Thursday, March 29, 2012


Every Wednesday at 2pm (NZ time) I try to tune into the Twitterverse for a Twitterchat.

For those of you who have just been totally confused by that last sentence I will attempt to explain.
Twitter uses hashtags ( # ) to search and curate conversations.
For instance you can go to Twitter and enter in the search bar ‘#publishing’ and get all recent comments on publishing by people who added that ‘#publishing’ term to their tweet if they thought their comment might be relevant to the ongoing publishing conversation.

Twitter chats however are set at regular times and have their own hashtags for you to follow. 
My problem is that two really interesting chats are on at the same time, #indiechat and #kidlitchat. So I flit between them both trying to get the flavour of each and getting a few gems to mull about along the way.

One of the stellar people I have ‘met’ on these chats is Susan Kaye Quin who writes Y A. She recently posted a great article on her blog which crystallises for me the indie publishing journey. Indie publishing is not about one is about your voice and whole writing career. Susan takes a look at the Scarcity vs Abundance model that Kathryn Rusch talks about and identifies the indie publishing journey as being one that draws on the Abundance style of publishing. The mindset is quite different from traditional publishing. Go and get your eyes opened.

In the last week a plaintive post by Agent Jonny Geller from Curtis Brown called The Agents Manifesto highlighted some uncomfortable truths in publishing about the disconnect of publishers to authors. This has been resonating through the writing blogosphere. Roz Morris picks up the cudgels on our behalf and speaks her mind,- Why authors get treated so badly. You will cheer!

For those people who have been nodding and punching the air with last couple of are two more interesting perspectives to chat about with your friends.

Jane Friedman tackles the big question- If the book is dead why buy a zombie?

If you are looking at your bottom drawer and wondering what to do next. Gordon Burgett takes a look at turning idle copy into books, blog posts etc etc.

There’s a good post with 11 keys to self publishing success which should help you focus if you do have work ready for a new life.

Chatting about Craft
Check out these amazing posts. Is your idea novel worthy and how you can tell?

Why you should kill your darlings....practical advice from K M Weiland who shows you how to do it.

Innocent flower has an entertaining post on 6 things she wishes she had known about being a writer...first up the use of the delete key.

There is a beaut guest post from Susan Sipal on The Top Ten Tips I Learned About Writing from J K Rowling.

Over the next few weeks I am preparing resources to help me continue the chat about eBooks at a One Day ePublishing Event run by Kiwiwrite4kids in Auckland on the 28th April. 

Those people who have met me... know I love to chat....
Come along!


P.S. If you are at all interested in the ramifications of Pottermore and the release yesterday of the DRM free Harry Potter books Check out what Mike Shatzkin has to say about the game changing spell J K Rowling has just put on the future of publishing industry.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour

Hunger Games. Hunger Games. 
Everywhere you look. Hunger Games.

The promo is big...all over the Internet...FB...Twitter...TV...Radio...the stupid Team names have been assigned...are you Team Peeta or Team Gale...(completely missing the point but that is a rant for another time.) 
Katniss is the quintessential kick ass heroine down to her boots and braid. How and Why did this book get to be so popular? and What does it mean for an author contemplating their WIP and wondering if their story has the same potential to grab hearts and throats, wallets and imagination as Suzanne Collins story has.

Word of Mouth is the key thing to remember...Hand Selling...Bricks and Mortar bookstores...Librarians...Children’s Book Reviewers...they were all targeted with advance copies of the manuscript which was photocopied...slapped inside a spiral bind cover and passed around six months before publication.

Oh the delicious irony of the very institutions under threat at the moment in the Brave New eWorld being the key that started the engine of this years blockbuster movie.

Helping The Odds

Word of Mouth...getting the word out about your project...and hopefully generating some excitement or at least readers is a hot topic in the blogosphere this week.

Jody Hedlund has Word of Mouth at the top of her list of how a writer can become and stay visible.

Rachelle Gardner has a timely list of 8 things writers should know about Goodreads.

The FAB Elana Johnson (WriteOnCon and YA Author) has an in depth look at Goodreads and Facebook marketing for children’s writers.

Kate Hart has taken an in depth graphical look at what has been selling in the last year in the Y A category...Contemporary is back....but what is following closely behind?

