Thursday, October 17, 2019

Planning For The Future

This week I have been thinking about Preptober and the drive to write a novel in a month. I was listening to Joanna Penn’s interview with Grant Faulkner, the executive director of NaNoWriMo and the comment came up that even if you don’t write your 1700 words in a day or you binge write and take day-long breaks- you are still laying a foundation of habit. The habit of writing. 

While we are in Preptober... Reedsy has a roundup of things to help you prepare for November. Perry Elisabeth has 15 simple things to help you survive NaNoWriMo
If you are wondering about giving dictation a go in November check out Daily Writing Tips. They recently had an article about dictating books into speech recognition software. There are writers who absolutely swear by this. 

Jami Gold has been thinking about vision and goals. How do we know we have succeeded in our goals if we never articulate them? Jami has gathered together great worksheets and resources to help with goal setting and author business.

Over in the Publishing world, it’s Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the biggest industry book fairs in the world. Publishing Perspectives reported on the opening keynotes. Did you know that Netflix is sourcing content from books in translation? They are looking at best sellers in other languages and then creating a TV series. Book then TV show.

The other keynote that caught my eye was the warning to the publishing industry about the rise of AI and what that may mean for copyright going forward. This is a hot new topic and one that is getting a lot of traction from publishing commentators. Last week I linked again to Joanna Penn’s article on how she thinks AI will impact the author community. Keep an eye on this tech development.

Mike Shatzkin keeps an eye on the publishing industry. He has been a commentator and consultant on publishing and future predictions for over 40 years. Recently he published an article on the 7 ways publishing will change in the next few years. Backlist will be king and watch out for major changes in Non-Fiction publishing.

The other writer I like to go to is Kris Rusch. She also has a long history in the publishing industry. She has edited, commissioned, written just about every type of writing there is. In this weeks article, she looks at the three types of writers that are in publishing now. She predicts only one of them will survive. 

Kris references that article that I commented on last month. If you are still trying to get to grips with what a book deal means and what an advance is check out this article from Electric Literature where an agent explores the ins and outs of a book deal.

James Scott Bell has a great post on How To Describe Your Main Character. You may think duh, but how often do you write a list of attributes? Do you sprinkle them in your writing or avoid it altogether? This week I had a conversation about this with a writer from a minority culture. I have tended to avoid descriptions thinking readers would fill in their own preferences until it was suggested to me that readers have been conditioned to expect that the character will always be white, able-bodied and without glasses unless specifically stated otherwise.  Hmm. Lots of food for thought for me. I imagine all my characters as mixed race. I don’t know why because I’m not. I have never described skin tone deliberately in my writing, maybe it’s time to start. 

In The Craft Section,

How to create an antihero- Icy Sedgwick

Rules – do we need to follow them?

How to proofread- TCK Publishing

Watching out for redundancy- Jami Gold- Bookmark

A story idea each day- Go Into The Story- Bookmark

Tweak boring stereotypical white dudes- Litreactor- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to build a long term career- James Scott Bell

Two great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Using competing book titles for book marketing and 12 questions I’m always asked about Book Marketing- Bookmark

3 reasons to start planning Christmas Social Media campaigns now- Frances Caballo

Using kindle keywords- Dave Chesson (New research from Dave.) – BOOKMARK

Tips for compelling book description Part Two

To Finish,

Every year the good folks at Storybundle put together a special bundle for NaNoWriMo. Over the years I have filled my Kindle up with great writing craft books from these bundles. Take a look at this year's Nano Storybundle. The money goes directly to the authors, a little bit goes to charity, you get a great bargain... WIN/WIN


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If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Marco Verch 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Excuse Me – We’re writing.

Keen eyed blog readers will be aware that this blog is a 24 hours late.... I have a great excuse. I was teaching suspense and other deep dive techniques to young authors in a holiday writing camp. Teaching techniques is a sure fire way to tighten up your own writing. Add in eager bright young writers (and their writing is so good it keeps you on your toes,) and your day is fun but exhausting! Delaying my blog to assist the writers of tomorrow... a good trade off I think.

It’s October and that means it’s prep month for NaNoWriMo. In catchy phrase terms Preptober. This is where those people who set aside November to write a 50,000 word novel in a month start to plan their stories, get their new journals, and lay in a stock of food for the duration. Shayla Raquel has the ultimate guide on how to rock Preptober so you can hit the keyboard running on November 1st.

