Posted on October 27, 2010
Imagine you’re on yet another tiring business trip and shudder at the thought of dealing with more crowded airports and flight delays. You kill time by reading all The Wall Street Journal. One article notes that banks will soon raise fees and even charge for checking accounts. You frown and shake your head thinking, “While I work harder in a difficult economy to earn a living and save money bankers coerce a gigantic taxpayer bailout. They show their thanks by raising fees and lowering CD rates. Doesn’t any bank want to help consumers save money?”
Presently your flight lands in Denver where you have a ninety minute lay-over before taking off for Salt Lake. You pass an airport billboard sponsored by First Bank of Denver. In the upper left are two prominent words: “Free Books”. Most of the remaining space exhibits three diagrams. They’re actually two-dimensional bar codes, termed QR (Quick Response) codes. They look like a cross between modern art and ink blots. Below each, in small lettering, is an apparent title. The left-most is labeled Treasure Island, the middle one, Moby Dick, and the right-most, The Art of War.
Instructions at the lower left explain how to get a free eBook for each. You merely take a picture of the applicable QR code with a smartphone. The camera functions as a silicon eye directing the phone to a website where the manuscript can be downloaded. At the billboard’s lower right, where a signature might be located on a letter, First Bank says, “We’re here to help you save.” Read more…
Posted on October 25, 2010
Today’s interview is with Randy Ingermanson who is a “deranged physicist and award winning author”. He also maintains a blog and monthly e-zine about advanced fiction writing. His Ph.D. is from Berkeley where Robert Oppenheimer led development of the atomic bomb and taught a generation or so before Randy arrived. As a high school graduate Randy was named a Presidential Scholar along with others who were among the top 500 in either the SAT or ACT tests.
His stories are at the “intersection of Science Avenue and Faith Boulevard”. Representative novels include Double Vision, Transgression, Premonition, Retribution, and The Fifth Man. Two books won Christy Awards for Futuristic Fiction.
Recently, Randy pondered “what it would take” for an author to make a billion dollars from a book. He concluded if such a goal were possible, it would likely be an e-book for two reasons. First, author royalties on e-books are about ten times greater than for traditional books. Second, authors can better market e-book titles than conventional ones. Read more…
Posted on October 19, 2010
Today’s video podcast demonstrates how to publish eBooks at Amazon.com. That means millions of Kindle owners can read them along with consumers owning devices like the iPhone and iPad that have Kindle applications. The video speaks for itself, but several points merit emphasis.
First, given its relative newness, eBook publishing at Amazon.com is surprisingly un-complex. Anyone with an existing customer account is eligible. Those without one merely need to open a conventional account. There are two basic steps. One is to upload cover art and a publication-ready manuscript in a qualified format. Fortunately the commonly used Microsoft Word is an accepted format. The second step is choosing a price which also determines the royalty. Read more…
Posted on October 11, 2010
Boys lag educationally and many blame video games. Girls represent sixty percent of college seniors and dominate the rosters of high school class officers. Many credit the success of young ladies to their greater propensity for reading.
But literature and video gaming may actually be different forms of storytelling. Readers observe stories and imagine scenes. In contrast, a gamer participates in the plot thereby creating endless versions of the story.
During much of his twentieth century life Joseph Campbell taught mythology at Sarah Lawrence. His research led him to develop a theory that all stories conform to an ancient fundamental blueprint. He exposed the pattern and its meaning in his 1949 book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
He concluded that all stories can be understood in terms of the “Hero Myth”. Essentially there are constantly repeating characters (archetypes) that are reflections of the human mind. Our minds divide themselves into these archetypes to play out the drama of our lives. Characters commonly repeated in storytelling such as the youthful hero, wise elder, and supreme villain, are twins of the archetypes within our minds. Fictions built upon such models are “lies” that tell a psychological truth. Read more…
Posted on October 5, 2010
October 5, 2010
By: Phil Leigh
Unfortunately blogging has almost become a cliché.
Even television news programs sometimes try to show how up-to-date they are by sharing comments from popular blogs. Typically, they pick the least creative ones such as Huffington Post, Politico, and Daily Kos. Nonetheless, much like the printing press transformed publishing, the true cultural significance of blogging — which is only incipient at present — will be a consequence of its production process.
Gutenberg developed metal typecasting fifty years before Columbus landed in San Salvador. Prior to his invention books couldn’t be economically mass produced. For most of history stories and similar information was passed chiefly by oral tradition while writing was limited to stone tablets and papyrus scrolls. As paper became more common, scribes wrote books laboriously one-at-a-time. While typecast wood blocks emerged a couple of centuries before Gutenberg, they had to be hand-carved and the wooden printing matrices wore out rapidly. Read more…