Thursday, November 16, 2017

Catching Our Breath

November Halfway...
I told myself this year I would do it... and I started with good intentions... and I have over 10,000 words done... but it has been a struggle. Anne R Allen’s blog post on Why NaNoWriMo is liberating for some writers and dangerous for others was a welcome breath of sanity this week.

The Traditional Publishing Industry is also breathing a sigh of relief. They have had an increase in sales over the last quarter and there is still Christmas gift giving to come.

Nate Hoffelder mentioned on Twitter today that to combat scammers Google went to manually up loading books. This shut out new authors from selling their books through Google Play but there is a small light shining amongst the angst of Pronoun shutting down...

Joanna Penn has had an amazing run of great content on her podcast this month. But her latest podcast demands serious attention... She detailed the discussion topics at the Oregon Coast Business for Authorsworkshop. Indie publishing has stabilised but the next disruption is coming down the track...

Belinda Griffin has a guest post on Joanna’s Blog that takes an in depth look at Author Brand. If you have ever wondered exactly what it is and why authors need to understand it ... this is the post for you.

Agent Kristin Nelson wrote this week about the perils of the Hollywood buy in on your book... because Hollywood wants to own the novelisation rights... um

Kris Ruch has written a knockout post on letting other voices into your head to screw with your writing... namely fame and fans. This is a must read post for every writer but especially for those writing series.

The 7 Secrets of Power Persuasion Writing for writers. Are you using the right emotional hooks in your writing?

In The Craft Section,

Make characters distinct- Michael Hauge – Bookmark

How to pick the right editor- Lisa Polisso- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section

Gumroad for authors- Joanna Penn- Bookmark

Ways authors can cross promote- Bookbub- Bookmark

Authentic Personal Brands for Authors- Writelife

SFF Marketing Podcast- Newsletters- A Serious Must Watch!

How to talk about your book – Paul Geiger- Bookmark

To Finish,

In my list of One-day-I-want-to-own-these-books... is a book on Writing Imaginative Fiction – Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer. I was excited to see the lecture notes of a workshop by Jeff on the Electric Literature site.  This is one of those Read, think about, read again posts... and the illustrations are just wonderful!
A nice pick me up in the middle of November.


I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces every month. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Feel free to hit the coffee tab. I’m living on it this month!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Greatest Author Fears

Authors on the Pronoun distributor website were left scrambling this week. A notice appeared on the Pronoun website saying Goodbye. There was a flurry of comment around the publishing blogosphere. The sages were out in force.
Macmillan’s eBook distribution model of gave a great deal to authors but they were not making any money. If it looks too good to be true it’s about to go belly up!

Sighs of relief all round.

Did/Do you read pulp writers? They were the prolific writers of the early part of the Twentieth Century. Zane Grey, Doc Savage, Leslie Charteris, Louis L’Amour. They were machines for story and they were paid by the word. James Scott Bell takes a look at what made the pulp writers so good.

Chris Syme has a great post on Anne R Allen’s blog TamingThe Social Media Beast. If you are looking at your social media engagement and saying too hard... drop in and read  this excellent article. Don’t forget to read the comments too.

Last week I linked to a post from Maggie Stiefvater on how book piracy was threatening her. This week The Guardian talked to some other authors about their experiences... sobering stuff.

Susan Spann has a post about bad contracts... as she is a publishing lawyer as well as a published author she knows whereof she speaks, Don’t be afraid to walk away from a publishing deal.

I came across this great post today on what you should do if you fail NaNoWriMo. It is one of those sensible posts that put things into perspective and is a nice little island among the treacherous weeds of NaNo uncertainty.

Backlinko has an amazingly in depth post on SEO. Now before you immediately dismiss this article as being in the too hard basket... Take a look. They explain how Google are using new search algorithms and what that means for content... key words... Titles... etc etc.

LitHub talked to 150 writers and asked their advice. And then they compiled that advice into one comprehensive article of 8 important pieces of author knowhow.

In The Craft Section,

Character turning points- Mary Kole- Bookmark

Hinting at emotional wounds- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

What is a high concept- Danielle Burby

Movie Scene by Scene breakdown- Go In To The Story- Scriptwriter Bookmark

The most important rule of backstory- Andrea Lungren- Bookmark

Masterful Character description- CS Lakin- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Facebook ads in 2018- CK Syme- Bookmark

How to write a Query Letter- Reedsy- Bookmark

To Finish,

The 7 greatest fears of Horror Writers explores not just fears of Horror writers but the fears of all writers who have faced these situations.

