Thursday, September 21, 2017

Global Fears and Solutions


This week seemed to be a global focus week.
Is there a books market outside of the UK and the USA and assorted countries that speak English?
Why Yes.
How do we know?
Because Amazon thinks so.
This week Amazon made moves into South East Asia... Alibaba,the East’s version of Amazon, is not amused.
Neither is India’s publishing and book trade. Suddenly they have less book shops than they did before.
Where Amazon goes so do Indie publishers. But how do you price for the market in the East? There are so many currencies?
This week Publish Drive talked about pricing books in South East Asia and what Indies need to bear in mind if they enter this part of the world.

Smashwords introduced Global Pricing. Now you can tweak each countries book price. They have made some changes to their dashboard too.

Jane Friedman takes a snapshot of the publishing industry at the moment. Is there a resurgence in Print books? Just how much of the eBook market does Amazon have?

The Guardian printed an interesting article by Y.A. author Meg Rosoff on the point of Fairy Tales. This is a rebuttal to Richard Dawkins and the government and the push to only make education fact based. This has seen a decline in the funding of the arts in tertiary education and beyond. Do we really need fairytales?

Sarah Moore has written an interesting post on nipping your creative fear in the bud. Just what do you have to be scared of?
OK 
Now how do you manage that fear?

Anne R Allen has been writing up a storm on her blog with two great posts recently.
Do podcasts sell books? There are some great publishing focused podcasts out there and I try to listen to one most days. It makes me feel productive when I’m taking a screen break. Also professional development also...  If you haven’t dipped in to one yet, you are missing out!*

The use of pop ups on authors sites is getting ridiculous. Anne asks is it time to kill the pop up?

Bang2Write have a beautiful Infographic on 12 unusual and achievable productivity hacks for authors. This is a print out and put on your wall post!

The Write Life takes a look at that deep fear of authors. What happens if I lose my work?
Here are some solutions you can implement straight away.

In The Craft Section,


Mastering outer motivation- Michael Hauge- Bookmark


What should the story climax include- Jami Gold – Bookmark





Writing an outline- Tasha Seegmiller-Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,


The relaxed release- Elisabeth S Craig

Ebook checklist before uploading- Digital Book World- Bookmark


Two great posts from Kevin Tumlinson on the Draft2Digital blog, 10 sneaky hacks and Making yourself a brand.


To Finish,

This week in an online writers group the discussion turn to Authors selling Merch. I had a sudden vision of an author selling table filled with knick knacks. Somewhere in amongst the jumble of author branded merch on the table was the lone book that inspired it all. (Rather like our big brand bookstore....) Then one author said take a look at this... and we all said OOOOH. A whole different level of Merch for authors...

Maureen
@craicer

* Kiwi author Nalini Singh was on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing podcast this week. One of our publishing rockstars!

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. The blog runs on coffee fumes. If you want to say thanks feel free to hit the coffee tab. My brain says Thanks!
 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Long Haul Writing Career


Today I was reflecting on my online home. It’s part of the spring cleaning happening here. Over ten years I hadn’t changed much on the blog. Now that I have a little bit of energy and because I have a book coming out in a few months, I’m getting more creative and adding new things like a new books website. What will my writing life look like going forward? I’m in re-launch mode of my writing career.
Jane Friedman wrote an interesting article this week on whether authors should concentrate on Social Media or their Author Websites. Note: it is now assumed that all authors will have a website. (and if not... why not?)

Kris Rusch has also been looking at author career longevity. How are the mid-listers faring at their respective publishing houses? Do they still have a career? Are publishers thinking about their business in terms of the long haul?

Joanna Penn has just celebrated her sixth year as an author entrepreneur. She breaks down all the things she has learned on her journey and why she has a long term mentality for her writing career. It’s all about the pension plan...

Susan Kaye Quinn has written an interesting article on the Alli blog about going wide – selling on multiple online platforms instead of just Amazon.  Susan is a powerhouse of great information. (As we head into the next national children’s writers conference, I am reminded that I interviewed SKQ for a keynote speech at the last conference. She knocked it out of the park!)

If you are thinking about a long career you need to keep your eye on the international markets. Diana Urban takes a look at seven things you can do to get more international exposure.

Book Marketing Tools has an in depth look at how to attract and engage more readers. After all that is what makes a career in the long term. This is a great read and a bookmark post.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing podcast team interviewed Brian McClellan on the state of epic fantasy in traditional publishing. It is a very interesting interview and some of the things Brian talks about were surprising. A must watch if you are into epic fantasy.

