Thursday, February 14, 2019

How Do You Count Success?

Around the publishing blogosphere this week...

Ah Bologna! The biggest children’s book fair in the world. (Secretly every children’s writer wants to go…)
Bologna is about to get bigger! This years themes African American culture, women, and handwriting.
Check out Porter Anderson’s run down on what’s new to the fair.

It’s writing convention season in the Northern hemisphere… so you need to know what to pack.
Check out this list of must haves from Gail Carriger- (don’t forget foot lotion!)

Bustle decided we needed to be reminded of the book scandals so far this year… We are in the seventh week
and we have had five scandals in publishing… Are we in a depraved industry or finally at the point where we are
calling out BS?

A scandal that wasn’t mentioned was The Authors Guild report on author incomes and their downward trend
that came out in January. This caught some people by surprise. (Who knew there wasn’t any
money in publishing?) However there were plenty of people who disputed the figures. Orna Ross,
Director of Alliance of Independent Authors made some interesting comments about using money to
figure out if you were successful. (Some genres had a problem with that…)

A friend told me about an email last month from a company offering to write her autobiography as she was a
busy scientist. She must be famous. We laughed, but it is a serious matter. These scams target the clueless
about publishing. Be a great friend, alert people to scams. (If you want to laugh, check out their emails along
with their spell checker and understanding of science papers… ;)

I was interested to read Agent Janet Reid’s answers to a question about what to do when your
publisher looks like they’re going belly up… This reminded me of Kris Rush’s blog on IP a few weeks ago
and if you haven’t read it… YOU MUST! (- and the comments).  Kris is back with an interesting view of
the Consumer Electronics Show and new media. Remember, once upon a time eBooks were NEW.
(And look how they changed publishing.) Kris points out some new ideas
to be aware of. (Check your contracts… beware of rights grabs for media not invented yet.)

Last month I mentioned that Mike Shatzkin, publishing futurist and commentator, had been down under
and visited our fair shores. Mike took the time to speak to people in the book industry here about
what the big problems are.Here is what he found out and what publishers can do about it.

Jami Gold has been looking at Social Media platforms… which do you use and why?
Jami has some good advice for which ones would best suit you.

If you are an Indie publisher you will have come up against this important question… Go wide or Select?
Here are the pros and cons. Meanwhile Richard Charkin charts his Indie publisher journey so far
who knew it would start with 1000 emails...

The WriteLife blog has compiled their best sites for authors 2019… There are the tried and trusted ones…
and some new kids in the mix.

In The Craft Section,

How to write a Macguffin- The Maltese Tiger- Bookmark

Creating authentic villains- Kyla Bagnall- Bookmark

The 6 figure master fiction plot-Janice Hardy - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to use Goodreads for authors- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

10 reasons why people leave your website- infographic- Barb Dozdowich

To Finish,

It’s great to check in with Catherine Ryan Howard every now and then.
It shows how far a life can change in a decade in publishing. Catherine has just
published her 72 easy steps to get an Edgar nomination. If you are a thriller/ crime writer,
these are big genre awards! Practically an overnight success story!


In my monthly newsletter, coming soon, 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. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

R.I.P Opportunity... The last message... My battery is low. It is getting dark.

15 years of exploration on another planet... originally designed for 90 days.  

An OUTSTANDING achievement for the Rover Robot Team!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Whose attitude is right?

Around the publishing blogosphere...

This week was unsettling on Social Media. First there was the big Twitter pile on
Amelie was about to publish her debut novel. As authors do, she drew on her upbringing
and culture from her own country. She has a 3 book deal with a traditional publisher in the USA.
From what I could see as the Twitter rage grew… many commenting had not read advance copies so did not know the context but raged about it anyway. Many immediately took the author to task for seeming to use American historical events badly in her fantasy.
For writers from other countries watching this rage fest unfold on Twitter it was deeply unsettling. The rest of the world has stories to tell of slavery, human trafficking happening now or in the past. Other cultures experiences of this is just as valid to use as a basis for a fantasy book. Do we always have to use and be mindful of the same western viewpoints in an age where stories are shared globally with the click of a button?

