Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Writer's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, #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).
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
For those who want to keep track of their story submissions on their iPhone and iPod, Andrew Nicolle has just updated his Story Tracker app for writers. I have the app on my iPhone but haven't had a chance to really check it out thoroughly because I'm not submitting short stories/articles right now. According to the Storytracker Web site, here's what you can do with the app: - Check the status of your stories, markets, and submissions at a glance. - Use the index to jump through long lists of stories and markets fast. - Add or remove stories, markets and submissions with ease. - Add details for each story, including title, word-count, genre, and notes. - View total income earned for each story. - 'Trunk' stories to hide them from the story list when creating submissions. - View the submission history for each story, sorted by date. - Add details for each market, including title, genre, editor and more. - Use the embedded web-browser to quickly check on market websites. - Launch email or phonecalls directly from market details. - Log whether a particular market is open or closed to submissions. - Closed markets are hidden from the market list when creating submissions. - Quickly check whether you already have a submission at each market. - View submission history for each market, sorted by date. - View response times for each submission. - Add details for each submission, including story, market, and sent/response dates. - Log whether a market has rejected, bought, or published a story submission. - Store income earned for each submission. - Statistics show totals for: stories, markets, and submissions, stories that have never been submitted, or have been abandoned (ie trunked), submitted stories still out to market, rejections, sales, and publications. - income earned. - Always remembers what screen you were looking at last. - Saves changes on exit, or when interrupted by a phonecall. - Database backup, restore, import and export over WiFi to your computer's web browser. Found out more at: http://andrewnicolle.com/storytracker/
Don't know about the rest of you, but I have a tendency to let my e-mail pile up...or at least I did. This year, I'm determined to keep better control over my e-mail Inbox (or Inboxes, since I have more than one e-mail account). What I'm finding: bad e-mail organization/handling results in wasted time (time that could be spent writing) and missing important messages. Here's a list of things I did toward achieving a better e-mail system, in case any of you want to try the same: 1. Did a mass search for certain senders and subject header phrases to make it easier to list messages for mass deletion. I've been getting notices from Twitter about new followers, for instance. I use Gmail, so I clicked on the "Show Search Options Link" to the right of the search field, specified that I only wanted to search mail in my Inbox, entered the phrase "is now following" in the search subject field, then hit SEARCH: Once you get a list of all the messages, then click on SELECT ALL: Click on "Select all conversations that match this search" to also select the e-mail results on other search results pages (else you have to repeat the process): ..and then DELETE: 2. Unsubscribed from as many e-mail lists as I possibly could. I had initially subscribed to various mailing lists with grand dreams of being able to scan all of them, but I'm realizing that there is just NO WAY I can keep up. The messages inevitably start piling up, and more important e-mail messages get lost in the mix. Instead, I read the lists on the Web whenever possible (bookmarking them in my To Read list -- browser bookmark organization is another topic I probably should cover sometime). And I'm going through each of these e-mails in my Inbox and taking the time to find the "To unsubscribe, click here" link. If there IS no link, I go to the source Web site and look for it, e-mailing the administrator if I have to: Some companies make it a real challenge to get taken off their their e-mail lists, counting on you giving up before you manage to unsubscribe. DON'T GIVE UP. Just think of how much time and hassle you'll save in the future by making some effort now. If there are lists whose mailings you'd really like to keep, filter them into a separate folder/mailbox. You'll have to remember to check this separate mailbox but at least it gets them out of your Inbox. As for improving my e-mail system, I'm trying to get into the habit of NOT CHECKING E-MAIL SO MANY TIMES THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Or at least not feeling compelled to drop everything I'm doing and responding immediately. This is going to take some self-discipline, but I'm already finding that it's paying off. Part of this is also training my regular contacts to my new system as well, that I may not be able to respond to all messages right away. What about the rest of you? What does your e-mail inbox look like right now? Any other tips or ideas to share about improving your e-mail system with the goal of getting more time to write? I may post a Part 2 for this topic, depending on responses. Related Resources: 4 ways to take control of your e-mail Inbox Fifteen Practical Tips for Managing Your E-mail : more for lawyers, but includes some useful tips. 7 Ways To Manage Your Email Like An Expert Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload: also includes tips on how to send better e-mail.
