avatar_bw2I follow quite a few writer and agent blogs, and there have been some particularly interesting things going on this week:

Literary Agent Jenny Rae Rappaport posted An Anatomy of a Royalty Statement, further explaining author Lynn Viehl’s blog post about her earnings as a NYT bestselling author.

It’s been a fascinating week over at Agent Nathan Bransford’s blog. If you are looking for an agent now or in the near future, or ever thought you’d like to be an agent or just read for one, the Be An Agent For A Day Game was an educational moment. The Guardian UK also posted an article about the event. The game is finished as of tonight, but it’s still worth reading!

There are rumors that Barnes and Noble are going to be coming out with their own eReader, after buying one of the largest ebook outlets out there, Fictionwise.

Moonrat posted an article about marketing that all authors should read.

Yesterday was #queryday on Twitter, replacing the more snarkily named #queryfail. The fallout from #queryfail had palpable results. Where #queryfail felt like a bunch of agents chatting around theĀ  water cooler, #queryday felt like a polite and organised panel. Since some were still posting as of a few hours ago, I don’t think anyone has posted a summary blog post yet, but you can read through the posts (backwards) on Twitter Search. If you still aren’t on the Twitter wagon, here’s a list of tips and tutorials for Twitter beginners.

Although I usually avoid snark like … well, like something to be avoided… I think this post by writer Mary Walters about how Agents are Destroying Literature left me stunned. The responses are educational. Literary assistant Jodi Meadows posted a thoughtful rebuttal on her journal.

Jessica Faust talks about the Rise in Queries on the Bookends LLC blog.

And as a final note I’ll share something with you that I shared on #queryday. I recently found out (and apparently am not the only one flummoxed by this change in standards) that we should be using one space after periods instead of two, like many of us were taught to do in typing classes — back in the dark ages before it was called “keyboarding”. If, like me, you need to shed the two-space habit, and you happen to use MS Word, go into the grammar checker and select the option for “Spaces Required Between Sentences” and set it to 1. This will put a green squiggle line under any two-space breaks, thus showing you as you type, when you’ve made a boo boo. Although I typically turn off the grammar checker while I’m writing, using this method, I broke the two-space habit in only a few thousand words.

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6 comments

  1. I def have the two space habit. In fact when I was taught to type – on an old fashioned typewriter, we had to do: one space after a comma, two spaces after a semi-colon and THREE spaces after a full-stop. Maybe soon we’ll be going back to the Ancient Greek where they didn’t bother to punctuate as it would only be the literati who would understand it, and punctuate as they read.
    Def lots to think about here, so I’ll have to get back to the rest, but a great blog, thanks Nixy.
    Pam

  2. Is double-spacing an anglicism? I’m Norwegian and never learned to do it. Nor can I remember seeing it in other Scandinavian or German texts.

    Or maybe I have it backwards, and it’s single-spacing that’s germanic?

    Thanks for an interesting and informative post!

  3. Gunnar, there’s an interesting post on Wikipedia about the conventions for spacing and how they evolved: http://tinyurl.com/cwkb8q

    Also the Chicago Manual of Style, which is the grammar Bible for American English has an FAQ on the subject: http://tinyurl.com/5jyl26

  4. All of these writerly posts just left me shaking in the corner. As an amateur, reading about how to not get published, what the publishing business should or should not be, etc., made me understand why my friend Jennifer, in her drinking days, had to be drunk to write a query letter. And to think, I’m encouraging her to jump into this madness!

    But, in the end, good writers will write. They have to. They can’t help it. And I’m ever hopeful that creativity will not be killed by publishing practices. After all, we read Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in literature classes, dont’ we? Both despised the demands of writing popular literature, but somehow they managed to adapt by wrapping their literary geniuses around the status quo and write for the ages.

    As for the one space after a period — Those of us who’ve worked in layout/desktop publishing have known it for a long time. Ever since wordprocessing has been around, we’ve been doing the find/replace on “space space” and tightening up everyone else’s copy. A period has a space and a half built in behind it. So putting two spaces makes it even bigger than two spaces behind a typewriter’s monospaced text. Yikes!

    Now, imagine if you will, a time when a writer wrote longhand, gave it to a typist, made copies, and mailed them in to agents and publishers with no opportunity for last-second editing. It was a lot more trouble back then, so fewer people did it. Now everyone who owns a computer thinks they’re a writer, so the slush pile must be tremendous!

    Agents/editors expect perfectly edited copy the first time, and they expect writers to be able to write well enough to sell themselves in a query letter. Unfortunately, there’s more to a query letter than just writing. Writers must also know how to market themselves. I can understand how this would be frustrating to writers who just want to WRITE a masterpiece and have it discovered and marketed for them so they can go back in their cave and write some more.

    Times have changed. Remember when every middle manager had a secretary? Now they have a computer and are expected everything themselves. We all have to adapt to the changes in society and business. It’s as simple as that.

  5. Thanks for linking, Nixy. :) I hadn’t seen Moonrat’s post, or the BookEnds one, so thanks.

    The one/two space debate has been quietly raging for years now, though most people just let it go whichever way you’re comfortable with. If you can’t train yourself out of it, you can always do a search and replace when you’re done. In the find, box, put two spaces – – and in the replace box, just one – -. You may have to click “replace all” a few times to make sure it takes.

  6. It has been a busy writing week. Thanks for capturing all the important nuts and bolts in your post; I missed some of these.

    I had no idea there are two spaces after a period in some countries. In grade school here, it was two spaces after a question mark and one after a period. I’ve since been with a publisher who tells you no 2nd spaces after the q-mark anymore. Wow! Times, they are a’changing…

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