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Bill Cleans Out His First-Edition Closet

November 8, 2014

Next spring marks thirty years of interviewing authors. I’ve done over 10,000 author interviews over that time, and I’ve collected a few signed books along the way. But now I find that it’s time to begin paring the collection down just a tad. In coming days, I’ll be offering a few selected books from my collection to add to yours. The first book I’m parting with is an inscribed first edition of James Ellroy’s 1990…

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Slay The Cliche: 2014 Election Edition

November 5, 2014

The electioneering is over, the robocalls have ended, the votes are being counted – well, most of them – and finally ends our biannual exercise in tired old journalistic cliches. “They’re running neck and neck” is a phrase found in any race that has no clear runaway victor. On election night, of course, that contest turns into “a real nailbiter.” Good news, I suppose, for nail salons. We are told that one candidate has grabbed…

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What’s The Deal With Present Tense?

October 11, 2014
i-write-i-am-writing-i-have-written-i-have-been-writing-tense-makes-me-tense-462c3

I’m getting tense. Present tense. I have been seeing it more frequently in books by indie authors. “I hear a faint knock on the bedroom door….” I know, it’s supposed to immediately put me in the scene, feel what the character is feeling, see and hear what the character is seeing and hearing, make my heart pound along with theirs, and so on and so forth. But I just find it .. annoying. Combine the…

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Indie Authors, Why They’re Telling You to Go Away

October 4, 2014

Two major book media outlets this week told indie authors to go away. And their reasoning will fascinate you. It started with what editor-in-chief Roger Sutton of The Horn Book, Inc (which serves the children’s and YA market) called “An open letter to the self-published author feeling dissed.” Sutton writes that The Horn Book refuses books by indie authors because “there are too many of them.” And most of them are “pretty terrible.” And “the…

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How E-Books Are Changing The Way We Talk About Books

September 27, 2014
Ebooks are changing the way we talk about books

Recently as I was reading the nonfiction book Lincoln’s Gamble I noted an unusual disclosure in author Todd Brewster’s notes on sources at the back of the book. Noting that “for ease of research, I worked from ebooks, mostly Kindle editions” Brewster acknowledged that,”Because ebooks can be altered in type size for the convenience of the reader, page numbers vary and should therefore not be referenced.” Those who want to check out Brewster’s sources are…

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Let’s Slay the Cliché

September 21, 2014
Let's slay the cliche

The other day I was reading the first few pages of an indie author’s latest book. It was someone whose work I was familiar with, although I had not read anything they had written lately. After just a couple of pages I had an uneasy feeling. Something wasn’t working, like a car whose engine is misfiring. Then I realized what the problem was: cliches. Worn-out phrases. Tired old ways of saying things. You know this…

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