Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Quick and Dirty...

This is a busy time of the year so this is a quick post of things that caught my eye in the publishing blogosphere this week.

At this time of year ‘Best Of’ lists are pulled out of the drawer and dusted off. Publishers Weekly asked publishers to list their best children’s books... or the ones they wished they had published... interesting reading with a few familiar names... Go NZ.

Indiereaders also published their best of indie books for this year and that also makes interesting reading.

For all those who have e Readers a lot of these books are on sale for Christmas so your Christmas reading is sorted.   I note that in the letterbox mailers the tech stores are busily promoting mini e Readers for kids Christmas stockings... however  widespread take up of ebooks for kids are not a happening thing... yet.

Bob Mayer always takes this time of year to look at the current state of publishing and he kicks off his week with this blog post onBook sales over 2013 and the implications for publishers.

Again and again there are articles written about the state of Traditional Publishing against Self Publishing... and the perceived differences in quality and second class nature of those who self publish. Some people are still seeing it as a competition. This week Laura Kaye pointed out the bits that the Huffington Post got wrong when they tried to write about the current state of publishing.

Jacqueline Simonds talks about self publishing and distribution...this is the nut everyone hopes to crack.

In Craft this week,

10 reasons to use the proposal process before you write the book

In Marketing this week,

Jane Friedman on Reader Engagement

To Finish, 
In the weird files Writer Beware has noticed a new kind of weird. ‘The Literary Agent’ who is crowd sourcing which manuscripts she should ‘take on’ in her new venture. You've got to read it. How can people be sooo gullible that they think this is legit?

It is Christmas next week...I am taking a break for a couple of weeks and then I will be back with all those wonderful predictions for 2014.


Pic is Santa arriving in 1929 at Canberra airport. From the Flickr Commons Institutions pages. What wonderful collections of images are available here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is It Goodwill?

This week in the international childrens publishing community everyone was talking about the genre slap that we took when Kent University (UK) decided that Childrens Writing was not literary enough to teach seriously... this followed the sacking of the Times Children’s Book reviewer, in a budget cut. The children’s writing community in the UK wrote a letter signed by 425 writers and librarians to the Times expressing their outrage at this. Childrens writers around the world are facing the continual disparagement of what they do so there was lots of agreement when Keren David wrote this blog piece. There is a beautifully put comment on it from New Zealand’s Maria Gill who summed up our feelings here pretty well.

As the fallout continues over Learning Media and the sales of back lists etc etc, anybody who has got an email with new contract terms in it please check in with NZ Society of Authors before you sign anything.
Be aware that increasingly publishing contracts are now including tricky little phrases such as ‘all rights in perpetuity’ and ‘Worldwide’ and last month Writer Beware commented on a contract that had ‘Universe wide.’ Check over this handy book contract clause explain-all.

Bob Mayer has been looking at the traits of sucessful writers these days and it comes down to the fact that they are ‘Outliers.’ This is a really interesting article.

Continuing in this vein is a great post by C J Lyons who is probably the most sucessful Hybrid author out there. How has she juggled her writing career stradling both sides of the fence...she went and built a new paddock.

Bibliocrunch has some tips if you want to look into self publishing.

Phillip Jones of FutureBook has been looking at the slap dealt to the science publishing community from a Nobel Prize winner about the elitist nature of publishing journals... The Open Access of scholarly work is the big talking point in the academic community at the moment.

DigitalBookWorld is hosting a webinar on Rights Marketing and Management. Check it out.

Author newsletters...How do you do them and what use are they. This is a nifty bookmark worthy post giving you the low down.

Publishing Perspectives is taking issue with The Best Of 2013 Book lists...which are appearing all over the web at the moment. One ofthe more comprehensive book lists I’ve seen is BookRiot’s. At least I have heard of some of the books.

In the Craft section,
Susan Kaye Quinn on Brainstorming Your Book. This is a bookmark it post.

Writersinthestorm has a How to write like the wind...

Kirsten Lamb on character duality traits.

