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Writers' Exchange
Got news that won't wait for the paper Bulletin? E-mail it to me and I'll post it here. 

August 30, 2009

No More Bulletin

Just updated the W.E. home page to include a link to the Live Journal Community I created a few days ago, which reminded me that this blog exists.

If I have the energy to post more news, it will be on LJ.

Meanwhile, it's been so long since I got around to sending an issue of the Writers' Exchange Bulletin that I've made it official that it's no longer publishing. Individual copies of the membership list will be sent (mail or e-mail) on request.

I have two personal LJ accounts.

When I signed up the first time, for the purpose of reading f-locked posts by other fen, the LJ web site was badly broken. It was so difficult to read it that I got the impression that it was forbidden to use your real name as a username, so I translated my real name into Latin:   laetitia_apis. (That's an abbreviation, of course, but there's a limit to the usefulness of forty-year-old high-school Latin.)

I've made a few posts to laetitia_apis, and it's become the official place for me to post about sewing and fannish things.

The misunderstanding left joybeeson free for use when I wanted to post an un-edited copy of a letter I'd written to the newspaper. That letter happened to be about bicycling, so I've posted at joybeeson whenever I've felt the urge to talk about bikes.

22 January 2007


I've lost all records pertaining to the Writers' Exchange Bouncing Robin.

So if you are on this robin, or if you would like to be on this robin, e-mail me at once.

And I promise to send a report to the Bouncing Robin Co-ordinator as soon as I have a list, or at least make an off-site back up.

A bouncing robin is like a mini-mailing list, but instead of sending messages to a server to be relayed to the members, each member keeps a mailing list and posts messages with multiple entries in the To line. (Some software allows only one address per field but allows multiple fields; other software insists that all addresses but one be in the cc field.)

Members of the Writers' Exchange Bouncing Robin post excerpts from manuscripts and then discuss them. Sometimes we also discuss general writing topics.

Traffic tends to drop to zero in December -- which is why I didn't notice that my records were gone.

11 January 2007

So I hear about this mahhhvelous writing contest and dash off to -- only to encounter the dread words: "Are you an unpublished author looking to get your fabulous work of fiction in bookstores near you? Well, put away your query letters and fear of rejection and enter The First Chapters Writing . . . more"

Were I not reporting for you guys I wouldn't be about to click "more". This intro is the very essence of Vanity Press; if you investigate, don't just be wary of money flowing away from the author, be alert for tricks to suck nickels and dimes from your friends and relatives, and for "edits" that make the book worse because the "editor" has less time to edit than would be a fair allotment for reading it.

I have already clicked on the comments from members of the forum or whatever "Gather" is, and they find many flaws in the plan -- but the complaints suggest cluelessness, rather than a deliberate scam. Some complained that the contest was only a trick to collect more eyeballs for the advertising on the site, but the "About Gather" page is quite open that collecting eyeballs is the primary purpose of the forum.

The most frequent complaint is that this is *not* a "first chapters" contest at all, it's a completed-manuscript contest. Since one of the prizes promised is promotion of the book, that isn't much of a surprise, but you can't blame people who have only a few chapters written for seeing the words "First Chapters Writing Contest", getting all excited, and then coming down with a painful thump upon reading the rules.

Clicking "more": oops, it's "Competition", not "Contest".

The winner of this writing competition will receive:

* a publishing contract with Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
* a $5,000 cash prize from
* promotion and distribution by Borders

Simon and Schuster were still real publishers the last time I looked, and cash is always good. That's rather small for an advance, and one wants to be sure an agent looks over the contract.

On reading the comments, it appears that entering the contest constitutes agreeing to sign the standard contract with all its obnoxious clauses intact. Definitely not a place to submit a novel that might be accepted through the usual channels, and not a place for someone who hopes to make writing a career.

My brief glance at the website may well be misleading, but I've spent as much time on this as I care to.

The next issue of the paper W.E. Bulletin is still scheduled for June.

11 December 2006

Still only one letter and some filler for W.E.B.#63, so it probably won't be mailed until June. If you want the news sooner, I can e-mail a plain-text or HTML copy of the draft. Write to joy beeson at comcast dot net.

31 October 2006

I have a letter for W.E.B. #63.

only two copies of #62 came back, and I'd sent one of those to the wrong address.

