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WriterSpace.net - A Blog For Writers http://www.writerspace.net a blog for writers Sun, 04 Aug 2013 02:12:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Author Encourages PDF Pirates http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/10/16/author-encourages-pdf-pirates/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/10/16/author-encourages-pdf-pirates/#comments Fri, 16 Oct 2009 20:53:04 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1298 Today’s post will provide a little more information related to the whole free vs. paid content debate. Most authors would love it, of course, if people gave them quadrillions of dollars per copy sold, but Peter Cooper took a practical approach when he recommended that individuals pirate PDF versions of his book.

Cooper wrote, “I believe free electronic copies can significantly increase mindshare and print sales. With a book like Beginning Ruby, the majority of readers want a print book, so it seemed a no-brainer to keep sales strong in a market with growing competition.”

However, that’s where he ran into a problem: his publisher didn’t want to make the ebook free.

So Cooper suggested (or for legal reasons, at least sort of put forth the idea with a wink) that people pass his book around different Pirate-type sites and RapidShare. His publisher might sue, he warned, but he won’t. Which seems like a pretty swell thing to do.

Whether this changes how you feel about giving stuff away is completely up to you, of course. Maybe there’s an anti-Cooper out there who can prove he lost money due to piracy and is none too pleased about it. This is just something writers should take under consideration.

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FTC Backs Away From Idea Of Fining Bloggers http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/10/09/ftc-backs-away-from-idea-of-fining-bloggers/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/10/09/ftc-backs-away-from-idea-of-fining-bloggers/#comments Fri, 09 Oct 2009 20:50:02 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1296 Earlier this week, the FTC strongly suggested that bloggers be upfront about any sort of compensation they receive for endorsing products. It strongly suggested this to the point that many bloggers believed they might face big fines, in fact. But the FTC has clarified its stance and probably won’t go for your bank account anytime soon.

So no – you won’t be fined $11,000 each time you receive a review copy of a book and don’t explicitly mention it. While it remains a good idea for you to say if the review copy arrived at your door accompanied by a new Lexus (and honestly, if you’re getting bribes that big, you deserve the fine), the FTC will just write letters to bloggers in most circumstances.

It turns out that the $11,000 fine is more of a maximum penalty. What’s more, since the FTC itself can’t impose fines, it would have to take you to court, turning the whole thing into something of a circus.

Richard Cleland, the assistant director for the FTC’s division of advertising practices, explained to Cecilia King, “The confusion has arisen, I think, because we do have authority to ask for a civil penalty to be imposed by the Federal district court judge in the event that trade regulation rules are violated.” But “there is no realistic scenario that we get from here to there.”

Keep doing what you do, then, assuming that doesn’t consist of receiving crazy bribes.

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Paywalls Receive Praise http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/10/02/paywalls-receive-praise/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/10/02/paywalls-receive-praise/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2009 20:53:35 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1294 Last time, we talked about what might be considered the democratization of news coverage: everybody could have a shot at breaking stories. This week, something towards the opposite end of the scale has come up, as Martin Sorrell agreed with Rupert Murdoch that paywalls should protect premium content.

Emma Barnett reported that Sorrell, who is the WPP’s chief executive, said at a conference today, “Murdoch is absolutely correct to try and get people paying for content – it is critical for traditional media businesses as there is not enough advertising to support these models anymore. Getting consumers to pay for content they value is key. We have to find those areas.”

Now, as before, how much you cheer on that statement may vary depending on which side of the new media/old media split you find yourself.

Also, regardless of how supportive you feel, there’s the question of whether Sorrell can indeed “find those areas,” because all sorts of people, from bloggers to veteran newspaper reporters, seem to believe that print is dying.

However, given that Sorrell and Murdoch are both very rich and powerful men, they’ll have the ability to dictate how a good many writers will operate for at least a few years to come. So for better or for worse, expect to see some paywall experiments occur before long.

