For 2015, I'm going to try and do a regular weekly feature of links to items I found of interest:
Kameron Hurley wrote about 2014: Some (Honest) Publishing Numbers, and (Almost) Throwing In The Towel.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch had a December trio of interesting "Business Musings" posts about lessons learned in 2014 by traditional publishers, independent writers, and Rusch herself:
- What Traditional Publishing Learned In 2014
- Things Indie Writers Learned In 2014
- Things I Learned (or Relearned) In 2014
Via James Davis Nicoll's review of Niven & Pournelle's 1974 space epic The Mote In God's Eye, I learned Robert Heinlein saw an early draft of TMIGE and responded with a long critique and suggestions for revision and improvement. Heinlein's letter to Niven & Pournelle is an excellent example of what a knowledgeable book editor (or a writer approaching a manuscript with an editor's perspective) can do for a manuscript. It covers not only "big picture" issues and suggests major cuts and revisions, but narrows in on character and background matters, and a number of minor but telling details. The letter also mentions that Heinlein used three to five working days to write such an in-depth critique. I mention that last because I occasionally see indie-authors who've paid for a book critique complain about the cost (the range for a book critique is pretty wide; I've seen figures from a couple of hundred dollars to about fifteen hundred); if they manage to find an editor-for-hire half as perceptive and detailed as Heinlein was for Niven and Pournelle, they're almost certainly getting their money's worth.
World-At-Large Links (news and politics):
Frank Serpico on The Police Are Still Out of Control
31 Days of Pie: The Matt Bites blog spent the month of December baking and photographing (Matt Amendariz is a professional food photographer) a wide assortment of pies, savory as well as sweet. (The Gumbo Hand Pies sound delicious!)
And while we're on the subject of pies, check out the Modern Farmer Pie Chart of Pies.
Japanese artist Kimiya Masago produced a 2008 art book depicting the 108 heroes of the Chinese epic The Water Margin (aka Outlaws of the Marsh). Some selections are pictured at this link; really spectacular work.