14 October 2006

W.E.B. #62 is sitting out in the mailbox. If I don't go downtown before noon, the carrier will pick it up. (And, perhaps, leave my paper copy of The Fan.)

The post office will be closed long before the carrier gets to our box, so they won't load it on the truck headed for South Bend until Monday -- figure it was mailed next Tuesday, and if you don't get a copy by Saturday, ask whether you're on the mailing list.

HTML copies can be e-mailed. The program I print the paper copies with will also "export" in PDF, but I can't clean that up. (I'm thinking seriously of hand- coding the HTML version this time, as being easier than cleaning up machine-generated code.)

I learned something while checking the ex-officio addresses. I wanted to copy El Presidente's address out of the PDF file of the current Fan into my envelope-addressing program, but when I highlighted it and clicked ctrl-C, or dropped down the edit menu and clicked on "copy", the computer said it was copying, but left the clipboard blank. Eventually DH heard me cussing and told me to try right-clicking the highlighted area and choosing "copy" from the menu that appeared. This worked!

13 October 2006 -- 8:00 a.m.

W.E.B. #62 is in the envelopes. Now all I have to do is to buy stamps.

23 June 2006

WE has a new member! E-mail me to request the name and address.

11 March 2006

I have a letter for #62!

W.E. members can get an advance copy by e-mail.

22 February 2006

The second and third copies of #61 came back today. This seems odd, since W.E. has a very small mailing list, and I got #61 out reasonably soon after #60.

7 February 2006

WEB#61 is in the mailbox, waiting to be picked up.

If you didn't get yours, drop me a note:  joybeeson at earthlink dot net.

#61 is also available by e-mail as a hypertext attachment.

30 January 2006

The Banner is printed, de-perfoledged, decollated, burst, jogged, stuffed, addressed, sealed, and ready to take to the post office. The January Bulletin might yet go out in January. (I can date it January if it's *printed* in January, can't I?)

19 January 2006

Patience!  I've just printed mailing labels for the Banner, and some of the envelopes are stuffed -- printing of the Bulletin will begin Real Soon Now.

If you can't wait, I can e-mail you a machine- generated HTML version of #61.

14 January 2006

I finished editing the Banner last night; as soon as I print and mail it, I'll start work on WEB#61.

12 January 2006

I'm now editing 22 December of the 2005 Banner.  WEB#61 can't be far behind.


8 January 2006


On the one hand, I've decided to put off #61 until after I've mailed the 2005 Beeson Banner; on the other hand, I'm already editing July.

On the third hand, it takes me a minimum of three days to print out, never mind stuffing etc.


5 January 2006

Time to mail WEB #61 -- but I *still* have only one letter.

How much space can I fill up talking about this here blog?


16 November 2005

There's another copy of this page posted at ; you might want to go and look. 

I've been playing with the "guest book" Comcast says I can put on the page.  Installing it was easy, though I was disappointed that I had to use a generic link-button that conveys no information and looks ugly on my page.  I didn't like not having the option of not insisting that you leave your e-mail address, and the form refuses to recognize the "invalid" domain, but it does cheerfully accept "".

Then I tried to use it. 

When I loaded this page, I got a "broken image" icon where the button was supposed be, which vanished the moment download was complete.  After fiddling for quite a while and always getting the same result, I decided that maybe the button had to be on the index page to work.  So I put one there, and bob's your uncle!

A few days later, I realized that when one clicks the guestbook button, all one gets is a form to fill out.

Well, duh! There's nothing there to see! So I signed the guestbook a few times -- and was duly notified by e-mail each time, though the message doesn't say *which* guestbook had been signed so it's a very good thing that I have only one.  (I'm allowed up to four.)  In the process, I discovered that sometimes the ugly generic icon appears, sometimes one gets an icon that looks like a "close" button, and sometimes one gets the vanishing broken-image icon, in no discernible pattern. 

I did *not* discover any way anybody other than me can read the guestbook.  So far, the guestbook is only a very poor substitute for e-mail.  Neither the FAQ nor the help file contains word one about the guestbook, other than it's great, it's wonderful, it comes with your account.  One of the exclamatory blurbs stuck the word "even" into the boilerplate in a spot that gently suggests that being able to read the guestbook is something extra -- um, er, uh isn't that the *definition* of "guestbook"? -- but gave no clue as to what extra thing one must do to enable this. 

