Friday, August 19, 2011

Dictionary Upgrade Dooms Civilization

Sexting is now an official word of the English language.

We may have over two million words in the language, and the average person uses 50,000 words, but now the list of choices is growing.

Sexting, retweet, cyberbullying, and woot are joining the 12th edition of the hundred-year-old Concise Oxford English Dictionary.  Four hundred words in all are being added. No doubt technology, social media, the Internet and the global marketplace are playing major roles in not only how we communicate but what we actually say in our communications.

I suspect we’ll soon see the addition of other word symbols that are used, such as emoticoms or the way we shorten words in Tweetspeak (u=you, r=are).  We are entering a period like the one that occurred in post-Shakespeare times.  Old English is almost unrecognizable to us today.  I suspect in 2061, if the world hasn’t imploded and the U.S. hasn’t been bankrupted, our language will be vastly different from today’s version.

We think of language as something with rules, history, meaning and consistency but really it is changing as rapidly as everything else.  New words and terms are invented with every new gadget, social behavior, or event.  Words are adopted by the masses quicker today than 50 years ago because of our ability to share any and everything to any and everyone instantaneously and repeatedly. Words influence us, but they also reflect us.  For better or worse, sexting is a word because we all made it so.

Interview With Indie Reader’s Amy Edelman

1.      Amy, why does today’s marketplace necessitate that Indie Reader exist? Because there are thousands of great books written by wonderful authors that will never be picked up by a traditional publisher.  And it just seemed unfair to totally shut them out of the conversation.   

It’s true that ebooks are making titles more readily available to consumers.  But because the indie book-world is still fairly uncharted, we felt that an outlet like IndieReader—the essential consumer guide to self published books and the people who write them—was necessary to help people figure out the terrain.  

Also, while indie books aren’t going to appeal to everyone, we do think (and hope!) that there are discriminating readers looking for titles (and authors) outside the mainstream (i.e. James Patterson and Danielle Steele).  Via reviews, the “List Where Indies Count”(a weekly updated best-seller list), news and interviews—we’re here to help those people find what they’re looking for.

2.      Are self-published authors the future for book publishing? Not necessarily.  I believe that most self-published authors still want to be traditionally pubbed, primarily because they believe in the fairy-tale of what they think being traditionally published means (huge advances, hot and cold running PR people, first-class media tours and book signings).  So for many, going indie is what they hope is a first step towards being traditionally pubbed. 

There are, however, some formerly traditionally pubbed authors who are embracing indie with both hands.  They know what the advantages are.  And then there’s Amazon, which is changing the whole game by offering successful authors (some of whom have always been indie and some of whom are formerly traditionally pubbed) a hybrid deal which looks to beat the shit out of everything that’s come before.  Frankly, Brian, it’s hard to say what the future of book publishing is, but being able to more easily (and cheaply) self-pub certainly makes more room in the sandbox for all those who want to play.

3.      What do you love most about being in book publishing? Ahhhh…that’s  a hard question.  Some days I don’t love anything about it, but I guess it always comes down to the writers.  I love discovering a great book and helping authors bring it to a larger audience.   

4.      What should authors do to promote and market their books? Let’s just say that there are many, many things an author should do, but I think the most important is to figure out specifically who your audience is and, once you do, go out and get ‘em.  

Also, I don’t want this to sound too much like a plug, but we recently launched the IndieReader Discovery Awards (IRDAs), where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference (there was a great mention in GalleyCat

You know the industry, and just a couple of years ago you would have been be hard put to find anyone from traditional publishing—let alone reviewers, bloggers, three agents from ICM, the Vice President, Editor-in-Chief of Gallery Books and the Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins—who would have agreed to be on the panel of judges for a self-published book award.  The IRDA’s are the first awards to deliver a bold-name worthy panel of judges whose reason for participating is that they believe there are self-published books out there worthy of discovery.

5.      What do think authors find most challenging or appealing about today’s publishing climate? Challenging – There’s lot ‘o books out there! Appealing – It’s easier to make one of those books yours.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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