Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trolls and Turtles

Reviews...fake...nasty...and contained has been the topic around the Blogosphere this week.

As I have said before, if you don’t like the book don’t review it...or say why you don’t like the book and back it up....

Goodreads new policy is to try to stop the bullying reviews and personal attacks of authors on the site. The freedom of anonymity, while you are sitting at home, to write on the internet a corrosive review of a book or author because you can...and no one will call you out to your face for your behaviour...brings out the troll in some people. And trolls seem to seek affirmation of their troll behaviour from other trolls.  Any writer putting their head above the parapet to call out troll behaviour gets targeted. Hugh Howey talks about this and how he was guilty of ducking it until this week...A great article from Hugh.

Being the geek I am, I read PopSci and this week PopSci looked at a scientific study of negative reviews on science stories and found that constant negative reviews which are emotive, skewed the perceptions of the readers to put aside the facts of the science article.
PopSci pulled the plug on comments on their articles on their website...there are still ways to comment...FB, Twitter.... but not on their website. 
If you carry out those results to their logical end--commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded--you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the "off" switch.

Self-publishing advice has an article which tells you about the subculture of Amazon Reviewers...yes they talk to each other...

Porter Anderson spends a lot of his Ether just looking at the articles flying about reviewersthis week and there are many... So take a long break and maybe reach for alcohol.

The Frankfurt Bookfair is about to kick off and as usual there are lots of side events looking at the state of publishing. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at one aspect that will be big news at the fair... Self Publishing : the industry implications and impact.

Another must read is Kris Rusch. This week’s stand out article is the stages of an Indie writer. This is being tweeted around the blogosphere...

Elisabeth S Craig also has a nice little post on being a Hybrid Writer.

Chuck has always been Mr Nice when talking about traditional publishers, after all he may cuss but he is not a hypocrite.  (Unlike a certain author who is getting roundly dissed for his hypocrisy all over the web.) Chuck traditionally publishes but doesn’t diss Indies or Amazon or anyone that plays fair... until today when he came out in Chuck mode in an open letter... Dear Publishers.

In Craft,

In Marketing,

MediaBistro takes a look at how to do book covers with public domain pictures.

DigitalBookWorld looks at 5 ways that authors can handle bad reviews.

Website to go look at,
This is an author run co-op with some illustrious members...making waves in the indie publishing world. Check out how they got together and how they publish their work. I keep saying this is the way of the future...

To Finish,
SCBWI has introduced a new award for non traditionally published books...and Katherine Applegate (Animorphs) has been signed by HarperCollins for a new series on the strength of 3 sentences...

The green trolls of jealousy should be gathering to pull her down about now. 
More Power to Katherine’s Arm. 

I saw in my Twitter feed today a nice reminder....
If you think your idea is too weird to fly... just remember these four words. 
Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles.

Feel free to comment....


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Heading To Mt Doom.

Last week I started to write my blog post but ended up writing a 2 page letter of complaint to the government MP’s who decided that closing down Learning Media was a good thing.

From a teaching point of view my first Go To Resource was the School Journal Index book, 5 years of Journals indexed by subject and age level and theme.  With four levels of journal coming out three to four times a year, there was a lot of fiction, non fiction, plays, poems and craft activities to form the core resource component in literacy, science and numeracy  programmes.

Learning Media, who produced these resources, are a dedicated bunch with a commitment to high production standards... because they know that their work is what New Zealand children learn to read on. They used to work inside the Education Ministry producing not only free core resources in English but also in Maori and Pacific Island languages. The Ready to Read series was one of the first graded reading series for teaching reading in the world with stories by Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Dorothy Butler among the first to be published.

My school was part of a group of schools that regularly hosted overseas teachers to show them best teaching practice because New Zealand consistently placed in the top tier of OECD literacy achievement. Every teacher who came through my class looked at the quality of the School Journal and sighed with envy. ‘How can we get something like this?’ was the most common refrain. From a writing point of view I, like so many New Zealand children's writers and illustrators, got my start in the School Journal. They happily provided feedback so you became a much stronger writer. Now New Zealand's common refrain is 'How can our government wreck something like this?'

