Thursday, December 16, 2010

The 12 Links of Christmas...

School is out today and I’m eating juicy summer strawberries trying not to look at my very very long 'To Do' list that has to be done before we head away for the Christmas holidays on Sunday. 
No rest for the they say...I think ‘they’ have got it wrong coz I’ve been good all year...honestly!

Looking back over the year online...I expanded my online presence....

I joined Facebook on a Tuesday and two days later got swept up into the amazing  FaBo Story Project. I had a blast with my fellow writers as we developed a children’s online story. I was in awe of the kids who chose to get involved and am looking forward to FaBo 2...which has started, and will ramp up into another way out story next year. The first chapter being written by our winning child author. (Can’t really call him a child author he writes absolutely wonderfully-check out the final winning chapter.)

Twitter has taken over as my first Go To Research Tool. I am constantly amazed at how much people use twitter in real time emergency situations. I was following some of the up to the minute requests on twitter from the rescuers at the Pike River Mine. I knew that it was a powerful resource when my husband came back from the office saying that one of his colleagues had started a twitter English Spanish translation service for the worldwide aid community to deal with the huge aid requests coming out of Haiti last year. It would be interesting to know how quickly Kiwis have taken up tweeting.

On my blog, the search box has got a work out and Craicerplus (my Amplify page) has got its own followers. 
I was surprised and touched to find so many of you take the time to read my weekly blog post when I discovered that I was closing in on my 2000th reader this year. That is quite staggering when you think about it....Thank you everyone!  And a big THANK YOU to all those who took the time to comment on the blog or started Facebook discussions about what interested you.

So onwards to this weeks interesting links.

Seth Godin is about to turn publishing on its head, again, with the launch of The Domino Project. As one of the biggest influencers on the web, where Seth goes today, will be the norm by this time next year....

Scholastic issued their top ten trends in Children’s writing this year and many commentators are lining their own lists up and comparing them. Things we know...paranormal is still huge...things we should be aware of, Humour is coming back....was it ever away???

Larry Brooks (yes he is that Larry Brooks) has a great post on his Storyfix website. 8 moments you absolutely need to deliver to your readers and 1 that you should hope for.

For all the small business owners who read the blog...(writers, that’s you too) Marketing Experiments Blog has a great article on Facebook marketing...when you read it, substitute the word facebook for website and the same things apply. Great Advice!

If you are looking for a great Christmas present, Don Miller has listed the 7 best books to read, to make you a better writer. I have read (or own) most of the list. I would add two more... Story by Robert McKee and How To Tell A Story, by Gary Provost and Peter Rubie.

The amazing has a great post for all the author/illustrators out there...How agents rep author/illustrators.

Over on Craicerplus ( my Amplify page.) I have links to articles on

Get Your Opinions Off My Stuff -Why Not All Critique Is Equal...(excellent rant!)

The Worst Mistake A Writer Can Make....(good advice)

Facebook Tips For Writers...(read with pinch of salt)

10 Tasty iPad Apps For Writers

6 Questions NOT to Ask A Writer

The Pie In The Face Writing Method.

And now we come to the link presents...

The Twelve Days Of Christmas For Writers and Famous Inboxes. (my geek self loved Captain Kirks inbox but Elizabeth Bennets is the best!!)

and the Christmas video...


P.S. I will be back in the New Year...You can catch up with me on facebook and twitter and I will drop in from time to time with interesting links.
pic is Pukeko In A Ponga Tree by Kingi Ihaka. Illustrated by the great Dick Frizzell

Friday, December 10, 2010

Oh to be a Rockstar...

Yesterday the New Zealand Children’s Literature community heard the wonderful news that there will be a new award for Illustrators. 

In the roundup today of interesting links for you all I couldn’t resist sharing this insightful post from Janet Reid (agent) How to Find Out If Your Agent Is An Idiot....(Let’s be careful out there.)