Screenwriters have to be able to characterise quickly in their writing. Knowing common archetypes is a must in their business. Take a look at this list of ninety nine archetypes and stock characters.

In The Craft Section,

10 dialogue errors to avoid- Writers Writer- Bookmark


How to write without filtering- Ava Jae- Bookmark





In The Marketing Section,

Book Marketing in person- Maria Dismondy

Daily deal services- 18 promo sites- Writer Unboxed-Bookmark



Changes in Social Media – Frances Caballo- Bookmark



To Finish,

I am revisiting a great post by Jane Friedman on the importance of author collectives. This has been on my mind this week as I wrapped up the judging for my stint hosting the FABO Story Writing competition for kids. Fabo Story has been going since 2011- with a few new faces but the same core cast from way back then. That’s a long haul as a collective.

Maureen
@craicer

It’s time for my monthly newsletter to go out. 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 my nifty book crammed full with marketing notes.  The blog runs on coffee. If you want to shout me one, please hit the coffee tab. Thanks.




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Competition


I have been thinking about all the predictions made last year as to what the big changes will be in publishing. Remember how Audio was predicted to be the next big mover. Last month Draft2Digital introduced a partnership with Findaway voices and today Kobo launched their audio selling arm. This is competition for Audible, an Amazon company, because Kobo audio monthly subscriptions are very cheap.
While you are looking at Kobo check out their writing life podcast. This is a podcast specifically for authors by authors on what’s working or not, like this one- Five strategies for free.

Publishing Perspectives are always interesting to dip into. There are interesting articles that look at publishing as a whole. One article recently caught my eye- Richard Charkin on how the publishing industry has become overcomplicated. Richard makes some good points on region copyright and then he raises the idea that publishing doesn’t need Barnes and Noble.

Another article from Publishing Perspectives has Porter Anderson interviewing Gabriella Page-Fort, recently named a Publishers Weekly ‘Superstar.’ Gabriella heads up Amazon Crossing, which has become the biggest producer of translated material in the US. So what’s happening in the translation market? Gabriella sees lots of opportunities.

This week a plaintive post from a creative about his bank struck a chord with a lot of people. If you run your business online have you thought what would happen if the bank pulled your account over an error. Banks can be over zealous with online business’ and one creative got caught. I’m highlighting this as many writers have an online business. If you think it won’t affect you... I hope you don’t have monthly subscriptions for websites or get paid directly into your bank account...

Do you call yourself a writer? When did you finally admit to yourself that YES you are a writer. One writer made the leap and noticed five things happened that she wasn’t expecting.

David Gaughran is a crusader for writers. He’s like the squeaky wheel that points out the scammers and the less than great service form the big publishing companies. After all they are competing with each other, you want great service. (Honestly Amazon, put the guy on retainer to clean up your click farm scammers.**) Here he takes a cool look at the new hot author tool-Amazon ads. Can they be done differently?

Dean Wesley Smith had an interesting blog post today on the value of the paper-back. I bet you are all nodding and saying yes. But Dean is talking about the second hand book market. (Bet you didn’t see that coming!)

Anne R Allen has a great post on 7 new writer mistakes and it’s not just new writers that make them. Check out the list and be warned.


In The Craft Section,





Using a novel journal- James Scott Bell - Bookmark

Story conflict- Janice Hardy -Bookmark

Writing secondary characters- Jane Friedman – Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How authors can use Instagram- Joanna Penn - Bookmark

Book marketingbasics- Molly Greene- Bookmark





How to title your non fiction book- Jody Rein & Michael Larson



To Finish,

As you can see the blog has had a few tweaks. I have also been playing around with another test site to try things out on. Chic Geek put together 25 great Branding and Design tools you must really check out. It’s spring... time to spring clean your websites.

** And in news just to hand: Amazon are taking some people to court! YAY

Maureen
@craicer

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 my nifty book crammed full with marketing notes.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fake News




This week started with a hiss and a roar when the New York Times Best Seller list came out.  A book no one had heard of had hit number one! Then, in a fascinating real time take down by YA authors and literary detectives, the story came out through Twitter. And what a story! Read it as it happened and then read the wise advice of Kris Rusch who has seen it all before.

The USA today list is calculated purely on sales so it’s always interesting when an author keeps hitting it. What are they doing right? Here is how one author achieved it three times.

