Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sunshine In The Gloom


This week there were two podcasting milestones. Joanna Penn reached 500 episodes of her podcast (11 years) and The SPA Girls reached 250 episodes of theirs, (5 years) These podcasts are super informative about publishing craft and marketing. They are must listens every week. If you haven’t checked them out at least once you are seriously missing out. They both have an extensive backlist of episodes… they have pretty much answered every question in publishing. Congratulations Joanna and Trudi, Cheryl, Wendy, and Shar.

 

Jane Friedman looked at the publishing stats from the U.S. Is there some silver linings in the gloom? Yes, print and ebook sales are up. We’ll take every ray of sunshine we can…

 

What is courage? Writers moaning about how hard it is to publish now, pushed Kristine Rusch’s buttons this week. If you are moaning instead of doing- This is a nice wakeup call to check your privilege credentials.

 

WorldCon is over. The first virtual event of its kind had some teething troubles. There was a huge commitment behind the scenes to getting it up and running. Hats off to the NZ Sci-Fi community for slogging through. However, the virtual community was left wondering where the NZ content was…. It was there but not prominent… or as this article says how NZ’s best sci-fi and fantasy writers got shafted on the world stage.

 

The New Publishing Standard published an interesting news story on its blog today. They were taking a look at why video can be streamed in subscription packages almost globally but books can’t. With Africa pretty much online through mobile phones, the ability to get subscription books is pretty low. What are publishers doing wrong? (I write this as Disney announces the new Mulan movie release streaming on their channel.)

 

This week many authors winced when the news that a reference to a dye recipe in an historical novel was uplifted from a google search that was a fake recipe. John Boyne’s new historical novel has now had loads of extra publicity but is it the right publicity?

 

Scott Myers has a great post on Deep work vs Shallow work. How often do you sit down to write and have about five tabs open on your browser at the same time? Clear the decks first.

 

In The Craft Section,

How to create tension in writing- Now Novel- Bookmark


Dumb little writing tricks that work- Scott Myers


2 great posts from Mythcreants- How do I describe fat characters respectfully and Introducing otherworldly elements.


When you have extra POV characters- K M Weiland- Bookmark


A quick reminder on Transitions-Elizabeth Spann Craig- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

What should go on your Copyright page- Bookbaby


Book proposals – what should they have- Jody Hedlund


Two interesting posts on Book Titles- Good story titles from Ride The Pen and Picking a bestselling title from Barbara Delinsky- Bookmark


Email newsletter for authors- Jane Friedman- Bookmark


3 reasons authors need a content strategy- Abbie Mood

 

To Finish,

Next week is the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. I was privileged to be a judge two years ago. It is a big night in the small world of New Zealand Children’s publishing. However, this year it will be a virtual ceremony. This decision was made some time ago before we came out of lockdown. We still need to celebrate so I’ve been part of a team organizing a local bookstore live streaming party. The next best thing to joining with your tribe and celebrating altogether in a big venue. Angela Ackerman pulled out of the archives a post on the 6 smart ways authors can collaborate for marketing. This type of advice is gold in 2020 when there are so many virtual book events in the present COVID-19 publishing world. Go and gather your author friends… let’s get innovative in our celebrations.

 

Kia Kaha Beirut- Stay Strong-

 

Hiroshima- 75 Years- When will we ever learn…

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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- Mark Lee

 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Future Of Book Marketing


This week in publishing…
Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors came out in droves to condemn Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the Science Fiction convention. Their main problem was that the restrictive nature of the Saudi society would be against the spirit of the genre.  Meanwhile, CoNZealand is happening online with overseas authors skyping into New Zealand instead of the usual extravaganza that is this year's World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. 

Staying with science fiction for a moment. The Verge is reporting that AI Podcast editor Descript is releasing its voice double from Beta. I know that Joanna Penn has been playing around with this. Think about narrating your books with your favourite actor’s voice or your own without having to sit in a booth for 10 hours… If you are interested in more about creativity and AI check out Joanna Penn’s recent podcast.