With NaNoWriMo around the corner... it is timely to be aware of how to keep yourself well as you binge write. Don’t forget to build in breaks... and figure out a way to keep yourself sane throughout November. Procrastination and writing excuses can hijack you at just at the wrong moment. Chris Smith has a 5 step guide to defeating writer procrastination. 

Janice Hardy has written a remarkable roundup of all the lessons she has learned from her decade in publishing. What she would do differently if she knew. This is the information you wished you had known, the advice you should have taken. Share this with all the newbie writers out there. Old hands will be nodding all the way through.

Sam Bleicher recently guest posted on Joanna Penn’s blog on dealing with facts in science based fiction. Writing science fiction means getting the science right. This can be paralysing for the writer. How much science is too much? If you write in a genre that relies on facts like gravity this is a good article to help you out. (Thought: Space explosions... if there is no air in space can you have those movie firey explosions?) 

Kris Rusch always like to change things up around her publishing schedule and she has come up wit an ambitious idea for the holiday season... which starts around now. However the idea is so novel there are no contracts out there to cover the kind of collection she is thinking of... How do you write a contract for  creative contributors  for something that hasn’t been invented yet.

Recently Penny Sansevieri asked if I would write a blurb for the revised edition of How To Sell Books By The Truckload On Amazon. I was happy to do it as Penny is one of my Go To resources for understanding author marketing. Take a look at this excerpt on writing Amazon descriptions that recently appeared on Jane Friedman’s blog.

In The Craft Section,

Choosing the right setting for a powerful scene- Angela Ackerman

Chekov’s gun and your story- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

Conflict in scene writing – Go Into The Story- Bookmark

How writing a novel is like romance- Janice Hardy Bookmark

20 writing tips to improve your craft- Reedsy- Comprehensive!

In The Marketing Section,

Audiobook promotion for authors- Alli Blog Bookmark

Font tips for book covers-Christine Holmes - Bookmark 

Tips for Compelling Book Descriptions - David Kudler

Free podcast tool- Cool Resource

5 easy steps to repurpose your blog into a podcast.- Kunzonpublishing
(If you are keeping up with changes in tech, you will be aware that voice search is fast becoming mainstream. Audio is taking off like a rocket and voice search bots will be playing audio clips more often. Check out Joanna Penn’s AI and the future podcast she did in July. Already changes she thought were coming in a few years were announced this week.)

To Finish,

NaNoWriMo is often a time when everybody starts to share their best craft books for writers. Sacha Black has pulled together 11 of the best books around. I have a few of these. Take a look there just might be the perfect book for you in the list. Feel free to comment with your own best book on the craft of writing.


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Pic: Flickr Creative Commons 1894 NCCA

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Life Is A Story

This week I had to come to terms with the mortality of one of my favourite writers. He slipped away into the next great adventure. I was asked to provide one of a series of public tributes and I found it quite hard and moving at the same time to reflect on a time and place that we both lived in and that feels like another country in today's world. The world is so fast-paced compared to my childhood which felt like a long summer of outdoor experiences. I look at my own children and wonder what their memories will be. Will it be wrapped up in technology? It got me thinking about literary estates and longevity of storytelling lives and the sheer breadth and depth of all the storied lives that have gone before us.

This week Ruth Harris looked at the seduction of the New Book idea. When you are tired of the old book idea... or the writing is dragging... isn’t it wonderful to play with the new shiny idea that makes writing fun again? Is there a danger in chasing after the new?

I’m always interested in book cover designs. Today I saw a fabulous cover of a book that will be out next year. But what was really interesting is that there are different book covers for the US market, the UK market, and the Aus/NZ market. What makes different countries prefer different motifs? IngramSpark has a roundup of the design trends they have noticed so far.

Statistics, love ‘em or hate ‘em, sometimes you just need to wrap your head around them. So this week Sandra Beckwith of BuildBookbuzz put together some publishing statistics for authors to help them understand and plan their careers. Take a look.

Branding is another subject authors love to hate. Yes, you are a brand but you can be a brand in a good way. Why branding confuses you and how to fix this in a good way written by Rachel Thompson especially for authors. 

Kobo has an eye on the fastest-growing format in publishing. This week they have launched an easy way to upload your audio files and you are not locked into anything. Another company entering the Audio publishing space.

