Digitally Composed, Consumed, and Critiqued (Episode 21)

Digital Reading

We live in a digital world, and that means writers need to develop their readership online. Luckily, the tools available to do that continue to improve.

Wattpad is one of those writerly tools, and fan fiction one of the ways writers find an audience. Today, Jason and Kevin talk about how to be digitally composed, consumed, and critiqued. We look at the phenomenon that is fan fiction. Remixing and revisiting popular works has existed for centuries: look at what Shakespeare did with his source material or today, what Disney does with old fairy tales. But fan fiction is very popular online, and even amazon gets into the whole fanfic game.

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Writing in the Margins (Episode 20)

In today’s show, we explore the promise of digital marginalia. Remember when you were a kid and teachers told you not to mark up your textbooks? And then you got to college, and teachers told you you had to mark up your books? There’s something about writing in the margins of a book that either scares readers away or excites them. If you’re a regular Critical Margins reader, you know I love marking up books and see a lot of promise in digital margin notes, but we have a long way to go.

We’d love to hear from you! If you enjoy our show, rate us on iTunes or Stitcher and get the word out. Leave a comment or contact us on Twitter: Kevin (@criticalmargins) or Jason (@jasonanthebeast).

Page 72 of the Aemilianensis 60 codex. The glo...
Page 72 of the Aemilianensis 60 codex. The gloss in the bottom right-hand margin of the page is the most extensive one in the codex. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Evernote for Reading and Writing (Episode 19)

Notebook Collection

How do you organize your reading life? Today, we’re talking about how to use Evernote for writing and organization. Both Jason and Kevin use Evernote to write notes, keep lists, organize daily writing, and keep track of our digital books. You can even use evernote to organize your ebook reading notes as well.

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What’s a MOOC Got to do with It? (Episode 18)

Today, Jason and Kevin talk about MOOCs. You might be wondering: What’s a MOOC? I can assure you it’s not a horned animal from Middle Earth, nor is it something Sarah Palin shoots from helicopters. MOOCs are massive, open online courses. They give some promise to our higher education system in need of reform. But MOOCs aren’t perfect, and they certainly won’t replace traditional higher education anytime soon.

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Episode 16: Models for a Publishing Future?

In this week’s Critical Margins Podcast, Jason and Kevin discuss models worth following in the future of publishing and the myths that come along with digital publishing. Do we all need to act like we’re publishers in order to succeed? Over at, author Adam Lefton wrote an article titled, “5 Myths About the New Era of Publishing.” Lefton brings up some excellent points about the future of publishing we’d like to discuss today.

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Episode 14 – The Unwashed Reviews

Literary critics have lorded over the pages of elite magazines for centuries, and in the twentieth century, magazines like the New Yorker and The Atlantic have helped make and break potential new books. But now, we’re in the 21st century. People find books through social media recommendations and user ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. Book review publications have gone belly up or have downsized.

Today, Jason and I look critically at the critics. What can they offer us today, if anything? Do we really rely on professional critics to help us choose what to read?

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Episode 13: How To Find a Place on the Shelf

Book Marketing

All writers have idols, but it’s important to remember that those idols are just human beings. Is it a good move for writers and readers to take their idols off the pedestal and to examine their flaws? What if we try to write better than our idols?

In this show, we explore how to find a place on the shelf. We discuss why it’s important to not idolize our favorite writers, but to instead examine them closely and figure out their best moves.

Show notes:

We want to hear from you! If you like the podcast, rate us on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you listen to us. Or leave us a comment in the show notes.

Special thanks to Jason and the Beast for our show’s theme song, “Street Preacher.”

Episode 12: How to Write For the Crowd

Electronic Literature

In this week’s Critical Margins podcast, Jason Braun and Kevin Eagan discuss crowdfunding and crowdsourcing for writers. How might writers implement smart strategies online to get readers involved in the process? Crowdfunding is the way in which artists and writers can both get funding for their projects and find participants. Crowdsourcing, however, is about getting people involved in the creative and production process. Both approaches work for writers hoping to go at it alone.

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Episode 9: Throw That Book at the Wall

In this week’s Critical Margins Podcast, Jason and Kevin talk about how to give up on reading. When is the best time to give up on reading a book? When is it better to wait for a better time to read?

Goodreads conducted a poll last year about why people give up on books. The poll found some interesting facts about our reading lives, and some of the respondents aren’t that honest.

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When Should You Self-Publish Your Book?

With digital tools, we have infinite publishing and writing possibilities. But how do we know when to self-publish and when to wait?

The future is here, or something like that. At least, that’s what self-publishing advocates say. As Jason and I said in our latest podcast episode (Episode 7), self-publishing’s been around for millenia, we just think of it differently in the digital age than we did in the past.

Isn’t that how it goes? We always think whatever is happening right now is new and untested. The truth is, the monolithic, “traditional” publishing system was a blip in history, and it’s not as lucrative as it was 10 years ago.

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