Thursday, October 28, 2010

Going Up...

This week the country waited with baited breath to find out if The Hobbit will be filmed here. 
Wellington is a small city chock full of creative people. Everybody knows somebody who worked on Lord Of The Rings...or a Peter Jackson movie, or a WETA production so the uncertainty has had Wellington particularly on a knife edge lately. Wellington is a happier place this morning.

With the speed of time, (why does it always feel faster as we get towards the end of the year) November is just around the corner and for those of you who are thinking about NaNoWriMo (writing a novel in a month) and throwing up your is a link to writing a novel in three days. The secret is all in the planning.

Publishing Perspectives has an article up on Online Writing Communities. Chris Vannozzi has co founded a website that puts you in touch with other writers to form critique groups etc. Chris thinks this model is much better than going back to Uni and doing a creative writing programme...Have a read and tell me what you think....

Rachelle Gardner has a plea to writers to understand their business...that writing is a business and she has a list of books in her article to help you with this notion. As always I urge you to read the comments...because there are some additions to her list and some good advice in there.

Justine Musk has written the second part of her series on multiple revenue streams for writers. This is a comprehensive article on where writers can develop their niche expertise and also how writers can think outside of the small box. It is a good jumping off point to think about who you are, who does your audience perceive you as and how can you help your audience to fund you directly...(a nice little lead in to...)

By now regular readers will know that I am very interested in where publishing is going in the future and what the impact will be for writers. Mike is a publishing futurist. He also has the publishing street cred and his last years predictions for publishing into the future are coming true...The speed of change is almost at lightspeed. Today Mike is commenting on the pick up by Hollywood of vertical  publishing. Mike was warning publishers at the beginning of the year that they would have to look at moving towards vertical publishing.

For the average writer tho, a look at this article on 6 Things Your Website Should Tell Book Reviewers About You And Your Book is a timely link to vertical publishing individually. (add a cafe press store for merchandise and ebooks and you are there really...)  

Over On CraicerPlus ( My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

Plagiarism...Writer Beware

Kindle Singles...Short fiction for ebooks

Top 5 Free ebooks For Writers (Check this out...some of these writers I have referred to in this blog they are 

Mashing Up Children’s Books With Monsters (Dick and Jane and the Vampire....)

How To Write One Page Per Day

The Ultimate Retro Laptop

Five Ways To Make Your Novel Inescapable...(the great Victoria strikes again)

On Launching an Online Community and Micro Publisher from Scratch...(and the lessons herein)

Of course you have to write something....


pic is from popupcity

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Classic Thoughts

At our Wellington Children’s Book Association club night this week we looked at classic books, specifically our favourite all time book. 

As we all have a passion for children’s books none of us could stop at one. The two I picked I couldn’t bring to the meeting because various small members of my family wouldn’t let me borrow them for the night.... So I grabbed some others. 

I was interested to find that, for most of us there, our classic book was the first book we read on our own that made an impact in our young lives...generally at age seven. It seemed to be a recurring theme. The classic book was the first book where we, as children reading, wanted to climb inside the book and totally live in that world.

Oh to write such inspiring words for young readers. (yup...maybe one day)

This thought has been encouraging me all week as I take myself back to Mars and think about character motivation...Getting inside some of my characters heads is hard doesn’t help when it’s forty below and there is a solar flare about to fry everybody....

Today I read a great blog post tackling the question If Your Life Is Boring, Can Your Novel Be Great? This fits my mood of will work out.

Greg Rucka has an interesting essay on how he researches his books. How to research a novel -Hardcore advice. Read a snippet here on Media Bistro. I use the internet and the library a lot! I’ve never thought about YouTube tho.

Mary from was on a publishing trends panel recently and the talk quickly turned to the future of publishing. This is an informative blog post. One, because Mary (agent) was on it as well as Meg Cabot and Two because Lisa Holton of Fourth Story media (Amanda Project) was on it. Oh and publishing trends...if you could predict them you would be rich! (zombie fairies in a dystopian world?)

Richard Curtis, one of the leading agents in the world, has an extremely good article on his blog about timing. When is the right time to go to a bigger publisher...a bigger agent...and why sometimes the writer gets it wrong.

Jeff Sexton has written a compelling blog post about the Psychological Principles Behind A Marketing Success In A Networked World. Do not let the title put you off. This is a very good look at a sleeper hit...and how it happens...(this post has appeared on best of the week lists all over the place.)

