Brilliant blogs

I think it’s about time I wrote a post for my own website — when you’re posting on a weekly basis to a combined blog, it’s all too easy to let your own slide *slaps her wrist & resolves to do better in future*

I thought it’d be useful to post a list of various writing-related blogs and websites. Yeah, I know: life’s busy, and between Facebook, Twitter, emails and blogs, who’s got time to delve into all this stuff?

Well, it helps if you’re a speed-reader like me, I guess. But I think the key is to be discerning about which blogs etc that you subscribe to. For me, they have to add value. That is, they have to either entertain me (coz, yanno, sometimes reading something that makes you smile is the only thing that gets you through the day), inform me, or have some sort of personal connection to me — and by that last one, I mean someone I know and wish to support. For the purposes of this blog post, I won’t include author friends because that would make the list waaaay the heck too long.

So without further ado, let’s talk blogs & websites. For each one, I’ll give a direct link to the site, plus a couple of rand0m post samples, so that you can get a feel for the style of the posts and whether or not it’s one you’d be interested in bookmarking or subscribing to.

Note: They’re listed in no particular order of preference.

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1. Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent

Nathan Bransford is an agent with NY literary agency Curtis Brown Ltd.

Every Friday he posts a “This Week in Publishing” summary with links galore, and his “Essentials” posts (which cover such topics as How the Publishing Process Works, How to Find a Literary Agent, The Basic Query Letter Formula plus a Writing Advice Database) are, well, essential reading if you’re serious about the business of writing.

Besides, he’s smart and witty. If his photo is anything to go by, he’s kinda cute, too…just sayin’.

Random post samples:

This Week in Publishing: 11th Sep 09
Includes an ANTM elimination pool (LOL!) and covers such topics as Amazon’s Kindle loss/theft policy, rumors of another e-book reader device entering the market, James Patterson’s new book deal with Hachette and “Are Amish romances the new vampires?

The Myth of “Just An Author”
Quote: Can you be “just an author” these days, pecking away at a typewriter in a basement somewhere but otherwise completely eschewing publicity and remaining out of the public eye, Salinger- and Pynchon-style, writing in a bubble-like Platonic ideal of authordom?

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2. Pimp My Novel

This blog originated when a frequent commenter on Nathan’s blog (see above), let slip that he was “in the sales side of publishing” and the poor guy was hassled to start his own blog.

Eric works in the sales department of a “major trade book publisher” and his blog covers what happens to a book after it’s acquired by a publishing house. And every Friday, “recovering publishing insider” Laura, rounds up the week.

He’s a hoot. And he’s knowlegeable as all hell. Which makes for a really great blog… Which, despite only going live a few months ago, has already been shortlisted for Best Publishing/Industry Blog over at Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

Random post samples:

Book Sales: A Day in the Life
In which we’re treated to a typical day in the working life of Intrepid Sales Assistant.

Friday Bloody Friday
From Amish romance, to zombies, The Simpsons and The Hobbit…. And who knew that that Harry Potter books were the most popular books at Guantanamo? Seriously.

Genre-Specific Sales, Part 8 of 8: Romance
Quote: Romance: you know it sells (don’t you?). But what are the sales figures really like?

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3. Romance University

The Romance University website is dedicated to: “helping writers establish and advance their careers, introducing readers to a variety of authors, and delving into the ever-inscrutable male mind.”

Mondays are dedicated to “Crafting Your Career“, Wednesdays feature the “Anatomy of the Male Mind“, and Fridays are for the  “Chaos Theory of Writing“, where various Romance University faculty, industry professionals and established authors focus on the “elements of manuscript writing”.

Ever wanted to know the theory behind the “shug”, that combination of hand-shake and hug that seems to be the sole domain of our menfolk?

Ever wondered how a book lands up in your local library?

How about making your writing more “active”?

Look no further: Romance University is your go-to-blog!

Random post samples:

How Do Men Talk to Other Men About Female Troubles?
In this first installment of Wayne Wednesday, Wayne Levine, director of the West Coast Men’s Center in Agoura Hills, CA, discusses the workings of the male mind.

Bad Boys: What’cha Gonna Do?
Psychotherapist Dr. Debra Holland talks about “whether or not women should hunt the elusive bad boy or just admire him through the trees”.

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4. Editorial Ass

Moonrat (AKA Moonie) is a recovering editorial assistant. (Actually, I think she may have been promoted to editor, but don’t quote me on that!) She posts daily–all sorts of delightful randomness, interspersed with insights into the business of publishing. Basically, prepare to be entertained!

Some of my favorite Moonrat posts are her Robert The Publishers Gem of the Day posts. Like this one, for example.

