Going boldly into the unknown...a weekly roundup of writing tips and trends from a NZ children's writer.
Comments always welcome. (Image is of two galaxies colliding. Images Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.)
Ten years ago this week I started this weekly blog. I had no
idea what I was doing but decided to learn as much as I could about this
I have seen so much change it’s hard to remember that I
started blogging just as the first Kindle was launched. That one device started
a revolution. Books became digital products and went from being read on
dedicated Electronic Readers to Smartphones.
Publishing went through a huge revolution along the way. Ten years ago I couldn't have predicted the
loss of established publishing companies and book stores. Now 70% of all
books are being bought online and we see the rise of Independent writer publishers. Over
the years collaboration amongst other writers for education and publishing opportunities
have been vital to understanding this brave new world we are working in. From
writing in isolation to being globally connected to writing tribes via Facebook
and Twitter to virtual publishing houses it has been a fascinating ten years.
Hot off the press about to start their journey is a new
publishing house for children’s fiction in New Zealand. One Tree House. This is
a welcome addition to the shrinking children’s book publishing island.
Hopefully this is the beginning of a great trend.
There is a new writing craft Storybundle out. Kris Rusch has
put it together and there are some good books on offer in there. I’m still
working my way through the great Storybundle from Christmas. If you are on the
lookout for good textbooks on writing then take a look.
Over the last two days writers have been quietly seething on
Twitter with the hashtag #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. It’s funny and sad at the same time. Diana Gabaldon reported that her publishers said they couldn’t put
her degrees in her bio because it would intimidate her readers... umm
Thank you to all my regular readers. It has been a wonderful
ten years. I have learned so much. Thank you to all those who have shouted me a
coffee... (virtual or real!) If you want to get a collection of the best of my bookmarked
links plus other goodies make sure you subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
This week all the different ways to market seem to be
discussed everywhere. Authors are always stuck when it comes to marketing.
Marketing is a mindset and suits an extroverted personality. A lot of authors
are introverted so marketing books can be a real trial let alone marketing
Alison Morton recently wrote on the Alli blog about what constitutes a marketing success. Are writers guilty of only seeing traditional publishing bestseller numbers without understanding what a break
even point might be. Maybe it’s not too hard to get a bestseller after all.
Are we guilty of snobbery when it comes to Book Marketing?
Is our mindset a build it and they will come attitude? Does it work? And what
about the writers who think that other genre writers are somehow a lesser
breed? Mandy Hager, one of New Zealand’s best writers for Young Adults puts her finger right on a problem that many writers pretend they don’t have. Are all
writers equal? Is it a fault of marketing?
My monthly newsletter is out. If you want to get a
collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other goodies make sure you subscribe.Thanks to all those who have fed my caffeine habit by hitting
the Kofi button.
Amazon bought Souk. Why should the average writer care? Souk
is to the Middle East what Amazon is to the West. Digital books are only 1% of
the market. They only have to go into China to get total world domination...
There are rumblings in the universities. Should
academics publish their own textbooks? There was an interesting panel debate at London Book Fair on this.Is the
traditional academic publishing world finally getting the shake up of self publishing.
The days of the $400 text book may be numbered.
James Scott Bell has a great article in Writer Unboxed asking is your writing big enough? You know those sweeping sentences that go on
for half a page and your eyes and attention remain riveted to the page, even
while you subconsciously know that no editor these days would let a writer
ramble on but the writing is soo good and you just can’t help reading on. I
have shelves full of writers that were sparing with a full stop but they could
sure tell a story. They were prolific and belonged to the pulp school of
writing. Anne R Allen wonders if the constant pressure to write and repeat is a
good idea. What about those writers who write slowly?
My monthly newsletter is going out soon. If you want to get
a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other goodies in your
inbox you can subscribe here.If you want to shout me a cup of coffee hit the Kofi button.
Thanks to all those who have fed my caffeine habit.
Writer Unboxed has an article from Susan Spann on recognising possible scam artists in the publishing world. Don’t think that it is easy. They are getting
pretty canny at lifting your money and leaving you with nothing.
Writer’s Digest has a guest post from Kaitlyn Johnson on
Twitter Pitch contests. PitMad was last week but there are so many others to
This week I went into the radio studio to record my monthly
podcast slot and felt depressed. The topic was writer incomes. The latest stats
were out and NZ writers weren’t earning very much at all. As we were talking
about the report we both were realising that we knew authors who didn’t fit the
criteria and so weren’t surveyed. Then I came across a mention of the report on Passive Voice and the comments were enlightening. So all I can say in this
brave new publishing world is Do Whatever Works For You and Good Luck.
March is London Book Fair and the Indie Author Fringe which
was a 24 hour blast of great content for authors. If you didn’t get a chance to
watch in real time you can always go and access their great sessions from their
website. I binge watch and scribble notes constantly. It’s like a private
conference just for you.
Publishers Weekly reported on the London Book Fair
describing it as a Keep Calm and Carry On affair. PW also asked agents heading
to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which is traditionally two weeks after
LBF, what they would be looking for. Mid Grade is still the holy grail and
everybody wants to find the next breakout hit crossover teen....etc etc.
Every month I round up the best of my bookmarked links and
put them together with some other goodies which you get if you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Shout out to the lovely people who bought me a coffee this week. It is
The London Book Fair is on* and chat on the floor suggests
that Brexit will hit UK publishing scene hard. Also I see on Twitter that it’s
not just the Brits who are un-nerved. Several EU countries are facing Brexit
calls of their own in upcoming elections.
The latest Author Earnings report is out, and interesting
reading it is too. Here in NZ we recently had our own version of Writer Income
surveyed... which was pretty dismal reading. Data Guy has some comments on the
NZ situation in English language publishing.
Reedsy is a great resource for writers. They often have
great infographics... (I’m such a sucker...) However Ricardo has recently been
putting together a huge list of writing competitions. Have a look.
Every month I round up the best of my bookmarked links and
put them together with some other goodies. You can join the trendy people and subscribe to my monthly newsletter.Thanks to the lovely people who shouted me a coffee. It is
I am sitting outside listening to the cicadas and thinking
hopeful thoughts that the two weeks of summer we have just had isn’t all we are
going to get. The weather suddenly turned cool and now the north of the country
is getting record rainfall and floods. It’s a worry.
In the publishing world Hachette just bought a boutique ebook publisher. Why? Is it because they were niche and top of their game in the
Indie publishing world? Is it because now it is cool to be seen as Indie... (In
last weeks roundup Waterstones disguises their chain bookstores as Indies in
the high street.)