Thursday, March 10, 2011

Changing The Variables

March is New Zealand Book Month. Already I have attended a National Address, hosted a dinner, attended a book launch and organised an award party. Somehow I have managed to be out nearly every night since March began.

The National Address, The Janet Frame Memorial Lecture, was given by Joy Cowley. Joy is one our most beloved writers for children and as befits one of our own being chosen to give this prestigious address, the children’s writers were out in force. There was a huge crowd! Afterwards I hosted a dinner for members of the Wellington Children’s Book Association. It was a great night.

I missed one of our member’s book launches but managed to attend another. Mandy Hager has finished her Blood of the Lamb trilogy with Resurrection.  This whole series has been a tour de force.

Our Patron, Jack Lasenby, turned 80 this week and as he has been shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards (his 30th novel for children) we thought it might be a good idea to get all the other Wellington area finalists together. It was a bit of a mission but we managed to surprise them all with flowers and Jack with a large birthday card signed by quite a lot of people...(it helped that he couldn’t make the memorial lecture as I was running around like a mad thing getting signatures and the card would have been hard to hide.)

Today I was reflecting on Bob Mayer’s article on the three author variables and thinking about the quality of the writing here in New Zealand. Both Joy Cowley and Jack Lasenby are among the very best writers for Children we have produced. Joy is known internationally with her readers and picture books and the famous Mrs WishyWashy. Jack is not. He has been a huge influence on generations of children through his work as a School Journal editor and the fact that he has personally known and encouraged our best literary writers over the last 50 years to write some stories for children.

Bob talks about the mix of Platform, Product and Promotion. We have always had strong product but New Zealand is small and our publishers are small and the print runs are small and so the head offices of the big publishing companies pretty much ignore books printed here. With internet and the new global market place, New Zealand children’s books might just be ready to be discovered. All we need is a strong platform and great promotion.

Somebody who has been swinging all the variables of Platform, Product and Promotion is Seth Godin. David Meerman Scott interviewed him on his new project, Poke The Box.

Anne Mini has taken a look at how clichés can destroy your chance of being picked up with a series of funny examples of overridden cliché queries that are in need of editing or just search and destroy.

John Rember has written a guest post for Jane Friedman on the relationship between author, agent and publisher and the need to examine this carefully in the fast changing world of publishing.

March is also Small Press Month...and Elisabeth Spann Craig has taken a look at small press vs large press. Which is better?

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

9 Questions Editors Ask When Reading Your Submission

Authors Engage Or Die

Justine Musk On The Best Way To Blog

Harpers ebook Lending Policy Trashed.

To finish,

Mashable is looking at new digital trends...the way the news is being gathered is changing also how brands are becoming social media and how aggregation is changing bestselling statistics. This is a good article to read if you want to know how these trends will change the variables in publishing through the rest of this year. As New Zealand is about six months behind we have a little bit of lead in time...use it wisely.

The New Zealand Book Council’s video shows some 3D storytelling which is our associations next event in New Zealand Book Month. 


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