FTC guidelines on the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising

100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers (nifty Masters in English site)

NetGalley.com, a website for "professional readers" (who read and recommend books: reviewers, bloggers, media, booksellers, librarians and educators). Publishers (including self-publishers) pay NetGalley to host digital galleys (not printable, and not printed), both PDF and EPub files, readable on all major reading devices .
(See About.com's PCSupport explanation: EPUB file: What It Is & How to Open One. An EPUB file is an Open Publication Structure eBook file.

The Page 99 Test (Marshal Zeringue's blog to test the hypothesis: "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."~Ford Madox Ford).

“It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.” ~ Oscar Wilde

The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy a/​k/​a Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-29-12). An eye-opener about not only Kirkus Reviews but all those glowing reviews for new books on Amazon.

“Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.”
~ Jean Rhys (also attributed to editor Hazel Rochman, in a 1995 essay, but Rhys may be a more likely source)

Some Book: Celebrating 60 Years of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ (Michael Sims, NY Times Sunday Book Review, 4-20-12)

Fresh Air interview with Rachel Maddux . The popular MSNBC host talks about her start in broadcasting, her life, coming out, depression, and her new book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, in which she argues that our national defense has become disconnected from public oversight.



Back From the Dead: The State of Book Reviewing by Jane Ciabattari (The Practical Writer Sept-Oct 2011, Poets&Writers)


Announcing The Independent, a.k.a. The Washington Independent Review of Books.

"Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
~ Samuel Johnson



"Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
~ Samuel Johnson

"My idea of pure heaven is to spend a day in the kitchen, peeling, chopping, and stirring while the words of a good book fill the air around me."
~Ruth Reichl

"I would rather be attacked than unnoticed."
~ Samuel Johnson

"Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
~ Malcolm Forbes

"Everyone should be on Facebook. Facebook isn’t competing with Twitter. Facebook is competing with the Internet. If you’re a journalist, you want to be part of the conversation."
~ Sree Srinivasan, in a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle, in which he also said Facebooks is "one of the greatest time sinks in human history"

"Some reviews give pain. This is regrettable, but no author has any right to whine. He is not obliged to be an author. he invited publicity, and he must take the publicity as it comes along."
~ E.M. Forster

"Anyone can be accurate and even profound, but it is damned hard work to make criticism charming."
~ H.L. Mencken

"Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs."
~ John Osborne

Quick Links

Find Authors

Book news, reviews, and author interviews

Plus blogs, links to author interviews, resources for critics and book reviewers
•
Venues for author interviews, webcasts
• Author profiles and interviews
• Author interviews, book readings, glimpses into the literary world
(podcasts and downloads for bookworms and writers, or listen online)
• How and where to get reviews and publicity for a book
• News, reviews and promotion for self-published books and indie eBooks
• Resources for critics and book reviewers
• Social networking for book lovers
(Goodreads and other book communities)
• Literary magazines and journals, lists of
• Blog roll -- good book and lit blogs
• Mysteries--recommended reading sites
• General links (book news, reviews; book and
reviewer blogs; resources for critics and book reviewers

• Fake ("sock puppet"), not-quite-kosher, and
poison book reviews
and Amazon's response to them
• Negative book reviews


With some periodicals, you may have to register to view the publication online (usually for free, except maybe for book reviews). They want the demographic information so they know where (and how old) their readers are and thus to whom their (dreamed-of) online advertisers will be able to market their wares.

Venues for author interviews, webcasts
(sites where they can be found)


• Authors on Tour (Best of)
• Author Webcasts (Library of Congress presents, free, the "best of the nation's authors, poets and illustrators")
• Book Q&As with Deborah Kalf (author Q&As and historical factoids about books)
• BookTalk Nation (works with indie bookstores to present author talks). See Information for authors.
• Book TV's After Words interviews (C-Span archives)
• Book Notes (C-Span Video Library archives)
• Charlie Rose interviews
• C-Span Video Library
• Don Swain book and author interviews (Wired for Books, WOUB online, Ohio University)
• GoodReads exclusive author interviews
• Great Conversations (four times a year Kentucky Author Forum tapes a candid, uninterrupted hour of conversation for Kentucky's public television
• Interviews with (or about) novelists and short story writers
• Library of Congress webcasts of authors (Read.gov--authors, poests, and illustrators discuss their work and how they have used the Library of Congress's extraordinary resources in their work)
• NPR Books author interviews
• The Open Notebook (fascinating interviews with science writers about the stories behind the stories -- especially on the writing process)
• PEN America multimedia archives
• PEN America panels
• Politics & Prose Author Event Recordings on Demand (Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington DC holds awesome author events, recordings of which you can listen to online, free--or download the mp3s and listen while you exercise)
• Powell's Books Interviews
• Rorotoko (archives of author interviews)
• Salon.com author interviews
Interviews with Authors (Barnes & Noble series), includes interviews such as the following (from a great series): David Brooks (a conversation with James Mustiche Barnes & Noble, 3-17-11)
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A few interesting
author profiles and interviews

• A Peek Inside the Mother-Daughter Collaboration That Brought Us the Little House Series (Rebecca Onion, The Vault, Slate's history blog, 4-21-14)
• Wilder Women The mother and daughter behind the Little House stories (Judith Thurman New Yorker, 8-10-09)
• My Life as a Writer (Philip Roth as interviewed by Daniel Sandstrom, for publication in Swedish translation in Svenska Dagbladet and in its original English in the Times Book Review, 3-2-14)
• Literary Fathers: James Jones and Andre Dubus. Interviews about them with their children, Kaylie Jones and Andre Dubus III (Open Road Integrated Media)
• Literary Fathers: John Gardner, Stanley Elkin, Terry Southern, and William Styron. Interviews with Lucy Gardner Johnson, Joel Gardner, Molly Elkin, Nile Southern, and Alexandra Styron (Open Road Integrated Media)
• He Gave ‘the Mundane Its Beautiful Due’ (Hermione Lee's well-written review of Adam Begley's biography and Updike's short story collection amounts to a profile)
• Patton Oswalt (A Barnes & Noble conversation with Kerry Lauerman, 2-3-11, from Salon.com, who has partnered with B&N for many of these interviews)
• A B&N interview with Stacy Schiff (author of Cleopatra)
More to come.
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Author interviews, book readings, glimpses into the literary world

