Friday, December 21, 2012

The End Of...



I’m a day late in blog posting.
Excuse #1. We were traveling up the country.
Excuse#2. It is the end of the world...and I had more important things to do...like traveling to spend time with relatives.

Around the blogosphere there as been the usual look back at the past year...who saw those mergers coming?
and the usual what writers  want for Christmas...not necessarily a new notebook and pen...try writing retreat.
And then there are the predictions for publishing in 2013...that’s if there is a 2013.

Uber Agent Richard Curtis has his trends list which he sees as a direct result of publishing house mergers. As I run my eye down it I am struck by how many I can see beginning now...and this was a list put together a few months ago...before the end of the world.

Another Lit Agent with her eye firmly fixed on the future, Laurie Mc Lean, has her predictions...mobile... cloud... folding screens?

Mike Shatzkin has his take on where he thinks publishers should be putting their energy in the future...The Reader The Reader The Reader...or verticle marketing.

Renee Pawlish has a blog article looking at 2013 Amazon and the Indie author...What now for Indies when Amazon removes reviews, changes ranking algorithms and starts own imprints...or dies a fiery death as the chasm opens up and the...

Publishing Perspectives believes in the future and has their wish list for 2013...what do you want to improve in publishing in 2013...(please give us a deal like Hugh Howey...)

In Craft,

6 Tools that change the way you write and publish. (sit down with a Christmas beverage of your choice to mull over these possibilities...)


In Marketing,

To finish,
Writers Digest has the 19 best articles on writing from this year...that should keep you going while I take a two week holiday or start living my life in a bunker as it is the end of the world...

Written by Maureen,  December 21st 2012.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Exploding Heads...



December is the craziest month of the year in New Zealand. 
It is the month when you juggle end of school year events at schools. Christmas celebrations with all the organisations you are involved with, as well as your children’s and your spouse’s. It is the start of the summer holidays. 
While you are rushing around trying to prepare for Christmas, you are also trying to juggle the holiday timetable, travel, destination etc etc.
Throw in a few unexpected events and life gets more than complicated. In December I find myself just concentrating on each day at a time because otherwise my head will explode.

This week around the publishing blogosphere there is a lot of head exploding about this article. Ebook readers to go the way of the dinosaurs. Of course writers publishing ebooks are worried...Do we need to be?

In the last week Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware (an excellent site) has dealt with sock puppetry of a different kind...where a small publisher has had writers extolling their virtues...unfortunately the writers in question didn’t know they were. The twitter feed exploded when Chuck Wendig found his name had been used. Victoria does a great job bringing scams to writer's attention and her latest find is on International Scams...watch out if you are contracting for or to services overseas.

James Scott Bell has written a great post on 10 ways to sabotage your writing. Hopefully you are doing none of these...I could be guilty of letting the Zombies in...

Zoe Winters drops in from her Social Media Blackout to say what she has learned and achieved. Do you remember life before Social Media? How was your writing then? (a safe sane existence?)

While I was away from Social Media a few weeks ago on my travels, Kassia Krozser from Booksquare was interviewed by 40K Books. I have seen snippets of this great interview all over the place and the whole thing makes VERY INTERESTING reading. Kassia is in demand as a speaker at big publishing industry conferences where she regularly explodes heads with her presentations. In this interview she has the heads up for publishers and what they should be doing now and also for authors. Flexibility is the ultimate key!

Porter Anderson in his new Ether for Authors round up talks about the rise of publishing industry conferences targeting Authors...join the dots... Authors increasing interest in Indie publishing...ergo they need tools and skills... and as Porter says Krozser’s interview works as a useful position paper, and it’s the kind of thing I hope more authors are taking the time to read these days. Craft work is grand, but when it comes to understanding the business in which that craft must be published, authors can no longer “stick to the writing blogs.” Knowing what publishers face in today’s market is the only way for an author to find a place for him- or herself.

Check out their speakers...many of whom have been featured in this blog over the years.
I note that the cost of a publishing industry conference is nearly $2000 NZ so maybe a 3 day holiday away around the 12-14th February where you can drop in to this makes good economic sense.

The FutureBook Conference held last month in the UK goes under the microscope in Nick Harkaways blog. How broken is the old publishing system when the accountants are running the asylum... (cue zombie music)

Passive Guy highlights the wonderful Indie author Hugh Howey (author of mega selling Wool) and his new contract whith S&S which breaks new contract ground. I know this has been a hot topic here in NZ among authors so take a look at this. (Is this the contract of the future...please please please...) 


In Craft,
A nice round up for this week.
From J R R  Tolkein. 6  writing tips.