Laurie Ryan has been posting an excellent series for writers on using Excell.  This week she is looking at setting up programmes to help research Editors and Agents. Take a look and trawl back through her other posts on submission tracking and manuscript construction.

Daily Writing tips have a post looking at the High Concept. If you have always wondered about this term go and take a look...who knows you might have a Jaws on your hands.

 If you are thinking over the summer that you would like to revamp your website...take a look at Author Tech Tips. They have just posted 7 Tips for Amazing Author Websites.

Jonathan Field posted an article on his blog about viral serendipity and how to use it on your blog. Justine Musk is looking at the two sides of marketing and who actually buys your books. These are both very good articles on the business of being in business as a writer.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

Hope And The Aspiring Writer

Your Writing May Be Good But...(good advice from an agent)

Advice To The Writer (great quotes from Great writers lol ...would make good Christmas greetings for the 
crafty amongst us.)

Also on a Christmas theme....16 drinks Named For Authors and Their Books. (Try only if you want to have some of the same out of head experiences....)

 We are now into the Christmas round up season.

Next week, School is out and life will get more chaotic than it is at the moment...Hopefully I will get another Blog in before Christmas....


Apologies for being late in posting. The Wellington Children's Book Association Annual Children's Literature Christmas Quiz was so good last night that I fell into bed instead of posting my weekly blog article. The National Librarians scrambled to the fore in a very close contest!
Fantastic to see Dylan Owen back on his feet and as sharp as ever as Quiz Maestro...What a tricky mind that guy has....

pic is the New Zealand  Illustrators  current Rock Star - - Ann Mallinson

Thursday, December 2, 2010

And the winner is....

Congratulations Dear Reader, You have become the 2000th visitor to my Blog this year. 

I hope that you have enjoyed popping in and checking out the links. I have been thinking of you as I research the web each week looking for tidbits you may like....

In your honour I have compiled a funny set of writing related links for you as we need a pick me up before the silly season gets sillier and for the Kiwis we need a dose of good cheer after the last week of tragedy.

So First Up.

Nathan Bransford posted an article about the Nine Circles of Hell for writers. This is a laugh and wince because it is a true look at the writer and their attempts to write a novel....(This is especially for all those writers struggling with relationship issues to their current WIP)

Next Up.

For all those writers who having finished NaNoWrMo have now entered NaNoEdMo (December being editing that novel you wrote in November....)

Yes even multitalented award winning writers get sent the Editorial Letter.
John Gilstrap shares his letter with comments about improvements that could be made to his current WIP. This is a great look at professionalism from the editor and a timely reminder to the writer that there is always something to work on.

For those of you who pop in to Craicer looking for information on websites, blogging and marketing tips.... 

Joanna Penn has an excellent interview with Justine Musk (Tribal Writer) on Blogging and authenticity. Joanna has the podcast, the video and the notes of this great interview on her site. Take the time to have a good look at what Joanna is doing....This is the future.

A timely reminder to those of you who are regular users of Social Media as part of your business.(That's all of us, writing being a business.) Do not fall into the trap of lifting articles from the web and publishing them in your magazine. Here is the latest morality tale for you about an arrogant editor and the writers revenge...

Now that you are feeling good and are patting yourself on the back, you may find that it is time to give yourself a challenge. 

Writeitsideways has the writing makeover challenge for you. 31 days to change your writing habits...take it only if your habits need changing.....Goodness knows mine do.

There is a brand new publisher coming Down Under. They specialise in Children’s Books and Apps...with a name like Nosy Crow who wouldn’t love them already...Check out Beatties Blog for more info on this opportunity.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) there are links to Articles on  

How To Nurture Your Creativity...this is The Blogging 101 article.

20 Obsolete English Words That Should Make A Comeback...especially good if you are writing an historical 

Also for those people who love historical novels check out this funny video link at Smart Bitches Trashy Books  Friday Video...(No it is not what it seems...Go and check out the site and have a laugh.)

