Can Amazon Be Trusted?

Amazon.com. The name will get a reaction, negative or positive, from almost everyone. It gives authors, even independent authors, a massive marketplace on which to showcase their work. On the other hand, Amazon has been the target of many complaints from indie authors and small presses regarding some of their business practices. One of the more recent examples is a lawsuit by independent booksellers who alleged that Amazon had “colluded with publishers ‘to keep rivals from selling eBooks.’” As it happens, a judge threw out the charges on December 11, citing what ultimately came down to a lack of evidence.

At the same time, Amazon has been busy creating a lengthening list of publishing imprints, the most recent of which is StoryFront, which seeks to capitalize on the growing popularity of short work available for the Kindle. And speaking of Kindle, Amazon also offers KDP, which allows anyone to publish ebooks for the popular reading device. And let’s not forget CreateSpace!

Is Amazon on the side of small, indie authors and publishers or does it favor the establishment? A case could be made either way. In my view, it seems that Amazon is attempting to position itself as the alternative to big publishing, while playing nice with the Big Six. (For now, they still have something the other wants.) While it is great to have the alternative, the question arises, “Can Amazon be trusted?” What happens when they’ve accomplished their goal of becoming the alternative? Will Amazon continue or even broaden their small author outreach? Or will they simply become the new establishment? Your thoughts?

Join the conversation here or over on my Facebook back at: http://www.facebook.com/craighartwriter

Grammarly: A Writer’s Best Friend

ImageI use Grammarly for proofreading because it makes me look less foolish when I submit my work to editors.

And I say that as an editor myself. The painful truth is that most writers and, yes, even editors are not qualified to edit their own work. This doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re doing or are bad at what we do. It’s simply a matter of being too close to the work at hand.

For example, by the time I get to the final stages of a work, I’ve looked through it so many times that I could almost recite it from memory. And every time I read it, I pay a little less attention to the details. It’s not that I don’t care about the details, I just stop seeing them. And, with them, the errors. Think about your commute to work, a drive you take every day. Something you might have thought strange or interesting your first day doesn’t even warrant a glance a year later. The same thing happens with a manuscript. Once we’ve seen it so many times and become so familiar with it, we tend to overlook its faults. And that’s where a tool like Grammarly comes in.

The great thing about Grammarly is that it doesn’t stop at just showing us typos or basic grammar missteps. It also searches for possible plagiarism, word choices, punctuation, and more. It’s an awesome tool for any writer and cheaper than hiring a third party editor every time.

You can try Grammarly here for free! And don’t forget to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

“The Magician” Official Release

1277704_501453409949554_835672948_oAnd it’s finally here! The Magician of Wrigley Street is now available in both paperback and Kindle formats. Keep your eyes peeled for the audio version coming soon!

From the back cover: “This debut collection of poetry explores life issues within the context of the mundane. While investigating such heavy topics as death, the loss of virginity, and even politics, these often lighthearted, occasionally dark poems take time to give the reader a sidelong glance and a wink, all the while poking fun at human nature, conventional wisdom, and even poetry itself.”

Find on Amazon.com

The Real Me

1277704_501453409949554_835672948_oIn celebration of the upcoming book of poetry, The Magician of Wrigley Street, I’d like to share another poem from the collection. This one is entitled “The Real Me” and examines how humanity and nature can merge and become almost indistinguishable at these magical moments. It is at these times that we often feel the most fulfilled and authentic.

The Real Me

A rowboat so still it causes
no ripples on the lake.
Warm summer night,
quiet,
only the chirp of crickets
and the occasional buzz of
mosquitoes in my ear.
A caressing breeze moves
across the water,
cooling my face.
I violate the silence
by popping the tab on a cold beer.
One long pull, two shorts later,
I settle back and remove my shoes and socks.
The movement causes a rocking of the boat.
A welcome escape, these late night
trysts with peacefulness,
away from the wild style and
constant demands of modern life.
This is the real me—
the quietly reflective me,
the casually imbibing me.
My foot dangles over the side,
stirring the water and creating an
ever-widening series of tiny waves
that start from my ankle
and work their way out from there.
Another quick pull of beer.
I make a half-hearted swat at an
enterprising bug intent on
setting up shop in my ear.
The boat rocks.
I steal a glance at my watch,
even though I don’t care.
1:30 a.m.
A fish jumps.
This is the real me.

