Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick Or Treat

Happy All Hallows Eve,
A couple of years ago Young Adult writers decided to hand out scary books to trick or treaters...and it has gained a following amongst the writing community in the countries that celebrate Halloween as a cultural festival. All Hallows Read...go to your local second hand up ghostly children’s books and R L Stines...and hand them out.

This week in the publishing blogosphere there was a flutter as Larry Kirshbaum announced he was going back to agenting after heading up Amazon’s print publishing operation. Larry was up against it, when he was hired two years ago as all the bookstores holding onto deals with publishers decided they wouldn’t stock Amazon printed books. Traditional Publishing pundits have taken a ‘We Won Against The Mighty ‘Zon’ attitude but others aren’t so sure... Anyway you look at it, the authors are the ones suffering with poor print sales and no exposure to the bookstore browser. If the Mighty ‘Zon ever works out distribution into the bookstores for print books... the game will be changed.

In the blogosphere it is NaNoWriMo time and tips abound for how to tackle the month where everyone tries to write their 50,000 word opus. Editors and agents are shuddering because December heralds all these manuscripts hitting their floors. Many of them are saying they won’t look at a book that arrives in December because it won’t have moved beyond a first draft.

If you are not heading into the bunker to write you may be interested in the changing ownership hop of Figment, the teen writing community that keeps getting bought by very big publishers.... If I was very cynical I’d wonder whether they were keen to get their hands on the next big young thing who knows nothing about the cut throat business of publishing.... Lucky I’m not.... Dave Gaughren has a good blog post on this subject.

Publishers Weekly article this week is definitely scaring quite a few people. The article has anonymous agents and editors saying publishers are beginning to carefully change contract wording so it doesn’t say what format they will publish the book in. If publishers don’t commit to a print edition or they go to a POD print edition so that rights will never revert back...or the Print edition will be under their new imprint where the writer pays costs (read Author Solutions here) then writer’s dreams may rapidly turn to nightmares.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a comparison piece on the indie music scene and the indie publishing scene and couldn’t find one and then into my Twitter feed pops this opinion piece from a musician writer.... Interesting reading.

Joanna Penn has an interview with an expert on selling books into Germany. They have the biggest population of readers in Europe.

Now for all those great Craft Treats

These are the best blog posts I’ve seen on plotting this week.

Other inspirational writing tips worthy of bookmarking

To Finish,
Two stellar opinion pieces.
On writing Y A from a literary writer... and what he learned, which was a heck of a lot!
Hugh Howey on the challenge of connecting with readers directly. You need to do it.

Here is my All Hallows treat for you...Writing tips fromGreat Authors. 
Print out a couple of these and hang them over your desk!


This great pic was from

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Genre Fiction; Up, Down, Sideways...

This week in the publishing blogosphere has been focussed on the continuing fallout over KOBO pulling self-published books featuring erotica... which caused booksellers sites to fall over including Whitcoulls our biggest chain bookseller which made news around the world.
The Alliance of Independent Authors comments about the damage done to authors and publishers on this... as a lot of the books pulled weren’t erotica... leaving 50 shades and Lolita untouched.
David Gaughren also asks who do we want making our moral decisions... as this all happened as a knee jerk reaction to an article in The Daily Mail. Lots of comments on this.

Porter Anderson continued his Ether this week with more snippets from Frankfurt and predictions for content (read stories) in the gaming industry ... the books of the future.

Writer Beware is highlighting Kill Clauses in contracts and the underhanded ways these are being used now... Check it out and be aware!

The great Brainpickings, Maria Popova’s site is 7 years old today and she looks back at 7 years since her idea and 7 things she has learned... a great little inspirational piece.

Jane Friedman has started up a magazine dedicated to writers. Scratch.  Her first issue is free so you can take a look at what she is doing and hoping for. If you don’t know Jane Friedman... she is consistently voted as one of the best writers advice/publishing commentators on the web.

McDonalds (New Publisher Alert) are giving out books to kids with their order... or you can go and download them yourselves. Yes...I told you it was coming ad now it is here... just not in NZ yet.

If you are thinking about getting into China you need to think about censorship...The NY Times details the hoops writers are prepared to go through.

Agents doing different things....
Lit Agent Mandy Hubbard is calling for a different kind of submission...She’s got a project in mind but she needs the writing voices...