J K Rowling Shouldn’t Write Any More Harry Potter Books (Harry and the Midlife Crisis...)

The Art Of Pitching.....This is chock full of tips!

And So Back we come to The Craicer Blog where I leave you with my most up to date link and the funniest video I have seen in a while...

Kristin of Warrior Writer has become one of ‘those must stop by’ links. Today she has a great article on being professional....Go read it because everyone reading this blog is professional and committed to their passions...(ok we’re not rich in pocket but we are rich in soul...)

Thanks for popping in over the year,
Enjoy the video,

Don't Forget The WCBA Annual Christmas Quiz is on December 9th

Thursday, November 25, 2010

3 Degree's Of Separation - RIP Pike River Miners.

It has been a tragic week here in New Zealand. 

Last Friday news came of a huge explosion in the Pike River Mine with 29 miners trapped. Yesterday, another huge explosion ripped through the mine just before a rescue attempt was about to start. There are no survivors.

People around the world talk about ‘6 degrees of separation,’ the layers of connectivity between you and the rest of the world. In New Zealand, (small Island nation of 4 million) it is about 3 degrees. Everybody knows someone, who knows someone, on the West Coast of the South Island. Everyone on the Coast will know someone connected to that mine.

Through twitter and facebook we were able to keep up to date with latest news from the mine and while I was scanning the boards I came across this article about using social network for writers.

I abandoned my attempts at writing because I couldn’t concentrate and instead found some good articles on plot, 6 signs of a healthy plot and a great collection of helpful articles on editing.

A friend has been looking at the brainstorming process while beginning to plot a new book and so I have been reading up on structure and came across this great article on how do you know your idea is strong enough for a book...and is it Mid Grade or Young Adult and while you are writing should you post any of it on your blog?

Over On Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have articles on

Exoplanet found in another Galaxy...(geeking, no apologies)

The Publishing Borg Are Here, Lead, Follow Or Get The Hell Out Of The Way. (Great Article By the 
Brilliant Bob Mayer)

4 Agent Pet Peeves...(read and don’t make the same mistakes...)

You Are Not Like MIlli Vanilli (shaking off the imposter syndrome)

How Do Authors Make Money-Thinking Beyond The Book.

Canceling A Project- Reality Check...(it’s a tough world out there, don’t think you’re home until the book is printed...)

After feeling completely depressed by events here in New Zealand, it was nice to read an article in Publishers Weekly about mid list authors who are having success after moving to a smaller press...and making the smaller press successful. Win Win.

My Thoughts and Prayers are with the people on ‘The Coast.’

RIP Pike River Miners (29 dead, aged between 17 and 62)


Friday, November 19, 2010

Making Like A Professional...

Tonight I had the privilege of being in a room full of children’s authors at a function hosted by The Children’s Book Shop and the Wellington Children’s Book Association. 
Christmas Book Buying Night, where the authors are on hand to talk about their books and sign them along with wine and nibbles and a 10% discount. 
A glass of wine helps any author to stand up and talk about their books and, for those of us there, the questions were really interesting. We talked about the publication process, the waiting for acceptance, the make or breaks for a book, and our current projects. 
One author showed off her book which has been made into an iPad application. For some guests it was the first time they had seen an iPad let alone a children’s book that could be played with, coloured in,  record your own voice reading the story.....

With new technology there are so many ways to get your message across.

Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer blog has listed 17 ways for writers to publish content. The comments on this article list a few more to think about especially repackaging content.

The writing blogosphere has been up in arms this week over a publisher who has been targeting MFA programmes to find young and hungry writers who know nothing about the industry and signing them up to punishing contracts which take away all their future earnings....  
John Scalzi has published an open letter to MFA programmes urging them to make available classes in publishing business practice and telling them they have a duty after taking all that money to make sure that their students don’t get caught in some very bad situations like this one...because students who think that having an MFA from a respected institution will protect them because they 'know all about the industry'...are being sucked in... 
If you haven’t heard about this (scam) Please take the time to read John's Letter and tell others to read it as well. We should all be aware that if it looks to good to be true...Read and Understand the Fine Print... (It is part of being professional!)

