Blog Bait


Updated with Bob Mayer’s comments, below.

I spent all day Saturday at a conference for editors, an event attended by 150-some word geeks, about 90 percent of whom were female.  Why is the editing profession so skewed?  Perhaps all the male editors are fully employed staff members someplace and don’t feel the need to attend conferences, while the female editors are home (or coffee shop) based freelancers who go to conferences to talk to real live people who don’t think it’s weird to care about the difference between there, their, and they’re. 


The most interesting segment of the conference was a panel discussion of e-books.  (Editorial note: I had to check the spelling of that word, which I wanted to write as ebooks.  MW 11 wants a hyphen, which is better than insisting on capitalizing, but I’ll bet that hyphen will be gone in the next edition.)  Anyway, one of the panelists, an author of he-man novels named Bob Mayer, has breathed new life into his pocketbook by republishing his old books in e-book form.  Technology win!  He caught my attention with his marketing strategies.


Bob said he not only maintains a blog but visits and comments on any blog that mentions him.  Google alerts will tell you if your name pops up on the web (MW 11 wants that word capitalized, Web, but I just…can’t), and you can go see what people are saying about you.  So I’m testing Bob Mayer’s dedication to this principle. 


Will he visit?  Will he create an account so he can comment?  Come on, Bob, we want to meet you! 


You guys wouldn’t try to trick me by claiming to be Bob Mayer, would you?  I’ll know if the real Bob Mayer is commenting because he will mention the name of the moderator of the panel he was on.  The rest of you can just say, “Hi, Bob!”


Did you know that Kindle books now outsell print books on Amazon?  That’s damned impressive, especially considering the downsides of Kindle (and presumably other book readers).  It’s okay for novels if they’re not too complex or subtle.  If you are reading on a Kindle and you want to go back to that part of the book where we first meet Augustus and his terrible secret is not revealed but foreshadowed, you will soon wish you had a paper book in your hands.  On the Kindle you will have no idea where in the book we met Augustus and even if you did, it would still be tiresome to look for it.  Non-fiction in e-form is even worse, since you will definitely want to flip back and reread something and not be able to find it. 


Nevertheless, e-books are only growing in popularity, potentially opening up new avenues for acquiring editorial work.  I think I should write one, too.  How-to books sell well.  What would y’all like to learn for, say, $4.99 per download?    




30 thoughts on “Blog Bait

  1. I would like to learn how to flip back while reading non-fiction on a Kindle.  Hi Bob!  Here’s what I did for the last three books:  I underlined every single solitary thing I thought I’d ever be interested in again.  It worked tolerably well.  Then in “my clippings” I could at least find the location.  Not as good as print.  But okay.  I have a hard time imagining writing a book for publication only in e-book form.  

  2. @ordinarybutloud – There are lots of e-book-only books.  I’m reading one now about how to write an e-book.@distractedbyzombies – I can do that, but I would have to make most of it up.  Maybe my e-book can be about how to find just the right repair-person for a job that you yourself could not do if the fate of the earth rested upon it because that’s the only way to stop the speeding space debris from crashing into the giant nuclear exploder. 

  3. All books look like crap on my Kindle.  Or, put another way, all books look exactly the same on my Kindle.  I hate marketing.  I hate the whole idea of marketing.  I hate every single solitary thing about marketing.

  4. Laughing at barista….Will the REAL Bob Mayer please stand up?!?For some reason, writing an e-book sounds much more appealing and less overwhelming to me than writing a regular book.  Perhaps it is my comfort with all things internet and my prowess as a blogger and blog commenter.

  5. Hi, Bob!I my Kindle!!  I read more bc of my Kindle (which is markedly easier to read with a baby in my lap than a book). My teen son reads more with his Kindle. (My novel is available in e-book format, too!)  Granted, the market for e-books (gods, I don’t want to hyphenate that at all!) leaves something to be desired, bc it allows EVERYONE to be a published author, and some of that content makes my head hurt.  Have those people not let one other person read it before they blast it to the world??  And that’s just the grammar. We won’t even touch plot, character development, or flow!!

  6. Hi Bob! That being said, I think you should write a how-to about getting into the editorial profession, or about blogging. Just write a how-to-write-a-fabulous-blog book. That would be sweet. I would pay monies.

  7. @turningreen – E-books tend to be shorter, so maybe that makes the project seem less overwhelming.  Or maybe it’s because everyone already assumes an e-book will suck, so no pressure.@daeshii – Yes, all those people who think they should be authors desperately need my services.@opticalnoise – Hey, I can do that!  Especially if one doesn’t want to make any money off the blog.  I’m very good at blogging for no profit.@ordinarybutloud – Actually, they don’t all look alike on the Kindle.  That Joan C. Williams book we both just read on the Kindle looked like total crap, because it was full-justified and had huge             spaces in weird          places.  The how-to-write-an-e-book e-book that I’m reading looks much better.

  8. Yeah, yeah.  I’m here.  Thanks for the mention.eBooks can be shorter than print or longer  Production costs are no longer a factor, except for editorial services.  I’m actually looking at having future novels be shorter, around 60,000 although my last book, Duty, Honor, Country was an epic 175,000 words long.

  9. At my company, we use a combination of Chicago Manual of Style and the production vice president’s personal preferences. Website is always website, never Web site or Website. This is one of the conventions I’ve internalized entirely. Om nom nom. 

  10. I am hopelessly addicted to paper books. Of course, I don’t have a kindle, so I probably shouldn’t make any absolutist statements about what I do and don’t like (just like my children in regard to new/differently combined foods!!).  

  11. just had to follow through and find that your bait did work! Good show!  There’s more to how-to than 4.99, isn’t there? Invariably, there are costs of some kind beyond an initial knowing how. The right tools tend to help anyone look expert

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