2007 Reading Stats

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right? Well, I think it’s time I admit that I have a problem: I don’t have enough time to read everything I want to read. I admitted this to myself two years ago in June, and I’m happy to say I have made progress. I think keeping a list of books I want to read and checking off the ones I have read really helps. It’s like a multi-step program toward recovery, only… the list never ends. Hey, I’m improving my literacy rate! But in doing so, I’ve created a new problem by re-awakening the avid reader of my childhood and forgetting that sleep is just as important as getting to the next chapter in my new favorite book. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my reading statistics from 2007…

Number of books: 41. I’m pleased with this number, considering I’m a full-time computer science engineering student, I work part-time, I’m very active with my family, and I’m the editor-in-chief/cartoonist for my college’s magazine. I think the trick is reading before I go to bed. It’s amazing how reading an hour every couple of days cleanses my mind like a gentle sponge bath.

Number of Pages: 14,039. Some books were surprisingly short, others, almost too long. The average length was around 350-400 pages.

Genres: Historical fiction, romance, science-fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, women’s fiction, classics, and young adult. Sometimes I think I should branch out and read something new, but it seems to me the only thing I don’t really read is anything erotic, if I can help it. Any suggestions?

Best loved book: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, by far (review coming later). Why my favorite? This book was like learning to love reading all over again for me. It felt like I was reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time, and I fell irretrievably in love with the characters and the author’s style. I was left with that satisfied calm one gets after reading a classic that is touching, well-written, and still applicable to the modern world. If you have any sentimental or positive feeling for Pride and Prejudice, you will like Gaskell’s North and South, set in England’s 19th Century industrial revolution.

Runners-up were The Thirteenth Tale, Wildford’s Daughter (review coming later), Hurricane Moon, The Extra Large Medium, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, and Stardust.

Least loved book: I rarely dislike books that I read, but I have to admit I sincerely disliked How to Read a Novel. The linked review gives some of my reasons; I felt like the author was complaining a little too much and complaining is a pet-peeve of mine.

Book list in reading order: here.

So as you can see, when reading a good book, I have absolutely no self-control. I’m an addict of the worst kind, lost to the world. So I have to admit, when I think I’ve gotten control over my reading habits and then look at my To Be Read journal, I have to sigh. My list for 2008 already has 48 books… some leftovers from last year that I never got around to reading, and others that I want to read after seeing it in my library’s most recent issue of BookPage.

What’s a girl to do? For shame, it seems I’m sentenced to read until I die. 🙂 How many of you use a book list? If you don’t use a list, how do you decide what to read next? Amazon.com reader reviews and suggested books? Reader blogs? Newsletters like BookPage? This is something I’ve always been really curious about.

The new year cometh

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s hoping your muse is kind. Mine favored me at the end of my break from school, the procrastinating little wretch that she is, and I’m now 76% complete with the WIP manuscript! I’ve done a lot of work-shopping on the tagline and the hook. Here’s what I came up with for my WIP, Trentwood’s Orphan

A grieving daughter encounters love and ghosts in Victorian England.

A proposal on the anniversary of her father’s death is not Mary Winslow’s idea of romance, but as a 26-year-old maid in Victorian England, Mr Spencer is her last chance. When Mary catches Mr Spencer seducing her scullery maid, her regimented world falls apart, and her secret deathbed promise to her father comes back to haunt her…literally.

What do you think? Something worth reading, or do I need more edits?

From an administrative standpoint, there are new fun things here at the blog, mainly that I have a new plug-in that highlights posts related to the topic of the post you’re currently reading. I added blurbs about the books I’ve written, and I updated the About and Reading List pages. Fellow authors, if your website needs a new look, or if you haven’t looked into web marketing, check out the Siriomi Web Designs tab as an affordable solution to your problems.

My next post will be listing my most and least favorite books of 2007, how many pages I read, etc. What would you like to see in 2008? More information on publishing? Let me know.

Happy Holidays, Haitus

I realize I’m sort of copping out for this entry, but I’m taking some much-needed down time until after the new year. I recently converted the blog to WordPress (finally, I know), so let me know if things still aren’t working correctly.

Happy holidays, everyone.

Announcement: Feed Update

This is just to let everyone know that later today (4pm Eastern American time) the feed URL will switch* to http://blog.worderella.com/feed/. Please update your readers accordingly. An actual post will follow the feed transition. Thanks for your patience!

LiveJournal users, I’ve already notified the system that the URL is changing, so you have nothing to worry about.

*This is because I finally caved in and installed WordPress as my blog CMS. This does mean I have to learn the new system in order to implement my own layout design (seen here), but since so many clients these days use WordPress, it certainly won’t hurt to know how to do it.

Quote: Failure to Please

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everyone.
– Bill Cosby
And now for some amusing news that will make any rejected writer feel a little better…

Publishers fail to spot plagiarized Jane Austen
LONDON (Reuters) – Even Jane Austen would have trouble finding a publisher today, a struggling author revealed Thursday.David Lassman sent off to 18 publishers assorted chapters from Austen novels in which he changed just the titles and the names of the characters.

He called himself Alison Laydee after Austen’s early pseudonym “A Lady.”

Seventeen publishers rejected or ignored his bid for literary glory. Only one spotted the ruse and told him not to mimic “Pride and Prejudice” so closely.

