Back in the summer of 2012, I wrote a post outlining 60 things journal publishers do (with many of these applying to publishers of books and other scholarly formats, as well). The post was written because journal publishers have been under pressure to prove that they add any value beyond managing peer-review and doing some basic copy editing and formatting. Often, authors are the ones asserting that journal publishers do so little, which is understandable, as authors only experience a small part of the journal publishing process, and care about the editing and formatting bits the most, making those the most memorable.
“I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” ~Elmore Leonard
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time – or the tools – to write. Simple as that.”
– Stephen King
Reblogged from the Chronicle of Higher Education
By Steven Ward
As a general rule those who wish to win favor with a prince offer him the things they most value and in which they see that he will take most pleasure; so it is often seen that rulers receive presents of horses, arms, pieces of cloth of gold, precious stones, and similar ornaments worthy of their station. So, in my desire to offer myself to Your Magnificence, with some proof of my obligation to you, I have found nothing among my possessions that I cherish more or value higher than I do my knowledge of the actions of great men, gained from long experiences in modern affairs and continual reading on ancient ones. Having for a long time thought over and examined these matters with great diligence, I have finally put them into a little volume, which I send to Your Magnificence.
—Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
In order to destroy public universities, it is important to:
(1) Denigrate public education, and public institutions in general, as drains on private wealth and “job makers” to the point that no one would dare ask for increased support. This will assure that public universities are relegated to second-rate status with inferior facilities and loads of part-time faculty members, and will forever have a negative stigma placed on them relative to private universities.
(2) Take advantage of economic downturns to instigate “taxpayer outrage” in order to remove support from public universities so that they must either raise tuition or cut back on their programs. Afterward, condemn those institutions for raising tuition in order to support lazy, socialist professors teaching irrelevant subjects like anthropology and philosophy.
(3) As state support recedes, encourage a student-loan system that will create a “market for higher education.” Saddling students with lots of debt will make them enterprising and rational consumers of educational products and will encourage them to safeguard their economic interests. Refer to these changes as “empowering students.”
(4) Install new public-management tactics borrowed from public-interest theory to wrestle control from faculty governance systems. However, to quell widespread discontent, keep university senates in place as giant, irrelevant “suggestion boxes.” Be sure to talk a lot about the importance of shared governance as these tactics are introduced. Label the faculty cynicism that will undoubtedly emerge as “consensus.”
(5) Put into place various “oversight instruments,” such as quality-assessment exercises, “outcome matrices,” or auditing mechanisms, to assure “transparency” and “accountability” to “stakeholders.” You might try using research-assessment exercises such as those in Britain or Australia, or cheaper and cruder measures like Texas A&M’s, by simply publishing a cost/benefit analysis of faculty members. If you run out of ideas, just contact the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
(6) Increase the reliance on part-time faculty members and one-year contracts to teach most courses. Those faculty members are more vulnerable and amenable to administrative control (you should also drastically increase the number of administrators in order to manage those disempowered professionals). Afterward, criticize the quality of college graduates. This will enable even more managerial oversight and assessment.
Independent publishing -- that is, publishing whatever an individual or small group think is worthy of dumping their time and money into -- is nothing new. From Virginia and Leonard Woolf starting up Hogarth Press to the early days of Farrar, Straus and Giroux championing now-iconic authors that other publishers wouldn't touch, DIY publishing has long been responsible for some of our best literature.
Sometimes you just come across something that makes you think of mystery writers. If any of your friends are challenged in what you might like, maybe you can pass these ideas along.Gun Egg Fryer
Of course, if you're like me, you always appreciate memberships to mystery-related associations and conferences. And one can never go wrong with a bookstore gift card for a mystery reader or mystery fan!
This is a tangle of thoughts, so bear with me.
In the writing world we have a culture of support that we call "literary citizenship," and it includes activities like writing reviews, holding readings, buying books, and finding creative ways to make the world aware of all the great reads that are out there, especially in the indie markets.
This article from the Chronicle of Higher Education takes a hard look at the problems of on-line learning. As one recruiter sums up:
“I’m sure online classes are fine for teaching certain specific concepts. But that’s not really what we’re interested in. We can teach those concepts ourselves. What we really value in a college education is the interpersonal skills that students develop while they’re in school. Online classes just don’t teach those.”
I came across this post earlier today. It’s an interesting exercise if you’re thinking about a novel, gearing up for NaNoWriMo, or are looking for a creative writing exercise. What’s to lose? No more than 30 minutes.
Reblogged from Writing References and Prompts.
This is a quick exercise designed to sketch out the major events of your novel. It only gives you a map— you have to make the drive yourself!
Get a kitchen timer or set your alarm. You’re going to free-write for three minutes on several questions. (If you want to cheat and write for five minutes on each, go ahead. Just be warned the exercise might take you an hour then.) In free-writing, you put your fingers to keyboard or pen to paper and write, without regard to grammar, spelling, sense, or organization, for a specified period of time. The trick is— you can’t stop till the bell rings. If you can’t think of anything to say, you just write your last word over and over. Pretty quick you’ll get bored and think of something else to write. But remember, turn off the editor. This is exploration, not real writing.
Type or write the question, then set the clock, read the question allowed, and go.
1. At the start of your book, what distinguishes your protagonist from other people? What central strength does he/she have? How does this strength get him/her into trouble?
Strength: Sue’s really good at problem solving. Trouble: She’s always being brought in at the last minute to clean up other people’s messes.
2. When the novel opens, what is s/he on the brink of doing? Why does he/she say she’s going to do this? What does this action represent for the protagonist?
She’s just moved into a new town and has volunteered to do the stage managing for the community theater. She says that theater work is fun, and she’ll get to make new friends. This represents her attempt to become part of the new community.
3. What external situation will require the protagonist’s participation throughout the course of the book? How does this connect with #2? Does it help or interfere? Can you build in a deadline for extra tension