Thursday, July 20, 2017

Heroes and Villains

David Gaughran deserves a medal- or at least a big payday. 
David has been pointing out scammers and highlighting the rip off artists that prey on writers for years along with Writer Beware. Lately he has been trying to make Amazon aware of the click farm scammers on their websites. This is becoming a real problem. The click farm scammers take away money from the legit writers in page reads. They also skew your research. (I have been watching the children’s bestsellers... and shaking my head over number 1 and now I know why!)

Anne R Allen has an interesting post on the rise of publishing cults and cyber bullying among authors. I hear you all muttering, how could they, but when you read Anne’s article you realise how small actions turn into large hate fests targeting hapless authors. This is a must read and share.

Bad Reviews- Do you take them to heart? Tamar Sloan recently shared her psychologist knowledge on Writer Unboxed about why readers leave a bad review. It’s not about your book.

China has a new craze... reading. But not print books. Their online serial story platform numbers are heading into the stratosphere. This is a market to watch and if you can... get involved!

Jane Friedman recently interviewed two creators who have their stories on Tapas. This is a new kid on the block online reading experience that pays the creators. If you are a web comic creator or a writer check out the interview and have a poke around the website. It’s fascinating.

Jane also has an interesting article on whether authors should be using social media. Many authors struggle with the extroverted nature of social media. Jane offers some sound advice and lots of links for further learning.

Porter Anderson takes a look at the new white paper, The Business Of Books 2017, for Frankfurt Book Fair business members. Porter looks at three important points in the paper, competition, blockbusters and digital pricing. This is an interesting look at the global impact on publishing from a few brands and a heads up on what publishers will have to come to grips with going forward.

Bookbub recently polled 14 authors on how they use preorders and whether establishing a preorder was effective. Rachel Thompson has also been looking at preorder marketing and how you can create buzz around your book before it is even out.

Written Word Media has an interesting post on pricing. What is the optimum price for your book in a promotion? It depends on what you want to acheive....

Agent Jennifer Laughran has started a podcast. This will be of interest to children’s writers as she is a top agent in the field of children’s publishing. She talks to Laurel Snyder about imposter syndrome in her first episode.

In The Craft Section,

Myths on Villains and Mental Health- Sacha Black- Bookmark

Adding suspense – Roz Morris- Bookmark

Develop Character Voices- Don Fox- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to price match free on Amazon- Molly Greene – Bookmark

Creating a Book Sell Sheet- K S Brooks- Bookmark

The marketing rule you can’t forget- Ryan Holiday – Bookmark

 9 ways to get the best out of your cover designer- Damonza and Joanna Penn- Bookmark

To Finish,

Do you remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? Every time you got to an exciting crossroads you had to make a choice. Now think about writing one. Got a headache yet?
into intricate plotting.


My monthly newsletter has the best of my 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. Come and join our happy band! This blog survives on coffee so a big THANK YOU to everyone who hit the coffee button this week. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Pic: Guess who?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Sabotage Backup

Today we suffered the first of the big winter storms. Half the country seems to be digging themselves out of snow or suffering power cuts because of high winds and wind blown debris. I saw a comment today from an illustrator friend who was obsessively backing up her work every 30 seconds just in case. So....
Have you saved your work today? Do you have a plan for saving your work? Mary Moore has a list of ways that you can save your writing just in case...

This week CreateSpace rolled out a new barcode policy. Things get tricky when you have a barcode generated that doesn’t fit their guidelines.  They are being very specific about where the barcode should be on the back cover. Being forewarned will save you time and money.

SCBWI summer conference just wrapped up. If you are a children's writer and dream about attending from afar... (like me) Check out their conference blog. The next best thing to being there.

Audio books are this years hot topic with ACX finally getting competition from Draft2Digital. Kevin Tumlinson explains why writers should think audio as part of their publishing strategy. Anne R Allen talks with her Audio Book narrator about producing audio books and how to choose the right narrator.

Sophie Knowles has an interesting post on Digital Book World about resources for Indie Authors. She highlights a few great sites that are worth checking out.

Kris Rusch continues her branding series with an in depth look at brand loyalty with a strategic look at the also boughts on the Amazonpage. There is a wealth of information right out in plain sight!

Molly Greene has been doing other interesting things instead of writing and publishing this year. She takes a candid look at what happens when you step away from your production treadmill.

Suzanne Lakin has a great post on self sabotage. Writers can be excellent at this. She has a must read post on how to recognise the signs and ways to deal with it. It’s all tied up with your self esteem as a writer.