Maybe it comes and goes, like the icon.

I think I know how to replace the icon with an image of my own choosing, but there's little point to experimenting before I figure out how to make the guestbook itself work.

At least no more copies of #60 have come back since my last entry. 


12 November 2005

Another return came a while back -- from Chicago. The first one was from Georgia, and all subsequent, until this one, were from at least that far away.  (From here, Chicago is the second-nearest mail hub.)

I want to get #61 out early in December, to avoid conflict with Christmas mail and fruitcake baking, but so far I've got only half a page, and I can't find the hardcopy index to my Dover clip art.  <gets up and checks>  I do have the disks — the backups, not the originals, which I presume to be in a box with the index book.


1 November 2005

Two more returns, both addresses I was doubtful of.  So far only Spell has required an entry in #61, but I've got a new letter.  (Draft copies of #61 available to W.E. members on request.)


28 October 2005

The fourth bounce, and the first of the doubtful addresses to come back.


27 October 2005

The third bounce -- this time an ex-officio address, so only the mailing list needed to be changed. 

Hey, it's all the news I've got.  In setting things up so the buHead needn't interfere in every single contact, Don also set things up so the buHead hasn't the slightest idea what is going on. 

On the other hand, I'm going to have to move this page to Comcast fairly soon, and Comcast has something called a "guestbook"; it might be possible to use that to make it easier for you guys to post messages to this blog.  (The present system requires you to e-mail them to me, and me to ftp them to Earthlink.) 

On the third hand, Comcast shares Earthlink's prejudice that old ladies who don't want to upgrade the operating system every ten minutes got no right to live, so I have to do any site maintenance on "features" from my spouse's computer; not to mention the usual problems resulting from marketing droids writing the "help" pages, and comcast's determination to make you want broadband by making it impossible to view the site with dial-up -- which makes their site slow even on broadband -- finding out how to use the "guestbook" might could take a while.  Just finding any discussion of Web pages takes main strength and determination, even if you've just been there and remember the way. 


21 October 2005

The second bounce -- I rather expected them to arrive in bunches, considering how old the mailing list is.  In deleting that address, I noticed that it had not been on the membership list -- and another address that *was* on the membership list hadn't been on the mailing list.  (Your copy is now in the mail.  Or at least, the address for it is on the sneakernet disk, ready to be taken into the room where I address envelopes.)

Didn't I compare those two lists before mailing?

SPELL *is* still around.  Been so long since I paid my dues that Quicken had forgotten all about them.  I downloaded the application blank, edited it with Open Office, printed it out, and queued a check. 


19 October 2005

The first bounce has returned: The Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature.  I'll have to Google and see whether they are still around.


12 October 2005

Now it really Columbus Day, if I recall correctly.  Or was that the fourteenth? Chronic amnesia is a terrible thing. 

#60 is in the mail as of yesterday, and I found the back issues immediately upon coming home from the post office -- I'm NOT going to look; I KNOW the issue number is wrong.  The clerk was very nice about my stack of letters even though the place was mobbed, it being the day after a post-office holiday. 

I'm going to wait until people have received the issue before deleting the deleted members, but I already have a new letter for #61, and I need to write a notice about this blog -- kinder dispiriting to write messages nobody reads. 


10 October 2005


[unspellable comment omitted.]


9 October 2005

Shortly after posting yesterday's entry, I began to clean up the copy of #60 that I'd saved in HTML.  I immediately learned two things:

First, I noticed that the file was a *lot* dirtier than I recalled the intermediate version being.  The next time I save a file that dirty, I'll re-save as plain text and mark it up by hand.  I think this happened because, after some last-minute edits, I changed some of the paragraphs from twelve points to eleven points in order to get the 'zine back onto four pages.  Trying to duplicate this subtlety, I speculate, forced Open Office Writer into a fancier mode.  Unfortunately, I deleted the old HTML version as soon as it was superseded, so I can't compare.

The next thing I noticed was that umpty-bump edits had failed to pick up that the last rule in column one had the same number as the first rule in column two.  I'm afraid to look at the issue that I copied the rules from. 


8 October 2005

This is a bad news, good news, bad news joke. 