If you are thinking about reading some more industry blogs (in the spirit of being a professional) pop over to Writetodone. Leo Babauta, one of the top bloggers in the entire blogosphere, is hosting the 5th annual top ten blogs for writers contest. Already nominated are many of the blogs I refer to or have referenced in my blog over the last two years. But don’t take my word for it, go and have a look at what other bloggers are saying about the best blogs out there for writers.

Among the best blogs for writers out there is Angela Ackerman’s fabulous Bookshelf Muse. Angela’s project to compile thesaurus for writers on Emotions, Settings, Symbolism etc. Debbie Maxwell Allen has given a quick run down of Angela’s site...if you can’t take it all in at once, it is such a huge project! 
Congratulations Angela on making 300.000 hits to the site. Yes it really is worth a look! (I first referenced Angela back in May and look where the blog is now-talk about growth!)

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to Articles on

What Happened To Down Time- The Extinction Of Deep Thinking And Sacred Space. (This is one of those thought provoking articles that change your life)

Should I Tweet?- An Agents Perspective On Marketing...(This article has made best of the week lists all over 
the writing blogosphere.)

Kristin Lambs 3rd structure article- (Really good stuff!)

Is Contemporary YA A Difficult Market?...(comments on facebook and twitter about this one...)

A New Imprint Is Launched -YaYa- teen authors writing for teens.....

Deescribe has a great guest post on marketing by Aussie Tania McCartney. Tania has self published a series of popular books and she shares tips on how to market. This is comprehensive and full of good advice. After all that is what tonight was all about we were marketing....and we were having a great time doing it too.

FaBo is winding to a triumphant conclusion. The team has had a ball. The kids writing into us have stretched us and challenged us and astounded us with their brilliance. It has been a fabulous ride. Go over and check out the penultimate chapter....


pic is the cover of the movie.....yup that's us... children's writers....maybe the Fabo team....hehehehehehe

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Transition or....

This week I have been thinking about transition, the movement from one state to another. 
In our busy home there have been a few moments of transition. Some big. Some small. One child finished her school life. After exams the big wide scary world beckons...of course the parents are feeling it as well. How did she grow up so fast? 

Because of the older sisters transition, a younger one has to step up and do more for themselves. No one else is going to do the lunch, make sure you catch the bus in time etc. 

Last weekend I was on camp with the Youth Group. Here the transition was marked with half of the Youth coming from refugee camps. Learning English is hard enough, but what do you do with a sleeping bag...a kayak...a BBQ experiences all this is being a Kiwi?

In the writing blogosphere transition seems to be a dominant theme this week as well.

Kristen Lamb has a great series running over on her blog on structure and plot problems. This is one of the best articles I have read on looking at the 3 act structure and where writers can fail. You will be looking for the purple dragons in your manuscript.

Victoria Mixon has four rules that should be up over your desk...If you fail at any one of these the purple dragon will appear...

Writer’s Alley looks at storyboarding software (freebees) and there are some great programmes out there. Take a look at the screenshots. They give you are good feel for what the programme can do and if you love MS Word there are a few tips in there as well. It helps you to step back from your writing.

Jackee Aiston has a good set of rules for writing...where are your time wasters? How do you use your time? If you need to transition from staring at the screen to actually getting some work done these may be a good help.

What can be negotiated in a contract...what should be in there. Rachelle Gardner has a must read post on always I urge you to read the comments. Rachelle is a prominent member of the agent blogging community and is widely followed.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

How Writers Can Use Twitter

How To Write Fights Games Races and Chases...

What Makes A Great Blog Tour

The Big List Of RPG Plots....(this is seriously good!!!)

To finish  Bob Mayer has a great article up on his blog Write It Forward....'Resistance is Futile' about the future of publishing as he sees it.  Bob is an excellent teacher and multi published best selling writer...Go take a look...