James Scott Bell is a master at the craft of writing and this post shows you why. How do you stand out from the crowd with your work? How do you ride the edge of great writing. This is a must read!

In The Craft Section,

K M Weiland has got three great posts for you to Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Using Amazon's preorder to boost sales- Penny Sansevieri

2 great posts from Joanna Penn Instagram for authors and Mistakes with book promotion- Bookmark both and the link to Freebooksy

To Finish,

In the old days writers weren’t at the mercy of a power cut but they didn’t have the luxury of endless tinkering of a sentence before they printed it. The craft of writing has remained the same though. Take a look at Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 tips on how to write a good short story and ponder them deeply. And for extra homework, check out his ideas on shapes of stories which has now been backed up by a computer.


Backup Data. ;)

I round up the best of the months bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. Subscribing to my monthly newsletter also is a form of backup plus you get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes when you subscribe. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Party Details

Today I hosted an hour of an online FB Book Launch Party for a Y A thriller by Helen V Fletcher called Broken Silence (Promo: grab the ebook for 99c.)
I felt a bit nervous as I have never done anything like this before but Helen said she would hold my hand and so I jumped in. It was a blast! I started with party music and the hour just flew by. Lots of authors joined in the launch. They talked about their books and had giveaways and mini competitions for prizes. And the prizes are up for 24 hours so jump on over and join in the fun.

Helen’s book is contemporary Young Adult. Anne R Allen has a great post on her blog about writing contemporary fiction. I had no idea that the word lengths were getting shorter. Anne writes about the reasons you can’t write War and Peace anymore and expect it to sell.

If you were writing a huge novel you need time to beaver away. Where do you find it? Aha! Try this technique for working smarter, suitable for any writer.  While we are on nuts and bolts of the writer’s physical environment check out Copyhackers best practice for setting up your home office!

My lunchtime break saw me riveted to the SFF marketing podcast. Lindsay, Joe and Jeff were interviewing Joanna Penn on her new book Launch to Market 3rd edition. Joanna says that it is 60% different from the first edition, which I have so... It’s on my want list.

Cynthia Shannon has a comprehensive breakdown of all the things you need to do for planning and having a Goodreads giveaway. I have been watching the results of experiments in an author group I belong to and it seems like a good thing to try.

Kathryn Goldman has a comprehensive post on audio rights. Who actually owns them? This can get tricky when you produce your audio book. Performance rights... broadcast rights...  translation audio... All the rights you didn’t know you had... (see Joanna Penn’s interview above for more options.)

The fabulous Kris Rusch continues her excellent series on marketing and brand discovery. Her in depth attention to detail posts are like a university course. I feel she should be required reading in a Creative Writing diploma.

Writers Digest has an interview with Kristen Owens on 10 actions she has learned in her first year of professional writing.

In The Craft Section,

Avoid opening page info dump- Jami Gold – Bookmark

The power of the unlikely protagonist- Writer Unboxed – Bookmark

What is irony?- a cool post from Reedsy

How to add meaningful subplots- K M Weiland – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Digressing slightly to shout out to Kevin Tumlinson who writes such great content for the Draft2Digital site. Here are three recent posts.

Author overheads-What you need to know.
Kevin is also the host of the Wordslinger podcast, which is one of my new great podcasting finds!

To Finish,

Today has been a day about organising... Helen organised a fun online book launch but it wouldn’t have worked without attention to detail. What were the secret schedules of the great authors... did they work the same way? Check out this article and be surprised!


It’s nearly time to schedule my monthly newsletter. (Hi to the new subscribers!) I round up the best of the months 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, June 29, 2017

Book Love

Where were you twenty years ago?
I was teaching and scribbling stories at night. We had just got internet and I found a great group of UK writers on a listserv. One night the discussion turned to word of mouth promotion.
‘There’s a great debut story just published, everyone is talking about,’ said one UK author. I went to my local specialist bookseller (who passed away recently,) While he was stacking on the counter the pile of books he thought I should read to my class, I asked him about this book, Harry and the stone... He put Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on the pile saying- ‘my last book, it’s a good read.’ I finished it at 2am and started reading it to my class that day. 
It became the most talked about book in the playground. I was seeing in real time the power of good storytelling transporting children to another world. Teachers and parents would stop me and ask about the book that even the non readers were talking about.... 
That’s the holy grail of writing when the reader can’t bear to close the book. It has nothing to do with clever phrases or perfectly executed grammar. It grabs you by the throat and demands your attention. You can’t sit down to intentionally write a story like this. The magic can't be forced.
This week is the 20 year anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Di Dickenson looks at the criticism leveled at the book series and asks is it justified.