More random post samples:

Is It True?! Are 40% of books printed pulped?!
WAIT! Before you click this link, Moonrat would like to say the following: “Before I get into answering this question, I want to warn you that the whole system is so stupid you’re going to want to hit your head against a wall. So try not to sit near any walls.” Consider yourself duly warned!

One more reason I <3 NY
5-piece Mexican polka band…. Need I say more?

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5. Edittorrent

Are you interested in more in-depth discussions regarding the nuts and bolts of grammar, sentence construction, structure, and whole heap of other info that will help your writing? Edittorrent is the blog for you.

Edittorrent is Alicia and Theresa, two editors who: “agree except when we disagree. Between us, we have edited novels, novellas, non-fiction, short stories, computer manuals, legal briefs, advertising copy, educational text, newspaper articles– everything. Now we work as acquisition editors for a publisher of fiction of various lengths.”

Do take the time to read through the comments on any post which interests you, because there’s always a lively discussion going on.

Pssst! Did I mention that they’re fans of Mad Men?

Random post samples:

The Words Not Spoken, The Steps Not Taken
Theresa discusses Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears and how “[...]by referencing the words not spoken and the actions left undone, we get a richer, more complex narrative.”

Can style be taught?
Alicia discusses the crucial step which can take a writer from “good” to “great”.

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6. One Crazy Dame

Just in case you’ve been, I dunno, living off-planet and have never heard of Ilona Andrews, it’s the pen name of a husband/wife team who write urban fantasy, namely the Kate Daniels series (Book 1 is Magic Bites) and a new series, The Edge (which begins with On The Edge, September 09). Now I could wax poetic for pages and pages about how much I love love LOVE! the Kate Daniels series, and how I’m hanging out to read On The Edge, but I won’t. So if you’re interested in these books, then check out Ilona Andrews’ website.

For me, Ilona’s One Crazy Dame Livejournal blog (which is completely separate to her website) is a must-follow.

Why?

Because of the paragraph troubleshooting section, where commenters have sent in a paragraph of their work and Ilona dissects it on the blog and troubleshoots it.

Fascinating! Not to mention damned helpful–I’ve learned heaps and I’d recommend that you check it out.

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7. Kathy Carmichael: Story Pitch Generator

Okay, so you’ve finished the damn book. You’ve written the dreaded synopsis. You’re ready to pitch your masterpiece. And…

Oh crap! How the hell do you come up with a succinct 3-4 sentence long pitch which–horrors!–encapsulates the goal, motivation and conflict which drives your hero or heroine?

Never fear, gentle writer, the Story Pitch Generator is here!

Just fill in the form, and press the submit button and voila! A sample pitch for your book!

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It works. What you end up with won’t be perfect and it’ll need a bit of tweaking, but it’s a reeeeeally good starting point, I promise.

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8. Evil Editor

And last, but never least, Evil Editor will give you the skinny on why you don’t get published.

You can also submit your query letter — if you dare — and have it publicly critiqued by Evil Editor. Yes, there may be the occasional bit of sarcasm directed your way, but ultimately the advice is all good and if you follow his suggestions, you’ll have a damn fine query letter.

Oh, and while that’s going on, he assigns his intrepid commenters writing tasks such as:

“[...]write a scene in which you pitch a novel to Evil Editor while employing numerous bad analogies.” Commenters really do get into the spirit of it all and the results are hiliarious!

Just quietly, the cartoons are bloody funny, too.

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Well, that about wraps it up. There’s more, of course, but I’ll save them for another post.

Besides, my husband’s just got home and we’re about to play with his new MacBook Pro, which was just delivered today. Yes, it appears we have finally succumbed to the dark side…. MWAH HAH HAH!

DemonSmilie1 Brilliant blogs

M

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4 Responses to “Brilliant blogs”

  1. Aw, thanks for including us! I always think our blog is boring because we talk about such geeky technical grammar stuff. lol

    • Boring? I think not! Say that again and I might have to bring out my fluffy whip, Theresa ;-)

      Seriously, I’ve been subscribing to Edittorrent for yonks (i.e. a very long time!) & it’s always fascinating. I never hesitate to recommend it, and you might be surprised how many people in my neck of the woods know about you guys. We were even discussing one of the recent posts at our RWNZ Auckland meeting a couple of weeks back… Alicia’s one about “Hiding The Clue”, I think it was. So there you go!

      :-)
      M

  2. Some great sites there Maree and a couple I hadn’t come across before. Will definitely be testing the pitch generator. That’s a great find.

  3. sue says:

    Maree,
    Thanks for the heads up on those blogs. Love your site,
    Suzi Love