Tag Archive 'Porter Anderson'

Provocations in Publishing: “Engineering Serendipity”

Coined by the British aristocrat Horace Walpole in a 1754 letter, [serendipity] long referred to a fortunate accidental discovery. Today serendipity is regarded as close kin to creativity — the mysterious means by which new ideas enter the world. But are hallway collisions really the best way to stoke innovation? − Engineering Serendipity, April 5, […]

Free the Writers! (From Each Other)

  We’ve had a lot of laughs at publishers’ expense lately, about how many “actual readers” they may have met, right? What if our writers know even fewer “actual readers” than our publishers?    You’ve been around too much lately, Helen, you ought to stay at home more. That sentence, husband-to-wife, from Noel Coward’s Design for […]

Sir Hugh and the Snail

When Mollusks Attack We don’t know why images of armed knights fighting snails are common in 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts.  Through a tweet from one of my favorite authors, William Gibson, I found my way to a post by Sarah J. Biggs at the British Library. “One of our post-medieval colleagues noticed a painting of […]

When They Talk About You at #DBW14: You’re Branded

  NEW YORK—The Digital Book World Conference & Expo (DBW) isn’t designed for authors. And that’s fine. Various sectors of the industry! the industry! have every right to get together by and among themselves to consider things from their own viewpoints and on behalf of their own interests. As good as our authors are at contorting […]

Scale: That All the Books Should Be Counted

  Caesar Augustus: All Is Forgiven And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. Luke 2:1, King James Version, New Testament That glow on the faces of so many of us Protestant ministers’ children this time of year is […]

Leveling Up: In Praise of Writer Dads

  According to my kids I’m “funny a lot” and make them laugh. I’m a goofball. My wife says I’m excited because I have my perfect audience right now. I’m yucking it up for all I can get, because I know that shit’ll evaporate come twelve or thirteen. Hopefully by then they’ll like video games, […]

“The Inflexible Routines”

  I was withdrawing deeper into myself, isolating myself from my surroundings, settling into the routines—the inflexible routines—I have before each match and that continue right up to the start of play. This is from Rafael Nadal’s sometimes surprisingly candid book, Rafa, written with John Carlin. Listen for that light, self-effacing Majorcan accent, our Mediterranean catch of the day, […]

Are You Lonesome Tonight? The Dreaded Solitude of Writing

  It’s right there on the Beeb: This week Robert [McCrum] contemplates the loneliness of writers, and the things they give up to spend hours in their rooms with only their novel for company. Ah, yes, the fabled “loneliness of writers.” Where the pleasures of solitude are sometimes indistinguishable from the perils of isolation. It’s […]

I Know Nothing of Your Work

  An artist is one who does not live on the timeline that connects the events that take place around us. That’s Brian O’Leary. Know him? Rather, the artist sees the actors, events, and collisions all at once, from a vantage point that few others share. O’Leary is one of the most committed thinkers we have […]

A Major Publisher Jumps the Shark

[Publishers'] savings on printing, binding and distribution make up for the lower revenue from lower ebook prices– and increased profitability is coming entirely off the backs of authors. Those are Brian DeFiore‘s words, emphasis mine, in an article important to writers. The 10 salient words here are suitable for memorization: Increased profitability is coming entirely off the […]

‘Wins’ Without Losses: Agreeable Disagreement

Five Quite Recent Provocations Langdon gasped. If he’d deciphered the symbols correctly, Jesus had married Joan of Arc at Stonehenge! If not, it was a recipe for meatloaf. — Dan Vinci’s Nunferno (@Nunferno) May 24, 2013 Provocation One: Man Booker Irrational? When the American novelist Lydia Davis was given the £60,000 Man Booker International this […]

Conferences: Songs from the Uproar

Do you go to conferences? Boy, I do. One of the greatest aspects of conference-going is meeting people you might have known only on the ether, putting a face to the avatar. Here, for example, is author Chuck Wendig, whom I’ve met several times at conferences. Both of us normally have some traveling to do, to […]