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Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Editorchat to Get a Winter Makeover

In Resources, Writing on December 2, 2009 at 5:34 pm

By Tim Beyers

After 11 months on the job, Editorchat is taking a break for the winter. Well, okay, not for the whole winter, but for December. My co-founder Lydia Dishman and I are taking the month to try and make the experience, and the blog, better.

You might say we’re returning to our roots. We’re taking time to remember why we started this thing. Here’s what we said back in March, when former BusinessWeek Executive Editor John A. Byrne joined us for a chat:

If you have yet to try Editorchat, think of it as the world’s cheapest, real-time writer’s conference covering issues of substance facing the publishing industry. We think these sorts of discussions are essential for survival as writers. Having BusinessWeek join us makes us think that we’re onto something.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Editorchat Gets a Friend

In Resources, Writing on September 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

By Tim Beyers

Twitter sometimes acts like it’s in college; everything’s fine till someone throws a party.

Dozens are invited, of course. Tweets flow like beer and whiskey. Tweeps get louder and more obnoxious with each thread, right up until someone breaks a stereo — I mean, server — and the killjoys who weren’t invited hear the noise and call the cops.

Stumblers head for the exits. Some make it. Others enjoy a nice, quiet ride downtown to the drunk-tank. Everyone else passes out on the couch, waiting for Twitter to rally from its out-till-3-am alcohol and Cheetos bender.

Source: PhotobucketAnd of course all of this happens in a matter of minutes — just enough time to transform Editorchat from a joy to an annoyance. My friend Lydia Dishman and I prefer it when Editorchat is a joy, which is why we’ve moved the chat from Twitter to FriendFeed. Read the rest of this entry »

I Loathe You, Starbucks

In Resources on August 1, 2009 at 7:36 am

By Tim Beyers

Source: Google image searchStarbucks brews a decent cup of coffee, but it stinks as a place to work when I need one.

Look at the store designs, and the lines. Every Starbucks store is made to move people in and out as fast as possible. The pitching, foaming espresso machines may as well be screaming at me to get my drink and leave.

But you wouldn’t know that from management’s comments. In March, a spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that changes to its menus and pricing were meant to give Starbucks the feel of a coffeehouse.

Um, no. Read the rest of this entry »

Was Big Brother Watching Twitter?

In Resources, Writing on July 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my about.me page!

Once again, Twitter failed us during #editorchat.

If you’re unfamiliar with #editorchat, it’s a weekly discussion on Twitter run by yours truly and my friend Lydia Dishman. Writers and editors use the forum to talk about topics of interest to the beleaguered publishing industry and in the process help each other to work smarter and more profitably.

Tonight, we had hoped to tackle pay. We knew it would be a contentious topic, one guaranteed to raise tempers and maybe even voices. How it could not when outlets are increasingly choosing to pay by the penny, and still shift risk to their freelancers?

Big Publishing Brother apparently doesn’t like such talk. So, he decided to shut down the conversation before it could begin. Maybe. All we know for sure is that the Fail Whale belly-flopped into our #editorchat tweetstream.

We’re going with the conspiracy theory, if only because we find it more entertaining. Herewith are our top 5 Big Publishing Brother reactions to tonight’s proposed #editorchat topic, none of which have any basis in fact other than they were trending topics on Twitter when #editorchat stalled. Drum roll, please: Read the rest of this entry »

This Resource Beats the Web

In Resources, Writing on July 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my about.me page!

The Web is the second-best resource ever created for writers. The library is still better, by far. Here’s why.

Source: Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

Source: Strahov Theological Hall, Prague

1. You get free access to the Web at most libraries. My local offers two options. Patrons can either bring their own computers and log on with free Wi-Fi, or they can reserve one of the library’s computers. Either way, the library gives you the Web and a lot more.

2. You can find top reference books. When I was first starting out as a freelance writer, I’d spend $20-$30 for a shining new copy of the annual Writer’s Market. My local has its own copy that I can use every time I visit. Even better: I can check out copies of the magazines that WM is telling me about. Money saved is money earned. Read the rest of this entry »

Alice Hoffman Blew It Again

In Resources, Writing on July 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm

By Tim Beyers
Check out my about.me page!

Author Alice Hoffman has taken a beating for using Twitter as a bazooka to attack a reviewer of her latest book, “The Story Sisters.” She has since compounded that error by closing her Twitter account.

