Going boldly into the unknown...a weekly roundup of writing tips and trends from a NZ children's writer.
Comments always welcome. (Image is of two galaxies colliding. Images Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.)
ANZAC day* is always emotional. Whether you
are braving the chilly dawn for the memorial service or later in the day at a
full civic ceremony...there is always the tear in the eye, the tight feeling in
your throat. On this day I think of all the members of my family who served in
their different wars and are still serving. The one who didn’t come back in 1916, age 23 with no known grave...his brother, my grandfather who did. My husband’s
grandfather, one of less than 200 that survived Gallipoli and the Western
Front. ANZAC day is always harder when one of our family is overseas serving as
When we were overseas last year, we met a
Turk on a train in Italy. It was a special moment as we both talked about the
war that forged our two nations. Each of us had a story to tell about visiting Gallipoli and crying. He talked about seeing a fused piece of metal, the result
of 25 bullets that all hit together at once.
What a hell it must have been!
In the blogosphere this week a different
kind of war was happening as reaction to Barry Eisler’s keynote address to the Pikes Peak writer’s conference was furiously debated on Twitter. Agents and Publishers
taking exception to Barry’s comments that Legacy publishing was a lottery and their
only value was for print distribution deals. Once the hot comments were out of
the way and agents and publishers climbed down off the ceiling...debate was
more constructive. Read the comments people...but give yourself some time...
In the last year very successful indie e-publishers
have begun partnering with big publishers for print only deals and agents are becoming publishers on the side, organising editing, covers and marketing of eBooks
or POD...it is pretty easy to see Barry Eisler’s point.
*ANZAC Australian and New Zealand Army Corps remember their fallen soldiers on 25th April the date of the landing of
the Corps at Gallipoli in Turkey 1915. New Zealand lost ¼ of their men and more
than ½ were severely wounded. The Turks lost twice as many allied casualties
and their leader Ataturk Kemal became the Father of Modern Turkey. After a disastrous
nine months the Allies left the peninsular in the dead of night leaving behind
more than 44000 dead to lie with 87000 dead Turks. New Zealand suffered the
largest casualties relative to their population of any Allied Nation and the
campaign changed forever both Turkey, who won, and Australia and New Zealand, who
lost but found and forged their own national identities away from Britain.
I saw Dire Straits perform this live when I
was 21...it never fails to remind me of the loss and weariness of war and the
need for Peace.
This week has seen wide ranging discussions on where authors and
publishing are positioning themselves.
Hugh Howey kicked it off with a piece in Salon where he said None of this is meant to say that everyone who self-publishes — even
those who study the craft, take their work seriously, and produce a constant
stream of material — will find material success. There is also luck involved
and the fickle tastes of readers. But what is becoming more apparent with every
passing day is that you have a better
chance of paying a bill or two through self-publishing than you do through any other means of publication.
Chuck Wendig countered with a piece on his blog warning readers
that only going down the self publishing route was courting disaster.I
traditionally-publish. I do pretty well at that, too, I think, and actually
over the last two years have well-eclipsed anything I made self-publishing. Just
the same, I don’t think one is better than the other.
make important points which have been debated all over the blogosphere this
week. Hugh agrees with Chuck...and compared with diatribes from last year on
these different perspectives of Publishing Now, these guys are politeness
personified (yes, I said that about Chuck...)
what everyone is saying on both sides is that quality of content matters. You
cannot knock off an ebook in a weekend and make thousands of dollars. This week
I was invited to speak to a tertiary Creative Writing Programme. I was blunt
because sugar coating reality helps no one. However one very important point I
hoped they got was they are already on
the right track, by being in a course that will teach them to write to their
best ability. There after, it is as Chuck says,...’Art Harder’.
big topic getting lots of talk time is Author’s Guild president Scott Turow’s
opinion piece on Amazon buying Goodreads. Unfortunately Scott’s anti digital
tirade did not go down well in the blogosphere. Dave Gaughren talks about what went wrong for Scott. He is mostly polite (not like other tirades.) In my humble
opinion someone who slams Amazon as much as Scott shouldn’t have his books for
sale on it.
to help you with graphics content, new kid on the block, Imgembed, which is
revolutionising image capture for blogs, websites etc...no more dodgy
steals...and it looks great from the photographers side too. That’s where the
blog pic came from.
In our biggest daily paper was a great article on a Pacific Writer, Lani Wendt-Young who looked at the gap in pacific islands fiction and started writing a Spec Fic
series which has taken off among her target audience, Pacific Island youth and
then into the wider world. It is a great project and shows what you can do when
you stop talking and just write.
AmazonGoodreads will be the hot topic for a
Last week I mentioned another hot button
topic, which is still simmering away underneath the AmazonGoodreads marriage, Barnes and Noble dropping Simon and Schuster books. S&S weren’t going to
pay the new fees B&N wanted from publishers to display their books in
As more information filters out it is
becoming clear that B&N changed their pricing to publishers to reflect the
fact that they are being seen as a showroom.
Go to B&N. Look at the latest book by
your favourite author. Jump onto wifi. Buy it, at a better price, from