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Posts Tagged ‘fonts’

A few gifts to say “Thanks for reading!”

OK, gifts may be a bit strong. But here are a few miscellaneous things I thought you might find interesting and/or useful, and I truly am grateful to all of my readers, both old and new.

Reviews

I recently came across a goldmine in the form of this blog post by the folks at Step-by-Step Self Publishing: an index of book review bloggers. The best thing about it? They’re constantly adding new reviewers to the list. They also offer tips about getting your self-published book reviewed (many bloggers won’t accept self-published books for review) and how to approach independent bookstores.

Movies

Would you describe yourself as happy? If you’d like to be happier, you’ll want to make a point to see this film. A few amazing things I learned from it: our happiness is mostly genetic. Fifty percent is attributable to genetics; 10 percent is circumstantial (what’s going on in your life at the time); and 40 percent is up to us, meaning we can do things to increase our happiness, like exercise, hobbies, volunteering, etc. Also, there’s a HUGE happiness differential between people in households earning $5,000 a year and those earning $50,000 a year. But there’s virtually no difference at all in levels of happiness between those earning $50,000 a year and those earning $50 MILLION a year. The movie is subtitled in part and is available via Netflix. See it if you have the chance!

Fonts

For the font junkies in the house, Fonts 101 offers a free font of the day! Sign up to get it emailed directly to your inbox. Granted, I personally don’t have much use for a battleship font and some of the others are best described as odd. But we’ve all got different tastes and needs, and occasionally there’s a gem among their offerings.

Editing

I’m giving a presentation today about eBook Basics and was prepping some CDs for giveaway. Included in the mix is an eBook I modeled after a poorly done tri-fold brochure titled “How to Hire an Air Duct Cleaner.” I kid you not! The obviously much-photocopied brochure was referenced in the workbook from a marketing course I took as a great way to self-promote. I was inspired to improve on the idea by creating a 33-page eBook titled, The First-Time Author’s Guide to Hiring the Right Editor for YOU! As many of my readers are authors, I think there’s a lot of useful information in this book, but beyond that, you might also learn something from the concept. If you’ve got a business in which you can demonstrate expertise and you want to set yourself apart from the others, an instructional book like this is a great way to do so. Download your copy here.

Music

A year and a half-ago, I was blessed to marry a wonderful man who embodied a characteristic I’d always desired in a partner: he’s a talented musician. He got laid off from his job as a commercial plumber a few weeks ago, and has been taking the extra time to hone his guitar skills. Here’s a short Bach piece he’s been working on for the past few days. I hope you enjoy it.

Wishing you all the best!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit our website to view/download our Timeline of a Book, where you’ll note that marketing your book should start as soon as you begin writing it. If you’d like help setting up YOUR book marketing strategy, call us today for your complimentary 30-minute consultation! 602.518.5376

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Word clouds may be overused, but they still have their place

Word clouds are graphic word pictures you can use to map or emphasize a cluster of words for a variety of purposes. WordPress offers a word cloud widget that shows off your most frequently used tags/keywords, the most often used words appearing largest in the cloud.

Originating in the early 90s, there are three main types of word clouds, which are distinguished by their meanings, rather than appearance.In the first type, one tag appears for the frequency of each item. In the second type, global tag clouds indicate frequencies that are aggregated across all items and users. In the third type, the cloud contains categories, with the size of each tag indicating the number of subcategories.

Not everyone is a fan. Jacob Harris of the Neiman Journalism Lab writes in a post titled “Word Clouds Considered Harmful:

For starters, word clouds support only the crudest sorts of textual analysis, much like figuring out a protein by getting a count only of its amino acids. This can be wildly misleading; I created a word cloud of Tea Party feelings about Obama, and the two largest words were implausibly “like” and “policy,” mainly because the importuned word “don’t” was automatically excluded. (Fair enough: Such stopwords would otherwise dominate the word clouds.) A phrase or thematic analysis would reach more accurate conclusions. When looking at the word cloud of the War Logs, does the equal sizing of the words “car” and “blast” indicate a large number of reports about car bombs or just many reports about cars or explosions? How do I compare the relative frequency of lesser-used words? Also, doesn’t focusing on the occurrence of specific words instead of concepts or themes miss the fact that different reports about truck bombs might be use the words “truck,” “vehicle,” or even “bongo” (since the Kia Bongo is very popular in Iraq)?

I’m of a mixed mind on the whole word cloud idea. While I believe they have their place (classrooms being, perhaps, the most obvious), they are becoming ubiquitous and overused — much like the Comic Sans and Papyrus fonts.

Who am I to judge, though? Maybe you have an important use for the almighty word cloud. So here’s a quick primer in Wordle.net, a free online tool for crafting word clouds.

  • Visit the site and click on the CREATE link.
  • Insert your terms into the box or enter a link from which you’d like the program to pull words.
  • Note that the system is built for single words only. The only way to include a phrase is by making it AllOneWord.
  • Once you’ve got all your words in the box, click GO.
  • Stylize your word cloud by altering the FONTS, COLORS, or LAYOUT. You do have the option to customize your palette.

Here are a few sample layouts, all using the same words.

Today I was reminded that we often have the biggest challenges with the parent to whom we are most similar. Such was the case with my mom. Our relationship was often turbulent, but my dad was fond of telling me that I got all my creative talents from her. All of that came rushing back as I “touched up” my word cloud. Mom never bought an item of clothing, a picture frame, or a flower arrangement that she didn’t find a way to “improve” as soon as she got it home. For my part, I changed the color and placement of some of the words in my cloud. I also made the term “my book” larger, turned it a bright fuchsia color, and moved it to the very center of the word cloud.

If you think you may have a use for word clouds in your book marketing endeavors, by all means, give it a try.

Happy word clouding!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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In honor of our 1-year anniversary (May 2, 2012), we’re hosting the Author Blog Challenge! It starts June 2 and is open to published authors, authors-in-progress, and would-be authors. Come check us out and register today!

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