If you would like to check out some more intricate pictures that show lots of information...check out this one of the origins and then the sub genres of Sci Fi.

In Your Favour

Writers In The Storm have a guest post by lawyer Susan Spann looking at royalty clauses...this is a good overview about some tricky language that affects our bank gross... wholesale....

Dean Wesley Smith has a good hard look at dead tree printing and concludes that it is worth it...and POD is the way to go. This is a very in depth article and the comments following it (over 80) are just as in take some time over this one.

The TOC conference is on in Bologna and they have been looking at the digital children’s book marketplace. Publishing Perspectives gives a quick overview of what people are saying on this topic.

A couple of quick resources for you.

The IndieBook Collective is a nifty little site that has lots of resources for writers who are Indie bound.

The Hunger Games Movie is a 5 star effort all the way. The screenwriters, and Suzanne Collins was one of them, hit every note from the book just right. The best movie from book adaptation I have seen.

Go see it... take tissues and pop corn!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

That chinese curse...

Today I asked my Facebook friends who put the chinese curse on me? You know the one...may you live in interesting times!

Yesterday was manic day...with NZ readers and writers week events to well as a book launch followed by the Arts Festival event the whole family was going to...(Circensus...mind boggling theatre.) Today I have to pack up family after a full day of activities and get them on the plane to attend a bittersweet family event that was supposed to be a highlight of the year...but now is a sad reminder and cope with all the family trauma surrounding this.

Yesterday in a great panel event on comics fantasy and popular culture chaired by Dylan Horrocks, Kelly Link, Denise Mina and Robert Shearman were asked a question about whether writers should seek to fill up their lives with experiences so they can write about them...The consensus from the should have a boring life but interesting friends!
So this is a shout out to my interesting friends...who are writers and artists... I hope that I am inspiring your creativity the way you are inspiring mine!

The publishing industry must be collectively searching for the disgruntled writers who put the chinese curse on the US government looks to investigate the Big 6, Amazon and Apple over ebook price fixing.
This is a big story and will be played out over the year. To get a quick handle on it read James Scott Bell and Mike Shatzkin...they come in from different sides...James is kinder to the authors....There is a lot of comment and debate in the comments section for both of these articles and in the blogosphere so take the time to have a look. Porter Anderson has put together a linked list of opinions from all around the blogosphere on this topic.  Many bloggers are urging writers that they must get to grips with the publishing industry. Writers must make themselves aware of what is happening in publishing and how it will affect them and their careers.

While you are thinking about your career...check out this excellent post on Author Platform and best practice from Jane Friedman.


To fuel your writing brain (are you an artist?), Justine Musk has a great post on your original creative voice and Kristin has one on whether publishing supports artists...

In craft tips...The great site Romance University has a fabulous post on pacing...and if you don’t know what that is you need it!



If You like cool information shown in graphs check out this infografic on the thematic flow of a book...

If You need to find out how to get more people to engage with your fan page on Facebook look at this list of 50 ways...

Writer Beware has a warning on dodgy writing competitions.... Last year I quickly did the maths on The Text Prize and came to the conclusion that they can’t be losing any money on it...and it looks win/win...and they are a reputable company. Check out the rules very carefully when you enter a writing competition.

Anne R Allen has a guest post by Mark Williams about how the Big Six are fighting back after the eBook publishing scare of writers taking this into their own hands.

Live in.
As I start investigating marketing opportunities for Craic I came across this useful site promoted on Goodreads.... One of the biggest drivers of how successful your book is in the world is how many people read it, loved it and then were prepared to write a review on it.  Reviews can be the biggest hurdle to overcome. So finding an eBook review site that you can participate in is a wonderful bonus.
If you commit to leaving a review, the writer will send you a free copy of the book, win/win. (Hint: Craic is available if you want to give it a try.) Writers go and check it out and share the love...

Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) is living in interesting times as he promotes his next book in this book trailer....


Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Quest For Quality Content

There has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about ‘indie’ publishing and how many wannabe authors have jumped on the bandwagon and are happily uploading eBooks by the score. The books are badly formatted with sloppy editing and containing spelling and grammar mistakes in the hundreds. 
This plethora of dross overwhelms the Reader, who is searching for a quality read. 
The Author who has worked hard on editing, formatting and laying out a quality read, is buried in the slush. 

