Tag Archives: writers

Late Night Library Welcomes Nocturnal Bibliophiles

Somehow long chilly evenings elicit the yearn for a good read– or then again it could be a good listen – in the wee hours.  Think Late Night Library, the ever-expanding virtual library of podcasts and more, treasures to nourish the nocturnal need to know.

As always, there’s an audio treat to suit every taste – from discussions of literature to writer interviews, chats with award recipients, debut authors and more. And if you miss a favorite – or doze off mid-podcast – there’s always the posted link to recapture the moment.

Last week I happened to catch Angela Bole, Executive Director of the Independent Book Publishers Association – a breath of air in a best seller saturated world.  She got me with this:

I think a multitude of voices is really what’s going to make society strong. And literature is the thing that really connects you, and makes you feel like someone who is not quite so alone, perhaps.  In order to do that you need all kinds of different voices because people are so unique, and you need to enable all of these different voices to be found….Essentially, I think it’s so important that we have – and protect – these multiple ways that people are able to tell their stories and the multiple channels that people can tell them in. (Interview 10-21-14)

Bole picked up exactly where Leo J. Harris (see previous post) had left me thinking about his creative adventure with open access publishing.

This is the sort of serendipitous mind-opener you can find any night on Late Night Library.   LNL offers an endless audio flow of ideas to ponder and introductions to emerging writers and like-minded folk who share their thoughts freely and fluently.

It’s folly to try to categorize or describe the many facets of LNL. As with any good library, it all depends on what you’re looking for. You want “gossip?” That’s Dog Eared and Dispatched where you can get the latest scoop on Amazon or what’s happening in the publishing game. Famous First Words offers the back-story on breakthrough books.   The Rookie Report shines a spotlight on the newly published – or there’s WebComic – you can probably figure that one out

Though LNL emanates from the Portland, Oregon book scene, they somehow manage to catch the spirit – and the live feed – from hot spots such as this month’s Brooklyn Book Festival.

Next time the wind howls and the sun goes down about the time the kids get out of school, check out LNL to see what the LNL team is up to now.

Understand, of course, LNL is not just for night owls – they just have unique insights into the psyche of insomniacs. Others can click and enjoy 24/7. (http://latenightlibrary.org/about/)





Content Mill

Content mill is a metaphor rife with image possibilities – there are content millers, grist for the content mill, and, most challenging, the concept of winnowing the wheat from the chaff.  The content mill itself is a handy term for an industry that is either the bane of journalists and searchers – or a job for free lance writers.

By loose definition, a content mill is a business that pays people low sums to acquire massive amounts of Web content.  The content is entirely geared to the voracious search engine – the name of the game is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  The strategy is to pitch the content to the advertiser.  It’s all about volume.  Quick and dirty content on hot topics amounts to ad revenue for the site, though not for the hapless scribe.

Still, the reality of the day is that there are squadrons of unemployed or underemployed writers for whom the lure of writing for content mills is irresistible.  For writers it’s a paycheck more than a moral commitment to corporate aggrandizement.  Kimberly Ben, who manages the Avid-writerblogspot summarizes the plusses for writers:

1) writing for content mills is less stressful, 2) [writers] don’t have to spend time marketing for private clients, 3) writers can put more focus on writing for themselves, and 4) you can crank out several articles quickly.    Hard for the starving artist to resist the lure.

Implicit as the influence of the content mill may be,  the industry is neither a benign nor welcome contributor to the blogosphere.  Major content generators, particularly Demand Media, Associated Content and AOL, have been grinding out a fine mix of wheat and chaff for some time.  Experienced web searchers have been agitated, aggravated and downright grumpy about the pollution of web content for ages.  Still, the tipping point seems to be Spring 2010 when financially troubled Yahoo acquired mass content producer Associated Content.

A host of vested interests hoisted a digital red flag.

At this writing, these interests are coalescing.  A recent player, the Internet Content Syndication Council, represents some major content generators including Reuters and The Tribune Company.  ICSC is circulating a document that lays out a framework for a position paper on online content syndication.    Addressing the inclusion of milled content, that document reads “to counter this threat, the Internet Content Syndication Council believes the time has come to start an industry discussion about the best way to preserve standards of quality for informational content.”  There’s talk about modifying the Google algorithm to consider the factor of quality – what a concept!

The stalwarts who still care about quality of information – and who eschew digital garbage – welcome any discussion of quality.  One can only hope that advertisers will see the light.  It could be that a united nudge from the public could make a different at this juncture when the winnowing process is in motion.

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind exceeding small.