New Zealand’s current publishing landscape has made international news...and not in a good way although NZ’s children’s books seem to be holding up. Because of our small size (4 ½ million) the publishing struggles going on overseas are played out here in a much more dramatic fashion. Porter Anderson covers the recent collection of articles about The Death Of Publishing In New Zealand in Publishing Perspectives along with news that The MAN BOOKER Prize will be open to all English language novels from next year...not just the ones published in the UK. This change is not being celebrated by everyone....

We Kiwi’s have an interest in the MAN BOOKER as we have a young writer in the shortlist for the prize...proving that even tho we don’t have a publishing industry we do have great writers.

So what is a kiwi writer to do when faced with the one way journey to Mt Doom.
Self publishing or working with small Indie publishers seem the only way to go... many commentators are saying that thinking outside New Zealand is the only way to survive. But do we then write generic Northern Hemisphere stories or do we really celebrate New Zealand cultural style and promote our stories (choice eh!) unashamedly? It means a cultural shift because Kiwi writers are like Kiwi birds... happy to be running around in secret, in the dark...we’re not flashy!
So if you are thinking Self Publishing... Publishers Weekly is now behind you...

Passive Guy talks about the rise and rise of audio books and Publishing Perspectives warns about 10 counter intuitive tips that Self Publishers try.

In the Craft Section,

Jody Hedlund with another brilliant post on getting to know your characters and plot.

K M Weiland on most common mistakes.

Chuck Wendig on 25 steps to edit the unmerciful suck from your stories. (usual Chuck warnings apply)

In the Marketing Section,

Publishing Crawl on Researching Literary Agents

Writer Unboxed on the Query Detox

Joel Friedlander has a guest post from Anne Hill on How toSell Books from your Website.

Website to Check Out,
Lydia Sharp has a timely blog post on Posture and tips forwriters from the Physio...(I’m sitting straighter already.)

To Finish,
This week I ventured into The Children’s Bookshop for one book (yeah right!) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. If you haven’t come across John Green, take some time to look at this explanation of the John Green and Vlogbrothers phenomenon. I have been following John Green for a while...and admire what he is doing to connect into his tribe of Nerdfighters. And by the way the book is excellent!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A short word...

This is the Skinny Blog Post because I have to travel urgently up country
In the news here in NZ, the closure of Learning Media which deserves a long broadside blog post on its own.

Overseas the Goodreads Bullying debacle goes on and on. Nathan Bransford had some thoughts on this. Reviewers behaving badly.... IMHO if you don’t like the book, don’t review it. Life is too short.

Roz Morris has a great blog post on how to deal with Critiques and Editorial Feedback.

Writers Guide To Publishing has a comprehensive post onbacking up your many ways should you ... could you do it...

In Craft,
K M Weiland has two stunning posts on building writing confidence and Crafting Opening Scenes with input from Roz Morris.

Artists Road is also looking at Beginnings and reflecting the other.

Write Practice has a close look at the crafting of series books...what do you need to nail down.

Even the Huffington Post has a look at writing tips.

In Marketing,
The Bookshelf Muse team on hand selling your book.

Dear Author has a guest post on cover design for won’t look at your book cover the same way again...

Website to check out...
This week I posted on Facebook an article by KristineKathryn Rusch on one book vs career publishing which struck a nerve... Kris and her husband Dean Wesley Smith have covered all aspects of the book publishing trade between them and their Business Of Publishing posts are to the point master classes in being a professional writer.

I promise a longer post next week after I’ve calmed down* over the NZ Governments breaking of an internationally recognized, award winning, educational publishing company dedicated to giving NZ children the best of our writers and artists for 105 years...because education should make a profit for the government shouldn’t it?


* pigs will fly first...

 pic 1964 School Journal...Four levels covering 5year olds to 12 year olds. Four issues a level...16 journals a year sent to schools (free) in class sets of 30. Each journal comprising of 3 Fiction short stories, 3 Articles, one play, one craft activity, 8 poems all graded at the reading ability of children in each level and cross indexed according to subject and reading level in a comprehensive index issued every year covering 5 years...which was my teaching bible. All schools considered their journal room holding up to 20 years worth of class sets to be their prime reading resource for teaching reading literacy and keeping NZ in the top 5 for reading literacy in the world over many decades.


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