Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gotta Fly...

This week’s blog post is going to be an ‘on the fly’ posting.

It could have been a rant on the NZ government screwing up the school terms for the benefit of the rugby world cup...meaning that all primary sport tournaments have changed...leaving us with conflicting schedules all over the place...

It could have been a rant about the first released pics of the male lead characters in the Hunger Games film and how my teen has just found time to start reading the book after I warned her not to do so because her Nationals are this weekend and she needs her sleep. It is unputdownable and why do teen male leads have to look like beef cakes...this is not reality that I have seen...are we setting boys up to fail in the beauty stakes?

It could be about the wonderful Wellington Children’s Book Association AGM tonight where we celebrate the year with a panel discussion on Is Storytelling Dead?

We hope not...

But on the Twitter feeds at the moment there is discussion about the LA Times dropping all their book reviewers...and how Forbes Magazine is highlighting their ‘content creators.’ (Sort of a formalising of the brave new world...)

Jane Friedman has gone out on her own, because she has the clout to do so after maximising her visibility through Writers Digest...(Something Forbes maybe trying to tie up, by giving their journo’s permission to do likewise.) Jane has a great take on how to transition yourself...

Over on Craft

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

Indie, Big 6 and Small Press Publishing (and how a writer can do all three)

The Hybrid Writer........(you have permission to be one)

To finish,

I would have talked about the huge stoush/debate/argument/angsting going on over at Bookends Literary blog over their decision to set up an epublishing arm. This has become the place where the whole agents becoming publishers debate is being held! At least they are trying to engage the writing community....tho some want to hang them out to dry...

And I was going to look at why book trailers could be the next big thing in your marketing arsenal following on from last week...

And this year’s Bulwer Lytton winners are out...(for the worst opening sentence)

But I have to fly...AGM’s... Tournaments...and National Dance events...are all steaming towards me....


pic is from Gizmodo...a new plane design

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Banging The Drum...

This week there has been a lot of interest and discussion around the internet on author self promotion.

Writers always struggle with self promotion. If your typical writer is an introvert type then your typical marketer is an extrovert type. As writers we are encouraged to have an online presence and be Google searchable. We must be actively promoting our books as publishing companies are not going to do this unless you are a 6 figure income author.

Increasingly the word around the web is that the big names get promoted, the midlist has to do their own promotion and debut authors have only the one book to make an impact. Bob Mayer had an excellent post which I linked to last week on what to do about this.

Children’s writers have a harder struggle with self promotion. Who do they promote to? Their readers are not the buyers of the books. If you have an online presence who is it being aimed at? Most children’s writers stick to a static web page with biographical information for children’s book reports and information about their books. Some writers develop teacher pages with teaching notes to support their books. This is a sort of ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ mentality. However many writers are finding this is not enough and they have to engage with the community...and we’re back to who is the community the children’s writer has to engage with?

Janice Hardy has an excellent article addressing this for mid grade writers. If you are a children’s writer this is a must read. Janice has identified the ‘Influencers’ that a children’s writer must be aware of and cater to.

Nathan Bransford has been struggling with the self promotion part of being a children’s writer now that he has crossed over to the other side of the desk. Nathan has a very popular blog and his community (his readers) is made up of writers from all over the writing spectrum. 
Nathan tried to promote his book on his blog and found that it was not the success he had hoped for. This led Laura Pauling to write a wonderful article on Nathan’s problem and what he could do better. The comments are especially good as the top children’s writer bloggers have all weighed in to discuss the tricky art of self promotion.

The wonderful Writer Unboxed has a list of the 5 Must Do Book Publicity tips...starting from 6 months out...

In the craft section,

Julie Musil takes a look at why Jodi Piccoult is a best seller (news today from Publishers Weekly Jodi is writing a YA with her daughter.)

Taleist takes a look at mind mapping and how Authors can use this tool and Passwordincorrect has a nifty new way to make ebook covers. 

