Friday, May 29, 2020

What Lies On The Other Side?

I’m sorry this blog is late… One of those times when the computer wouldn’t play nicely. Hopefully, it’s all fixed now.

This week I have been listening to commentators talking about how the world of work might change post Covid 19
A lot of people have discovered working from home has some benefits. Many report being more productive. With no commute time to the office, the day has a smoother start and finish. Of course, there have been people feeling the opposite. This morning I heard that central city businesses were desperate to have the office workers back as their cafes and shops had hardly any customers. How will publishing change in the post Covid 19 world?  

The New Publishing Standard reported a Canadian publishers lament that they were facing a deluge of returned books. This highlighted how broken the returns system in publishing is. Would it really be bad if there was no returns system? I can think of a benefit straight away. Less wastage in the system. The ability for Indie Bookstores to source books instead of waiting and waiting until big chains return the books so they can get access to them. We’ve got the ability to Print on Demand with many printers doing short runs. You can even use a Book Expresso machine in a book store to print single copies. I first linked to this technology back in 2012. If you aren’t sure what a Book Espresso machine is check out this video.

Publishing Perspectives have taken a good hard look at Publishing in the U.S. going forward. Will publishers need those fancy New York offices now that everybody can work from home? Will the rents fall for bookstores now that so many businesses have gone to the wall? How has having a supply chain of printers in Asia impacted the book industry? What will be the next best thing to publish? It all gets a look in this big article.

White Fox Publishing gathered five experts together to talk about how they see the publishing world post Covid. This is a great post and has some important things to think about. They cover publishers, agents, editors, bloggers, and marketing for their thoughts.

Meanwhile, the Romance Writers of America have done away with their flagship romance awards. They are introducing another set of awards. ( hopefully without the baggage from the causes of RWA meltdown) Time will tell if they can reinvent themselves successfully.

Nate Hoffelder has a nifty little project for anyone who is interested. He is designing an author website in a box. It’s free if you want to take a look.

It is the last day for grabbing the Story writing bundle of craft books. Check out what’s on offer but move fast we are in the last day to get this great collection.

In The Craft Section,

What do readers want from a POV- Jami Gold Bookmark

2 great posts from Anne R Allen’s blog- Improve the action in your story and 15 keys to writing dialogue- Bookmark.

In the Marketing Section,

5 easy ways to increase your book sales – Dave Chesson- 
Bookmark and check out Dave’s Amazon book description 
generator- Bookmark it too

Setting up amazon author pages- Tony Riches- Bookmark

To Finish,

Recently Joanna Penn and Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors got together to talk productivity tools.
They referenced a wide range of tools that they are using or have used- Check out the list and while you are at it listen to the podcast. 


If you want the best of my bookmarked links in a monthly newsletter go on and subscribe. You will 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 virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

To Market, To Market...

As we tentatively move onto the streets and look around at what is now our new normal life, there have been a few articles trying to make sense of the statistics of bookselling in a coronavirus era. 
Everybody is busy trying to reassure themselves and others that bookselling remains viable. If you factor in the printers, sales reps, warehouse and supply chain along with book designers, editors, illustrators, cover designers, formatters, not to mention the poor old author in this list, you can see a lot is riding on maintaining or shoring up the publishing industry.
So, what are the trends coming out of lockdown?

The Guardian reported a rise in people reading. (Thank all deities) And the popular genres of crime and thrillers were to the fore. With kids stuck at home children’s books also had a nice uptick.

Publishing Perspectives report that French Publishers Association surveyed its members to ascertain how bad the hit was to their members. More than a quarter are looking at heavy losses but there was some encouraging signs in the changes in reader habits.

Jennifer Kovitiz has written two big articles on what independent presses can do to survive. Part One. These are comprehensive reports so set some time aside to read them and take them in. Part Two.

Nate Hoffelder reports that Kobo Plus may be making some moves. They have been trialing their subscription model for a few years in Europe. With the rise and rise of subscription models for consuming entertainment… Keep an eye on your Kobo dashboard and inbox.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a new Writing Thesaurus to add to their popular series. It’s the Occupation Thesaurus- Coming very soon… Angela also has a great article on giving yourself a creative kick in the pants.

If you need to get stuck into upskilling writer learning as a way of shaking you out of lockdown blues, here is a comprehensive list of FREE writing courses from around the world. There is something for everyone in the collection of 98 online writing courses from Couponchief. 

I get sidetracked on Font sites… yes, I admit it. I’m fascinated by the subtle way a font can change the emotional message.  

Rafal Reyzer has a guest post on The Book Designer on how your font choice, when writing, can change your writing mood.

