Thursday, February 26, 2015

Educating Ourselves



This morning I read an interesting article about the Princess Author Syndrome. As I was reflecting on it I was thinking about the need for all authors to educate themselves on the industry. Especially if you are thinking about traditional publishing as these tweets from Writer Beware blogger Victoria Strauss this morning illustrate.



(read the rest in my Twitter feed)

Scott Berkun takes an unsentimental approach with 28 things no one tells you about publishing.

If you are into experimenting with Indie publishing you will know that learning never stops in this game. Kathryn Rusch has a great blog post on this and how she is weighing up which of her many projects will go down the traditional route. (Along with a fascinating story about a rejected YA series because of main characters race.)

Elisabeth S Craig talks about the pro and cons of being a Hybrid author and that ties nicely into Porter Anderson’s big thought piece on publishing terms that get confused. Porter also profiles a company that wants to partner with authors... but be wary. (see above)

Ryan Hanley looks at the 7 harsh realities of self-publishing as a side hustle from your day job.

Kiwi author D C Grant has a great opinion piece on the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) blog about collaborating with publishers on projects. Here in NZ we face the real prospect of having celebrity rugby players biographies or chef’s cook books as the only NZ themed content on the shelves in the next decade. Which brings me to another excellent Alli post on collaboration with other authors in marketing and publishing. (Take the time to have a look at the Triskele Trail e-book,)

Charlie Redmayne CEO of HarperCollins addressed the Scottish Book Trade conference this week with a warning that Amazon could be disrupted this year. The Bookseller reports on Charlie’s candid state of the publishing nation speech which includes why they bought Harlequin, what kind of celebrity book they are looking for and yes he is related to....

In the Craft Section,

When you need a pep talk – reach for these inspirations.

In the Marketing Section,
Book covers- forget Fabio d-i-y covers. (Bookmark this!)

Book Marketing truths few experts will admit- a stellar post by Angela Ackerman.

Website of The Week
It’s not really a website...more of a web guru. Jane Friedman is a great resource for writers. This week she talks with Laura Backes on picture e-books for children and shares her round up of 5 great digital resources for writers.

To Finish,
Roz Morris asks whether you can teach writing to anyone. This is always the dilemma faced by creative writing tutors everywhere.
Chuck Wendig explains why adults read so much Young Adult fiction. (This is the argument you use when someone questions your book choice.)

Educating ourselves about the publishing industry is just good sense, don’t you think?


Maureen
@craicer


Thursday, February 19, 2015

It’s All Subjective



This week I have been mulling over the perfect conference program. This is highly subjective. Why do you go to conferences? Some people say networking. Some say up-skilling in your craft. Some say to learn new approaches to old ideas. That’s my ideal, learning. I’m not into great big crowded rooms where everybody is glad handing and I know no one. So planning the perfect writers conference for me has to have plenty of learning opportunities and meet and greet without being overpowering. We are in the middle of refining our program for Tinderbox2015 and I have a big problem. I want to go to everything!

As I look through this week’s links for you it is amazing how many of them link into something in our conference program.

Passive Guy has linked to two posts this week that have people talking. Do publishers really understand SEO (do you?) and Authorpreneurs. from The Economist which has weighed in saying what authors should be doing regarding their business which is finding influencers and publishers should be publishing celebrity authors to stay afloat. Reading the comments on both those articles is entertaining. And in breaking news Pharrell is writing a series of children’s books... about being HAPPY.

Porter Anderson takes a good long look at publishing terms everyone gets wrong and the implications for planning your writing business. Do you really get royalties if you self publish? And why you need to know the differences.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting opinion piece about whether agents and publishers want authors that know about the publishing business. Do MFA programs want clued up authors?

Darcy Pattison talks about her last 18 months. This is chock full of information about the decision to Indie Publish and what she has learned. (this is a bookmark post!)

Today was a #MSWL day on Twitter. Agents and Editors write on Twitter what Manuscripts they wish would come across their desks. Type #MSWL in the search bar. If you do query an agent or editor from this, mention the tweet. Another cool search on Twitter is #tenqueries. Agents and Editors going through their slush pile will comment on ten queries live on Twitter and their immediate response. This is a great heads up about what grabs and what doesn’t.

In the Craft section,

Author Biz has a great interview with Editor Shawn Coyne who is working on a story grid book for editors. This is a bookmark post! (and a print out the Storygrid and stick it on your wall post.)