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

Supporting Indie Bookstores WinWin...( this is a great article, go here if the button is broken)

26 Tips for Using Images To for websites and fan pages

12 Easy Tips for Making A Viral Video Trailer (takes the hard work out of researching)
Google ebooks Lands Pottermore

To finish,

Self publishing coach has a top ten list of blogs to follow for authors...these are all related to marketing in some way...whether it is Joe Konrath talking about why to do it to Bookbuzzr telling you how to do it...

If you are wondering whether all the above relates to the principles of marketing... David Meerman Scott has taken a close look at the 4 P’s of marketing and discovered that in this new digital age...they are broken.

The FaBo team are still going strong and letting the current genre (Horror) have a few weeks more because of the holidays...In the sidebar there is a nifty little note to the kids about new books from the team that they might be interested in...a subtle kind of marketing...
I’d love to be able to scream buy my new book (long story)...but I’ll have to settle for Buy The FaBo Teams New Books -  they will be very good and Christmas is coming up... 


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Headpottering On Kids Lit...

Yesterday at 1pm NZ time Kidlitchat had their two year anniversary. 
Kidlitchat is a real time Twitter conversation with children’s writers that happens each week. The moderators Greg Pincus and Bonnie Adamson set the topic in advance. You log on to Twitter and type #kidlitchat into search and join in the conversation. 
Yesterday the topic was, Why do you write kidlit?  As ever there were heaps of wonderful comments but these four beautifully encapsulated why I love writing and reading Children’s Literature.

I write because my brain is perpetually 12 -Raina Telgemeier

I write for the kid I was - Laurel Snyder

There’s nothing on earth more difficult to write or more strenuous- It’s magnificent -Kelly Barnhill

Why Kidlit?-because I’ve always loved reading it (then and now) because I want to make kids laugh/cry/wonder – Debbie Ohi

In 1998 I read a comment on an international authors thread about how a new book just out was getting a wonderful word of mouth reception...(there was no marketing being done.) I asked John at The Children’s Bookshop if he had heard of ‘the philosophers stone’ book and he sold me his last copy...he had bought just a few.  This book, and the six that came after it, transformed the publishing world but most of all it transported children to a magical reading place. 

I read the book in a sitting...then started it with my class. Within a week mothers were coming to me to ask where they could buy the book...especially mothers with boys. By the time I was half way through the book (and we read every day) half the class had their own copies and were reading along with me. The book caused a phenomenon in the playground with other teachers queuing up to grab my copy.

There have been many comments about how the series needed better editing or better language or was too formulaic...but nothing can take away the fact that millions of kids were turned onto reading and a 700 page book set in this magical world was too short in their opinion. I watched kids reading ability sky rocket and I am forever grateful to Joanne Rowling for the priceless gift she gave children...literacy.

So it is with a heavy heart that I prepare to go and see the last Harry Potter film. (The end of an era.) It has been a much discussed and analysed series in this house with my teen growing up with the books and my middle child (not a reader) finally discovering the book series last year and going from the bottom reading group to the top one in six months. I know that I will cry probably before the film starts...because I can see the faces of all the kids I read those books too...looking up at me, their eyes wide, hanging on every word.

And to give that gift to children, with my own words, would be the best gift I could ever that’s why I write kidslit.

In the link list today Joe Wikert (publisher) talks about J K Rowlings ground breaking decision to make her ebooks DRM free. It is a thoughtful article on where he thinks publishing should go.

Rachelle Gardner, agent extraordinaire, has put together a one stop shop on publishing information. She is always an insightful read and she doesn’t sugar coat, so it is top information.   

Laura Pauling has done the same for agents who are becoming publishers. This topic is still being discussed and debated so if you are trying to get up to speed on this very important issue have a look at Laura’s list.

Dan Elish has written a guest post on the GLA Blog that is a must bookmark. 5 tips to making a cool YouTube video to promote your book. This is a great how to do it and make it go viral.

Sort of linked but way out there...there is a new video blog in town. Ernesto Verdugo has started a videocast about links to make your website go zing...Just take a look at the topics covered in episode one! (on his overview transcript.)

