Here's my summer reading list, as discussed in Radio Active #69, broken out for easy reference (by me). Got a summer reading list? Don't have one? Wish you had the time for one? Nuketown wants to know: vote in our poll!
- The Last Colony by John Scalzi - A novel of intergalactic intrigue featuring the main characters from Scalzi's Old Man's War and Ghost Brigades
- Quicksilver by Neil Stephenson - adventures in science during the Age of Enlightenment
- The Golden Globe by John Varley - Humans get kicked off Earth by aliens and are forced to live at the edge of the solar system.
- The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin - A man's dreams can reshape reality.
I'm back from the island. No, not the Island but rather, an island on Lake Champlaign on which our family friends own a cabin. We headed up there last week for a five days of sun, water and mosquitos, and while I can't say it was particularly relaxing, it was a lot of fun.
Nuketown's passed 500 comments. At least a hundred of those came from this spring alone, which goes to show just how much better my new "open" approach to commenting is (in which anyone can comment without an account, but messages are screened by the Askimet anti-spam software before being posted).
The community's coming together nicely, and I have no doubt that the count would be even higher if I, ahem, got Radio Active out on the consistent, weekly schedule I always hope for.
As I write this, I'm in a Holiday Inn in New Hampshire. I don't have a laptop with me, but I've got a stack of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition books next to me, and a review due Sunday night. A few years ago, I'd have been doomed, but now I've got access to the net via the hotel's lackluster Windows XP machine. The machine itself doesn't have Microsoft Word installed, but again, no problem: the net has what I need, or more specifically, Google does.
Sitting in Google Docs is a copy of my review, and with a few clicks, I've got the document up in front of me, cursor eagerly awaiting my input. I won't finish the review tonight (especially if I keep breaking away to Nuketown to write spontaneous blog posts) but that's ok. One quick save, and my Google Doc's updated, and ready for me to pick it up again once I reach my sister's house.
Laptop? Who needs a freaking laptop?
I'm back in the real world, having left Balticon in my rear view mirror far sooner than I would have wished. Here are somme random thoughts I jotted down about the con, which easily ranks up there with GenCon in terms of overall coolness. Expect much geeking out about it in the next Radio Active.
Scott Edelman: Is it helpful? It's actually damaged one aspect of small press magazine publishing because it's replaced the zine niche.
Mike Walsh: A book that was refused by the big sale chains; SCIFI did nice review, but it was BoingBoing that really drove a sales spike. Also, while not being in a big chain used to be a horrible thing, Amazon now offsets that.
Elaine Corvidae: Growing up in small town, if a book wasn't on a shelf, you really couldn't get it (or not know about it). The benefit of the internet is that sites get exposure. Points that she's publishing her books for free on her site, which fuels sales of print edition.
M.T. Reiten: Internet helps with reach, but challenging aspect is marketing.
Scott Edelman: Seeing authors give away review copies of book or magazine to see if it leads to a buzz.
Scott Edelman: Locus is our New York Times. Everyone wants a review there. Joe Hadleman's always going to get a review there; how do you get one as a small press.
Should you distribute your first book online?
"Why Writing Can’t Be Taught And How To Teach It": Jim Kelly(M), Mur Lafferty, David Moldawer, Lee C. Hillman
What can't you teach?
David Moldawer: A writer's "voice" isn't something that can be taught, it can only be built up like a callous.
Lee C. Hillman: Can't teach how to listen, how to hear, to tell the difference between a sentence that flows and a sentence that doesn't.
Jim Kelly: Reads for MFA program, Clarion Workshop program. Looks at what's sound, what can be helped. What can't be taught: the restless need to write, well done social interactions between characters, the knack jumping into other people's skulls. Ability to learn; some people are just there to meet faculty/writers and aren't willing to learn new things.
What can you teach?
David Moldawer: How to write a book -- how to get into the trenches and write the book. Then how to re-write a book, to cut out chapters, re-write chapters. e.g. cut a scene by removing the first and last page; most times it'll be better.
Mur: Teaching how to edit; how to be cold and analytical. Teach what to cut. Learn the rules -- e.g. show don't tell. Going through as editing, you can realize mistakes and go back and edit.
10 p.m.: Crowd Sourcing / Belmont /Mur Lafferty(M), JC Hutchins, Chris Lester
Turning Fans into Minions!
They can't do it all, so they need help. JC Hutchins -- there's more social tools now; started in 2006, only really MySpace for promoting self. There were podcast directories, and asked listeners to promote the site.
Chris used crowd sourcing before he launched site. Asked people to be voices, worked networking angle of podcasting community, talked to friends for voice actors, tried to pull in as many people as possible, which helps distinguish the group.
JC Hutchins returns to crowd-sourcing for 7S Oblivion by soliciting fan creations, including audio, video and written work.
Chris set up a mailing list of people who want to volunteer, he then sends e-mail to list asking for specific things he needs (e.g. secretary). Chadwick Paddington says he wants forums, so he went out and bought TheCurse.org, setting up fan site for Metamorph City.
Mur created Tales of the Third Wave as an outcropping of Playing for Keeps. Kris Johnson was first to contributed.
2 p.m.: Video Podcasting 101 / Belmont / Working with the basics: Earl Newton(M), Brand Gambin, Tee Morris, Chris Condayan, Jason Adams, Jon Stallard
Video Podcasting 101 featured Earl Newton (Video Podcasting for Dummies) as the moderator (strangerthings.tv), Chris Condayan, (MicroWorld.org), Brand Gambin (CallsForCthulhu.com, Tee Morris (teemorris.com/), Jason Adams (Jason Adams, Jon Stallard (geekradiodaily.com).
Tee Morris & Earl Newton -- when you need the videos, get into video podcasting. But it's harder -- you have to worry about makeup, visuals, lighting. Something else is to consider is enhanced podcast with still images, links, etc. Good thing, but some people still demand standard radio. So if you do enhanced you're going to need to manage two feeds: enhanced and standard.
1 p.m. Live! Takeover! (Audio Drama) / Belmont / Mur Lafferty(M), Jason Adams, JR Blackwell, Christiana Ellis, JC Hutchins, John Cmar, Laura Burns
Mur Lafferty and Jason Adams began The Take Over as a video project at LuLu, but then they lost their jobs and the project went into limbo. Now it's back as an audio drama, and the first two episodes debuted at Balticon42.