Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

Whether a Forum or a Listing

March 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Writers use forums and listings nearly every day for one purpose or another. There are community forums for those in the arts, those unique to writers and critiquing, editing and polishing, and discussions on every aspect of the writing business. Listings come in almost as many flavors and scopes as forums.

Freelancers make the rounds of both communication forms to stay tuned, toned, and in demand. Today I made forays into two separate freelance jobs listings; one within a LinkedIn group of which I’m a member, and another on Elance. I was successful in finding enticing possible job contracts.

If you’ve been around this blog often, you know that I have large projects lined up for the next several months. After the previous paragraph you’re going to ask me why I would be looking for another job of any kind. That’s fair.

I could have my eye on a lovely little boat to use during the summer on our gorgeous Flathead Lake. Or, I could want to travel in Europe next year and want to have plenty in savings to play. Then again, I could simply want a better financial cushion than I have now.

Working on only one large spec project can easily keep me occupied. Having half a dozen doesn’t give me much time to spare, though I still find time for a bit of social networking. Adding a job to the mix right now would be mental suicide, I agree.

Keeping abreast of the market, opportunities, and competition within the freelance writing world, however, is necessary. A plum could present itself at just the right moment to pave the way for bigger success and greater financial security and without stopping by such job sites on a regular basis, the writer can lose out.

Call this activity checking the pulse of the industry. Writers are entrepreneurs. They need to know what’s happening. The market can shift quietly and sneakily as smoke, leaving a writer out of the loop and as adrift as sulfur vapor puffs from a starter’s pistol.

Who could have anticipated the fiction industry shift when Stephanie Meyer’s first Twilight book, or Rowling’s Harry Potter? Those two series set the tone for a major change in the MG and YA children’s book market. Hindsight tells us that vampires come into the light every few decades, their popularity undiminished with time.

Magic and all that it entails has been around since ancient Greece. Fantasy series have been big genre business for decades. The primary component of fantasies is MAGIC. Rowling presented the concept in a slightly different manner and caught the brass ring.

Reading through job listings for writers indicates where the market is moving. Three quarters of what I found on Elance this morning were content writer contracts. The Internet is vacuuming up writers for information dispersal, trading in marketing and non-fiction, for small businesses as much as large corporations. It’s a copywriter’s delight out there at the moment.

Along the same road, non-fiction is making a grand play with the big houses of the publishing world. From self-help to inspiration; memoir to biography; corporate tell-all’s to political scandals; and cookbooks to health, non-fiction has become a hot ticket for writers.

Listening in on forums adds information to the writer’s hope chest. Take an opportunity to lurk on some of the writer’s forums. Listen in on the conversations and advice flung around like beads and candy at Mardi Gras.

In half an hour of perusal, you can discover, at minimum, one thing that you didn’t know and really needed to. Writer’s Digest has its Community Forums. Editors, agents, publishers, and writers discuss everything pertinent to the business. A small personal vacation on site can net you a load of great intel. Take advantage of a freebie when you can.

Savvy Authors has a newsletter and website that will help keep you in touch with goings-on in the business. Sharing with Writers Newsletter and site dispense fabulous info each week to its subscribers. I found out at Sharing with Writers that writers are being encouraged now to have their own—wait for it—APP. You’ll have to read the article to come to grips with the reasoning. Oddly, this info is elsewhere, too.

We’re told over and over to keep our eyes and ears open. Now you know why. How was I supposed to know that I needed an APP to get my brand—do I have one?—out to the world, so that I can be plugged in 24/7? Question: will popular internet writers have any privacy when they get to print? I wonder.

Whether Good or Bad or Ugly

March 9, 2012 7 comments


Everyone knows how the internet has changed the American scene, as well as that of the rest of the world.

Students aren’t at the mercy of expensive literary searches at university anymore. Research is finished in half the time and is a more efficiently selective process. High school students can reap major rewards by having so much more educational information at their fingertips than ever before.

At the same time, the average person has the ability and wherewithal to generate blogs about nearly every subject known to man.

The Good

There are people with agendas out there, and there are lovely people who’re just trying to make it from day to day, surviving the onslaught of the modern age. And within all of these people there seems to be a surging desire to communicate with others about their lives, their ideas, and their aspirations.

A wife and mother can talk about her day and her frustrations with thousands of other moms around the world and gain solace in the knowledge that she’s not alone.

Kids can vent about how angst-filled their lives are, connecting with others who also feel the need to rip everyone around them. They can also find help and counseling online that they can’t find at home for various reasons.

And while all that “help” goes on, others are providing the stimulus for some already in-crisis kids to end their existence rather than face another day in the trenches.

The Bad/Down Side

The debate rages about limits on personal exposure and personal privacy. Entire volumes have appeared on all of these topics, both online and off. Writers don’t have to go any further than their desk to have enough material to span their lifetimes. Some of it is well-done, some dreadful, but always having a point.

As a writer, I watch news feeds each day, looking for tidbits to use for stories, articles, exploration, etc. Each day I shake my head in wonderment as I peruse the latest and greatest in the world of news. I wonder if everyone has gone totally insane, considering episodes like the one on the American Airlines flight this morning from Dallas to Chicago.

Soon I come to another story about a car costing nearly $300,000 that visited Harry Potter’s world and came away with his invisibility cloak. Yes, an invisible car is cool. We’ve had those kinds of military planes for a long time, but why would a person need one? The price tag along would make the car for the wealthy only. Do those going without adequate food on the table need another reason to resent those who’re living large?

There was the one about Coke and Pepsi changing their recipes to eliminate a particular chemical. I ask myself how long they’ve known about potential problems with that chemical and why they waited for a whistle-blower to press the issue.

We are bombarded with news 24/7 on CNN and other broadcast networks. We can’t escape from it, what with all the apps for phones now and hand-held computers. Dick Tracy watches/communicators are already on the market. How much more news do we need to fill our lives to overflowing?

The Ugly

Whether that freedom for expression is good or evil really doesn’t come into question. No one can ever designate a freedom as good or evil. After all, the freedom, whatever its focus, is only a concept, an abstract.

People are the doers of good or evil. The intent of the person expressing the freedom is at issue, not the concept. That reality keeps falling through the cracks in this online world we live in today.

We can question people’s motives and actions from noon to midnight, never coming away with firm answers. The government can call actions into question and try to regulate basic freedoms with legislation that costs millions to create. In the end, though, the same problems continue as before.

One of my questions of the day is whether those in governments will ever understand that the individual citizen will always define his/her own freedoms within much broader mandates than those handed down by legislators of any kind.

History is filled with references to the causes and effects of civil unrest and revolutions, many of them having to do with squashed freedoms. Historians have written millions of volumes about events in the world and in time. Are we doomed to repeat critical events because we are so arrogant as to believe that we’re immune to them? Or, are we so dense that we can’t imagine them repeating, even when we’ve been warned about such repetitions.

The continual presence of the Internet and its sister technologies won’t go quietly into that good night. Online latitudes will push legislative buttons and government officials to a potential breaking point. The nebulous quality that rules the technology can only fuel the fire.

History teaches that major changes in technology almost always presage a major upheaval in the social structure and tends to focus its energy into violent conflict.

Question for the reader:

Is it important to pay attention to the trends social use of the internet, and if so, how much is too much regulation?

Tell me what you think.