From K M Weiland. Structuring scenes and also Why stupid characters make stupid books (must read)

From Gina Conroy. Cutting fat from your WIP

From Elisabeth S Craig. Writing in small chunks of time


From MythicScribes 9 Amazing Blogs for Writers...and yes there are familiar names here for you.

In Marketing,


To finish,
Scholastic Editors have forecast their top 10 trends for 2013 (remember people that it usually takes a year to publish a book...)

Hold Your Head NOW

maureen

P.S. As always I urge you to read the comments on the links I put up each week.
Conversations I highlighted in last weeks round up are still going so if something from last week caught your eye, check in again... there is still plenty to talk about.

Pic from Grmisiti who has a whole lot of scary pictures from the Zombie Walk in Sao Paulo. This is not the scariest!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Conversation Starters



I’m always up for a good conversation and there are many happening in the publishing blogosphere this week.

Publishing Perspectives' recent one day conference had people talking about what’s happening next in YA.

Quite a few people are talking about Amazon’s latest initiative, a subscription service targeting... KIDS?

Curtis Brown (respected literary agency) are partnering with Amazon in a new initiative...the conversations are just getting started on this breaking news. Are we getting into the murky waters of agent publishers?


Anne R Allen has had some big conversations about her blog post this last week on the changes in the publishing industry due to the Kindle and how the algorithms, to become a best seller, on Amazon have changed Indie Publishing.

Artistsroad is having a conversation on Kickstarter for Authors...is it worth it?

Bubblecow has an interesting conversation on giving your book away for free. Why would you do it?


Publishing Perspectives has a conversation going on e-serials and how they are turning into the next big thing!


In Craft
Agents are telling anyone who will listen what to do at revision time...listen up all you NaNoWriMo-ers...

Roz Morris always a great conversationalist has a pursuasive argument on how to be original in your writing.

Steve Laube wants to tell you about fair use and permissions to copy another authors work. When do you need them?

The wonderful Children’s Publishing Blog is having a great conversation on making your characters totally loved.

The superb K M Weiland talks about the 10 lessons she learned while writing her novel Dreamlander (which took 12 years) and each lesson is a conversation in itself.

In Marketing,
Bob Mayer has a great post on using your storyboard to market your book...This is one of those lightbulb learning conversations.

Metadata is a scary conversation but necessary for all publishers (that’s you, Indie author) to understand so get yourself over to 

The Book Designer wants to tell you about 5 things to consider in Book Cover Design...first up Genre!

Have you wondered about selling books off your own site? The Passive Guy has a great conversation about the pitfalls and plums of doing it all yourself.

The Bookshelfmuse is doing more than talking they are having a huge Be Nice To Others Promotion on their blog where you can nominate people to get a present from the Christmas Elf. Go and check it out.

Ebookfriendly is NOT talking. They are showing! They have a cool infographic showing the biggest themes in bestsellers.

So what issue on this list gets you talking?

maureen

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Unexpected Journey...



At the beginning of the year no one was thinking about the merger of any of the big six...
or the move by any more of the big 5 to acquire ‘boutique author publishing services’ after the debacle that was Harlequins acquiring of a ‘boutique author publishing service’ where they thoughtfully (after their authors screamed at them) changed the name and the aims of the service...imprint...press...tho they carefully kept the fees to publish with them.
So why, after seeing the map of the last few years, is Simon and Schuster partnering with Author Solutions to have an ‘imprint,’ Archway, where you can access their services at truly eyewatering prices to publish your book? (Children’s writers you will be slightly better off... only up to $8K.)
Victoria also highlights a disturbing little sentence found in Publishers Weekly coverage of the launch of Archway.
"S&S will refer authors who submit unsolicited manuscripts to the Archway program."

Laura Hazard Owen of PaidContent also takes a magnifying glass to this latest move. As authors and commentators scratch their heads over this latest move by a big 5-er (or soon to be 4)... think about this little side journey...Penguin own Author Solutions...

Mike Shatzkin makes some compelling arguments for the benefits of merging Random Penguin style...think 50% of the bestsellers out there...now think of your local big box store...now put the two together...

The great blogger Passive Guy has taken a look at new moves in the journey to get their case heard by Harlequin authors bringing a class action against the publisher. He outlines the stops on the way and how the destination will change the landscape for all authors out there.

While Amazon (behemoth and outside the big 6,5,4...) has been squabbling about paying tax in Europe...coz their office is in tax haven Luxembourg, they have also been expanding their publishing company. They are moving into Europe and will be expanding publishing operations in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK... however their head office will be in...(go on, pick the country.) PaidContent has the low down on what it all means.

