Free the Blogger one

Link: nourishing obscurity: Help!.

Bryan Appleyard has not been seen on his blog since Thursday, all of four days ago. A campaign has been launched to free him from whatever part of Blogger’s dashboard he has fallen into. Or as he puts it:

"I am locked out of my blog by Blogger. A campaign has been launched to free me. I am humbled."

You can sign up at the above nourishing obscurity link – which leads to a blog run by Bryan and all the Thought Experiments regular commenters. You live and learn. (Well, I do.)

The end of a competition

Link: Susan Hill’s blog :: NO LONG BARN BOOKS FIRST NOVEL COMPETITION IN FUTURE.

I was very sorry to read Susan Hill’s post above announcing the end of her "first novel" competition. She explains the reasons in the post; Scott Pack, a fellow judge and Long Barn Books board member, provides some more explanation for the decision here.

Two apparently talented authors (the previous two winners) have had the good fortune to have their books published thanks to this competition and the support of Long Barn Books, not only in the UK but in the USA also. After this year, becuase of some whinging by the current applicants who did not like the implication that their entries were of an insufficient standard, the judges have decided the effort isn’t worth it and are packing it in, and who can blame them? I think this is very sad, but I would not like my hand being bitten as I fed people in this way, either, and I can readily understand the decision to end it now. I am sure Susan Hill and colleagues can find books to publish easily enough, and good luck to them. It is just a pity that yet another avenue has been closed to a previously unpublished author, because of the lack of good manners of a minority (I am sure) of entrants.

Death and life in literature

Link: The Long, Slow Death of Literature – The End Of The Pier Show – Henry Gee’s blog on Nature Network

The above post by my friend Henry Gee is about whether it is best to write to please oneself, or to please others. Henry writes about an author who has published many books and stories, all in print, but who cannot now find a publisher for his new work. What hope for the rest of us, wonders Henry? "I think that with very few exceptions, the only people who can get their books published have to fulfil at least two of the following criteria:

1. They are well-known for something other than authorship, especially if that activity is ephemeral (sports ‘personality’, pop star, politician);
2. They have appeared on TV in any capacity whatsoever (TV presenter, contestant on reality show, pundit);
3. They are very good-looking;
4. They are under 25.

One can only check off these boxes to see what happens. For me, the results look like this;

1. Does being an editor at Nature count?
2. I’ve been a guest on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, so that’s probably far too worthwhile;
3. My daughters think I’m terribly handsome, but they are only small and to them I’m a superstar. To the rest of the world I look like the results of a collision between a number-nine bus and a stegosaurus, especially if compared with Myleene Klass, or even Alan Titchmarsh;
4. I am indeed approaching 25, although from the wrong direction."

Read the rest of Henry’s post for reader statistics, some publishing initiatives and for his views on POD (print on demand). As Henry points out, POD is becoming "less sneered at" and, via his back of envelope calculation, perhaps even not so bad financially either.

An update on the much-discussed Espresso machine is here, on O’Reilly Radar, together with various comments on its practical usefulness for printing and, crucially, distribution.