I *hadn't* printed out WEB.  I had the carbon in backwards.

But DH re-installed Publisher, I addressed all the envelopes, and WEB re-printed almost as fast as I stuffed the envelopes, so when I went to bed last night, the copies were all stacked in order, and in a bag in my bicycle basket, ready to drop off at the post office on my way to the farmer's market this morning. 

But I woke so late that by the time I dressed, ate breakfast, and got there, the farmer's market would be all out of tomatoes, so I decided not to go.  And didn't remember that I had an errand to run on the way until twenty minutes after the post office closed.

Grump.  After a five-year delay, a weekend is nothing -- but I wanted to get the durn thing off my mind, and now I'm fretting lest I forget it again on Monday. 


7 October 2005

I've *finally* printed WEB #60 out. 

Only to discover that my spouse has deleted the program I used to use for addressing the envelopes.

(I print the Bulletin on my impact printer, but borrow his inkjet when I address envelopes.)

He'll re-install it Real Soon Now. 

In the meanwhile, now that the ish is in final form and will quit wiggling around, I can clean up the HTML version and e-mail it to any interested Neffer.  (Non-members may ask for an expurgated version -- after removing the membership list, there isn't much left, but you might be interest in the Default Rules.)


5 March 5 2005

Looks as though it's all going to fit on four pages.

Ifn' you want to preview your letter before I print out, ask to see it Real Soon.    I've already printed one of the envelopes.  (Got it upside down in the printer; will correct on the main run.)


15 February 2005

I have discovered that Writer will make a fairly-decent HTML file out of the printing file.  It's grossly over-specified, in an effort to match the formatting, but it makes no effort to preserve the columns, and isn't huge.  This means that I will be able to e-mail the Bulletin.


14 February 2005

Looks as though the Grand Complete Membership List Issue of WEB is going to be five pages.  Seems to me I had to add filler to make the previous one three pages, and I haven't added any more stuff than I've deleted.  I must be using bigger type.


13 February 2005

I have copied the text for #60 into Open Office Writer, and have almost persuaded Writer to lay it out in newsletter style.  At long last, publication really is imminent.


12 February 2005

I have decided to update this bulletin blog style, with the newest entries on top.  Unlike blogs, obsolete material will be deleted forever, not available even to me.

But the previous update will hang around for a while.

revised January 31, 2005

Status Report

Writer's Exchange Bouncing Robin is flourishing -- if anything is going on in the snail-mail Writers' Exchange, they aren't telling me about it.

WEB #61

I'm still working on Writers' Exchange Bulletin #61, and expect to mail it before the end of eternity -- send me your corrections!

If your correction is in an attachment, jump up and down and point at it -- the vast majority of the attachments I receive are VCF files, GIF files of tiny red envelopes, a file named "Ivy" that looks like the corner of a relief map of Africa that has been through the wash, and other stuff that was attached by mistake.  I'm not likely to notice an attachment before I get around to cleaning up my directories.

I won't ever see your dancing hamster.  As an anti-spam measure, my mailer is set to display HTML in "view source" mode, and the attachments that make the hamsters dance are discarded.

WEB by e-mail

I can e-mail #60 as an HTML attachment.  (Actually, five attachments: a file for each page, and a gif file of a blank space.)

I can e-mail the working file for #61 as a text attachment.

My e-mail address is somewhere near the bottom of this page. 

News from the WEBhead

I've given up on Publisher, because it won't work if I don't give it internet access, and I can't imagine what legitimate use a program for arranging text and graphics on a page might have for internet access.

I'm test-driving Open Office now, but Open Office doesn't have anything remotely resembling a manual.  I did find "Ten Tips for New Users", but that summarized to "Keep poking around, you'll find it."  without any clue as to what "it"s are to be found. 

It doesn't help that I've somehow set the help file to use a humongous font size, and can't find out how to put it back to merely large.  It takes a large letter to show up when shadowed against glare to comply with the current fashion of trying to make a CRT screen look like paper (an attempt that is foolish in the extreme for anything other than print preview), but I do like to be able to take in a whole word at a single glance.  Not to mention that all the more-extensive topics require horizontal scrolling.

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Comments and criticism are solicited:    my address is n3f at the same domain as this page. (Cute graphic in which you can read it straight off is due Real Soon Now.)

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