Kristen Lamb of Warrior Writers has written a reassuring post to authors about Social Media and why you don’t have to slavishly be on everything. After all you want to write don’t you? She does point out what you should be concentrating on tho.

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify Page) I have links to Articles on

To Smashwords or Not to Smashwords (this is interesting if you are thinking of POD)

15 Amazing Literary Tattoo’s

The Only ‘How To Write’ Lesson you Will Ever Need. (lots of interest in this one)

Writing Rules are Just Tools...(this is a timely post for those of us staring at the edit!)

Nathan Bransford introduced a new client of his this week by having a guest post from him. This was a really good idea for lots of reasons. Nathan has a huge readership, so instant success there. Jim Duncan talked about all the crap queries he did before he got picked up. And in honour of this and his new blog, he has a contest to write a rejection letter response to the query rejection.

I missed out on the deadline for subbing mine but if you want to read some side splitting responses check it out.

My response is below...

Dear (insert name here)
Thankyou for your query response on (insert date).
We are currently oversubscribed with offers on our (select appropriate or all... romance, crime, urban fantasy, science fiction, hero quest, paranormal, horror, erotica, western) manuscript.
Please keep us in mind with any further offers you may make. Don’t forget to read our website blog for updates about what we like...our fascination for the colour orange for example is always a  good start in understanding why we might be (select one, unwilling, unable, unnerved)  about accepting your submitted response.
All good wishes for the future,
(insert current pseudonym)


pic is my classic book...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Publishing In The Now...

The dramatic rescue today, while the world watched, of the Chilean Miners from their underground prison had all the elements of great story telling. 
First the spine chilling event itself, How can they survive? Four months underground, limited food, psychological pressures and the decision not to tell them how long it would take.... The race to innovate new technology and drill down...The emotional and financial toll on the families. Breakthrough, two months earlier than predicted. Extraction. A new birth....

So how long before the book comes out I wonder? I noticed this week that the book on the Christchurch Earthquake has arrived in shops...that’s just under six weeks. Ah, the speed of publishing, either its a speeding train or a camel train.

This week The New York Times trumpeted that the day of the picture book was over. Parents weren’t buying them and children were encouraged to 'read up'. All over the blogosphere articles were posted refuting this and the sentiments expressed in the article from one misguided blogging book mother that she was forcing her 6 year old boy to ‘read up.’

In my experience (professional teacher, expert in reading,) children, especially boys, go backwards and forwards with their reading strategies and confidence until they are about eleven years old. Picture books can be very challenging reads...I’m thinking some of Graeme Base’s work aimed at twelve year olds...Forcing children to ‘read up’ defeats the purpose of encouraging reading. All you are doing is confirming for the child that reading is hard, a chore, and not worth their while....

Writing the books can be hard, a chore, and is debatable whether it is worth your while...but also like reading, writing can be a joy, a challenge and extremely rewarding.

Mike Shatzkin looks at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which has just wrapped up, and what we can learn from it...the world is getting smaller and what has happened in the US publishing industry is going to hit the rest of the world, very soon, harder and faster.

Liz Bury of Publishing Perspectives has an article on the Frankfurt Book Fair which looks at publishers use of ebook rights and what it may mean for world wide rights...tricky little lines in your contract that give the writer a bigger slice of the pie if they are sold in different groups.(Commonwealth rights separate from North American rights etc.)

L J Sellers has posted on the Blood Red Pencil blog, a publishers evaluation check list for Manuscript Readers. This is very informative and a handy little guide to look at before you send your master piece off anywhere.

Victoria Mixon has posted some humdinger articles this week...I could have linked to three but then I thought...just send you all to her site...grab a coffee first because I guarantee you won’t want to leave for a while.

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

5 Articles You Should Have Read Over The Summer (or our winter...but you can read them now as a quick 
‘publishing in the now’ 101 course.)

10 Essentials For The Inspired Writers Life. (No surprises I agree with number 1 completely.)

The Infamous New York Times Article

A Screenshot of the Planning Sheet of a Harry Potter Book. This is really good and a good way of visually plotting all the story arcs...

6 Things You Lose When Writing A Novel...very funny piece from the great Tahereh

Salman Rushdie Has Written A Kids Book...( we could all be legit writers now...)