Are you guilty of writing purple prose? Is there a place for purple prose in your writing? Do you need a purple prose self help group? K MWeiland has all the answers.

My monthly newsletter is due soon. *Hi new subscribers* I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. NaNo is killing me- not to mention my presentation-If you want to feed my caffeine habit feel free to hit the coffee tab. I’m living on fumes this month!


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Newtown Grafitti- Purple prose

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November Madness

Hello November,
It’s NaNoWriMo! The twitter feed fills up with great posts on craft and motivation and freaked out writers. This year, I told myself, will be the year I finally manage to complete the challenge. Day One – Tick, Day Two- gulp. My husband thinks I’m crazy because I’ve got to write a 40 minute presentation for an award ceremony at the end of the month.* I thought about using NaNo for the presentation but writing non fiction is HARD! So I’m cracking into Book 3 of my Space series... yeah.... um...
Elizabeth Spann Craig has a great post on being a NaNoWriMo Rebel. This is when you use the tools and do some other writing... (hmmm maybe I can add up all the words I write each day....)
Now Novel has an excellent breakdown on planning your NaNo project. It’s so good it should be put away to use for every book project.

This week Stealing From The Author was the topic of the week. Maggie Stiefvater wrote a candid look at how piracy has affected her booksales and the implications for the writer. This is a must read so you can use the arguments to educate young people who don’t see anything wrong with book piracy.

Passive Guy, who is a lawyer in his day job, wrote about a young Internet entrepreneur’s reaction when a photographer sued him forcopyright breach. If it’s on the Internet it must be free to use....
(shakes head sadly...)

Kris Rusch has detailed some very shady dealings practiced by TV and film companies when negotiating rights to film your work. This was eye opening to me. If you hope to be in the position to sell these rights for your own work you MUST read this. (Stops to think grand thoughts about NaNoWriMo project.)

This week I got an email from a content provider. This isn’t unusual, most weeks I get these fishing emails that tell me they read something on my blog... and they want to guest post. I usually delete them... because they haven’t read my blog but this one was different. First they said they had come across an article I had linked to...(ho hum I thought) but then they went on to say it had given them the idea to do a new and expanded version. I took a look and WOW. This is a comprehensive collection of tools to write, research, automate, produce... anything creative!

Publishing perspectives has an interview with Maks Giordano who was speaking at the Frankfurt Book fair on hyperinnovation. He talks about the changes that publishing companies will have to make in the very near future... that agile indie publishers are already doing.

Jane Friedman has an interview with Jay Swanson, a writer that has been V-logging his daily life. He uses this as his promotion for his books. It is an interesting marketing idea. (If you think my life is awesome then check out my books...) He also uses Patreon. If you live in exotic locales this could be an interesting marketing tactic for you...

Ruth Harris has a great post on using authentic historical detail to enrich your writing. She details some of the things you should be adding into your writing... this can apply to all genres. A must read!

In The Craft Section,

4 ways to launch a scene- Jordan Rosenfeld- Bookmark

Villainous struggles-writing villains- Y A topia

Mastering deep POV.- Writer Unboxed Bookmark

Character Archetypes- Now Novel – Bookmark

NaNoWriMo success- Chuck Wendig (usual warnings) – Must Read- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Checklist on book listing- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark

Advice on query letters- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

Promo sites- Nicolas Erik- Bookmark

How to get book reviews- Joel Friedlander- Bookmark

To Finish,

WriteOnCon is having a kickstarter. This is a virtual online writing conference for Children’s and YA writers. They have some amazing perks up for grabs... Take a scroll down the list. WriteOnCon is next year and costs $5. (not a typo... ) If you want to treat yourself for achieving the first day of NaNoWriMo...

* I was humbled/gobsmacked to receive the Betty Gilderdale Award announced this week. (Am still in a state of shock...)


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you want to feed my caffeine habit feel free to hit the coffee tab. I’ll need it this month!

Pic: Flickr  CreativeCommons – J E Theriot- Who remembers this happening in typing class?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Motivational Carrots

Five days to go... until November and NaNoWriMo.
October is planning for the writing onslaught. If you are thinking about writing 50,000 words in a month check out the latest Spa Girls podcast where the girls have decided to have NaNo writing party. This could be your big inspiration/whip/ carrot.... (fill in motivator here.)

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have just launched their latest thesaurus and it’s been hotly anticipated. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is out. As usual they have are great launch giveaway promotion.

