3/25/2006 

The world's first literary blook award

The Lulu Blooker Prize is the world's first literary prize devoted to "blooks": books based on blogs or websites. Blooks are warded in three categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Comics.
There are all kinds of prizes for books published by traditional publishers. Prizes are one way that people choose what to read. Self-published books aren’t eligible for most of the traditional prizes. Lulu is a printer and distributor of self-published books. I think they are wise to help to build a market for self-published books including prizes open to “blooks” whether printed by Lulu or not.
Entry to the 2006 Lulu Blooker Prize is now closed. This year's winner, selected by 3 judges independent of Lulu.com, will be announced April 3, 2006. I counted that among total 16 finalists, 7 of them are self-published. Below are those 7 :
Stone Cold Guilty - The People v. Scott Lee Peterson by Loretta Dillon
Publisher: self-published through Lulu (paperback, $16.50)
blog site: Observations of a Misfit - www.misfitting.com
Africa Fresh! New Voices from the First Continent - edited by Rod Amis
Publisher: self-published through Lulu (paperback, $15.00)
blog site: G21: The World's Magazine - www.g21.net
Ambidextrous: Collection 1 by Kevin Cornell
Publisher: self-published through Lulu (paperback, $11.99)
blog site: Bearskinrug - www.bearskinrug.co.uk
Comic Strip Volume 1: Scarybear and Friends by Jason Pultz
Publisher: self-published (paperback, $15.00)
blog site: - www.scarybear.org
Dinosaur Comics: Huge Eyes, Beaks, Intelligence, and Ambition by Ryan North
Publisher: self-published through CatPrint (paperback, $8.00)
blog site: Dinosaur Comics - http://www.qwantz.com/
The Dada Alphabet: An Absurdist's Illustrated Primer by Stephanie Freese, David Milloway
Publisher: self-published through Lulu (paperback, $15.00)
blog site: The Dada Detective - www.likelystories.com
Totally Boned: A Joe and Monkey Collection by Zach Miller
Publisher: self-published through Lulu (paperback, $14.95)
blog site: Joe and Monkey - www.joeandmonkey.com
Entry will soon open for the 2007 Blooker Prize. Anybody interested ?

3/23/2006 

Tom Evslin and his blook

Today I bought the hardcover edition of novel hackoff.com: an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble and rubble from Amazon. Eight months ago, I read the online version of first chapter of the book and enjoyed the experience. Hackoff.com is truly a blook(book published via the blog) written by Tom Evslin. For those of you who are not aware of Tom, here is a little background I found on him at A VC.
Tom was one of the first successful Macintosh software developers, sold his company to Microsoft, oversaw the development of the first versions of Back Office, Outlook and Exchange. He then went to AT&T where he got them into the Internet and invented flat rate pricing for dial-up internet access, and then finally to ITXC where he invented commercial grade VOIP. As can be seen, Tom is an innovator and he is continuing to innovate in his new career, writing books.
His book hackoff.com is different than any books you ever seen. Tom is making the blog part of an overall reading experience, an essential part of reading the book. Hackoff.com is a murder mystery set during the internet bubble. Murder mysteries such as this inevitably get people talking: Whodunnit? Publishing a book of this genre in blook format is a great idea because the links, comments and discussions will be an essential part of the reading experience. The blog format has also allowed Tom to leverage the power of the audience through an RSS feed and e-mail list that will deliver the newest chapters directly to your aggregator/reader or inbox as soon as they are published. However, the interactivity doesn't stop there. Tom has numerous blogrolls for people who link to the blook in their posts, maintain a constant link via services like Word of Blog, write reviews of Hackoff.com, and post about blooks in general. He has also set up a fake company website for Hackoff.com which will hold company press releases and other data to enhance the reading experience. All of this makes Hackoff.com a really unique reading experience. Try it.

 

10 journalism tips for bloggers

Spencer Critchley writes 10 good tips for bloggers from journalist's point of view.
The best piece of advice I think is "whatever your subject, write about people, physical objects and actions", since "these are what engage the imagination and the emotions, and concentrating on them has the added benefit of aiding clarity. Avoid abstractions, generalities, jargon and clichés".
Another advice I will take to my heart is "look for the heat in your subject", as "appeal is emotional, not intellectual". To write good blogs, one need to "look for what people will really care about in your content and use that as a guide".
Here is another good advice: "identify interests". "Good journalists have to assume that everyone, even people they like, may be lying".

