Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feeding Flu...



I have been learning about RSS feeds and Google Reader.

Yeah I’m slow, but remember the purpose of this blog is learning about marketing and the web and what’s out there for authors. So I am learning in public as it were.

As I stumble around I find all sorts of interesting things. Sometimes I link to them in a blog post or put them in my cool websites list. Elizabeth Pulford is my latest add and what a cool little site this is...

Sometimes I overwhelm myself with new information...it could be delaying tactics on my part tho. (I am rewriting, Fleur... slowly.)

This week has been the Flu week.(excuses excuses)

Wellington has a third of the swine flu cases in NZ at the moment and schools are recording a lot of absentees. Middle child came down with the flu this week. The speed of it was alarming.

Treat the symptoms. Isolate. Also wash your hands after every thing... That’s all the ministry of health can tell you. So we don’t know if it is swine but you take no chances....as you can’t go anywhere to confirm it.

The baby is happy and healthy and sleeping in our room...that means we are grumpy and sleep deprived. The middle child has thrown up over three beds so far... missing the buckets, bowls and towels...
The eldest has lurched from room to bathroom to room to fridge to room for the last two days, coughing...but had to go to school to sit an internal and go to work tonight...She just has a heavy cold...It’s not the flu as she doesn’t have all the other symptoms...(we hope)
Meanwhile husband is working from home.(just in case)

So before it all went flu shaped I was finally investigating Google reader...a nifty invention by Google designed like your personal magazine with articles that you want to read because you have subscribed to the RSS feed of that site.
Updates are collected in the Reader which looks like an inbox and you can just scroll down and have a look.
If you have a gmail address just go to the top and click on Reader...

The two sites I have subscribed to this week are
Kidlit.com...because I found their post ‘The pros and cons of going to writing conferences’ very good reading...( go and have a look if you are thinking about it in the future or you are coming to Spinning Gold.)

And Author Tech because it had a great post on a survey done about what readers want to see on an author website....

We have posted a question on the Spinning Gold website writers and illustrators pages about the best books on their craft that they would recommend to others. We have a chance to locate the books and arrange to have them for sale at the conference.

If you are coming to the conference jump on over to the website and add your favourite to the list. If you aren’t joining us but you think there is a must have, that should be there, feel free to jump on over to the website and add it.


maureen -staying healthy....


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Doing The Numbers By The Book...



This week I have been thinking about books...writing them... collecting them...reading them...re reading them...analysing them...stacking them...searching for them...paying library fines.

It started when I had to accept and face my fears as a writer of midgrade fiction.
Emotion.
I have a huge block when writing any scene which might get anywhere near a wallow in emotion. So having faced up to my fear, I have been reworking scenes in my Craic MS and trying to let myself go a bit....(thanks Fleur for the verbal beating around the head...honestly...apparently it’s because I’m a nine...we are the peacemakers.)

I talked to my brother a few days ago about wonderful childhood books that we both want to collect, (The Martin Falconer series By John Harris) but they are out of print...I found a link to abebooks and $60 later I have ordered four (only one in the series tho. Dang.) They are a treat for me which I won’t get until close to the conference (taking my mind off it as we go to the wire) but never mind....maybe I will have sold something by then to pay for them. (haha)

While I have been delving into the world of revision I came across this Susan Meier short version of what looks like a brilliant (online) writing revision course.

Susan Meier is a top notch Harlequin writer and Five Scribes Blog is a great reading resource. Here is a little taste of the interview with Susan....(yep My poor MS suffered from not enough No.2...however it is a great story...apparently.)



There are seven common reasons books get rejected:

1. Doesn’t fit our line/Isn’t right for the publisher to which it was submitted
2. Not enough emotion (too much emotion/romance if it’s going mainstream or single title)
3. Pacing off/bad
4. Tone wrong
5. Bad characters (FOR A MULTIPLICITY OF REASONS)
6. No conflict/weak conflict
7. Weak story

Unfortunately, those are only symptoms of what’s wrong with your book. Think of going to the doctor. You go in. You say, I have a fever, body aches and I’m throwing up. He doesn’t say, “Oh! You have fever, body-aches and puke disease.” He says, “You have a virus.”

That’s one of the most important things about figuring out what’s wrong with your book. Most of us deal in symptoms and forget the disease. So what does a book “disease” look like?




So jumping back from the seven reasons to rejection I came across an article by Jonathan Crossfield on the power of three (set up, repeat, payoff)...which I have always believed - fairytales are stuffed full of this. This article looks at rhythm in writing and although it’s familiar territory you can always reread it and get something out of it for your own work in progress...or even the revision...

Finally Maria Schnieder has a great post on painless self promotion...

