Books on Display

Typewriter by Goodfaythe
I live in a 12′ by 10′ room when I’m at home during the summers, and I share it with my younger sister. We don’t have bunk beds, and hardly any storage space. In fact, we have those bed-risers so we can shove things beneath our beds. Most of my stuff is shoved into external storage spaces because there’s hardly any living space in the room.

I would complain, except I don’t pay rent or grocery fees.

The best part of my room is in the back corner of my closet. My closet has those 70’s sliding doors, and it goes deep into the wall on either side, about two feet. That’s where I hang my dresses, jackets, suits, etc…And all the space above the closet rod was wasted until one day, my mother said the most magical words I’ve ever heard: “What do you think about making a mini-library up there?”

Book reader by Banui_graphics Being a bibliophile, I effused my gratitude and excitement at the idea. Problem: I was in school at the time, battling my way through programming assignments and midterms. I couldn’t come home to do it. Time passed. Winter break brought me home to find my mother having already completed my library. To the point where she carefully took out all of my books (numbering above 100, I think), measured the tallest one to determine where the first shelf should go, and so on. Then, she put them back in the order that I had them. I have my own library in my closet. I’m so proud of that library that I smile at it every time I reach up to grab a book. I always talk about expanding, too… when I have my own place, that is. It’s a family joke that I won’t marry a guy who won’t let me have a library. Among other things, like my own writing office, a chaise lounge…

But I understand that other people don’t have the luxury or know-how to create a library in their closets. So, keeping in mind that I haven’t tried some of these products, nor am I receiving any sort of kickbacks for talking about them, here are a couple of really cool book display ideas that I found while searching online.

  1. Conceal Book shelf by Umbra. The idea is that you basically screw a large metal bracket onto the wall, with a small groove. You tuck a hardcover book into the groove, which becomes the bottom “shelf” as it were. The regular size shelf will hold about 10lbs of books, the large one 14 or so. The coolest thing about this shelf is that your books look like they are floating in the middle of the wall. I once had a dream that my walls were covered in floating books when I was younger. What an odd dream to see come true.
  2. Flybrary bookshelf by Umbra. This is sort of nifty, you hang the books on a series of metal arms, essentially creating a shelf out of books. I like to see the spines of my books, however, so this one wouldn’t be for me, but a cool idea nontheless.
  3. Folding Ladder Bookshelf by Picotee Int’l. I just like the look of these ladder bookshelves. The dark wood contrasts any bright colored book you might have, and complements traditional/old books. It’s pretty.
  4. Corner Space Saver Bookshelf by Stacks and Stacks. I hate it when corners go to waste, but then, I hate when anything goes to waste. This is a nifty idea where you can use your corner space and be stylish about it, with books facing the two different directions that the shelves offer.
  5. Flying Nun Shelf by Woodform. All right, I admit that I added this merely because the name made me laugh and think of Sally Fields. A simple floating bookshelf with built-in bookends. Comes in multiple colors.
  6. Hanging Wall Book Display by Children’s Factory Inc. For those of you with children, you can tuck books into the plastic sleeves (much like a hanging shoe sleeve), and that way, the child can always see their favorite books, and make clean up easy.

Let me know if any of you happen to buy these products, and tell me what you think! I’m always looking for new ways to display my books, but I have to be careful with the money I spend, poor college student that I am.

“Gender Genie” saves the day

So about a week ago I read about an author who was having trouble with her hero’s voice… that is, she couldn’t seem to make him actually sound like a man. And then she remembered a great online tool created from an actual study in which some academics discovered men and women do, in fact, speak differently: The Gender Genie. They even came up with an algorithm that predicts whether the person speaking was a man or a woman.

So that got me thinking, “Goodness, I wonder if Alexander sounds like a man or a woman? I think he’s a man, but maybe I’m wrong…” I copied and pasted a series of his chatter into the Gender Genie, provided by the BookBlog. Saints preserve me, the genie thought he was a he! But I only pasted in the first couple hundred words spoken, and the genie says it has a better idea after five-hundred words.

Picture me going through my text and copying my hero’s dialogue from the first 2.5 chapters. Result: my character is a male! But only just so, by two hundred words, more or less. Which worries me. Apparently I also have to take out pronouns and the like, since men tend not to refer to people as much as women do. Apparently men are a little more comfortable talking about objects. Who knew?

Now I know all of you are testing out the tool for yourself, so, you have to tell me… How do your characters fare?

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.

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.

Happy New Year, Get Studying

Happy New Year everyone! May your muse shine brightly this year.