The New Publishing Standard reports that Big Bad Wolf, the huge Asian bookseller of remaindered English language books, is also going online. They have partnered with an online marketplace and will be selling their physical books in their usual 10-day 24-hour sale marathon. Check out how many books they intend to move- eyewatering!!! This could also be a sign of things to come.

Mike Shatzkin has been taking a look at how the publishing industry is coping with the pandemic. What is happening to the supply chain? Are they changing their practices…? thinking about changing how they operate…? still have their head in the sand?
Maybe they should be reading Penny Sansevieri’s article on the best book marketing ideas during a pandemic. 

Kris Rusch is still diving deep into the implications of Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter. Have you thought about all the different types of licensing in a contract? Brandon is exploiting one tiny one. With one week to go Brandon is closing in on $6 million. Kris talks about what you need to think about in your own Kickstarter campaigns.

Ruth Harris has another great article looking at the problem of how to write what you know when you can’t write what you know. Sound convoluted? It’s all about what you can change. This is another excellent article on the craft of writing.

In The Craft Section,

Plot development questions- Now Novel- Bookmark

Developing a coherent story- Jael Bakari- Bookmark



How to finish writing your book- Kevin Tumlinson- Bookmark

How to outline a novel- Roz Morris - Bookmark

Line editing tips- Jocelyn Pruemer- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,





5 ways to use video to promote books- Cristian Stanciu- Bookmark

August Unique content ideas – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

The psychology of making a sale. How do you get people to buy what you have to sell? 
I was interested to see this marketing article try to link book marketing to the 5 principles of human behavior. How do you buy books? This week a bookseller I know called me out on deliberately not looking at the books when I was talking to her. ‘I know why you are doing that,’ she said. I had to confess that she was right. I was trying not to buy any more books. I bought new books last week and I haven’t even cracked the spine on them. 
Selling to a bibliophile is just putting the new shiny book object in front of them in a trail of book crumbs to the cash register.
#hopelessaddiction

Maureen
@craicer

It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter to go out. If you want the best of the months bookmarked links and other assorted stuff go on and 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, July 23, 2020

Publishing By The Numbers


This week in publishing there was a fluttering in the inboxes as Indie Publishing superstar and author educator guru, Mark Dawson, was accused of gaming the bestseller lists.
The Guardian reported the story and many authors on Twitter were quick to cry foul.
However, there are always two sides to the story. As Mark said today on Facebook- If I was gaming the system, I wouldn’t have announced it on one of the most listened to indie author podcasts. 
It was a marketing risk as he was wondering how he could get the book into the top ten when it came in at number thirteen. It was this discussion on the podcast that Mark had bought 400 copies of his Traditionally Published Hardback release of a seven-year-old thriller, so he could make them available to overseas fans who wanted a signed copy that started the whole drama.
Nielsen’s pulled the book from the list this week citing ‘they misunderstood the intentions of this sales transaction.’
What does it mean for authors? Mark will probably break it down on the self-publishing podcast as he is very open and transparent with his publishing business. As an Indie author who cleared over $1 million from his book sales last year- spending 3,600 pounds on 400 books has got him two Guardian feature articles – name recognition- appearances on bestseller lists. Discussions on social media… it could be a publicist’s win and money well spent.
Anyone can bulk buy a book in launch week for a variety of reasons. An epic book launch party can get you on the NZ bestseller lists. Mark went to his local children’s bookshop to order the books, so they got some love. 
Will this change the rules of making the bestseller lists? 

Are the rules different for publishers and authors who publish? Lit Hub has a breakdown on the myths of both types of publishing models. 

David Gaughran has an interesting article out about the elusive A9 algorithm. There have been many people who have been trying to convince authors to part with money to learn the secret of the Amazon search engine… David, fierce defender of the battling author, tells you the truth about the scam.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting article about reading patterns in the pandemic. People are still wanting to get physical books. Is it the book smell they crave?

Publish Drive has been flirting with the subscription model of author services for a while now but now they are going all in. David Kudler talks about the advantages for the author with this model.