Podcasts and downloads for book worms and writers

• Intelligent radio and TV talk shows (a roundup of links to all the good NPR programs, most of which have archives--or you can listen online)
• Author MBA podcasts (Winning Edits site, conversations about the business of books)
• Edward Champion's excellent list and descriptions of, and links to, Literary Podcasts
• The Agony Column (Rick Kleffel's rich archive of reviews, especially of genre fiction
• Authors in Your Pockets (iTune podcasts)
• Barnes & Noble Meet the Author interviews (iTunes)
• The Bat Segundo Show (quirky and thorough long-form interviews with contemporary authors, eccentric thinkers, and other assorted artists).
• BBC Arts & Ideas
• Between the Covers with John J. Miller (National Review)
• The Book Club interviews (Sky Kirkham, Grace Nye, Amy Stevenson and Samuel Finegan) and reviews
• Books on the Nightstand (illuminating conversation about books and reading)
• Booktalk Nation (real-time chats with authors, brought to your living room)
• Bookworm (Michael Silverblatt, KCRW, does excellent interviews with writers)
• Diane Rehm arts & culture programs and interviews with authors , Diane Rehm Books & Authors Interviews , but one of my favorites is her Reader Review programs (book clubs on the air)
• Lewis Burke Frumkes, weekly interviews with authors
• The Guardian Books Podcast (more sophisticated than most)
• Key West Literary Seminar Audio archives (KWLS recordings of presentations and readings by and conversations between some of the world's most influential writers)
• Literary Disco (Writers talk about reading. Hosted by Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and Rider Strong. Listen to over 15,000 radio shows, podcasts and live radio stations for free.)
• Litopia (Litopia Writers' Colony)
Longform (a weekly conversation with a nonfiction writer about how they got their start, how they work, and how they tell stories--co-produced by Longform and The Atavist)
• New Yorker fiction (a monthly reading and conversation with the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman)
• New York Review of Books podcasts
• New York Times Book Review podcasts
• NPR Books podcasts
• NPR Author Interview podcasts
• Paris Review interviews (authors discuss their life and writing in revealing conversations in The Paris Review's Writers at Work interview series--transcripts)
• Paris Review interviews with fiction writers (transcripts)
• Q&A (archives of C-SPAN's excellent series of Sunday evening interviews with people, often authors, who are making things happen in politics, the media, education, and science & technology in hour-long conversations about their lives and their work.) You can watch the program in real time or later and eventually there's a transcript to read online.
• Selected Shorts ( PRI’s award-winning series of short fiction read by the stars of stage and screen)
• The Stitcher List of Top Shows (What the World Is Listening To Now) Discover the best of news, entertainment, comedy, sports and talk radio on demand with Stitcher Radio.

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How and where to get book reviews and publicity

• Where to find online book reviewers (Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz). Includes tips on where to find reviewers for self-published books.
• How to Get Reviews For Your Book (Without Begging, Bribing or Resorting to Subterfuge) (Kimberley Grabas, Your Writer Platform, 2-9-14). Thanks for good links, Kimberley!
• Six degrees of reputation: The use and abuse of online review and recommendation systems (Shay David and Trevor Pinch, First Monday, July 2006) Will online reviewing go beyond gaming the system and become stable, reliable?
• How To Get Amazon’s Top Customer Reviewers To Review Your Book (Joanna Penn Creative Penn 9-16-12). Amazon has a page listing its top reviewers
• The Laws of the (Amazon) Jungle—Eight Rules Authors Need to Know to Stay Safe (Anne R. Allen)

Book giveaways
• How to Market a Book and Strengthen Your Author Platform with Goodreads (Kimberley Grabas, Your Writer Platform 5-3-13, with thanks for other links)
• How to Conduct a LibraryThing eBook Giveaway (Shelley Hitz, The future of ink: Digital Publishing for Online Entrepreneurs, 12-6-13)
• How to run your own blog tour (with giveaways) and is it really worth it (Pavarti K. Tyler, Novel Publicity & Co., 2-22-12)
• Promote Your Book with Contests & Giveaways (Joel Friedlander, CreateSpace, 9-11-12)

News, reviews and promotion for self-published books and indie eBooks

A few places to start:

• PW Select (Publishers Weekly's bow to self-published books).
• Where to Get Self-Published Book Reviews (SPR)
• How to get your self-pubbed or e-book reviewed by bloggers (Stephanie Lawton 8-18-11)
• Authors Unbound (providing indie authors who epublish with events at which they share their work and connect with fans)
• Indie Reader (a site that features and reviews books of indie authors)
• Blue Ink Review is an example of a pay-for-your-review site. It pays reviewers $75 for a review and charges the self-published author $395 for a review (as of November 2012), or $495 for "fast track" (review to be completed in 4-5 weeks).
• Kirkus Indie Kirkus Reviews has a set-up similar to Blue Ink Review, and reviews on Kirkus may be negative (that is, frank).
• Darcie Chan started word-of-mouth on her quiet novel, The Mill River Recluse (not a vampire novel or any other sensational genre), by getting the book featured on promotional sites for low-priced ebooks. After lowering the price to 99 cents and being featured (for free) on Ereader News , her sales jumped in two days to 600,000. Sites that promote low-priced eBooks (typically for a fee) include
~ Ereader News (tips, tricks, and bargain books for your Kindle)
~Pixel of Ink (free & bargain Kindle books),
~Kindle Nation Daily (free books + Kindle tips + news, commentary)
~ The Frugal eReader (frugal finds under nine for the Kindle)
~Bargain eBook Hunter (briefy traps free Kindle books)
• C. Patrick Schulze, in How to Get Your Self-Published Novel Reviewed, lists lots of places where indie books are reviewed (This Business of Writing 4-16-10).
• The Best Reviews Money Can Buy (or, Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves, by David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-25-12--note 300+ comments)
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Literary magazines and journals, lists of