Rachelle Gardner asks if you have imposter syndrome...and I must say I often do...I’m also guilty of going back to the beginning syndrome in my writing journey.
Krissy looks at traits of highly sucessful writers...they could have a map!
L M Preston has the must read unique paths to publication plan of attack.

Imagine going on a road trip with your best buddies...this is what an author collective could be.

In the craft section, this week plenty to interest you...
When Muse and Plan collaborate. This is a great post from a guest on Larry Brooks Storyfix website.
Adapting story structure for any project...this looks at using Save The Cat in all sorts of ways.
Writing Tense Action Scenes...from a Thriller Editor.

In the marketing section,

To finish,
Today Publishing Perspectives and Scholastic joined together to have a one day conference looking at YA. Check out #PPteen on Twitter to get comments from the YA Lit community on New Adult lit..sales...and quotes that should be on tee shirts!

maureen
pic from yesterday’s little event, down the road from me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Catching Up


Jet lag...
Until you experience it you never can quite understand what it means. 
I now know what it means! 
Apparently flying from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere is worse. 
 I am just beginning to feel normal, four days after landing...and that is with pushing my body to get into the right time zone...drinking water and exercising etc etc. 
While I was away, mostly out of wifi reach, (using the travelsim on my phone was a nightmare.) stirring events were taking place in the world of publishing. 

So To Catch Up 

The news that Random House and Penguin were merging...took every one by surprise at the end of October. The implications of this are fairly staggering. THE BIG 6 and AMAZON are now down to the BIG 5 or is it 4? 

I caught up with current thinking about implications of this merger with The NY Times...who think they merged to fight Amazon on size (they increase market share to a quarter of all books sold.) 
The Guardian thought that this could signal the rise of the Indies and so all is not lost. 
These are two interesting articles and perspectives of what BIG 6 mergers mean to the industry...however as I was catching up with this news, yesterday rumours were beginning to surface of a merger between HarperCollins and Simon and Schuster. The WSJ has crunched the numbers on this one...so we may be seeing the cassandra prophecies of the NY Times come true. (eek) 

Mike Shatzkin all round publishing futurist and guru has commented on a few things he learned at a librarians conference and the implications thereof. The impact of apps on non fiction publishing and how Non Fiction writers had better have the App ready. 

Vertical Publishing has long been advocated by Mike and The Bookseller Blog written by the Chief Executive of Osprey Publishing takes a look at what they are doing to enhance their imprint impact. (For those of you who are interested, like me, in author collectives join the dots....) 

James Scott Bell relates his encounter with a reader in Starbucks...which highlights the real world effect of the above two links. (read read read) 

Anne R Allen puts writing into perspective when you feel you are running very fast just to stay in the same place. This blog post has resonated everywhere with writers. 

 Roz Morris has reposted her how to get a tax number from the IRS blog article updated... 

Writer Beware has a guest post on when to let a contract go...some very good advice here on how some contracts will harm you. 

Tim Ferris (the four hour guru) has had his Amazon published book banned by B and N stores. Porter Anderson takes a look at the implications of this...is it clever marketing...or does it herald a disturbing move by book stores against authors who are published by competitors...The usual chewy read from Porter.

In Marketing, 
Goodreads want to introduce a new section for authors called the premium author programme...check out what it means for you. 

Elisabeth S Craig explains how she gets a free promotion of her books without having to sign up to the KDP programme. A cunning plan!  

In the last gasp up to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, Amazon have introduced Amazon Pages where you get a customised storefront just for you on the Amazon site...hmmm think about the implications on your business of that! 

 In the Craft Section, 
The fine art of Story Resonance. This is a great article on adding depth to your story. 

Seven reasons agents stop reading your first chapter. This article tells what happened when an actress started reading out random first chapters to a panel of agents...interesting!!! 

To finish,
Tools of Change from the O’Reilly group and Publishers Weekly have posted their Author Revolution Manifesto. Take a look, do you agree....would you sign up to the revolution? 

 It is Thanksgiving day and Jill Monroe has posted her sweet potatoe casserole recipe on line to acclaim...Kiwi’s would you be able to do this to a Kumara?

maureen

pic is the interior of our local city airport. The city is hosting the world premier of a certain movie in 6 days time. Richard Taylor and his team had just finished putting this up when we arrived to fly out.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grab Bag Thinks


I’m out and about visiting the other hemisphere...while I’m away from my usual haunts I thought you might like to take a look at good links on different subjects.