Kristine Rusch has an interesting article on what’s happening to the film and television industry. How does it impact authors you wonder. What happens to all those options and contracts when something big like a pandemic hits? What about the writers stuck in the middle?

Anne R Allen has a great article on what to do when you realise that your novel has far too many characters. Do you really need to provide a backstory for everyone? Can you get away with not naming someone? Check out her great tips.

In The Craft Section,

What is an epilogue?- Jerry Jenkins- Bookmark

How to write dystopian fiction- Now Novel- comprehensive!

How plotlines add dimension- September Faulkes- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Five marketing skills you have already- Gabriela Pereira- Bookmark

New Tool on the block.
If you publish wide check out WideWizard. A free tool that publishes your metadata to all your sites. Fill it in once and click a button.

To Finish,

Last week I mentioned David Gaughran (All round nice guy and champion of the little battling author) in the To Finish section and here I am linking to him again. He has been almost nonstop filling his YouTube channel this week with detailed looks at different marketing ideas. David is unleashed. If you are realizing that authors must market their books check out his channel and get hypnotized by his epic lockdown beard and his wealth of information on book marketing.


My monthly newsletter goes out this weekend. If you want the best of my bookmarked links go on and subscribe. You will 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 virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Martin Hearn 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Show Up Because The Show is Online

Today we went into Level 2. The kids go back to school next week - which feels like a big win. I’ll really know it’s true when the house is quiet and there aren’t toast crumbs everywhere. 
As I follow a lot of writers and publishers, I am very aware that life over in the Northern Hemisphere is very different. Many books have been delayed or published with hardly any publicity. Spring releases are being pushed back six months. Everyone predicts a huge bottleneck in September. 

In May, the industry starts thinking of the big Spring book fairs. Bologna (held a month later) was online last week and they have just published their visitor numbers. Who was predicting a huge online visitor turnout? Their success is hopefully going to spur others on to make a bit more of an effort in the online festival space. 

I was interested to see a Twitter conversation from an author about being rejected when they asked for payment for an online address. Their reason. They put just as much work into an online address as they do in real life so they should get paid. (ABSOLUTELY)
Online events are taking over the social space. Authors have to get used to talking to others through their computers. Esquire just published a big article looking at how different life is for authors now because of this.

The big children’s writers conference SCBWI is online this year. For a lot less than the usual sum, you can attend from the comfort of your own home. Although I did see an agent lamenting that the networking at online conferences was non-existent so why make the effort to attend. 
The bottom line is if you want a vibrant industry in the future you have to show up at the hard times and keep plugging away. 

This week Ask An Author wrote this post on how do you know when you’ve made it which was really saying show up, do the work and keep doing it.

Meanwhile, if you are still in juggling-the-kids-and-trying-to-write mode, Lit Reactor interviewed authors to find out some good survival tips.

In Industry news… IngramSpark has jazzed up its publishing dashboard. Along with some new features they are offering free ISBN’s now. (Just be aware that if you pick up a free ISBN you will not be recorded as the publisher of record. Whoever issued the free ISBN will be.) 

David Gaughran has the rundown on Apple books finally making their publishing dashboard friendly to PC owners. That means everyone can publish direct with them now. Their royalty system if you are direct is very nice so I expect this will be taken up with cries of glee.

Publishers Weekly has been looking at the new changes in digital publishing that Penguin Random House are doing. As they are the biggest publisher around it is always interesting to see where they think the next big thing is…and it’s interacting with readers through big virtual conventions.

Kristine Rusch writes today of the freedom in throwing out her calendars for 2020 and reinventing her year. It’s a mindset change that may make all the difference to your mental outlook.

Jami Gold has an excellent post on breaking the writing rules. Will It Be Easy or Hard?
What is one writers’ never break rule can be another’s guideline. Are there any rules you shouldn’t break?

 In The Craft Section,

Survive the chaos point-Melodie Campbell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section, 

Rachel Thompson has been hosting NaNoProMo on her website and it’s chock full of great posts on book marketing – here are two excellent posts- Will your novel solve a reader’s problem by Janice Hardy and How to safely choose and use colours for your website by Nate Hoffelder. While reading, put your name in the hat for some great prizes from Rachel’s guests.

How to write a novel synopsis- Jane Friedman has updated this classic post.

How to market with a BOGO- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

I have been doing a lot of intense learning over the last few weeks in publishing design software. Going down font rabbit holes… learning to manipulate images… (badly.) David Gaughran has recently launched a YouTube channel and one of the first offerings was a great tutorial on Canva for Facebook ad creation. And then he showed in real-time other nifty sites all available in his handy blog post on 12 free graphic design tools. When I think how long I spent trying to remove a background last night and David just mentions a free site that did it at the click of a button…. I nominate him for Sainthood.  