*   *   *

About The Magician of Wrigley Street - This debut collection of poetry explores life issues within the context of the mundane. While investigating such heavy topics as death, the loss of virginity, and even politics, these often light-hearted, occasionally dark poems take time to give the reader a sidelong glance and a wink, all the while poking fun at human nature, conventional wisdom, and even poetry itself.

New Interview by Carla Sarett

I recently did an interview for author Carla Sarett. The interview went live on her blog yesterday.

SARETT: There are thousands and thousands of literary magazines–and they do come and go. What was your impetus for starting The Rusty Nail?

HART: My hope for The Rusty Nail is for it to remain true to the tagline, “Your words, your way.” A lot of literary magazines become extensions of the staff. They choose what they like, edit them down, and the reader ends up with a sanitized version. I want to preserve the raw feeling of words directly from the writer’s mind.

Read the entire interview on Carla’s website!

The Writer’s Tune-up Manual Reviews

Front_Cover_300_SmallerSince its launch in July, The Writer’s Tune-up Manual has received some great Amazon.com reviews. Below are some of the best comments people have made.

“Whether you’re a beginning writer or someone who’s written for decades, Craig Hart’s book “The “Writer’s Tune-Up Manual” is for you. The book provides for great writing exercises, excellent character development, dialogue, point of view and plot points that they didn’t teach you in school.” – Lisa Dayley, author of The Frozen Trail

“The thing I enjoyed the most about it was how it was written. The author truly meant this book to be used as a tool but not meant to be stressful but just enjoyable. I recommend highly that you pick up a copy. Even if you just pick up a tip or two, that is gold.” – Muse

“Fantastic and easy to follow fun manual for writers at all levels. This book offers you many activities focusing on the main points of writing, covering Characters, point of view, Dialogue, description and setting also plot and separated in sections. From the first page I was hooked and couldn’t wait to start the activities.” – Donna Cawthra

“I love this book and find it a great help for my writing practice. As they say, practice makes perfect… especially if it’s the right kind of practice.” - tferreira

“Regardless of what genre you are writing in, Craig Hart has developed some exercises to hone and polish your writing skills that are NOT BORING. He also steps away from rigidity to give writers credit for trusting their instincts at times and even breaking the rules on occasion.” - P. Mattern

“This book should be part of every writer’s library and/or desk reference. A tool that is incredible because it helps you retrain all the information by way of exercises and is a great refresher for the seasoned/published writer. I believe it would be a great tool for a creative writing class as well.” - R. M. Putnam

“The exercises really make you think and bring out your creative side. I think doing these exercises will really help me to think harder about how to perfect my characters and plots. I would highly recommend this book for any writer, novice or expert.” – Michele

“I have read a book or … more on writing and although I just skimmed through it I found it very well organised with exercises on different aspects of novel writing, such as character, POV, plot, [etc.] - RainbowEU

“If you have a story to tell, whether your own or someone else’s, this book will guide you through Character, Plot, Point of View, Dialogue, Description, and Setting. So I especially recommend this book BEFORE you get too far into your own book-writing adventure. The well-written (and clear!) exercises will coax you into thinking through each aspect of your novel (or maybe a book of narrative poems) helping you to know your story people and their whole story well.” -  Mary H. Sayler

“Craig Hart does a brilliant job of giving writers an alternate (and better) way to hone their craft. This is a must-buy for rookies and veterans alike. If you have a dream of writing a bestseller one day, THE WRITER’S TUNE-UP MANUAL is the read for you!” – Josh

“This manual provides exercises on character, point of view, dialogue, description/setting and plot. This one I’m going to keep in my own writer’s toolkit, to refer to when a particular need arises.” – G. Guarino

“Craig’s book is a godsend for writers who are sincerely looking to write better prose, It removes the chaos from the process of writing by a series of excellent, on-point exercises that, if followed faithfully, will lead new writers through the minefield of amateur prose time bombs lurking in their drafts. As Papa Hemingway believed, one of the hardest thing a writer can learn is how to write a simple and true sentence.” - Daniel Koehler

Pick up your copy of The Writer’s Tune-up Manual today!