Kris Rusch has her next post on discoverability. This weekshe looks at brand loyalty. This series is cracking along. Kris always gives you plenty to think about.

Brain Pickings has a great post on different styles of great writing. Are you an explainer, an elucidator or an enchanter? Which should you aim to be?

Orna Ross has been thinking about the underlying prejudice towards self publishers in the wake of the recent Byte The Book debate. Why is self publishing still seen as vanity publishing when the reality is very different. Is traditional publishing the new vanity?

R L Stedman has an interesting post on rights. Do you know all the different rights that you have in one piece of work? This is a great reference and eye opening for the new writer.

If you are an illustrator or know one, point them in the direction of this global award for illustration. Entries close in a few weeks and the prize is quite nice...

Jami Gold has been struggling with burnout. She writes an important article on writer self care.

A group of grad students have got together to pool their talents and set up a research group for writers to use. Check out their new weekly blog. If you need a grad student to do some research for you this could be a valuable resource.

Litreactor has an interesting blog on book reviews, specifically why they don’t look at 5 star reviews. This is a really interesting read about how important the 3 and 4 star reviews are to people looking for the next book to invest time in.

In The Craft Section,

4 reasons to outline your settings K M Weiland - Bookmark

Write better fiction- Killzone blog

Better book titles- April Davila- Bookmark

Check out Writing excuses podcast. This weeks episode –outlining

In The Marketing Section,

Getting book reviews- Book marketing tools

3 best practices for marketing- Kevin Tumlinson- Bookmark

To Finish,

I met a composer friend yesterday and I was lamenting that I couldn’t make up my mind on whether to take up the offer of a piano to replace our keyboard. It means moving some bookcases to make room. He laughed and noted that I could always put the books on top of the piano... win/win.
It’s not that I hoard books... um they are just good friends... all of them... (over 2000.) But I’m not a true hoarder. These famous people had much more extensive collections....


Pic: The first cover. Ours is a patchwork of spellotape holding it together... but nobody in the family wants a new edition. The magic is still in the old one.

If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links and other goodies you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Come and share the book love.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Writing Heroes

 photo tumblr_lztpueZx1u1r5uzsdo6_250.gif

It has been a turgid time in the house recently. (Now you have to check I used turgid correctly... clue British dictionary.) ¾’s of the household have been hit with an awful viral cold. The only trips out for about a week have been to restock on tissues, cough syrup, tissues, honey, tissues and chicken (for soup.)

When you are sick, your thoughts can go spiraling down into the pit of despair. You can suffer from comparison-itis,  FOMO disorder and subjectio. Amanda Palmer shared her thoughts on this insidious type of thinking for creative people. It is well worth a read and reality check.

This week my Twitter feed started to fill up with comments about a Byte-The-Book debate in London between Joanna Penn and Euan Thorneycroft on The Author as Publisher -Opportunity or Vanity. By all accounts it was a wonderful debate. Some very interesting points were raised over the future of reading.

This week, writing hero, Jami Gold had an interesting post on the Heroes journey... how are we applying the lessons we make our characters go through to our own lives. Are we real life heroes? 
Jami raises interesting points about personal growth.

Recently Debbie Ridpath Ohi was interviewed on how she manages her online life and her work as an illustrator of children’s books. One of her secrets... it helps to be an introvert. (whaaa???)

Katie Weiland shared her 5 stages of writing process from conception of idea to revision. It is a standout post from a writing craft legend and a MUST READ.

In The Craft Section,

The 3 tiers point of view technique-Writer Unboxed- Bookmark

Emotion amplifiers- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Character driven plot- Rachel Geisel- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

3 steps to know your audience-Digital Book World- Bookmark

A plan for finding new readers- Book Marketing Tools

To Finish,

Jane Friedman published an article today on a writer’s guide to fair use and permissions and got 123 comments in very short order. This is a hot topic with accepted practice, internet freedoms and legal requirements all rolled up into one confusing mess which Jane does her best to straighten out. This is definitely a bookmark post from one of the online heroes in the publishing world.