Last week I linked to Hugh Howey’s Part One and Two of his excellent mini series of posts on writing insights- written while aboard his boat floating in the Pacific with turtles.. (Not jealous not jealous not jea...)  Part Three and Part Four are just as good.

Ahh Canada... home to amazing wildlife, amazing syrup, amazing writers and ... Wattpad. But wait... Wattpad is introducing a new video storytelling app, Raccoon. Think video serial stories in real time...

Joanna Penn posted an interesting interview with Sarah Painter on how writers can overcome fear and self doubt. This is well worth a listen or read the transcript.

This week Hollywood Reporter looked at a case going to trial on who actually owns the name Jack Ryan. Was it the Tom Clancy’s estate or the film company or the widow or no one?  Can a character name be copyrighted?

Alli – or The Alliance of Independent Authors is gearing up for the next and last 24 hour online fringe conference. Each conference has a theme and the upcoming one is all about author business. This is well worth signing up for ... and its free!

Sean Platt has his fingers in many writing pies along with other creative endeavors like the Smarter Artists summit. Here is his ten point plan on how to make a living as an Indie author. Writing an amazing book is not at number one... (When I sit down to write I always hear Sean’s voice saying ... First Know Your Why!)

In The Craft Section,



Weaving back story into front story- James Scott Bell - Bookmark

Create an idea bank- Ruth Harris- Bookmark


How to slow time for more relaxed writing sessions – Elizabeth Spann Craig- Bookmark



2 great posts from Janice Hardy - Conflict – Why it isn’t about fighting and Creating Unique Characters. - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

The Visibility Gambit- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Ultimate guide to creating a media kit- Chris Well (This is part 4 but you should read all the other parts.)






To Finish,

Nathan Bransford has been cranking up his blog again on all things writerly. This week he asked Mike Shatzkin about the next horror nightmare for publishing... What if Barnes and Noble closed down....

So you may have noticed some changes on the blog. It’s Spring... Over the next few weeks there will be a few more changes... (I miss my space pics already.) I’m also the Fabo Judge for the next two weeks - the entries are flooding in already! Who wants a quiet life... umm.

Maureen
@craicer
  

I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces in my monthly newsletter. When you subscribe you get a nifty book crammed full of marketing notes.  Coffee fuels the blog so THANKS for your coffee button hits this week.

 Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre- The false colour of Mercury using mineral and chemical imaging.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Is The Sun Shining?



This week the sun disappeared in North America.
In olden times... (pick your century) an eclipse was a portent of disaster or great change.
Some might have decided that the eclipse came seven months too late. If you are an indie author publishing some romance fiction on Nook it came right on time. With no warning to the authors involved accounts have been closed. This is a great reminder about spreading your eggs among many baskets.

Kris Rusch wrote about the eclipse in a different way. Her little town prepared for an influx of visitors... and they didn’t come. Kris compares this to the book publishing industry. What happens to publishing if all the marketing goes on the books with the highest advance and they don’t sell?

Porter Anderson recently talked with Sophie de Closets, the CEO of French publishing house Fayard, about women in publishing. Sophie talked about what it was like as a young CEO walking in to manage such a venerablehouse but then she added something startling. Where are all the men in publishing? This potentially is a huge problem for identifying readers.

Amazon is on track to open their tenth brick and mortar bookstore this year.  Their bookstores are small with books facing out and highly curated. Are they on to a sure thing? Their emphasis on data and buying habits suggest they are.

So is it the right time to be buying a bookstore? Dean Wesley Smith thinks so because he just bought one. However Dean has data of his own and lays out what a modern bookstore should be doing.

Hugh Howey is sailing the Pacific living the life on the boat his books bought. (Not jealous... really...) He finds time to write in between swimming with turtles and whales (not jealous....) Recently he wrote two really good posts on becoming a writer. ( and Part Two)
They are thoughtful and insightful and a great pick me up when you are staring at your MS thinking about sailing in the pacific with turtles... on a dream boat.... (OK Jealous!)

A few years ago now a bunch of crazy writers got together to write a serial story for kids. It was hard work but creatively inspiring. The crazy writers are still writing for kids but we aren’t doing serials. Every now and then I read an interesting article on Serial Writing and think ... hmm Crazy Fun. This article looks at 13 reasons why writing a serial is better than writing a book.


In The Craft Section.