• Poets & Writers guide to literary magazines. Connect your poems, stories, essays, and reviews to the right audiences by researching over eight hundred literary magazines in our database. Here, you’ll find editorial policies, submission guidelines, contact information—everything you need to direct your work to the publications most amenable to your vision.
• NewPages.com . Browse the literary magazines listed in NewPages to find short stories and longer fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, essays, literary criticism, book reviews, author interviews, art and photography. The magazine editor's description for each sponsored literary magazine gives you an overview of editorial styles—what writers they have published and what they are looking for (with contact information, subscription rates, submission guidelines, and more).
• Faster Times list (Lincoln Michel's list of literary magazines that regularly publish fiction)
• Pushcart Prize ranking of literary magazines (fiction) Clifford Garstang's lists at Perpetual Folly, ranked according to number of Pushcart Prizes and mentions. Here are the rankings for nonfiction and for poetry.
• PEN/​O'Henry index of literary magazines
• Bookfox's list of literary journals (ranked according to how many stories or mentions they've had in Best American Short Stories (BASS).
• Literary Markets ranked by award anthologies (Mark Watkins' list, which includes such magazines as The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly)
• Selby's List 2.0 (The Venerable List of Experimental Poetry/​Art Magazines, curated by Jon Henson
• The Best Literary Magazines & Journals (AbeBooks.com)
• http:/​/​en.wikipedia.org/​wiki/​List_of_literary_magazines (Wikipedia's list of literary magazines and journals: periodicals devoted to short fiction, poems, essays, creative nonfiction, book reviews and similar literary endeavors which have published each year for ten years or more)
• Canadian literary magazines (Wikipedia's list)
• VIDA (Women in Literary Arts provide counts, demonstrating how much men are favored over women in the literary world). See, for example, Lie by Omission: The Rallying Few, The Rallying Masses. "The Paris Review’s numbers, previously among the worst in our VIDA Count, have metamorphosed from deep, male-dominated lopsidedness into a picture more closely resembling gender parity."
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Resources for critics and book reviewers


• National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Check out NBCC's blog, Critical Mass, it podcasts,
• The Critical I: Conversations With Critics and Review Editors (Critical Mass, NBCC, an interesting series of conversations with book review editors and critics, 2007-2009)
• Complete Review (links to 242 book review sites, in English and in other languages). Also, links to literary blogs and general literary sites.
• Critical Outtakes: Discussions with Writers
• The Next Decade in Book Culture (Critical Mass, NBCC, an interesting series about the state of literary criticism, the critic and the Internet, and so on, 2009-2011)
• A Critic’s Manifesto (Daniel Mendelsohn, Page-Turner blog, On books and the writing life, New Yorker, 8-28-12) He argues in this essay that all criticism is based on this equation: KNOWLEDGE + TASTE = MEANINGFUL JUDGMENT.
• Against Enthusiasm: The epidemic of niceness in online book culture. (Jacob Silverman, Slate Book Review, 8-4-12)
• Ethics in Book Reviewing Survey: The Results ("Critical Mass," National Book Critics Circle, posted 12-11-07). Among issues NBCC members discuss here and elsewhere on their website: the appropriateness of selling one’s review copies, favoritism by reviewers toward particular publishing houses, how honest a reviewer must be in what she or he writes, the propriety of review organs linking up with book sellers, the appropriateness of reviewing a book for which you provided an unpaid blurb, whether someone mentioned in the acknowledgments should be barred from reviewing a book.
• The Ethics of Book Blurbing: What’s OK and What’s Not? A Survey (Janice Harayda, One-Minute Book Reviews, 5-14-13)
• The Graying of 'The New York Review of Books' ( Russell Jacoby, Chronicle of Higher Education, 6-2-14)
• The Future of Book Reviews: Critics vs. Amazon Reviewers Top critics Morris Dickstein and Cynthia Ozick debate who are truly the book critics today (hint: Amazon reviewers) and what this means for reviewing. Jane Ciabattari reports. (The Daily Beast
• Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks (Jeanette Demain, Salon, 4-2-10). From "The Grapes of Wrath" to "1984" -- some amateur critics just can't stand the classics
• Why Jennifer Weiner Is Wrong About the Times Book Review (Christopher Beha, Slate Culture Box, 9-12-13). It doesn’t need to review more popular fiction. Or lit fiction, either. It needs to review holy crap fiction.
• Hatchet Job of the Year Award (The Guardian's annual celebration of bookish snark)
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Social networking for book lovers

(book communities)

• LibraryThing (enter what you're reading, or your whole library--and connect with people who read what you read--1.5 million people discuss and catalog books, find book reviews)
• GoodReads (a popular site for rating and commenting on books,for keeping track of what you read, and would like to read--or forming a book club, answering trivia, or collecting your favorite quotations--plus some giveaways)
• Shelfari (another popular site for rating and commenting on books -- a community-powered virtual bookshelf, to display your favorite books and connect to people who love to read what you love to read)
• BookCrossing (a popular book sharing site, with some paid features, including book tagging: You register a book, get a Bookcrossing ID, use that to physically tag a book, and release it (e.g., leave it in a coffee shop or on the subway). The person who finds the book you set free can register it, so you can follow where it travels)

• BookMooch (Give books away. Get books you want.)
• Book Movement (reading guides, reviews, a community)
• Comic Book Resources (a community and resource for comic book lovers)
• Bookperk. HarperCollins' site offers perks for "insiders."
• inReads (WETA, DC's public television affiliated, launched inRead 6-22-11, in Beta). Lets users converse about books, read reviews and get recommendations. Read (PW account here.
• Kobo's Reading Life. Explore. Unlock. Share.
• Nook Friends (Barnes & Noble site for Nook readers)
• Overbooked. Timely information about fiction, all genres, and readable nonfiction, plus Overbooked Scoops (curated by Ann Chambers Theis). Starred review lists include books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW)
• PaperBack Swap (a paperback book sharing service and community)
• Revish (a book rating community)
• Scribd (pronounced "skribbed") may be the largest book club in the world--on many topics
• Wattpad (an eBook community). Fiction-oriented. Read stories. Vote for your favorites. Create a library.