I joined LinkedIn years ago when it first launched, but then deleted my account because I made the mistake of accepting a connection request from someone I knew only vaguely through a few e-mail exchanges. Because of that decision, I started accepting similar connection requests. Often these were from people on LinkedIn with hundreds of connections. Then I started receiving requests which were passed down through my connection links for favours -- either referrals or information or requests for me to suggest where they should send their manuscripts. At that point, I realized that I had made a mistake in accepting that first connection to someone I didn't really know. The purpose of LinkedIn, after all, is to establish a network of trusted business contacts. After I quit LinkedIn, I kept hearing good things from some of my friends and work associates about LinkedIn, about how they were using it and how much it was helping them. I decided to give LinkedIn another chance, but this time I added the following warning in my profile:
PLEASE NOTE: I only link to people with whom I have worked or know personally (e.g. have had at least one meaningful conversation). A single e-mail exchange, being members of the same LinkedIn group, and being a Facebook/Twitter friend is not enough for me to add you to my network, nor is just being familiar with each other's blogs. Either we've met in person and know each other personally, or have had a longterm working relationship. Thanks for your understanding.I recently got a request from someone I've never met in person but with whom I had interacted a few times by e-mail. I declined and explained my reasons: that I hope she understood, but I always figure I should be able to explain each connection to anyone who wants a business referral for that person. Her response:
Actually, no. I don't understand. You didn't seem to mind the free publicity you got for the [--deleted by me--] site I set up for you, which took hours to create and also promote. I didn't get a thing out of it, personally or professionally. Now it's just too embarrassing for you to add me in case some idiot asks why you are connected to someone? Never mind. I get it. Thanks anyway.Ouch. I admit I was pretty baffled by the site she described. Also felt terrible...I had forgotten that this woman had offered to enable people to send each other some of my cartoons (Nanowrimo comics, maybe?) as greeting cards years ago, but at the time, I had assumed the architecture was already being used by the woman for other purposes -- had she really created an entire SITE just for me without asking anything in return?? How could I not have noticed, either through traffic or e-mails? As soon as I got this woman's message, I went searching to check but I can't find any reference to the site anymore. Whatever the case, I wish she had reminded me about our connection before sending me the second message above. :-( I've apologized and tried to follow up, but haven't yet received a response. But to those using LinkedIn right now, I'm curious. Have you ever declined a LinkedIn invite? Do you have any policies for what kind of connections you will and will not accept?
I've been using voice-activated software from time to time, mainly when I'd like a break from long periods of intensive typing. I find voice dictation useful mainly for first drafts, not editing, but it's great to be able to "write" while I'm walking around in my office (my headphone/microphone set has a long cord). I use MacSpeech, which uses dictation technology from Nuance, the company that makes Naturally Speaking, voice dictation software for Windows. When I'm away from my laptop, I've started using Dragon Dictation for the iPhone (which is FREE right now) and I'm really impressed. The text in the screenshot above/left was dictated by me a few minutes ago, with no edits. You can dictate up to 20-30 seconds at a time, with the text accumulating on the iPhone screen. When you're finished, you can e-mail yourself the text or copy/paste it into the iPhone app of your choice. Like any voice-activated software, the transcription isn't always perfect, but it beats the heck out of trying to thumb-type text while you're walking or having to manually transcribe a recorded message later. You can read some reviews and find out more info here: Review: Dragon Dictation -- iPhone voice transcription by Dragon NaturallySpeaking MacRumors.com review Some useful tips for Dragon Dictation (be sure to read the comments section, too!) NOTE FOR THOSE NOT LIVING IN THE U.S.: At present, you can only buy Dragon Dictation for the iPhone from the U.S. iTunes store. Here are Apple's own instructions for how to create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card. Dragon Dictation for the iPhone is FREE for a limited time, so be sure to buy your copy soon!
Apparently Transport Canada is banning books and periodicals from their flights unless passengers buy them after going through security. Eek. Makes me even happier about being able to read e-books on my iPhone! Hope this ban doesn't last long. Also see: Books Banned on Canada-U.S. Flights (January Magazine) Stop Dumbing Down: Allow Books on Airplanes (Facebook Group)
From Charles Carroll, editor of www.xtremetravelstories.com: Are you fed up with travel writing as it exists today? Are you looking for a fresh approach to this medium; one that focuses on the extreme nature of traveling as opposed to the “Club Med” stories that so often fill the pages of travel writing these days? If so, this contest is perfect for you! Send us your story, any language, any topic; as long as it’s original and interesting it constitutes as Xtreme! The winning author will be awarded a $100 cash prize! This is our inaugural competition and it will run quarterly. In addition to submitting your crazy travel experiences in written form- we are accepting Xtreme photos and videos for equal consideration. We’d eventually like to receive enough photos and videos to have a separate competition, but for now written and visual work will go head to head! Our viewers will vote for their favorites and XTS will award the winner on March 1, 2010- no strings attached, no questions asked. If your worried about creative license, the authors of the work on our site retain all rights to their art and, if they so wish, can ask for it to be removed at any time. Give it a shot, you’ve got nothing to lose! www.xtremetravelstories.com DEADLINE: March 1, 2010 PRIZE: $100, (quarterly competition) LIMITATIONS: None CONTACT US: email@example.com For more info about the contest: http://www.xtremetravelstories.com/index.php/en/competition
#YAlitchat is a weekly twitter chat for anyone involved in the writing, editing , marketing or publishing of Young Adult literature. #YAlitchat takes place at 9PM EST and goes until 10:15PM. There is a guided discussion three weeks out of the month and one week each month, there is open discussion. For daily tweets relating to Young Adult literature that may be of interest to our writers, I have started a #YAlitchat Twibe. Our Twibe is a twitter group for #YAlitchat members. Visit http://twibes.com/YALITCHAT to join. There is also a larger community where you can connect and share twenty four/seven on ning at http://YALITCHAT.ning.com without worrying about the limitations of twitter.If you're a YA author, I strongly recommend checking out this community. Georgia regularly posts up-to-date info about markets and industry news relevant to YA writers. And feel free to add me as a friend! You can find me at http://yalitchat.ning.com/profile/inkyelbows.