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links Go on and subscribe. You will 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 virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

In The Brave New World of Next Week

In Publishing News this week, Sam Missingham, wrote an opinion piece for The Bookseller entitled ‘Now is the time for publishers to show their real value.’ This is a plea to publishers to look at what is happening under the pandemic and change their way of operating for the future. 
Here is one small quote from the article- This approach treats publishing like the long game it is and more importantly puts readers first. And it means all of our books and content, front list and backlist, have the same value. And we showcase our authors beyond their publication window.
This is a great rallying call for a better publishing standard.

Some of the ideas Sam talks about are happening in an experimental way. Today I saw news that Faber was partnering with Glassboxx to develop a direct to consumer portal. Check out what they are doing and think of the implications. Digital content has sustained the traditional publisher's bottom line through the print publishing slow/stop.
Joanna Penn mentioned other similar initiatives in the intro to her latest great interview on writing and selling short fiction. 

In happy news, The UK has also scrapped VAT on books… so that’s something nice to come out of the pandemic.

Publishing Perspectives has taken an in-depth look at China’s publishing world as they are the first to come out of a lockdown situation. Print sales down for obvious reasons. Printers and supply chains have almost ground to a halt, but digital sales are up.
Staying in Australia – The Guardian recently published a sad look at what is happening in the Australian publishing community with the cancellation of many writer’s festivals and publishing job losses.

If you need some bracing advice for keeping your writing chin up and plowing forward Chuck has written his Writing Advice In The Age Of The Pandemic. This is a must-read for everyone who has looked at the last months writing goals and despaired. (a nice pickmeupoffthewritingfloor)

Elisabeth Spann Craig has written an interesting article on writing sprints. She joins video sprint writing groups. If you are missing a group sprint writing session check out the video options. 

In The Craft Section,

Newbie writing mistakes- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

9 ways to originalise your story idea- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book Promotion during a pandemic- The Book Designer- Bookmark

Selling books on your author website- Alli blog – Bookmark

Book Merch for authors- Dan Parsons- Bookmark

To Finish,

Today I went down the font rabbit hole. I’m not sorry. I love looking at all the creative ways designers can imagine the alphabet. It all started with IngramSpark’s blog on the best fonts for books.
I also discovered Another tool for editing your book. Choose a voice to read back your writing. I found hearing your work read back can highlight grammar mistakes. I played around with so many voices the kids rebelled. They just don’t understand, I have a cast of thousands in my head.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Hanumann- viet globe

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.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Getting Your Ducks In A Row

In publishing news this week, there was consternation as the generous donor to the Bookshop hardship fund was revealed. Was it a PR coup, genuine, or a sarcastic tribute from a company that is loathed by brick and mortar stores. 

While governments are scrambling to keep their economies going in the wake of the pandemic…there have been calls to see books as essential to the well being of communities. The UK publishers set out a 5 point list of demands. Meanwhile, a couple of agents took a different view and wrote why books aren’t essential in a Publishers Weekly column.

This week Publishing Perspectives reported that China’s bestsellers seemed to have bucked the slump in sales that has hit everywhere else. It’s a fascinating look to see what makes the bestsellers list over there.

If you want a deep dive into analytics Alex Newton of K-lytics fame made his analysis of the coronavirus impact on the book market free today. Well worth a look.

Bologna Bookfair is rolling out a series of online events next week as they move the trading hall to a virtual marketplace that replaces the postponed fair. They are using the postponed dates 4-7th May for their virtual fair. This is probably going to be the way of the future so all eyes will be on Bologna to see how it works out.

Has reader behavior changed through this uncertain time? Are you reading more or less? New books or old favourites? Digital or Print? Bookbub has a revelatory article on what they are seeing.

At the end of last year, Joanna Penn interviewed Andrea Pearson about productivity. Andrea runs her writing business from home while homeschooling young children and hosting two podcasts. If you need tips on how to juggle life… check out the transcript or listen into the podcast. (She is a juggernaut!)

Kris Rusch is always my Go To. (As if you didn’t know- LOL)  She makes sense of this crazy world of publishing and how we can approach it. This week she warns that Traditional Publishers who are delaying book launches until later in the year could be doing themselves and their authors a huge disservice. She has some good advice. 
Today I saw in my Twitter feed the first of the publishing layoffs of editors and book designers. Sadly, this is just the beginning. I think we will see a very contracted book industry before the end of the year.

In The Craft Section,

How to outline a novel- Roz Morris- Bookmark

How to avoid writing a dull series-David Farland- Bookmark!

