Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Hemingway program

I was seriously thinking of buying this program, in part because I wanted to know the age group my work targets. Having read the piece that I reblogged today, my interest has waned to nothing. Please read this if the ads for Hemingway intrigue you!

Hemingway app judges writing—badly

Why Evolution Is True

Oh well, another technical failure: the inability of computer programs to judge the quality of writing.

The program at issue is the Hemingway App, which has apparently achieved some renown for being able to parse writing and suss out the awkwardness, the passive voices, the over-use of adverbs, and so on.  It’s supposed to help you learn to write better.

Now, however, it’s become notorious, for the people at Language Log have actually run Hemingway’s prose through the Hemingway program. And how does Papa rate? Mediocre at best: a passage from “My Old Man” was rated “bad,” while passages from “The Old Man and the Sea” (a nice starting paragraph) and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” were judged just “OK.” Apparently Hemingway wasn’t such a good prose stylist, at least according to his eponymous app.

You can check either your own writing or that of others. Just go to…

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The Amazon/Hachette controversy

I have been watching with amusement this whole thing play out. The established and wealthy authors, you know them, James Patterson, Scott Turow, et al., are all saying that Amazon is messing with the midlevel and entry level authors who need their income from Amazon sales and are being deprived of it because of this long-standing dispute between two mega-companies. To hear them tell it, it is the little guy who is being damaged by this feud. And they’re right, but they don’t say why.

These authors all got big advances because of who they are, and they will never get royalties because their sales will never cover the advances. This is how it works for successful authors. So it is irrelevant to them what gets paid to authors as royalties. All of the Big 5 pay their authors only 17.5% royalty on ebook sales( 25% net which works out to 17.5% of list price). The rest of the money is split between Hachette and Amazon, with Hachette getting the lion’s share. This is pitiful. What Amazon has offered is to pay 100% of the proceeds to the authors while the dispute is ongoing. It had offered to do less earlier and was told that it was a nonstarter. So they upped it to the 100%. Hachette has not responded but all the pro-Hachette authors and groups say that Hachette cannot pay authors more than their contract states unilaterally.

I wonder who their lawyers are for them to think this is true. It is pure hogwash. Hachette has not been negotiating at all, let alone in good faith, so any losses their authors suffer can be laid at Hachette’s door for this delay and this failure of compensation to the true victims of this stalemate.

I am planning on self-publishing my work. The first novel is in the pipeline and the second is being written (and I would still be writing it if not posting here). I am fairly sure I will publish on Amazon’s KDP and CreateSpace. It will be a business decision on my part. Amazon has the broadest marketplace, the highest royalty rate if one wants POD (Print on Demand) to accompany an ebook.

The POD option through CreateSpace allows those without ereaders to obtain the book in paperback form. It is the best of both worlds for readers. They can get a self-published book very quickly, within months as opposed to years with the Big 5. If a sequel (or prequel, in my case) is to be written, do the readers have to wait a year or more? They do not. As long as I keep writing at the rate I know I can, books could be available every two to four months, a half year at the outside.

POD books have one drawback, and it is with the brick and mortar stores. They will not stock POD books because they have to pay for them and cannot return them if they don’t sell. I intend to buy some of my own books and enter in agreements with local bookstores that they can return them to me, if they don’t sell. I can negotiate with those local bookstores because I can make my own deal with them about what they sell for, and who makes what money. This is a freedom I would never have with the traditional publishers.

Am I happy about all this? Let us say I am empowered by it. The books will stay mine, I will hold the copyrights and will not have to worry about my catalog being sold to another publisher. If I want to retract my books (though I cannot think why I might), I can do so. They will remain mine and not go into some black hole from which they will never return.

If you are reading this, you are already part of the digital revolution that is shaking the old school to the core. Ebooks are the future if for no other reason than to stop the wasting of paper and the energy needed to print books that might never sell. If the establishment publishers understood this, we would all be better off. But if they insist on maintaining their high prices, that’s cool. My books will also cost less than theirs, in print or electronically. So bring it on Hachette! Hurt your authors, hurt your end consumers, the reading public. We will prevail for you are on the wrong side of history and this movement. Or understand the future of your business, treat your authors properly and keep a piece of the pie.

…you likee soupee?… #TBSU…

It is a wonderful thing, language. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to hear stories like this, even if they are very funny?

Seumas Gallacher

…having lived in the Far East and Middle East for the last 35 years, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear expatriates attempting to converse in English with people whose native tongue may not be the same as their own… the garbled ‘language’ they utilise when they talk to folks of other nationalities is painful to the ear… a sort of mix between pidgin English and a slowing down of the speech delivery, almost like the slowing down of the old vinyl records from one speed to another, with excruciating long drawn out vowels and all the rest of it… harks me back to a story I heard when I first arrived in Hong Kong in the late nineteen-seventies… at that time, the colony was still under British rule and administration… a thriving Hong Kong Chinese/British Association was an active business body, with members of some of the…

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Just Getting Started

I am a new writer and have been honing my skills at a local group called The Burlington Writers Workshop. The writers in the group range from relatively new writers, like me, to authors with prestigious MFA degrees writing at a caliber I can only dream of. I am working on learning the  craft so that the stories I write are accessible and meaningful to my readers. It is my hope that what I write will delight you and make you think about this world in a different way. So won’t you join me on this trip as we move through space, time and worlds much like ours?Photo on 2012-03-18 at 20.10