Amazon has been trying to nail trolls this week. Think of a giant sledgehammer... Anne R Allen has a great post on the latest machinations in the world of Zon. This is a read it and be warned post... if you read the comments... have tissues.

Meanwhile David Gaughran tireless and fearless defender of the writer has been closely following what is happening to writers who have been rank stripped by Amazon in their crack down. It looks like the trolls are fighting back and Amazon is stumbling around looking for them in all the wrong places.

This week all over Social Media there was a campaign to show how many people had been affected by sexual harassment. The #metoo campaign even touched publishing... that bastion of good manners and correct behaviour. Hair curling stuff!

As the holiday season approaches many authors will find themselves manning stands at book fairs. Here is a little post full of tips for the hand selling authors out there.

Hallmark loves the holiday season. Christmas cards... holiday movies on its television channel... book publishing.... Book Publishing? Yes. If you have a clean holiday themed romance or mystery Hallmark wants to talk to you!

In The Craft Section,

Idea to novel workshop- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Formulaic story structure- K M Weiland – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to make Perennial Bestsellers- Ryan Holiday- Joanna Penn podcast- Bookmark

David Gaughran looks at the two marketing systems of Amazon- Bookmark

Draft 2digital templates- Elizabeth S Craig

To Finish,

Resources and deals are always around at NaNoWriMo time.
If you haven’t checked out the NaNo Storybundle of writing craft books you should.
Jane Friedman has a chapter in a new book on Editing that looks interesting.
Judy Blume has joined the Master Class teaching website. If you write for kids this Master Class series could be just the motivator present you are looking for! I’m tempted... Are you?


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Thanks for hitting the coffee button this week.

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons/ Jeremy Keith

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Diverse Future Of Publishing

It’s been a busy week in publishing.
The wait is over and everyone now knows who won The Man Booker. The type of book is a little eyebrow raising. The author writes in 166 different voices to tell the story. Literary writing is becoming very experimental.

While everyone was waiting for the award to be announced, that perennial favourite in publishing, diversity, was back in water cooler discussions. Has the publishing industry got any better since the last time we all said we needed more diverse voices in publishing?
Chris Jackson has an essay on Lit Hub about the need for social diversity in publishing. Are we just getting the same old stories being selected by the Ivy League grads?

Diversity in children’s publishing is also a hot topic. At the recent trade fair in the Pacific Northwest booksellers were told that the majority of American kids are not white and children’s publishing is moving to reflect that.

Also in children’s publishing Macmillan has created a new imprint and handpicked a team to lead it. It’s all about interactivity... the hot new thing in non fiction children’s books...

While Macmillan gears up to change the children’s book scene... Hyperion has launched a new digital hub for children centered around Rick Riorden. Are they copying anyone?

Createspace closed its doors on its online bookstore this week. Did you know they had a bookstore? Me neither.

Remember last week... Yes it was so long ago, when I introduced my blog saying the big talking points at Frankfurt were the rise of audio books and free speech. GQ magazine explains the history and rise ofAudible and why audio books are an addiction.

Besides the rise in audio being discussed at Frankfurt there was also a future look at a new looming disrupter to the publishing industry.Blockchains. Try and get your head around this possibility. Every item created will have its own identifier which will enable the purchaser to pay the creator instantaneously.

If you haven’t checked out the Indie fringe conference... The videos are up. Immerse yourself in a treasure trove of content all about Author Business.

Kris Rusch has a great post on author subsidiary rights. Do you know what these are and how you can earn money from them?

In The Craft Section,

How to write good endings- Roz Morris- Bookmark

Plot planners – Martha Alderson

Occupation Thesaurus- Angela Ackerman

Brainstorming  a great novel hook- Janice Hardy-Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to crush social media as an introvert- Bookmark- Frances Caballo

Selling direct from your site and other goodies from the SFF Marketing podcast team. You should 
watch it.

Writing to match genre categories- Debbie Young -Alli Blog

To Finish,

Two CEO’s were talking at Frankfurt about their industry. One was optimistic that Young People would continue to read lots of print books and that publishing was doing well. The other talked about the huge amount of customers who used to come to them but no longer do... Mike Shatzkin reflects on their speeches and what the messages might actually be.
N.B These CEO’s head up two of the biggest publishing houses in the world.
Looks like murky waters ahead...


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Feel free to hit the coffee button. I live on the fumes of that most excellent drink.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Coming Together With Purpose

It’s Book Expo Frankfurt.
The big talking points are...
The rise and rise of audio books,
Fake News and why books are needed more than ever,
and Free Speech.

