Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Classic Blunder

It has been an historical week. There was the vote that caused political turmoil in Europe and then yesterday the tragedy in Turkey.
Along with record temperatures around the globe we are facing change of epic proportions.  Porter wrote an article for Publishing Perspectives on what Brexit might mean for publishing in the United Kingdom. Already people are seeing royalty rates drop.

Writer Beware has an update to a story about a publishing company in denial over the mind boggling law suits that are being brought against it. Reading through the list you get the impression they were taking a lot of lessons from Author Solutions.

Agent Janet Reid has written an interesting Blog post on Agents as Publishers. You should be very careful as these agents break the A.A.R. (Association of Author Representatives) rules. (If they ever belonged in the first place.)

Rachel Thompson has been working with authors for a while now and recently she sat down and figured out the secret to success. Authors already know it. But do they DO it?

A few months ago I linked to Agent Jonny Gellers Ted Talk on what makes a best seller. Jonny Geller has expanded his ideas in this article.(If you know the secret, please share.)

Ruth Harris has written a great article on First Chapter Blues. It is a must read. Just when you think of the old maxim of throw out your first chapter... Ruth comes along and offers some great advice.

The movie Me Before You generated lots of protests around the world about the portrayal of disabilities in books and films. I never commented because I feel there are far better writers living this reality that would say why they object far better than me. And so here is an excellent guest post from Steven Spohn on Chucks Blog. I do urge all writers to read it.

Over the years I have shared some amazing articles on the craft of writing. Today I read an article on rejections that turned everything upside down in my head. Just WOW.  Take some time to read this from LitHub.

In The Craft Section,
Writing Action Scenes- K M Weiland

Tips for self editing- Bloodredpencil- Bookmark

The trope police- Agent Sarah La Polla on what she often see’s

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing to influencers- The Bookseller-Bookmark

Email Newsletter content- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

To Finish
There are classic tropes and classic lines and classic blunders. Every writer hopes that they can come up with a classic line rather than a classic blunder.  If you love the classic movie The Princess Bride here are 15 quotes that explain the writers life.

If you haven’t seen the movie.... That is a classic blunder... like starting a land war in Asia.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Taking Sides

The news at the moment is all around voting. Britain goes to the polls tonight about staying in the EU. American senators are staging a sit in about wanting to vote on a gun law. Australia is gearing up for a National Election, the outcome of which may spell a real hit on copyright. What does it all mean for publishing? Porter Anderson takes a global litmus test on how the publishing industry may be faring in this toxic political landscape.

In the meantime independent presses are opening bookstores... This seems to be a move designed to increase a unique community awareness and maximise profits. After all if Amazon can do it with a third bookstore planned soon...

Bob Mayer speculated recently about what would happen if Barnes and Noble closed...
Audio Books are being pushed into the mainstream- why? Digital Book World speculates about profits.

A lot of authors are concerned about the scammer attacks happening on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. However Amazon’s method of dealing with a book taken over by a pirate scammer was not helpful. Instead of dealing with the scammer Amazon closed down the hapless author’s account. This author and a few others may have got caught up in Amazon’s clean up of email blast services which were tweaking their bestseller lists. Hugh Howey explains how this happens. But will Amazon touch Bookbub- the most influential marketing list around...

Anne R Allen has another edition of her scamming watch out list targeting authors. This is a must read and share around post.

In a nice piece of good news Apple have begun to pay out their refunds from the price fixing case they were involved in.

In The Craft Section,

How to plot – K M Weiland- Bookmark

Glimmertrain essay on Description- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,
5 Online Marketing Trends Authors should consider

How to nail Author SEO- Miral Slatter
To Finish,
Publishers Weekly highlighted the story of two children’s authors who were disinvited from school visits ... One of the authors seemed to be disinvited because he openly supported another children’s author who had written a ‘controversial’ book. As some children’s authors have said... you want to censor us because of what we ‘might’ say?

Good luck with all the voting...


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Alan Cleaver

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Voicing The Truth

This week one of my friends was surprised by an ‘Agent’ who reached out to her on her Linked In account. Of course an agent is going to contact you out of the blue in this way. Yeah Right!
My friends immediately did a Google search and up popped a Writer Beware notice. Writer Beware is a great site sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers. This site covers scams, bad agents, agent scams, publisher scams... shonky contracts... it is a minefield out there. If you get contacted by an ‘Agent’ be very wary. Google first. And search their name with Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors.

Anne R Allen has made a list of Facebook scams targeting writers. It’s not pretty. I’ve seen most of them in the last six months. If it is too good to be true... then it’s not legit and you could be opening yourself up to hacking or malware or both.

Staying with scammy stuff the writers who entered the Star Trek writing contest got an email that asked them to work with Simon and Schuster’s self publishing arm Archway Publishing. This is a front for Author Solutions. If you have not heard of Author Solutions then you must read this article by Dave Gaughran. When you see the list of reputable publishers using them it will make your hair stand on end.

Kris Rusch has another great post on contract negotiation as part of her deal breakers series. All writers should be reading this series. Forewarned is a forearmed. Knowledge is power... you get the drift!

The problem of distribution for Self Publishers is a tricky one. Meghan Harvey has written a clear article of the problems. Some of her commenter’s have some innovative solutions.

This weekend Tumblr is running a mini Bookcon. If you need some inspiration or a way to fill up a few hours check out the great speakers.

Last week I linked to the latest Author Earnings breakdown. Joanna Penn has decided to break down her earning for the last year and show you what she has been doing and what worked for her. This is a generous post. She lays it all out. It is thought provoking and impressive. Thank you Joanna!

