Thursday, May 21, 2015

Taking A Stand

This week my Twitter feed began filling up with comments about that Game Of Thrones episode. Quite a few writers castigated using violence/rape against women, as a motivating factor in advancing the story or the character of the hero, as lazy storytelling. Chuck Wendig compared how the latest MAD MAX film and the GOT episode treated violence against women as a motivating factor. He makes excellent points and my hat is off to him for raising this issue.

Should Illustrators be credited in the Nielson ratings? This question has started a lot of comment, mostly along the lines of  Whaaat? You mean they aren’t? or It’s about time! or This is a debate? Porter Anderson takes a look at the issue and held a #futurechat on it this week. Nielson claim it is too difficult to credit illustrators. It is all about the metadata, folks.

Are literary journals in trouble?  Jane Friedman examines the way literary journals are run and whether they will still be around in a decade. Can they afford to rest on their laurels as print gatekeepers in today’s digital age? The comments make interesting reading.  Would you accept rejections for 10 years until they took one of your pieces?

Kris Rusch wrote this week about what it is like to stand up for yourself as a writer to your agent or editors. When you have to burn the bridges to get out of a toxic relationship that will harm your career. She has great advice and is well worth reading from a writer beware point of view.

James Scott Bell has responded to a post by Porter Anderson on the proliferation of writing services to authors. Are they worth it? Can writing be taught? Is the digital revolution, widely trumpeted as the best time to be an author, like the gold rush? The only rich people on the gold fields were the guys selling shovels. Lots of comments on both these provocative posts.

Mike Shatzkin has put a stake in the ground. He lists what Publishers need to do if they really want to tackle digital publishing. Although he is focused on Traditional Publishers his list of important points are good for Indie Publishers to take a look at.

In the Craft Section,
K M Weiland has two great posts on finding the perfect midpoint of your novel and the story climax.

Janice Hardy has a great post overview on what a good YA should have and Hugh Howey tackles YA from a different perspective.

In the Marketing Section,
Penny Sansievieri has a great post on timing an Amazon preorder.

Anne R Allen has a must read post on Reviews - Don’t pay for them and what is considered payment – this surprised me. (Bookmark)

Kristen Lamb has a post on pen names. When do you absolutely need one?

DBW is analysing 12 publishers websites. If you want to see how your website stacks up take a look at the criteria.

Publishing Crawl has a post on author photos. How to choose the best shots.

Website of the Week
Storybundle is a website that offers curated bundles of eBooks. These bundles mean that authors get a bigger share of the pie, they also support charity and you get some great reading. The bundles are up for a limited time. This week Kris Rusch has curated a bundle of writing craft books. Included are some I have had my eye on for a while. So now I own 10 for the price of the 4 I was thinking of.  A present to myself for my 350th blog post.* 

To Finish,

Alex Cavanaugh founded the Insecure Writers website which has grown from strength to strength. All writers suffer from insecurity at some time or other. She has a great post on taking small steps to conquer insecurity in your craft and move forward and maybe take a stand…

* Thank you for popping by every week to read. Thank you for all the comments over the years either on the blog, Twitter or Facebook.  I really appreciate it.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Great Communities

This week I have been thinking about writing communities. There is the small community of writers that you meet with regularly, then the larger community of writers that you know of in your genre that you see occasionally at events. The engage-with-only-online community and the global community of writers. There is a wealth of online information for writers but make sure you meet up with other writers for face to face interaction. It is an important part of feeling that you belong in the community.

Jane Friedman posted an interesting article on her website on the importance of community to an author. You cannot promote into a vacuum. 

The UK publishing community got together recently for their association AGM and heard some straight talking from their guest panel on changing publisher perceptions. Publishing Perspectives reports on the speeches that must have made uncomfortable hearing while any author in the room would have been silently cheering.

Claude Nougat has a blog post saying that Newbies should not be self publishing. The game has changed so much it is a waste of time. It is an interesting point of view and she makes some good points. All communities need robust voices.

Zetta Elliott has an article in the School Library Journal that makes the call to change the publishing community from the 89% white to a more diverse lineup because surely this would result in more diverse publishing. She has to self publish to get important black stories out there for children. It is an amazing article and echoes indigenous issues in publishing here in NZ.

An interesting comparison was recently examined in the Huffington Post on book launches.
A self published author and a traditional published author compared notes. It is an eye opening read. I keep thinking that authors grouping together to tackle this would be the way to go.

Over on Twitter there is a Twitter Fiction festival contest happening. A J Walkley talks about how to participate and how Twitter helps writers. #TwitterFiction

In the Craft Section,

Joanna Penn talks screenwriting with Lucy Hay and how it can help authors.

In the Marketing Section,

Do you have a publishing plan- Jami Gold (Bookmark)

Website of the Week
If you haven’t checked out Alli (Alliance of independent authors) you should. There is a ton of information on their website and blog including this gem for how to make pre orders available on CreateSpace books... and how you need a good writers retreat. A great example of a writing community.

To Finish,
Chuck Wendig (warnings on language) is master of the descriptive sentence that explains a writing truism. Here he explains the writing journey for experienced writers to a newbie writer in his Chuck style... a nice example of community. (choking with laughter warnings)

As I have been writing this my region has been undergoing flooding and roads have been cut off all around. People have been opening up homes to stranded commuters all across the city. Half of my family are sleeping in a strangers home tonight. A great community celebrates its members and also reaches out and supports its members in times of crisis.
Thank you Wellington.


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