Joanna Penn is always a fount of interesting wisdom and content. This week she had a great post on collaborative writing with  David Mark Brown who got together with his writing group to write stories... with fifty authors! Joanna also has a great interview with Blaire Palmer on transitioning to a creative career. 

Are you in danger of succumbing to the new cult of the first sentence? Do you need an intervention? Does the first sentence really matter? Scott McCormick takes issue with the cult and offers ways to get free.

In The Craft Section,

5 quick questions to help you write awesome characters- Bang to Write 

What are the traits of an espionage hero?- Piper Bayard- Bookmark

Give your readers someone to hate- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

How to identify Second Draft Writer Blues- Lucy Mitchell

When literary devices become tangled- Peter Selgin

In The Marketing Section,

Q and A with Literary Agent on identifying trends- Bookmark

How to spice up your boring author interview- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

Pinterest and Instagram for writers- Frances Caballo

4 ways Publisher Rocket helps authors- Dave Chesson

Bookbub Author profile examples- Bookbub

How to launch a book with more preorders- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish, 

A neat little video from author Jenna Moreci on the ten tips for writing your first chapter. Just when you thought you knew what to do... laugh out loud funny.


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If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Creative Commons – John Lustig- Light reading

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Learning From Pulp Fiction

Over one hundred years ago Pulp Fiction was born. Pulp paper was cheap and so many magazines sprang up looking for content. Famous writers learned their writing chops writing for the pulps. Crime, Sci-Fi, Mysteries, Thrillers, The Noir Detectives, Westerns, and many more genres were born in the fifty or so years of Pulp publishing. I have shelves of Louis Lamour and Leslie Charteris ‘Saint’ books. They wrote fast and they wrote for their readers. This week Christopher Wells examined the ebook publishing phenomenon and compared it to Pulp Fiction. 

Joanne Harris spoke out against the absurd focus on debut writers in the publishing world and pleaded with publishers to support their existing writers instead of always chasing the next debut. The Bookseller has a roundup of her Q and A with Sam Missingham. Joanne makes great points on age banding in children’s books, why genre fiction is seen as lesser and the invisible women writers. (Share this article around!)

Last week I pointed you to Dean Wesley Smith’s great post on doing the maths in a writing business. He has a follow-up post responding to the various reactions to his post. Explaining again how writing is a business. While we are in Dean’s neck of the woods he also has an interesting post on how licenses are not the end of the road. This is a great post about helping writers to understand all the tricky rights paragraphs in contracts.

The Audible lawyers are insisting that the judge should throw out the Caption Copyright case. If you haven’t been following this, Audible owned by Amazon wants to introduce written captions to their audiobooks. Publishers say this is eBook publishing and an infringement on their rights and licenses.

Joanna Penn has just passed her eight-year anniversary as an author entrepreneur. She has a great blog about how she is working now and why she has started even more content generation podcasts.

Anne R Allen has a super post on how well-intentioned friends and family can sabotage your writing and your self-belief. This is one of those posts that every writer will identify with. Reading the comments will make you wince. How do you protect your writing sanity?

Kris Rusch looks at Failure this week. Failure is good. Failure means you tried something. And all the best learning comes from failure. I was fascinated to read about Ben and Jerry's flavour graveyard.

This week Jami Gold had an interesting post on Writing Projects- Are we ever done? How do you cope with project overwhelm? Jami offers some good advice for when you can’t see the project because the TO DO LIST got in the way.

In The Craft Section,

5 character flaws to shake up your cast- Litlangislife

An easy way to find the right words- Writer CEO

Two great posts from Writelife- Writing action scenes and How to write a memoir- Bookmark both.

Evoke reader emotions-K M Weiland- Bookmark

Rules - who cares- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section, 

10 reasons readers unsubscribe from newsletters- Nate Hofelder- Bookmark

SEO for authors- Alli Blog

3 reasons authors need content strategies- Abbie Mood

Simple ebook design means good marketing- Alexandria Szeman

5 things to plan right now for good holiday sales- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Joel Friedlander talks about understanding Styles in Manuscript formatting. I debated with myself whether this was craft or marketing and decided it was both. Knowing how to use styles is Very Useful. It will help you to craft the interior of a book as well as organise your manuscript.

Colleen Story has a way to boost your writing creativity- Go on a colour walk. She offers 5 ways to do this activity and how it can inspire your writing. You could even have fun with purple prose.


If you want the best of my bookmarked links, why don’t you subscribe? Then you can also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
I appreciate the virtual coffee love so if you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top.