While writers and commentators were getting steamed up over a fantasy book,
publishers and agents were getting spooked by the story broken in
all his credentials on a fantasy life. As the events in his fantasy life were exposed
it read like the famous novel The Talented Mr Ripley. The writer/editor had relationships
everywhere and there will be many people in publishing feeling they have been
the townspeople in The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Another big story this week was the subscription service
Scribd passing 1 million subscribers. Publishers have been flirting with subscription
services for a while. Amazon has what could be the world’s biggest with Kindle Unlimited
based mainly in the USA but that leaves Scribd with the rest of the world…

Another publisher with global ambitions has just opened publishing portals in another
21 countries over 6 continents.
If you are a writer in Lesotho or Nandi, writing in your own language…
Streetlib is for you. Among the new countries just enrolled in their publishing
portal are Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.    

Amazon is looking at the rest of the world and thinking hmm great kids books in
other languages- they need us. They are opening up their Amazon kids publishing
Meanwhile Google is contracting- with Google Plus set to disappear by April.

And so we come to Kris Rusch’s last blog post looking at the changes for publishing this year.
It has been an fascinating series. If you haven’t been reading her posts you are missing out
on learning about this industry. Last week’s post is a must read!

In The Craft Section,

5 ways to turn off your inner editor - Janice Hardy- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

3 principles of selling rights- Orna Ross- Bookmark

Discoverability and Going Wide- The Book Designer

Smart author advertising strategies - Penny Sansevieri - Bookmark

To Finish,

We are living through major changes in our climate and our perceptions
and understandings of our place in a global village.
The internet has opened up the democratisation of information across the world.
For the author having an online presence is essential. Careful curation
of your digital presence is important.
Remember that gossip is not restricted to your own village now,
it can spread throughout the world with a click of a button.


In my monthly newsletter, coming soon, 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. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic : Flickr Creative Commons Guilhem Vellut

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Are There Icebergs Ahead?

I sent out my newsletter yesterday, where I complained about the heat.
Sorry Northern Hemisphere writers. But while you are getting polar blasts we are getting
record breaking heat waves.- A sign of things to come.

Kris Rusch has been musing on signs of things to come and they make unhappy reading.
Based on Simon and Schuster’s end of year report from their happy CEO,
writers had better be understanding all the contracts that they sign.
THIS IS A MUST READ. (cue sirens, hooters and bells… if you don’t understand IP
then you really really need to read this.)

In news around the publishing blogosphere....
The Man group are pulling out of the MAN Booker Prize.
Hints and rumours are already suggesting they have a replacement sponsor.

Events on the near horizon… WriteOnCon!
Next weekend be prepared for the 3 day online Kidlit writers conference.
Every year I wonder how I can get away from the house and dive into all the goodies on offer
in an exclusive writing cave where I can binge watch presentations. Check out the schedule
and the price is sooooooo  Cheeap!

Meanwhile in happier author news- Draft2Digital has rolled out a schedules promotion tool for authors.
If you drop the price on all outlets and then have to race round manually requesting a price drop this is for you.
You can check out the link here on The SPA Girls podcast page.
(This is a cracking good podcast for Indie authors.) Dan Wood of Draft2Digital was their guest this week.

Reedsy has a nifty blog with interesting articles.  If you are thinking about your 2019 goals take a look
at How To Start A Publishing Company then read Joanna Penn’s guest Bonnie Baguley on
Why authors should throw out their timeline to success. 

Harper Glenn has an interesting post on Writer Unboxed- Are you tethered to the wrong story?
This is one of those posts that make sense of that niggly feeling when you open your word doc and frown.

Bang 2 Write has a great website on all things script for authors. This week they had a great article
on why lack of structure is killing your characters and a recent nifty one on Productivity.

Jami Gold has a great article on How Pantsers Develop Characters. If this is you- it’s a must read…

In The Craft Section,

Writing for an audiobook- Writer Unboxed- Juliet Marillier

Check out the Character motivations as well.

