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Pretty Soon There’ll Be Just One Big Book Publisher Left

Credit: Penguin Random House/Getty

Pretty soon there'll be just one big book publisher left. When I read these words I didn't want to believe it. With the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by Penguin Random House shows that the industry is headed toward a monopolistic singularity. NewRepublic.com has the story. Read on ...

 

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America's biggest, most powerful book publisher is about to get even bigger and more powerful. On Wednesday, a number of outlets reported that Penguin Random House had reached an agreement with ViacomCBS to purchase Simon & Schuster, the nation's third-largest publisher, for $2 billion. The resulting conglomerate would publish at least a third of all books sold in the United States, and transform Penguin Random House, already a superpower, into an industry-dominating behemoth, with potentially serious consequences for authors, publishing employees, and diversity of thought. That extraordinary level of concentration will dramatically lower competition in the publishing industry, likely leading to job cuts, lower advances for authors, and fewer non-blockbuster books being published by commercial publishers.

 

The sale of Simon & Schuster comes near the end of a strange year for the company. Carolyn Reidy, an industry stalwart and the company's longtime CEO, died in the springand was replaced by Jonathan Karp. During that time, S&S became the defining publisherof the Trump era, with a keen eye for well-timed blockbusters about the president, which both formed a large chunk of its revenue and resulted in serious and costly legal challenges from the Trump administration. Though major releases by John Bolton and Mary Trump helped make it profitable, Simon & Schuster was put up for sale because ViacomCBS is reorienting its business to focus on streaming and needed funds to pay down debt.

 

In a somewhat surprising twist, many in the industry were rooting for the other known bidder for Simon & Schuster—the Rupert Murdoch–owned HarperCollins—to acquire the publisher, in the hopes that it would create more competition for Penguin Random House. That Murdoch is seen as something of a savior says a great deal about the widespread fear of Penguin Random House. Not only will the acquisition expand the number of titles PRH puts out, it will expand its already extremely powerful distribution network. (Simon & Schuster serves as a distributor for a number of outside publishers, most notably Skyhorse.)

 

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The Top 20 Must-Have Free Apps And Software That Writers Can’t Live Without

I'm always in search of the latest and greatest apps for writers even if I don't use them. I found the following list on Web Design Relief— a web design and marketing guidance site for authors— and would like to share it with you.

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Most writers know that creating a great, memorable short story, book, or poem takes a considerable amount of determination, energy, and craft. Keeping track of ideas, edits, and revisions—while avoiding the temptation of social media and cat videos—can make it hard to focus on completing your work. Fortunately, there are lots of free apps and software available to help writers succeed! Web Design Relief has compiled a list of twenty great, must-have free apps and software programs that no writer should live—or write—without.

 

The Best Must-Have Free Apps And Software For Writers


Free Word Processing Software For Writers

Microsoft Word may be the king of word processing programs, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Check out these free compatible options.

 

LibreOffice. LibreOffice comes from the open-source word processing program Open Office. Along with word processing software, it includes spreadsheet and PowerPoint capabilities. One of its best features is its compatibility with Microsoft Word formats (like .docx) so you can share your manuscript easily with editors and agents.

 

Google Docs. Although the word processing features of Google Docs are very basic, they'll suffice for most users. All you need is a Google account to log in, which allows you to access your documents on any computer. Google Docs's biggest advantage lies in the user's ability to write and collaborate in real time with other authors on a project.

 

Apple Pages. Another app that allows real-time collaboration is Apple Pages for Mac users, a powerful word processing program that's part of the iWork productivity suite. For indie writers, one perk of this software is the ability to export a manuscript directly to an .epub format.

(Mostly) Free Writing Software For Novelists

 

Scrivener. Though there is a cost for this software, the thirty-day free trial period makes it worthy of a mention. Scrivener is easily one of the top software programs for novelists and offers organizational tools to keep tabs on research, storyboarding views of your novel, and productivity features that help you reach your goals. At an average cost of about fifty dollars, Scrivener's a real bargain.

Shaxpir. Pronounced "Shakespeare," Shaxpir is a cloud-based software for novelists who want to set goals, brainstorm, keep track of research, attach concept art, and ultimately export the manuscript into various formats.

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For more on free software for writers visit Web Design Relief. There's so much more to explore such as generating title and idea and writing in peace apps. My go-to writing in peace app is Coffitivity.  There's even links to free grammar and editing software apps to choose from on the site.