There are three stellar articles from Jami Gold.
Fix 4 common problems with The Emotion Thesaurus (Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s amazing book)

In the Marketing section,

Julie Hedlund has been doing a kick starter for her picture book which became funded yesterday. Take a look at how she broke it down and what she offered.

6 books every marketer needs to read. I have read some of them and they are very interesting even if you are not a marketer.

To Finish,
‘Tis the season to get gifts for yourself  (or the writer in your life...) Here we have Chuck’s Ten gifts for writers updated from when he asked people to kidnap Neil Gaiman.
K M Weiland has the top 10 gifts for writers...(not as extreme...) and
Writer Unboxed has bypassed the gift list and gone straight to New Years resolutions for writers...

Spread the Goodwill!


Pic from Amazon (5* book on visual fantasy writing)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

After NaNo, The Choices Writers Make.

NaNoWriMo has finished and editors are bracing for the onslaught of manuscripts. December is Editing Month... or it should be. There are always ‘authors’ who just skip that process and upload their manuscripts straight onto the Amazon platform. And then there are some truly sharp operators out there who have an elaborate plan to defraud the reading and writing public. 
What is the hottest genre to read right now? Let’s go and create a persona and upload some books...(that we found on the internet.) AND MAKE $$$$$$. (CMOT Dibbler)*

It is Illegal and Unethical and Scuzzball Low to plagiarise.
(Romance author’s you need to check to see if these are any of your books uplifted by this lowlife.)

In other news this week Amazon announced a new delivery service... Prime Air - delivery by drone. The internet was bursting with drone jokes. Jeff Bezos made the announcement on a CBS special which Porter Anderson covered as part of his weekly look at all things publishing. Jeff has messages for the publishing/retail community including ‘Complaining is not a strategy.’

Jane Friedman hosted Angela Ackerman on her site this week. Angela was talking about business plans for writers, which has had a lot of positive press.

In another twist Jane Friedman was interviewed by ALLi The Alliance of Independent Authors on The Business of Making Money from Writingand Publishing. This is one of those Get a coffee, close the door and upskill for an hour of awesomeness. Widely talked about on Twitter yesterday.

Passive Guy this week had two call to arms posts.
Detailing misdemeanors just makes you look unprofessional. The comments on his post make insightful reading.
The other was Author Websites and the Ten Mistakes to Avoid. This was a very informative piece as over 70 comments with tips to add or avoid attested.

The FutureBook conference continues to create talking points around the web... including this article from Publishing Perspectives on the big ideas to come out of the conference. Rebecca Smart’s address on Publishing -why are we so bloody slow and what can be done about it?

Digital Book World continues their self publishing dialogue series with this sadly telling infographic on writers take home pay.

Bob Mayer continues to fly the flag for Indie Publishing... with his article - Writer’s Create Product, Reader’s Consume Product, Everybody in Between Must Provide Long Term Value.

In the Craft Section,
After NaNo ... how to use Beat Sheets. Awesome advice from Jami Gold

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Local author, D C Grant (awesome children’s writer) participated in NaNoWriMo this year and chronicles her journey in a nifty post each line showing how her word count ebbed and flowed. Congratulations to all participants!


Pic from

* Those who read Discworld will get the reference... those who don't should!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Counting Down To Breaking Point

This week the news that young adults preferred printed books brought a cheer throughout the publishing blogosphere. There has been a lot of talk about the rise and rise of ebooks so the reading survey made interesting reading. 
Secretly most writers prefer the printed page because they are bibliophiles. This morning I did a funny online survey which asked how many books I read a week and gave a small sample up to 3 (I scoffed, only 3?) 

Along with the survey the other big discussion topic is Mike Shatzkin’s interview about the future of publishing. He is a publishing futurist guru and I have been following him for the last five years and so far he has predicted right an astonishing amount of times. This time he has had to write a disclaimer blog saying he is not predicting publishing is going down the drain. Take the time to read the initial interview which is short, sharp and to the point and then settle in for his blog disclaimer which amplifies hispredictions and puts things in context. The publishers job is getting harder but they have some good aces up their sleeve...the ability to help build brand is one of them.