San Diego Comic-Con has been turned into a virtual event. The Comic-Con is one of the biggest events in the Entertainment world and is huge for Graphic Novels. With the Con circuit going virtual Graphic Novelists have to come up with other ways to get noticed.
While we are on graphic novels this comic appeared in my Twitter feed. This is a must-read for the way it educates about a psychological effect that unconsciously colours your whole world view. Powerful storytelling! It is nominated for the 2020 Eisner Award.

Kris Rusch writes a part two about Brandon Sanderson’s $5 million Kickstarter. If you didn’t read last week's post -check it out so you know the background. Brandon still has two weeks to go. Have you ever thought about a literary crowdsourcing community?

The latest Writers Thesaurus is out- The Occupation Thesaurus. Jami Gold has a great article on the story impact of your protagonist’s occupation. Are you using all the useful nuggets that you can? Congratulations Angela and Becca on another great addition to the Writers Thesaurus library.

In The Craft Section,

Two great articles from K M Weiland- How to put suspense in your story and a great primer on story structure. – Bookmark



Writing influence characters- September Fawkes – Bookmark

Dinkus- 6 ways to use them.- (hands up if you know what a Dinkus is.)- Now Novel- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to make an online bookstore- Darcy Pattison- Bookmark


Publishing Timelines – C S Lakin- Bookmark



To Finish

Have you ever thought about co-writing a book? How hard can it be? You get together with a writing buddy, plan out a story, book a beach house, and write like crazy. Recipe for success- Yes? Greta Boris writes a great article on how to co-write a novel and remain friends. It’s not easy but it can be fun if you put all the planning details in a document you both agree on first. 

Maureen
@craicer

It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter to go out. If you want the best of the months bookmarked links and other assorted stuff go on and 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, July 16, 2020

Underneath The Covers





Recently the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag trend on Twitter exposed the historical underpaying of black authors in the publishing world. One of the ideas it highlighted was the lack of diversity in publisher lists with publishers limiting themselves to one representative of each ethnicity and claiming they were diverse. Publishers Weekly looks at other negative trends that were exposed with the hashtag trend call out.

How good are you at spotting publishing scams? Unfortunately, even people who have been bitten once are being bitten again. Even when you think that the publisher is looking legit, check, check, and check again. And don’t take an agent's word for it. They have been bitten as well.

Kobo Plus is like Kindle select but without the demand for exclusivity. However, it was limited to just a few countries. But in great news this week Kobo Plus is expanding… YAY.

How do you keep your backups safe? Do you even have backups? Jami Gold looks at all the different ways you can save yourself giant headaches.

Netgalley has been offering their review service for quite a while. Recently they decided to expand their service to audiobooks. With the rise and rise of audiobook sales, this is a welcome move for publishers.

Can authors use A I to help them write a better story? Writers Digest has an interesting article looking at using a tool called Marlowe that analyses your manuscript and points out the flaws and plot holes to fix up. Take a look at Marlowe – you can try it out for free.

As a teacher, I was very keen to encourage my younger colleagues to have some sort of creative life outside of teaching. You need to put creativity into the well because teaching drains so much from you. For me, it was escaping into writing. But as writers, are we draining the creative well and not putting anything back in? This article looks at the importance of having hobbies away from writing.

Bob Mayer and Jennifer Crusie are both big names in their respective genres. Together they have written 3 great thriller romances. They collaborated on a website where they discuss different aspects of the writing craft from their own points of view. Check out their conversation on developing character arcs. Excellent stuff. (Also, their writing is superb!!!)

In The Craft Section,



How to start a novel - 8 steps to the perfect opening scene- Reedsy- Bookmark

Writing emotion- Iris Marsh



In the Marketing Section,

Two great articles from Rachel Thompson - How to improve your email newsletters right now and How to build an engaged following- Bookmark

Using video marketing- Frances Caballo


Amazon Editorial Reviews -Are you using them- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

5 Simple website upgrades- Penny Sansevieri - Bookmark

To Finish,

Brandon Sanderson has been running a Kickstarter for a leather-bound hardback edition of one of his best-selling books to celebrate the 10th anniversary. He modestly asked for $250K because that was what he figured he would need. So far, he’s passed $5 million. Kris Rusch takes a look at Kickstarter for authors and how building a community and stakeholder engagement is a winning formula for writers wanting to try this form of income building.
It’s all part of building up multiple income streams for authors.