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Blog roll -- good book and lit blogs and online magazines

• Arts & Letters Daily
• Asylum (John Self's Shelves)
• Book Dwarf (Megan Sullivan, head buyer at Harvard Book Store, thoughtfully reviews books)
• Book Slut (Jessa Crispin, reviews, feature stories, interviews, and other book-related content)
• Book Square (dissecting the publishing industry with love and skepticism)
• Critical Mass (The National Book Critics Circle, or NBCC -- conversations about literature and literary criticism) Has an excellent blog roll.
• Dear Reader (Suzanne Beecher's online book club). She's profiled here by Bill Duncan.
• A Commonplace Blog (D.G. Myers, whose credits include the much-discussed blog article The most overrated novel ever (Beloved by Toni Morrison)
• Juxtabook (books, book buying, book selling, book dealing, reading, reviews, libraries, literacy, education, teaching English Literature and all matters bookish)
• The Literary Salon (at The Complete Review)
• Maud Newton
• The Millions (an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture).
• OnFiction (An Online Magazine on the Psychology of Fiction)
• Page Turner (New Yorker) Criticism, contention, and conversation about books and the writing life. Reviewed by the Daily News.
• The Reading Experience (Daniel Green) See, for example, Literary Blogs.
• ReadySteady Book for literature
• The Rumpus
• The Shatzkin Files (Mike Shatzkin, Idea Logical Company, a publishing futurist who writes interesting analyses of the shift toward digital publishing and where book publishing is headed.
• Publishers Lunch (the publishing industry's daily essential read, free) and if you $subscribe to Publishers Marketplace you can read Publishers Lunch Deluxe
• Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (reviews of romance novels)
• PowellsBooksBlog
• So Many Books (Stephanie, in Books, Rambling)
• Three Percent (University of Rochester blog for international literature)
• Some Choice Book Blogs (Cynthia Crossen, WSJ, 11-13-09)
•
The Book Trib (an aggregator of all the best book-related blogs
• 25 Best Literary Criticism Blogs (Mastersdegree.net, a resource for students pursuing a masters degree)
• The Best Literary Fiction Blogs & Websites (Jane Friedman)
More to come!
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Audio Books (formerly books on tape, but CDs and digital downloads are taking over the market)
I am a huge fan of audio books, which have become something of an art, with the best readers almost acting the parts of various characters. Listening to an audiobook is a different experience from reading the book yourself, and is especially a pleasure with fiction. I typically check my audiobooks out of the local public libraries in Montgomery County, Maryland, which have a pretty good selection--and you can reserve titles--which means waiting in a queue for the very popular titles, but that works for me.
• Audie Winners (2001 on, along right -- recordings awarded best narration etc.--a good list from which to check out recordings from library)
• AudioFile (review magazine/​website for those who love audio books, with features on "Golden Voices," the best narrators)
• The Listener (Salon's audiobook review column, featuring Laura Miller)
• Books for Ears (see review archive and
reviews of best audiobooks./a>
•
Reviews of the top ten audiobook websites
• Audible Yahoo Group (consumer discussion group sponsored by Audible.com, but not limited to Audible titles)


Back From the Dead: The State of Book Reviewing by Jane Ciabattari (The Practical Writer Sept-Oct 2011, Poets&Writers)

Biblioklept (review and discuss books and interview authors, publishers, and other book-type people)

Bookish.
Publishers Make a Plan: A ‘One Stop’ Book Site
(Julie Bosman, NY Times, 5-6-11). Three publishers (Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Hachette), frustrated few book buyers visit their company sites, have created Bookish.com, hoping it will become a destination for readers the way Pitchfork.com is for music lovers and IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Netflix are for films -- where site visitors can read recommendations, reviews, and recommendations from other readers and can buy books from the site or other retailers. (The article doesn't mention Amazon.com. The Bookish staff will select books from 14 or more publishers.

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered. Clive James' classic poem about about literary schadenfreude, as posted by Dwight Garner on the NY Times Paper Cuts blog about books.

The Book Publicity Blog (helpful blog -- and check right-hand column for good links to blogs on books, bookstores, media, marketing, publishing, publishing houses, technology, and more)

Book Reviewer Yellow Pages (scroll down for links to book reviewers who review books regularly and accept self-published and small press books)

Book reviewing panel. C-Span video of 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book panel discussion of the business of book reviews, with panelists Ron Charles, deputy editor of Washington Post Book World, David Montgomery, thriller and mystery Critic for the Daily Beast and Chicago Sun-Times, and authors Rebecca Skloot and Katharine Weber.

Book Review Podcasts. Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review, talks each week to authors, editors, and critics about new books, the literary scene, and current best sellers. The downloadable audio files are in mp3 format.

Book Reviews: Riles & Rules

Books and Beyond and other public events at the Library of Congress (Washington DC)

But is it well written? . In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post (2-1-13), reader Patrick Ross of Alexandria writes, "I admire The Post for continuing to review books, even after eliminating its stand-alone Book World section. But I do not understand why The Post often encourages reviews of nonfiction books that neglect a critique of the actual writing." Nowhere does one reviewer tell him if a Jared Diamond book "is a good read."


