Friday, December 4, 2020

Publishing- The Numbers Game



In the publishing blogosphere this week

News broke that Book Expo America is no more. Once the biggest book expo in the world BEA has had difficulty over the last few years trying to regain their niche. There are mixed feelings about the news.  The New Publishing Standard says no tears will be shed. 

However, there is a different story coming from Publishers Weekly. It is interesting to see the two sides of the story.


TNPS reports on Overdrives lending figures for 2020. Overdrive provides digital content for libraries around the world. They report that ebook lending almost doubled- the numbers are eye-watering. The biggest jump in borrows was children’s picture books. I was not expecting that.


The Story Studio guys sat down with Jane Friedman recently to talk about the lay of the land as Jane sees it going into 2021. Will there be big moves or will it be more of the same? No surprises- it’s an audio podcast and guess what, audio will keep getting bigger as Traditional Publishing starts to figure this out. A fascinating interview with Jane. 


I keep an eye on Academic publishers because that branch of the industry is usually the last to change their ideas. That’s when you know something has gone mainstream. Publishers Weekly has an article from Oxford University Press about how to survive a pandemic for publishers.


Ruth Harris has a great post on all the resources to create DIY covers. I like to trawl cover sites for inspiration… you never know when an image might spark an idea for your current work in progress. Playing around on Canva is relaxing and it's free. 


Donald Maass has a great article on Writer Unboxed about beats. If you are unfamiliar with this term- these are the turning points of your story. This is a MUST READ craft article. 


In The Craft Section,

Layering your scenes- Jordan Dane- Bookmark

Writing tightly- James Scott Bell - Bookmark

How to create unique voices for multiple POV’s- Lisa Hall Wilson- Bookmark

When you have no story conflict- Jami Gold

Editorial feedback – friend or foe- Sherry Howard


In The Marketing Section,

The shy authors guide to book promotion- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Are you ready to market -take this quiz- Frances Caballo

SPA Girls- How to use bonus content to sell books- Podcast brilliance

How to leave digital breadcrumbs- Lola Akerstrom

How to market a kindle book- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Marketing Apps- a guide- Frances Caballo- Bookmark


To Finish,

Finally, we get to December and the wrapping paper comes out. I am always interested in the best presents for writers lists. Some I wouldn’t mind getting, some I just shake my head at. Here is a list of writer creativity and craft books from Lit Reactor. I have 3 of these and they are amazing reference books. (Story- Robert McKee, The War Of Art- Stephen Pressfield, On Writing -Stephen King)

Dianne Mills also has a great list of gifts for the writerly soul. (In a cute Christmas tree picture.) 





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Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – LLE Photography



Friday, November 27, 2020

All Eyes On The Prize


Over the last few months, I have posted the occasional news item about the sale of Simon and Schuster. Sometimes I have seen it as the old stag in the river surrounded by piranhas.

Each piranha wants the stag for themselves and is also trying to avoid being eaten by a bigger piranha. Yesterday I had a news item for you about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp group with their eyes on the prize. Biggest piranha, I thought. This morning Penguin Random House bought Simon and Schuster by outbidding everyone.

They still have to go through regulatory approval because of monopoly, but as they’ve been through this before when they became super big PRH, it looks like a foregone conclusion. 

What this means for everyone? Expect more disappearances of imprints, jobs, and advances.

This isn’t over yet with speculation that Murdoch could come back and outbid the $2.2 Billion offer. The prospect of a publishing duopoly is worrying for many in the industry. Already The Atlantic magazine is sounding an alarm about the industry’s future.

Meanwhile, there is speculation as to what their new name will be. Someone suggested going back to Random House as they keep buying random publishing houses.


This week I listened to Joanna Penn talking with Holly Worton on business mindset and author career. The interview is fascinating. However, the before interview is just as meaty with Joanna talking about attending the Future Book conference, virtually. This conference is aimed at Traditional publishers and Joanna talks about how far in advance of them Indie publishers are in terms of mindset and practice. Mind-Blowing! (You can only hear the beginning 20 minutes if you listen to the podcast.)


A few weeks ago I highlighted the practice of Audible encouraging customers to exchange their audiobooks for another when they had finished listening to them which meant that the author, narrators missed out on the sale even though their content was consumed. (The word I used was despicable – that was me being polite.) The backlash, protests, petitions, worked and Audible issued a statement yesterday saying they would no longer encourage this… and that they would only allow returns up to 7 days. However, it won’t be effective immediately so don’t count on audiobook earnings as a Christmas present.


Recently, Global English Editing shared an infographic of the world's reading habits in 2020. It’s an interesting snapshot into who and what is being read around the world.


Hugh Howey was interviewed by Publishers Weekly about his deal with Houghton Mifflin to bring out the Wool series again. This is the trilogy that keeps on giving. Read the interview to see how Hugh straddles the best of both Indie and Trad publishing with this deal.


In New Zealand, one of our Indie authors had an article published recently about bucking the trend of the out of pocket writer. This is a great spotlight on our success stories who are quietly going about the business.


In The Craft Section,

A three step plan for getting back into your manuscript- Janice Hardy

Busting 3 myths of the inciting incident- Ane Mulligan

Character motivation- Jerry Jenkins- Bookmark

5 Random ways to trim your manuscript- Kathryn Craft- Bookmark

How stakes set up expectations- September Fawkes- Bookmark

What should I write about- Now Novel- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Virtual Book Tour Strategies- Leila Hirschfeld- Bookmark

How to promote consistantly and Festive Book Marketing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark Both

Finding competing book titles- Penny Sansevieri

5 quick and easy ways to use book reviews

Promoting your book on a shoestring budget- Hayley Zelda


To Finish,

It’s the last week of NaNoWriMo and also the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Tonight I launched 3 books in my Circus Quest series with a small party at the children’s bookshop. I decided that I needed to mark 2020 with an acknowledgment that it’s been a tough one for writers and that we have still produced good work, despite the challenges.

So custard pies, candyfloss, cake, wine, and a clown were the order of the day. (and juggling lessons.)

Paula Munier wrote recently about writers keeping a gratitude journal. It’s a good idea. I was pleased to have writer friends and family who I hold deep gratitude for, sharing the wine and the gossip and the pina colada candyfloss.




P.S. This is the last week for Storybundle writing craft books. Scour the online Black Friday deals for Writers- AppSumo have some amazing deals at the moment.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter so if you want the best of my bookmarked links you can subscribe here. (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 – Robert Nunnally 

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