While the Frankfurt Book Fair is on the Alliance of Independent Authors have the last of their Free Online Fringe conferences this weekend. These conferences are held at the same time as the big book fairs and have a different theme for each one. This time the conference theme is Author Business. These conferences are free and the content stays online. They have live Q and A and lots of chances to get discounts on products and services. This is well worth attending from the comfort of your own chair.

Last weekend New Zealand children’s writers and illustrators got together for their biennial conference where there was much discussion over new trends in publishing. Mid Grade is where its at.... Kathryn Van Beek has a little roundup of great takeaways.

The Independent Book Publishers Association published an update to their members this week on their dialogue with Amazon over third party vendors bidding for control of the buy button on the Amazon storefront. If you missed this bit of news in May, check out their update.

The Romance Bookstore, The Ripped Bodice has released a report on the state of racial diversity in romance publishing. Over the last few years on Twitter it has been common to see MSWL tags asking for Own Voices and P.O.C. stories. This report shows what is happening in publishing in reality. Book Riot has an overview of the report, it makes for sad reading.

This week I came across a great article by Kevin Tumlinson on goal setting in your author business. Do you even make goals? This is worth a read and a good think over. What’s your Mountain is the title of the essay. If you are asked this question in New Zealand it means what landscape has shaped you and is very important in your identity. Goal setting in this context can be just as important to your writer identity.

NaNoWriMo is about to fall upon us. (National Novel Writing Month) November becomes the month of quiet as writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel. October is prep month. December is editing month. January is agent collapse month as the books pour in. Joanna Penn has a blog post dedicated to the resources you will need if you are attempting this. Even if you are not, you should get your hands on the NaNo Storybundle collection.

In The Craft section,

Genre is world building- Jami Gold – Bookmark

Well motivated villains- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Characters misbelief drives plot- Lisa Cron – Bookmark

Are you a real writer- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book Marketing Basics- Molly Greene- Bookmark

Content ideas for Book Marketing – Penny Sansevieri

Indie Publishing paths- Janice Hardy

To Finish,

Jane Friedman was recently interviewed for the Backmatter podcast by Leanpub. It was a wide ranging interview about aspects of Jane’s career and her thoughts for the future of publishing. Jane reiterated her belief in publishing collectives as a way forward for authors and small publishers. (Long time readers of this blog know what the next sentence is going to be....) I think this is a good idea and I try to highlight different models as I come across them. This week the launch of J L Pawley's new book, Air Born highlighted another publishing collective. Steampress, a funky Sci Fi /Horror press and the publisher of Air Born, has joined the Eunoia Collective of publishers. This is a group of small New Zealand publishers all doing their own publishing under the Eunoia banner where they can access International Rights selling, translations, Frankfurt Book fair visibility and Film and Television Rights selling. It is a great initiative and a good use of resources and knowhow.
Congratulations Jess!


In my monthly newsletter (I'm writing it... I'm writing it...) I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Thanks everyone who hit the coffee button this week. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Who Are You

What are the themes of your writing life? Do you know? Sara Letourneau explains how to find them in your writing. Will knowing about your unique themes make you a better writer? This is a great read on an interesting topic.

This week Children’s authors in the U K were not happy. Every year a range of books are made available for one pound for children. The new line up for World Book day 2018 heavily features celebrity authors. Any children’s bookseller can tell you that very few celebrities can write for children. Are we dumbing down our kids literature on purpose?

I have reported over this year Amazon’s venture into brick and mortar stores. First with their bookshops... or book showrooms as they seem to be, then buying the chain of Whole Foods shops and now they are venturing overseas. Can you see them in France?

David Gaughran has made it his mission to defend the innocent writer from Author Solutions shady practices. A S has many names and seems to be able to survive by changing names but not tactics. Lately David has been turning his crusader eyes to the shady practices of Kindle Unlimited scammers.

What is the psychology of good cover design? Is it to fit in or stand out? Damon, the man behind Damonza book covers tells all.

The next ALLi Indie Fringe conference is coming up in two weeks. If you haven’t dropped in on the other two this year don’t miss this one! It’s free. The Alli conferences are on around the time of the big Book Fairs. With Frankfurt Book Fair coming up this Indie Fringe conference is on Author Business. Check out the speakers they have lined up.

Some of the speakers at the Alli conference have writing books in this years NaNoWriMo Storybundle which is available now. Every year I point out this bundle of books going into National Novel Writing Month. October is NaNoPrepMo. This years NaNo Storybundle is stuffed full of workbooks for writers. For the cost of one book get 15 and there are some gems among them!