In the craft section

Jenny Hanson talks about Margie Lawson and her ten best ever writing tips...this is another post to book mark. Margie Lawson is a much sought after master class teacher.

Over on Craicerplus I have links to articles on...

The New Midlist –Self Publishing...take some time to read this article.

To finish, two thought provoking articles...

Bob Mayer, as ever, is pushing writers to keep their options open and challenging publishers to start moving with the times. In this great article he looks at the recent Thriller Conference he attended and how attitudes might be changing towards self publishing.

Faith Hunter overheard the three most stupid things to come out of a wannabe authors mouth in a pitch session. She examines why these utterances will ensure that the work will never be looked at...Thank God my readers are not this dumb!

I’m off to wallow in nostalgia...


Pic is the wizard herself...
N.B. Headpottering is a term my university friends came up to describe a deep thinking session....25 years ago. (gulp)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Doing The Right Thing...

Over the last few days one of my friends has been having an interesting time with a National television programme. 

My friend is a Wild Foods blogger. She writes about and is interviewed for her expertise in harvesting and preparing wild food. The television programme in question was using her recipe in a cooking demonstration on the show and attributing them to their guest celebrities on the programmes website. Unfortunately they weren’t acknowledging her in any way or the other chefs whose recipes were taken and appropriated by the show.

If you post things on the internet you take the risk of having someone like it so much they use it and claim it as their own. This is plagiarism. For some scummy people it is fair game and the amount of website content that is stolen and repackaged as eBooks is frightening.  Be careful about the eBooks you buy. The best thing you can do on your websites is to say copyright on your content somewhere on the front page or to use a creative commons licence. A Creative Commons license means people can use your work (but not make money off it) so long as they attribute it to you. There are various licenses that you can use. Check out this cool video that tells you all about it.

My friend received a sort of an apology this morning from the TV show. What her friends were wondering on Face Book was How come the TV Network can have teams of lawyers looking out for any breach of copyright on their own behalf but can allow their programmes to not offer the same courtesy back. 

Acknowledgement takes only a moment and shows that you are a fair person and a responsible internet user.

Cory Doctorow has a great post on donations to creative people as a direct interface between reader and writer. He is documenting his self pubbed ebook, ‘With A Little Help,’ experiment through his blog and Publishers Weekly column. ‘Pay The Creator You Love’ is the catch phrase and Cory is all for it.

Bubblecow have a great post on Seven Publishing Companies who have embraced ebook and ebook marketing in creative ways. They are respecting their authors and the creative content.

Google have been rolling out their Google plus site. This is direct competition to Facebook. Greg Pincus checks out what Google has to offer for authors with Google plus. Lets be careful out there.

In the Craft Corner
I read a lot. It is called research. (hehehe) At tax time I get to count up all the books I have bought for research purposes and wince a little. I try to be careful in what I buy, after all I might be called upon to explain to the taxman why I claimed it on my tax return. Yesterday a package of books arrived for me from the wonderful Book Depository (they have free delivery and to NZ that is a Godsend.) In the pack was a book (which I can’t get here easily) by my favourite midgrade author Gordon Korman. Last night I devoured it and started it all over again today. Why am I telling you this? Gordon has a great handle on voice and first lines and I just happen to have links to great posts on these.

I was thirteen the first time I saw a police officer up close. He was arresting me for driving without a license. At the time, I didn't even know what a license was. I wasn't too clear on what being arrested meant either. Schooled by Gordon Korman

Check out First lines by The Writers Alley and Tips on Discovering Your Characters Voice from the wonderful Bookshelf Muse Team.

Cheryl Reif has a good post on Ten Ways To Craft A Sense Of Place

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

The Art Of Being Different- Justine Musk is an inspiration.

6 Ways To Improve Face Book Fan Pages

The 7 Ways To Improve Viral Videos

To Finish,

Tony Eldridge has posted a few gems on his blog this week. First he talks about the impact Dean Wesley Smiths Brilliant idea (which I have blogged about and if you haven’t read it Do So Now) has been on the marketing of his book and second he has a link to great freebies for authors to check out...


pic from here
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