Websites That Help You Choose Your Next Book

Have you ever gone to a bookstore and stood for a moment to appreciate the sheer number of books available to read? Searching for reading material might be a problem if you’re looking for your next book without a clear idea of what exactly you want to read. Sure, you could peruse the staff recommendations shelves or view Amazon.com’s “readers who bought this also bought…” section, but you wouldn’t be finding the books you want. Luckily there are several websites designed for the indecisive and/or ill-informed reader. Here are some of the most useful sites that will help you decide your next read.

Goodreads

Goodreads is a sort of social networking hub for avid readers (mostly readers of fiction). On your Goodreads profile you can rate the books you’ve read and write reviews for other users. If you’re looking for a new book you can check out users who have read the same books you‘ve read and see what they recommend. The website will also tell you if a book is featured on one of their lists that catalog the great books based on genre, year of publication, or author. All the books featured on Goodreads have links to Amazon where you can purchase them at bargain prices.

What should I read next?

WhatshouldIreadnext is a bare-bones book recommendation site. Simply type in a book that interests you and the site will list dozens of related works that you might find appealing. A website like this might be useful in a pinch. Say you’re chatting with a friend a online and they’re casting about for a book to read on an upcoming trip. Ask them what they’ve read lately, enter it at WhatshouldIreadnext, and recommend the first hit that shows up. Congratulations, you’ve become to go-to person for reading recommendations!

Literature Map

Literature Map is an author recommendation service fueled by feedback from its users. Type an author’s name into the search engine, and Literature Map will provide a graphic “map” of authors surrounding the search in the middle. The graphic forms a kind of web, with the most related authors occupying space closer to the author’s name that you entered, with the more tangentially related authors occupying the space on the edge of the web. Literature Map gives that perspective that all writers are in some way interconnected whether it’s through their subject matter, writing style, or period of writing.

Booklamp

Booklamp is an up and coming book recommendation website roughly modeled after the Pandora website aimed at recommending music based on the user’s initial interests. Enter the name of a book or author and Booklamp will not only pull up recommended reads; it will also list statistics that allow you to more readily differentiate between ostensibly similar books. The stats are broken down into criteria based on a book’s central themes. Categories include topics ranging from “Music Performance / Musical Pursuits” to “Partying / Deviance” to “Suburban Living / Neighborhoods.”

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com. 

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂

Guest Post #2 : 10 Tips for Writing a Comic Book Strip

There is perhaps no other artistic medium that provides as direct a connection between the storyteller and the reader as comics. Whether you’re doing a daily strip, a graphic novel or a monthly series, comics have a unique ability to paint a scene in an immediate, visceral kind of way. The medium has barely evolved since way back when cavemen were painting on walls, since Egyptians were detailing their mythos along the Pyramid tunnels, because it hasn’t had to. This accessibility to the reader is a big part of why they’ll always be popular throughout the years as we’ve shifted from wall scrolls to print to web-comics and into whatever the future holds. Here are ten tips to keep in mind while creating your own stories.

(1.) Write Whatever You Want

As a comics writer, you’ll soon find that the medium is just as accessible to the storyteller as it is to the reader. Anything you can imagine, as long as you or your artist can draw it well enough that the reader will know what it is, it can be included in your story. In a film, you can’t have a helicopter battle, an alien planet or even a big crowd shot if you don’t have the money to build it, but in comics, you really have limitless resources to tell any story you can possibly imagine. The main thing to remember when developing a comics story is to simply not limit yourself. Any story you want to tell, tell it, even if it’s a daily strip that’s not comedic or a monthly thing with no superheroes. Just do what you want.

(2.) Know Your Artist

If you’re not the one drawing it, you’ll want to develop the visual language of your comic alongside your artist. Know their strengths and weaknesses and let the scripts play to that. Most likely, you’re already partnered with an artist that shares your interests, so developing a story based on that common ground is the best way to start.

(3.) Draw, Draw, Draw

If you’re drawing it yourself, the most important thing is to draw, draw, draw. Not just people, not just spaceships or cool cars, but everything. Buildings, trees, sidewalks. Learn to draw the world around you and give it all a personality of its own so that you don’t feel limited by your own abilities.

(4.) Stay With It

If you’re just doing it for your own satisfaction and you don’t have deadlines, you can afford to relax a bit, but know that readers can be fickle and will generally lose interest in a “daily” comic that’s only updated once every few weeks.

(5.) Get Ahead of Yourself

If you’re drawing a daily strip, it’s a good idea to draw a whole month’s worth of strips before you post anything. This way, you have a backlog of strips to post if you miss a day. If you’re doing a monthly series, well, comics publishers used to keep an emergency story ready to print if someone missed a deadline. You may have your own methods, but keeping some kind of backup couldn’t hurt.

(6.) Plan to Make Some Money

Artists don’t have to be starving. There are a lot of options today for a comic artist or writer who wants to make some money on their work. From self publishing to banner ads and merchandising, the internet has given everyone a voice, a foothold in the media, so to speak. However you intend to share, publish or distribute your comic is up to you and really should be determined by the material. If you’re doing a daily strip, for instance, getting a website and selling merchandise and ad space is your best bet. If you’re doing a graphic novel, you may want to actually print it and see about getting it distributed in comic shops.

