Thursday, February 25, 2016
This week the publishing blogosphere was soul searching as the news filtered through that Huffington Post was proud to not pay its writers. When the dust settled over the initial outrage, some great posts about the problem of free and paying the writer emerged.
Porter pulled together some of the articles and great discussions. Chuck wrote a piece that was full speed ahead, man the torpedoes. Jami Gold’s post, last week, was prescient about knowing why you are writing for free.
This week Joanne Harris dropped out of attending a literary festival over the restrictive nature of the contract. Festival appearance contracts are becoming very odd. With Phillip Pulman making a case to pay the writers for appearances of dubious value to the writer, some literary festivals have found another way to exact a pound of flesh. Restricting an authors public movements seems to be going a step too far though.
Writer Beware has been seeing some weird publishing contracts lately with termination clauses popping up with fine print saying the writer will have to pay costs... even if the writer didn’t terminate the agreement. Keep an eye on new contract language.
Ellen Oh wrote a heartfelt plea to white writers over how they write coloured characters. At first many writers thought she was saying white writers shouldn’t write these characters, but Ellen was saying something different. Be authentic in your writing. It is a great post to mull over.
Today Simon and Schuster launched a new imprint... specifically aimed at Muslim children’s books. This is a great addition to their imprint list and a great statement to make to the publishing world.
In the Craft Section,
Scenes as capsules of time- C S Lakin- Bookmark
Creating Author business plans- Janice Hardy
Hack your readers brains by using senses- K M Weiland- Bookmark
How to write a fight scene- Christine Frazier- Bookmark
In the Marketing Section,
How authors can use Pinterst- Jane Friedman
10 clever ways to grow your email list- The Book Designer-Bookmark
If you are on Twitter and you are searching for some interesting writer accounts to follow then you can’t go far wrong taking a look at this nifty list that the Expert Editor has put together. A little something for everyone here.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
This week in the publishing blogosphere
Scribd changed its subscription model. A little shiver fluttered through the online publishing community at the news. Were they going to fold? With the dominance of Amazon Unlimited and the demise of Oyster, Scribd is really the only alternative in subscription reading. Scribd still lives but the day of the all you can read buffet is ending.
This week Google entered into the reading market... with books that cannot be printed.
These books aren’t even for e-readers. They are short, just right for a commute and designed to be read on a phone.... and they are choose your own adventure type books. Taking the story and gaming it into your phone challenges conventional storytelling. With Google behind this experiment it will be interesting to see where it goes.
At the end of January, Berlin hosted a Future Publish conference. One of the keynote speakers, Chantal Restivo-Alessi, talked about the value of the story across all mediums, harnessing digital across all platforms and building deep engagement. Backlists are crucial and Authors and their brand should be marketed on a global scale. This is a really interesting article. (I can't help wondering what it would do for NZ if the individual imprints here marketed NZ Books globally instead of to two chain booksellers.)
Jane Friedman has an interview with Agent Laurie McLean specifically about one of her clients who operates in a hybrid fashion across the publishing and music industries with one feeding into the other. So Simon Curtis writes a Y.A. book and happens to create music and so references it in the story and brings out an album of music which promotes the book which promotes his music and.... Hybrid storytelling going in all directions now.
By now your brain has probably gone into Popcorn Kitten mode so you should read what James Scott Bell has to say about coping with the writers bane of too many ideas crowding in all at once. This is excellent advice which will keep you productive or at least allow you to sleep easier.
Writer Beware is continuing to warn authors about the many and varied scams that Author Solutions are perpetuating across all their various fronts for reputable publishing companies. The latest examination is the marketing on-sell. This is where they really make their money charging hundreds of dollars for simple services. The charges are truly eye-watering. Even if you know that you will never get caught on this - read it so you can inform others.
Jami Gold has been thinking about the times when an Author might work for free. This is hotly debated in the creative community where we see little enough money for our work. A few weeks back we had Phillip Pullman campaigning to pay authors at festivals. Jami has some good points to make about choosing carefully which projects we do for free.
