Friday, September 13, 2019

A writer's alphabet, by Rick Walton

Rick Walton is a multi-published writer of humorous books - mostly picture books.  Some time ago, before he died, he sent me this alphabet he had created about the publishing world.
copywrite - Rick Walton

Whenever I spend a great deal of time involved in something, my mind starts rebelling, and twisting it out of shape. I just spent a week at a writing workshop, a very good one, but it was enough to twist my mind, which spit out the following:

A Publishing Industry Glossary

Author--the costume a writer puts on when he goes to a cocktail party.

Auction--a contest where two or more editors race to see who can show the most irrational exuberance.

Advance--the best proof that your project is moving forward.

ARC-- a vessel you send out into the ocean of reviewers, hoping it floats instead of sinks.

Backlist--books still in print, but which the publisher hides behind his back so they are hard to see.

Book--a rectangular device for immortalizing the person whose name is inscribed on it. Not to be confused with "headstone".

Contract--a document which, if held to the same standards as its subject, would require serious editing.

Cover letter--a letter designed to cover the weaknesses in your manuscript.

Critique--hopefully advice to help you turn your pony into a racehorse, but too often the suggestion that you turn your pony into an alligator.

Designer--a person who proves that people do indeed judge a book by its cover.

Dialogue--what people might say in real life if it were edited for clarity, conciseness, and for necessity to the plot. In other words, nothing at all like what people say in real life.

Draft--a manuscript with still enough holes in it to let the wind blow through.

E-book--E stands for everyone, as in everyone now will think they can write a book.

Editor--a young woman with just slightly more power than God.

Editorial Board--a plank that your book is forced to walk by the captain of the publishing ship. Sometimes the book is allowed to come back and join the crew. But most of the time the book is pushed into the ocean.

Endpapers--a great place to write notes when you're out of notepaper, which is why they should be plain white.

Fiction--what a writer tells himself to make him believe he can write something people will pay money for.

Graphic novel--a comic book that went to college.

Hardcover--the best kind of book to use as a murder weapon.

Imprint--one of the personalities exhibited in a publisher's multiple personality disorder.

ISBN--Intercontinental Satellite-Based Nuke. What an author wishes they had access to when they get a bad review.

Jacket--an outer covering designed to make a cool book hot.

Line editing--editing that does not require you to wrap your mind around the whole plot, as substantive editing does, but which allows you to work while standing in the grocery store line, the bank line, the DMV line,...

Mass-market--a type of book that most of the time the masses, with great enthusiasm, ignore.

Option clause--a contract clause that gives you the option to either say, "No thank you, take it out." Or, "Are you out of your mind? Take it out!"

Print on demand--polite people say "print on request".

Publication date--a blind date set up between your book and the reader. You hope for a long-term relationship, but too often it results in your book being stood up.

Publisher--a company that is looking for something new and fresh as long as it has been done before.

Quill--if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for you.

Reader--a very smart person who likes your book, or one who is not so smart who doesn't.

Rejection--a necessary evil, unless it involves my manuscript, then it is a totally unnecessary wrong.

Remainder--also known as "reminder". A step in the publishing process designed to remind you that you aren't as hot as you were starting to think you are.

Royalty--a British term for when publishers send the author lots of small pieces of paper with pictures of royalty on them in exchange for publishing their books. American publishers kept the term, in spite of the fact that our small pieces of paper do not have pictures of royalty on them, because they are afraid that if it was called "president", we would hear it as "precedent" and start expecting them to send us those little pieces of paper more often.

Typewriter--the best writing device ever to use as a murder weapon.

Unsolicited submission--a twisted form of attempted adoption where you give your dear child away to someone who doesn't want it.

Vanity press--a variation of "van o' depressed". So-called because you end up depressed with a van full of books.

Young adult--the average age of editors today.

copywrite - Rick Walton

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Picture book biographies

Here's a list of very fine, new picture book biographies as chosen by librarian extraordinar  - Elizabeth Bird.  On her blog, Fuse #8 production.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Mall adventures

I think I've been tapped by a credit card stealer. I was walking in a mall and this woman approached me, told me my outfit looked Parisian. Naturally I was flattered. So I showed her to watch my hand. I actually was showing her that the skirt had POCKETS, but something about her expression made me think that she looked scared. Hmmmm.  
Then we walked down the mall, talking of this and that, and later I remembered that her purse was awfully close to my purse. When I headed up the escalator to the food court, she left, saying she just remembered that she was going to the Apple store.
A few hours later I thought back about the episode and remembered that thieves can steal your credit card number simply by being close to your purse - bumping into it if possible.
Am I worried? No. Because my credit cards are in a RDIF protected carrier to prevent theft. And I decided that the reason she originally looked scared when I put my hand into my pocket was because she may have thought I was reaching for a badge.
(she may have gotten the barcode of my library cards, but since there were three of them piled on top of each other, I can't imagine that she'd be able to make any sense of the jumble of numbers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Are you shy? So am I

I'm a really shy person.
How shy?
Well, for example:  at a recent writer's convention a group of us who had graduated from a grad writing program decided to get together for dinner.

We set up a place in the hotel to meet.
When I arrived there, another group waiting there asked me to take their picture beside the flower cart bicycle.  Which I did.  Then I sat down to wait.
The other group chatted together for a while.
Finally I texted the group I was supposed to meet --
and the chatting group turned to me --
they were the group I was supposed to have dinner with.
I had been to shy to ask them if they were waiting for someone.
Since they were from different graduating classes, they didn't know me by sight and I didn't know them.
If only I were brave enough to simply join a group and talk to them.
But I'm not.
I'm shy.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Old computer files

What do you do about old computer files?
 My husband said - in the 1990s - why do you print everything out? It's on your computer so save it on your computer. 
Well, now I've lost a lot of stuff that I 'saved' on the computer because digitalization keeps changing format. Recipes are gone. (unreadable files) Manuscripts that I didn't print out are gone. 
I'm now going through my (new) computer and testing each file and deleting things that I no longer can open. I did print out everything from college, so now I'm trying to find that stuff on the computer and delete it. (also so much college email I need to delete, because I did print out the important stuff. 
When I moved from the east coast to the west coast, I looked at all the 5 inch and 3 inch floppy computer disks that I had saved, shook my head, and tossed them.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Slight Accident at Storytime

In a discussion on Facebook about Eric Kimmel's books, I offered this story:
 I used Hershel in a story time at my library, and bought myself a menorah to light as the candles were mentioned. Unfortunately  having little money, I bought a little one that used birthday candles. 
So, I'm holding the book, telling the story, occasionally lighting the candles when all of a sudden a mom yells, "It's on FIRE!" I thought - okay. yes. the candles are on fire. She kept yelling and pointing so I looked down and -- one of the candles had tipped out of the menorah and was lying on the rug, still burning. 
I quickly put it back in it's proper place and continued with the story. 
You can bet that the next year I paid the money for a larger menorah that used larger candles in larger holes.  😀

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Just a reminder

GOOGLE will give you thousands of results --
most of them wrong.
A trained librarian will give you the one right information that you need.