Thursday, April 20, 2017

Who's Counting...


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 writing industry. 
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.

I have been following Joanna Penn’s writing odyssey with three other writers in New Orleans and reflecting on the nature of collaboration. Joanna likes to look at her career in writing in Olympic bites, every four years, to remind herself how far she has come.

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.

Bologna was a busy fair according to Publishers Weekly. There wasn’t a break out hit this year. But everybody wanted feel good stories. I wonder why?

Penny Sansevieri has an interesting article on break out bestsellers and what you need to do to reach the dizzying heights of Number One.

Joanna Penn looks at deep diving into analytics to find out how to improve your sales on Amazon. This is an interesting read.

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

Chuck has written an entertaining list of 25 things he has learned in five years and twenty books. (That is a huge workload...) Warning it is Chuck so go in braced and be prepared to laugh..

Erinna Mettler has an interesting article on working with the crowdfunding publisher Unbound. Ten years ago I couldn’t have seen this kind of publishing platform.

In The Craft Section,




How to write love triangles – Roz Morris -Bookmark

Are you choosing the right protagonist? -  K M Weiland-Bookmark

Give your characters the courage to change- James Scott Bell- Bookmark


Using Twitter for research- Becca Puglisi 

In The Marketing Section,



What are your subsidiary rights?- Janet Reid-Bookmark

Book Cover design- Reedsy- Bookmark

Two Great posts from Frances Caballo How to get your emails opened and


Making yourself the brand- Draft 2 Digital

To Finish,

Have you ever been in the situation of not having the cash to buy the shiney new book but wanting to support the writer and/or illustrator. Debbie Ohi has a lovely list of things you can do to support your favourite writers besides giving them chocolate... (Chocolate is always welcome tho...)

Maureen
@craicer

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.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Marketing The Writer


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 themselves.

Kris Rusch responded to a question about author newsletters this week with a thoughtful blog about why she feels uncomfortable about them. You might feel the same way.

Anne R Allen also was thinking about author marketing mindsets and wondering if a blog was a better way than a newsletter.

Donna Galenti explores some of the rookie mistakes that authors make when they first try to market themselves. Tip. Start before the book launch.

Writers know how to write but do they know how to write marketing copy? Joanna Penn has a great interview with Joanna Wiebe on tips and tricks to help you write marketing copy for your books.

Sonja Yoerg wrote a guest post for Writer Unboxed unpicking the love-hate relationship many authors have with Goodreads. Is Goodreads your friend?

Buffer had an interesting article on Google Plus for marketing. People often forget that this website is a direct link into a Google search engine.

Chris Lavergne’s publishing business is directly to young mobile professionals. He explores the way his business has been growing in a great article on Techcrunch. Short books are the way to go... and Print is for luxury books with an appropriate mark up. This seems to be flying in the face of publishing accepted practice so how come his business is expanding in leaps and bounds? Porter explores what Chris is doing and offers his perspective on it.

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.

In The Craft Section,

Common writer entry level mistakes- Larry Brooks- Bookmark

Writing habits we can’t fix- Jami Gold- Bookmark

How to right size your book- Ruth Harris on Anne R Allen's excellent blog.


Writing voice lessons- Paula Munier- Bookmark



April – a month of story ideas- Scott Myers- Bookmark

Improve Book Descriptions- Jane Friedman-LBF17- Bookmark




In The Marketing Section,

Sorting out your media book pitch- The Book Designer- Bookmark








Joanna Penn’s keynote at LBF17 on making money with your books- Bookmark


To Finish,

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?


Maureen
@craicer

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.
 




Thursday, April 6, 2017

Buying the Bestsellers



This is the week of the Buy.
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...

Kobo, the Canadian digital device and bookseller has bought Shelfi. Why? For the tech developers apparently, ( or is it because they have a perfect understanding of buyer’s reading habits.)

Microsoft unveils a digital bookstore. Why? Because everybody else has one... (I wanna bookstore... Google and Apple have one and Amazon has a big one....) Meanwhile a savvy bibliophile wandered into an Amazon bookstore and saw that they don’t sell books like other booksellers. They group them differently.

How is your reading this year? Elizabeth S Craig decided to put a reading plan into action this meant having another identity on Goodreads.

The Writers Guild Association home of script and screenwriters looks like it is gearing up for another strike. Negotiations have broken down between the studios again on what they pay the writers. Why are the content creators the last in line to get paid?

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.

Bologna is on! Bologna is the world’s biggest children’s book fair. At this time all the children’s writers get a case of travel and book envy. Publishers Weekly has a quick run down on what everyone is looking for.

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?

In The Craft Section,





Creating a strong moral premise- Jeff Lyons- Bookmark





In The Marketing Section,




Author bio’s a help or hindrance- Anne R Allen - Bookmark

Amazon keywords to double your readers- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark



To Finish,

This week Marie Force wrote a fantastic article on chasing the best seller lists and how she realised that she needed to change her focus. Kris Rusch talked about the bestseller lists and who you are writing for. It is a fabulous article and a must read.

Maureen
@craicer

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.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Rapping On Book Sales


This week seems to be a theme on future book buying models. Who is buying and who is selling.