The FutureBook 2013 conference happened last week and some of Mike Shatzkin’s comments are echoed in the takeouts from the Bookseller’s roundup.  This is an interesting list of short articles on what the presenters said.

Jill Corcoran has been getting high fives this week on her blog post about the devaluing of writers by writers. In your race to find the sweet spot in ebook pricing are you driving down the ability of all writers to achieve a fair price.
DigitalBookWorld has followed this up with an article on the digital pricing middle.

Kody Keplinger has a blog on disability in Kids Lit. How do you portray someone with disabilities? Are they the noble sufferer or does their disability limit their character growth? This week she shares her own experiences of disability and the reality that is often glossed over in Kids Lit. She is an award winning Kids Lit writer and a very good read. This should be widely shared around.

Penny Sanseveri alerts writers to Amazon changing theirkeyword use policies.

Bob Mayer looks at a day in the life of an Indie Publisher... this shows you why his concierge writing service is doing so well.

In the Craft Section,

Janet Reid on do you know enough to send a query? (This is a quick survey for you to do before you send the query to an agent...)

In the Marketing Section,
Ruth Harris has been doing a writers toolkit series and this weeks installment is on promo and advertising ideas.

Website to check out,
LiveHacked has listed what they think are the top 100 blogs for writers. They cover all facets of the business. You will see some familiar names among them as I am a regular visitor to quite a few of them.

To Finish,
Gift giving seems to be on peoples minds so several writers have got lists of popular gifts for writers. From 12 fun holiday gifts to 10 concentration apps for writers or you could check out Chucks list of 25 gifts to give a writer. Neil Gaiman checked it out today and broke Chucks site after tweeting about it. Of course he was apologetic...but I wonder if it was deliberate as Chuck wanted someone to steal Neil’s writing gazebo with him in it so Chuck could have a personal muse slave....hehehehehe.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Being Conflicted...

This week the blogosphere is trying to digest the news that Google won the lawsuit taken against them for scanning books under copyright and uploading them to Google books. Feelings are’s been an 8 year battle. Authors are annoyed but the tech geeks see it as a victory.
Will there be an appeal? As the Author’s Guild have taken this case... can their membership sustain this fight?

This week Rachel Gardner talked about the conflicted nature of needing Amazon while it also is your biggest rival.

Joanna Penn and her agent parted ways ... it was bittersweet and a business decision... and definitely shows how the business has changed.

The news is out... The market you want to get into is the German one if you are self publishing... The Passive Guy checks out why and Publishing Perspectives examines how 50% of authors there are self published. How to feel conflicted about your own countries practice.

Young Adult (YA) has always been the subject of conflicting emotions (probably because it is about conflicting emotions.) However these two articles will probably push your writer buttons. What books to give YA(reading) virgins and New trends in YA literature from the agents perspective.

If YA is not your thing...authors and agents are participating in 30 ideas for a picture book?

In the Craft section,
Publishing Perspectives on how to spot a good editor

Writer Unboxed on Creating a Masterpiece...lots of juicy comments here.

The Plot Whisperer on pre-plotting a series.

K M Weiland on the top 25 ways to write an awesome book

In Marketing,

To Finish,
Charlie Redmayne (he of Pottermore and now poached back to HarperCollins) has laid out the warnings to the publishing industry. Take back content! Spend money on building the brand.  Author’s will be conflicted about the implications...especially in light of new contracts with nice phrases like...  universe rights and in perpetuity.

O what a tangled web we weave...

If you know the author of that line and can finish the are PrDmBrll.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Change In The Climate

Almost every month I find myself wondering if there are any climate change skeptics still around. The weather will get more extreme. Storms will be bigger.... and in the last week we have seen a Super Typhoon slam into the Philippines.
Candy Gourlay has quickly put together a kidlit author initiative and asked her fellow kidlitters to donate prizes for an online auction fundraiser. So far 125 authors have responded and there are some very cool writers and items to be picked up.

