Thursday, March 26, 2020

Being Kind

This week I sent out my monthly newsletter just before New Zealand began to prepare for a four-week lockdown. We are entering an uncertain time. I get to share my working space with my family for four weeks solid. This could be challenging. Here are some of the ideas I shared in my newsletter for writers coping in this brave new world.
Clean up all your computer files.
Back up all your documents.
Shelve your books alphabetically, or by colour… or practice book structure sculpture.
Write a book review and post it online every day for Book Karma.
Study a good film for plot points and emotional payoffs- Do it as a group activity (family time?)
Check-in with your loved ones and your colleagues. This is about physical distancing not social distancing. 
Be Kind To Yourself

The calm good sense of K M Weiland on the power of hopeful stories when the world seems a bit mad is a nice reminder that the world needs storytellers. 

Joanna Penn has a great article on productivity from guest writer, Tiffany Joy. If your productivity has gone out the window it is alright to regroup and try again.

Nate Hoffelder has a great post on how to look at your author business and move forward with a new plan for when we come out on the other side. Very sensible, also his 6 stages of grief are right on target.

Anne R Allen has been looking at Amazon’s review policy and yes, they have changed it again. Now you have to be careful of ARC team reviews. But as Anne says there are other places you can leave reviews.

New Zealand was going to be hosting the WorldCon this year and now the whole country is in lockdown. As a nice pivot Worldcon will be virtual. 
Meanwhile, BEA is still attempting to go ahead despite the withdrawals of 3 big publishers.

Kris Rusch has dug out an old post on setting priorities if you are new to working from home. This is absolutely the best advice as we figure out how to work in this brave new world of coronavirus lockdown. She then continued her current thinking about black swan events and what might be coming down the track for author business.

In The Craft Section,

5 ingredients for story subtext- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Creative Writing Prompts and Writing Exercises from Reedsy- Bookmark Both

How to format dialogue – Jami Gold - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to get publicity- Tom Corson Knowles- Bookmark

April - unique content ideas- Penny Sansevieri – Bookmark

To Finish,

Last week was I was writing about creativity. The Oatmeal blog came up with an awesome comic on creativity. 
Here in New Zealand we are lucky to have a brilliant microbiologist and a cartoonist join forces to write creative, entertaining and factual daily articles that are now being shared globally.
Be Kind. Stay strong.

Day One of New Zealand Lockdown

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Getting Creative

Last week I was urging people to look for the silver lining. A lot can happen in a week. 
Sadly, I am seeing many people in the arts industry who have had their jobs disappear, launches canceled, speaking gigs (that pay the rent) postponed or stopped. Then I saw booksellers struggling and the layoffs of staff have begun.

Some great booksellers are keeping their staff on full pay and giving them vacation time. Others are coming up with innovative ways to stay relevant in the community. A friend who does a regular storytime in a children’s bookshop is now doing an online version for the store. (They also have a mobile EFTPOS machine so they can go out to cars with your phone in order.) Other bookshops have started a delivery service. 
Now is the time to get creative to weather the Covid 19 storm. 

With the canceling of so many festivals, some kid’s authors got together to hold an online book festival for kids. Check out how they are doing it and share the idea around.

Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and others are relaxing their licenses so teachers can use their books and crafts in videos for children who are unable to go to school. Authors who have their own licenses for this may be able to offer something similar. 

Librarians overseas, are arguing that now is the time to relax the fair use rules on copyright. This is tricky as authors should still be paid for their work. It is their livelihood.

Amazon is priority shipping- anything not a priority for Covid 19 is getting delayed. Unfortunately, books are not seen as a priority. However, that doesn’t apply to KDP print and ebooks. (silver lining)

In the middle of all this Macmillan ended its library embargo. Everyone told them you don’t mess with librarians, but they had to find out the hard way.

Kristine Rusch talks about Black Swan events and how the world and business change forever at these times. This is an interesting read and something to ponder on as we look at our author business. Dean and Kris are also offering big discounts on all their courses for authors who are stuck inside. 

Nate Hoffelder is noting that most of the Book Fairs are talking postponement. He has a blog post on what to take if you are planning to go to a fair as soon as everything gets back to the new normal.

Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors has a very useful article on how Indie Publishing might be able to weather the Covid 19 storm.

In The Craft Section,

4 tips for creating Villains- Sacha Black - Bookmark

Ways to add depth to settings- Jordan Dane- Bookmark

Taking the first step towards writing- Shanna Swendson- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Packaging your book- Keywords, metadata, and selling points- Nicolas Erik- Bookmark!

Increasing discoverability- Facebook Goodreads Twitter- Ingram blog

Change your author blog into a website- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark

To Finish

In this time of uncertainty with the news constantly changing around us it can be tempting to lock ourselves away and go back to comfort food, books, etc etc. If you know anyone contemplating plans to write that picture book, ‘because it’s easy to write a kids book’ send them over to read Melinda Szymanik’s blog- The picture book gospel. 

Now is the time to be kind and to think outside of the box, to get the word out about books and reading. Write reviews, talk on social media about favourite books, share your process, invent words games, social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Writers are already ahead of the rest of the world in these skills. It’s time to show them off.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter of the best of the months' bookmarked links.
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr- Creative Commons – Bill Smith- Girl Scout cookies 

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