I spent an evening in a Cherokee Street storefront watching this process, all hand-done from setting up the poems as Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman had done it, with lead letters, backwards, in little frames. Then there was the piling of quality paper, the skilled inking of the roller, which has to be just right, and the roll of the ink over the letters to make: poems. At hand was the print shop's black dog, named Smudge. What's an "Architrave" you ask? A stone or wooden beam held up by columns, usually over a doorway, as in classical architecture. Architrave Press is holding its first reading event Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at a venue new to me, The Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue in the Central West End. I hope to see you there when my "Self-Portrait on Greyhound Bus" makes is debut in print.
Until it came down to looking online for an Abraham Lincoln speech. Imagined there'd be an open Lincoln archive of all his works, but the most you can find is his famous speeches and quotations, and the one I sought wasn't famous. Drove to library (12 miles, one way), checked out thick book of Lincoln's speeches and letters. Took it home and searched. What I wanted wasn't in there. Contemplated driving to another library (27 miles, one way) and said, well, maybe when I'm next around there I will stop in. But that didn't happen and I realized I should probably just stop fooling with libraries and go online and buy other collections of Lincoln speeches and letters, maybe even the 7-volume set of his collected writings, and thumb through for the one thing I wanted. So I went to Amazon to see what that'd cost; maybe someone was selling it used.
There it was on Amazon, the 7-volume set in Kindle version for 99 cents. No joke. Lincoln's whole mind for 99 cents! Immediately I downloaded the free Kindle for PC--not as cool and nuanced as the Kindle, but it let me buy the books. And in one minute I had it. The collection was indexed and had live links. There are 900,000 other ebooks I could buy as well. And some Kindle users tell me they never pay for books; they download only what's free and in the public domain and they love it.
P.S. Abraham Lincoln was not only an admirable man but an admirable writer. (Those traits so often go together!)
No longer able to pay for things with my good looks, I now barter, performing interpretive dances in the Best Buy in exchange for the multimedia equipment I will absolutely need if I want to sell freelance nonfiction. Nowadays.
Because the future for the nonfiction freelancer is tech. Writers hoping to make money must present editors not only with text but with a package including supplementary digital photographs, video, and recordings (podcasts), all of professional quality. Those are for the online version of the publication. The writer buys this digital equipment & must learn to use it, preferably at a community college. There you can learn techno-speak cheaply and there are labs for editing your digital stuff.
So said veteran journalist Harry Jackson Jr. to the St. Louis Writers Guild yesterday. His talk was fascinating, informative, and discouraging -- JUST LIKE ANY TALK about surviving as a writer. Jackson has survived 40 years in daily journalism by keeping up with technology, working his tail off, and by loving what he does. "If you don't love it," he said, "stay away."
Furthermore: Get a Mac, because it's better for multimedia. Have a specialty such as -- Mr. Jackson's example: "monitoring pharmaceutical companies." And keep up with all the news in this field, research it constantly (do more than google), and treat freelancing as your full-time job.
I attended "The Future for the Nonfiction Freelancer: The Yellow Pad and Pen Won't Cut It Anymore," because I wanted to get my head out of the sand. Well, I put it right back in, and man, is that ever a comfort to me. The only thing I liked hearing was that good writing/good storytelling will trump technology any day.
Word comes from NYC that some editors don’t want paper manuscripts; they want digital PDFs (Portable Document Format) files.
Writers will need some kind of software to convert word-processing files to PDF files. This is also called “printing to” a PDF file. Here are some options. (Drop me a note if you know more.)
The more expensive the program, the more likely it is to deliver a “searchable” PDF file, which is nice for the editor; or preserve any hyperlinks or images you embedded in your ms.
CutePDFWriter. At http://www.cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp. Widely used. You have to have a printer, and download an extra file. I’ve downloaded this one, but somehow it has never worked for me. Windows only.Create PDF from MS Word only: http://www.doc2pdf.net/converter/
PDF Online https://www.pdfonline.com/track.asp. I converted a 225-page ms.; took 12 minutes to get done and emailed to me, but otherwise fine. But PDF Online does not preserve hyperlinks, reduces image resolution, and leaves your PDF metadata, which is indexable by Google, empty.
Note: Some conversion “freeware” will rudely stamp or “watermark” your PDF with its name or logo.
You get a 15-day trial with http://www.go2pdf.com/; the Wondersoft Virtual PDF Printer; after that you must register and pay a “small fee” but they don’t say what it is. Converts files into and out of PDF form, which can be handy. You can buy a “Pro” version for $89.95.
I love the free Foxit PDF Reader which I recommend in place of the Adobe Reader. Foxit will charge you $35, however, for one license for a Foxit PDF CREATOR, which is what you need for conversion. http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/creator/ Don’t bother trying to “Get it Free” – in the most bizarre deal I’ve yet seen, it’ll force you to buy something on eBay or sign up for Yahoo Personals…
For $99.99/yr you can subscribe to unlimited Create Online PDF services by Adobe,
The trial version will make you “wait in line” for your conversion behind the paying folks. But with this you can make your PDF searchable, or turn a webpage into a PDF.
For $200-$400 there's Adobe Acrobat Professional software for your computer. It’s “bloatware,” a big program that clogs up your hard drive. It’ll do everything if you can make it work. I have version 6.0 and it works on PC but not laptop. Current version is 8.0.
For some of you, conversion software may be considered a business expense.
I watched the video demonstration of how what they call "the Kindle" works:
- daily newspapers are delivered wirelessly
- one may buy and wirelessly download all bestsellers plus other books and blogs (not all of them; that will have to change)
- you don't need to find WiFi "hotspots" to do your reading or downloading; it works anywhere a cellphone will work
- you can read in bright sunlight or dark, lighting doesn't matter
- you can adjust the type size to your comfort level
- the Kindle will turn the "pages," even "dog-ear" them -- oh, and your book will re-open to the page you were last reading.
If you are "tech," here is the review from pcworld.com, a most trustworthy source, which agrees that the Kindle is too expensive as of yet -- and that it needs the ability to read PDF files. (That's what'll make it able to read self-published books.) Stay tuned. Sure, publishers will still print books. But in five years you will own a reading pod much like this.