This week in the publishing blogosphere Porter Anderson was waxing lyrical about the self publishers who originally eschewed gate keepers now banding together to differentiate themselves from the mass of self published work out there and setting up gate-keeping awards as a badge of honour. This discussion is being had in NZ with various bodies including the NZ Society of Authors.

Writer Beware has an alert out on an outfit from Germany offering to blog your book. I treated this as spam when it showed up in my inbox but some people have been caught.

Roz Morris has reposted her comprehensive blog post on what to do before you spend money on publishing. If you missed this when I posted it before its well worth a re-read.

Larry, James and Randy got together to talk storytelling craft. This is a great article and really they don’t need any other introduction than their last names. Brooks, Scott Bell, Ingermanson, authors of some of the best writing craft guides out there.

In Craft,

Anti Villains...great article

This week’s Marketing Links,

Creative Book Launches from the Writers Helping Writers team

To Finish,
The Toast had an interesting article from Sarah Rees Brennan which explores sexism and self promotion. It is a thought provoking article and echoes some of the conversations NZ has been having in the last week. I think we are ready for a ‘climate’ change.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Do We Have A Roadmap?

So the first week of NaNoWriMo is over and strangely the publishing blogosphere is mostly quiet...
There are a few conversations happening over Mike Shatzkin’s analysis of Amazon and where they are heading to now...will they lose interest in the book business altogether? This is a great article which gives a good snapshot of what is happening now and where we may be heading in the next couple of years. This is worth a read for anyone in the book business!

One of the other discussion pieces is a report released this week that 98 UK publishers went out of business in 2012, a huge increase from the year before. However independent booksellers may be making a comeback... Do they have a secret map?

Rachel Gardner talks about privacy...and being off the map. Do you seriously think you can have privacy if you are a writer?

FutureBook talks to Peter Hudson of BitLit who is inventing a map for readers to bundle print and ebooks... with a cell phone picture.

Publishers Weekly has an interesting article on the changes to digital printing in offset books and how this is changing how publishers manage their stock which previously would be out of print. They are redrawing their map.

Great articles abound in Craft for writers struggling with NaNoWriMo 

Janice Hardy has guest author, Michael Kinn, blogging on Genre Angst

In Marketing... for when the novel is finished

Price pulsing and increasing visibility (a very interesting article)

The Book Designer has the 10 commandments....

Website to check out...
TheWriteLife ... a great little site with some very handy tips

To Finish,


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick Or Treat

Happy All Hallows Eve,
A couple of years ago Young Adult writers decided to hand out scary books to trick or treaters...and it has gained a following amongst the writing community in the countries that celebrate Halloween as a cultural festival. All Hallows Read...go to your local second hand up ghostly children’s books and R L Stines...and hand them out.

This week in the publishing blogosphere there was a flutter as Larry Kirshbaum announced he was going back to agenting after heading up Amazon’s print publishing operation. Larry was up against it, when he was hired two years ago as all the bookstores holding onto deals with publishers decided they wouldn’t stock Amazon printed books. Traditional Publishing pundits have taken a ‘We Won Against The Mighty ‘Zon’ attitude but others aren’t so sure... Anyway you look at it, the authors are the ones suffering with poor print sales and no exposure to the bookstore browser. If the Mighty ‘Zon ever works out distribution into the bookstores for print books... the game will be changed.

In the blogosphere it is NaNoWriMo time and tips abound for how to tackle the month where everyone tries to write their 50,000 word opus. Editors and agents are shuddering because December heralds all these manuscripts hitting their floors. Many of them are saying they won’t look at a book that arrives in December because it won’t have moved beyond a first draft.

If you are not heading into the bunker to write you may be interested in the changing ownership hop of Figment, the teen writing community that keeps getting bought by very big publishers.... If I was very cynical I’d wonder whether they were keen to get their hands on the next big young thing who knows nothing about the cut throat business of publishing.... Lucky I’m not.... Dave Gaughren has a good blog post on this subject.