In The Marketing Section,

4 ways to market YA titles- Jennifer Tucker

Build a community of readers- Karen Lock Kolp-Bookmark

Unique content for May – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Just when you feel overwhelmed at all you should be doing, struggling to create writer energy, along comes Ruth Harris. Her gust of common sense stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink what you are doing. 10 ways to feel like a writer when you can’t write thanks to the coronavirus is a MUST READ. I played around on book cover sites and invented books for the hell of it and along the way did some learning and it was great for my mental outlook. I could float along without feeling that I was paddling furiously to get nowhere.
Note To Self- Be more like a duck.

Another year has ticked over in the life of the blog. It is nice to see that people I linked to way back, in the beginning, are still hanging in there. What changes we have seen in the last 12 years. We are definitely living through interesting times in publishing. 


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? 
When you subscribe you 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.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

When we get back to normal- will it be different?

This week there were interesting anecdotes from around the book publishing community on how the continuous lockdown has affected book sales. 
Audiobook sales and podcast listening has tanked. When I thought about my own life I realized why. There are no commutes. People’s consumption of podcasts and audiobooks during their work commute drove audiobook sales. I’m behind in so many episodes in my regular podcast listening I should just escape to the car for an hour and catch up on them in the driveway. 

One country that seems to be bucking this trend is Sweden- they aren’t in lockdown therefore audiobook sales are booming.

Mike Shatzkin has been looking at the cracks that have been exposed in the publishing industry because of the pandemic. How reliant is everybody on a functioning supply chain? With paper produced in China in short supply… alternative editions seem to be the way forward but for the price-conscious having an ebook priced the same as a paper book is not going to cut it. 

Kris Rusch has been looking into the past to see how publishing fared the last time there was a big disruption to the publishing industry. There wasn’t an indie book scene back then so what happened to writers. The title of her post is train wreck so that should give you some ideas. She explores the ways that writers could be much better off this time.

Penguin Random House, the biggest publisher, has been doing some experimenting according to The New Publishing Standard. They have opened an online branch in India’s Amazon platform… get ready rest of the world?

Anne R Allen has a great post on successful writers and detectives. They have lots in common. Check out the post to see your alternative career.

In The Craft Section,

Know your genre- Scott Myers

In The Marketing Section,

8 ways to sell books locally- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

The new normal is working from home surrounded by others who are also working from home. Trying to retain sanity and normality can be challenging. The virtual world is at your beck and call. Here are some ways you can keep in contact with your fans and peers. Just remember to have a great bookshelf behind you. The above picture would be just perfect!


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want to subscribe you 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.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Lockdown Blues

Here we are still in the middle of the pandemic and thoughts and discussions abound on-line as to how the world will be when we get out of this. Will life be the same as before? Will we be able to go back to our local bookstore or will it have disappeared? What will the book industry look like on the other side?

Meanwhile, Anne R Allen had a great wake up article on getting your social media affairs in order just in case…Do you have a social media executor? (This also is a time to contemplate literary estates.)

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a great article on how to run online conferences or workshops. Yes, this could be the new normal for the rest of the year with conferences and book fairs transitioning online.

The ever trusty David Gaughran has an extensive article on Author Platforms. They are now more important than ever. And no, it is not just your website. It is who you are!

This week Kris Rusch talks about keeping sane as a writer in this mad mad world… She is also running a Kickstarter for writing craft bundles… with some good giveaways so you should check it out. 

William Kenower has an interesting article on Writers Digest about the cold open. When you are staring at the blank page. How do you get into the story and engage your creative mindset. He shares some tricks of the trade…

In The Craft Section,

2 great posts from Janice Hardy- 5 ways repetition is hurting your novel and plotting in 3 simple steps- Bookmark Both

Active vs Passive voice- Jami Gold Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Rachel Thompson- Promoting your books right now and Get ready for 2020 NaNoProMo- Every May Rachel hosts and teaches book promotion- Bookmark both

To Finish,

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a great website for authors. It is chock full of great resources. I often link to interesting articles on their blog. Today Angela wrote a great article on goal setting for writers during a pandemic… Great advice

I have been thinking about how much this pandemic has been showing us what is important in life. The unsung heroes (usually the lowest paid,) that keep the food arriving in the supermarkets… that clean the hospitals and streets… that work long hours doing essential work but never getting the good recognition they deserve. While these people are out there, the rest of us are consuming creative content to keep entertained. Entertainment also created and delivered originally by unsung heroes (also usually the lowest paid.)
The Romans were right. Bread and circuses… Marcus Cicero 

(LD Day 22)

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.
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