Chris Syme is pulling back on Facebook ads. Chris is a marketing guru whom I’ve often linked to in my roundups. She has an interesting article on why she is cutting back and the new strategy to be more effective going forward. This is a bookmark post.

Another bookmark post with warnings is Chuck’s post on saggy middles. If you have read Chuck Wendig before you will be prepared for his 25 ways to fight saggy middles. If you haven’t read a Chuck post... be warned!

In The Craft Section,

How authors can write faster- Daisy Hartwell- Bookmark

How to make your reader cry- Livia Blackburne

What is an emotional wound? – Becca Puglisi-Bookmark- This is a sneak preview into the next Emotion Thesaurus, coming soon from the Dynamic Duo!

Plot isn’t Story- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Developing Themes- The inciting incident- Sara Letorneau- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Indie Ebook promotion strategies- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Multi tiered price strategies- Martin Cavannagh - Bookmark

Book Marketing checklist- Tim Grahl- Bookmark if you haven’t already

To Finish

This week Anne R Allen decided to explore whether having a pen name was still relevant in this day and age. With Google search at everyone’s fingertips can we stay anonymous? Do we still need a pen name?


My monthly newsletter will be ready to go out soon.  I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Thanks everyone who hit the coffee button this week. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Writing To Conquer

This morning I read a nifty blog post by Hugh Howey* entitled What Is A Book Worth.
I have been mulling over it all day. A book can be a brief escape or a lifeline. It can mean the key to passing a grade or a library fine. Some stories resonate so deeply you must have them in every form available. Some stories only last in the memory a few hours.
Hugh was exploring the moment when the book crosses over and it becomes something you must have as a high end artifact. Bring back personally bound books of beauty.

This week Kris Rusch has been exploring what I.P. means to her. She has a great post on this. Too often she sees writers squandering their IP as they don’t even know what they have until its gone. If you have no idea what I.P. is, Read The Blog Post!

Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy was Joanna Penn’s guest this week on her podcast. Joanna asked Ricardo about the top 5 mistakes he sees Indie Authors making all the time. This is a full and frank discussion about attitude and execution.

Barnes and Nobel have thrown in the towel over the Nook platform. Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader explains where they went wrong and what it means for Authors who sell on the Nook platform. (Again there is that scary thought... is the whole company going down the tubes.)

Bookfunnel have done a crazy thing that has some authors cheering... They have extended their service to hosting shops for authors. Book funnel is a great service that takes the hassle out of delivering ARC’s and Book Prizes.

The Independent Book Publishers Association have pulled out of Book Expo America- The biggest book fair. Among their reasons, they feel they get no value for money from it. They feel B.E.A is increasingly fixated on the Big 5 traditional publishers. (What big 5? Amazon, Random Penguin, Hachette, Harper Collins...)
Will they start up their own fair?
(This week I have been watching NZ’s own Indie publishers doing an Expo style road trip to all our big cities just to gather booksellers together for wine, nibbles, goodie bags and the chance to view the latest catalogue offerings for Christmas.)

This week I was struck by two little articles dealing with imposter syndrome. I think every writer suffers from this. I definitely do. Usually when I’ve finished editing and doubt my own skills in telling a story. You are not alone- Neil Gaiman suffers from it... and so does Nathan Bransford.

Seven offensive mistakes that well intentioned writers do. Once you start reading these... the ghosts of past books rises up before your eyes... Note To Self: Be Better!

In The Craft Section,

How many words in a novel- Reedsy- Bookmark

10 Key scenes for framing your novel-C S Lakin- Bookmark Print out!

How to write a scene-and Writing scene transitions- Now Novel  - Bookmark

Writing sad scenes- Ryan Casey

In The Marketing Section,

Advanced marketing skills – Kevin Tumlinson- Bookmark

Sending cold emails- Copyhacker- Bookmark

To Finish,

Do you ever think about your writing process? How do you trick the muse into turning on just when you want it? Ruth Harris has written a fantastic blog post on writing process. This is where bite sized goals really work! 
Pat Olsen also has a great post on focus... especially when you are in a busy household. She has some tips to help. Between them you will feel that you can conquer anything!


* Kia Ora Hugh, Welcome to New Zealand!

I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces every month in a newsletter. When you subscribe you will also get my nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Feel free to hit the coffee tab. I need all the coffee I can get. One series in production... another being written... websites here and there... SIGH. 

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