Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paying The Piper

Oh the pain and the angst in the publishing world this week when the news broke that a  *reputable* author had been buying 5 star reviews for Amazon copies of his books...and not only that he had done it but that it was even possible...thus skewing the system and maybe breaking a few codes of conduct practices on the way. 

This has put the spotlight onto much should they charge? 

Now you are getting in to tricky territory...
If you said do reviewers make a living with falling print media and newspaper layoffs? And where does that leave Kirkus who charges $425 US for a Kirkus review to Indie authors under their Kirkus Indie column. (They say it will be a Kirkus review. They don’t say it will be a good one...and it isn’t.)

Porter Anderson, critic and all around great guy, sets out the arguments in Extra Ether on Jane Friedman’s site and over 100 comments in a short space of time sees this as an important moment in publishing. What will be the status of the review in the future...He wants every reviewer to clearly put their relationship to the writer in the reviews... otherwise it is fraud!

The knives are out for authors who may have puffed up their stats with paid reviews but it does highlight a problem about review visibility to independent authors and small publishers. (and on that note the knives should be out for writers behaving badly when they solicit fan hate mail to reviewers)

While on this subject Catherine Ryan Howard takes a look at 50 Shades of Grey and wonders how you can call it a self publishing success story...

Julie Musil talks about what you do when critique partners disagree with your work.

JJ from Pub Crawl talks about what happens in her head as she has to reject a manuscript from her publishing house.

After all this gloom you need a pick me up. 
The wonderful (witty) Inkygirl has written about how a rejection got her a publishing contract...A feel good story to give Illustrators hope....

This week Mike Shatzkin (publishing futurist and guru) posted an article with lots of important points to think about in the publishing future...especially in the developing world where he sees the 0 print phenomenon happening there faster because of the costs of printing and shipping print books vs ebooks. A very chewy read with lots to think about now that Amazon has opened up India!

Rachelle Gardner is also looking at the publishing future and what authors will need in their tool box.

In the craft section,

10 steps to decontructing the novel to find out how it is done...

Jane Friedman sneak previews The Plot Whisperers new workbook with an excerpt, 7 essential elements of scene and structure.

Writers write has a look at the 12 common archetypes...for those of you who love infographics.

Novel Rocket examines two forms of historical research and how you should combine elements of them for effective research.

and to finish

Tonight I am off to celebrate 20 years of the wonderful Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie...It’s going to be a PARTY!



Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scattered Thoughts...

Sometimes my mind scatters and I can’t concentrate on any one thing for long. 
Things around the house get started and not reading preferences skip straight to Sci Fi and I find it hard to sit down and work through something for longer than fifteen minutes before jumping up or changing position, sit to stand to pace to slump to edge of seat to...
I think my mind is jumping around trying to find a steady job with long term prospects...oooh shiny pretty... what’s over there or there or there...I’m looking for the idea that will capture me and make me tell the story.

With these thoughts in mind I trip into the blogosphere...and lo some great posts pop out.

These all reflect a percolation of ideas shooting round my brain... who are these characters.. will I like them or do I dislike them enough to have a really good story...

Sometimes Writers jump into something without taking time to research properly...

Writer Beware takes a look at authors who shoot the messenger without first understanding the message. This is a slow down and breathe and find out what it really means post over the Lendink debacle caused by authors.

Dean Wesley Smith talks about shooting yourself in the foot many times...and how you can avoid this if you are a writer...Take the time to find out what works people!

The self publishing team take a look at 5 Writer Scams...Lets be careful out there...

Sue Grafton made waves in the blogosphere with the statement that self publishers are too lazy to get a publishing deal. After the furore, she quickly apologised but it did generate some interesting and entertaining responses like this one from Megg at Author To Author (hehehe)

Jami Gold looks at the value publishers add to your project. This is a great little post where Jami reflects on keynote presentations at RWA and the strong messages said there.

Matt Richtel has a wonderful guest post on The Kill Zone looking at what killed the thriller writer...your attention span...He makes some great remarks about the use of short fiction to enthuse you again and bridge the gap between books...

Susan Kaye Quinn has a stellar post on creating your five year writing plan. This is a must read post.

