Bookmarked! April 5th

This has been a rather slow week for me, relatively speaking. I’ve been looking up a few articles and brooding over them – as well as a rather hilarious look at Penguin group’s attempt at a Wiki novel. So here’s the Bookmarked! post for April 5th:

I’ll start off with a mention of Mugglenet’s April Fools stunt – apparently each of the members posted up a ‘preview’ of Harry Potters and the Deathly Hallows – and the results were spectacularly hilarious:

“I always had an inkling that there was more to Hermione; her immediate knack with magic, and her irregular mood swings towards supposed ‘friends,’ Harry and Ron. I should have known she’d switch to the Dark side eventually. I just wish she hadn’t killed the whole of Ravenclaw in the process – I suppose it was just her annoyance at not being sorted there initially.” –Ciaran

“I couldn’t believe Snape was the long lost love child of Aberforth and that goat. It explains so much, including Severus’ appearance. And we now know why he told Harry to never call him a ‘cow’-ard, because he was in fact part goat.” –Micah

“I knew it! I knew it! When the Muggles came and totally obliterated everyone at the final battle, I was totally ready for it. Although, I admit killing every major character in the series was going a bit overboard, especially when Neville got hit by that bus after all was said and done. I didn’t know JKR had it in her!” –Tom

Quite a few of my friends actually did believe it, and they were reduced to pale-faced ghastly zombies for a day, wailing “How could they?!”

Those Mugglenet writers better run for cover for at least a full year. Heh.

On a more serious note, there’s been much talk lately of the recent Eyetrack study conducted by Poynter’s Institute. The findings state – get this – that online readers actually read 77% of an online (news) story, compared to 62% in broadsheets and 57% in tabloids.

News has always been suited for online reading, being that it is short, easy to digest and (usually) doesn’t require much thinking. The fact that the online world is threatening traditional newspapers and magazines isn’t the least bit surprising to me. But what I do find surprising is that readers actually complete more of a story on the internet rather than off it. What about the various distractions? The email and the Myspace pages and the RSS news feeds?

This is one myth that we’ll hear more about, sooner or later.


A Story Blook has actually been around for quite some time. The author’s recently gotten back from a hiatus and I’d say this is a perfect time to head over and to check it out – it’s grown to have quite a few short stories, all twisted to some extent.

Yes, it isn’t long form fiction in the truest sense of the word, but the collection of short stories there aren’t so heavy on the eyes – good news for you and me. Each part is bite-sized, well written and finely presented – don’t mind the fact that he’s using a default Blogger template.

The next blook I’ve found is Emotion (Part 1). The thing that attracted me to it was the author’s caveat:

There is a catch: I will not post the next piece of the story until I have received at least one comment preferably with some form of constructive criticism or analysis of the writing.

There are a few problems with it – the text is small and I’m hard pressed to actually read the 1000 words in each chapter, but we’ll see how his experiment goes.

I’ll close this edition of Bookmarked! with a link to Making Light – a blog about the dark side of the publishing industry, amongst other things. The post I’d like to share with you is this one on a publisher called AuthorIdentity:

… out on the west coast, a bookstore called the Seattle Mystery Bookshop took a phone order from someone who wanted a copy of The Shortcut: 20 Stories To Get You From Here To There.

“This began a couple of weeks ago. We often get special orders for books that we don’t stock or haven’t heard about. It is a way we hear about new books from small presses, so we’re open to them but we try to be careful. We don’t want to get stuck with books we don’t want. So we get a credit card from the customer when they place the order.So this guy calls up on a Friday afternoon, asks if we have this short story anthology he’s read about, The Shortcut. I hadn’t heard about it but looked it up at a wholesaler and said we could get it. He said fine, gave me his name, phone number and credit card info. I put the book into the system and went back to other things.

When the book arrived, we called the number ”“ it had been disconnected! We tried the charge card to at least get the money out of the order and it came back with the message ”˜bad account number’. So it appeared we would be stuck with the books (I’d gotten one for stock, too.) The best thing I could think of to do was to post a warning on the listserve for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association and try to keep anyone else from falling for this scam.”

The mystery caller had given his name as Michael Evers.

The owner of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop started investigating, and discovered that another bookstore owner, in Indiana, had gotten stung by Mike Evers, ordering The Shortcut with a phony credit card and a fake local phone number. Then someone in Colorado had the same story. Another bookstore in Canada. Mike Evers had been a busy boy.

Be careful who approaches you with a publishing deal. While vanity presses have been around for a very long time, I’ve never fully realized the lengths they go to getting your money. For more up-to-date stories and discussions about publishing scams go to Writer Beware.

PS: If they tell you they don’t require an agent to represent you, alarm bells should start ringing in your head.

PPS: Regarding the Poynter Intitute study: did you get this far in this article?

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Category: Bookmarked!