How To Create A Futuristic World...( now I know why I’m doing so much research....)

And if you have got to the bottom and thought 'hey there isn’t any marketing link...' Never fear, Bookbuzzr has a comprehensive list of ten things to think about when you are using the internet to market your book.


pic...once upon a time this was very now.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rants and Research

The holidays are fast disappearing and my To Do list stays the same. This week has had some highs tho.
My family managed to all go to the movies together. It may not sound like a big deal to you but it is to me. With so many things pulling at each one of us, we can only usually manage to eat together once a week. Family events of more than the fifteen minutes to eat dinner take major planning.  We saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice...and we all enjoyed it for various reasons...How they managed to cleverly mix physics and magic, the mop scene from the old Disney version, Nicolas Cage, and the Harry Potter trailer....

Straight after the movie I raced into The Children’s Bookshop for Diana Menefy’s little soiree to celebrate her book, The Shadow of the Boyd. This ripping yarn’s journey to publication has been long in the making. Diana has been researching this piece of tragic New Zealand History for about a decade. She has cleverly woven in many facts about shipboard life in the early 1800’s but not at the expense of a great story of tragedy and survival against the odds. When I got home after dinner out with some great writers...I started the book and kept going...finishing it in one bite. Shadow of the Boyd is the last book picked up by a publisher from the pitch session at Spinning Gold to be published and I was delighted to be able to celebrate this with Diana and some of the Spinning Gold team.

I haven’t been doing much researching on the net this week so this morning I took a look at what has caught peoples attention that might be of interest to you.

Lynn Price, Editorial Director Of Behler Publications has ripped into Christopher Pike for not only NOT researching properly but for then trying to defend the resulting mess. She does not spare the editors of his publishing house either who did such a sloppy job that they didn’t catch obvious errors which ruin the whole foundation of the story....You may think she is a bit harsh...but I don’t. Diana Menefy spent ten years getting the history right, the life and times, the names of the characters and the language right for Shadow of The Boyd. It is children’s novel but it has been meticulously done. I know how much time I spend researching...writer friends have called me on it...(stop and just write the damn book...) We have a duty to our readers after all to write a good story. Our readers are not dumb and treating them as such shows an amazing arrogance which will fast lose you credibility and readers.

While I am ranting (but not half as well as Lynn Price) Suzannah of Write It Sideways has a minor rant on her blog about being plagiarized. Suzannah has discovered that whole articles have been copied and pasted, cut up and attributed to other bloggers. She is trying to get a perspective on it that doesn’t involve wasted energy...and negative thoughts. Suzannah has posted a short list of rules for new bloggers to understand about linking to others work, and commenter’s have linked to some great sites for copyright protection.

Off on a different tack Victoria Moxon has another very fine article on How To Make Your Novel Hopelessly Addictive and Nicola Morgan has one on Dialogue Techniques. Both of these bloggers are a valuable resource if you are looking for writing help.

Chip MacGregor has posted an exhaustive list of things a good agent needs to know. As Chip is the owner of a successful literary agency he is well qualified to speak. As always I urge you read the comments of the articles I link to because they often have some great extras to add to the discussion.

Over on Craicerplus my Amplify page I have links to articles on

7 Factors For Success In Finding An Agent

Earth Like Planet Can Sustain Life (geeking no apologies)

9 Ways To Prepare For NaNoWriMo

A Writers Guide To A Successful Interview (how to use an interview to get your message across)

Writing Series-Thoughts and Resources (this is great if you find your story going on longer than one book)

Kindle Self Publishing (writers can now self publish on Kindles....)

On a slightly different facet of the writing life...Alexis Grant has a good article on Writer’s Colonies. These are amazing residential places that writers can go and just write. Someone else takes care of all the other, laundry etc etc. Some colonies will pay you to go there...It is to dream...

Guy Le Charles Gonzales has been doing a bit of that lately and has re mixed his ideas on 21st Century Publishing. Traditional print plus fan sites plus book cafe sites plus on demand printing equals a very interesting publishing model for writers.

For those of you interested in the 1000 fans idea, my friend Justin sent me a link to a photographer who is experimenting with the concept and has chronicled his two year journey...(yes he is making money...and he doesn’t have 1000 fans...)


Pic is the cover of The Shadow of The Boyd and below a little clip (you can find anything on YouTube)

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