Thursday, October 21, 2021

Conflict, Disruption and Scandal.


In Publishing news this week,

Scandal, shock, and naughty words were muttered around author communities this week. 


In New Zealand, a government ministry gave money to a start-up. (It can’t be called a start-up if it is 6 years old, but I digress) The Start-Up’s innovative idea was to find out what New Zealand readers are searching for and make appropriate recommendations. This is a big project. They asked and got a big grant of money. But then the flaws in their idea were exposed. One of their recommendations, buy your content (books) from Amazon. (Shipping costs from the US are astronomical.) Had no one in the ministry heard that local indie bookshops do a similar job? I see that Publishers Weekly has picked up this news item. (Shakes head sadly.)


News broke that a group of prominent American Young Adult authors were touting NFT’s to their fans to write content for them in a murky publicity stunt. Their publisher really hadn’t thought through the copyright implications of this. Many authors yelled naughty words this morning and the project has been quickly taken down… but mud sticks.


Forbes breathlessly announced the arrival of a wonderful social media platform that aims to disrupt the publishing industry by… gathering readers in one place to talk about books. 

This is an innovative idea. I wonder that it hasn’t been tried before. There have been howls of laughter around the publishing world. But maybe this Oxford MBA grad is onto something.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard always has a well-researched take on international publishing news. He takes a look at the quiet takeover of a French ebook subscription company and the gateway into a huge market it promises for this Swedish company.


This week the children’s writing community around the world lost the king of the-coming-of -age survival story, Gary Paulson. Hatchet made an impact in gritty boy alone survival stories even down under. Gary wrote other great stories that slipped under your skin when you read them. Here is a great tribute to a great writer.


Recently KDP slipped in a new feature to the barcode section on the print book cover. If they provide the barcode they will add a transparency QR code which you can load with extra information about the book. Lots of possibilities here.


Don’t forget to sign up for the free Alliance of Independent authors 24 hour craft conference. It’s happening this weekend!


Kris Rusch has an interesting article on IP. How much do you know about your IP? What about books that are out of print and still relevant- shouldn’t they be saved? She takes a look at an Australian project to save cultural works of art that are still in copyright but out of print. Have the publishers missed a cash cow here?


Chapter titles, do you agonise over them? Children’s writers know this can be an important touchstone for children when they are learning to read. Anne R Allen has a great post on why she thinks they should be important for adult readers. Namely the eBook. What better way to advertise your book than the chapter titles- after all we do it for non fiction.


October is National Novel Preparation Month- The month where you get all your planning done so you can start November with a roar. Stephanie Bourbon has a great article on how to plan as a Pantser writer and hit a winning streak. Angela Ackerman also has a great nuts and bolts article on NaNoWriMo prep. It’s time to sharpen your pencils.


Are you addicted to research? Recently editor Denise Willson wrote on Writer Unboxed an excellent article on how to tackle plot holes, dragging middles and spicy events that have lost their fizz. It’s all in your research.


Bridget McNulty has a great article on Now Novel which breaks down the 6 types of Story Conflict. This is a useful resource to remind you that there are other conflicts besides name calling and punch ups.

In The Craft Section,

How to make the reader care- Ross Hartman- Bookmark

Top 5 Subplot mistakes- Lucy Hay- Bookmark

Two great posts - Internal conflict and Using conflict to build tension- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark Both

Capturing complex emotions- Tamar Sloan


In The Marketing Section,

November holidays for promo- Sandra Beckwith

Comp authors and marketing- David Gaughran – Bookmark

Why understanding categories is critical- Penny Sansevieri-Bookmark

Nonfiction Keyword strategy- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

12 things about book marketing and social media- Indie Reader


To Finish,

October is rapidly disappearing, and the problems of the supply chain are about to bite. It might be doom and gloom for print over Christmas, but have you thought about innovative ways to highlight eBooks and audiobooks? Lisa Norman writes about a different way of viewing the coming supply disruption. She has some brilliant ideas. It has changed my thinking… off to make notes.




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 – Jean Phillipe Bourque


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Time Pressure



This week in publishing,


The dynamic duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have launched a new writing thesaurus – The Conflict Thesaurus. As usual, there are lots of cool giveaways but first, you have to go through a choose your own adventure in the writing camp of doom. This is lots of fun and the new thesaurus looks amazing. Well done Angela and Becca!


The School Library Journal is an important trade journal for teachers and librarians. They recently had an article on the supply chain woes that are beginning to bite. Libraries are starting to see a slowdown in acquiring books. 


Joanna Penn interviewed an anthropologist this week on creating cultures. It is fascinating stuff. Are you trying to create cultures for games or book worlds? Find your trusty anthropologist… or dust off those old Uni notes from those courses you did- it turns out that you can have an exciting career in anthropology after all.


Paul Simon is releasing an audiobiography. If you thought I spelled that word wrong- I didn’t. Paul has been working with Malcolm Gladwell and recorded an audiobook autobiography with some new music he has been working on. He has also added conversations with his close friends along with stories of his life. It is an expansion of the audiobook format to encompass a documentary for the ears. This offers loads of possibilities to writers wanting unique audiobook ideas.


How much do you know about the paper your books are printed on? Do you know what 80 gsm or uncoated means? Jane Friedman has a guest post from Andrew Watson who has delved into the treasure trove of printed paper and compiled a book of tips and explanations for working with printers. 


Writer Unboxed has an interesting post from Kathleen McCleary on being a passive protagonist of your own writing life. This gets to the heart of some knotty issues that you may be facing but didn’t know it. 


Barb Drozdowich has a guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog on the 5 Indie author mistakes. The first one caught me by surprise- a failure to think globally. As I was reading, I was thinking about the implications of selling yourself short. Are you frightened of success?


We are beginning the last quarter of the year and Penny Sansevieri has a timely post on refreshing your book marketing. She suggests 5 core marketing strategies that you do every quarter to keep yourself current. 


Angie Hodapp of the Nelson Literary Agency has an interesting post – Genre Isn’t Everything and High Concept Isn’t King. She breaks down stories based on four different types of appeal. This is a great article for looking at your stories in a different way.


In The Craft Section,

Using writer’s intuition to solve problems- Laura Highcove - Bookmark

The only reason your story premise is important- K M Weiland - Bookmark

5 tips for nail biting suspense- Savannah Cordova

How and why reading improves writing- Sue Coletta - Bookmark

Are epilogues good or bad?- Mythcreants- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

14 Virtual tour strategies- Leila Hirschfeld- Bookmark

Top 10 tips for a BB featured deal- Draft2Digital

Advertising design elements that impact ad clicks- L A Sartor- Bookmark

How to grow your author social media platform- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

How to do a Multi-author anthologies- This is a fascinating read- Bookmark


To Finish,

Colleen Story, a writing coach, talks about the four questions you should ask yourself about why you write and whether writing really matters to you. This is a chance to dive deep into your psyche and examine your motivation.

Kristine Rusch has been looking at these questions from the deadline end. Do you have external deadlines? Do you make internal deadlines? Are they stimulating or terrifying?

Are you more productive when someone else is holding the stopwatch? 





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 – William Warby

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