Author platforms are still a big talking point on the this is a timely post from NYT author Rebecca Skloot on lessons learned.

Every now and then I come across a blog post that encapsulates the publishing industy and the authors place in it perfectly. It makes sense of the swirl that is publishing now. Hugh Howey, author of indie smash hit, WOOL (optioned by major film company this month after a straight up the charts launch) looks at publishing from an author perspective now. He has had every kind of author deal and he knows....Learn from the master, people!

And with that I will leave you to go and finish off some half  finished projects.


photo Flicker

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Write On Writers

This week has been a busy one. 
Two writing deadlines and in the middle of that WRITEONCON.

This year WriteOnCon was in the middle of the it is based in the Northern Hemisphere our time zones don’t quite match up...but WriteOnCon is online so even if you don’t get to all the live forum events you can still follow along as everything stays online.

There is a HUGE amount of information. To give you an idea...there were more than 30 kidslit agents and editors. They hosted panels and keynotes from YA to PB where they decontructed pitches and queries that were randomly selected from the many many submitted. This was great learning. It was always exciting when one of them in the forum said I’ll message you privately for a full request. 

There were keynotes and workshops on all sorts of topics from more than 30 experienced writers, illustrators and editors. Attendees were encouraged to register their pitch, 1st 250 words, first five pages and their query. A team of Ninja Agents would troll the lists over the two days looking for projects that interested them...No one knew who they were, they had code names...but everyone soon knew when they were ‘in the house.’

This year there were 15000 attendees from around the world  and more than 2 million hits on the web site in two days.
Check out the feast of links and set aside some time with a huge cup of coffee. You will not regret it....Then make plans to attend next year!!

WriteOnCon is the brain child of seven writers who got together in 2010 to offer an on line conference for people who couldn’t get to one. A fabulous idea which struck online gold straight away...Many kudos and writer prayers to this stellar bunch of writers!

Because WriteOnCon was the bulk of my online  trawling this week I have a short (but good) list of links for you to check out.

For those of you looking at self publishing these two links have been getting lots of rave comments this week.

Joanna Penn interviews  Lisa Cron about using brain science to hook readers. This is an interesting article on why we like’s all biological!

One of the talking points in the blogoshere this week was the Forbes article looking at Publishing entitled Publishing is broken we’re drowning in indie books and it’s a good thing!  Some very interesting comments about gate keepers and what happens next in the industry.

FaBostory is ramping up...we have some keen young writers out there. It’s quite tricky knowing that they are soo good(when you are trying to write your own chapter!) Pop into the website and read some very good young writers!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Socially Speaking....

Around the country Children’s Writers and Illustrators are getting together to celebrate Margaret Mahy’s life by going to their local library and reading Margaret Mahy stories at 11am on the 11th of August.
This is happening at public libraries up and down the land and overseas....If you want to find out more check out this great website especially put together for the event.
This whole event has snowballed from comments, made on social media among a bunch of children's writers, to become a National Event, getting press coverage around the country, in under 10 days.

In the blogosphere this week a lot of comment was devoted to Ewan Morrison’s piece in the Guardian about the (non) value of Social Media for authors.
Morrison often stirs the pot of controversy just before a speaking engagement and he is in fine form...however he took some flak for his blanket statements and figure analysis of the 80/20 rule of social media.
(You know it’s important if Shatzkin comments.)

Part of Morrison’s piece was to focus on Joanna Penn, who this week made a stir with her blog post on why she, a successful self published author, has just signed with an agent. It is all about putting the right team together. It is a good read and very timely as agents are re-examing their role in the changing marketplace...along with legacy publishers who seem to be chasing after the indie authors. 

SelfPublishingAdvice has a timely post on how Indie authors can work with traditional publishers.

Books and Such Literary agents have an interesting blog this week on Why Agents Blog.

Staying on the Social Networking topic, Writers Funzone looks at adding value in your social networking....and no, its not the 80/20 rule.

Publishers Weekly looked at the supposed Long Tail of publishing and wondered where it was...Their commenters put them straight! (you wonder if some publishing execs have been buried in sand for the last three years...)