Pic : Flickr Creative Commons- Will Hart -1943 Prince of Corpse Makers – E Hoffmann Price

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Crisis Mode

This week I put the above cartoon on my Facebook page. To me, it highlights the disconnect of the world that our children are facing and how we are trying to protect them from it. Sometimes I have muttered under my breath at the latest dire news bulletin ‘Stop the world I want to get off.’ But it is important to take a deep breath and continue to support the changemakers. This month UK children’s publishing house Greystones announced that all their non-fiction books coming out will be issues-driven. (I wish that we didn’t have to have preschool books explaining climate change. Gulp.)

Publishing Perspectives reports on the changes to Book Expo for next year. In the past, the changes have resulted in very dissatisfied publishers and agents so 2020 Book Expo is almost a return to normality except that its shorter. Why, when the book industry is supposed to be expanding?

The week has been filled with reaction to the Medium article by Heather Demetrios -How to lose a third of a million dollars without really trying. This sad little tale comes from an Author who got big advances for debut novels and then watched the dream descend into a nightmare. 

For two very interesting perspectives on this article, you need to read Dean Wesley Smith and learn about what you don’t know. Then read Chuck Wendig for a dose of reality.
This is a business. After the flowers and the Champaign of your first book launch, you need to understand the book world and you need to ask questions. There is no question too dumb as Chuck points out in his own style.

Chris Syme has an interesting guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog this week about crisis management. When an author needs crisis management… it’s not as bad as you think it is.

David Gaughran, the fearless knight defender of the little author, writes about a book exhibit scam that is wrapped up in a veneer of publishing respectability. The big Book Fair comes around and there are companies ready and willing to take your book and exhibit it to the international book-buying world. Yeah, about that….. 

This week Joanna Penn interviewed James Scott Bell on his latest craft book- The Last 50 Pages. If you haven’t come across James Scott Bell’s craft books check them out. He is a master at showing another way to look at craft!

In The Craft Section,

Character development tips - Now Novel- Bookmark

Creating memorable characters- David Griffin Brown

3 tips for writing children- Lucia Tang

5 types of character arc at a glance – K M Weiland – Bookmark

Beyond two-dimensional character-building- Therese Walsh- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section

Book Ad design tools- Bookbub

What the ideal writer website should look like- Laksmhi Padmanaban- Bookmark

Before marketing your book- Boni Wagner Stafford

How to improve your email newsletters- Barb Drozdowich- Bookmark

Cover design terms you should know- Mary Neighbour

Selling books to an international audience – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Killzoneblog is a great blog to drop into for all things writerly. Recently Jordan Dane wrote a fabulous post on rediscovering your writer mojo. I was reminded of this as I dropped into Alli’s 24-hour conference earlier this week and saw Dean Wesley Smith talking about the negative associations of calling writing ‘work.’ It got me thinking about mindset and negativity, which helped me over a hump in some scenes this week. Go out there and rediscover writing FUN!


The monthly newsletter is due this week. If you want the best of my bookmarked links, why don’t you subscribe? Then you can also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
I appreciate the virtual coffee love so if you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Plot Thickens

Digital Book World is on and straight after it is the 24-hour free online conference put on by ALLI – The Alliance of Independent Authors. Register NOW so you can have 3 days perusing all the info before it is gone! 

In Publishing Business News…
Canada Independent Booksellers report a rise in print revenue according to Publishing Perspectives. This is good news if you have just launched a bookshop. (see last week’s post)

Meanwhile, Publish Drive have changed their author fees. They had introduced a flat fee for handling all the distribution in exchange for 100% royalties. Now they have a four-tier model. It still might be worth considering if you have quite a few books.

The French Military, taking a leaf out of the US military playbook, has put out a call to Science Fiction writers to write scenarios for them. Who better than a bunch of authors to come up with plots that might actually happen. (Debt of Honour by Tom Clancy published in 1997, 4 years before 9/11)

This year the Frankfurt Bookfair has a pavilion dedicated to Romani Gypsy literature. I first read of ethnic minorities becoming nation-states without borders in a Science Fiction novel. This pavilion recognises an ethnic minority, without a nation-state, and their literature. Literature is above borders.

Kris Rusch has published the next installment in her rethinking the writing business series. It’s all about money and licensing. How do you know how much to charge for each license?
(BTW Dean, her husband, is speaking on this topic in the free Alli conference if you needed another reason to register.)