Transition or Die....


Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Impressions....

Ah Facebook...such a time waster sometimes, and sometimes not.

This week Facebook friend, Sarah Billington, posted on her blog what it is like being an intern at Black Dog Books (Aus.) Sarah is a writer herself and as part of her Uni course got to look at life on the other side of the desk. Sarah has written a small series of posts about being an intern at Black of the takeaways this week was her comment ‘that if you say you are a published author, they will google you.’

I am sometimes told by writers here in NZ that we don’t need websites. Sarah’s comments in her blog and facebook are timely. Yes, writers down under, you need a web presence! (And remember to spend some time making your web presence interesting.)
‘Send them to my Blog, Maureen,’ she said...So I am sending you....

You have slaved over the query letter and now you send it in...You are hoping to make a good impression... Rachelle Gardner commented this week about receiving a query letter that starts thusly...

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete."

This is a good list to look at...and check your work against, before you craft that important query letter.

Before the query you need to make sure your manuscript is as good as it can get. This post by Douglas Van Bell is a must read. The most Comprehensive and Totally Universal Listing Of Every Problem A Story Has Ever Had...(warning strong content...heheheheh I did warn you...)

And if you are feeling worn out with fixing all those little mistakes here is an inspirational post on keeping the momentum going...The secret is all in the first thing you do each day...

Mike Shatzkin is looking at the serious money being put into enhanced digital books for children. Companies are scrambling to be first in the new wave of publishing that is going to transform children’s books....Will they be called 'books' in the future?

Pimpmynovel has also been looking at the future and what it will mean to publishers very soon....He predicts the rise of the Indie bookstore...check out what he says about agents...

Greg Pincus interviewed Holly Cupala about all the innovative ways she is using to market her books. Holly has kept the audio rights and is making her own audio versions using her own narrators, etc. This, and making episodes available as podcasts, has generated huge interest in her print books. A must read if you are interested in podcasting and retaining your rights.

Over on Craicerplus ( My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on,

What do Self Publishing Success Stories Have In Common (marketing)

ePublishing All You Ever Wanted To Know.

Anatomy of A Best Selling Novel -Structure Matters (very very good)

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Rights-(the great Jane so a must read.)

The Great Semi Colon Debate...(do you use them )

And back we go to the first place I mentioned in this post, Facebook. Allison Winn has a very good post on what writers should be thinking when they are on Facebook Personal Vs Professional.

I’ll leave you now, senses reeling from all that valuable information....with the first in a great YouTube series by the Plot Whisperer...If you are looking for novel help (NaNoWriMo people) check this out. From this video I realised I have a plot hole in my Mars Project...crater sized...back to work!


pic is from a website looking at neural first iimpressions

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Going Up...

This week the country waited with baited breath to find out if The Hobbit will be filmed here. 
Wellington is a small city chock full of creative people. Everybody knows somebody who worked on Lord Of The Rings...or a Peter Jackson movie, or a WETA production so the uncertainty has had Wellington particularly on a knife edge lately. Wellington is a happier place this morning.

With the speed of time, (why does it always feel faster as we get towards the end of the year) November is just around the corner and for those of you who are thinking about NaNoWriMo (writing a novel in a month) and throwing up your is a link to writing a novel in three days. The secret is all in the planning.

Publishing Perspectives has an article up on Online Writing Communities. Chris Vannozzi has co founded a website that puts you in touch with other writers to form critique groups etc. Chris thinks this model is much better than going back to Uni and doing a creative writing programme...Have a read and tell me what you think....

Rachelle Gardner has a plea to writers to understand their business...that writing is a business and she has a list of books in her article to help you with this notion. As always I urge you to read the comments...because there are some additions to her list and some good advice in there.

Justine Musk has written the second part of her series on multiple revenue streams for writers. This is a comprehensive article on where writers can develop their niche expertise and also how writers can think outside of the small box. It is a good jumping off point to think about who you are, who does your audience perceive you as and how can you help your audience to fund you directly...(a nice little lead in to...)