 

Got a new free writing app you want to share, let me know.  

 

Happy, healthy writing!

 

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Word Counts of A Few Famous Authors

How many words do you want to write a day?

 
 If you want to be a published writer you should sustain a regular writing routine. Nearly every writer I've met or interviewed has one and adheres to it. I taught a recent adult writing class on how to promote good writing habits that included churning out 1000 words a day. Writing every day not only clears your mind but it will give you more confidence.
 
Many authors believe creating a habit of writing every day even if you are not so good at it will help you to become a better writer.  The only way to become a better writer is to keep practicing. Many accomplished writers say they need to write every day to figure out what they really think about a subject. Writing forces you to think.


How many words do you think you can produce in a day?  I prefer 1,000 to 2,000 words a day. Whether it is working on a new book, freelance piece or something for my website. I don't always hit my mark, but the important thing is to keep writing even if you don't think the words are that good.


Here are some daily word counts and quotations from famous authors to help keep you motivated.


Stephen King: 2000 Words


"I like to get 10 pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words."


Anne Rice: 3000 Words


"I have to get all distractions out of the way. I plunge into the work and I write an episode; I can't just clock in at 3,000 words. I have to have time to resolve things."


Ernest Hemingway: 500 Words


 "I had learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when they're still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."

 

Mark Twain: 1,400-1,1800 Words


"In 1897, when we were living in Tedworth Square, London, and I was writing the book called "Following the Equator" my average was eighteen hundred words a day; here in Florence, (1904), my average seems to be fourteen hundred words per sitting of four or five hours."
 
Sarah Waters (Welsh novelist): 1,000 Words
 
 "My minimum is 1,000 words a day… Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish- they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better."
 
J.G. Ballard: 1,000 Words
 
"I aim for about six hundred words a day and hope for at least a thousand when I'm on a roll."
 
Nicholas Sparks: 2000 Words
 
Sparks says a novel takes him a few months to conceive, and then about five months to write. He sets a daily goal for himself of 2,000 words, which takes him about five to six hours to write.
 
Arthur Hailey (Passed away in 2004): 600 Words
 
"I set myself 600 words a day as a minimum output, regardless of the weather, my state of mind or if I'm sick or well. There must be 600 finished words- not almost right words."
 
Holly Black: 1,000 Words
 
"I try to write a thousand words every day. I've actually put up my daily word counts online for my last several novels. I do this to keep myself honest, saying exactly when I wrote what part of the book. Certainly the comment I most often get is, 'That's not really a lot of words,' but it goes to show that just steadily working will get you a book."
 
Lee Child: 1,800 Words
 
"I write in the afternoon, from about 12 until about 6 or 7. I use an upstairs room as my office. Once I get going I keep at it, and it usually takes about six months from the first blank screen until the end."
 
Click here or more daily word counts of famous authors.
 
Keep writing and let me know what works best for you.

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Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Freelancer--The 2020 Update

Credit: Pinterest

 

A freelance writer today faces many challenges. As a longtime freelancer I know because I've faced them all. There will always be obstacles, there will always be struggles, and that's why you must never give up.

 

 This  following resource site has one of the best guides for new writers I've seen on the Internet. It coves everything from "Finding the Right Freelance Writing Job" to "How To Discuss a Freelance Project With a Client" to "How To Manage Your Freelance Writing Time" and "How To Get Paid." Be sure to check it out. You won't be disappointed. Good luck!

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 If you're thinking of becoming a freelancer, you're probably bored with your day job and looking for new challenges in your life. Maybe you love the idea of being your own boss, or maybe you just need more flexibility in your work schedule. Either way, the freelance life could be perfect for you.

 

When you're a freelancer, everything's up to you. You can choose to work from the comfort of your own home, from your favorite cafe or from a shared office space. If you're the adventurous type, you can even be a digital nomad, traveling the world with your trusty laptop. You can work for several clients at a time or find one reliable client who can provide you with regular work. You can work regular business hours just like the rest of the world, or sleep till noon and do your work during the wee hours of the night.

 

The most important thing is to determine what will work best for you, and find your own way to do it successfully. Because after all, that's what freelancing is all about: finding your own way.

