My Book-less Semester Week 2: I’m Getting the Hang of This!

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

I’m starting to finally find a rhythm to get into with the eBooks and doing my readings, thank goodness, making this week’s a short update (I’ve got readings to do, people!).

Most importantly: Still no screen headaches! I’m starting to think this is a myth. Or maybe my digital native status makes me immune? Who knows. Anyway, moving on…

First of all, I have to sing the praises of Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader, which allows me to have a tab constantly open while I’m at work with my current chapters to read through during my precious free time. I have the Kindle app downloaded on my laptop, but I can’t do that on my work computer, hence the Godsend that is the Cloud Reader.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Barnes & Noble and I love my Nook, but Amazon definitely knows how to deliver a user experience. While not as innovative as Nook Study (at least not that I have discovered yet), the Cloud Reader is definitely giving me some much-needed flexibility with what machines I’m reading on. I wish Barnes & Noble would do something like this. I know they have mobile apps and all that jazz, but as far as I researched, it all has to be downloaded. A browser tab is just so much more convenient when I can’t have my eReader!

This weekend, though, I had my first quizzes, and man was it tough to “click through” the pages of eBooks to look at my notes! Something I’ll have to adapt to, I suppose!

I’m also finding that having all my texts on a computer might be making me print out shorter readings (articles and such) for my current research project. It’s weird. I never used to do this – I’d usually always compile a GoogleDoc of links and citations, and download when I got back to my personal computer. Then I’d use Preview’s highlight and annotate features to mark them up.

However, as I said, I’m printing articles and highlighting them with an actual highlighter. So weird. I wonder though, if it has anything to do with the fact that it’s for my master’s research project, and not just class. The really good sources — ones I’m positive I’ll be using when writing my final report — are the ones I’m printing. Perhaps it’s one of those instinctual tendencies, an indicator that I still don’t 100% trust the Google machine to keep the articles I need under the same addresses for future review! It’s something I’ll have to keep tabs on in the next few weeks!

Want to learn more about my decision to buy 100% eBook textbooks for my second semester of graduate school? Click here.

Want to know how it was going for me last week? Click here.

Sorry everybody – I’ve been pressed for time today. My dog had an emergency trip to the vet today, but I hope to put up some new content this weekend! In the meantime, thanks to Bob Schroeder at What Makes A Story? for sharing this piece from Publisher’s Weekly about Amazon’s two new imprints! Interesting stuff to keep up with for those of us looking to publish!!

Some Inspiration for Fiction Writers

During my undergrad, one of my creative writing classes required this really awesome “textbook.”

What If? - Bernays & Painter

It’s called “What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers” by Anne Bernays & Pamela Painter (like the picture of the book says!).

The entire thing is filled with a bunch of prompts and scenarios to work out your brain’s creative muscles. What I love about the prompts is that they’re reusable. The book asks you to come up with scenarios and create pieces that evoke specific feelings, so you can revisit the prompts and look at them from different angles the second time.

What we did during my class was keep a journal, and each week we had to choose two prompts from this book and write our responses in our journals (my teacher also made us hand write the responses – but that’s a post for another day). He collected them randomly throughout the semester to check them, of course, but I enjoyed the exercises.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for the perfect cure for that writer’s block! Here’s the link for both Amazon and Barnes & Noble if you’d like to check it out! There are older editions available, too.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/What-Writing-Exercises-Fiction-Writers/dp/0205616887/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341453510&sr=1-1&keywords=what+if+bernays

Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/What-If-Writing-Exercises-for-Fiction-Writers/Anne-Bernays/e/9780205616886

Merits of Self-Publishing

It’s not going away: products like Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle, as well as their various spinoff technological devices are changing the way that we read. Digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, and electronic versions of books and novels are becoming more and more popular.

But besides changing how people read, e-readers are changing the way we publish books.

I did some light research on self-publishing (so feel free to add your own knowledge) to figure out whether it’d be an avenue worth pursuing when I’m ready for that step. Turns out that self-publishing can be a great way to get your name out there and get readers interested in your writing. And as it turns out, self-publishing a book doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a “traditional” deal with a big-name publisher. Just take this advice, compiled by Joanna Penn at her blog “The Creative Penn,” as an example. Here’s an excerpt:

A successfully self-published book can propel you down the road to a book contract at a commercial publishing house.

That’s the truth of the matter, despite the worries I hear from writers that self-publishing could doom their hopes of ever landing a real book deal. Don’t listen to those persistent rumors and urban myths that agents and editors won’t take on books the authors have published themselves.

She also cites two examples of books she’s worked on with self-published authors. Check it out at: http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/2010/03/11/how-self-publishing-can-lead-to-a-real-book-deal/

For anyone who, like me, is just starting out and looking to test the waters before going full-throttle into getting published, I’d recommend looking into it.