Publishers Weekly article this week is definitely scaring quite a few people. The article has anonymous agents and editors saying publishers are beginning to carefully change contract wording so it doesn’t say what format they will publish the book in. If publishers don’t commit to a print edition or they go to a POD print edition so that rights will never revert back...or the Print edition will be under their new imprint where the writer pays costs (read Author Solutions here) then writer’s dreams may rapidly turn to nightmares.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a comparison piece on the indie music scene and the indie publishing scene and couldn’t find one and then into my Twitter feed pops this opinion piece from a musician writer.... Interesting reading.

Joanna Penn has an interview with an expert on selling books into Germany. They have the biggest population of readers in Europe.

Now for all those great Craft Treats

These are the best blog posts I’ve seen on plotting this week.

Other inspirational writing tips worthy of bookmarking

To Finish,
Two stellar opinion pieces.
On writing Y A from a literary writer... and what he learned, which was a heck of a lot!
Hugh Howey on the challenge of connecting with readers directly. You need to do it.

Here is my All Hallows treat for you...Writing tips fromGreat Authors. 
Print out a couple of these and hang them over your desk!


This great pic was from

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Genre Fiction; Up, Down, Sideways...

This week in the publishing blogosphere has been focussed on the continuing fallout over KOBO pulling self-published books featuring erotica... which caused booksellers sites to fall over including Whitcoulls our biggest chain bookseller which made news around the world.
The Alliance of Independent Authors comments about the damage done to authors and publishers on this... as a lot of the books pulled weren’t erotica... leaving 50 shades and Lolita untouched.
David Gaughren also asks who do we want making our moral decisions... as this all happened as a knee jerk reaction to an article in The Daily Mail. Lots of comments on this.

Porter Anderson continued his Ether this week with more snippets from Frankfurt and predictions for content (read stories) in the gaming industry ... the books of the future.

Writer Beware is highlighting Kill Clauses in contracts and the underhanded ways these are being used now... Check it out and be aware!

The great Brainpickings, Maria Popova’s site is 7 years old today and she looks back at 7 years since her idea and 7 things she has learned... a great little inspirational piece.

Jane Friedman has started up a magazine dedicated to writers. Scratch.  Her first issue is free so you can take a look at what she is doing and hoping for. If you don’t know Jane Friedman... she is consistently voted as one of the best writers advice/publishing commentators on the web.

McDonalds (New Publisher Alert) are giving out books to kids with their order... or you can go and download them yourselves. Yes...I told you it was coming ad now it is here... just not in NZ yet.

If you are thinking about getting into China you need to think about censorship...The NY Times details the hoops writers are prepared to go through.

Agents doing different things....
Lit Agent Mandy Hubbard is calling for a different kind of submission...She’s got a project in mind but she needs the writing voices...

Jill Corcoran is working with one of her writers using Kindle Singles and episode publishing a YA novel. 

Curtis Brown agent, Gordon Wise, has written an article on whether you need a print publisher now and ‘curated publishing services’ for authors that some agents are now doing....

In Craft,
NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us and the blogosphere is gearing up with articles on how to tackle the event. Here are two of the best this week.

In Marketing,
Joanna Penn talks about sharing your research with your readers... (Great article, something I have been mulling over.)

Ebook pricing is always a hot topic... Molly Greene talks about her experiences and what she has learned around this.

If you are self publishing, you need a team...Bob Mayer tells you why and how to choose them.

Website to check out,
Blake Snyder of Save The Cat (Screenwriting Bible) has a great website. This week a guest novelist shows how he used Save The Cat Beats to structure his novel...A great insight into plotting...while still leaving room for ‘as you write’ inspiration...Bookmark this one.

To Finish,
Chuck Wendig was recently in this part of the world... he left just as the fires started in OZ....hmmm. Chuck was a guest of GenreCon in Brisbane where he delivered a speech on 25 things he loves about Genre fiction.... Chuck is not for the faint hearted so warnings apply. You will laugh and maybe fall off your chair...



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