The other half of Writing

is reading. Reading everything you can: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And especially those authors who display obvious skill in the style and genre you’re writing in.

In this realm, I believe that along with Amazon.com and Goodreads, Paperback Swap is a writer’s friend.

Now IMO, this is what the internet is supposed to be used for. PbS is a free service that allows people from all over the US to trade books for the price of postage. Sign up, post some of those old one-read-wonders that are piling up beside your bookshelves, or in boxes in the attic, then start searching the database to see what others are offering. You get credit each time you send one of yours to another member, which than allows you to request available titles. In addition, you can use PbS credits to obtain discounts at Amazon. Very cool.

Postage on a paperback runs around $2.50, so it won’t break the bank. This is an excellent way to keep reading material in circulation. And re-charge your prose batteries. There’s nothing like processing a masters’ work and letting their skill resonate in your soul. Or you can always read some hack’s tripe and think “WTH?!! This guy got paid real money for this? I can do better falling-down drunk and half-asleep. I gotta get back to my desk.”

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