concept to publication

Month: December 2009


liquids (expensive printer ink)

If it seems your printer is worth less than the ink you put in it, you could be right. This chart is via

Mailbag: A form query

I received the following e-mail:

Within the last few months, I sent you a query regarding my book, [title redacted], which you kindly declined to represent. In the interim, I have built my own website , and I’ve since had grown my audience to hundreds of enthusiastic readers. I’d like to invite you to check it out at [url redacted],

If you are interested in representing this book, then I would be interested in speaking with you.

Thanks for your time,

If anyone is interested in how to write a query letter, well, this is not the way.

Say what?

“Hilburn . . . had the access and longevity to get to know musicians better than few in the media do today.”
— Associated Press

Is “better than few” the same as “less well than many”?

A formalist analysis of the literary genre of the Windows installation plaint; or, an agony in nine fits

Commenter Ajay on the Making Light Forum has deconstructed the genre:

I. Exordium. The narrator introduces himself, establishes his experience in computing (ethos) and exhorts the listeners to gather round.
II. Prolegomenon. Customarily, the hardware spec of the machine is outlined here.
III. Praeinstallatio. The narrator describes his initial attempt to install Windows.
IV. Contrainstallatio. The installation goes wrong.
V. Descendo. The narrator describes his increasingly desperate attempts to get things to go right.
VI. Depilatio. The narrator is reduced to despair and frustration.
VII. Inertio. The narrator sinks into a horrified stupor as his machine gurgles and clunks to itself for anything up to three days.
VIII. Peroratio. The narrator rises into fury as he describes how long and painful an experience the install was; which may be followed by
IX. Aptenodytes forsteri, the narrator switches to Linux.

via Boing Boing


This brief video is for James Higham, who loves thunderstorms. It’s a glimpse of a monsoon thunderstorm seen from my guestroom at CS Graphics in Singapore, where I am press checking the Asian Art Museum’s new art of Shanghai book. There has been some pretty spectacular thunder along with the rain, but I didn’t succeed in capturing it. (I haven’t actually viewed this, except through my camera, because the computer I am using doesn’t have flash installed — hope it looks like rain!)


When this post publishes I will be on  a plane to a distant press check. I will miss being with family, who will keep the home fires burning (literally, since we seem to be in for a long wet spell). In fact, I will be traveling through much of the next few weeks, and posting may well continue to be light until about mid-January (after several years of pretty regular posting I have scaled back during the last couple of months for a variety of reasons, but this is temporary).

Extraordinary finds

I maintain my own daybook, where I have recorded events by date that are significant to me (there is a link near the top of the left sidebar). But my effort pales beside the project called Ordinary Finds, which, if I’m not mistaken, is produced by Bent Sorensen of Aalborg, Denmark (this is hard to determine from the site itself). Ordinary Finds collects remarkable photos and adds cogent remarks regarding cultural figures associated with the various dates of the calendar (mostly through their birthdays). For example, for December 9, this year the site includes the interesting photo of Lucian Freud above along with extended reflections on Wilfredo Lam and Diego Rivera, as well as Freud, and shorter entries (with intriguing photos) on Jean Sibelius, Jim Morrison, and Camille Claudel. Nice work!

It seems I haven’t been keeping up

The New York Times recently issued its list of 100 notable books of 2009 — and I don’t think I’ve read any of them!

But it’s not like I haven’t been reading. What’s up with that?

Early 20th-century scenes of Paris

Eugène Atget made a number of interesting sets of photos of aspects of Parisian life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France has made a number of them available on the web. This is a detail from a photo of the Cabaret Alexandre, 100 boulevard de Clichy, printed between 1910 and 1912 from a negative taken in 1910. Great stuff! (I love the way the type echoes the form of the doors in this one.) See more here.

Google Wave

Google Wave, currently in beta, seems to be an effort to combine an online document feature (Google Docs) with a live chat feature (Google Chat). Contacts can collaborate on documents in real time. I haven’t tried it yet, and I wonder if the simultaneous live editing feature doesn’t get a little chaotic.

Anyway, I have a handful of invites left to share, so if anyone wants to try the beta version, send me an e.  Google says “Google Wave is more fun when you have others to wave with, so please nominate people you would like to add. Keep in mind that this is a preview so it could be a bit rocky at times. Invitations will not be sent immediately. We have a lot of stamps to lick. Happy waving!”

DailyLit switches to free model

DailyLit is a service that sends excerpts from books that are said to be popular to subscribers via e-mail or RSS. Formerly the service required a paid subscription, but they have recently announced they are switching to a free model supported, they hope, through sponsorships and advertising. I haven’t tried the service; browsing their books in categories I am currently interested in I found the selection thin — but maybe they are in a building phase.

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