C-Span Podcasts (After Words, Washington Today, Podcast of the Week, Q and A, The Communicators, etc.)

Curled Up With a Good Book. (LL writes: "highly entrepreneurial e-zine; reviewers work for free and do a good job (on the six reviews I've read so far")

DailyLit. Receive short book installments by email or RSS feed (bite-size chunks of public domain books. Read on any computer or mobile device (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) (whenever you like). We learned of this from Cool Tools -- any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. (Thanks to Dan Curtis for this tip)

Dear Author (bloggers/​reviewers who love romance books and a smattering of other genre and nonfiction books)

Dirda's Reading Room (ongoing discussions of books, including Best Books for Scientists, Genre Books as Works of Art, Wild, Wild Western Literature, What Are Your Favorite 'Best Worst' Works of Fiction and Poetry. Older discussions here.

Does anyone want to be "well-read? by Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times 4-16-11) on changing ideas of "must reads."

The Fallen Status of Books, Hard Times for Hardcovers, by Jack Schaefer (Slate, 9-9-10).

Flashlight Worthy (Peter Steinberg and Eric Mueller provide many and various recommended reading lists on topics of interest to book lovers -- a culling of books with Amazon links)

The Future of Book Reviewing (Karen Long, Critical Mass, NBCC, 6-3-10)



How to Break into Book Reviewing (Gerald Bartell, ASJA's The Word blog 9-5-12)

In Praise of Book Critics (Cynthia Crossen, Dear Book Lover, Wall Street Journal, 11-28-11)


Kirkus Reviews rises from ashes, tran$formed:
• The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-29-12). An eye-opener about not only Kirkus Reviews but all those glowing reviews for new books on Amazon. (a/​k/​a Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves)
And here's a little history about Kirkus:
• Nielsen folds Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews (Jim Romenesko, Poynter, 12-10-09)
Kirkus Reviews lives on. Motoko Rich reports that Kirkus Gets A New Owner — From The NBA (NY Times 2-10-10). In December he'd reported that End of Kirkus Reviews Brings Anguish and Relief • (NYTimes, 12-11-09). Starred reviews were rare; negative reviews were not. Here's the link to Kirkus Book Reviews, reincarnated.


The Millions (C. Max Magee's popular online literary, arts, and culture site--good reading lists and comments)

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Mysteries -- Recommended Reading sites

• Cozy Mystery List and Cozy Mystery List blog. A helpful way of presenting the lists winners of Malice Domestic's Agatha Awards (traditional mysteries that contain no explicit explicit sex, gratuitous gore, or excessive violence).
• General Mystery Websites (links to sources for mystery reviews, blogs, true crime, mysteries in film and tv, etc.)
• Mysteries by Location
• Mystery News (good through 2009, when it ceased publication)
• Mystery Reader
• Mystery Scene magazine
• Stop. You're Killing Me! (a website to die for if you love mysteries)
• Author Links for Mystery Authors (Mainely Murders links -- a store where you can not only find a good selection but also trade in certain mysteries in excellent condition)

Articles about mysteries (general):
• The guilty vicarage: Notes on the detective story, by an addict by W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden (Harpers, 1948)
• The mystery of mysteries: What really keeps us reading (Mark Kingwell, Globe & Mail, 5-18-12)
• Why Readers Read Mysteries (James N. Frey)
• The Simple Art of Murder (Raymond Chandler, 1950)
• The Ghost of Miss Truman, (Jon L. Breen The Weekly Standard) Did Margaret Truman write her own mystery novels or were they ghosted by Donald Bain? An interesting look at celebrity mystery authors who worked with ghostwriters, only occasionally (Peter Duchin, for example) sharing writing credits: Brett Halliday, Leslie Charteris, Ernest Tidyman, William Caunitz, George Sanders, Leigh Brackett, Gypsy Rose Lee, Helen Traubel, Steve Allen, Susan Ford, Elliott Roosevelt, and of course Margaret Truman, whose novels Donald Bain probably wrote.
• Mystery Readers International (journal). Janet Rudolph, chocoholic, lists mystery readers' reading groups, mystery bookstores, mystery periodicals--and her journal issues focus on topics such as mysteries set in France, legal mysteries, shrinks and other health professionals in mysteries, animal mysteries, etc.)
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National Book Festival podcasts from the Library of Congress festival on the National Mall.
• Podcasts from Bookfest 2011 (Terry McMillan, Jessica Harris, Adam Goodheart, David McCullough, Russell Banks)
• Podcasts from Bookfest 2010 (Ken Follett, Jane Smiley, Anchee Min, Judith Viorst, Isabel Allende, Pat Mora, Rae Armantrout)
• Podcasts from Bookfest 2009 (Julia Alvarez, Judy Blume, Michael Connelly, Junot Diaz, Gwen Ifill, John Irving, Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor, Lois Lowry, Rickey Minor, Walter Mosley, James Patterson, George Pelecanos, Jodi Picoult, Jon Scieszka, Nicholas Sparks, David Wroblewski)
• Podcasts from Bookfest 2008 (Louis Bayard, Jan Brett, Geraldine Brooks, Warren Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Marisa de los Santos, Kimberly Dozier, Sharon M. Draper, Arthur Frommer and Pauline Frommer, Philippa Gregory, Walter Isaacson, Brad Meltzer, Cokie Roberts, Peter Robinson, Kay Ryan, Bob Schieffer, Jon Scieszka, Michelle Singletary, R.L. Stine, Dionne Warwick)
• Podcasts from Bookfest 2007 (Terry Pratchett, Maria Celeste Arrarαs, Charles Simic, Rosemary Wells, Victoria Rowell, Patricia MacLachlan, Sanjay Gupta, Ken Burns, Megan McDonald, David Baldacci, Holly Black, Carmen Agra Deedy, David Wiesner, Shelia P. Moses)

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• Neglected Books (where forgotten books are remembered)
• Neglected Books, readers' recommendations
• Neglected Books links to other sites about neglected books

New Books Network.
Discussions with authors about their new books -- a consortium of podcasts dedicated to raising the level of public discourse by introducing serious authors to serious audiences. Dozens of categories, which include:
• New Books in Biography (Oline Eaton interviewing)
• New Books in History
• New Books in Religion
• New Books in Education
• New Books in Film
• and so on!