I have been thinking about Dean Wesley Smith's article all day. He takes a look at the longevity of the writer in the digital age. It does make you think. If books don’t go out of print because digital backlists are still selling... authors really need to understand the long game and plan their careers for it. Dean is still finding readers for books that are 30 years old... and you can too.
In the Craft Section,
The Book Designer- 3 mistakes you made writing the first book.
Tara Sparling- Dissecting the blurb formula
September Fawkes – 15 tactics for writing humour- Bookmark
Steven Pressfield -The difference between subject and theme- Bookmark
Anne R Allen – a guide to co writing -Bookmark
Darcy Pattison- find your novel opening
Janice Hardy – Deep P.O.V is not the only P.O.V.
In the Marketing Section,
Rachel Thompson- 4 ways to improve your sales
Anne R Allen- Using Google plus and why you should. (This post is getting a lot of comments
around the blogosphere. You should read it!)
How writers ruin their Amazon links- Bookmark!
Jane Friedman on finding a Book Publicist
Website of the Week
Besides being an awesome blogger Lindsay Buroker manages a podcast called SFF Marketing. This podcast is a deep look at marketing issues and has great guests. Being a podcast it’s easy to listen to while doing other things. Today they interviewed Data Guy of Author Earnings. The latest Author Earnings report is ruffling a few feathers. Data Guy is being touted as a guest at Digital Book World’s upcoming conference so this podcast is a must listen if you are following what is happening in the Indie World. Then you can check out all the other goodies in past podcasts.
Angela Ackerman writes some great articles. This one for Romance University on romancing the reader is a must read. After all readers are why we spend so much time crafting the characters. We want them to love our characters as much as we do.
Loving the reader means we have to show up for them.
This week the annual SCBWI conference in New York was rocked by an amazing keynote from children's author Gary Schmidt. Besides reading the keynote... check out the great conference blog.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
In publishing news this week...
The news is filtering through about mega selling YA Author Cassandra Clare being taken to court over plagiarism by another big selling YA author Sherilyn Kenyon. This is an interesting case as it hinges on whether you can plagiarise an idea.
While authors digest that one- if you were thinking of translating into German you need to understand that titles are copyright protected in Germany. Joanna Penn talks to Rebecca Cantrell about this and other meaty topics in the hybrid world of publishing.
A new Author Earnings survey is out. For the first time they included print books. The numbers make interesting reading. Traditional publishing still holds up Print... but the Indies are not far behind.
This week Nielson announced that they have decided to track ebooks. This is slightly after the fact as ebooks have been around for a few years now. However the data may be useful in the future.
Publishing will be rubbing their hands at the news that an 8th Harry Potter book is about to be launched on July 31st in print and ebook. This is the book of the script of the play which also opens in July. With over 70,000 fully illustrated books of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (retailing in NZ at $70) sold in the last three months, I’m going to predict that there will be a market for this book featuring a grown up Harry Potter. Add to that a new expanded version of Fantastic Beasts and all things Potter will be the publishing saviour of 2016.
Outside the phenomenon of Harry Potter, Children’s Books receive very little review space in print media. A UK author has launched a campaign to try and redress this. This has been picked up by The Bookseller magazine with an article about why these reviews are so important.
Jami Gold has an interesting article on the dilemma for the writer of a public life for a private individual.
Janice Hardy has an interesting article by Marcy Kennedy on the single biggest mistake authors make... and its important... BACKUP. Marcy details the ways you can fix this!
Jane Friedman has a guest post by Ursula Wong on writer groups and co ops. This is a comprehensive how to article on what types of groups are around, what they do and how they can be set up.
I have long been an advocate of writer groups... of all kinds. They can be a great support individually and can morph into small publishing companies.
After all that’s how Bloomsbury started and look who they first published... J K Rowling
In the Craft Section,
Kathryn Goldman-When and when not to use Trademarks- Bookmark!
