Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Craic-er

This is the last roundup for the year. 2016 has been a bit of a rollercoaster with world events. Hopefully 2017 will be more settled.

Last week the folks at the Future Book conference were looking forward to publishing in the future. This is a gathering of publishing industry movers and shakers who try to do some crystal ball gazing for planning. Porter Anderson writes about what issues were discussed and the way that the ‘book’ is making a comeback. An interesting read.

Kris Rusch talks about unexpectedly getting her rights back on some books and what that means for rejuvenating a series. This is a hot topic for authors who are often abandoned by their publishers in mid series. (All the reports I’ve read is that series traction is on Book 5 and publishers are bailing by Book 3 just when it gets interesting.)

Two great posts on the Killzone blog this week.
Larry Brooks on the Bestseller code- he examines that new book about how to make a bestseller and James Scott Bell on the Three Stooges of writing. Yes it is the Three Stooges!

Have you gone on a writing retreat? I go to a friend’s house twice a week to write. No internet...  no housework... no phonecalls... no distractions... It has been the best thing for my writing. Melanie Bishop writes about going away for long writing retreats and what happens to your brain, your soul and your writing.

Kelly McClymer talks about how and why you should be protecting your writing time. Sometimes it’s really hard. (This is why I leave the house... I dream of a little office every time I do the laundry.)

In The Craft Section,

Planning Character arcs- Mythcreants. This is a fascinating look at how to strengthen your characters. Bookmark

Rival Archetypes for your novel –Who’s the best antagonist for your protagonist C S Lakin- Bookmark

Writing while traveling- best tips- If you are traveling this Christmas break- Do some writing on the side.

Developing themes in the inciting incident- Excellent discussion by Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

10 ways to write better plots- Now Novel- Bookmark. Also 50 Creative Writing prompts- Bookmark and Print out!

How to make readers deeply connect with your character –Jeff Gerke (Hijack their emotions!)

In The Marketing Section,

Bookmark the Subscriber Newsletters Report by Virginia King on Molly Greene’s site. Virginia studied author newsletters in depth and found out what works and what doesn’t.

Writers Win has a great roundup of Author Cross Promotion ideas – Get a group together and have fun! Bookmark

Tara Spaldings Book Title generator- for that Christmas writer game that just might generate plot ideas.

Joanna Penn talks to J Daniel Sawyer on audiobook rights. If you thought there was only one right to exploit... think again... and they talk about how overseas authors can get into ACX. (yay!!)

To Finish,
Janice Hardy and Jami Gold are two smart cookies and they have blogs with EXCELLENT writing advice. This week Janice posted a great blog about ways to fight the end of year writing fatigue.

Jami has an exhaustive list of great writer gifts. I’ve got some great inspirations from this list to give myself... and others. Check it out!

I wish you a Happy and Festive Christmas Break... with lashings of plot ideas and laughter and friendship.

I’ll be back halfway through January 2017.

This year's christmas video. Enjoy! 

Merry Christmas,


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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Writers Enemy

This week I have been noticing the adult takeover of the children’s book world. First it was colouring in books – for adults and now book publisher Workman is following this up with sticker books and other childhood past times aimed at adults. Is this a blurring of the ages or a cynical ploy to keep publishers afloat? Children’s books have not taken the print hit that adult books have taken. Hodder must be rubbing its hands at the foresight to trademark Enid Blyton’s name as Joanna Penn mentions in this great article on intellectual property. How many adults will be receiving a new Enid Blyton book for Christmas this year?

Children’s writers have been discussing ways they can help children come to terms with the next four years in US politics. As other writers have pointed out now is the time to write inspirational stories to foster hope. 18 children’s writers look at writing girl characters.

Anne R Allen has written a cracker of a post on writer’s enemies. You know the ones who slyly put you down or criticize you. Sometimes they can be in your own head. Anne gives advice on how to recognise them and deal with them.

December is when your thoughts turn to the big edit of your NaNoWriMo novel. Roz Morris suggests putting it away until after Christmas... for very good reasons.

Dean Wesley Smith has a great article on writing for yourself- Artistic choice and making money.

Donald Maass is a contributor to Writer Unboxed as well as being a respected agent and writing coach. This week he wrote about aiming to answer the big questions in your writing. Putting your purpose on the page is one of those stand out posts that make you reframe your thinking around writing. A must read. (As are the comments.)

In The Craft Section,

How to punch up your action scenes- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Your never ending writing improvement program- James Scott Bell- Bookmark ( I have this writing book and it is a little gem!)

In The Marketing Section,

Print pricing piracy- The Book Designer-Must Read

What is a hybrid publisher- Jane Friedman-Bookmark

To Finish,

It wouldn’t be December without a host of ideas for writerly gifts. I spent a long time in front of journal and pen displays today before finding a great writerly gift for my Christmas draw. So if you need some inspiration check out this list from Ava Jae and if the writer has everything... this list from Bookriot.
The last Writers Island podcast is up for the year. Click on the pic in the sidebar.
The last newsletter for the year will be going out this weekend. My To Do list is getting long. Ahh the joys of Christmas, the end of the school year and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.


If you want to catch up on the best of my bookmarked links every month make sure you subscribe to my newsletter.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Backwards and Forwards

This week I was sitting in a radio sound booth talking about what’s been happening in publishing over the year and it struck me that the same themes were being revisited.

Playing Nicely With Others.- That means...
No engaging with bad reviewers.
Treat ALL Social Media as searchable.
(this includes private messages and emails!)
Pay the writer/illustrator for their time. (Festivals and visits)

Research Everything.- That means...
Contracts- every clause!
Offers of publishing- (Know what you are getting into.)
Agents and competitions (The scams out there are amazing!)

Publishing is leveling out. That means...
Most publishers have either amalgamated or disappeared or are leaner.
Many authors are now hybrid. (mix of Trad and Indie publishing)

Kristine Rusch put together a nice post on writing what you want to write, this week -Following on from Thanksgiving.

Jane Friedman also asks Do you know what you are capable of? These are great food for thought posts going into the Christmas season.

Several writers I follow have Patreon accounts. An age old idea with a new twist. If you have ever wondered what they are about check out this article.

Book reviews – A new kid on the block is quietly changing children’s publishing in the UK and it is... a kid with a book review site.

Now that NaNoWriMo is finished.... December is NaNoEditMo and agents hate January because then those novels are sent out. Are you following all the right steps before you hit publish?

What is in every bestselling book? Sarah Juckes took a look and came up with 10 must haves.

Dan Blank asks What do Publishers and agents want from authors? and the first thing is... that they know who their audience is and where to find them. This is an interesting Writer Unboxed article. Rachelle Gardner backs this up with a very detailed article about publishing readiness

Jane Friedman has a great guest post from Paula Munier on the importance of the first scene and what you should put into it. Lots of food for thought.

In The Craft Sectioon,

How to write scene outlines- KM Weiland – Bookmark

Red flags in editing- Meg Latorre Snyder- Bookmark

Deconstructing a Romance Novel-Tina Radcliffe- Bookmark

Rhythm and Pacing-Jennie Nash- Bookmark

Agent Janet Reid on Plotting

The emotional pinch point- Ann Greenwood Brown -Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

9 tips for your book launch- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

December has crept up and pounced. The annual complaint of why do we have Northern Hemisphere snow songs when it’s climbing past 25 degrees in the shade is being heard. (Ronan Keating finds this out)
Thoughts turn to Writer Christmas presents. (You can never have too many pens...)  and what the writer might like to receive.


I’m having a Christmas draw for my Newsletter subscribers soon. If you want to catch up on the best of my bookmarked links every month make sure you subscribe.

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