Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's All In The Story

This week one region in NZ was declared a drought zone and a few others are staring down the barrel. On the official last day of summer with the temperatures climbing again...anybody want to predict a wet autumn? What happens if the Rain Gods don’t come back? If we stay forever in a stuck weather zone...

Ok enough scary story starters.

In the publishing blogosphere...Everyone was talking about what they learned at Indie ReCon. If you didn’t check it out last week DO IT NOW. The advice...the posts...the how to’s...the why’s....
A writing conference that promised lots...and gave HEAPS...all free. Just scroll down the posts over three days (19-21 on the left.)

Publishing Perspectives had a guest post with NZ company Vangelizer. Three Epiphanies on Social Media Marketing of Books. They are offering some very cool products to writers out there...but one of their comments intrigued me. “Make it easy for people to buy your book once you generate interest.” As a bare minimum, you should have a link embedded in every tweet and post that takes people to a mobile-optimized site with a range of global buying options.

This reminded me of Gumroad...the outfit I told you about in January. They do just that for one off things from ‘content’ creators. I clicked on over to check out new offerings and there was a video with Gary Vaynerchuk about storytelling being the way to create empathy which you can convert to a sale...(and before you go aaaargh...You are in the business of selling your stories aren’t you?)

Jane Friedman has interviewed C J Lyons who is a Hybrid star. This is one of those must read articles to see how to navigate the Hybrid world successfully.

Another big conversation this week on the blogosphere, besides Indie ReCon, was Joel Friedlander AKA The Book Designer. Joel has reached out to all the Indie/ Hybrid people out there and designed a collection of Book Templates you can buy to drop your novel into that saves you the hassle of converting from Word to POD format...People are raving! The guy is a genius! Joel talks about how astounded he was at the sheer number of downloads in the first few days along with FAQ’s on his new offering.

In England the talk is all about the Beanstalk Literacy Charter...with the Children’s Laureate getting behind the ‘fund a reading teacher in every well as a library.’ I did not realise that in England a school library was optional! I got a shiver down my spine!

Hilary Mantel has been in the news lately...mainly for the inept reporting from tabloid journalists who did not check what she actually said. Here she gives her Ten Rules for Writing and Jolly Good They Are Too!

Chuck’s recent blog has been getting a lot of comment too. This is the bit where you gasp and say “he actually said that about editing a novel!”

If you remember when iTunes hit the music industry...Mixtus Media has a look at Five Things Book Publishers should be prepared for.

Writer Beware checks out scammers that tell you to register copyright...let them do it for you...

Biting your readers in the buttocks...The Forest Gump Guide To Writing.

In Craft,

Edittorrent puts ambiguity under the spotlight with examples...her pet hate as an agent and something everybody could sharpen up on.

The BookshelfMuse talks to the Plot Whisperer...One of those gotta read interviews, along with What and How to Revise by Darcy Pattison

The Query Letter...Chuck Sambuchino tells you how to craft it if your MS doesn’t fit the expected box...

In Marketing,
Google authorship and SEO...Did you know you may not be the author of those blog posts according to Google?

Susan Kaye Quin talks formatting for iTunes. (How to do it without buying a MAC)

Writersinthestorm take a look at setting timelines in your business plan.

Passive Guy looks at Indie Authors and gift cards...I have done this and it is quite a good idea.

To finish, 
Sadly we must come to the end...with this thought provoking post from one of our top writers of Y A about what it means to write for children. 


Special thanks go to the Pulp-O-Mizer website...I had sooo much fun creating this on the neat website! (tho I'll stick to writing...)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Independent Thinking

As I write this Indie ReCon is hitting midpoint (19-21 US time). 

This conference, like WriteonCon, is free, online and chock full of great content. Indie ReCon is for writers who are thinking about or doing their OWN publishing. Three days of other writers giving their time and expertise to help empower others.
Even if you are not ready to step into the Indie world there are topics covered that are of use to the traditional author.

Bob Mayer kicked IndieRecon off with his keynote on the Future of Digital Publishing.

Jessie Harrell looks at the Pro’s and Con’s of going Indie...and she lays it out honestly.

