Thursday, April 2, 2020

Fighting On

As the world struggles to deal with the pandemic, the publishing world is also struggling to survive in rapidly changing times. Like the musicians of the Titanic who bravely played jaunty tunes as the ship was sinking underneath them, so the publishing world is putting on a brave face while the ground rocks under their feet. We can have book fairs online said Bologna.

Around the world, publishers and booksellers are fighting to keep going. In Italy, the first of the European countries to really grapple with the pandemic, the cultural industry federation has called on their government to see their industry as essential. Preserving and supporting Italian culture and heritage is vital in this time they say so that something remains on the other side of the pandemic.

Today, here in New Zealand, we learned that all of our major magazines have been terminated effective immediately because of the lack of advertising. That is nearly three hundred journalists out of work not to mentions art editors, designers, photographers, printers, distributors etc. The flow-on effects are huge and also the potential loss of cultural and historical print institutions.

Meanwhile, Amazon, the everything store, has slowed down their delivery of what they see as non-essential. Books apparently fit in this category. If they aren’t supporting us surely they could waive their fees – the publishers cry.

There are many calls to shop indie to keep the independent booksellers alive. Many of them have ramped up their online web stores and have become creative in how they deliver locally. When you are stuck inside with the kids a dedicated book store can still get your reading books, puzzles and colouring books to you. Many bookstores are resorting to GoFundMe campaigns to stay viable. 

In times of crisis, people turn to comfort foods and occupations, binge-watching movies, TV, online gaming and reading books, all created by storytellers in different mediums. We are an essential industry. However, there seems to be a gap in the understanding of the average person that the storytellers need to be paid for their work. This is their livelihood. 
Recently, the Internet Archive in the U S made their collection of IN COPYRIGHT books freely available and downloadable. (Who needs pirates when institutions do this.) This directly tramples all over the writer's income. The Authors Guild have sent an open letter of protest

Many authors have been attacked online for NOT supporting the free downloads of their work. In the culture of free content, the creator gets nothing. This is not sustainable. 
The creator works for free only in certain circumstances- when they can afford it.  Hopefully, the W.H.O. call to creatives to help in the Covid 19 response will also generate some paying work.

While we are in lockdown and staring down the barrel of a great recession Nathan Bransford decided to interview Mike Shatzkin about how he sees the publishing world on the other side. The pandemic will cause an acceleration of consolidation and the rivals to Amazon will start to move. Fascinating ideas here.

Kris Rusch brings her calm good sense to the fore in her most recent blog. Many of us have been feeling creatively lost, struggling to get the words out and wondering how to be creative in the face of such uncertainty. Kris says this is a normal reaction and offers some great advice for getting through the tough times. Chuck Wendig also has thoughtful advice on how to cope with creativity in this time.

Sharon Bially writes that there is a silver lining in not being able to have your book launch in an article on Writer Unboxed. Here is a great opportunity to have two book launches… the online one now and when everything gets back to normal, the real-life one. Check out her ideas for making the most of the extended promotion of your book.

In The Craft Section,

How to set tone and mood- Janice Hardy – Bookmark

How to rescue an endangered book- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Character internalization- Jami Gold-Bookmark

500 writing prompts- Written Word Media

Write tight- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

7 expert tricks for author newsletters- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Book marketing during Covid 19- Judith Briles- Bookmark

Book Marketing and Covid 19-Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

For some people, this will be a time when they commit to writing down the book they have always wanted to write. Writer Guru Jerry Jenkins has pulled together a comprehensive post on how to write a book. 

For the rest of us…
 Chin up- We can get through this.

(Day 7 LD)

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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.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Being Kind

This week I sent out my monthly newsletter just before New Zealand began to prepare for a four-week lockdown. We are entering an uncertain time. I get to share my working space with my family for four weeks solid. This could be challenging. Here are some of the ideas I shared in my newsletter for writers coping in this brave new world.
Clean up all your computer files.
Back up all your documents.
Shelve your books alphabetically, or by colour… or practice book structure sculpture.
Write a book review and post it online every day for Book Karma.
Study a good film for plot points and emotional payoffs- Do it as a group activity (family time?)
Check-in with your loved ones and your colleagues. This is about physical distancing not social distancing. 
Be Kind To Yourself

The calm good sense of K M Weiland on the power of hopeful stories when the world seems a bit mad is a nice reminder that the world needs storytellers. 

Joanna Penn has a great article on productivity from guest writer, Tiffany Joy. If your productivity has gone out the window it is alright to regroup and try again.

Nate Hoffelder has a great post on how to look at your author business and move forward with a new plan for when we come out on the other side. Very sensible, also his 6 stages of grief are right on target.

Anne R Allen has been looking at Amazon’s review policy and yes, they have changed it again. Now you have to be careful of ARC team reviews. But as Anne says there are other places you can leave reviews.

New Zealand was going to be hosting the WorldCon this year and now the whole country is in lockdown. As a nice pivot Worldcon will be virtual. 
Meanwhile, BEA is still attempting to go ahead despite the withdrawals of 3 big publishers.

Kris Rusch has dug out an old post on setting priorities if you are new to working from home. This is absolutely the best advice as we figure out how to work in this brave new world of coronavirus lockdown. She then continued her current thinking about black swan events and what might be coming down the track for author business.

In The Craft Section,

5 ingredients for story subtext- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Creative Writing Prompts and Writing Exercises from Reedsy- Bookmark Both

How to format dialogue – Jami Gold - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to get publicity- Tom Corson Knowles- Bookmark

April - unique content ideas- Penny Sansevieri – Bookmark

To Finish,

Last week was I was writing about creativity. The Oatmeal blog came up with an awesome comic on creativity. 
Here in New Zealand we are lucky to have a brilliant microbiologist and a cartoonist join forces to write creative, entertaining and factual daily articles that are now being shared globally.
Be Kind. Stay strong.

Day One of New Zealand Lockdown

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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