Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Monday
May172010

Weekly wordcount check-in: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

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Saturday
May152010

New comic up on Writer Unboxed!

For those interested, I've posted a new comic on Writer Unboxed.

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Friday
May142010

Looking for a useful notetaking or writing app for the iPad?

I've been reviewing iPad apps that could be useful to writers on iPadGirl recently. Unfortunately Posterous doesn't have a good archiving index system, so I'm compiling a list of notetaking and writing iPad apps for writers on a separate page, with links to my reviews.

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Thursday
May132010

My reviews of writing & note-taking iPad apps

For those interested, here's a list of the writing and note-taking apps for the iPad that I've reviewed on iPadGirl so far. Some have iPhone versions!

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Tuesday
May112010

DRM, e-books, and Fictionwise/B&N Removing Access To Books *I Have Already Paid For*

CARTOON EMBED CODE: (Before embedding, see my cartoon licensing info.)

 


A while back, I mentioned that Fictionwise support had e-mailed me saying they were NOT developing a version of their e-reader for the iPad. Disappointed, I thought, "Oh well. At least I'll be able to read my e-books in small iPhone size on my iPad." But then I discovered that some of the e-books I purchased through Fictionwise (a Barnes & Noble company) were now unavailable because of "geographic restrictions." When I tried downloading them for my iPad, I got the error "Territory not authorized." Nearly a month ago, I wrote to Fictionwise support about the problem. Here's what they wrote back:
"Hi, We are currently working with our providers to resolve the download errors you are experiencing. Sorry for any inconvenience this may be causing and thank you for your patience as we attempt to resolve this issue. Best Regards, Ted Fictionwise Support Team"
Since then, some of the titles I couldn't access before can now be accessed, but there are still quite a few that remain unavailable. It's this sort of problem that makes it clear that the e-book industry still needs a lot of work before it has a hope of succeeding. I've already had at least one reader say, "See? This sort of thing is why I don't buy e-books." DRM, for those that don't know, stands for Digital Rights Management. It's a pretty broad term that's used to refer to techniques for restricting the free use and transfer of digital content. It's meant to control copying of digital files but from what I can tell, it only ends up ticking off the consumer while content thieves find ways around it. It only takes ONE person to crack the code, and all the effort/hassle that has gone into the DRM for a particular item (an e-book, for instance) becomes worthless. Less than worthless, actually, because of the problems encountered by a consumer who LEGITIMATELY BOUGHT the e-book. A quote from science fiction author Simon Haynes about DRM:
And now for DRM. When you sell someone an encrypted e-book, DVD or computer game, what you’re basically saying is: "Here’s the content you wanted, and by the way we think you’re a thief." The joke is that any thieves have already downloaded pirated copies of the same content, so you’re not inconveniencing them. No, the only people you’re annoying are your paying customers.
Whatever has changed at Fictionwise, whatever the current geographic restrictions placed on certain titles in their store, the fact remains: THESE ARE E-BOOKS I HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR. It has been nearly a month since I last wrote them, when their support staff said they were "working on it." I'm not the only Fictionwise customer in this situation. If I was running the company, I'd be sending at least one follow-up e-mail a week specifically addressing the issue, keeping my customers up-to-date about what was going on and offering the option of a membership/book refund. I hope someone at Barnes & Noble is paying attention. As the owner of Fictionwise, this reflects poorly on them as well. I've been trying to be patient but I've pretty much hit my limit. I've written to Fictionwise again today; let's see how/if they respond. Related resources: Why DRM Doesn't Work - an illustrated example SF author Simon Haynes’ case against DRM at Amazon and elsewhere (Teleread) Why DRM won't ever work (ZDNet) DRM Doesn't Work - Mark Shuttleworth How Doesn't DRM Work? - Cory Doctorow

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Monday
May102010

Weekly Wordcount Check-in: 250, 500 and 1000 wds/day

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May062010

Toronto MG/YA Writers' Group #torkidlit tweetup

One of the many reasons I'm glad I joined Twitter: the Toronto MG/YA Writers' Group. Claudia Osmond started the #torkidlit group, approaching Toronto area middle grade and young adult writers on Twitter and suggesting we get together in person. We meet once a month at a pub/restaurant in downtown Toronto. Although the focus of our group is on authors of MG and YA books, we are supportive of anyone who helps create children's literature in the Toronto area. For those that aren't familiar with the term "tweetup," here's a good explanation from SocialHat.com:

A tweetup is an event where people who Twitter come together to meet in person. Normally we connect with our friends online after we have met them. At a tweetup you meet the people you might only otherwise know virtually. Like finally putting a name to a face, a tweetup is a great opportunity to really connect with the people in your network and share just a little more than 140 characters at a time.
I enjoyed having dinner at Fresh with Cheryl Rainfield beforehand, catching up with all the recent excitement in her life. Cheryl's book launch for SCARS, for example, takes place on June 24th, 2010 at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (519 Church St. Community Centre, Auditorium Room 206) at 6:30 pm. Great to see Stacy King, Deborah Kerbel, Megan Crewe, Andrew Tolson, Hélène Boudreau, Helaine Becker, Lena Coakley, Cheryl Rainfield, Patricia Storms, Jo Swartz and Nelsa Roberto again, and meet Suri Rosen and Ian Keeling. Hélène, by the way, has a book launch tomorrow for KEEP OUT: Friday, May 7th, 2010 3-4 pm EST Markham Village Library 6031 Highway 7, Markham (corner of Markham Road and Hwy 7) For more info: 905-513-7977 x4284 Helaine Becker: showed us the cover of one of her new book projects. I had met Lena Coakley while helping Cheryl Rainfield move, but it was great to see her at the tweetup. Nelsa Roberto: had photos from her recent book launch of ILLEGALLY BLONDE. I enjoyed meeting Suri Rosen and Ian Keeling, and 'twas fun to watch Jo Swartz and Patricia Storms draw on my iPad. You can find out more about the MG/YA writers who attend the tweetups at the Toronto MG/YA Writers' Group website. I'm in the midst of moving this blog, so pardon the construction dust! And if you're a Toronto area middle grade or young adult writer, please do check out #torkidlit on Twitter. For help with Twitter, please see my >Writers' Guide To Using Twitter.

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Thursday
May062010

Notetaking & writing on the iPad: First app review - Sketchpad HD

More writers have been asking me about what apps I'm finding useful on the iPad, so I'm going to start reviewing various notetaking and writing apps I've been trying out. I posted my first on iPadGirl today: Sketchbook HD - Great idea, but doesn't work properly in landscape mode

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Wednesday
May052010

iPad envy comic, drawn on my iPad

If you're curious about the steps I took to create the image above, see my iPadGirl post.

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Tuesday
May042010

Bluestocking Blog: Lessons Learned at a Writing Conference

I've always appreciated those who post about what they've learned at writing conferences. The author of Bluestocking Blog recently wrote about the main lessons she learned at the event, and her post includes some excellent advice.

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Tuesday
May042010

C.S. Lewis may NOT have been rejected 800 times

Last year, I posted that C.S. Lewis had been rejected 800 times after finding the info on several websites. Several readers have since questioned this data, including Mary Mueller, who said:

Who the heck is Inkygirl and where the heck did she get her data?? This is entirely undocumented (the 800 rejections) and shouldn’t be “published,” even on an amateur website, without meticulous documentation.
Mary is entirely correct that I don't provide meticulous documentation for the rejection stories I've been posting, so it's entirely possible that some of the stats may be inaccurate. Unfortunately I lack the time to search for the original documents to support each stat but do try to include my sources of info whenever possible, in case readers need to verify info themselves. I make very little income from this site, and provide the info mainly to help inspire and motivate writers. I'm hoping that the spirit behind my Writers & Rejection series is still helpful to some writers, despite the lack of detailed documentation. Thanks to Mary for her feedback, and I do apologize if any of you were misled by my C.S. Lewis info. [Later edit: I just want to clarify...I -do- think Mary had a point, as blunt as her comment may have been. As she pointed out to me in a follow-up e-mail, just because you read something on three websites (or more!) doesn't make it true. It's a good lesson for me, and I do intend on doing a better job at verifying my source info from now on. Again, however, sometimes I won't have time to provide as detailed documentation as I could, so please do feel free to challenge anything I post if you don't agree. :-)] Gary McGath comments:
Claims made on the Web do tend to be picked up by other people and repeated, which gets some people really frustrated. I’m a lot more concerned when major news outlets, which _should_ have the resources to obtain “meticulous documentation,” don’t bother. I try to avoid the trap of repeating someone else’s unsubstantiated claim, but I’ve been caught in it too many times myself. All I can do then is acknowledge it.