Maureen
@craicer

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- Steven Johnson

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Keeping On Going…


In the publishing world this week…
While everyone in publishing is looking at their bottom line and wondering if they will still be in business at Christmas… Ingram is expanding its Print On Demand centers around the world. Is this a bold move of confidence in the future or the canny move of a print distributor? Their rivals fall by the wayside and now they might have a monopoly… 

Publishing Perspectives has an article on how audiobooks for children have been credited with great results for children’s literacy over lockdown. (All teachers would agree with this.) So children’s writers are you thinking about audio?

The Guardian reports that the genre saving the publishing world's bacon in lockdown is Crime, with record numbers of books being consumed.

Subscription, or the all you can eat model of entertainment consumption, is proving a hit around the lockdown-ed world. Movies are now being first released on subscription services along with music and books. Subscription content companies are expanding across the world. Next up the Arab world gets a subscription model and Storytel makes its move into the Arab language market.

The Authors Guild have grabbed their heavy hitters, Grisham, Child, Stine et al to front a lawsuit with Penguin Random and Amazon against the KISS Library for piracy. 
I can’t help thinking the lawyers will always win and the Whac-A-Mole game of book piracy will never end.

Kris Rusch, being stuck in the U S, has been striving to keep upbeat. This week she looks at the hit the creative industries will be taking as creative companies hit the wall. Musicians whose income relies on touring will be hit hard. Writers struggling with self-doubt about their career choice need to take heart. 

Jami Gold has a great post on organization. How do you organize your thoughts and your creativity and do you do the same for your career? Are you a throw it all at the wall and hope some of it sticks type or is everything planned out carefully? Jami has some great tips.

In The Craft Section,


Writing smooth transitions – Janice Hardy- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,

Create a virtual book launch- Carol Cronin – Bookmark

3 basic rules of social media and 5 tips – Frances Caballo- Bookmark

Why quality counts – Sandra Beckwith

8 common book marketing mistakes- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to set up a sponsored product ad- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

Do you kill your widows and orphans? - Joel Friedlander – (If you don’t know what this means you need to read this article.)

To Finish,

About a decade ago a fabulous writer told me that my best work would happen when my children had left home. ‘You will be in a different mental headspace.’ I agonized over this idea. Today I read an interesting article from K M Weiland about the three stages of writing or how your age affects your writing and gained a new perspective on this. 
Take the wins where you can and keep on going. 

Maureen
@craicer

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, July 2, 2020

Learning To Get Better…


It’s July… when did that happen?
Earlier in the year, there was some hope that the pandemic would be done and dusted by the Northern hemisphere summer and that things might be back to normal.
Ah well, it looks like this might be the new normal for a while.

The Frankfurt Bookfair has finally decided that it will have to be online this year and now they are asking everyone what they would like to have in a virtual book fair. If you have a bright idea for a seminar or webinar with a worldwide audience check out their call for proposals.

I was reading Publishers Weekly and came across this headline- Upcoming YA novel pulled by Author. Naturally, I clicked over to see who had pulled their novel and why and I found an interesting letter from Publishers Weekly saying why they weren’t going to tell us who it was and why. This is very responsible of them. Sadly, I wish they had thought of the implications sooner. 

While I was looking at the news on Publisher Weekly, I was interested to see this publishing company expanding its list. I wondered how their first book would go as there had to be buy in from all the rights holders to the hit music. Take a hit song… now pair it up with a great illustrator and launch it as a picture book for children. (Kiwi’s, imagine Welcome Home as a PB… sigh)

Has the world got you down? Are you struggling with your self-worth as a writer? Yes, it’s Imposter Syndrome time again but with a Covid spin. Elizabeth Hartl has a guest post over at Writers Helping Writers on how to beat this lurgy.
And for another bracing talk check out Ruth Harris and her latest post on 5 ways Authors stand between themselves and success. These are both great posts to shake you up and get you ready for the next 6 months.

