19 April 2014

Do you Read or Skim?

A recent article in the Washington Post asked if living in the online Social Media world is having a detrimental effect on our overall reading habits. As reading is a learned skill, are we training our brains to skim-and-click for information we consider relevant without realising it may be to the detriment of longer, in-depth reading skills where we savour nuance and metaphor?

It caught my eye (yes, I did skim as an initial pass) because I’ve had reviewers who took me to task over aspects of my books, yet their observances were simply incorrect. At the time I couldn’t understand how the mistakes had been made as these were part of the physical reflective balance between characters, but could it have been down to the speed, and the way, of reading?

This question was raised again when I was sent a link to a speed-reading test. I clocked up 255 words per minute and answered all the subsequent questions correctly. I considered fast, but others who have taken the test have hit 500+ words per minute.

I certainly know readers who regularly challenge themselves to complete a 100,000 word novel in less than a day, but is this beneficial? Perhaps it all depends on the person, the clamouring of their mental debris at the time, and how multi-layered the text.

So... I’m obviously a slow reader. Are you a fast reader? Does this affect your ability to draw from your reading what the author seeds within the text?

5 April 2014

Back-Blurbs and Interviews

As has probably been noticed by those following this blog (thanks, great to have you along) there's not a lot of creative writing being done at the moment. At least not of the type I enjoy. I am currently formatting The Bull At The Gate for paperback, and that means copywriting the back-blurb. Allow me a quiet arghhhh!!

The thing with a paperback is that it is a solid item. Unlike an ebook, it can't be tweaked at will, so the back-blurb has to be correct first time. It's not a product description which can go into detail about the triple storylines, Roman historical thread, the haunting from beyond a watery grave that may be more than it first appears. It is a short tease, and they can easily sound either cliched or risible. I doff my hat to those who can write them before breakfast, though having searched the Net it would seem that not many can explain the how of what they do.

So when a request to be interviewed on marketing & promotion appeared in my Inbox, I grasped the displacement activity with both hands. It's just been uploaded onto a blog entitled Self Publishing For The Technically Challenged

At least it says what it does on the tin. I wish my back-blurb did.