By now regular readers will know that I am very interested in where publishing is going in the future and what the impact will be for writers. Mike is a publishing futurist. He also has the publishing street cred and his last years predictions for publishing into the future are coming true...The speed of change is almost at lightspeed. Today Mike is commenting on the pick up by Hollywood of vertical  publishing. Mike was warning publishers at the beginning of the year that they would have to look at moving towards vertical publishing.

For the average writer tho, a look at this article on 6 Things Your Website Should Tell Book Reviewers About You And Your Book is a timely link to vertical publishing individually. (add a cafe press store for merchandise and ebooks and you are there really...)  

Over On CraicerPlus ( My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

Plagiarism...Writer Beware

Kindle Singles...Short fiction for ebooks

Top 5 Free ebooks For Writers (Check this out...some of these writers I have referred to in this blog they are 

Mashing Up Children’s Books With Monsters (Dick and Jane and the Vampire....)

How To Write One Page Per Day

The Ultimate Retro Laptop

Five Ways To Make Your Novel Inescapable...(the great Victoria strikes again)

On Launching an Online Community and Micro Publisher from Scratch...(and the lessons herein)

Of course you have to write something....


pic is from popupcity

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Classic Thoughts

At our Wellington Children’s Book Association club night this week we looked at classic books, specifically our favourite all time book. 

As we all have a passion for children’s books none of us could stop at one. The two I picked I couldn’t bring to the meeting because various small members of my family wouldn’t let me borrow them for the night.... So I grabbed some others. 

I was interested to find that, for most of us there, our classic book was the first book we read on our own that made an impact in our young lives...generally at age seven. It seemed to be a recurring theme. The classic book was the first book where we, as children reading, wanted to climb inside the book and totally live in that world.

Oh to write such inspiring words for young readers. (yup...maybe one day)

This thought has been encouraging me all week as I take myself back to Mars and think about character motivation...Getting inside some of my characters heads is hard doesn’t help when it’s forty below and there is a solar flare about to fry everybody....

Today I read a great blog post tackling the question If Your Life Is Boring, Can Your Novel Be Great? This fits my mood of will work out.

Greg Rucka has an interesting essay on how he researches his books. How to research a novel -Hardcore advice. Read a snippet here on Media Bistro. I use the internet and the library a lot! I’ve never thought about YouTube tho.

Mary from was on a publishing trends panel recently and the talk quickly turned to the future of publishing. This is an informative blog post. One, because Mary (agent) was on it as well as Meg Cabot and Two because Lisa Holton of Fourth Story media (Amanda Project) was on it. Oh and publishing trends...if you could predict them you would be rich! (zombie fairies in a dystopian world?)

Richard Curtis, one of the leading agents in the world, has an extremely good article on his blog about timing. When is the right time to go to a bigger publisher...a bigger agent...and why sometimes the writer gets it wrong.

Jeff Sexton has written a compelling blog post about the Psychological Principles Behind A Marketing Success In A Networked World. Do not let the title put you off. This is a very good look at a sleeper hit...and how it happens...(this post has appeared on best of the week lists all over the place.)

Kristen Lamb of Warrior Writers has written a reassuring post to authors about Social Media and why you don’t have to slavishly be on everything. After all you want to write don’t you? She does point out what you should be concentrating on tho.

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify Page) I have links to Articles on

To Smashwords or Not to Smashwords (this is interesting if you are thinking of POD)

15 Amazing Literary Tattoo’s

The Only ‘How To Write’ Lesson you Will Ever Need. (lots of interest in this one)

Writing Rules are Just Tools...(this is a timely post for those of us staring at the edit!)

Nathan Bransford introduced a new client of his this week by having a guest post from him. This was a really good idea for lots of reasons. Nathan has a huge readership, so instant success there. Jim Duncan talked about all the crap queries he did before he got picked up. And in honour of this and his new blog, he has a contest to write a rejection letter response to the query rejection.

