Thursday, February 16, 2012

Facebook Treats Connections Well

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
By now, who has not heard about Facebook or the FB story? Before "networking sites," people with or without computers/word processors networked personal and professional contacts by mail, phone, or meetings, along with thick agenda books and conspicuous briefcases carried from one networking venue to the next.
     Networking used to mean exchanging business cards, mentoring and being mentored, plus building spiderweb connections of similar interests--through organizations or groups. Younger people latched on later. They began to see networking as something to begin in high school through team activities and extra-curricular interests. This became part of building college application resumes. They carried networks into college, expanding them, and made new webs, all that could go with them, with various levels or attachments, into first jobs and forward.
     Think of how the Internet emerged for most of us, beyond the confines of offices.  The personal computers moved quickly from word processing and spread sheets to a "World Wide Web" that was a new, happenin' thing that transported, in a blink, information and conversations all over the world.
     I still get a kick out of are FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It's weird sometimes how someone's comment, Tweet, or profile update can get my attention just when I was looking for links or info someone else or a group is sharing.
     If you're still a FB hold-out, you've likely asked, "What's the point?" Here's the thing: you have to try it to find out if there is something in it for your interests. I like that you can leave it for a while, remaining a member with your ID and password intact, and come back much later.
     I know people that view these networks as time-consuming, habit-forming, and possibly addictive or dangerous. They will not sign up to try it. Sometimes I "get" that, and at other times I think "You're missing something...maybe a lot." It depends on how you use anything, and definitely networking can become all of the feared things, including addictive. Like anything, you need to know why you use it at any time and you need to control it, not the other way around (she typed as she wrote after midnight). 
     Are you crazy or just adventurous to post personal information on a network? I post less than most, I think...not sure. My main reason for joining Facebook was to give or get publishing and writing news. I use FB about once or twice a month, I guess. I'm not a chatter online...usually.
     Over a year ago and out of the blue, I used Facebook every day for, I don't know...several weeks or months. It seemed a long time, and so worth it! With no face to face meeting, my husband and I met an extended family through mutual childhood friends of mine. My husband got involved in a young couple and grandparents' adoption journey by e-mail, attachments, phone, and FB. 
     The adoptive parents, far from home due to glitches in an overseas adoption, wrote often on Facebook, especially the mom, who was the one who stayed with their child wiating for visa clearances...for a long time. We could sense how special this family was, through the notes and comments. Their friends from different parts of the world, as well as the U.S., followed and sent notes back and forth.  
     You can imagine what an extraordinary thing this was...from far, far away to a network web that was as close as a computer with access. A host of the couple's family, friends, and contacts got involved in hoping and praying, working and waiting for one end...a child to be in a new home with his parents. We felt very, very close when everyone was back home, and we got together for the first time.
     FB made that shared journey something really special, and made the flow maybe a bit better for the parents, especially the mom who was waiting for red tape to clear so that she and her already legally adopted child could go home. We all used FB to send encouragement often.We got the thrill of posted photos and notes in return. We saw the child, his beaming, healthy, happy countenance! Wow!
     The doors this technology opens have important "locking" mechanisms. It's not a safe picnic out there. Once inside the door, privacy awareness and discretion are needed, as to how much to share with a wide audience on this ever-expanding Web that covers the world. If FB changes privacy policies, we'll all hear about it, and decide what to do, I hope. Even now, due to Google's changes, I'm using Google search engine less and Bing and others more, to spread searches around. And to sign in to FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

Jean Purcell
Opine eStore and Book Cafe 
Feb. 29, 2012-Election 2012 
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Have a Writing and Marketing Plan for 2012

Plans are talked about every New Year holiday and there's a reason: we need to make them, and then we can discover what is top priority for us, one or more things or people or both. I know, we make plans without knowing if we will or can finish them, if or when they might come to fruition, if or how they might work...even with best efforts.

As Gilda Radner's character used to say, "Nevermind." he referred to incorrect information, so here we refer to doubts. Nevermind your hesitancy or doubt, but get going.

One plan could revolve around how to be on the computer less this year an"d then accomplish more anyway. "Analyze how to work smarter." That's a good goal for the first month or two of 2012. Ironically, start on the Internet to find ways to do that. If you are focusing on marketing, check out the free The Edge of Success that I wrote about on another blog.  

Jean Purcell
Opine eStore and Book Cafe

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A Point of View...about book proposals

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  A pedestrian wal...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife: McGraw Hill publishing
Within the last 24 hours I've been talking about book proposals with different people and also came across an article about proposals from book publisher, Fine Print Lit (FPL). You can  read the article sometime when you start to refresh a proposal and want to compare yours with other ideas.  

Beyond content of the Fine Print Lit article, however, I have some thoughts about it and recommend that your proposal avoids the following attributes:
  •  Very long
  • Not formatted for fast reading
  • No sharing options (Twitter, Facebook, other)
      Now, tips about article presentation, which would be more appealing if it included:
  1. bullet points
  2. bold fonts
  3. indents or double-line spacing other than for paragraphs
  4. links. 
Nevertheless, the content is worth taking a look.
Let me know what you think about it?