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Google Considers “Real-Time, User-Reported News Service” http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/25/google-considers-real-time-user-reported-news-service/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/25/google-considers-real-time-user-reported-news-service/#comments Fri, 25 Sep 2009 20:43:14 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1292 Depending on your current position or job prospects, you may view this as either good news or bad. But Google is considering tossing quite a lot of money at a sort of DIY news service, and you can actually cast a vote on the matter.

Here’s the deal: a “real-time, user-reported news service” is one of the sixteen remaining ideas in Google’s Project 10^100 save-the-world endeavor. Google will put up as much as $10 million to support five of the ideas, and people are allowed to vote on what they think is most deserving of the funding.

The news service is supposed to “[h]elp people find and report timely, important local information. Users have submitted many ideas proposing better access to locally relevant info, including real-time news (fires, natural disasters and road accidents), disease tracking (mobile devices that track people’s health status) and personal incidents (calling to report a threatening criminal situation, natural disaster or medical emergency).”

This idea could make it a lot easier for previously unnoticed writers to get their names out there. At the same time, it could put some of the current crop of reporters out of jobs.

You can read more about Project 10^100 here and vote here if any of this sounds interesting. Voting ends October 8th.

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Google Simplifies Book Discovery Through Search Options http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/18/google-simplifies-book-discovery-through-search-options/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/18/google-simplifies-book-discovery-through-search-options/#comments Fri, 18 Sep 2009 20:51:44 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1290 Although we aren’t going to take sides on the Google Books settlement debate in this article, we will say that the reasons for writers to love Google outside of that controversial issue just keep piling up. Today, Google made all of its Google Books content searchable from regular results pages.

Let’s face it, after all: the average person probably doesn’t know that Google Book Search exists. Google doesn’t make it visible along with the main “Images,” “Videos,” and “Maps” tabs, tucking it away under “more” instead.

So it’s important that now, after someone searches for a term or phrase from Google.com, they can click on the little “+ Show options” button and see the word “Books” displayed as the second-from-the-top choice.

A post on the Inside Google Books blog explained to users, “This will provide easier access to books and magazines by letting you slice and dice your results with certain characteristics. For example, you can now search for only books or magazines or for only content that you can preview in Google Books.”

This is almost sure to lead to greater exposure for some writers, and that’s a very good thing.

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Ebooks Still Scrabbling For Market Share http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/11/ebooks-still-scrabbling-for-market-share/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/11/ebooks-still-scrabbling-for-market-share/#comments Fri, 11 Sep 2009 21:26:57 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1288 Some writers will no doubt be able to make allowances based on their target audience’s tastes, or, as a practical matter, how much money’s in their pocket. But generally speaking, it looks like letting everything ride on the concept of ebooks is a bad idea.

A lot of data has come to light in just the past day or so indicating that ebooks still aren’t close to mainstream. Let’s start with a Slashdot poll. Slashdot readers are geeks, right? They love tech and buy stuff before everybody else. But 25 percent of a poll’s 10,731 respondents have said ebooks “will never lure me away from my paper books!” Also, a full 51 percent said they’re “not yet compelling enough to buy.”

So there’s one ebook failure. For the rest, let’s turn to Lance Whitney.

Earlier today, he wrote, “Among 1,529 consumers who responded to a July 2009 questionnaire from research firm In-Stat, only 5.8 percent currently own an e-book reader. And only 11 percent of those questioned said they planned to buy one in the next 12 months . . .”

Whitney provided stats from Forrester Research, as well. Forrester found that, even if the prices of ebook readers fell to $98 or less, not even 40 percent of its survey’s participants would commit to buying one in the next six months.

Even if you have to print everything off your personal computer or scrawl it out by hand, then, try not to stake your entire career on attracting readers with just ebooks.

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Blogger Turns 10 http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/04/blogger-turns-10/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/09/04/blogger-turns-10/#comments Fri, 04 Sep 2009 20:56:01 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1286 The software to which a lot of writers owe their start recently turned 10 years old. You may want to take a few minutes to celebrate Blogger’s birthday, then, or if not, at least to be happy about the host of improvements Google’s used this opportunity to roll out.

These features were introduced throughout the second half of August, so sorry if you’ve seen some of them before. But together, they represent a pretty interesting collection well worth investigating.