How to hook a reader- Mary Kole- Bookmark

The ingredients of great series characters- James Scott Bell- Bookmark




Zero Draft Thirty is the screenwriters NaNoWriMo It kicks off in September.

In The Marketing Section,

The reason book marketing is exhausting- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark




Mailchimp alternatives- Ricardo Fayet - Bookmark


Book launch timeline- Shelley Hitz- Bookmark!

To Finish,

The New Yorker, venerable institution of prose and social comment has an article on.... Fan Fiction? Yes you did read that sentence right. It’s a good article too. Go on... dip your toe in....

Maureen
@craicer

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons Andrew Napier

I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces in my monthly newsletter. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. (Hi New Subscribers!) THANKS to everyone who hit the coffee button this week.
 



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Winning At Productivity


Earlier this week I attended the New Zealand National Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Every year I try to pick the winners and end up with about a 50% strike rate.  Book Awards are subjective. What might be your jam could be the judge’s tripe stew. I often think that just making the short list is a major cause for celebration. However it was great to catch up with old friends, celebrate their success in being shortlisted and catch up on gossip.

In the writing blogosphere this week Smashwords introduced a special deals extra for their online store and revamped their coupon codes.

David Gaughran tells a cautionary tale of marketing gone wrong at Amazon because of a rogue publishers mistake. If you advertise on Amazon you need to read this.

With the melt down in international politics Anne R Allen helps everyone out with a timely reminder of good online author etiquette.

Joanna Penn has an interesting post from Zsofia Macho of Publish Drive on publishing in other countries. PublishDrive are a service like Draft2Digital but based in Hungary and cover Asia and Europe.

How do prolific writers stay productive? Check out these writing strategies. This is a fascinating insight into the world of the master writer.

If you are a traveling writer... Daniel Smith has some productivity tips to help you enjoy your travels and still do the work.

Kris Rusch talks about negotiating TV and movie deals. It helps if you know exactly what you want. A very interesting post on this market.

Johnny B Truant has an interesting post on Book Covers. Yes they go out of fashion and yes you need expert design help. Johnny shows his cover progression and why they were mistakes.

Since I figured out how to listen to podcasts in the car. I have been dipping into some interesting writing ones. Jennifer Laughran is going from strength to strength with her new podcast on kidslit publishing. Check out this one on publicity.
Lorna Faith has an interesting podcast interview on marketing plans with Nick Thacker and four part story structure.

In The Craft Section,

Two great posts from Go Into The Story- The 3E’s of scene description and


When you lose the desire to finish- Jane Friedman- Bookmark


Character motivation- Rescue a loved one- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,


Book Design Chapter Openers- Joel Friedlander


4 social media productivity tips – Frances Caballo - Bookmark



16000 preorders in 6 months- A case study- Gwynn White

To Finish,

It’s been a week of highs and lows. Productivity has taken a beating. Sometimes you just need to stare at cat gifs... or you can get creative and come up with a Periodic Table for Villains.

Maureen
@craicer


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Rob Schofield

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. I went down a rabbit hole this week but I promise the newsletter will go out this weekend... with pictures...



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Navigating Writing in the Whirlwind


This week politics filled the news channels. Domestic and foreign policy was under the spotlight. Writers went around in circles trying to make sense of the narratives or gave up and wondered if we had crossed over into a parallel dystopian universe.

I have regularly struggled with the notion of where should I be marketing my books given that I am a children’s writer... Publishing Trends takes an in depth look at this problem that children’s writers face and has some solutions.

Spare a kind thought for Kat Rosenfield who wrote a Vulture article this week on The Toxic Drama of YA Twitter. Readers criticising a manuscript before it is even finished seems to be at the far end of acceptable behaviour. I’m not surprised that Y A authors might be playing it safe after reading this.

So if children’s writers have to play it safe what do they do on Social Media?
Anne R Allen has a great article on her blog on why blogging should be where an author is.

Agent Janet Reid talks about the contact page on your author website and how important it is. It’s not about whether you can be contacted. It’s the way you say it!

Jane Friedman has been hosting some great guest authors on her blog lately. Recently she has a case study by literary fiction author Nicole Dieker who self published her book. This is a fascinating ‘how to’ for a difficult niche.

Also in the case study file Jennie Nash has a terrific article on Why Writers Should Conduct A Performance Review. And you should download her review template. Call it professional development!