In the Craft Section,
Two Bookmark posts from Janice Hardy

K M Weiland-Character goals

The Awesome Duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have two new thesauri to add to their Writers Thesaurus collection Both on Setting - Rural and Urban. Angela even went to the trouble to get arrested so she could authentically write about the settings. (not for real) So they have some great posts on Setting- Building a story garden and Level up your setting to celebrate the new books.

In the Marketing Section,
Checklists Cheatsheets and Worksheets - The Book Designer -Bookmark

Planning your Social Media calendar -Writers in the Storm -Bookmark

To Finish,
Voice is one of the hardest things to describe, to write and to nail in a novel for a writer. Every so often I get asked to look out for an article that can help writers understand voice. Chuck has a guest post by Cassandra Khaw on just this and it is a knockout. 

When scammers and pirates want to stop your voice being heard it is hard to rise above it and sing loud. But writers need to do this. We speak for those who can't. We can change attitudes with our writing. This week a hate crime on a huge scale in Orlando tried to stop the LBGT community and the world amplified their voice. 
It's your voice! Write it!


Pic: The Auckland SkyTower

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Where Is The Money?

Yesterday the big news in New Zealand, the finalists of the new combined NZ Children’s and Young Adult Books And NZ Librarian and Information Services Children’s Book Awards were announced. This combines the Elsie Locke Medal for Non Fiction and the Russel Clarke Award for Illustration with the annual National Book Awards. It is a big deal. Along with the standard categories there is a children’s voting component sponsored by a Pizza Chain. Voting is now open for those schools selected as judging schools. The finalists have a nice mix of established practitioners and newbies. And I notice that we are continuing the 20% mark of finalists being Indie or Boutique published books.

This week the latest Author Earnings snap shot was being digested. And it has some interesting information. Around 50% of all publishing sales in the US are on Amazon. The Author Earnings team are looking across all publishing formats now. There is a significant difference in earning capacities if you debuted traditionally or Indie in the last three years. Porter Anderson looks at some of the stand out claims and compares them with Joanna Penn’s publishing disclosure.

While you are digesting that have a look at Jane Friedman’s article on the myth of the print revival. Yes, children’s authors have been saying for years that it’s only the Young Adult franchises propping up print publishing... With no big YA blockbuster what’s holding up print at the moment...

With Amazon striding like a behemoth across the publishing landscape what are its competitors doing? If you are watching Apple then this news for publishers may be what you have been waiting for. Just remember writers you are content creators. You choose what medium your content will be delivered in. This makes more sense if you publish Serials on Apps or by subscription or Picture Book Apps etc etc. Apple may be quietly game changing your future here.

While you are thinking about content creation spare a thought for podcasting and audio books. Podcasting is another sort of content creation and this article looks at where it might be going and who might be poised to make an awful lot of money.... If you have been flirting with the idea of audio books, Jane Friedman has an interesting interview with a rising competitor for ACX.

In The Craft Section,

Character development –credibility- Michael Hauge (who is at NZRWA this year)

Turn your setting into an obstacle course- Angela and Becca -Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Website of the Week
Taking a trawl around Katie Weiland’s website is always a rewarding experience. Whether it is a great blog post like this one -How to write faster and why you shouldn’t to her fantastic video writing craft tips to finding out she has written helpful workbooks to go with her Craft Books on Structure and Outlining. Check it out!

To Finish,
Molly Greene hosted an Estate attorney on her blog. This blog post looks at estate planning basics for the Self Published writer. However Traditionally published writers should be eyeballing this as well. There is lots of information to think about. (As an aside NZ has free ISBN numbers – which works like a US Copyright office- you should use them.)

Slipping under the wire is a standout post on Non Compete clauses from Kris Rusch. This is a must read! (Yes these clauses appear in NZ. Especially from foreign owned publishing companies.) 

Being aware might just save you money. 

(P.S. The Write Stuff Story Bundle has only one week left to run. You can get to it from Kris 
 Rusch's site. I've filled up my kindle with writing craft books... and saved money!)


Thursday, June 2, 2016

In The Fine Print

This week I’ve been catching up with what was happening at Book Expo America (BEA) which is North America’s largest book fair. Porter has a quick run down of what everyone was talking about.

The Wall Street Journal took a good look at book covertrends... it’s all about yellow! Cover designers are being asked to pop it on book covers (And here I thought the ‘in’ colour was blue and there had to be water on the front.)

Meanwhile Meg Rosoff was collecting her Astrid Lindgren medal and stating publically that childhood now is under threat from governments. Well said Meg!

In Ireland Catherine Ryan Howard was musing about what happened when she chucked what she thought she should write in favour of what she wanted to write – everything changed.

Kris Rusch is continuing her great Deal Breakers series with a MUST READ on Rights clauses. Writers need to be reading this series by Kris. This week I have also seen comments about authors needing specialised lawyers to read publishing contracts because they are getting trickier.

Bookbub and Goodreads have been learning off each other... changes are afoot. This is an interesting article that Indie publishers should scan.

Becca and Angela are bringing out two new writers thesauri and in their research have come up with 5 ways to help your favourite authors.

In the Craft Section,

A writers guide to editors- Ruth Harris -Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Facebook advertising- Joanna Penn- Bookmark

Making our books visible on Google- Elizabeth S Craig – Bookmark

Website of the Week
The Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli) has been posting video and audio from their fringe events at London and BEA. This is a great resource. Here are just two excellent postings Mark Coker on using pre orders effectively and Kiffer Brown on the 7 must haves for self publishers. Trawl around their site for other great resources

To Finish,

Sometimes you need to stop and reassess what you are doing and what you want to achieve. Kate Moretti has a great guest post on Writers in the Storm about Cutting through Busyness to get to writing. This is excellent advice here for the writer feeling overwhelmed with what they didn’t tell you in the fine print.


Pic: from inside a Romeo and Juliet - Choose Your Own Adventure... by Ryan North.

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