First, there was something that ensured feed readers would pick up your posts more quickly. It’s never fun to have what you regard as a great piece of work just sit there, unappreciated, for a period.

Next came a “Send To” feature for Google Reader that made it easier to share whatever you come across on your blog. And not one, but two updates related to labels.

Another type of “Share” button popped up on the navigation bar next, with a BlogPress app for the iPhone following on its heels.

Finally, there’s a doodad that helps Blogger users support charities.

Impressed? Let’s hope so. Just listing all of this stuff wore out your humble author, and so the people behind Blogger are surely ready for a breather.

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An Alternative Way To Raise Funds http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/08/28/an-alternative-way-to-raise-funds/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/08/28/an-alternative-way-to-raise-funds/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2009 20:47:35 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1284 Let’s face it: representatives of publishing companies aren’t exactly running around, begging everyone who can string together two sentences to sell them a short story or book. So if you have a short story or book, but no publishing company, a fundraising platform may provide the answer.

Elinor Mills recently wrote about an author who’s “working on a book and is appealing to passionate readers like me to help him get it published.” According to Mills, “He is seeking financial backers via a Web site called Kickstarter, which bills itself as a ‘funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers.’ (A similar site is called Fundable.)”

This approach seems to be working for the fellow. Mills talked to him about 48 hours into the effort, and at that point he’d raised $2,200. His goal was only to get $3,500 by November 1st, so he’s about 63 percent there with all sorts of time left.

You could always, of course, beg your friends and family members in a more direct manner. Something like Kickstarter will allow folks to really get the word out, though, and will also spare you a lot of awkward interactions.

So until the day that writers are in high demand (don’t hold your breath), there’s an idea that’ll hopefully tide you over.

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AOL Becoming A Friend To Bloggers http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/08/21/aol-becoming-a-friend-to-bloggers/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/08/21/aol-becoming-a-friend-to-bloggers/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2009 20:51:43 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1282 Believe it or not, the company that’s best known for facilitating dial-up connections in the early days of the Internet isn’t irrelevant. In fact, for writers, AOL seems to be turning into something of an ally.

Maha Atal wrote this morning, “AOL is getting some good press these days for hiring journalists such as newspaperman Carl Cannon and Walter Shapiro, a veteran of The Washington Post and Time magazine, in an effort to bolster its original content. The effort, praised in media circles for creating a home for experienced writers and producers, is part of a strategy by new CEO Tim Armstrong to revitalize AOL in advance of a planned spinout by corporate parent Time Warner . . .”

And other online entities are following suit. True/Slant has picked up more than a few writers, and it was founded by a former AOLer. The sports blog known as SBNation conforms to the pattern in both respects, too.

Considering how the print industry is doing, these developments are extremely important. Not everyone can earn a living as a blogger, of course, but the more people who are given a shot, the better.

So if you have any old AOL CDs around, don’t treat them as absolute trash. They might just represent a sort of memento of your future employer.

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Google Books And Creative Commons http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/08/14/google-books-and-creative-commons/ http://www.writerspace.net/index.php/2009/08/14/google-books-and-creative-commons/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2009 20:56:17 +0000 http://www.writerspace.net/?p=1280 If you’re willing to let the price of one or more of your books be “free,” then Google wants to help you on the publicity front. Google Books has started to take Creative Common licenses into account.

As explained by a post on the Inside Google Books blog, “Creative Commons licenses make it easier for authors and publishers to tell readers whether and how they can use copyrighted books. You can grant your readers the right to share the work or to modify and remix it. You can decide whether commercial use is okay. There’s even an option to dedicate your book to the public domain.”

The post then continues, “We’ve marked books that rightsholders have made available under a CC license with a matching logo on the book’s left hand navigation bar. People can download these books in their entirety and pass them along: to friends, classmates, teachers, and so on.”

And considering that Google Books is, well, Google Books, making your works available through it does indeed seem likely to lead to some sharing.

The downside, of course, is the lack of income that’ll accompany this move, but you could always try to use just one or two books as a hook to grow a fan base.

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