I missed out on the deadline for subbing mine but if you want to read some side splitting responses check it out.

My response is below...

Dear (insert name here)
Thankyou for your query response on (insert date).
We are currently oversubscribed with offers on our (select appropriate or all... romance, crime, urban fantasy, science fiction, hero quest, paranormal, horror, erotica, western) manuscript.
Please keep us in mind with any further offers you may make. Don’t forget to read our website blog for updates about what we like...our fascination for the colour orange for example is always a  good start in understanding why we might be (select one, unwilling, unable, unnerved)  about accepting your submitted response.
All good wishes for the future,
(insert current pseudonym)


pic is my classic book...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Publishing In The Now...

The dramatic rescue today, while the world watched, of the Chilean Miners from their underground prison had all the elements of great story telling. 
First the spine chilling event itself, How can they survive? Four months underground, limited food, psychological pressures and the decision not to tell them how long it would take.... The race to innovate new technology and drill down...The emotional and financial toll on the families. Breakthrough, two months earlier than predicted. Extraction. A new birth....

So how long before the book comes out I wonder? I noticed this week that the book on the Christchurch Earthquake has arrived in shops...that’s just under six weeks. Ah, the speed of publishing, either its a speeding train or a camel train.

This week The New York Times trumpeted that the day of the picture book was over. Parents weren’t buying them and children were encouraged to 'read up'. All over the blogosphere articles were posted refuting this and the sentiments expressed in the article from one misguided blogging book mother that she was forcing her 6 year old boy to ‘read up.’

In my experience (professional teacher, expert in reading,) children, especially boys, go backwards and forwards with their reading strategies and confidence until they are about eleven years old. Picture books can be very challenging reads...I’m thinking some of Graeme Base’s work aimed at twelve year olds...Forcing children to ‘read up’ defeats the purpose of encouraging reading. All you are doing is confirming for the child that reading is hard, a chore, and not worth their while....

Writing the books can be hard, a chore, and is debatable whether it is worth your while...but also like reading, writing can be a joy, a challenge and extremely rewarding.

Mike Shatzkin looks at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which has just wrapped up, and what we can learn from it...the world is getting smaller and what has happened in the US publishing industry is going to hit the rest of the world, very soon, harder and faster.

Liz Bury of Publishing Perspectives has an article on the Frankfurt Book Fair which looks at publishers use of ebook rights and what it may mean for world wide rights...tricky little lines in your contract that give the writer a bigger slice of the pie if they are sold in different groups.(Commonwealth rights separate from North American rights etc.)

L J Sellers has posted on the Blood Red Pencil blog, a publishers evaluation check list for Manuscript Readers. This is very informative and a handy little guide to look at before you send your master piece off anywhere.

Victoria Mixon has posted some humdinger articles this week...I could have linked to three but then I thought...just send you all to her site...grab a coffee first because I guarantee you won’t want to leave for a while.

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

5 Articles You Should Have Read Over The Summer (or our winter...but you can read them now as a quick 
‘publishing in the now’ 101 course.)

10 Essentials For The Inspired Writers Life. (No surprises I agree with number 1 completely.)

The Infamous New York Times Article

A Screenshot of the Planning Sheet of a Harry Potter Book. This is really good and a good way of visually plotting all the story arcs...

6 Things You Lose When Writing A Novel...very funny piece from the great Tahereh

Salman Rushdie Has Written A Kids Book...( we could all be legit writers now...)

How To Create A Futuristic World...( now I know why I’m doing so much research....)