It could be just me, with my one eye fixed on the children’s book market... the readers of the future. How are kids reading in Germany? (Does print still rule?) Who is publishing children’s books in China (Now that the govt is encouraging fiction for children...) How  publishers are waking up to children’s author backlists.

Or it could have been sparked by the comments on Cory Doctorow’s post on a ‘new’business model for authors. Sell the books yourself.  How many reader fans do you need to not  be dependent on booksellers?
If you do want to operate a store front, check out Gumroad designed for creatives who sell their own work.

Joanna Penn has a great interview with Ron Vitale about being a successful writer and working a full time job. This kind of interview is always a reality check. The first check is to think about what your own goals are... and work from there.

Last Month Ruth Harris talked about Stress and Burnout in authors and how to recognise it. In Part Two She looks at how to cope with Stress and manage Burnout. These two posts are essential reading for writers.

I keep saying that authors need to group together and pool their talent to extend their reach... and then I see that literary agents think it’s a good idea as well.

Over the last week I have come across three interviews that reference Kris Rusch and Amazon Earnings data as being essential reading. So here is Kris on Data Diving and Data Guy with an amazing must watch presentation on the latest data from Amazon Earnings and how he gets it. (mind blown!)

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 choose from.

K M Weiland is one of my go to writer craft book sources. This week she wrote a stunning post on 7 stages that writers experience. This is a must read.

In The Craft Section,

Two great posts from 10 Minute Novelist- 8 awful ways to begin badly and 10 questions for scene writing


Top short story writers secrets- Anne R Allen- Bookmark



How to write a book blurb.-Trish Nicholson- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,


5 steps to sell more books on Amazon-Written Word Media - Bookmark






To Finish,

Lit Reactor often has thought provoking posts. And this one was no exception. What are the 7 things that rappers do that writers should copy.
Try and guess them before you read the article...

Maureen
@craicer

Every month I round up the best of my bookmarked links and put them together with some other goodies.  Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for writers.Thanks to the lovely people who feed my coffee habit. It is much appreciated.


Pic : An incognito reader.... who could be a rapper...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Go Out And Conquer


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.

Kris Rusch has got a great blog post on Taking Control back to the writer. This is important if you want to plan your career and take advantage of opportunities.

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.

Meanwhile The Guardian wrote about the dubious rise in celebrity authors writing books for children because its sooo easy. (Bring me a barf bucket-stat! -is how all children’s book authors feel.) Are publishers losing out big time on these deals?

Derek Murphy of Creative Indie has set up a website where you are encouraged to do writer sprints with your friends. It is set up in 15 minute increments and you can win free stuff. Derek is hoping to write 5000 words an hour.

Kiwi Katherine Hayton writes about giving InstaFreebie a trial. She added thousands to her email list and got hundreds of preorders.

Ali Luke talks about writers having multiple streams of income and the rise of novellas. Rachel Thompson talks about Branding for Authors. All of these articles explain why and how you should be working with your author business.

Joanna Penn interviewed Mark Dawson about using Amazon ads. This podcast is packed full of great information and is a must listen. If you don’t have the time to listen, read the transcript.

If you are looking for story ideas Now Novel have got a great list of 15 easy ways to generate story ideas.

In The Craft Section,

15 tools for writers- R L Stedman- Bookmark

What should an author blog about- Anne R Allen – Bookmark




3 craft elements –Elizabeth Craig- Bookmark


How to write a sequel- K M Weiland - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How to publish an ebook- Jane Friedman





Listing your books with Google Play- Elizabeth Craig – Bookmark

Managing Social Media Followers- C K Syme- Bookmark


To Finish,

Tara Sparling has a great recipe for making the modern bestseller. This is a fun read that will lift your spirits. Then you can read Chuck’s latest post on being a professional writer.
Go out and Conquer.

Maureen
@craicer

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 much appreciated!



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Writing Trends


What are the current trends in writing? Everybody wants to know.
Writers do know some trends. Their incomes are all over the place or dropping.
The current political situation is seeing dystopian themed books being dusted off. The South by South West film and television festival is currently full of Handmaids from The Handmaids Tale, a book by Margaret Atwood. This book freaked people out when it was first published and seems set to continue if all the articles about the festival handmaids is anything to go by.

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.
We are in unsettled times.

The Bookseller talks about the difference between a bestseller and a profitable book. I was surprised to learn that they are not the same thing.

If you have tried to make sense of your publishers royalty statements lately, read Mike Shatzkin’s recent blog on Profit and Loss formulas and how publishers are getting them wrong. Could be some ammo in there for negotiations.

Sacha Black wonders if now is the time to go wide given the current trends of income uncertainty.
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.

Mike Sahno wrote a guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog about the 5 pieces of bad advice regularly given to literary writers.

Auburn Seal of Bibliocrunch has some rock solid advice if you are spinning around with writing speed trends. Should you write faster or write slower? If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything you should do... set some solid goals.

Dan Blank has some sage advice for figuring out where you should be placing your book, marketing wise... way before you publish it. This is a must read.

