Here’s what some of our best writers think are the greatest books of all time.

And finally, Jacqueline Woodson, author of one of my favorite picture books, The Other Side, talks about her new novel in this video.

Monday mashup

Publishing news! All in one place! You’re welcome!

Probably a favorite among all my teacher friends who have gathered massive libraries over the years: Salon.com reports that book owners have smarter kids. Though it’s not so much that they’re smarter, but they stay  in school longer.

Speaking of home libraries for kids, I came across Pride and Prejudice for infants. Cute, but why? I’m not sure how Mr. Darcy appeals to babies who still like to gum their books. There’s Romeo and Juliet too. How do they handle the poison?

Maybe more babies reading classics will create more child geniuses. Until then, Flavorwire.com has a list of the 10 greatest literary child geniuses. They include favorite characters from classic kid lit, like Charles Wallace, but the commenters seem to think they’ve missed quite a few. Check it out.

The Well-fed black writer talks about how to use your book to promote your book! Some ingenious writer found a way to imbed a Tweet button in her ebook which means that the book’s readers can promote it with one click from the book itself. Now THAT is smart marketing.

Another smart move for writers is networking with other writers. According to Julie Anne Lindsay, there are great benefits to networking with fellow colleagues. Writers like supporting their fellow colleagues, so it only stands to reason that they’d help you support your book. I know I would!

One great advantage to networking with fellow writers is to commisserate over the misery when things don’t go your way, and have people to high-five you through the good stuff when they do (does that happen?) like how hearing that THE HELP was rejected by 60 agents before Kathryn Stockett found someone to take her and her story on.

One writer who was published 6 years ago (like me!) talks about how book marketing has changed in such a short time. What do you need to do now that you didn’t need to do then? Um, everything?

With  all the new publishing ventures out there, how do agents and booksellers feel about Amazon’s foray into the publishing business? Is it good for them? For books? It seems that everyone’s being polite and waiting to see what happens, but there’s tension just beneath the surface. Interesting.

And finally, some fun stuff… one of my favorite stores, Anthropologie is shilling desk supplies. I like the giant notebook. I dare you to fill a notebook like that. I also like the desk, but whose desk looks like this?

And I love this poem about knit brows, not to mention the pictures of hairy eye-toppers that goes with it. Yikes!