Google to Open eBook Store

Look out Amazon: Google just announced plans to open an electronic book store. Unlike Amazon’s strategy with the Kindle dedicated eReader device, Google plans to deliver eBooks to any device with a web browser.

The service, dubbed Google Editions, is slated to launch in the first half of 2010. At launch it will feature about 500,000 eBooks from publishers Google is already working with on Google Book Search. Purchases can be made directly from Google or through partner sites like Barnes & Noble.

Interestingly, Reuters names Amazon.com as a potential retailer for Google’s electronic books. Considering Amazon would surely prefer to sell its own titles for use on the Kindle, and also considering Barnes & Noble plans to launch its own eReader device as well, these 3 partners seem interesting bedfellows. (Continue)

(Via Mashable)

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Great Nuggets of Writing Advice

Maria Schneider of Editor Unleashed celebrates the one-year anniversary of her blog by sharing some great nuggets of writing wisdom collected from authors, agents, and editors.

What writing advice do you have?

“Never give up, no never means no. Keep writing. As my mentor Howard Fast (author of Spartacus and 80 other novels) used to tell me when I’d say I had writer’s block: “‘Plumbers don’t get plumbers block. A page a day is a book a year.’” –Susan Sharpiro

“In many cases, authors understand the market for their book better than the publisher and can do a better job of reaching that audience. But they first need to understand that it’s now part of their job to do that, and they need to embrace it. Marketing can be fun!” –Michael Bourret

“Be generous. Spread ideas. Give things away. Write, share and repeat.” –Seth Godin

“I love real life. I love finding and telling stories, with the deep hope that it will somehow change the reader. Fiction can do that too, of course, but I have always wanted to find real stories and draw people to them, reveal something of life to them that they might not otherwise have a chance to see.” -Susan Orlean

“If you are clever, you’ll share the information that’s important to the audience, and not necessarily the contents of your book.” –Chris Brogan

“When it’s time to think of a new book idea, sitting in front of my computer and trying to squeeze something out just doesn’t work for me. But, when I’m running or on the bus or supposed to be writing something else, that’s when the characters come to me and the plots form. I try to just let myself be open to the flow and carry a pen with me.”-Julie Kraut

“If you’re a writer, then blogging should be a no-brainer for you. Read all the available resources on how to have a successful blog, then get going. Target your blog toward the exact audience you’re writing your books for.” –Rachelle Gardner

Continue

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The 25 Best Writing Blogs of 2009

Based on votes tallied by Editor Unleashed.  Some excellent choices here, including two of my favorites, the blogs of literary agents Nathan Bransford and Rachelle Gardner.

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Making Use of Online Style Guides

If you write on a regular basis, you’ll need to refer to one or more style guides.  Many book publishers, for example, use the Chicago Manual of Style, and most newspapers and magazines use the AP StylebookDaily Writing Tips gives good advice on these and other style guides, many of which are available online.

The two most frequently cited American style guides are the Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law and the Chicago Manual of Style. Both have online editions, but they are not free. Individual annual subscription rates: AP Stylebook $25; CMOS $30.

The current Amazon price for the print edition of the 2009 AP Stylebook is $11.37. I paid $18.95 for my copy earlier this year. The AP book is very easy to navigate so I don’t see any advantage to subscribing online.

The usual price for the print edition of the Chicago Manual of Style is $55. Amazon has it for $33.65 at the moment. For me the search feature of the online edition is worth the $30 subscription fee.

For our readers who use British English, the BBC has a free downloadable PDF: The BBC News Styleguide.

Another British online freebie is the Guardian, Observer and guardian.co.uk Style Guide.

A free nonacademic online American style guide is the National Geographic Style Manual.

An old edition of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style is available free at Bartleby.com/. Be aware that changes have been made in more recent editions . . .

(Continue)

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Disney Will Buy Marvel for $4 Billion

For all the comic book fans out there . . .

In a blockbuster deal that brings together two of the biggest brands in American film, animation and comic books, the Walt Disney Co. has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in cash and stock. The sale now puts such classic characters as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and more recently popular Pixar characters such as Wall-E in the same entertainment stable as such world famous superhero characters as Marvel’s Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and Iron Man.

Indeed, Disney will take ownership of more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Disney CEO Robert Iger said the acquisition will allow Disney to “maximize value across multiple platforms and territories.”

Marvel shareholders will receive about $50 per share, a valuation that represents $30 per share in cash and 0.745 Disney shares for each Marvel share they own.  According to a statement from Disney, the boards of both companies have approved the transaction. The deal must now be approved by Marvel shareholders and pass an antitrust review by the Justice Department.

(Via Publishers Weekly)

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Download a Million Volumes from Google Books

Google just announced that it will now allow users to download over 1 million public domain books in the EPUB format. Google had already made this archive available to some of its partners, including Sony and Barnes and Noble, but until today users weren’t able to download these free EPUB texts from Google directly. Google will continue to make PDF versions of these books available for download as well, but users with eReader’s will find the new EPUB files far more useful.

If you don’t have an actual hardware eReader but still want to read these EPUB versions, you can install Stanza or a similar desktop reader to read these books.

EPUB is a free, standardized format that almost every hardware eReader or desktop software understands. Amazon’s Kindle, however, cannot read EPUB texts without using some intermediary software that converts these books into a format the Kindle can understand. While there are a few competing formats, EPUB has turned into the de facto standard for eBooks. Some vendors, like Sony, wrap a digital rights management (DRM) solution around these books, but others just publish completely open, non-DRMed versions of their books. The EPUB files from Google Books will not be locked down by a DRM solution. (Continue)

(Via ReadWriteWeb)

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Myths vs. Facts about Literary Agents

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner corrects the most common myths about literary agents.  For example,

1. Getting published is a catch-22.
I hear this all the time… it’s probably the single biggest myth about publishing and it drives me CRAZY because it’s so untrue. People say, “You need an agent to get published. But you can’t get an agent if you’re not published.” Writers believe this lie and then spend all kinds of time and energy fretting about it.

Closely related is another myth, “Nobody’s taking on any unpublished authors.”

Both are complete and utter hogwash. Sure, it’s hard to break in to publishing. If you’re unpublished, it’s a difficult road. But understand this: There is a huge reading machine out there that needs to be constantly fed. We need new content, and we will always need the infusion of new voices. I’m still a newer agent; I’ve sold 26 books and of those, 21 were from debut authors. So don’t believe the ridiculous myth that you have to be published to get an agent, or that nobody’s interested in unpublished authors. It’s just harder, that’s all. But you already knew that.

She exposes four more here.

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