Baaaaawwwwwwkkkk. Why Are Kiwis so self effacing...It’s not like it’s a bad thing... Maureen, slightly freaking out at the thought of it. So... I’m supposed to show people a sample of my writing...Ok....here goes....

New revised opening paragraph of Craic...

Tressa crumpled up the shrinks latest letter of positivity. La. La. Heard it all before. Tried it all before. Got the tee shirt....
Yeah, shrieked her inner voice, it has trouble magnet coward printed all over it.
Tressa pushed down the voice and counted to ten and then twenty slowly while thinking about books (not hard) beautiful colours (shades of happy red and yellow) and yummy food (peanut butter with cheese on toast.) She turned on the computer and looked at her in-box.
School.
School.
Sonnie. She opened that email first.
Her fantasy life with her overseas email pen friend was always better than school.


maureen


This post didn't start out about numbers but as I read through it I have only missed out two numbers...

pic is a set of funky numbers

Friday, June 12, 2009

Going Tribal




I have been intrigued lately with people referring to themselves as members of a tribe overseas.

The term seems to be gathering momentum as a convenient way to describe a social network group. This week the international forum group I belong to had a member create a twitter account calling us a tribe. (actually twibe...oh yuck...)

Is the world becoming so small that we need new ways of identifying each other...?

Of course here in New Zealand we have a closer identity with tribes and the implications of tribal alliances, wars.... etc, as our history is so much younger. Although that said, I’m affiliated to the Old Worlds, McKenzie tribe of the Scottish Highlands and the Davin tribe of the Irish West Country...grew up in the tribal lands of the Tuhoe and am now in the Fighting Bookworm Tribe...its a group of people that hang out in the Children’s Book Insider Clubhouse.

I belong to the Catholic tribe...the Wellington Children’s Book tribe...and probably a few more I haven’t recognised...

For those people in my tribe who might be interested. Online voting for the Montana Book Awards has opened here and you can go and vote for one of our tribal brethren to win the Peoples choice.

My marketing friend, Justin, sent me a great link to a post from Jon Dale (Agent of Change) about How to save the Publishing Industry....

We should be tribal...

Johanna Knox has her new blog up and running and there is an interesting interview with two priestess’ of the Spinning Gold Tribe....Go have a look if you have ever wondered why I only post once a week. (I’m being tribal...)

maureen

if you google search image tribal you come up with the most amazing tattoos...


Thursday, June 4, 2009

I have a life?



“I have been wondering why my life has been so manic lately?”
“Like duh!” says a school mum, as we watch our respective kids hanging upside down. “Look at what you’re doing...you are choosing to have a life...if you didn’t have a life..it would be a lot less stressful.“

I have to say she is right...oh well, putting up with the stress...Thursday blog day rolls around and I am feeling slightly more productive than usual. Tax done...Yippee. Church work done...Thank God.


Interview questions answered....Fellow blogger Johanna Knox wanted to interview the convenors of the Spinning Gold conference. (I wonder who they are....?)

I have been catching up on my scientific reading...

We even got away for a little holiday over the long weekend...It was a wrench leaving the computer, the phone, and all the requests for a little bit of our time...not .

But there are a pile of things to do here and this blog will never get written if I run around noticing them like the back yard which is still covered with debris from the last storm, the big tree in the back yard needs three broken branches removed but I’m not looking....not looking...and the husband doesn’t see them in the dark which is the only time he see’s the back yard....

So a couple of links for you today...It is nice to receive positive comments from friends who say my links are great and they pass them on to others...

Book Expo America is over for another year. The Writers Digest conference the day before had the usual accolades...

Janet Reid has written an extra ordinary post about a session where she received fifteen pitches in public on a stage in front of 500 people. And critiqued each one as a learning tool for the audience...Reading the comments of people in the audience witnessing fifteen people with the courage to put themselves out there to do it, is amazing...

And here is something to contemplate about e publishing from Mike Shatzkin of Idealog.


Complicating things further is an entirely different sort of offer coming up from Google. Everybody else, whatever the differences (and there are many!), is selling you a downloadable ebook file which you “own”. Google is selling you access to a file which they will stream to you. What’s the difference? Two big ones.
* When you close your web browser, you no longer have the book.
* Because of that, any concern about piracy goes away. If you can’t grab the file, you can’t “share” it.
This is game-changing in a very dramatic way. If you’re reading on a web browser, then there are no format issues. And if you don’t have the whole file, there are no piracy issues.



These ideas were discussed at Book Expo... a wake up call for the industry who thought book trailers on YouTube were the latest things in e publishing...

Of course the conference work keeps going and going...with two more blogs to manage as well as meeting agendas to prepare for...
I got a couple of rejections in the mail... life goes on...same old... same old...

That’s why I have a life....

maureen


Pic is from the website career realism...
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