Lassman, who decided on the experiment when struggling to get his own novel published, told British media: “Getting a novel accepted is very difficult today unless you have an agent first. But I had no idea of the scale of rejection poor old Jane suffered.”

Thanks to Redshoeson for the heads-up! Article from Reuters on Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:45AM http://www.reuters.com/article/email/idUSL1941223720070719

Writer’s Digest Website Contest

I was just notified that I am a finalist for the Writer’s Digest Best Writer’s Website Contest! I’ll be in the October issue, so look for me, Belinda Kroll at http://www.worderella.com! This is very exciting, as I was certain I wouldn’t even place.

In other news, I’m a little over 40% complete with First Draft B. It’s pretty amazing how these characters are taking over.

I have a couple more book reviews to post, as I’m inhaling my summer reading almost as quickly as I inhale food…and I’m planning on posting more notes from my notebooks. I just got my Dickens’s Dictionary of London 1888 in the mail today, so I might post a few of my notes from that as well.

Things are looking up! I hope your works-in-progress are coming along as you want them to!

Good-bye to Miss Snark

I bring sad news! Miss Snark { http://misssnark.blogspot.com/ } is leaving us, though not without a prize: the archive of her blog, thus allowing us to search it at will so we can learn from the snarkiest of snarks. Miss Snark, if you don’t know, is an agent with a penchant for telling the truth, as brutally as possible. A form of tough love, if you will. I suggest you look at her snarkives (a.k.a. archives two years in the making) for guidelines on how to write a proper query (any of the submisions Crap-O-Meters will give you an excellent idea of what not to write to an agent).

So good-bye, Miss Snark. Do send my regards to Killer Yapp.

Tragedy, Haitus

First, my thoughts and prayers go out to the students, staff, and faculty at Virginia Tech, and their friends and families.

Second, I am starting a slight haitus. The quarter is heating up and it’s time for me to be a full-time student. See you in a while, and leave a comment! If anything comes up then I’ll be sure to post, but in the meantime, may the muse be with you.

An Update

So. How is the WIP going? Fairly well, I would say. It’s a new month, which means I’ve printed out the previous month’s (incomplete) draft, kissed it, set it aside, and convinced my mind that I’m starting this month with a new inspired view of the WIP. I know it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it seems to work for me. I’m 29% complete with this draft that I call The Rewrite of Novel # 2 ™.

It’s sort of a running joke between my friends, or, at least, those who are interested in my writing, to call my books by the order in which I started them. There is, of course, Number One, which is my self-published (subsidy) book from high school, Catching the Rose. Number Two is what I keep calling the WIP here, while Number Three is the sequel to Number Two, and the result of my participating in NaNoWriMo 2006. Number Three’s fun and quick tone convinced me to rewrite Number Two. (All of this is more information than you cared to know about, I’m sure, but I find the writing habits of other writers fascinating… so every once in a while, I indulge myslf.) I haven’t had a chance to write in the last four days or so, other than blogging, and I can feel the strain. This is funny, in a not-so-funny way, because last week I suffered from a mini-Block. This week, I’m struggling to hold the reins of my imagination until I have control of everything and know the exact route I want to take. Talking through the plot, or just talking about the WIP in general, does help, however, which is what happened this time around to kill the infamous WB.

I’d like to make an update, however, about a previous post in which I talked about Lulu’s Published By You package. According to POD Critic, while the package claims that the author (which would be you) is designated as the publisher (which essentially means you are the publisher and Lulu is merely the printer), the truth of the matter is that everywhere else you submit your book, Lulu will be listed as the publisher.

I began to think about this, and what the implications are. So, let’s walk through this. By registering your book with Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, etc, POD Critic claims that these websites still list Lulu as the publisher. Which means Lulu is still a subsidy press, rather than a community of self-run micropresses. It does make sense. After all, you can’t actually buy ISBNs separately, you have to buy them in groups of ten. So, Lulu is still being the middle-man by buying the blocks, and then allowing you, the author, to buy the ISBN separately, from them, Lulu. The U.S. ISBN Agency, however, will still list the ISBN as owned by Lulu. Anything that happens to the ISBN after selling it to Lulu is not really their problem.

Tricky, no? I think it’s a tricky move, and kind of mean, actually, but then, I suppose it is the author’s responsibility to look up and understand all the details of such a transaction. And really, if you’re going through all the trouble of buying the ISBN from Lulu, you might as well just set up your own micropress, like how POD Critic advocates. If you’re that serious about self-publishing, you might as well go all the way and just do it yourself.

Good-bye to POD-dy Mouth

I just wanted to mention the going of POD-dy Mouth. She had a wonderful experiment of finding self-published print-on-demad authors, reviewing them, and even coming up with a top list of books with the reward being that the winner of her Needle Competition would have a reading with a literary agency. She’s done a lot of good work these last two years trying to change the way the publishing industry looks at POD and self-publishing.

This is kind of big for me. Her posts kept me inspired to continue the work of being an independent author. In fact, I was hoping she would keep it up long enough for me to possibly submit my own work… sadly, I have taken way too long and worried too much about my details/characters/whatever to get farther than 25% done with the manuscript.

Which is another update: I’m more than 25% complete with the current draft! How exciting is that! This is the one bad thing about finals week: instead of studying, I start writing. But then, when I indulge the writing urge, I can focus on studying because I’m not daydreaming about writing…

Anyway, I just thought I’d make note of POD-dy Mouth’s leaving the blogosphere. She’ll be missed.