5 essentials for opening scenes- Mythcrants- Bookmark

Story Planning - which way is best -Jane Friedman- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section

Using Microsoft Sway - WordDreams

12 Book marketing tips- Marketing for Writers- Bookmark

To Finish

If you are looking at your Manuscript and wondering if it is an iceberg on which your writer boat might hit.
A few words of wisdom from Stephen King via Ruth Harris on Anne R Allen’s excellent blog
might be your life saver. The 10% rule and the secret power of …..


In my monthly newsletter, coming soon, 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. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Crimes or Opportunities

Down Under it is Summer and everyone is hunting shade or staring at unusual weather phenomena. This week in the publishing blogosphere many authors in the Northern Hemisphere were getting hot and bothered for a different reason.

Author Sherilyn Kenyon was in the news for all the wrong reasons this week. Reading like a plot from a novel, poor Sherilyn was in court as the victim of poisoning... in a crime of passion. Many writers wouldn’t have used this plot device because of the cliche nature... but in real life...

What do you call it when someone scans your book, creates a PDF, and shares it around?
What if that someone was a library?  Do the same rules apply? The library says no. They are sharing information. The Authors Guild and the Society of Authors (UK) say... Cease and desist or we bring in the lawyers. Who is in the right? This is an interesting case given that author incomes have been falling lately.

Hot on the heels of this story comes a timely post on Jane Friedman’s site from author and intellectual property lawyer, Brad Frazer about the Public Domain. Every year on January 1st new works enter the public domain... If you are hazy on what it means... read this very interesting post. (I’m off to find my Kahlil Gibran... there are some merch opportunities...)

Longtime readers will know how interested I am in co-operative publishing. I keep saying that the model is a smart way of working. Sri Lankan data science author, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, has a fascinating post on this popular publishing model (think James Patterson) and the increasing dominance of Indies in this area lately.

Two fabulous podcasts caught my ear this week. No surprises one of them was Joanna Penn interviewing Paul Jarvis on how to effectively be a Company of One. This is a great interview on being in business by yourself. The other was the latest episode from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marking podcast. If you haven’t caught any of their shows you are missing out. The team interviews great guests about real marketing ideas every week. This week they chatted among themselves about all the different tools they use (and why) to conduct their various author empires.

Jami Gold has a great post on the aftermath of the move to KDP from Createspace. If you were waiting for the dust to settle to find out what the problems are this is the post for you!

Kris Ruch continues her excellent series on what to watch out for in 2019. This week she turns her laser eyes onto all the recent mergers in publishing. There were a few that slipped in over the Christmas break that will be quietly unsettling the industry in the next few months.

Mike Shatzkin has been down under recently... (he wandered through my home town this week.) While down under he popped into Lightning Spark – Ingram's print on demand printer arm, to see what they were doing. Eyes were opened. Mike is a publishing futurist commentator. He has a few things to say about where publishing and POD might head in 2019 especially for Aussie and Kiwi publishers.

Rachel Thompson has a list of ten excellent books for writers... there are a few I haven’t heard of which look very interesting- however one book she missed was The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. (The book that started their publishing empire...) They have updated it. This is a great writing craft resource book. Jami Gold got her hands on an ARC and she is wowed with all the new updates!

In The Craft Section,

All about subplots!- Elizabeth Spann Craig – Bookmark!

What does your hero want? Michael Hauge- Bookmark

How do I get the main character involved with the plot?- Mythcrants

What to do when there is no bad guy- Janice Hardy

Courting the modern muse with Tarot- Writers In the Storm

In The Marketing Section,

7 steps to build your brand from scratch- KevinTumlinson- Bookmark

10 great strategies to monetise an author event- Janice Hardy-Bookmark

How to get going with mailchimp and email marketing and Pinterest for writers- Frances Caballo

Are you losing money on KDP Delivery fees- Bookmark

To Finish

Katie Davis has a guest post over on Anne R Allen’s blog about that terrible writer syndrome... Procrastination. This afflicts many writers and there are many causes of this terrible disease. Katie outlines some of the reasons why you might be suffering this and what to do about it. (Summer holidays anyone?)


In my monthly newsletter, coming soon, 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. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Benny 457

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