My monthly newsletter is finally out. (helped along with plenty of tissues...)  If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links and other goodies you can subscribe here. (No germs will be shared... )

Pic: How many of you can name the show, episode, character.... (shiny)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Story; Ears, Eyes, Heart.

Have you ever felt like your head had been taken over, hollowed out and then filled with cotton wool? I have been going around in a foggy daze for about a week. When life throws lots of big events your way it’s hard to find time to write or even generate much energy to create anything. (My cooking suffered as well.) This week we celebrated a family wedding and then got the news that a revered book colleague had died. For several days I drifted around the house never being able to settle. Life is a series of stories told through heart beats.

Many writers will beat themselves up for not creating something every day so it was with relief that I read Janice Hardy’s brilliant post why you shouldn’t write every day. Not only did it give me permission to rest my mind but it made me feel more positive about getting back into the writing grind.

Dan Blank took a close look at how Traditional Publishers marketed their books at Book Expo and drew some interesting conclusions for Indie Publishers. You don’t really need a fifty foot banner to draw attention to yourself.

How many of you listen to audio books? If you listen to podcasts you are more likely to listen to audio books. Can you guess the demographic that most listens to audio books? Publishing Perspectives has a great breakdown of the latest figures from this fast growing book market.

In a game changer for the audio book market which has been dominated by ACX, (*coughAmazoncough*) Draft2Digital has rolled out an exciting new service and it’s worldwide and non exclusive!

Book Marketing Tools has a great interview with Mark Dawson on Facebook ads. (He is often referenced as the Facebook ad guru.)

Editor, Sue Copsey has a fabulous post on what she sees when she gets a manuscript. Voice and heart makes a Manuscript stand out.

Frances Caballo has an interesting article on The Book Designer about the 5 necessary skills a writer must develop. While you are over on Joel’s site check out the new book design templates he has recently added.

Kris Rusch continues her Branding series. She has such interesting articles. This week she looks at brand image. You are what you write, aren’t you?

5 ways to write a perfect first draft by Katie Weiland examines the mental work your subconscious is doing. You may be writing a near perfect first draft and not recognising it

In The Craft Section,

Filter words and phrases to avoid- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

Indicating the passage of time – Jami Gold Bookmark

Story Genius- Joanna Penn and Lisa Cron- Bookmark

Develop your writing intuition- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Improve your query letter- Jane Friedman - Bookmark

To Finish,

Last week I gave you a link to the Alliance of Independent Authors website where there is a load of great content from their Indie fringe conference. There are heaps of videos to sample. Alli have their own YouTube channel so hop on over to see all the  short Publishing 101 videos Paul Teague has been putting up. Here is one to get you started. 

R.I.P. John McIntyre: Book Ambassador and Hero

My monthly newsletter is a bit late this month. It will be going out soon. If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links and other goodies you can subscribe here. Come and join our happy band.


Pic Flickr Creative Commons /David Locke (Totally cute dog.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Navigating the Writing Road

This week was Book Expo.
What used to be the biggest Book Fair in America has been slimmed down. The fair was split into a Book Con and a Trade Book Fair.  Porter Anderson rounds up the key takeaways from the Book Expo conference on Wednesday. A big focus was children’s publishing and library trends.

Not everybody was impressed with the new look Book Expo. Independent publishers were being shunted off to the side and all the innovative Book Marketing companies are starting to court the Traditional publishers. Brooke Warner of She Writes Press examines Book Expo from a small publishers point of view.

Alongside Book Expo was Indie Author Fringe. This 24 hour conference was put together by the great folks at Alli - Alliance of Independent Authors. The conference theme was book marketing and there are some standout presentations up on the Alli blog. I have been dipping into them all week. Just chock full of brilliant advice. For a taster check out Chris Well's presentation on Media Kits for Authors.

Joanna Penn has a great interview with Nick Stephenson on managing time and it is really worth taking some time to listen or watch her podcast. There are so many ways to automate what you do.

Another great podcast to drop into is SFF Marketing. Lindsay Buroker and co hosts Jeff Poole and Joe Lallo  talked this week about all the hot tips Joe learned from Book Expo on Book Marketing.

Bookbub also pulled together a great roundup of 7 marketing takeaways from Book Expo.

Jami Gold has put together a great roundup table of contents for all her indie publishing series of posts. This has been a mammoth series over two years. It is more than a 101 course... more like a Masters degree.

Kris Rusch continues her branding series with a great post on Brand Identity. If you have been wondering how to straddle genres or just what exactly is author branding you need to check out this article.