Now to some business: for those of you who are interested in taking graduate-level courses, check out the following programs. Some of them are only a week long, but cram enough information to cover a year-long publishing internship/entry-level job. I suggest looking these over, especially if you’re thinking of self-publishing and doing it properly and well. Also, it looks great on your resume, and, I think, looks even better than saying you have a graduate degree in Creative Writing. The thing is, a creative writing degree is hard to sell unless you came from a prestigious school or had a well-known writer as your lecturer. Even so, having the degree only means you know the tricks–it says nothing about whether you can apply them or not. With a publishing degree, it shows you take the process of writing a book seriously. Your publishing house/agent/whomever knows that you understand the process and therefore know that even though they’re publishing the book, your marketing skills are absolutely key.

NYU Summer Publishing Institute: Provides lectures, workshops, simulations, site visits, special events, and career planning sessions to those interested in developing a publishing career. Explore key principles and practices in this thorough introduction to publishing, as well as the role of editing, marketing, design, new media, production, budgeting, advertising, circulation, publicity, and much more.

Columbia Publishing Course: Shortest graduate school in the country; would take you a year in an entry-level position in publishing to learn what you will learn in six-weeks here, and ten years to meet all the people you will meet. For almost sixty years, the course has been training young men and women for careers as editors, literary agents, publishers, designers, publicists, and more. Graduates can be found in every kind of job, at major magazines and publishing houses across the nation.

University of Denver Publishing Institute: An intensive, full-time, four-week, graduate-level course that devotes itself to all aspects of book publishing: editing, marketing, and production. During the final week, the Institute provides career counseling sessions to assist students in finding positions in publishing.

Emerson College MA in Publishing and Writing: Offers courses in book, magazine, and electronic publishing; in fiction and nonfiction writing; and in literature and criticism. Internship and apprenticeship opportunities are available, for credit, in Boston publishing and production firms and literary agencies.

Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing: Canada’s premier training ground for professional publishing, Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing (MPub) is a rigorous 16-month program of seminars, guest lectures, technology workshops and an internship.

Publishing Training: Learn publishing skills from the industry’s training provider. Classroom-based open courses cover everything from editorial skills to marketing and publicity. Can also study proofreading, editing, copywriting or picture research by distance learning.

Linking Squee

So, after updating the website with little things here and there, updating links, adding a nifty (and random) blockquote to the main page, among other things, I decided to do the exact thing most writers shouldn’t do: I googled myself. Well guess what? It turns out that one of the blogs that I read somehow found me! Word Nerd edited one of her journals to include other bloggers in a chain-blog with the subject “What five things would I like to do one day?” Because she went back to add people to the list, I never saw that I was added. But how exciting! Though, now I feel a little self-conscious.

Anyway, here are my five (a month late):
1. Go to England and visit the locations that I’ve been researching for my novels.
2. Publish a novel. I can’t decide if I want it self-published or traditionally published…but I do know that I don’t want to do vanity again.
3. Meet John Krasinski and get my picture taken with him.
4. Do a re-write of the screenplay for Xanadu. I don’t care what anyone thinks, that movie had potential, it just got a little wrapped up in itself.
5. Own my own company. I don’t know what it will be, yet, but I have a company title picked out.

Feel free to do this if you feel like it. 🙂

Re-write update: 4039 words

Research: Text and Games

Getting stuck on finding the texts you need for your research? Believe me, I’ve been there. After reading one book, liking some of the information but wishing I could read the book that a certain chapter referenced, I then start the hunt. I look at my local library, I look in my university library. Given that my university is huge, when the book isn’t here, I begin to despair. I look at the bookstores, but all the chain stores around here have no imaginative texts at all. I look online, only to find the book is completely out of print, or, I could use my soul and some change as payment to get a mint condition version of the book from Amazon or eBay. If I’m lucky.

And then came Project Gutenberg. Oh, it’s wonderful. Maybe your book is completely out of print, and you don’t want to buy it off of eBay or Amazon for the $1506483-gajillion dollars the used merchant is asking for. Project Gutenberg is a group of people working to bring copyright-free (aka really old) texts online. There’s a book here that was published three different times, and I needed the 1886 version, specifically. Guess what? Project Gutenberg has all three versions. I think they even take requests for new titles. And they’re always looking for helpers! Wink wink nudge nudge, you know what I mean.

And something else to tickle your history bone: Rules to Period Games. I think the ones listed here are mainly card games, but nonetheless, if you’re writing a period piece, or a fantasy and want something to spark your gaming imagination, check this place out.

All right, it’s back to Finals Week for me. I just finished writing my second paper and I need to print it, then I get to cram for my evening exam AND my 8am tomorrow morning exam. Continue writing, everyone!