Thursday, September 29, 2011

E Reader Revolutions

I ADMIT IT...I pop into Facebook every day. There is always an interesting conversation going on. 

Today the hot news is the launch of Kindle Fire from Amazon. They enter into the tablet market, with an ‘ereader on steroids,’ and it is one quarter the $199 US. Along with this fancy new piece of tech, Amazon launched three new versions of Kindle starting with the basic Kindle going out the door at $79. As I commented this morning on Facebook, I looked at a Kindle yesterday thinking I could afford it as my Dad wants one for Christmas then discovered I was looking at the fancy cover you can buy for it. Kindle are $289 NZ. (Maybe next year Dad!)

However the launch of the colour whizzy Kindle Fire in time for the Christmas market shows how ereaders will be the tech gift of choice this Christmas as the mainstream buyers start to pick up on this technology. Now is the time to upload content for them to buy.

Melinda Szymanik must have known something was up as her first ebook The Half Life Of Ryan Davis will be available this weekend on Amazon. I think this maybe a NZ first. First Young Adult Title to go straight to ebook before print. Melinda has a competition on her website for a copy and she also has the opening chapter up to give you a taste of her teen thriller.

This week Jane Friedman was also looking at ebooks on Writer Unboxed. Jane has written a great article with a handy checklist on marketing ebooks looking from the viewpoint of the marketing 4 P’s.

Bob Mayer has an interesting article on The Perfect Storm In Publishing that is looming. As more and more agencies look at adding epublishing imprints to their business...Are they looking at the author as a brand? and How is Pottermore and Amazon Publishing changing the game?

Roni Loren takes a hard look at Author Branding and Social Media. She has listed five ways to guard your brand...Something we all must keep in mind as we log on to the internet.

Dean Wesley Smith has a timely warning about Agents and Money...Do they know what they are doing? and Do you know what they are doing, with your money?

If you want a sneak preview on what will be talked about at the Children’s Publishing Goes Digital conference being held at the Frankfurt Book Fair next month Publishing Perspectives has an excerpt from the program guide on Building Online Communities For Teen Readers

Over on the Craft Side

Mary Kole has an in depth article on beginning your stories with a balance of information and action and how to achieve this.

Mary Anne Scheuer of Great Kids Books has begun reviewing Children’s Book Apps...have a look at her criteria and check out what she has to say.  

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

Ebook Covers -Getting It Right!

Porter Anderson’s Interview on Journalism Today...The rise of dramatic storytelling in news stories...

To finish,
I read this true story this week with amusement then alarm. It reads just like a MG/ YA plot.  Last week a boy dressed in a banana costume and ran onto a high school football field at half time to rally the crowd...the school principal took exception and recommended suspension for the rest of the school year...(school has just started.) Read what happens next...

This kind of plot will soon be in a popular ebook coming to a Kindle near you...


Thursday, September 22, 2011

That Dirty Word...

Sometimes, as I research sites on the blogosphere for this weekly roundup, a topic just keeps getting highlighted. 

This week it is marketing

Everyone seems to be talking about marketing books or ideas in some way or another. 
Marketing is one of those dirty words that authors need to know and understand but would prefer that other people say and do on their behalf.
Now that the author is stuck with having to learn marketing tips, as the publishing industry either ditches their authors or ditches their publicity budget, marketing is becoming a hot topic.

What works?

This week some online gurus had some interesting things to share about this bright, new, shiny, wholesome word.

Michael Hyatt is CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and has a popular blog. This week he is looking at How to use FREE as your marketing strategy.

The BookDesigner has started a new series on Book Marketingfor the beginner self publisher. Even if you are not self publishing take a look. You never know where you might find a golden tip to generate more sales.

Ducttapemarketing has posted a podcast interview on their site with David Merman Scott on his new edition of New Rules of Marketing and PR. David’s book changed the landscape of small business marketing when it came out in 2007. His ideas and tools quickly became a bible for small business. So if you are seriously in business, drop by to listen to David.

Tony Eldridge recently reposted his Bookbuzzr link.  This is a nifty piece of code that allows you to put a sample of your book in a book icon with your cover on it on your websites with links to bookseller sites....and it is free.

While you are focussing on the word FREE... a group of dedicated contest lovers have started a Facebook page where they list every free book giveaway contest going. This is an interesting bit of marketing...for authors... bloggers...publishers....  Word of mouth is an incredible force and so is Facebook. They have only been going a couple of days and already they have over 200 people joining in.