And if you have got to the bottom and thought 'hey there isn’t any marketing link...' Never fear, Bookbuzzr has a comprehensive list of ten things to think about when you are using the internet to market your book.


pic...once upon a time this was very now.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rants and Research

The holidays are fast disappearing and my To Do list stays the same. This week has had some highs tho.
My family managed to all go to the movies together. It may not sound like a big deal to you but it is to me. With so many things pulling at each one of us, we can only usually manage to eat together once a week. Family events of more than the fifteen minutes to eat dinner take major planning.  We saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice...and we all enjoyed it for various reasons...How they managed to cleverly mix physics and magic, the mop scene from the old Disney version, Nicolas Cage, and the Harry Potter trailer....

Straight after the movie I raced into The Children’s Bookshop for Diana Menefy’s little soiree to celebrate her book, The Shadow of the Boyd. This ripping yarn’s journey to publication has been long in the making. Diana has been researching this piece of tragic New Zealand History for about a decade. She has cleverly woven in many facts about shipboard life in the early 1800’s but not at the expense of a great story of tragedy and survival against the odds. When I got home after dinner out with some great writers...I started the book and kept going...finishing it in one bite. Shadow of the Boyd is the last book picked up by a publisher from the pitch session at Spinning Gold to be published and I was delighted to be able to celebrate this with Diana and some of the Spinning Gold team.

I haven’t been doing much researching on the net this week so this morning I took a look at what has caught peoples attention that might be of interest to you.

Lynn Price, Editorial Director Of Behler Publications has ripped into Christopher Pike for not only NOT researching properly but for then trying to defend the resulting mess. She does not spare the editors of his publishing house either who did such a sloppy job that they didn’t catch obvious errors which ruin the whole foundation of the story....You may think she is a bit harsh...but I don’t. Diana Menefy spent ten years getting the history right, the life and times, the names of the characters and the language right for Shadow of The Boyd. It is children’s novel but it has been meticulously done. I know how much time I spend researching...writer friends have called me on it...(stop and just write the damn book...) We have a duty to our readers after all to write a good story. Our readers are not dumb and treating them as such shows an amazing arrogance which will fast lose you credibility and readers.

While I am ranting (but not half as well as Lynn Price) Suzannah of Write It Sideways has a minor rant on her blog about being plagiarized. Suzannah has discovered that whole articles have been copied and pasted, cut up and attributed to other bloggers. She is trying to get a perspective on it that doesn’t involve wasted energy...and negative thoughts. Suzannah has posted a short list of rules for new bloggers to understand about linking to others work, and commenter’s have linked to some great sites for copyright protection.

Off on a different tack Victoria Moxon has another very fine article on How To Make Your Novel Hopelessly Addictive and Nicola Morgan has one on Dialogue Techniques. Both of these bloggers are a valuable resource if you are looking for writing help.

Chip MacGregor has posted an exhaustive list of things a good agent needs to know. As Chip is the owner of a successful literary agency he is well qualified to speak. As always I urge you read the comments of the articles I link to because they often have some great extras to add to the discussion.

Over on Craicerplus my Amplify page I have links to articles on

7 Factors For Success In Finding An Agent

Earth Like Planet Can Sustain Life (geeking no apologies)

9 Ways To Prepare For NaNoWriMo

A Writers Guide To A Successful Interview (how to use an interview to get your message across)

Writing Series-Thoughts and Resources (this is great if you find your story going on longer than one book)

Kindle Self Publishing (writers can now self publish on Kindles....)

On a slightly different facet of the writing life...Alexis Grant has a good article on Writer’s Colonies. These are amazing residential places that writers can go and just write. Someone else takes care of all the other, laundry etc etc. Some colonies will pay you to go there...It is to dream...

Guy Le Charles Gonzales has been doing a bit of that lately and has re mixed his ideas on 21st Century Publishing. Traditional print plus fan sites plus book cafe sites plus on demand printing equals a very interesting publishing model for writers.

For those of you interested in the 1000 fans idea, my friend Justin sent me a link to a photographer who is experimenting with the concept and has chronicled his two year journey...(yes he is making money...and he doesn’t have 1000 fans...)


Pic is the cover of The Shadow of The Boyd and below a little clip (you can find anything on YouTube)

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