This week Kris Rusch was musing about the writers who have come to her for advice about missing money. In this publishing environment, everyone is chasing down money to keep the lights on and the wolf from the door. Sometimes this means that money promised to the author doesn’t make it into the bank account. Check out what Kris has to say about how to track down missing payments.
Kris and Dean are also making their workshops half price for writers who are stuck inside. Check out all the great courses they have. 

Jami Gold has a great post on how to learn and improve writing skills. If you do a deep dive into self-editing then you can figure out what you need to learn. Read this outstanding post first to get some pointers on what to look for. You might want to check out Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s collection of writer tools as well.

In The Craft Section,


Identifying your characters fatal flaw- Becca Puglisi - Bookmark

Free Picture book templates from Inkygirl- Debbie RidpathOhi- Bookmark

10 ways to reach the end-Elspeth Futcher

Self-edit your novel- Kris Spisak- Bookmark


We Are Unsafe- Donald Maass- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,



2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri-Timing your book launch and Promoting before the book is published- Bookmark


5 powerful principles on human behavior- Book marketing Bestsellers- Bookmark

To Finish,

In a little fishing village in Portugal lives a wild Irish Rover who lives online as a guru for writers. David Gaughran has been updating his great Writer Help books over the last 6 months or so. He has just made one of his best book marketing craft books FREE. Let’s get Digital was one of the first books I ever read on ebooks. David revised it three times always updating it. Now he has virtually rewritten it and made it available for Free. (and available from all the major ebook stores.) This is not just the primer on how to create an ebook but the whole encyclopedia- Let’s Get Digital 4th Edition is a Must Get.

Maureen
@craicer

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, June 25, 2020

Surviving 2020


Sometimes I feel like every month lasts a year. It seems so long ago that we were brightly predicting what might happen in publishing in 2020. Boy, were we wrong…

In publishing news this week....

This week Bertrams, the second largest book distributors in the United Kingdom went into receivership. The Bookseller shared the news and its possible impact on the book industry for the UK going forward. Monopoly anyone?

Subscription services are getting a lot of love in this Covid 19 era. One monthly fee – Unlimited Entertainment but how can we find out how our books are doing in there? Bookbeat is a subscription service in the Nordic countries and they are offering publishers all sorts of data- like where do readers stop reading? What trends are the best-selling? Could be a watershed moment says TNPS

Publishers Weekly have been taking a look at the way publishers have been tackling their business throughout the pandemic. As was predicted some are ditching their New York offices, others are getting creative to get the word out about their books. It’s going to be an interesting next six months for the publishing industry.

The Alliance of Independent Authors has been looking at the facts and figures of self -publishing and the impact this has had on the overall book market. The last decade has completely changed the publishing landscape… and we are not finished yet with 2020. 

When you see all your writing friends succeed it can be pretty hard to feel positive about your writing life. Meg Dowell has written a great post on the 10 survival tips you need to cope with your friend’s success.

Anne R Allen has a bracing post on how to cope with a bad review. I am a member of a high powered writing group on Facebook and not a day goes by when someone isn’t celebrating a bad review. Yes, you read that right. Read Anne’s post to understand why.

Jami Gold has written a great post on choppy writing and how to fix it. I’ve been staring at my manuscript lately and wondering if the writing is bad because I’m going backward and forwards with dictating or whether it’s my unconscious mind picking up on the state of the world. ( or it could just be bad…) This is a must-read to get some craft perspective.

In The Craft Section,


Getting past Hard To Write Scenes- Janice Hardy- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,



13 ways to increase your email open rate – David Gaughran- Bookmark

Amazon discounted my book – why this is a good thing (Brilliant ideas here)

July unique content ideas from Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

As I was looking over my selection of articles for you I was thinking about the theme of Survival. Who could predict 10 years ago which publishers, bookselling chains, or distributors would still be around in 2020? When the dust settles on the other side of Covid 19 how will the publishing landscape have changed? Is it survival of the fittest or the most nimble? How can writers be creative in the midst of unrelenting negative news? Kristine Rusch has a timely look at survival and forgiveness for writers. This is a great post to mull over and apply to your own writing life. 

Maureen
@craicer

I round up the best of my bookmarked links and other assorted tips in a monthly newsletter.
Go on and subscribe and 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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