Thursday, March 25, 2010

Forty two tips to help you in the future...

The advent of blogger pages meant that it was time to tidy up my blog (my house remains dusty.) 

While I was doing this I reviewed my Author Marketing Series (it now has its own page.)  I needed a reason  for blogging in the first place. I was learning in public and I thought you might be interested in what I learned so the weekly blog post started. Along the way I have been sidetracked a few times...but the core of the blog is about learning author marketing.

My author marketing series links to seventeen blog posts on different strategies, ideas, tips that you can use to market your book. Each blog post has links you can go to get further information.

However it is not just authors who are making use of this list. Small business owners are dropping in or being referred to this list by others. Substitute the word ‘book’  for  ‘business‘ and it all works just as well.
I have posts on branding (individual and group) social media, press kits, publicity and a few other interesting  ideas.

Today’s post is going to join the list as it links to a couple of interesting sites with a similar focus.

The first link is to Novel Journey. This is run by an author collective and they have some great posts  including this one. 10 things you can do now to promote your unpublished book. I felt for Gina Holmes, the writer of this post when I read this.

Now I find myself with just weeks left to publicize my all important, debut novel, and write my all important sophomore novel.
I also have five children, a day job and Novel Journey to tend to. Guess what? I’m stressed, but not as stressed as I would have been had I not started preparing for this moment years in advance. I’d like to share some of what has helped me.

Gina points out, among the other great tips, that an author must have a great (professional) head shot for publicity. This is always a flee from idea for me...but I know it is necessary...I just hate the camera.

The second site is Tony Eldridge’s blog marketing tips for authors. Tony always serves up a great read on the topic and this week he has a guest post from Carolyn Howard Johnson who has written a book THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T
There is an excerpt there with 15 commandments on getting free publicity for authors.

These sites are well worth a visit to add ideas to your PR folder for the future.

If you are over the whole author marketing thing go to David Wilsons blog and read his rant on book promotion alternatives to make you feel better. David’s site is proudly labelled for the overactive mind and one look at what is going on there will make you think longingly of a darkened room and herbal tea but he has some interesting ideas if you want to fossick around.

Do you really need to be on Facebook, twitter et al...flogging your book contributing to all that noise out there? (this said as I finally joined Facebook yesterday- ahhhh but I have an ulterior goes with the reason I am on Twitter....)

This week the Washington Post had an article on the future of children’s publishing where they talked to Jeff Kinney, author of the book series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Jeff has written for video games and has a movie coming out so he was the ‘go to’ guy to comment on the future.(a good read none the less)

Kinney's balancing act reflects the broad strategy of children's publishing today. Publishers are trying to entice kids to read books by offering companion Web sites that are graphic-rich and able to plunge young readers into the story. Along with the tale on the page, kids can dip into online videos and games, win prizes, create Internet identities and get into social networking. It is a tricky gamble for publishers, one requiring a deep commitment of time and money.

I come across many gems and thought provoking stuff as I research for this blog. I know that some readers of my blog feel engaged by these discussions. Some readers feel threatened and some want it all to go away because they are not ready or feel it doesn’t apply to them. Publishing is in a state of change. The industry we thought we were a part of is morphing into something new and no one quite knows where the children’s author is going to fit. Hopefully reading this blog is helping you to keep an open mind, alerting you to new opportunities and allowing you to have one eye on the storm so you will know when to dive into the basement or get out to fly the kite.


Friday, March 19, 2010

The Best and the Worst...

Writers and readers week has finished and I made it to two events... The publishing in the 21st Century panel and the wonderful incomparable Neil Gaiman.

On refection, I had high hopes for the publishing in the 21st Century panel. I have been reading a lot of websites and blogs looking at industry comment from around the world, following discussions about the impact of the iPad. At the end of the session I looked at my friend and said “I’ve got more interesting and relevant comment on my blog than I just heard from these industry leaders,”(...which included a New York editor, an English agent and one overseas owner publisher and the commissioning editor of a literary houses here in NZ.)

It could have been so much more but no one was willing to stick their neck out except to assure the audience that there would be a golden future ahead and that publishing will always need filters like themselves to tell you what was worth reading.

Yes, we need filters but how many of us have read a book which finalled or won an award and wondered what the fuss was about? Sometimes their filters don’t work for us.

(Is anyone filtering the cell phone novel craze in Japan...the twitter novel craze...)

Neil Gaiman was amazing and wonderful and....Kate De Goldi was a wonderful interviewer (we are so lucky to have her.) Neil read three of his epic poems and had the whole sold out auditorium spell bound and silent for the entire time and then signed for three and half hours afterwards.

I wrote up my notes for Maria Gill and have since passed them on to people in Wellington who didn’t get the chance to see and experience God Gaiman. I am so lucky. (Let me know if you want a copy.)

Mary McCallum has blogged about the event and as she is more literary than I, has managed to do him justice and she has a dishy photo of him as well. IF you haven’t read any of his work go out and read The Graveyard Book (no you can’t borrow mine with the cartoon and personal message from Neil...sigh) It is wonderful writing. Or find Odd and the Frost Giants a little book he wrote for charity this year. (fabulous)

As the International Arts festival is finishing here, in Austin Texas they are being wowed by the South by South West conference and Festival. It is primarily known as a music and film festival but they have an Interactive arm and this has been providing some very interesting comment on changing times in publishing. Galleycat has collected comments on this years publishers panel on the brave new future which has links to some great notes, written and pictorial. Good thought provoking stuff.