With the introduction of Amazon Charts there has been some discussion about the worth of bestseller lists. Amazon breaks up their charts by Most Sold and Most Read, they are not the same and there is no distinction on genre. (New HP Covers anyone?) Polygraph Lit Magazine’s new imprint, Pudding, takes a look at gender bias on the bestseller lists and in MFA programmes.

Publishers Weekly interviewed the outgoing chair of the Independent Book Publishers Association about his radical idea for Bookstores.Why don’t they have Book Espresso machines and other goodies... They could be a hub for the community... and sell ... BOOKS.

If you have ever thought about owning your own bookstore... It is now possible with Aerio. Have a curated list of books on your own website and get an affiliation cut if anyone buys a book from you. Judith Briles tells you how to do it.

This week I have been hearing about the rise of audio books and how this section of the industry is taking off. Savvy authors out there are holding onto audio rights. But now the big publishers are waking up to this gold mine. Michael Sullivan posted a breakdown on his wranglings with his Traditional Publisher Del Rey and why they are parting ways. Audio rights was the break point. This is a must read for any traditionally published author.

In The Craft Section,

Making unlikeable characters likeable- September Fawkes- Bookmark

Three types of Character Arcs – Sara Letourneau - Bookmark

Are you a writer or a storyteller- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Hiring an editor-Anne R Allen- Bookmark

Collaboration mistakes to avoid- Joanna Penn and J Thorn- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Newsletter surveys- Kate Tilton

No one is born famous- Penny Sansevieri

Marketing your books as a group (another author collective idea)-Bookmark

To Finish,

Navigating your way through all the advice on writing is almost a fulltime job. But have you thought about the journeys your characters are taking on the page. Writer Unboxed examines Google Maps and how you can plot out your characters journey in real time.


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces.  Get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes when you subscribe. Thanks for hitting the kofi button this week. I’m living on caffeine as mother of the bride.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Writing Rules

Thou shalt read the writing rules... well they are just guidelines because every writer is different. 

However there are some rules that you can’t break. 
1. Don’t send a manuscript out to a publisher in Comic Sans font.
2. Don’t submit your child’s drawings as illustrations with a picture book manuscript.

I’m sure you can think of a couple more.
Ruth Harris has a comprehensive post on writing rules and guidelines, which is well worth a careful read.

Kris Rusch has another stellar post on brand and defining your target audience. I always struggle with this. Kris has some great advice. This is a timely read.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are two rock stars in the writing blogosphere. They have a great post on helping authors succeed, because we are all in this together. Angela has put together a list of actions that everyone can do to help others. They have a pay it forward mentality... so of course they also reached out to promote Kristen Lamb’s first fiction book. Kristen has a great post about running your own race in your writing career but choose carefully who your running buddies will be.

Jane Friedman has an interesting post on FOMO (fear of missing out) and how it can cripple your productivity. How do you stay focused on the writing prize?

Danica Davidson has an inspirational post on 7 things to do when you want to give up. (Instead of giving up.) When you read she started submitting novels as a teen you realise she does know what she is talking about.

Penny Sansevieri has a must read post on book sales. It’s not about how many followers you have... it’s about engagement. Think super fans and micro influencers....

Derek Murphy likes to change things up by breaking rules or guidelines....  Recently he wrote about the weird ideas he does to write and publish bestsellers. He starts from the cover....

Julie Munroe Martin was writing recently on Writer Unboxed about putting together a survival pack if you are a writer. (No. Not a pack full of wine...) A way to keep you hitting your writing goals.

This weekend is the second 2017 Indie Fringe event run by the Alliance of Independent Authors. This free one day online conference has the focus of book marketing and some great topics will be covered check out the speakers!

In The Craft Section,

9 things your Main character needs- 10 minute novelist- Bookmark

Legal myths debunked for authors- Bookworks- Bookmark

Ways to start your novel- Now Novel- Bookmark

How to strengthen characters- Jami Gold - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Two great posts from Book Marketing Tools, Put calls to action in your books and Loglines – how to write them. – Bookmark Both

Three Keys to writing back copy- Chris Syme- Bookmark

14 Book Cover sites- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark

Optimizing Blog posts- Rachel Thompson

To Finish,

Reedsy has pulled out another great infographic. This one is on copyright. This is a comprehensive fact filled How To and Go To guide on the subject.
Copyright is one rule you should not break!


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces.  Get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes when you subscribe.

Related Posts with Thumbnails