On NaNoWriMo, Random Penguin, Sandy and “Trick or Treat!”

October 27 to November 1, 2012

After Sandy, the U.S. East Coast starts to recover and people are trying to go back to their daily lives. Amidst the storm, Penguin and Random House announced their plans to merge and gain the upper hand against competitors. Meanwhile, the challenge to write a novel in 30 days begins today. Also in the lineup: the etymology of “trick or treat,” the “scariest” writing errors and social media zombies.

Image from Kameron Hurley (‏@KameronHurley). (https://twitter.com/KameronHurley/status/261515677901393921/photo/1)

Image from Kameron Hurley (‏@KameronHurley).

Random Penguin

Random House and Penguin merge to take on Amazon, Apple
After rumors of a merger, Pearson’s Penguin Group and Bertelsmann’s Random House finally announced their plan to establish a joint venture, combining two of the world’s publishing houses into Penguin Random House. In a press release, Thomas Rabe, chairman and CEO of Germany-based Bertelsmann, said “The combination of Random House and Penguin, first of all, significantly strengthens book publishing, one of our core businesses. Second, it advances the digital transformation on an even greater scale, and third, it increases our presence in the target growth markets Brazil, India and China.”

The merger, which is expected to be completed by the second half of 2013 after regulatory approvals, will give Bertelsmann 53 percent ownership with the rest given to Pearson. Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, said, “Together, the two publishers will be able to share a large part of their costs, to invest more for their author and reader constituencies and to be more adventurous in trying new models in this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers.“

Rupert Murdoch was skeptical over the deal and said, ““Two publishers trying to contract while saying the opposite. Let’s hear from authors and agents.” Amidst rumors of the Random-Penguin merger, Murdoch’s News Corp., parent to HarperCollins, was reportedly interested in buying Penguin’s book business to “bolster News Corp.’s publishing division.”

Random Penguin? What the merger of two great publishers might mean
Each parent company had business reasons for “marrying off their children,” according to The Economist’s Schumpeter. Publishers Weekly said the resulting company would be “the largest trade house by a wide margin.” So how will the Penguin-Random House merger affect authors, agents and the rest of us?

Superstorm Sandy

The #Frankenstorm in climate context
“Frankenstorm” emerged amidst social media discussion and news coverage on Superstorm Sandy, which hit the U.S. East Coast over the weekend, has claimed lives and left survivors struggling to resume their daily lives. The moniker may be funny — which led some media outlets to ban its use in stories — but some point out it was a “ghoulish” nickname meant to describe the “historic” “meteorological monster” — even meteorologists said it’s “unlike anything [they’ve] seen meteorologically.”

Hurricane Sandy shows dark side of social media
While social media proved to be a useful tool for family members and friends to communicate during the storm, unfortunately, it also opened doors for false information to spread. Journalists creatively used social media platforms and online tools to report updates, and people from different areas posted photos and videos. But at the same time, fake photos spread quickly and anonymous sources led some media outlets to publish false information.

#NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month begins today. NaNoWrimo challenges writers to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. For more information, go to nanowrimo.org. Meanwhile, here are NaNoWrimo-related posts:

NaNoWriMo GeekMoms.Brigid Ashwood shares her plan for this year’s NaNoWriMo after failing for the past three years.

#fakeNaNotips. @FakeEditor continues its run of fake NaNo tips from last year. Track the hashtag on Twitter for fresher tips.

The shortest short story contest. Writer’s Digest wanted to do a short race before the marathon.

Scary Stories

The “scariest” #writing errors in professional emails. Grammarly shares six errors that topped its Facebook poll.

Trick or treat! Lingua Franca shares the etymology of the phrase.

Has social media turned you into a zombie? Can’t seem to look away from your phone, tablet or laptop? Maybe you’re turning into a social media zombie.

Think twice before you get cute with your news website. Charles Apple reminds us that sometimes intentions to be fun can backfire.


We at Project Chiron aim to encourage the use of social media for knowledge exchange and skills development. We’re not necessarily about current events; we are about relevance, credibility and innovation. With millions of content spread and shared through social media networks every day, we want to help you see what’s important so you won’t have to sweep through all your news feeds and tweets. Our weekly roundups are curated by Dan Dupale, Mina Jesuitas and Mark Hilaria and edited by Kim Palanca, Paulo Formantes and Adrian Claudio.

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