(7.) Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help in Publishing

Look up the Xeric Foundation Grants for comic book self-publishers. This foundation, founded by Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, is a no strings attached grant to pay for publishing and advertising costs who have the inspiration but perhaps not the money to get their work out there.

(8.) Get a Creative Partner

They don’t need to be a co-writer or an artist or anything. A creative partner can be just anyone with the same sort of likes and interests as yourself. Bouncing ideas off of someone with your sense of humour can be incredibly rewarding for a creative person.

(9.) Take Feedback

Offer your readers some way to give you feedback through comments threads or a forum or something. You’ll get some people who will gush over your work, some people who will hate it and, best of all, people who can actually give you helpful, constructive criticism. Take their feedback into consideration as it can really help you improve your storytelling abilities over time.

(10.) Have Fun

Keep with your comic for as long as it remains fun. It will be difficult to keep up with, it’ll be frustrating to figure out how to resolve your stories from time to time, it will be a lot of things, but if it ever gets boring, if you ever find yourself not laughing at the jokes anymore, then it may be time to develop some new ideas. You could introduce new characters to give the comic fresh material or develop a new comic altogether, but make sure that you’re enjoying yourself because if you can’t be your own biggest fan, then what’s the point?

This post was contributed by James Adams at Cartridge Save, one of several writers who analyse and review consumables for Canon printers.

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂

Guest Post #1: 20 Best Fonts For Printing

This is a guest post.

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Choosing a font for printing purposes requires some knowledge of font performance. Some fonts are ideal for small print while others look best on large scale projects. Printing projects may also include textbooks, journals, playbills or specialty items. Many fonts feature a number of options such as bold, italic as well as narrow and wide versions of the font. This allows for more options when selecting a font for printing purposes.

If you’re looking for a font that performs well in print media, check out this roundup of twenty proven performers!

20. Optima (Price: free with some paid complete $22 average; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Most often seen as print for books, this sharp font is ideal for projects where readers will be viewing large amounts of text. Can be used at larger or smaller sizes and remains readable.

19. Times (Price: varies, $26-300.; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Featuring a crisp appearance, this font comes with a large number of variations, ideal for many printed projects. Often a default font for many projects and applications, this font is easy to read and gives a professional look to a project.

18. Helvetica (Price: varies, $26-570.; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Used as an all purpose font, Helvetica lends itself to almost any print purpose that needs to look polished.

17. Futura (Price: $26)

Used in both large font printing and small prints such as journals or books, Futura scales properly for most size needs.

16. ITC Vintage (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

A slightly retro font, Vintage is used for menus or projects where a less formal font is needed.

15. Rockwell (Price: $26-43; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Evoking classic type, this font can be used for vintage posters or print as well as slightly eclectic projects.

14. Trajan (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Used for colleges and educational purposes, this font is most commonly used for movie posters and text. Games may also feature this font.

13. Courier (Price: $26-35; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Resembling the text from a typewriter, Courier is often used for playbills, advertising and posters where a unique but vintage typewriter feel is desired.

12. Franklin Gothic (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Used for advertising and posters, this font gives a modern appearance with its dark and crisp lines.

11. Myriad (Price: $26-35; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

A subtle geometric font, Myriad is readable and can be used for professional or fun print projects.

10. Excelsior (Price: $26-39; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Very legible for a number of sizes, this font is widely used as stock font for many projects such as books or posters.

9. Vag Rounded (Price: $99 for all four variations or $29 each)

Originally designed for Volkswagon in 1979, Vag Rounded features a unique rounded font that is both easy to read and fun. Vag Rounded makes a stunning headline font for printing text for youth activities but also looks professional for instruction manuals or other text.

8. Perpetua (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

This font is based off of engravings, allowing for a formal appearance. The numbers in this font are often used for medieval themed print.

7. Abadi (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Used for packaging, television and text print, Abadi is a sans serif font that is both clean and edgy.

6. Bauhaus (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Rounded but easy to read, this font works well with advertising, posters and music or game projects. This is a very contemporary font, and is sometimes seen on menus or signs for trendy locations.

5. Tallys (Price: Free; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

A standard font that can be used for both casual and formal print, Tallys has a slightly slanted appearance and large capital letters.

4. Avenir (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Used primarily for headlines and other bold type, this font draws attention with its clean type. Other versions of this font can lend a slightly less formal appearance to print.

3. Lucida (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Ideal for books, journals and other small type, this font can be used for low resolution printing while still being readable.

2. Stempel Schneidler (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Used often for displays and bold headlines, Stempel Schneidler has a classic and graceful typeface that makes a statement without being too flashy for print.

1. Memphis (Price: $26; Platform: Windows, Mac OS X)

Often seen in technical manuals and print projects, Memphis gives print a clear and neutral appearance. This font is also suitable for medical or other formal print designs.

James Adams is a blogger who covers the latest releases of ink cartridges for printers at Cartridge Save.

*I do enjoy coffee, and if I have it my way, I might have more than one cup of coffee a day, so feel free to fund my coffee addiction 🙂