100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers (Masters in English). Categories covered: general literature & publishing, literary magazines, book reviews, literary criticism, and book club blogs.

100 Great American Novels You've (Probably) Never Read (the book) by Karl Bridges. This pricey hardcover book is "a resource for readers of American fiction who’ve read their way through the standard canon of classics. 'One goal of this book,' Bridges writes in his Introduction, 'is to represent a wide time span–one equaling the length of American history.'' The novels listed cover a full 200 years: from Charles Brockden Brown’s Edgar Huntly, or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker(1797) to Charles T. Power’s In the Memory of the Forest (1997). You can find a list of the 100 novels on Neglected Books.

PEN America panels (transcripts)
• A Conversation with Grace Paley, Margaret Atwood, and Norman Mailer (5-31-11) We protest the state of the imagination of the PEN International Congress, 1986. We protest the underrepresentation of women on the panels and in the readings.
• Realms of Possibility: A Conversation with Phillip Gourevitch, Norbert Grstein, and Colum McCann (10-13-09) Says Gourevitch, to begin: "I’ve been struck over time that nonfiction writers are often treated the way photographers were treated by the great art museums and art snobs of the early or mid-twentieth century. Just as photography was not accepted as Art—with a capital A—nonfiction is still largely excluded from Literature—with a capital L."
• Saul Bellow, Allen Ginsberg, Nadine Gordimer, Salman Rushdie & Others (5-31-11). Says Bellow, to begin: "There has never been much rapport between government and art in the United States. The thing was set up only, on the political level, to create a kind of democratic society in which we might do as we pleased. But there is absolutely nothing about the setup of American society which obliges the government to us in any sense in this respect."
• Invisible Cities, Visible Cities (6-17=13) For many novelists, describing the city where a story takes place is as fundamental as providing a well-developed protagonist. This panel looks at how the city both limits and liberates, how it is informed by collective knowledge and individual exploration, and how, particularly in the era of globalization, it can be a place of imposing history and rapid reinvention. - See more at: http:/​/​www.pen.org/​audio/​invisible-cities-visible-cities#sthash.UldOTThO.dpuf
• Money and Translation (6-17-13)
Is there anything we can do, as writers and translators, to break the causal chain of financial influence in the U.S. reception and publication of foreign literature?
• All That’s Left to You: Palestinian Writers in Conversation (video of panel discussion, 5-4-13). For the first time, PEN brings together a panel of leading Palestinian writers to talk about their place in the global literary community. From Palestine and from the diaspora, they share their work, experiences, and visions, revealing how a literature is both imagined and created under occupation, siege, and exile.
• Censorship and Power in Iran (video of panel discussion, 5-17-13) PEN American Center joined with the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to host a screening of journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari’s powerful documentary film “Forced Confessions,” an exposι of the now-routine practice of extracting staged public “confessions” from political prisoners in Iran. After the film, Maziar joined Jon Stewart and CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon for a lively discussion on press freedom in Iran in the run-up to the crucial June presidential election.


Real Clear Books, links to top of the day's book reviews in various publications. See also Real Clear Politics, Real Clear Markets, Real Clear World, and Real Clear Sports.

Reviewing the Reviewers (Cheryl Jarvis, Publishers Weekly, 6-29-12)


Social networking for book lovers
(book communities)


• LibraryThing (enter what you're reading, or your whole library--and connect with people who read what you read--1.5 million people discuss and catalog books, find book reviews)
• GoodReads (a popular site for rating and commenting on books,for keeping track of what you read, and would like to read--or forming a book club, answering trivia, or collecting your favorite quotations--plus some giveaways)
• Shelfari (another popular site for rating and commenting on books -- a community-powered virtual bookshelf, to display your favorite books and connect to people who love to read what you love to read)
• BookCrossing (a popular book sharing site, with some paid features, including book tagging: You register a book, get a Bookcrossing ID, use that to physically tag a book, and release it (e.g., leave it in a coffee shop or on the subway). The person who finds the book you set free can register it, so you can follow where it travels)
• inReads (WETA, DC's public television affiliated, launched inRead 6-22-11, in Beta). Lets users converse about books, read reviews and get recommendations. Read (PW account here.
• Scribd (pronounced "skribbed") may be the largest book club in the world--on many topics
• Kobo's Reading Life. Explore. Unlock. Share.
• Wattpad (an eBook community). Fiction-oriented. Read stories. Vote for your favorites. Create a library.
• Bookperk. HarperCollins' site offers perks for "insiders."
• Nook Friends (Barnes & Noble site for Nook readers)
• BookMooch (Give books away. Get books you want.)
• PaperBack Swap (a paperback book sharing service and community)
• Revish (a book rating community)
• Book Movement (reading guides, reviews, a community)
• Comic Book Resources (a community and resource for comic book lovers)
• Reviews of these and other niche social networking sites (Kevin Palmer, Social Media Answers)

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So What Do You Do, Tom Lutz, Editor of Los Angeles Review of Books? Cameron Martin's interview with TL (Media Bistro, Avant Guild 10-26-11)

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything. Linda Holmes (NPR, 4-18-11) on how, with so much music and literature out there, we can't get to it all, so we must "cull" (sort what is or isn't worth our time) or "surrender" (this goes on the list of what I won't get to).