Jill Corcoran is working with one of her writers using Kindle Singles and episode publishing a YA novel. 

Curtis Brown agent, Gordon Wise, has written an article on whether you need a print publisher now and ‘curated publishing services’ for authors that some agents are now doing....

In Craft,
NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us and the blogosphere is gearing up with articles on how to tackle the event. Here are two of the best this week.

In Marketing,
Joanna Penn talks about sharing your research with your readers... (Great article, something I have been mulling over.)

Ebook pricing is always a hot topic... Molly Greene talks about her experiences and what she has learned around this.

If you are self publishing, you need a team...Bob Mayer tells you why and how to choose them.

Website to check out,
Blake Snyder of Save The Cat (Screenwriting Bible) has a great website. This week a guest novelist shows how he used Save The Cat Beats to structure his novel...A great insight into plotting...while still leaving room for ‘as you write’ inspiration...Bookmark this one.

To Finish,
Chuck Wendig was recently in this part of the world... he left just as the fires started in OZ....hmmm. Chuck was a guest of GenreCon in Brisbane where he delivered a speech on 25 things he loves about Genre fiction.... Chuck is not for the faint hearted so warnings apply. You will laugh and maybe fall off your chair...



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Changing The Game

So nothing much has happened in the writing blogosphere this week....


New Zealand writers were gripped with Man Booker fever as they followed Twitter streams, news reports and rumours to find out if our own Eleanor Catton had won. At 11am Thursday morning, writers around NZ were cheering. This was a nice patch of bright news in an otherwise depressing publishing landscape here in NZ. (Not sure about Publishing Perspectives calling it a Kiwi Twin Peaks tho.)
Victoria University Press published her conjunction with a larger press in the UK.
With the race to leave NZ by the bigger publishing firms, this does leave the field open to small nimble presses. They and NZ writers need to think global and Eleanor’s success may be the kick we all need. In other comments about the win here...NZ writers were saying to the NZ public - See we have great writers...why don’t you get behind us instead of thinking that all good writing comes from overseas. Cultural cringe is alive and well here.

Before the Man Booker award took over the blogosphere what was everyone talking about..?
Frankfurt. (Implications and analysis ongoing)
Bloomsbury and Author Solutions (scary but true)
Book Discovery problems (when a booksellers website goes down over erotica.)

Frankfurt threw up some interesting statistics. This years Book Fair saw the impact of Self Publishing, both to the sales part of the industry and the traditional model of publishing, cease to be the elephant in the room.   
Jane Friedman has fully examined these implications and they make interesting reading. Take some time to look at her series of reports.... it’s a weekend workshops worth of information.
Laura Hazard Owen also brings her considerable analysis skills to she looks at the eBook marketing battles from Frankfurt.
Porter Anderson’s Ether at Jane Friedman’s site and his Ether at Publishing Perspectives gives you more information if you want to pretend that you went to Frankfurt. Always a comprehensive overview.

David Gaughren, champion of the small guy (self published writer) and defender of the newbie writer, continues to rage about the insidious ways that big traditional publishers are trying to jump on the self publishing bandwagon by telling writers that they can publish with their special imprint if they pay all the costs (exorbitant.) The imprints are fronts of Author Solutions, which is being taken to court, over questionable dealings with writers...The latest reputable publisher to engage Author Solutions to run a self-publishing imprint for them is Bloomsbury. If you are not aware of this please read and share with other writers...Eyes Wide Open People!

Mike Shatzkin takes a look at book discovery in the new world, in light of Frankfurt and also comments on the unfortunate nature of a major bookseller coming afoul of a publishers drive to clean up all mention of erotica. The publisher using a filter pulled all mention of erotica and the Bookseller, who had linked all their eBooks into their website found the website disabled. A bit of a problem for the biggest Bookseller in the UK. * Update* Writer Beware takes a look at the impact of this on authors.

Joanna Penn is always good value and in this blog post she looks at her writing business two years on...what she has learned and where to next. Very good reading.

Romance University (always a great go to site) interviews an ex Harlequin editor going freelance and what she found out about self publishing quality and no it’s the opposite of what you think...great read.

In Craft, (all must read posts)
Jody Hedlund on how to know which scenes you need in the book.

In Marketing,
Novel Rocket on Studying the market! (agent rant that is a must read)
Anne R Allen Social Media secrets for authors (Anne is a must read anytime) Agents vs Editors and why they all have a different focus.