Dean Wesley Smith is annoyed with the misinformation out there about how much it costs to Indie Publish. In his dumbest new myth blog post he points out it is relatively cheap… so anyone charging you $2000 plus you need to give the side-eye to. As ever, read the comments!! Some of the commenters added new resources to Dean's list that make it even cheaper!

Agent Janet Reid sends out a warning of a scam that she recently came into contact with. People who offer to represent you to agents… her thoughts… BURN.

The Alliance of Independent Authors has updated their publishing business reviews. If you are thinking of working with anyone in the publishing world it worth checking out whether they have a good review from ALLI.

Kathy Steinemann has a nifty list of ways to record the fabulous plot ideas that arrive in the middle of the night.

Amanda Rawson Hill gets a rave review from September Fawkes and just reading this guest post on How Theme and False Theme affect your protagonist, you can see why. 
This is a knockout… print this out and pin it on the wall post!

In The Craft Section,

Setting the scene- NowNovel Bookmark

Emotional mastery for fiction writers – C S Lakin- Bookmark

How to approach writing a villain protagonist - Scott Myers- Bookmark

The inner struggle- Janice Hardy

How to tell if you have too much plot and not enough character- K M Weiland - Bookmark

How can we make our conflict stronger- Jami Gold- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Behind the scenes of an author newsletter- DIYMFA -Bookmark

Forget what you learned in Kindergarten, copy Madonna- Janet Reid

Promote your book hacks-Reedsy- BOOKMARK

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri, Easy SEO for author marketing and 5 quick ways to ramp up 
your author central page-Bookmark Both.

On producing my own audiobook- James Scott Bell

To Finish

Do you call yourself a Bookworm or a Bookshark? Lit Reactor can tell you the difference. I was nodding my way down the list… so I know what I am.

Today is a day that haunts many people. Inevitably it has filled the internet with sad stories. So maybe we need to turn to Roald Dahl for the perfect quote (collection)
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like,
So long as somebody loves you.
Roald Dahl- The Witches


It’s nearly time for the monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links, why don’t you subscribe? Then you can also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
I appreciate the virtual coffee love so if you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top.

Pic : Flickr Creative Commons- Rab Driver-  Cat Plotting Revenge

Thursday, September 5, 2019

New Kids On The Block

Tonight I was at the launch of a Bookshop. Usually, I’m at Book Launches so it was interesting to be at a bookshop launch. Every community needs a good independent bookshop responsive to the community it serves. Locally there are a lot of technology firms as the Mayor reminded us and the new bookshop is themed around STEM subjects. This means that along with the usual bookshop fare is the truly eclectic and interesting deep dive into STEM subjects. With books face out and on big tables, You don’t know what you are going to find and immediately want to buy. It’s a cunning sales plan*...and why Amazon’s bookshops have their books face out. Go out and support your local community bookshop. After all, we want them to stay around.

The New Publishing Standard had an item in their news today that got me thinking. Nickelodeon has just launched a kids e-reading subscription in France. Now I’m wondering if in the next year we are going to see subscription battles as companies try to compete with the Everything store for entertainment subscription eyeballs. After all how many subscriptions does the average family want to have?

Larry Brooks of Storyfix has been beavering away on a new Writers Craft Book which is coming out with Writers Digest next month. Larry has produced some great craft books over the years so check out what he is tackling now.
Larry name-checks another great writer of writing craft books James Scott Bell who has a great little article on how realistic your action scenes need to be. This is timely as I’m trying to choreograph a spaceship battle. Do I go Star Wars or Star Trek? Does the new bookshop have a book on this subject?

Maps. They can suck you in... and if you are a writer you can spend hours pouring over them. We have a map book full of writer fantasy maps... one of those essential books you come across and have to have. Chris Fox has been playing with Wonderdraft. A map-making tool for the gamer or writer out there. Take a look at how it works. Brilliant stuff!

Kris Rusch is up to part 10 of the licensing series and she shines a spotlight on what a lot of authors do, but don’t know. Buy licenses. Once you really think about it, licenses are everywhere in publishing. Now think about your own Intellectual Property... rethinking your writing business.