What To Do....
The Reader starts to look for quality filters...word of clubs and others to make navigating to the quality content easier.
The Author is stuck in the bind of having to market and promote like crazy, to get their name out there enough, so it stays in the readers consciousness long enough for the reader to click the buy button...while trying to write more quality content.

This month the Craic book project has stalled...due to unforseen family circumstances and so I have done no marketing on Craic. I have just checked the Google search on Craic and found some new bars have opened up in New Zealand with the name of my fictional rock band...hmm wonder where they got that name from.... 

What I should be doing...
Making sure I don’t commit any of the 7 worst mistakes of the indie author.
Checking out pet peeves of marketing and vowing to get better...

When I find time to write more quality content I should be looking carefully at my word choice...(warning this is a Chuck post...great... but his word images are not for the faint of heart.)

I should be reading quality craft books and practising finding my 'Aha' moment. (just bought two of James Scott Bells and am preparing to throw myself into the work as I have two manuscripts to rework, one to finish and one to start...I need more quality content to follow up Craic you see...)

In my quest for quality content to read and learn from I need to look at what others have done and how they have had the stars fall into line...
Grammar Girl springs to mind, along with this TED talk by Andrew Stanton on Storytelling. (the guy who wrote Toy Story and Finding Nemo...)

A couple of agents examine middle grade fiction and what they think authors need to be aware of.

Joel the book designer has a handy post on designing your book yourself... Lets not be sloppy out there!

The Horn Book (that august filter of quality work) has turned its sights on the picture book app and has a check list of what is a quality app and what is not!

I should be checking my author platform... finding where I should be, and BEING THERE.

Somehow I need to fit this in and stay sane enough to cope with the chaos of my home at the moment. So...if I am a little distracted beer/bear/bare/ with me and I will hopefully get it all together sometime soon when I find my Wonder Woman cape and magic bracelets.

By the way Craic is available on...
and Smashwords for ePub

It is a quality read....hehehe.


get your wonder woman costume here

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weaving the strands

Last week was a fairly tough one in the family with a family funeral to deal with so there was no weekly blog post looking at the hot topics in the publishing blogosphere.

This week I am trying to pick up the threads and get back into the warp and weft of the publishing world.

Just when you think Amazon has every thing stitched up as the biggest book retailer in the world there is a thread ready to be yanked which could cause some unravelling...

Amazon has been negotiating (dictating) new pricing terms to book publishers this year. When the Independent Publishers Group rejected their terms all the Amazon buy buttons were disabled for all books represented by them. (Two years ago Amazon did this to Macmillan and Macmillan won. IPG are much smaller and their members risk going out of business entirely.)

The stand taken by IPG has lots of support from across the blogosphere as different ways to buy IPG books get promoted on websites and other online book retailers.
IPG Authors are stuck as they watch entire catalogues disappear...5000 authors are affected by this and there is much pessimism. When the largest book retailer on the planet refuses to stock your book...what do you do?

Seth Godin has problems with Apple refusing to carry his latest book because it has links to buy books he quotes from Amazon...He questions whether the book retailer should have such a sensitivity to book content....

Crafting a successful children’s book requires the manipulating of many strands. Marketing is one important one as you want people to want to own your creation.

Lindsay Buroker has compiled a list of links to check out to help new writers tackle the marketing questions.

In your quest to make your book glow with subtle colour and texture you need a strong cover. India Drummond continues her examination of book covers. This is a must read post as India explains the contract and price work sheet she uses with clients when she designs book covers.

Along with subtle colour you must have strong threads to hang everything off and Warrior Writer have a post on story structure using Finding Nemo...Warrior Poet has one on using a Hollywood trick to outline....(hmm lots of warriors out there)

Jody Hedlund has finally read Hunger Games and she has an interesting post on riveting readers using Death as the main theme...Death by another name as the great antagonist.

There are 10 pieces of rotten writing and don’t follow....

Liza Nowak wants to enlist the help of all writers of Boy Books out there. She has an interesting proposition for you.

Agent Kristin of Pub Rants has been experimenting with Friday video blogs and she has one examining the different levels and word counts of Mid Grade my favourite genre.

Time to tie off the ends with Publishers Weekly and their blog post on whether teens are embracing eBooks...Yup right after they address the digital divide between those who can afford e readers and those that can’t and that is where the libraries come in....


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