K M Weiland - 5 reasons a book is re readable- Bookmark
Anne R Allen- How to hook the reader- Bookmark
Kristine Rusch on The Serious Writer Voice- Bookmark!
Jane Friedman on Creating Audiobooks
In the Marketing Section,
Writeitsideways has a nifty post on 4 steps to take forAuthor Branding.
Jane Friedman looks at whether paid book reviews are worth it- Bookmark
Writers in the Storm has a great post on helping your readers to write good reviews
Lindsay Buroker has a great post on Amazon adverts for authors- read the comments!
Miral Slatter has a great post on putting together a marketing plan for your book. Bookmark
Joel Friedlander has a post on the importance of keywords for Amazon
If you still need help with websites and ideas check out FirstSiteGuide. Lots of interesting articles.
Passive Guy links to an excellent article on going exclusive or going everywhere with your book
If you are thinking about productivity apps- here is a full on one- Flowstate... keep typing or lose all the words you have written. No time for musing or looking at kitten pictures... I wonder if J K Rowling uses this.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
This week I have been thinking about Diversity and the representation of diversity in publishing. Some of this was sparked by the campaign of an 11 year old girl who was searching for books that showed people of her race as the main characters in books.
I was talking with my writing buddy recently over my characters and I made the comment that none of my main characters were the same colour as me. I always saw them as mixed race though I never made a point of describing them as such. As my writing buddy hears and critiques my writing first... the fact that the characters were mixed race was news to her. This sparked a conversation about whether to info dump character information. (NO)
Info dumping statistics this week was Lee and Low, children’s publishers, with their report on Diversity in Publishing. We all know that publishing is White Skin dominant... It is also female gender dominant...
Here in very multi cultural NZ, the loss of many of our NZ publishing offices to Australia has always concerned writers here. It widens the ditch that our distinctive Maori/Pasifica stories have to hurdle over to get published.
Today I was watching #Pit2Pub on Twitter. It was interesting to see the number of pitches that used diversity hash tags. A new kid on the Twitter pitch block is Pitch Match. – this is a 3 hour pitch fest broker party happening on the 11th.
A brief Twitter storm happened with the reporting that Amazon was opening bricks and mortar bookstores across the U.S. This was quickly shut down on Twitter but it still raises questions...
Bob Mayer has been rallying the writing troops this week with two great posts on ambushing writing fear and what is becoming his annual exhortation to writers to face up to the harsh truths of this writing business. Go in with your eyes open...
This has been echoed by Agent Jennifer Laughran when she answered a question about sham agents and how you can tell who they are. (Especially important for people doing Twitter pitches)
You’ve dodged the sham agent and got your diverse story polished, what can you do next on your publishing journey?
You need an Author Business plan. This one is a comprehensive lists of things to think about on your way to establishing your author business.
Joel has put together a workflow checklist for book designing and publishing your project.
When it comes to selling this discussion on Ingram’s acquisition of Aer.io, a turn key bookstore that can be dropped into an author website, by Bookworks has some interesting opinions.
In the Craft Section,
The problem with revealing information- Janice Hardy
Using a scene template- C S Lakin Bookmark
Seven stages of the writer process- Orna Ross- Bookmark
Drafting in layers- Elizabeth S Craig- Bookmark
In the Marketing Section,
How to develop and perfect your author marketing- Rachel Thompson Bookmark
24 tips for using photos in your POD book- The Book Designer
Rethinking book cover design – Dave Bricker
Book Marketing ideas -Bookbub- Bookmark
The last memory I have of the late, great Dame Katerina Mataira (Ngati Porou) was the speech where she didn’t mince any words to the publishing establishment. ‘Where are our Maori books? ‘The market is too small’ they said. So I have to do it myself.’ She went on to write, publish and sell in all genres across the board at over 70 years of age. “You have a niche product. No one will publish you. Get out there and do it yourself.”
The Pic is the cast of the new Harry Potter play. Yes, that is the Golden Trio. J K Rowling has said she never mentioned skin colour in the books for Hermione. Score for Diversity!