The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators Market Guide 2012 is out this month and has a free copy to give away...because they contributed a couple of articles. With our exchange rate looking so good it is worth investing in a copy of the Guide. It is the white pages of publishers, agents, and art editors across the US (and their international section is growing every year) for people working in Children’s Publishing. It has great articles and how to tips as well. It is tax deductable and, if you get a free shipping bookseller, so worth the money. ($28 NZ for over 400 pages)

In the hot topics being discussed this week...David Gaughran’sidea of getting translators to translate your ebook/book for a share of theroyalties became a hot topic amongst the translating community as well as the Indie publishing community. Writers and Translators were weighing into the discussion to say how it might work or should work. Lots of interesting comments and examples of how to get your book translated into other languages as publishers get ready for the roll out of Kindle into non English speaking markets later this year.

Publishing Perspectives has focussed their critical eye onthe Gamification of books. If you are scratching your head...Children’s publishing has taken a head start on this with 39 Clues and Pottermore...those poor adult do you make a game out of your cookbook? Ah ha, read the article to find out...

Mark Coker, the guy behind Smashwords, has uploaded his slideshow keynote from The Central Coast Writers Conference last weekend about Five Big Trends That Will Rock The Future Of Publishing.

Over in the Craft Section,

The Five Elements Of The Riveting First Line. K M Weiland takes a scalpel to the first line and shows you how to craft the layers in. (take some time to trawl around her site too. You Will Be In Awe.)

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

Links to Free Clip Art

The Agents Side Of The Gay YA Saga

What StartUps Can Teach Publishers....This is a great article looking at crowd sourcing, dynamic pricing...

To Finish,
 A couple of months ago Writer Beware highlighted the questionable behaviour of Publish America...a ‘publishing’ firm who (for a fee) would take your MS to Edinburgh and present it to JK Rowling for comment. Yesterday, Writer Beware has become aware of a new scheme(scam) by this ‘reputable’ company...They can get your Christian Book in front of Christian Booksellers (for a fee.) Read the whole story and BE AWARE that sometimes Marketing (by unscrupulous people) is still a dirty word.


pic from ablebrains

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Being The Doorman

My last post for June was on Gatekeepers and their shiny new keys and as I look down the list of interesting links I have for you today I can’t help thinking that the theme today will also be Gatekeeper but from a different perspective.

First up Bob’s great article on Authors as Gatekeepers....I urge you to read it and think about what he is saying...I found myself nodding a lot...10 great points. Sweat Equity...I know so many writers who fit into this one...

Media Bistro reports on an Author Guild court case that is ringing alarm bells. The increasing laziness/underhanded actions of some publishers who source content online and then try to register it as orphan...all attempts were made to find the owner of this work....when a Google search and phone call located the author in three minutes....sadly this is not a one off.

Greg Pincus has taken a close look at Facebook and the changes that are happening. Do you want subscribers to your Facebook status?

Elizabeth Craig has a great post on being your own Social Media Gatekeeper....she has a list of useful tips to help you manage your online life to make time for your writing life.

Agent Scott Eagan looks at Blooms Taxonomy And The Author and explains where he thinks authors should be before they submit...A very good look at the stages of writing leading up to creating....Go check it out!

Audiobook Creation Exchange has a great little article about an author who used Kickstarter to get the funds to create a professional audiobook. Neil Gaiman has been tweeting about this as a great way to think outside the box to get leverage...OK it was his idea.....

Tony Eldridge has got some great links to promotion and marketing ideas for your books...Did you know you can print your book cover on M&M’s...and it is not that expensive....

The best resource of the week, Tony has ever pointed me to, is this one (this week)...A Royalty Free Music Site intended for use as soundtracks to short films, book trailers, commercials, Youtube projects. It is absolutely stunning...and I am saying this with my musician hat on. I have already shared this around to editors and teachers who are making films with children. Combine this with Audacity and you have a recording studio and full orchestra at your disposal for free. Kevin MacLeod is a genius! Bookmark It!

Over in the Craft Section,

Jenny Hansen has written a great post on Story DNA on Writers in The Storm.

HarryPotterForWriters is continuing their focus on clues and raising questions for the reader to answer...which also strengthens your book.

On Craicerplus, (My Amplify Page) I have a link to
Authors Say Agents Want Straight YA. This has been much talked about on the blogosphere and Twitter.

To finish,

As the political gatekeepers threaten the UK Library system, in Scotland random beautiful paper sculptures made from and celebrating books have been appearing in libraries and stores with little messages highlighting the work of the libraries...Check out the article and marvel at the beautiful work of a secret paper engineer.        


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Taking A Punt

This morning in my inbox was a little heads up email from Publishers Weekly with the round up of children’s publishing news. 
A quick glance down and this takes my eye. Scholastic, Ruckus in joint venture. On the surface it’s another business merger with the biggest children’s publisher. Ho hum. But look a little deeper and think about what this is telling us now about children’s publishing.

