Thursday, February 2, 2023

Publishers Behaving Badly – Are they really clueless?


In Publishing News this week…

 I was contacted today by a writer notifying me of a new scam… on the surface I saw nothing wrong but the writer pointed out that the agent in question should have never used the words 'payment remittance advice' from a financial controller. 

Now you may think that is so under the radar as to be easily overlooked but the author in question went back to the agent. (Note: You should always do this. Ring them and talk in person.) The agent had clicked on a link and inadvertently installed malware on his computer which then gathered up all his email addresses and used them to contact authors… promising money which the authors clicked on spreading the malware. 

Authors are so poorly paid, of course we are going to click on anything that promises us royalties. 

However, this kind of scam targets the financial affairs of agents and publishers. How many of them have tight controls over who can access their financial accounts… and their authors financial accounts? How secure are they? The author who alerted me to this commented that with everyone having to use 2 factor identification all the time elsewhere it seems absurd that publishers and agents aren’t doing the same to limit peoples access to their own accounts. 

Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware has updated the fake agent scam that hit last year… it seems there are many variations around and this year the scam trend continues. Over Summer I had a fascinating conversation with a bank analyst who told me the biggest banking scams were targeting lawyers who thought they were savvy. Always check up- by phone, not return email. 

Meanwhile Publishers Weekly reports that Adelaide Books who got into hot water when they grew too quickly and fell over when Covid hit is trying to make things right. But it is a cautionary tale which has the Authors Guild spluttering with rage on behalf of the 450 authors involved.


Publishing Perspectives has named the main stage speakers for London Book Fair. The usual CEO’s are speaking but the subjects reflect the hot topics in Traditional publishing; copyrights, licensing, sustainability of their business, supply chain woes, along with inclusivity and how to get more eyeballs. I wonder if they will come up with any solutions?


Sales numbers are a hot topic if you are a publishing CEO – The latest figures from Nielsen and the Association of American Publishers makes interesting reading or if you’re Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard only a pointer to what he has worked out is the true figure, which is many billions more than Nielsen and AAP think.


With the news this week that Harper Collins is going into mediation with its striking staff – a muted cheer went up among HC authors and agents. Today Harper Collins announced they are laying off 5% of their workforce- OUCH.


AI images and the threat to income dominates the artists water cooler talk. Two of the main image suppliers Getty and Shutterstock have formed opposing camps. Shutterstock is partnering with AI and Getty has released a formal statement taking AI to court.


In lighter news…

Kris Rusch has an interesting tale around the theme the problems in your writing are the problems in your life.

Ruth Harris asks if you are guilty of the Writing No No’s which may be ruining your book and Daphne Grey- Grant has an interesting article on how to prepare an annual writing plan.


In The Craft Section,

Units of story- StoryGrid- Bookmark

2 great articles from the Dream Team. How to choose the right 

kind of conflict and How does internal conflict fit into the character arc- Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Transition sentences- Grammarly – Bookmark

Developing a scene outline for your novel C S Lakin- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Should you hire a book publicist- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

10 tips for author blog traffic- Anne R Allen

7 ways to build direct connections with readers- podcast with Penny Sansevieri

8 author website marketing mistakes- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Selling Books direct- Joanna Penn in conversation with Steve Pieper- Bookmark


To Finish,

Elizabeth Spann Craig has a nifty blog with a great roundup of articles but this week she shone a spotlight onto her  7 favourite resources for writers. Do you use any of them? If you have something to add to the list – feel free to comment below.




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

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



Pic: Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Data is The Answer


In Publishing News this week…

A slow week on the publishing front unless your last name starts with T and ends in P.

Publishers Weekly reports on a lawsuit to stop Simon and Schuster from publishing a memoir from a criminal prosecutor who believes a criminal lawsuit has to happen against the former president. As PW reports anytime Trump throws lawyers at a book… it ends up a bestseller.


Techcrunch reports on the Shutterstock and Open AI deal. This is an ongoing story to keep one eye on. How the artist community picks their way through the minefield of AI assistance will inform how the writing community can do the same, notably around plagiarism. Interestingly, after Gizmodo outed CNET (see last weeks blog) the policy of using AI to write articles quickly changed. Gizmodo tries out the AI tool on Shutterstock with mixed results. Meanwhile a content writer for Buffer has conflicted feelings about using the AI tool for her job.


If you are battling against book pirates or other plagiarists, Knight in Shining Armor, Nate Hoffelder has a great post which you should bookmark on how to file a DMCA takedown notice. He’s done the hard work for you as this article is chock full of links and advice. 


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has an interesting post on the uncounted book industry which is worth half a billion dollars last year from KDP alone. So exactly how many books are being published out there?

While Mark is looking at the big picture Draft2Digital has an interesting blog post on how to track all your own sales.


Joanna Penn is launching her latest book on Kickstarter. In this interesting post she talks about using Kickstarter like a book launch pad and how she approached her first time Kickstarter project. Her Kickstarter was for a modest amount that has already exceeded expectations.


Kathy Steinmann has a post on going down the KDP rabbit hole when your book is unexpectedly pulled from the site and what you can do about it. 


Over the last few years the word on author websites is that at the very least you have to have a landing page that you own somewhere. 

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a comprehensive post on how to get people coming back to your website again and again.

Nate Hoffelder writes in a guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog about the 10 website mistakes new authors make and how to fix them.

Penny Sansevieri has a great post on how to sell books from your website. Penny breaks down the various partners you can use and what is involved.


Colleen Story has a great post on permission and how you have to give it to yourself.


Kris Rusch has the last in her 2022 in review series and this week she muses about estate planning- something our wider family has been focused on since halfway through 2022. When a near relative has an extensive literary estate and their health is not good… you realise the importance of a literary executor and what life of copyright really means.


In The Craft Section

7 ways to decide what story idea should come next- K M Weiland

How to use ProWriting Aid- Sue Coletta

Build suspense with secrets- Christina Delay- Bookmark

Character sketch template – Shayla Raquel

6 lessons learned from 4 years of writers block- K M Weiland- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

No one wants to hear you breathe- Tips on narration – Gabbi Coatsworth

Tips to get people to your book signing- Michael Gallant- Bookmark

How to write a blog post people read- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

Infographic on marketing to different generations- Barb Drozowich

What do literary agents want you to know- Amy Collins with Sandra Beckwith


To Finish

Last week I was preparing to go to the first author conference in a very very long time. I had a great day and met some great people. Among them was Nat Connors, a data scientist who runs Kindletrends- a deep dive weekly newsletter of analysis in any of your chosen categories. Everywhere I went people kept telling me I had to talk to Nat. He was an interesting chap and his service is praised by lots of writers- a great endorsement. 

One of the guest speakers was another lover of data and analysis, Deb Potter. She has a great book on Amazon Ads for writers trying to figure out how to do them. Here she is being interviewed by the Spa Girls podcast. These were just two of the many awesome writers who came from around the country and overseas for a one day conference. 

It is always beneficial to your writing soul to meet up with others in this crazy industry. You never know what you may learn.





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

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



Pic:  Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

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