With all the different options out there, if you're just starting your freelance career, things can seem quite overwhelming. But don't worry – we're here to help you figure it all out.

 

Your Cheat Sheet to Becoming a Successful Freelancer
The freelance life is challenging, but it can be very rewarding and enjoyable. We've compiled this comprehensive guide to help you become a successful freelancer. Read on to learn all you need to know about finding work, pricing, managing, and building a freelance business.

 

Chapter 1: Finding a Freelance Job

Freelancers can find clients in all sorts of places, but one of the best options is through online freelance platforms. Recent data shows that this is how 75% of freelancers find work. Freelance platforms are online marketplaces where freelancers can showcase their skills, share their portfolio, and outline their rates. Clients know that they'll find plenty of freelancers on these sites, so it's usually the first port of call for businesses to browse talent and find the right person to work on their next project. Determine which freelance platform (or platforms) is the best for you!

 

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Best 5 Books About Writing Every Writer Should Own

(Photo Credit): Pintrest

If you want to become a better writer, you have to keep writing and studying your craft. Over the years, I've read hundreds of books on writing better and faster and I keep researching for new titles I haven't read yet. Still a favorite go-to for me is Strunk and White, The Elements of Style. It still holds up after nearly 100  years! As mostly a non-fiction writer who focused on entertainment and pop culture, I could not get by without the AP Style Guide. 

 

It takes courage to write honestly and to write well. Bookfox.com is one of the dozens of writing sites I visit regularly to stay engaged. 

 

What I like best about this site is that it a great resource for writers just starting out. Sometimes I forget what that is like since I write for a living. It's been mentioned  by some of my favorite media outlets including Publisher's Weekly,  Writer's Digest and The Chicago Tribune

 

So here's author John Matthew Fox's Top 5 Best Books  (including print and Kindle editions) on writing which mirrors many of my own choices, especially On Writing by Stephen King. Here, he explains why each book is necessary, so pay attention.  Regardless of your level of writing experience these books will help to improve your craft.

 

So, add these resourceful titles to your bookshelf today. 

 

1. Best Book for Beginners

"On Writing" by Stephen King

This book is the equivalent of an entire degree in writing. Seriously, my entire undergrad experience in creative writing could have been boiled down into the plainspoken and practical advice that King gives. He's exceptionally clear and only includes the most helpful information. If you are starting out as a writer, this book is vital.

 

2. Best Book to Help You Overcome Writing Fears

"The Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes

So many of us fear writing. We love it, we want it, and yet we're scared of it. Keyes encourages us that this is perfectly normal, and shows us all the famous authors who have overcome crippling fears. If you want a bolt of lightning in your fingertips, Keyes will deliver it to you. There is no way you can read this and not feel emboldened to write your book.

 

3. Best Book to Help You Live the Writing Life

"Making a Literary Life" by Carolyn See

Carolyn See is responsible for my writing habits. She told me to write 1,000 words every day, and I followed this advice religiously. She has a ton of other practical advice too (about money, and about habits) and she literally changed my writing life. Read her. Now.

 

4. Best Collection of Writing Essays

"The Writer's Notebook" by Assorted Authors (Tin House Books)

Steve Almond talks about sex scenes ("Hard Up for a Hard-on"), Aimee Bender talks about character motivation, and we also get essays about how to write a dynamic scene and choose exactly the right word. Whether you're just starting out or have 3 books under your belt, this book will give you the lowdown on powerful writing skills.

 

5. Best Book for Advanced Writers

"The Art of Subtext" by Charles Baxter

You don't just want to write books that are good on the surface. You want to write books with layers of meaning, books that entertain the reader on the second read and the third read. Books so deep the reader can't stop thinking about them, and want to discuss them with their book club. Baxter teaches you how to do that.

 

For more writing tips for beginners as well as  advance writers, visit  the BoxFox here.

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Angelina Jolie, Fake News and How To Spot It For Kids

Fake News is information that cannot be verified, without sources, and possibly untrue.

I've been writing about entertainment/celebrity news most of my adult life. I've been published consistently since I was 15. When I was learning my craft, I took my journalism training very seriously. "Report only the facts, verify your sources, keep clear of controversial topics,  that kind of thing.  Now, the rules seem to have changed and I am not so comfortable writing about celebrities and other public figures anymore. 
 
 There are so many "Fake News" stories and outlets as well as well as way too much celebrity gossip and scandal news  which I have no interested in reporting.
 