It is conference season....and last weekend was the SCBWI summer conference.
I try to drop in, during the conference, to their live blog and get a feel for what people are talking about, hot trends, changes in the industry, things that will filter down here.
The running conference blog is a wonderful idea for those of us who can’t make the Los Angeles Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference...(tho over 1300 people did.)
Drop into the blog and scroll down the links to keynotes, panels etc. There is heaps of information just a click away.

However if you do feel like a conference experience...Check out WRITEONCON.
This is a free online children’s writers and illustrators conference which is getting bigger by the year. There are over 4000 members. I ‘attended’ last year...squashing in some online panels during the afternoon (NZ time). The big bonus tho for attendees is that everything is recorded online so those of us living in different time zones or having to work can drop in anytime and get up to date or post questions before panels and it is FREE. If you want to register go to forums. (if you registered at a previous writeoncon just log in) WRITEONCON goes live for forum and agent questions on Monday and conference live 14th and 15th August.

Dee, from I Write For Apples, has ten tips that will make WRITEONCON sooo much better for you.

In the Craft section,
The fabulous K M Weiland strikes again with her great common mistakes series This week Tension....

Joanna Penn has a great post on How To Create An Audio Book and why you should consider it.

Chuck Sambuchino has made public his Pitch Sheet Template...fill this in and you have your pitch sorted.

Jodie Renner is guest posting on Elisabeth Spann Craig’s popular blog looking at how to name characters...and where to find their names....

Passive Guy takes a good look at which Creative Commons License is best.

Two links I just had to include for you... (the everything you want to know group of links.)

I am a fan of author collectives and their power to do good out there in the marketing world. Joanna Penn has a post on the 7 Benefits Of An Author Collective and how one such collective works specifically.  If you don’t know much about them, Read It... it will open your eyes!

I’m off to practice my Margaret Mahy story and work out which WRITEONCON sessions I can make...after all the power of Social Media to connect with others is what it is all about.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Needing tissues...

What a nasty week...My body decided it was the time to lie down and let a rampant cold stomp all over me...cue tissues. I retired from the world as far as internet was concerned. The problem with that is, the emails still keep coming and the things to do list just gets longer.
So crawling back to my notes, made a couple of weeks ago what interesting tidbits from the publishing blogosphere do I have to share with you.

Penguin’s acquisition of Author Solutions still has everyone talking.

Mike Shatzkin looks at the moves to publish in the cloud and why it makes sense if you are a small to medium sized publishing small means up to 200 titles a year.

Roni Loren recently got burned using a pic on her blog post...She talks about the hazards of pictures and how you can get around law suits from photographers.

Porter Anderson has been checking out the author shadow you have’s called author platform and it happens when you misuse the 80/20 rule. 80% networking....There are some interesting observations in the article and check out Eion Purcells link right at the bottom...

For those of us who like an inspirational story Inkygirl has a link to an interview with Helaine Becker...something in this interview for everyone.

Karen Woodward has the writers definitive must have gadget if you get your best ideas in the shower....

Rachelle Gardner has reposted her article about top ten query mistakes. It makes good revision reading...especially rhetorical questions that ask the agent to answer NO.

Victoria Shockley writes about what it is like to be a virtual assistant to a bunch of writers.

The magnificent Chuck Wendig has written a thoughtful response to a question about whether writers should care....This is worth the read to discover that Chuck can write without using any dubious humour or needing any warnings on language...It is quite touching...grab the tissues.

Over in the craft section,
Check out these wonderful links

Super agent Donald Maass on predictable plot turns...and how to shake them up

The write practice shows you what to do with loglines...especially when your log line doesn’t match your manuscript.

After the shock of Margaret Mahys death last week, New Zealand children’s writers and illustrators have been discussing how best to remember the colossus of our genre. Several writers had a bright idea to gather in public libraries around the country and read Maragret Mahy books at 11 oclock on the 11th August...the day that there is a big public memorial to Margaret in Auckland.
We would like to throw this date and time open to the world so wherever you are across the time 11’oclock on the 11th grab a Margaret Mahy story...there are over 200...find some kids or read to yourself and remember this remarkable storyteller and the impact she has made on children’s literature around the world. You can let us know what you are doing on the official website where you can get a cool poster and craft activity.

photo: Creative Commons

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