In The Craft Section,

2 great posts from Bang To Write – How To Plot Like A Goddess and Do You Really Have  A Story- Bookmark both

4 keys to a powerful denouement- September Fawkes- Bookmark

8 ways to improve your writing- Literary Architect

The definitive list of Cliches- Go Into The Story-

Writing yourself into the heroes journey-Lara Zielin 

In The Marketing Section,

3 simple hacks for your mailing list-Miral Satter- Bookmark

Using Goodreads to increase book sales- Christine Nolfi

Weave Buying Persona’s into your landing pages- Blogging wizard

How to drive sales with Pinterest- Avasam

How to use a book award for marketing- The Book Designer- Bookmark

6 marketing myths that harm writers- Lisa HallWilson - Bookmark

To Finish,

Besides reading and buying books... Canva is one of my guilty pleasures. I love playing around with fonts in design.  Recently I came across this collection of cool font generators... Do you want glitter or glow or 3D effects? It’s all here. Font Nerds Unite.

*my wallet got an airing at Schroedinger's, Jackson St, Petone.


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When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons - Jonathan Rolande

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Challenging The Big Boys

Last night I attended a prestigious lecture. The Book Council of New Zealand invited Lani Wendt Young, the current Pacific Laureate to deliver the speech, Stories from the Wild: Reading and Writing in the Digital Age. It was a notable speech from a passionate speaker. First, it was given by a Pacifica woman. (an indigenous voice… how rare!) Second, It was given by a successful independent author who is carving out a whole genre of contemporary Pacifica super-natural tales to great reviews. Third, the lecture was a consummate takedown of the white towers of traditional publishing. This piece in the Spinoff written by Lani is only some of the very telling points she made. It was brilliant. I can’t help agreeing with others that we witnessed something profound that will change publishing here.

Meanwhile over in the USA many people in publishing seem to think James Daunt of Waterstones UK will come in like the White Knight on a charger to fix the Barnes and Nobel chain and it will be tea and crumpets all round. Kristen Lamb is skeptical of the way James Daunt may go about it and it all stems from how he turned Waterstones around. Publishers better be clearing space from the warehouse floor for all the returns and workers… don’t expect a pay rise.

Last week I linked to an interesting article by Anne R Allen on whether your reader really needs to know all the little details of your life. This week Cheri Baker picked up on Anne’s theme and looked at her marketing manifesto. 

Porter Anderson gets around the world as the roving editor for Publishing Perspectives. This week he looks at the successful Beijing International Bookfair. Among their offerings to the 320,000 visitors was a whole section devoted to English language learning for early childhood. 

The lawyers are back from holiday and lawsuits are piling up. 
The AAP is taking Audible to court over captioning
Authors Guild is taking a class action against Cengage Publishers over their subscription service.
The Romance Writers Of America are taking a lawsuit over the trademark of the word “Tamer”. The funds for this have been provided by the authors of the Cocky Collective. 
(Cockygate lives on..) 

Kris Rusch continues her look into licensing IP. She comments on how the whole thing can get overwhelming and offers some great ways to think about how to tackle which rights to license. How much do you care about the story? She suggests learning about licensing by first working with a story you don’t care too much about.

Scott Myers of Go Into The Story has a great roundup of the posts he made as he broke down Andrew Stanton’s TED talk on what makes a great story. Go Into The Story is mainly aimed at screenwriters but authors can learn a lot from the screenwriter's approach to story.

In The Craft Section,

Worldbuilding- Writelife- Bookmark

Get out of the writing doldrums- Jane Friedman

5 tips for engaging characters- Bethany Henry- Bookmark

7 Rules for cliffhangers- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

5 ways story stakes keep readers glued- H R D’Costa

In The Marketing Section,

Audiobook Promotion ideas-Mary Locke - Bookmark

Creating promotional copy that works- Janice Hardy

How to create a pre-launch strategy- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

7 Social Media Tips for Authors- Scot La Counte- Bookmark

How to title a book- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

To Finish,

Recently Rachel Gardner shared that her fellow agents had a brainstorming session thinking up side hustles for their author clients. A side hustle is another stream of income. So writers based on your research what could you get a side hustle in…Hmm Spacecraft design anyone?


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

pic: Flickr Creative Commons Sumo- Better than Bacon

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Storytellers – The Future You

At one point this week I thought that my weekly blog would just be full of Book Marketing advice. I kept seeing great articles that I thought you might be interested in. And then I wondered if I was seeing them because it is nearly the end of Summer (on the calendar, not in temperature) in the Northern Hemisphere. The Autumn push of new titles ready for the new school year and the Christmas market is about to begin. The (Northern Hemisphere focussed) twice-yearly push of new titles in Spring and Autumn dominates the International publishing calendar.
So check out 
31 ways to promote your Facebook page
5 ways to maximise audience engagement
And a great post on Book Promotion from The Book Designer blog.