Ruckus Media was started a year ago this week by the former head of Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing division. He got together with a web developer to take a well known children’s audio book company Rabbit Ears into the digital age and create apps for the new iPad.  They promised a 12 week turn around time and to release an App a week. They were going to acquire new content and had signed up some impressive authors. Ruckus also promised that eventually they would go into partnership with a publishing house.

So a year to the day they are going with Scholastic.

While the big publishing houses have had a wait and see approach or are nervously dipping a toe in the water of digital publishing. Their top brass have been jumping to get into the market knowing that eventually the publishing houses would have to come to them for their expertise. These guys aren’t going to lose their shirts on this, they are businessmen. Print publishers are now seeing the huge market for new content in Games and Apps and want a piece of the pie.

Ruckus published new digital content first and now they are partnering with Scholastic to bring it into Print.

Writers, You don’t have to sell print rights first...(Do I hear the sound of pennies dropping?)

Children’s writers need to look at their manuscripts and see it as suitable for submission to Digital Media publishers as well as print...especially junior and mid grade writers. Illustrators too could begin submitting portfolios into these smart publishers.

After all if Scholastic can take a punt why can’t you?

Also in the news this week...

These three links have generated much comment around the blogosphere.

On the popular Publishing Perspectives blog a literary agent puts up his argument against agent publishers.

If you are wondering about marketing your new book, Cory Doctorow tells it straight with his to the point article for Locus. Why should anybody care? This is a great article which has generated heaps of comments all over the blogosphere.

Also in the same issue of Locus there is a spotlight on Ultra Cool Children’s Writer Bruce Colville. He has an audio publishing company that puts full cast audio productions together....(wish I was living near him, I would love to be a voice actor for a book...)

 M J Rose is interviewed by Jungle Red (a mystery writers group blog) about starting the company Author Buzz and how successful it has been. There are some great marketing tips for authors in this article.

Jenny Hansen from Writers in the Storm, examines social media and how that impacts on your Author Brand. This is a useful post because she breaks down the use of hash tags on twitter...and the best people to follow. (you can follow me if you like..:)

40K has a great roundup of trends currently happening in publishing. They use up and down arrows with great effect.

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

Internal and External Inspiration

25 tips for Queries, Synopsis and Treatments. (This is a great article but comes with a content warning hehehe Cover your ears....Chuck lets rip.)

In the Craft Corner,

To finish,

Explore all avenues....take a punt!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air...and that usually heralds change. You eye up the overflowing study area and vow to get better organised. (Your family snigger coz they’ve heard it all before.)

While you are contemplating your overflowing desk you may take time to contemplate the publishing industry. It too has been struggling with change. The printed word is rapidly changing into the e-inked word.
Curiosity Quill interviewed Jane Friedman about what she predicts will happen to publishing in the next few years and how authors can keep up.

 Joe Konrath takes issue with Ewen Morrison’s article in The Guardian- Are Books Dead and Can Authors Survive. Joe picks apart the article and points out where Ewen got it wrong. (so far 120 comments on this...)

If you pick up your manuscript and a cloud of dust rises into the air you might need to revisit your characters and do a little housekeeping...or a lot.

Jenny Hansen has a terrific list of tips about fighting dirty and ramping up the conflict tension in your story. 

Julie Musil has ten things you shouldn’t do when you build your characters... 

Both of these posts remind you that the story is key...and a strong story is what Editors want to read. A quick revision of WriteOnCon quotes reinforce this...but you can always get inspiration to keep going from revisiting the website and reading the sessions you missed.

Ruth Harris reminds you that all reading is research and offers some very good advice in how to pull gems out of the trashy magazines you just picked up. Don’t feel’s research! (there’s an app for that.) 

Underneath the stacked books and laundry, next to the mouldy coffee cup, you unearth that really great story...the one that has been nicely rejected a few times and sigh. What would it take to just get it out there into the world?

Author Culture peeks into the world of Book Cover Design in an excellent interview with a top book cover designer. Lots of tips here...and some very useful ideas for branding.

The bookdesigner has a link to five nifty fonts that you can use for your Ebook cover and they are FREE

Roz Morris has done the hard work for you and step by step outlines how to deal with the American IRS when you are an author living in another country who wants to epublish on an American site. Bookmark this! It will save you months! 

Anne Allen has a great post on the death of the Book Tour and why we shouldn’t feel too sad about it... The desk has disappeared....the dust has taken think seriously about giving up and reclaiming the space for a home gym....

Teresa M Owen has a handy list about why you shouldn’t become a writer to make you feel better. 

This week NZ National Radio interviewed a New Zealand company that has made a splash with their new product, Booktrack, Soundtracks for Books. James Frey is already making use of the technology with the The Power Of Six (his follow up to I Am Number 4.) Take a look at the videos and think about where we go from here....


pic from meeja darling....a wickedly funny journo blog
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