DK publishers have released an inhouse video on The Future of Publishing which is doing the rounds (it’s a bit of a riff on the new generation video that had such an impact last year among teenagers.) However it is still very good. (watch right until the end)

And lastly a competition you might like to enter. Come up with the worst hook for very bad book. Chuck Sambuchino from Guide to Literary Agents is running the third worst storyline ever contest.

A past winner was this gem

"A man's lifelong plan to dress up like Jabba the Hutt and star in a new line of workout tapes finally comes to fruition, but everything goes horribly awry when the man gets ink poisoning, lead poisoning and mercury poisoning all at once."



Thursday, March 11, 2010

The changing face of publishing...

I’m squeezed for I am going to give you a short blog post...(yay i hear you say..)

This week I have been mulling over the impact of the iPad and digital publishing on the publishing industry....We are in a state of change and authors...not to mention publishers and their staff are probably feeling like they are on a hillside covered with misstep and down they go.

So how can we feel our way through the shale?

I am reading interesting commentary, on the web about the publishing future...and I note that in the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts-Writers and Readers week, on at the moment here in Wellington, that some of the writers have commented on the future of e-books and that the industry panel on Publishing in the 21st Century has sold out for Friday.

Everybody wants to know what the future will look like.

Here are two voices with slightly different points of view on the future of publishing.

Mike Shatzkin of Idealog has a wide following and his blog post looks at the challenges and changes of this new world.

We are now seeing the early signs of what will soon be a tendency, then a trend, and then a stark reality: you just can’t sell as many copies of most books if you don’t have a proprietary position with a vertical audience.

Craig Mod has started a blog specifically in response to the iPad and the challenges of the new digital mode of publishing verses the old from a book design perspective. He has lots of pictures to illustrate a very comprehensive post on the future of the airport blockbuster.

I want to look at where printed books stand in respect to digital publishing, why we historically haven't read long-form text on screens and how the iPad is wedging itself in the middle of everything. In doing so I think we can find the line in the sand to define when content should be printed or digitized.

This is a conversation for books-makers, web-heads, content-creators, authors and designers. For people who love beautifully made things. And for the storytellers who are willing to take risks and want to consider the most appropriate shape and media for their yarns.

If you have no idea what the iPad is and what it will do- take a look at this video of the Penguin CEO taking an audience of industry professionals through the possibilities of content publishing using Spot and DK Human Body.

And finally another video....this one from Pub Rants Guest blogger Simone Elkeles and how she came to have a book trailer shot as a movie...for her second YA Book...the comments after the blog post echo my thoughts as well...there is still money to throw around...with a seven figure advance to a new teen author from Harper Teen last week.

(warning- a bit steamy...)


ps Cool links at Nathan Bransfords blog

Friday, March 5, 2010

Awards... Lets Amplify...OK?

Awards...who needs ‘em....

Um, well lots of us do... so we know what to read...or who to envy...who to celebrate with....

As I have said before, we need to do more celebrating of our amazing children’s writers in this country. Yesterday, the shortlist for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2010 came out.

Once again I wish there was a longer short list...because I know many great Kiwi writers who published great books last year and deserved to be on it and were not. Sigh.(drowning sorrows with wine...)

I was also interested to see the make up of the Young Adult Short would you choose from that stellar bunch? I’ve said it before, but we have amazing Children’s and Young Adult writers living in this country... (and Lia was born here.)

The other thing that caught my eye was the Aussie publishers who made sure that their Kiwi born writers books were submitted to the awards...coz they should be, as Elizabeth Knox pointed out last year when her Aussie published book wasn’t submitted. (They won’t make that mistake again...)

I note that the mistake I saw yesterday, on the booksellers website, that had Cowshed Christmas written by Gavin Bishop and illustrated by Joy Cowley has been fixed up...and that all the illustrators have equal billing with the author on the website today.

In the Picture Book category, another strong showing which has TVNZ slavering...Novice up against heavyweight authors...yes but what about Kyle I he up against himself or Katerina Mataira’s translation of his words and if it wins who gets the award...the translator or the author? (and what does it all mean then...)

The Non fiction section has the usual spread of very different ages and stages of information. What a job to try to compare such a wide ranging group with each other. (In the ring today we have Willie against Ben and Mark...)

Oh plenty to ponder and discuss and gossip about...

Congratulations to everyone. A special wave out to all my friends who are spread out across the list, I bask in your reflected glory and wine drinking has commenced to toast you all...(like I needed an excuse. I foresee a tipsy weekend is ahead of me what with commiserations, congratulations and a birthday.)

In my continuing exploration of Social Media as it applies to marketing I have been thinking about this cool site that Jon Bard of CBI mentioned. Amplify is the place you always wanted to store those blog clippings, interesting news etc etc that you keep to yourself, because it would just be too hard to post the links to the six different social media sites you belong to....

Aha...Amplify does it for you. Clip the social media links and you are done!

Best of all you can add your take on what you all your many followers can see and engage in conversation about it or many possibilities...

And finally a very very good article on the future in Digital Publishing...we don’t know where we are going but we are going somewhere...

Unlike the author in this video....Did any one of our finalists have this conversation with their editors???



RIP Jo Nobel

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