3/13/2006 

Grandma's self-publishing story

My next door neighbor, Priscilla Mitchell, retired in 1997 after working 19 years with autistic students in special education. One day in the summer of 1997, as she examined the beautifully detailed wild columbine flower in her garden, she marveled, "how do those little parts know which way to go? Surely Good has programmed the whole process! Children are impressed with computers, they ought to realize God had His computers a long time ago". She went in the living room, to her favorite quite place, and began to write down those inspirations. The first few lines rhymed, and so thus began her book about seeds.
After finishing the initial draft, My neighbor sent it out to friends, few published friends among them, for critiquing. When it was time to find a publisher, She quickly decided to go with WinPress Publishing, a leader in Christian self-publishing, since traditional Christian book publishers rarely take risks on unknown Christian authors. Priscilla told me later that her experience, as the first-time author, with Wine Press Publishing Company has been very positive; this was especially true with their marketing assistance and bookstore distribution services.
The most difficult part of self-publishing for Priscilla was to find and coordinate illustrators. There were total of 8 illustrators did works for the book. The books were printed in a factory at Hong Kong, Priscilla and her husband went there to see the process while touring Hong Kong.
Right before the Christmas of 1998, Priscilla self-published book, "Seeds: God's Awesome Computers" finally came into being. 2500 copies of book were published as the 1st edition. Another 3000 books published in 2003.

 

Blogging as a writing career

We blogger write blogs on specific topics like azalea blog, the Porsche blog, whatever passions we have, and we have basically, over time, accumulated readership of maybe 1000 to 30,000 people just by doing something we love for the fun of it. Sooner or later, we will be able to make some money because the advertising people are starting to talk to us, thanks to Google and other companies.
We are authors of half pros, half amateurs. We are not quitting our day jobs yet, but we are paying our bills with the money we receive from this, and we are building little audiences.
Compare with fiction writers and journalists, blogging is the new new thing. Blogging, despite being closer to journalism in activity, is closer to fiction writing in financial reward - journalists are more likely to secure a steady job, fiction writer are not. As more money is invested in the blogosphere(as it is happening now), blogging will become a more acceptable career. There will be opportunities for good writers and a few will become seriously wealthy from a career in it. Not everyone is going to succeed, though. Blogging can be an incredibly stressful undertaking. When you've got everything riding on a mostly untested medium such as the blogosphere, the pressure affects your writing in tone, quality, and frequency.
In my opinion, if you taking blogging as a writing career seriously, it is un-avoidable for you to try publish (or self-publishing) books, beside publish electronically, and distribute it through traditional channels. The publishing industry is hugely flawed, but one of the things that it does is get books where readers will see them, in bookstores.

 

Let our blogs be literary permanence

Along the same line, New York times mentioned Blurb today, reporting it's “Slurper” tool that can automatically downloads and reformats the contents of a blog into a book. The tool is expected to be available free later this month. The overall publishing price from Blurb appears to me a bit more expensive than Lulu; but it is not a big deal if only small number of books being published.


3/02/2006 

Malcolm Gladwell got a blog

My favorite author, Malcolm Gladwell, now has a blog. Below he explained the relationship between book and blog:
In the past year I have often been asked why I don’t have a blog. My answer was always that I write so much, already, that I don’t have time to write anything else. But, as should be obvious, I’ve now changed my mind. I have come (belatedly) to the conclusion that a blog can be a very valuable supplement to my books and the writing I do for the New Yorker. What I think I’d like to do is to use this forum to elaborate and comment on and correct and amend things that I have already written. If you look on my website, on the “Blink” page, you’ll see an expanded notes and bibliography, which mostly consists of copies of emails sent to me by readers. Well, I think I’d like to start posting reader comments for everything I write, and this is a perfect place for that. There are also times when I think I’ve made mistakes, or oversights, and I’d like to use this space to explain myself and set things right.
In my opinion, the reversal - from blog to book - could be also true.