At the Learn Something Every Day website, I discovered that it used to be legal to send children through the mail. The t-shirt I learned this from was a little lacking in details, so that was disappointing, but still. Then I learned there are bears capable of smelling dead bodies even miles away, and something about how many sheets of paper can be sliced off of one tree, and that was about it. It turns out, the Learn Something team established its website in an effort to, mostly, sell t-shirts and fact books, and they weren’t about to toss out gads of knowledge without a check in hand. After all, the site wasn’t called Learn Something Every Day For Free now, was it?
You want to know what else I’ve learned recently? Over at Babelcube, I discovered that one of our translators was nearly nine months overdue on her assignment. Which is possibly an indication that Glynn and I haven’t been watching our Babelcube account as closely as we should have. Feeling that I’d been amiss, I wrote to the translator, she didn't feel inclined to respond, and I took her inaction as a clue that the project might not be racing forward as contractually promised. When I reached out to the Babelcubians to see what I should do next, Maria at BC killed the contract within a few hours. So, if you’ve always wanted to do a Spanish translation of an end-of-the-world/perfume industry/multiple boyfriends oriented-story, boy, do I have a job for you.
Finished with the Babelcube challenge, I returned to my quest for free daily knowledge. Over at Zidbits, they have things to sell, too, but they’re willing to provide some in-depth info if you happen to stop by. Zidbits is where I learned that diamonds DO last forever despite Glynn’s claim that “they look like glass”, “nobody really wants them anymore”, and I should replace my missing stone with the slightly-cracked piece of peridot that he found at an estate sale.
Back at Babelcube, one of our other translators, working in a different language, DID manage to finish his work on one of our novellas. Stefano did a sterling job of it, too, so eccellente! I was surprised when he told me that our story was the first self-published novella he'd translated that didn't have at least one typo in it. Shortly after he wrapped up the translation, one of our new readers contacted us to say she really enjoyed our new novella and, here’s the kicker, the editing on the story, as well. She said she rarely found a well-edited story that was self-published.
Hearing their comments made me both happy and sad. Happy because, yay!, we did a good job and sad because, holy cheese and crackers, self-pubbed writers need to make certain their work is well-edited and relatively free of typos, don't you think? It isn’t easy, I get that, but it needs to be part of the job. If enough readers get burned by bad work, they’re going to give up on anything that’s self-published. That would make me very, very sad.
(The editing and typo stuff? None of it applies to writing this blog. I don't worry about my words when it comes to writing in space because, let’s be honest, it’s a blog. We're all friends here and, if you stopped by today, hoping someone had polished and washed these words, you're in for a touch of disappointment. When it comes to this place, you'd best expect a tpyo or tow.)
Stirred by what our latest reader has said, I fuss over things with Glynn, telling him what he already knows. I tell him that self-published work needs to be on a par with anything put out by Fireside Books -- and why, you wonder, Fireside Books? They gave Paris Hilton a six figure advance for Confessions of an Heiress, without any evidence that the woman could write at all. This itches at me but, still and all, I'll bet the book is well-edited and typo-free; if you'd like to check for yourself, you can pick up a "Like New" copy from Amazon for a penny + shipping – and, when I was done ranting, Glynn said, "Chuck Wendig says self-publishing is a shit volcano", which is not really something I wanted to hear.
But having heard it, I had little choice but to go over to Wendig's blog to read his lengthy, mildly profane and accurate post on author-publishers. Then I got depressed all over again when I realized his post was written a couple of years ago, and I realized things have only gotten worse.
And, as total aside, I started to wonder if the words shit volcano were really a thing or a Chuck Wendig creation? When I check the Urban Dictionary, I discover the term doesn’t belong to Chuck, it’s in somewhat frequent use and has a definition that everyone but me seems to know. (There are youtube videos with the same name. I’m not providing any links.) So now I’m feeling out of touch and anal retentive but that’s probably because I am out of touch and anal retentive.
Glynn tells me he wouldn’t have me any other way. He mistakenly thinks I’ll view this as a compliment.