Source: The Boston Globe

Source: The Boston Globe

More about why this is a mistake shortly. First, some background. The Boston Globe published freelancer Roberta Silman’s lukewarm review of “The Story Sisters” on June 28. Shortly after, Hoffman responded angrily via Twitter, calling Silman “a moron” and questioning her credentials as a reviewer: “Now any idiot can be a critic. Writers used to review writers. My second novel was reviewed by [Anne] Tyler. So who is Roberta Silman?”

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How to Write a Film Review

In Resources, Writing on June 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm

DTaylor-thumbnail-headshotAnother month, another guest post. This time, Dave Taylor takes the reins. Dave is a well-known entrepreneur here in Colorado. One of his latest ventures, FilmBuzz, you can find on Twitter. I’ve asked him here to talk about the business of writing movie reviews. Read on for his expert tips, and when you’re finished be sure to check out my review of CrossOver for Mac at Dave’s tech support blog.

By Dave Taylor

Have you ever watched a movie?

Yeah, I thought so.

Everyone reacts to a movie while they’re watching it, laughing, gasping in fear, snickering at stupid plot points or smiling at a really cool action scene. When the film ends, you turn to your companions as you walk out of the theater (or get up from the couch to use the bathroom, as the case may be!) and say “great film!” or “jeez, what a dog” or “whatdja think?” or similar.

In that sense, we are all film critics and we all have the basic ingredients to be film reviewers. Yet I’ll wager a new DVD that you don’t write any sort of reviews of the movies you see, and at most perhaps you “Tweet” your friends with a ten-word micro-review. “Star Trek?  Awesome. Go see it!” may reveal to others whether you liked the movie or not, but this tweet misses a fundamental element, the core of all good movie reviews: “why.”

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No More Excuses, Writers: Why You Should Use a Mac

In Resources, Writing on June 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm

By Tim Beyers

Source: Apple

Source: Apple

Today you’ll find me writing at Dave Taylor’s excellent tech support blog, AskDaveTaylor.com. I’m evaluating CrossOver, a cross-platform utility that allows a user of one operating system to access programs designed for another. For me, Mac OS X is where I write and Windows is where I visit — CrossOver is the bridge.

And a pretty good bridge most of the time. But as with all software, CrossOver isn’t without its issues on my machine. Recent tests I’ve run suggest that the Gmail scripts I use to enhance Firefox may be giving Internet Explorer 6, and thereby CrossOver, a hairball. Either way, I grade the software as indispensable for the social writer who needs his Mac to play nicely with his client’s Windows network.

Read the full review at Dave’s blog, and be sure to keep an eye out for his post about writing film reviews. I’ll have it here next week. In the meantime, you can follow his cinematic coverage at this blog and via FilmBuzz on Twitter.

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TFWH Update: Writers’ Journal and FundsforWriters

In Resources, Writing on June 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

By Tim Beyers

For the second time since it became an open source project, The Freelancer Writer’s Helper has been updated. Last time, Susan Johnson of The Urban Muse added freelancer job sites. This time, I added submissions guidelines for Writers’ Journal and FundsforWriters, C. Hope Clark’s excellent newsletter series that highlights markets for new and established writers. Did you know that she also pays for advice articles from freelancers? Now you do.

Stay tuned for further updates of the Helper from yours truly and the Helper’s other contributors. If you’d care to join our open source band, write to me here.

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What I’m Writing Next: June Editorial Calendar

In Blogging, Resources on June 2, 2009 at 4:28 pm

By Tim Beyers

Should a blog have an editorial calendar? Markus Merz says “yes” in this post at the Performancing blog. He argues that having a schedule of content engages readers and forces planning upon the terminally disorganized. But does it really? Time for an experiment, social writers. Below is my rough editorial calendar for June:

Week 1 (June 1-5)

Source: PepsiCo

Source: PepsiCo

The top 10 bloggers for writers to follow. Thank you, blogathon. Not only did you re-introduce me to the magic elixir that the elves at PepsiCo call Mountain Dew but you also found me some great new writers to follow and whose musings I enjoy reading.

Digg or StumbleUpon? I’ll weigh in on which service writers should use. Write me here if you’ve an opinion or an experience you’d like to share.

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