Startup Indie Author has gathered together a list of resources of great books, podcasts and articles on launching a new book. I can endorse this list because I have half the books and they are really good. (If you are looking for more information on this subscribe to my monthly newsletter and get my Book Marketing Summit notes for free.)

Kris Rusch has her final post on discoverability and it’s a must read. Kris looks at aggressive growth strategies – No it is not scary... it’s about timing.

Angela Ackerman’s post on authors working collaboratively is still making the rounds and getting comments. If you missed it from last week’s roundup- Check it out!

Tabitha Lord has an excellent article on Writers Digest about editorial calendars and how to use them to juggle the writing life.


In The Craft Section,

Two Bookmark posts from James Scott Bell


Writing all around your MS- Susan Dennard- Save the Cat-Bookmark


Write yourself into a corner- Janice Hardy – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Unique swag ideas- Kate Tilton


Increase book sales – Ryan Holiday


Effective lead magnets- Meera Kothand- Bookmark


Market to grow your platform- Matt Aird- Bookmark


To Finish,

Chuck Wendig is always a sure bet for making sense of the turmoil of writing. This week he looked at writing as an act of resource management. This is entertaining and relevant as we all try to find our way through the politics and back to the page.

Maureen
@craicer

My monthly newsletter will be going out this weekend. 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. I appreciate the virtual coffee love so a big THANKS to everyone who hit the coffee button this week.



Pic: Flickr/ Creative Commons - Jon Aslund


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ch Ch Change


Changes are afoot.

Those three words can encourage anticipation or dread depending on your past experience with change.
The publishing industry has been on a roller coaster ride since 2007 and the introduction of the Kindle, the marker for huge change in the industry.
Among the changes being rolled out this week are changes to the Kindle Unlimited page read payout. Check out the new version 3.0 rules.

Facebook is turning their attention to Groups. If you are still annoyed by the changes to Author pages... be prepared. This doesn’t bode well. Groups are popular among authors for fan communities and networking groups. Boosted posts in groups will not be welcomed.

An interesting piece of news caught my eye from Harper Collins. They are actively seeking out young writers on Wattpad and offering them print deals.
This week I’ve read two publishing commentators on the death of the Traditional or Legacy midlist publishing career. Publishers are throwing money at the big writers or the debut writers. The pressure is on debut writers to have a hit right out of the box and they have no say in their contract terms. I’m hoping that the HC/Wattpad deal protects these young authors.

Passive Guy takes a look at a recent Mike Shatzkin post on the future of Barnes and Nobel, the largest book retail chain in USA. It is looking shaky with shareholders calling for it to be sold. What does it have to do to survive? Is the future bookstore Amazon showrooms?

U K Society of Authors president, Phillip Pullman called this week for a return to fixed prices for books. This took publishing people by surprise. Can you really turn back the clock?

Kris Rusch has another fantastic blog post on Branding. Expanding your audience with slow growth. After you read her very wise words jump on over to Joanna Penn’s interview with Dean Wesley Smith on understanding copyright, intellectual property and how to license it. Dean and Kris are mentors to a whole lot of high flying authors. They are the best teachers of the business of writing around.

Ruth Harris has a brilliant post on the writers discomfort zone and how to survive and thrive in it. How do you turn anxiety into creativity?

Jane Friedman has a great post on using Amazon Ads and Joanna Penn has another standout chapter from her new Marketing Book. If you are thinking about publishing these are must read articles!

In The Craft Section,

3 ways to show not tell- Darcy Pattison


Story Tropes – Lazy or helpful- Jami Gold- Bookmark


Writing cliff hangers- Now Novel - Bookmark

Character motivation- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Two rules to write by- Print Posse

The Blueprint for writing a novel- Martina Boone- Bookmark!!! (print out)

In The Marketing Section,

Building relationships with readers- Rachel Thompson - Bookmark



Book Cover Design fundamentals- Joanna Penn- Bookmark





The importance of categories and keywords- Indies Unlimited- Bookmark

10 tips on working with illustrators- Kelly Mc Morris-Bookmark

To Finish,

If you are a long time reader of the blog you will know that I believe that authors need to work together collaboratively. It’s good for moral. It’s good for marketing. It’s good for accountability. It’s just good. Angela Ackerman has another six ways that working collaboratively eases the load and helps you weather the publishing changes.

Maureen
@craicer

It’s nearly time for 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. This blog runs on coffee fumes. If you want to shout me a coffee, hit the green Kofi button in the sidebar. Thanks.


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