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Tuesday
May042010

Magazines and the iPad: review of Zinio & thoughts about reading/buying digital magazines

Tuesday
May042010

Comic: Editorial Marriage Proposal Rejection

CARTOON EMBED CODE: (Before embedding, see my cartoon licensing info.)

 

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Tuesday
May042010

Blog highlight: Literary Rejections On Display

Rejection always hurts. I'm skeptical of writers who claim that rejections don't bother them at all. No matter how experienced you are, I can't help but think that a rejection -ANY rejection- has got to sting at least a little. Don't know about the rest of you, but I'm saving all my rejections (paper and digital) for any particular project so I can roll them out to encourage other writers WHEN that project gets published. I certainly appreciate hearing about other writers' rejections -> success stories! I've been gradually collecting these types of successful author rejection stories on Inkygirl. One great place to find other writers' rejections is Literary Rejections On Display. The author of this blog prefers to remain anonymous, but describes himself/herself as follows: "I am a published, award-winning author of fiction and creative nonfiction--but whatever. In the eyes of many, I am still a literary reject." URL: http://literaryrejectionsondisplay.blogspot.com

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Monday
May032010

Weekly Wordcount Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May012010

My comics on Writer Unboxed

My first comic is online at Writer Unboxed! I'll be posting comics there every other weekend. For those who aren't familiar with the site, Writer Unboxed is an excellent source of writing tips and info for genre fiction writers.

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Thursday
Apr292010

Morning Ritual Goal: Posting less online but writing more

Morning self-portrait After my last get-together with my writing pal, Mahtab Narsimhan, I've adopted a new daily work schedule. I generally wake at about 6-6:30 a.m. and head down to my office to do e-mail, then surf for publishing news for my Market Watch column while also updating @inkyelbows and other feeds on Twitter. From now on, I'm going to do some writing first thing ... BEFORE GOING ONLINE. I've been trying it for a few days now and I'm very happy with the results. By 8 a.m., I've been writing for 1.5-2 hours, and then I can start working on my publishing news column. I'll do more writing later, but it's a good way to start the day plus I'm more productive. It'll take a little while before it becomes habit, though -- when I wake up, I am SO used to going online right away. It's how I wake up, instead of the morning cup of coffee that other people have. What about the rest of you? What's your morning ritual?

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Thursday
Apr292010

Write from your own passion

Wednesday
Apr282010

Story A Day challenge for writers: May 2010

The goal of Julie Duffy's Story A Day challenge is write a story every day in May. Before you freak out, keep in mind that the stories can be of any length. There is also leeway built-in. "You get to decide what “every day” means. If you need to take Sundays off, go for it. You make your own rules, but you are encouraged to set them up early, and stick to them!" I'm signing up. I'm going to participate in Paula Yoo's National Picture Book Writing week, so I figure writing picture books can count for the first week, then I'll write other types of stories the rest of the month. For me, I'm mainly aiming for story ideas -- a very rough story outline (including a beginning, middle and end) every day. Some days this might only be a few sentences but if I'm feeling super-inspired, I figure I can write a more detailed story outline. After May, I'll pick out the story ideas that appeal most to me and expand the outlines. What about the rest of you? If you're ready to commit, sign up here. For more info, see http://storyaday.org/.

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Monday
Apr262010

Inkygirl In Writer's Digest "Best Websites" List!

I recently discovered that my site has been listed in Writer's Digest annual "101 Best Websites For Writers" list, in the May/June 2010 issue. Thanks to all those who nominated me! :-) And thanks to Heather Wright for letting me know.

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