In the Marketing section,

Lindsay Buroker has been sourcing covers from fiverr for short stories - she explains how to do this.

7 must do tactics for promotional tweets. (please don’t spam... the 90/10 rule should apply- thats 90 pieces of interesting stuff for every 10 promotional tweets)

Website of the Week
Bibliocrunch is an interesting hangout. Not only do they host chats on Twitter but they have lots of resources for the Indie Authors.
Here are two of their recent articles- Using Skype to organize a virtual writing groups and

To Finish,
John Green is known for a lot of things that he does well. However today he found out something he doesn’t know well - The quotes from his books. This made for a great confessional post to his brother about how he always assumed that the quote memes were from his books...oops 

If you are interested in finding out more about Tinderbox 2015 - The National Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference in Wellington, NZ, October 2-5th  send us an Email to 2015tinderbox AT gmail DOT com and we’ll put you on our dedicated mailing list for updates and news.

maureen

John Green's confession below.





Tweet from a conversation thread with J K Rowling.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scrubbing Up


This morning parts of New Zealand were declared officially in drought. (finally…)
The kids have gone back to school. 
The floor still needs scrubbing. 
I’m still trying to find my desk under the summer onslaught of papers, Christmas wrappings and other detritus that has to be put away. 

Business as usual.

I need to change my mindset.
Scott Berkun has descriptions of 3 writer mindsets that he switches through.

I need to revisit the story that makes me have nightmares.
Mark Wisniewski has 3 pieces of advice that he should have given when he taught writing.

I need to understand my history as a writer and view my books as an annuity.

I need to relook at my print book project.

Conference planning is underway with my great team. News will be coming soon. If you found yourself instantly linking to some of the above for a different way of looking at your career ... you may want to keep October 2-5th free and come to Wellington.

In the Craft Section,
Every one of these is a bookmark post...







In the Marketing section,







To Finish,
Joanna Penn revisits her favourite craft books for writers... and I’m nodding my head as I own about half of her list... Now do I dive into a craft book or scrub the floor…(save the water…)

maureen


Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Cost Of Writing


What are the odds that a reclusive writer who wrote one book that has topped best seller lists for nearly 60 years would suddenly decide that the time is right at age 88 with severe medical issues (deaf and nearly blind) to bring out the first book she ever wrote.  (insert dead fish smell here.) 

This has been the main topic of conversation this week in the publishing blogosphere.

Once the usual literary crowd finished celebrating that Harper Lee was releasing a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird then saner heads started asking why and the story becomes increasingly unlikely. Is it a rights grab by a lawyer who took over Harper’s sister, Alice's, law firm after her death a few months ago. Is HarperCollins behaving ethically in this whole affair? Is the lawyer to be trusted or have they played a very long game? There are lots of questions around this. Where is Atticus Finch when his creator needs him?

Staying with things legal... Tess Gerritson talks about what is happening with her landmark legal battle with Warner Brothers who bought out New Line who had the option on her book Gravity 15 years ago... and it makes for some nervous reading for writers selling film options.

So the first two items this week are after the book has been written, Chuck Wendig looks at the emotional rollercoaster of writing the book with his handy guide.

Susan Kaye Quinn talks about the need to create... and how that jumbly mixed up feeling is telling you something important.

That something important could be the startling finding from last weeks author earnings report about that 30% of books being published without ISBN’s. Here in NZ we are in a relatively fortunate position of getting free ISBN’s. But in the rest of the world it is a different story. It is a real cost. Porter looks at the issues raised by the author earnings report and then discussion over ISBN’s and their value get a hammering in the comments.

If you have a toe in the academic publishing world these five predictions for 2015 are for you.

Seth Godin amplifies his call to publishers that if you aren’t selling direct to consumer you are....

In the Craft Section,
Kristen Nelson on what is uneven writing



Susan Kaye Quinn on not rushing to publish


Writing exercises - changing the tail.

In the Marketing Section,
The big story this week is Bookbaby beginning Print On Demand. This is big news for those who don’t want all their stuff in the Amazon basket. Canny marketers have also discovered how you can play both sides...


Jami Gold on branding 101


Odd Stuff

To Finish

It is possible that Harper Lee stared at each of the 5 reasons why writers avoid writing in the face and took them on board or she didn’t know how to follow up the first book (first book syndrome) or, as everybody suspects, the phenomenal success frightened her to reclusiveness. But if this is a rights grab... it will be a landmark in publishing... as the day when some publishers lost all moral credibility.

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