I came across this story on actress Angelina Jolie and how she plans to produce a TV show that will teach older kids how to spot fake news stories.  I was intrigued. Now, that's a novel idea.
 
Fake News just seems to be everywhere on the Internet. But what exactly constitutes Fake News and how will older kids be able to determine the difference?
 
According to Wikipedia, Fake News is "a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media. Digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news, or yellow journalism."
 
Bottom line: Fake News is  information that cannot be verified, without sources, and possibly untrue.
 
Jolie, who has six children teamed with the BBC to create BBC My World, which will "explain the stories behind news and offer facts and information"  to help kids over the age of 13 make up their own minds on pressing international issues.

 

In a statement, The Maleficent star explained:  "As a parent I am happy to be able to give my support to a program that aims to help children learn more about the lives of other young people around the world, and connect to them to each other. I hope it will help children find the information and tools they need to make a difference on the issues that matter to them."
 
BBC My World will be a weekly half-hour program airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. on BBC World News and will also be made available via a YouTube channel. The program does not yet have an air date. 


 
 

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2019 Best Indie Book Award Winners Announced

Best Indie Book Awards Submissions are now open for the 2020.

Best Indie Book Award has named the best independent books of 2019. Twenty-four authors, two illustrators, and one book cover designer are among the winners of the 2019 Best Indie Book Award (Otherwise known as the BIBAs). The winners were all presented with a physical BIBA trophy and their books displayed on the BIBA website.

 

2019 marked the 7th year of the BIBA contest, with two new awards being added to the lineup this year, an illustration award, and cover design award. The illustration contest resulted in a tie between Stefan Motmans (STEMO) and Rashad Malik Davis, bringing the total awards to twenty-seven.

 

24 Literary Award Winners
2 Illustration Winners
1 Cover Design Winner


Iconic actor, Alan Scarfe, known for his roles in Star Trek, Highlander, Stargate Atlantis, Lethal Weapon 3, Mysterious Island and The Outer Limits is one of several actors that garnered an award this year. Miles Watson picked up his third BIBA trophy for his works Knuckle Down and Sinner's Cross.

 

"The indie author scene has exploded in recent years, and the quality of indie writing continues to improve as a whole. We definitely have our work cut out for us."

 

Indie (Independent) authors are those who are engaged in self-publishing. Wikipedia defines self-publishing as "The publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. In common parlance, the term usually refers to physical written media, such as books and magazines, or digital media, such as e-books and websites. Unlike the traditional publishing model, in which control of the publication is shared with a publisher, the author controls the entire process, including design, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations."

 

According to Fortune Magazine, Ebook self-publishing has well surpassed the $1 billion mark.

"Our entrants understand the value of standing out in the crowd. With more than 1.5 million self-published books being released every year, it's easy for an author to drown in a sea of electronic pulp. Winning an award for a book can go a long way when it comes to visibility and credibility as an author. Best Indie Book Award helps authors reach a broader audience, and readers can be confident in their purchase when they choose an award-winning book."

 

A few of the other 2019 winners are:

Action Winner: Zimbabwe Hustle by Nate Granzow

Non-Fiction> Health Winner: Your Precious Sight by Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim

Mystery Winner: Honest John Raises Cain by Michael Dell

Memoir Winner: Stealing Cinderella by Mark D Diehl

Romance Winner: Playing With Fire by D.A. Henneman

Novella Winner: Kindred Spirits by Kevin Christopher Brown

Poetry Winner: Labyrinth by Fernando Rover Jr

Children's Winner: The Way To Be From A To Z by R.B. Schimmel

 

A complete list of winners is available on the Best Indie Book Award website: BestIndieBookAward.com

 

2020 Best Indie Book Awards Submissions are now open for the 2020 Best Indie Book Contest, 2020 Best Illustration Contest, and the 2020 Best Book Cover Design Contest. Entries are accepted online at BestIndieBookAward.com/submit/

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Bobby on Beaverstreet

I'm always happy to help promote my friend, author Robert Rosen's latest works. Bobby in Naziland: A Tale of Flatbush is described as a darkly comic and deeply moving memoir of a New York City lost to time. He'll be doing a book reading along with a few local actor, writer and musican friends at NYC's Killarney Rose on Beaver Street. See ya there!

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