Why Do Critics Hate Movies Audiences Love?. I like Nell Minow's title for the interesting conversation, on video, between film critic A.O. Scott and David Carr, which the NY Times calls The Sweet Spot (6-1-12). Carr emphasizes how much a bad review can hurt. Scott emphasizes how bad The Lorax was (which he called a "noisy, useless piece of junk."

Writer Races to Victory From Way Off the Pace. Novelist Jaimy Gordon was a long shot for the National Book Award for fiction, with her novel Lord of Misrule, which won. "To write a novel that was even remotely commercial...she had to get out of Providence, where even to think of such a thing was considered a sell out..." Janet Maslin describes the novel as "so assured, exotic and uncategorizable, with such an unlikely provenance, that it arrives as an incontrovertible winner, a bona fide bolt from the blue."

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Negative book reviews


• Banning the Negative Book Review (Bob Garfield, NY Times, 11-29-13) How pure can a review site be that makes money through affilicate-marketing commisions from Amazon.com?
• Hatchet Job of the Year awards (Omnivore.com)
• Burying the Hatchet: The Death of the Negative Book Review (Lee Siegel, New Yorker, 9-26-13) Criticism used to be socializing by other means, full of controversy and even bloodshed. But now our book reviews are not so much polite as ...“modest and generous.”
• This Guy Thinks We Shouldn't Have Negative Book Reviews. Two Thumbs Down! (Isaac Chotiner, New Republic, 9-26-13)
• How NOT to react to negative criticism for a self-published novel (Bi
• When Book Reviews Go Bad: Negative reviews and how to cope (Carol Pinchefsky, Wizard Oil, August 2006)
• How NOT to react to negative criticism for a self-published novel (Big Al's Books and Pals reviews a poorly edited novel and author melts down in public)
• 10 ways to deal with a negative book review (Jane V. Blanchard)
• How Writers Can Benefit from a Negative Book Review (BookBaby 1-15-13)
• Why Book Critics Go On for Inches (Cynthia Crossen, WSJ, 5-1-09) Why publications spend a lot of column inches on a book they think is terrible.
• Why Do Critics Hate Movies Audiences Love?. I like Nell Minow's title for the interesting conversation, on video, between film critic A.O. Scott and David Carr, which the NY Times calls The Sweet Spot (6-1-12). Carr emphasizes how much a bad review can hurt. Scott emphasizes how bad The Lorax was (which he called a "noisy, useless piece of junk."
Most Negative Review Awards:
• Hatchet Job of the Year (Cargo Collective). Read those reviews!
• Most negative review award (funny, but terrible for the author) goes to Lionel Shriver for Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs) by Wendy Plump (The Guardian, 3-8-13). A badly written memoir of marital infidelity has Lionel Shriver yearning for Anna Karenina. (Interesting to compare with reviews on Amazon.

• Anthony Trollope on negative book reviews
(from The Way We Live Now (Chapter XI, Lady Carbury at Home)
During the last six weeks Lady Carbury had lived a life of very mixed depression and elevation. Her great work had come out, — the 'Criminal Queens,' — and had been very widely reviewed. In this matter it had been by no means all pleasure, inasmuch as many very hard words had been said of her. In spite of the dear friendship between herself and Mr Alf, one of Mr Alf's most sharp-nailed subordinates had been set upon her book, and had pulled it to pieces with almost rabid malignity. One would have thought that so slight a thing could hardly have been worthy of such protracted attention. Error after error was laid bare with merciless prolixity. No doubt the writer of the article must have had all history at his finger-ends, as in pointing out the various mistakes made he always spoke of the historical facts which had been misquoted, misdated, or misrepresented, as being familiar in all their bearings to every schoolboy of twelve years old. The writer of the criticism never suggested the idea that he himself, having been fully provided with books of reference, and having learned the art of finding in them what he wanted at a moment's notice, had, as he went on with his work, checked off the blunders without any more permanent knowledge of his own than a housekeeper has of coals when she counts so many sacks into the coal-cellar. He spoke of the parentage of one wicked ancient lady, and the dates of the frailties of another, with an assurance intended to show that an exact knowledge of all these details abided with him always. He must have been a man of vast and varied erudition, and his name was Jones. The world knew him not, but his erudition was always there at the command of Mr Alf, — and his cruelty. The greatness of Mr Alf consisted in this, that he always had a Mr Jones or two ready to do his work for him. It was a great business, this of Mr Alf's, for he had his Jones also for philology, for science, for poetry, for politics, as well as for history, and one special Jones, extraordinarily accurate and very well posted up in his references, entirely devoted to the Elizabethan drama.

There is the review intended to sell a book, — which comes out immediately after the appearance of the book, or sometimes before it; the review which gives reputation, but does not affect the sale, and which comes a little later; the review which snuffs a book out quietly; the review which is to raise or lower the author a single peg, or two pegs, as the case may be; the review which is suddenly to make an author, and the review which is to crush him. An exuberant Jones has been known before now to declare aloud that he would crush a man, and a self-confident Jones has been known to declare that he has accomplished the deed. Of all reviews, the crushing review is the most popular, as being the most readable. When the rumour goes abroad that some notable man has been actually crushed, — been positively driven over by an entire Juggernaut's car of criticism till his literary body be a mere amorphous mass, — then a real success has been achieved, and the Alf of the day has done a great thing; but even the crushing of a poor Lady Carbury, if it be absolute, is effective. Such a review will not make all the world call for the 'Evening Pulpit', but it will cause those who do take the paper to be satisfied with their bargain. Whenever the circulation of such a paper begins to slacken, the proprietors should, as a matter of course, admonish their Alf to add a little power to the crushing department.