Ten links to get you thinking GRAB BAG


So now you know I can’t count...hehehe

Hot of the press links for you




Regular posts resume next week. I hope you enjoyed all the thinking links over the last four weeks.

Enjoy,
Maureen


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thinking Crafty Links...


I’m out and about visiting the other hemisphere...while I’m away from my usual haunts I thought you might like to take a look at good links on different subjects.


Ten links to get you thinking on CRAFT


So now you know I can’t count...hehehe

Hot of the press links for you

Craft - Another look at the heroes journey in time for NaNoWriMo



Enjoy,
Maureen

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tripping Around The World



Today the Twitter feed is full of what people are talking about at Storyworld, the big conference in Hollywood (happening as I write this) which is a mix of writers, gamers and publishers...directly taking aim at the transmedia market. If you want to follow the conversation...everything from Disney’s new grant program for storytellers to whether transmedia is a Noun or a Verb...(It’s a verb!) Follow along using #SWC12 in the Twitter search box.

Also just appearing in blogs is the roundup of Frankfurt Book Fair and what came out of it. Laura Hazard Owen of Paid Content rolls over the new startups that got the buzz as well as the HUGE market in books on mobile phones...and the publishers cashing in on self pubbed authors.

Mike Shatzkin commented that Frankfurt opened his eyes...to the use of ‘Platform’ in children’s publishing by Gatekeepers and the immense power this has for sales and the future in publishing. There is so much to ponder in this post... take some time to absorb it.

New Zealand was guest of Honour at Frankfurt this year and our contribution was to send NZ’s *literary* platform of Chefs, Winemakers, Film Producers along with Poets and some great Kiwi authors. The Fair Special Focus of Children and Young Adult literature featured a *small* stellar group of NZ Children’s Authors. Authors had to compete on the other side of a curtain with the multimedia experience in the guest pavilion hall, where the unwary could fall into the pools of water while staring at the reflected stars. We have great writers here...wish they all could have been there....

Coming up in the next few weeks... Halloween and NaNoWriMo....

Last year there was discussion among YA authors about handing out scary books to kids who come trick or treating...and a lot of authors went to the second hand bookshops and stocked up on Goosebumps. This year the campaign is more organised and Neil Gaiman is fronting it. Check out this great video on the All Hallows Read website. (Neil Gaiman thinks the fact that I sing in graveyards is pretty cool...however no one is getting murdered while I do it...not like this video...heheheh)

Scrivener is coming to the halloween party in time for NaNoWriMo with a free trial of their writing software. There are authors who swear by this programme so if you are interested or gearing up for NaNoWriMo this year check it out.

The Amazing team behind Emotional Thesaurus have written a breakdown of how they took a blog idea into a non fiction book for writers and then out to the world to sell over 10,000 copies in few short months. This is a great meaty read with what they learned this year. Angela and Becky have always impressed me (they live in two different countries) and after reading this breakdown...they are now up there with GODDESSES!

Copyblogger has a great post on negotiations and how to do them for freelance writers...this is one of those print it out and stick it on the wall by the telephone posts.

Joanna Penn, in London, offers the definitive breakdown to why your books aren’t selling and what to do about it. This is great information...and a handy checklist.

Jane Friedman (now in Virginia) has been busy this week with two great posts on Author website checklists and a very detailed Q and A with a copyright attorney...do you need to register your MS in the US if you live outside it?

VQR has a thought provoking post on Small Press and Self Publishers...are they enemies or half siblings...among the ideas in here is whether it is legit for small presses to ask authors for money to publish...Sean says yes.

In the craft list of great links...



Dialogue spacing and why you need to pay attention to it! (Agent Mary Kole hot on the warpath)



Writing to music? thewritepractice says you should and why...(nifty article to have your characters singing into the hairbrush...)

In the interesting tech ideas...

Inkygirl has been trying out a $4.99 App for the iPad that makes animated book trailers...easily.

Joel Friedman (The Book Designer) has 3 ways to use google search more effectively...you will never look at the search box the same way...brilliant.
If you love to get into typefaces...Joel also has a look at a new typeface  for dyslexics.

To Finish,
Derek Haines has published a blog post on why he is going back to Smashwords from being a KDP Select programme for the last year. He weighs up the benefits and the costs of both distributors. This is a good snapshot of the indie industry today.

In Breaking News the latest stats on publishing first half of 2012...Children's pub stats up 41%...and it's digital...

I’ll be out and about over the next few weeks in a different hemisphere so I’m cooking up some special focus posts for you...they will be chock full of links as per usual...

maureen....off to pack bags...

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