Subscription curation is all the rage in children’s publishing according to Publishers Weekly. Publishers are directly helping parents choose wisely along with publishing classroom versions of popular books to get around censorship.

Elizabeth Craig was recently asked why didn’t she sell her books on Etsy. And this sparked a whole new way of looking at writing.

In The Craft Section,




Developing Themes – The midpoint- Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

Using Scrivener – Writer Unboxed




In The Marketing Section,

5 tools every Indie author should use- Frances Caballo- Bookmark!!








To Finish,

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.
And for all those people who want a publisher to look at their work... Catherine Ryan Howard’s 50 easy ways to get a publishing deal will resonate with everyone.

* Don’t forget to check out Alli’s LBF Indie Fringe 24 hour conference. You might just get a jump on some writing trends.

Maureen
@craicer

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 much appreciated.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Indie Cool



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.)

What is in the future for the publishing industry now that colouring books are no longer the break out hit?

This week Joanna Penn interviewed a music industry veteran Dave Kusek about the changes that happened in the music business and what might be around the corner for publishers. This is an interesting article. (Merch anyone?) Along with that great article she also has a standout post on Using Amazon Ads.

And where is eCommerce going in the future? Writers need to keep an eye on the real paying world here too. After all a sale could be only as far as your smart phone.
Do you have an Epic Author One Sheet? It can make a sales difference- Judith Briles. And a Stand Out Author Bio- Epic post from Anne R Allen.

Make the reader care! Mary Kole said in her excellent article on writing feelings, so the fact that Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are about to celebrate their 200,000th book in the Emotion Thesaurus series is a big tick from writers. I was first linking to their Emotion Thesaurus for Writers (Bookshelf Muse) site about six years ago. I have the first book in the series and it’s a nifty resource. I’m waiting for the next one on Emotional Wounds.

Productivity is the name and writers are always looking for ways to amp it up... so treadmills... yes? Abbi Perets says Walking and Writing= productivity.

The London Book Fair is coming up... and Alli are running their awesome Indie fringe online event around it. Check out the speakers they’ve got lined up... and it’s free.

In The Craft Section,






Conflict and suspense in every novel- James Scott Bell- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,

The epic guide to book launch teams- Bookthority- Bookmark!


Why your about page matters?- Joel Friedlander- Bookmark


How to sell 100x more books – Bookbub Insight


10 step book launch plan- Derek Murphy- Bookmark!!

 Publishing your first book- Frances Caballo



To Finish,

Among the more interesting bookshops I have wandered into is The Comic Bookshop. It is a haven for the geek and nerd with collectable merch but also amazing comic books.
They are Indie in every way. Litreactor has an interesting article about 8 things a Comic book store can teach booksellers. As I was reading this I was thinking of all the bookstores I know that fit the bill. They are all Indie... funny that. Indie must be where the cool kids hang out.

Maureen
@craicer

My next newsletter is coming soon so if you want to get my best of the month roundup and other goodies make sure you subscribe and join the other cool kids. 

Thank you to the wonderful people who have bought me a coffee using the Kofi button.



Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Act Of Writing


I was reflecting this week on the dark night of the soul. That’s the part of the book at the end of act 2 when the protagonist has to make a choice and carry on....
This week I was coming across articles that could have come from the dark night of the writers soul.

The Book Designer had an article about another publisher who went belly up owing millions in law suits. He did some quick author life saving. Recognise the signs and Beware Sharks!

Ruth Harris had an article on how to recognise overload in writers. Is it stress or burnout?

March McCarron had one on data loss and what to do when it strikes you.

Book works has a comprehensive article on estate planning for authors.

Tara Sparling asks if there is a slush pile on our Kindles?

And then there were the glimmers of dawn...

Heather Webb kicked off a great discussion on Writer Unboxed on what fiction trends say about us.

Joanna Penn added a list of great writing books everyone should read.

Elizabeth Craig had a great article on organisation. How do you organise your life around your writing...

The moments when the dawn shadows revealed rocks that looked like dragons...

Roz Morris on whether you are showing off or sharing your writing. Should you be killing your darlings? A great read. What is your motivation...

Fine Art Views on the depth of your fan growth. Is it quantity over quality? How can you engage them better in what you produce?

Kris Rusch on Writer finances in a paycheck world. What you should be doing with that unexpected windfall of cash.

Now the sun is up and you can see what lies in the shadows... and just when you think the way seems clear news comes out that a large bookstore chain is secretly opening up independent shops in a trojan horse play....

You need to arm yourself with the best apps for writers going into the third act.

In The Craft Section,

Zero Draft 30- An interesting writing challenge.




The dark night of the soul- Sara Letourneau – Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,


Optimising the back cover-Bookworks- Bookmark

Social Media Checklist- Caitlin Burgess


Is expecting help to market your books lazy?- Excellent discussion from Rachel Thompson

Newsletter surveys- Kate Tilton – Bookmark

To Finish,

Chuck Wendig has put together his vital list of writing advice that you cannot ignore as you head out into the third act salt mines and to the eventual glory of writing the words... The End.

Maureen
@craicer

The latest Writers Island podcast is up. Just click the link in the sidebar. Thank you to the wonderful people who have bought me a coffee using the Kofi button.

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