Jean Purcell
Now Open-Opine eStore and Book Cafe blog
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

VALENTINE'S DAY GIFTS-A (sort of) gift for you

Valentine's day countdown
Valentine's day countdown (Flickr_ Julie K in Taiwan)
Here's a pre-Valentine's Day note for you...I saw Amazon's Valentine's Day Gifts Page. There are flowers, candies, appliances(?) and lots of other stuff that give ideas. 

At our house, and in our family, we do not give gifts for this day, but are big on trying to make Every Day Count! But I do remember the schooldays, making and giving Valentine cards and notes. Fun!

This Valentine's Day, why not send a special card or note. or make a special phone call... to someone special who may not know how special they are to you...and to this world!

Have a great Valentine's Day! It's really a reminder day about giving, caring, helping, and even forgiving and other good ways among families, homes, friends at school, colleagues at work, and everyone at church, to name a few. And, it's about giving good "I love you!" "We love you!" "I'm glad we're friends!" "I'm glad we met!" "Knowing you means a lot to me!"

Jean Purcell
Opine Books
For Thinking Christians
Opine eStore and Book Cafe-open!

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Call it "Christian" if...

English: Plate from Fairy Tales by Hans Christ...
 Plate from Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales, Doubleday Page and Co., New York 1914_Public Domain_Wikipedia
Giant publishing houses like Doubleday, Simon and Shuster, and others have historically published Christian authors. 
     However, the books were not labeled "Christian" or "secular " Readers investigated books and authors for the quality of writing, information, and story-telling. 
     One of Doubleday's earliest bestsellers was a A Day's Work. The author? The controversial Rudyard Kipling. Was he a Christian? Did readers know or ask? Look at his work to see his entertaining stories and poetic prayers. Examine his talent (if not outstanding, would Henry James have attended his wedding?) without use of expletives. Along with Jungle Stories, consider his "Recessional" poem, with the words, "lest we forget," and used by many including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (est.1917), for which Kipling was a literary adviser during World War I.
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine -
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!
Whether soldiers fight on one side or the other, they and their families understand the sentiments of "Recessional" and Lest we forget
     Looking back only a few decades, enjoyable book days of finest and best-selling writers knew and guarded beautiful literary style, used with talent and insight, a good story, a distinctive style, and, in Charles Dickens' case and others', knew ways to express powerfully, unforgettably the major societal concerns still alarmingly high on lists today, due to poverty, enslavement, apathy. "Religion" and "spirituality" did not need to be said. Gripping and popular stories presented the dramas on pages with might and convincing prose. It's different today, and we could trace how we got here with "Christian publishing houses," and such phrases now being needed, although they widen the separation and many "secular" readers miss books that they, too, would enjoy and want more of, like Lynn Austin's WWII-era novel about Brooklyn, a Metro job, women's work changing, the invasion of Poland, Jewish and Christian displacement and war service, in While We're Far Apart.
      Opine publishes "Books for Thinking Christians." We let buyers know up front that "Christian" is our authors' faith perspective. All buyers are welcomed to browse our books, respectful of Christian and Jewish perspectives. Opine Publishing learned early that we could be inundated by queries and manuscripts from authors who would soon realize that we would not be a good fit for them, nor them for us. So, we decided to say it at the top.
     Language quality standards in general fiction publishing now often breaks sewer lines. And it saves everyone's time to know more about who is behind the books all of us read. I am as likely as anyone, due to my liking of detective and mystery stories, to pick up a book whose insides could be a quick turn-off due to expletives alone. Using the library helps. In the stacks I leaf through interesting-looking books to check language levels. If a few paragraphs grab my interest without any offensive language, that's my first step toward reading a good new book.

Today I looked for's bestselling books 2012 and their bestselling Christian books 2012.. Many were released at the end of the Fall publishing cycle and were out there before the New Year rang in.
      In the second search I noticed Lorilyn Roberts' How to Launch a Christian Best Seller Book, Kindle edition, with "Look inside" option and a price anyone can afford. (I'll download it to my free-download Kindle to HP Pavilion (Core 2, about 2004) laptop today.)
     My bottom-line view is that neither publishers nor authors should have to label themselves "Christian" for it seems, to some, like a deliberate separatism or even boasting, and I think the truly best books should rise to the top. However, it's more than "the best" these days, and that's a fact. It's the "edgiest" (and some "Christian authors and publishers" are going this way, as well) or the most sickening, often written by very talented yet grossly language-abusive writers.
     It's doubtful whether we or any century will see another equal to Shakespeare or Dickens and their companions in literature, or Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, or Bach, in music. Yet, these set the standards in book publishing and music performance. Yet, there are the likes of authors similar to the writing levels of Catherine Marshall and Eugenia Price, and other men and women writing from Christian faith and perspective. 
     Whoever is writing as Christian or not anti-Christian, should increase the quality of books through quality, insightful, enjoyable, thrilling, and exciting stories with free speech--free of expletives and other elements now common in popular and general bestselling book genres. Even non-Christian author admittedly work with issues of justice, law, and repentance, being drawn to those major themes.

Jean Purcell, publisher
OpineBooks for Thinking Christians
Opine eStore and Book Cafe
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