Then all the craft articles started appearing in my Inbox. A great infographic on story ideas from Chloe Twist. Roz Morris had a great article on back story description and point of view hacks and Elizabeth Craig had a great tip on saving your outlines.

This week’s news in publishing- Google Play is now renting books from Open Road Media… like a library. I’m not sure where this is going and nobody else seems to know either.

David Gaughran has an informative post on the changes coming to Facebook Ads.

Lit Hub finally caught up with moves that Artificial Intelligence is making into the publishing world and wondered about Author Avatars. Your author avatar can now read your book in your voice to the reader.
If you want to know where all this technology is heading check out the AI and the author interview with Orna Ross and Joanna Penn from The Alliance of Independent Authors podcast. I have been fascinated with where this might lead in the next five years. 
(If you are shaking your head in disbelief just think about the take up of voice-related search with Alexia, Siri, and Google Assistant predicted to top 50% next year.)
Parents are limiting screen time but have no problem getting Alexia to read stories to their kids.

What can an author do but get ready to face the future with some ideas of what may be important for their careers? That is where you should be keeping an eye on what Kris Rusch is talking about with Licensing. Her latest post looks at all the different types of licenses authors can take advantage of. 

Jami Gold has an interesting guest post from Augustina Van Hoven on dealing with Author overwhelm… It’s all in how you plan. (Try not to be overwhelmed with all the planning tips…)

Anne R Allen has a great post on kicking the whole lot to the curb and focussing on what your reader wants. Do they really need an intimate view of your life or just the news that a new book is coming…

In The Craft Section,

2 great posts from Now Novel 5 uses for minor roles and How to start a chapter- Bookmark

Story fundamentals- Bookbaby

Evoke reader emotions- C S Lakin- Bookmark

Dialogue tips to captivate readers- Roz Morris Bookmark

How to avoid melodrama- Mythcreants-Bookmark

Understanding conflict- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts on book marketing planning- Book marketing timelines  and planning book marketing for holidays - Bookmark

Book promotion as a public service- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

Email marketing secret weapon- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Using Lyrics in your book- Everybody always asks about this.

What is Book metadata-(If you don’t know, you MUST read this.)

Tales from the book promotion road trip… (what not to do)

To Finish,

Scott Myers has a useful poster on character types to help you with spicing up your stories, or just printing out and decorating your office and Squibler has the 17 best websites to check out for advice on writing and lifting your writing game. 
In the end, all we can do, as writers, is tell our stories as best we can in the right format for the most impact and entertainment. We are the storytellers.


My monthly newsletter is due out this weekend. I round up the best of the best links.When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. I’m living on coffee at the moment as I juggle a few projects. If you want to shout me a coffee as thanks for the blog feel free to hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate all the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Mr Bean as Avatar

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Feed your Mind

This week in the publishing blogosphere The New Publishing Standard was looking at the Beijing Book Fair which kicks off next week. It is looking bigger than any other book fair at the moment. This is a really interesting read. Book sales are on the up in China, with the English language now being taught in state schools. The next decade promises interesting book publishing times outside of America. 
Edit: Late addition, the impact the America China trade war on publishing from Publishing Perspectives

Leapfrog nations are also embracing reading- on mobile phones. Cape Verde shows what the future hold for Book Publishers. The world is moving a lot faster than your print technology.

Somebody poked Google and it woke up. With everyone wondering if any of the other big tech companies would take on Amazon Publishing… Google decided to join the party and fix its royalty rates for Google Play. (However, if they really wanted to play big… as Jim Kukral from The Sell More Books Podcast says... Google needs to offer 100% royalties for a while – That will be the game changer!)

Google might be too late to take on Amazon. The Atlantic published an essay this week on how Amazon wants to conquer the world of publishing. It’s all about subscriptions… and how much they can tie you into their marketplace.

Meanwhile, Wattpad and Penguin Random House have been talking. Wattpad Books has inked a publishing deal with PRH. Their books are due to hit next month. Out of the gate first, are Young Adult titles.

Cory Doctorow has an interesting article on whether James Daunt can turn around Barnes and Noble. First, treat your stores like Indies… (How about giving the workers a living wage?)

