Surf Report, 8/20/2012

from Forbes

Publishing Is Broken, We’re Drowning In Indie Books – And That’s A Good Thing

by David Vinjamuri

Robert Bidinotto, a former journalist whose eerily effective indie vigilante novel Hunter shot onto bestseller lists last year agrees:

“The idea that you have to be rejected by a New York editor to improve as a writer is absurd.

“Howey concurs and in his response to Grafton adds:

“Tell me this: why is self-publishing antithetical to “honing one’s craft?” Who ever received writing advice in a rejection letter as sound as the worst 1-star review out there? There’s far more to learn from engaging the market with your product than there is in form letters that tell you not-a-single-frickin’-thing. What’s wrong with testing the waters? Instead of wasting one’s time writing query letters, why not work on that next manuscript instead?

“There is something very odd about this war of words between successful authors on different sides of a tectonic shift in the publishing world: it doesn’t exist in many similar industries facing the same sort of technological upheaval. You don’t hear Christina Aguilera or Adam Levine knocking indie bands. Instead they joined a show called “The Voice” which aims to capitalize on the credibility of indie artists by finding journeyman artists and giving them a shot at major label contracts. Indie filmmakers are revered, not reviled, partly because they eschew the studio system and its constraints on artistic expression. And the art world seems keenly attuned to the idea that the next Georgia O’Keeffe might be producing revolutionary work somewhere out of their sight until she turns 30.”

This article may be long, but it’s the best opinion piece I’ve read of late on the publishing industry.


and this from Forbes (clicked on a few other articles while I was there)

The Anti-IPO: Is Apple Grooming Twitter For All-Out Acquisition?

by Anthony Wing Kosner

“But not the Twitter I know and love, but what is emerging as the new persnickety purveyor of tweets. And I see Apple’s fingerprints all over the place.”

Hmm. I’m not all up on Twitter and its happenings. I understand its necessity, but I’m a very wordy chick and 140 characters or less doesn’t work for me. Just ask my momma. 😉 But for those who live for Twitter, this is very interesting.


from the Wall Street Journal

Automatons Get Creative


Powerful new computer programs are doing tasks once reserved for composers, writers and policy-makers

“As for the art of the written word, algorithms can already grade essays as well as the best human graders. Beyond assessment, original pieces of writing are being composed by algorithms belonging to Narrative Science, whose programs put together sports news stories complete with witty lead sentences and colorful vocabulary. The Big Ten Network uses Narrative Science’s algorithms to post stories less than a second after a game ends. In one article detailing an Illinois-Indiana football game last fall, the algorithm wrote: “Illinois’ (6-0) offense dominated, ripping off huge chunks of yardage.”

I’m envisioning an automaton like this (at the 2:07 mark) writing my stories for me. 😀

I find them endlessly fascinating.


Are We All Braggarts Now?

Boasting Epidemic Goes Viral; Crowing Boosts Self Esteem but It’s Annoying


“Clearly, the Internet has given us a global audience for our bombast, and social media sites encourage it. We’re all expected to be perfect all the time. The result is more people carefully stage-managing their online image.”

Yikes! I hope I haven’t been overly guilty of this.


And just ’cause it’s way too cool, I had to share this:

from NYTimes

Creative Hubris, as Ephemeral as Sea Foam

by Melena Ryzik

picture by Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Built in a day: The artist Marie Lorenz, in toga, made a model of the Roman Colosseum for her entry in the Creative Time sand castle competition on Rockaway Beach, Queens, on Friday.

Click through for more great pics and the full story.


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