Website to check out,
The Bookshelf Muse team of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have changed their great website into an even spiffier one which celebrates what they do best... Writers Helping Writers. They have launched it this week with two more companion Writer Thesauri.... Positive and Negative Traits. If you have not had a chance to check out the phenomenally successful  Emotion Thesaurus For Writers...YOU MUST.

To Finish,
Indie Reader has looked at the growth of Self Publishing and has refined it down to five books and their impact on the publishingworld...see if the book that you immediately thought of is in the may be very surprised. Every one on the list has been a game changer much like the predictions from Frankfurt...London and maybe the Man Booker on New Zealand Publishing.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not A Bear Market

This week the news in the publishing blogosphere is... FRANKFURT.

This German Book Fair is amongst the biggest in the world and it was a big deal when New Zealand went as Guest Of Honour last year. This is where foreign rights deals are made so it is big business and fueling this big business is ebooks.

Every year the continuing growth of self publishing gets talked about at the big book fairs...which are required attendance for agents and publishers. This year, in a Frankfurt debut, CONTEC an industry forum to specifically discuss Digital Publishing was launched and started making waves. The news right off the bat... 60% of Self Published authors would not take a Trad deal if it was offered to them. Publishing professionals were asked how this would impact the industry...

In an off the wall moment a respected agent demanded that all publishers pull their books from Amazon...annoying Penguin Random House in the process. The Passive Guy looks at the fall out.

Discussions about Author Collectives are everywhere I look as more writers find this is a model that makes sense to help them cope with the fast changing world of Publishing Now. From small press collectives to nationwide collectives for small countries... Catherine Stine looks at starting an Indie Collective.

The wonderful Anne R Allen has a brilliant blog and this week she lays out the rules of the Amazon Jungle...This is all about the changing nature of reviewing...a must read.

In the Craft Section,

In Marketing,

Website to check out,
K M Weiland has a new website and it is beautiful...check it out and her latest post on when characters lack solid story goals.

To Finish,
Over the last few years there have been rumblings of discontent in the text book world. First from the students...the high prices...then from the professors who have to pay for their work to be published in the text book publishers have a cash cow... but check out this latest from Harvard Business School....and read the comments!
Enough to make me reach for a ....


* High Five to anyone who gets the reference in the title...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Online Identity

The debate this week on the blogosphere is Author Websites.

They take too much time.
The authors should spend their time writing not on social media.
Most author websites are outdated...never updated and boring.
Engaging websites connect readers with the author.
Connected readers are your marketing team.
In this modern age you need to be searchable as an author and have an online home.

So many opinions on this one...
Digital Book World was hosting a conference this week where this was discussed and the pro’s and con’s debated thick and fast... Here is their very detailed breakdown of the discussion.

Jane Friedman then picked up the baton and added her considerable intellectual weight to the discussion in her blog.

My two cents worth.... Time and again I have seen comments by editors and agents that if they really like the MS and they don’t know the author personally they google their name. This means that you should give them something to find...that you control. If it is your website...showcasing your style... Great.
Readers wanting to find out more about you and your books should be able to... and wouldn’t it be great if they could go on and buy your book! Check out Darcy Pattison’s article on the Codex survey about what readers want on an Author Website.

Joanna Penn source of amazing writing and marketing information for authors often interviews leaders in this field. Here she is, talking with Dan Blank on Combating Platform Fatigue...It is an hour long video blog so clear the decks for this one.

In Craft, looks at building your book lexicon

In Marketing,
PublishingGuru -  Twitter for authors

Your Writer Platform – defeat obscurity tips

Gordon Burdett on a handy tip for titles

Website to check out: The Insecure Writers Support Group.They have put together a great site chock full of info.

On Twitter today...The coolest writer in residence programme ever... Go enter!

To Finish,
Susan Kaye Quinn has been blogging her book over the last couple of months. It is a how to book on self publishing...I have been referencing Susan for a few years now and she is a great source of knowledge and inspiration. This chapter looks at Booksellers and Susan details her bookstoreof the future... If they were like this you wouldn’t get me out of them. (hmm it's difficult now....)

This is timely as Booksellers conferences are all over the place... everybody trying to find the solution to keep them going...which we all need when so far this week, in our small country, 3 independents have gone out of business.

If we end up only being able to sell online we will need our websites more than ever...


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