Kris Rusch continues her look at licensing and this week’s post is another great one on mindset. Do we as writers expect success or rejection? Our mindset will control whether we take advantage of new learning or we don’t. This is a must-read post.

The fabulous Anne R Allen has a guest post from Sue McGinty about Book Marketing at home. How are you making sure that the people in your home town know about your books? As always, read the comments for some more great ideas for bookselling at home.

In The Craft Section,

The three-act sequence- Shaunta Grimes- Bookmark

What is external conflict?- Kristen Kieffer

4 ways to write a better novel- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Masterful Character description – C S Lakin

How to cure mid-novel sag- James Scott Bell

Conflict- taking advice from the wrong person- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

Editing tips- The Write Life- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Two great posts from The Creative Penn Blog- How to sell more at author events and 5 ways to stand out as an author on social media – Bookmark Both!

Two great posts from Bookbub Insights- Book launch checklist and Promote your book before it’s published- Bookmark Both!

17 Book marketing tips- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

A simple trick to find your target audience- Writers Digest

To Finish,

When you are bootstrapping your author business – you always have an eye out for tips and tricks that might save you time and money. Written Word Media, besides operating some nifty book promo lists, have also got a list of free tools that you might want to check out. I use some of these… especially Canva. 
If you write for children you should dip into the SCBWI Conference blog. The big LA gathering finished this week and they live blog their conference. Run your eye down the list of keynotes and panels on the right-hand side to feast your brain on.


My monthly newsletter is coming soon, where I round up the best of the best links.
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Foodista- Berries

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Finding Your Tribe

This week the publishing world paid tribute to one of the outstanding writers of the last century, Toni Morrison. Toni’s work inspired many writers and readers. Her spirit lives on in her words and the way she became a touchstone inspiring a new generation of writers to tell their stories. R.I.P. TONI MORRISON. 

The Jabberwork, Sarah McIntyre, is often asked by aspiring illustrators about how to find a style and how to begin to be an illustrator. This week she decided to write a full blog post answering these questions. If you know an aspiring illustrator pass this very good instructional post along.

This week Passive Guy (who is a lawyer and a writer) took a look at morality clauses. 
Morality clauses never used to be in contracts. Recently writers have been caught out with publishers enforcing morality clauses and killing careers. Passive Guy notes that wording is very loose… even if there is no evidence but hearsay it can be enough to kill your contract.

This week Anne R Allen wrote a much-shared and talked about post on the decline of mainstream fiction. Since the 1980s mainstream fiction has started to disappear. Where has it gone? Into genres. Book Club Fiction anyone?

Kris Rusch continues her deep dive into all things licensing this week. This is a fascinating series of posts. This week Kris talks about Taylor Swifts licensing woes and what she may or may not be able to do about them.

Joanna Penn has been on a journey exploring content marketing. If you know Joanna’s site all the work she does is content marketing. She has a fascinating interview on content marketing with Pamela Wilson. Joanna is exploring content marketing for fiction… a whole ‘nother ball game.
One of the other strings to Joanna’s content marketing bow is audiobook narration. Joanna has a great article on making an audio booth at home. 

This week Elizabeth Spann Craig wrote an interesting post on the practice of writing. How often do you practice writing? Do you find it hard to get back in the groove after a break? Elizabeth talks about ways to manage your practice. 

In The Craft Section,
Depicting characters held back by fear- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

4 ways to write gripping internal narrative- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Can common writing advice be wrong- Jami Gold Bookmark

Improve your writing with plot threads -Bookmark

7 rules for picking character names- Elizabeth Sims

In The Marketing Section,
Before you market, set objectives- Boni Wagner-Stafford- Bookmark

Seven mistakes to avoid when recording audiobooks- Alli Blog

Navigating book promo with effective strategies and

125 Book promo ideas- Penny Sansevieri- BOOKMARK!!

Top book advertising tips from RWA2019- Bookbub - Bookmark

To Finish,
Last night I attended the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It was a fabulous night. I got to catch up with lots of writer friends and have interesting discussions with publishing industry people as well as celebrate the fabulous books. On my way home, late, I was reflecting on the children’s book community and how supportive they are to each other. Many times the winners of the awards said how much they had enjoyed their fellow finalist's books and couldn’t believe their book had been picked over others. It is a great thing when you find your tribe and feel that you truly belong.


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Toni Morrison - Getty Images BBC Obituary

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