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. 

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?
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...


* 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.


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


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


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.

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