Evelyn Chartres Author
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The Email Holy Grail

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7 Tips for Getting More Responses to Your Emails (With Data!) on blog.boomerangapp.com.

Came across this article from +Laurie Varga​​’s feed and it’s an interesting read. There is excellent advise within and statistics to back up their claims.

Not all of it translates well for posting on Google+ and their ilk (i.e. Long comments probably will get you a TL;DR.) though some certainly applies!

While the title of the article says 7 Tips for Getting More Responses to Your Emails, only six are outlined in the summary! I included the summary below for convenience:

  1. Use shorter sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.
  2. Include 1-3 questions in your email.
  3. Make sure you include a subject line! Aim for 3-4 words.
  4. Use a slightly positive or slightly negative tone. Both outperform a completely neutral tone
  5. Take a stand! Opinionated messages see higher response rates than objective ones.
  6. Write enough, but not too much. Try to keep messages between 50-125 words.

Another Tool in the Shed

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The Redsy Book Editor: A Powerful Writing Tool on reedsy.com

Came across this link on my Google+ feed.  Always a good idea to keep an eye out for new tools. This one may be cloud based, but it might have a must-have feature that people would kill for!

Slow and Steady

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Speedy Typing Kills Student Essays: Study on ottawasun.com

A recent study has determined that typing with both hands reduces the quality of responses and grammar.  An article on The Ottawa Sun titled Speedy Typing Kills Student Essays states that typing at speed permits someone to input at a faster rate than the mind takes to form coherent thoughts.

Two notable excerpts from the article follows:

Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process.

The result of slowing down was a richer vocabulary in the one-handed writing. This allows a better expression of complex ideas.

I often found that my review process on chapters that were quickly produced were more tedious and painful.  Apparently switching to one-handed typing or imposing another handicap may generate higher quality works.

That or it would make my writing more flowery and eloquent.  That may work well for Victorian-era literature but not be necessarily suited for today!

Not yet Time to Pull out the Bubbly

I came across an article on the National Post by Colby Cosh titled Books gain a surprise victory in the war against bits.  To me, this seems to be an unexpected turn of events; print books have sold more this year than last year whereas eBooks have levelled off.  There are a few points I noticed.

A lot of the new sales have to do with new markets.  Adult colouring books being a prime example.

Related to the above, there appears to be a backlash by some groups against new technology.  Books have people who need to feel the grain of paper and apparently younger people are more likely to go retro.  See the National Post article by Andrew Coyne titled Making sense of the analog counter-revolution for more information.

Publishers spend more time making covers look better to get more attention.  This may raise the bar dramatically for Indie authors.

Also, publishers are moving away from discounting hard covers.  Instead, they aim to create the perception of their books being worth the full price.  Much of this is related to the physical nature of books making them ideal for collections.

Some books also do not work well on a KindleThe Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe, the author of the XKCD comic is a good example.  This book is built on a series of large detailed diagrams that are hard to reproduce on dedicated eBook readers.

This article implies that at least some publishing companies are not incompetent.  So we will need to wait a few more years before breaking out the bubbly.

The Hiding Behind Chainsaws Test

Recently came across a Geico commercial dealing with bad decision-making in horror movies.  While I have not had television for years, this commercial came across as both funny and insightful.

Horror movies and prose often have story-driven elements that push characters to do insane things.  Movies like The Cabin in the Woods weave these elements in with the main story to create a parody of the affair.

So how was this commercial insightful?  It points out how prevalent the types of decisions are in horror movies, even if we are not acutely aware of it.  Sometimes author’s need a proverbial slap in the face to see it for ourselves.

There are occasions where we write ourselves into a corner and due to time constraints, excuses or laziness we choose the path of least resistance.  This can lead to bad writing, a theme covered in detail in the novel Redshirts by John Scalzi.

When you re-reading your work(s), think about this commercial then consider how a viewer would see it.  If a scene seems as ridiculous as hiding behind chainsaws, then revisit that particular chapter.

Perhaps this logic condition should be referred to as the hiding behind chainsaws test.  Has a nice ring to it?