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Fake, not-quite-kosher, and poison book reviews
Sock puppets and Amazon's mass deletion of reviews


For many of us, Amazon's value lies chiefly in the reviews posted for each title, which gives us a sense of whether to buy the book or not. That value has declined because of controversy about various kinds of "fake book reviews." Note: A sock puppet is an online persona created to disguise a reviewer's identity.
• Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia (Andrew Leonard, Salon.com, 5-17-13). The unmasking of a writer who took advantage of online anonymity to pursue old vendettas, creating and disposing of various sock puppet disguises and abusing Wikipedia’s policies on conflict of interest.
• Anonymous revenge editing on Wikipedia – the case of Robert Clark Young aka Qworty
• The Fiverr Report on Melissa Foster – Fake Reviews, Fake Awards, Fake Everything (Amazon Alert, 9-21-13). Provides a list of the top fake-review authors, including Amanda Hocking. Includes fake reviews on Goodreads, which I think Amazon now owns. The good fakers include some 1 and 2-star reviews to look credible.
• Amazon Alert: Your Guide to Unethical Authors (Amazon). "Tired of fake reviews? We are too."
• The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 8-25-12). "Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth....[Bing Liu] estimates that about one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are fake. Yet it is all but impossible to tell when reviews were written by the marketers or retailers (or by the authors themselves under pseudonyms), by customers (who might get a deal from a merchant for giving a good score) or by a hired third-party service." See also In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5 (Streitfeld, 8-19-11) and Is That Review a Fake?
• Update on Amazon's Disappearing Reviews: Konrath Continues Bold, Pro-Lies Stance; Amazon's Policies Clarified (Ed Robertson, Failure Ahoy! Adventures in Digital Publishing, 11-3-12). Responding to bad behavior by axing genuine reviews as well as fakes, Amazon has stirred serious criticism. Robertson points to the best summary of why Amazon is deleting so many honest reviews in Peter Durward Harris' post in Amazon forums.
• The 'sock puppet' scandal: How to stop fake book reviews online (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, 9-6-12)
• The furor over 'sock' puppet' Amazon book reviews (Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, 9-4-12).
• Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 12-22-12). Amazon's "sweeping but hazy purge [of "illegitimate reviews"] has generated an uproar about what it means to review in an era when everyone is an author and everyone is a reviewer."
• Authors condemn fake internet reviews (The Telegraph, on Web abuse by writers, 9-3-12)
• NI crime writers Stuart Neville and Sam Millar clash (Nuala McCann, BBC News, 9-3-12
• Case Study of Paid Book Review Mill (ShelfAwareness, 8-27-12)
• RJ Ellory admits posting fake book reviews over past 10 years (Andrew Hough, The Telegraph, UK, 9-4-12). Bestselling British crime writer, exposed for writing fake online reviews lauding himself while criticizing rivals, admits he has engaged in the practice for a decade. Thus begins the "sock puppet review" scandal.
• RJ Ellory: fake book reviews are rife on internet, authors warn Bestselling writers Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Susan Hill, Val McDermid and Helen FitzGerald, who have collectively sold millions of novels, “unreservedly” condemned the “abuse” on websites such as Amazon, where reviews posted under “fake identities” are causing untold damage to the publishing world. Read their letter in full.
• Leading academics in bitter row over anonymous 'poison' book reviews (Alastair Jamieson, The Telegraph, 4-18-10). Orlando Figes, professor of history at Birkbeck College, London, and author of a book on Stalin, has named his wife as the author of comments criticizing books written by other renowned scholars as being "dark and pretentious" and "critically dull."
• Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews on Amazon (Alexandra Topping, Guardian, 7-16-10). Historian to pay damages and costs to two rivals who launched a libel case after he posted reviews "praising his own work and rubbishing that of his rivals."

AMAZON'S REACTION TO THE SOCK PUPPET SCANDAL WAS EQUALLY UPSETTING:
• Amazon Tackles Review Problem, Deletes Wrong Reviews (Suw Charman-Anderson, Forbes, 11-7-12 )
• Amazon Customer Care Droids (Johnny Be Good, Stop the Good Reads Bullies blog, 10-20-12)
• Fake Reviews: Amazon's Rotten Core (Suw Charman-Anderson, Forbes, 8-28-12)
• Do Consumer Reviews Have A Future? Why Amazon's Sock Puppet Scandal Is Bigger Than It Appears (David Vinjamuri, Forbes, 9-12-12). A huge controversy has erupted over the use of “Sock Puppets” – fake personas created by authors – to write phony positive reviews of their own work and attack their rivals. The controversy started at the Harrogate Crime Festival in the U.K. in July, when British crime writer Stephen Leather casually acknowledged using sock puppets to generate buzz for his books. Amazon's guidelines for creating reviews include these two rules:
--"Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)"
-- "Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product. This includes reviews that are a part of a paid publicity package"
• Amazon Freaks Out About Sock Puppet Reviews And Deletes A Bunch Of Real Reviews (collateral damage department, TechDirt, 11-2-12). After authors freaked out about the sock puppet reviews, Amazon first revised its rules for review writing. making purchased reviews against the rules, and then deleted a lot of legitimate reviews, making it unlikely readers would post reviews in future.
• Why is Amazon deleting writers' reviews of other authors' books? (Carolyn Kellogg, Jacket Copy, Los Angeles Times, 11-2-12). A writer posting a review of another author's book got this response from Amazon: "We have removed your review from .... We do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors, artists, publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product. As a result, we've removed your reviews for this title."
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Websites, organizations, and other resources

A GREAT READ
Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
BOOK AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
New, used, and rare books, Amazon.com and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
WRITERS AND CREATORS
Multimedia, cartoons, maps, charts and so on
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing, training, and writing for government
Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
including essays and academic writing
Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
Writers on offices, standing desks, rejection, procrastination, and other features of the writing life
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus privacy, plagiarism, libel, media watchdogs, FOIA, protection for whistleblowers
EDITORS AND EDITING
And views on the author-editor relationship