Marketing plans made easy with Shelli Johannes. Shelli is a great blogger, source of inspiration and advice.

Denise Grover Swank looks at Business plans...and spells out what you need to focus on...because if you go Indie You Are A Business... (Kris and Dean have been saying this for years!!!)

Alicia Kat Dilman takes a look at 10 ways to make your cover stand out.

These are just 5 presentations from 17 on the first day...Check out Indie ReCon and scroll down the left sidebar...give yourself heaps of time!!

Writer Beware has a warning post to Christian Writers about an outfit targeting them who solicits the author first...then ties them up into contracts with little gems like this...
It's an exclusive life-of-copyright world rights grant term with no provision whatever for rights reversion other than the publisher's discretion in discontinuing publication if sales fall below 50 copies in a year. In other words, the publisher can hold onto your rights for as long as it chooses, and you have no recourse for getting them back.
Check out Writer Beware for other hidden contract bombs that Blessed Hope Publishing hope you don’t see.

Around the Publishing Blogosphere discussion over the Future of Foyles workshops held this week in London where the massive Foyles Bookstore invited the public to tell them what they wanted in a future bookstore over two days of workshops. Ideas abound as Porter Anderson covers what came out of it. Lots of Independent Bookstores are taking a look at the ideas for their own selves.

The bookstores are doing this on behalf of all independent Bricks and Mortar bookstores.

Anne R Allen has 5 blogging rules that Authors can ignore and 5 they can’t. As usual great content from Anne.

Joanna Penn has a great guest blog from a children’s writer who podcasts and uses animation software in her marketing. The free animation software is the next great thing to play with...

WanaCon an international online writing conference is coming up if you want to check it out. (The brainchild of the WANA team and Kristen Lamb.)

 A Film Character Has Become An Editor At A Big Name Publishing House...Check out this breaking news from The Onion.

In Craft,
Give your stories depth by having a ghost plot running through them...A nice little post on how to set this up...when you read it you will get an AHA moment.

In the same theme...Set up more payoffs in your story. This is the bit where the readers think ...OH You Clever Writer....

The Script Lab has got the scene questionnaire...and it is a good focus for writers as well as scriptwriters.

To finish,
I leave you with Chucks Exhortation to just follow his simple writing plan...which is being retweeted all over the place.

On FB I'm asking what Children's writers would put in their Writers Bug Out response to this from Writers Digest.... Feel free to leave a comment.
If you had to leave the  house in a hurry, what would you have in your writing bag? 


Pic from Flickr Creative commons/Cyron

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Writing

It is St Valentine’s Day...the feast day of the martyred priest who married Christians in defiance of Emperor Claudius (269AD). Patron Saint of Lovers, Marriage, Young People and Bee Keepers.

Around the Publishing Blogosphere several big conferences are about to kick off. O’Reillys Tools of Change is underway but this year they started with Author (R)Evolution Day where for about the first time writers got to be at a big publishing conference with content directed at them. Porter Anderson wraps up the important points...Metadata!!!!
Mediabistro has the low down on Porters panel discussion at this event...promotion. This is very hot off the press as ARD was yesterday.
TOC starts today and Indie ReCon (Free and Online) is this weekend.

This week Charles Gonzales post on Discovery only being a problem for publishers got mentioned a lot as people took sides.

Bookish the new ‘Discovery’ site set up by 3 Big Publishers launched and quickly got panned for what it wasn’t and should have been. Everybody had such high hopes!

Joanna Penn has a great post on writing more and getting a daily writing habit and another one on Sampling...This is a must read if you are thinking of going digital.

Mike Shatzkin wraps up his series on Bookstores...Publishers and the Future. Would you pay to browse a book store?

Rachelle Gardner cautions about who is reading your unpublished work...and who should be...while 

Writeitsideways continues this theme with the post Want Agents To Read Your MS...Do This First.

Chuck has a thoughtful reflective post on The Hardest Writerly Truth (usual warnings apply)

KillZone has a great post on Working On More Than One Book At A Time.

The Passive Guy has the run down on What Every Writer Should Know...If you are teaching writing or planning a conference you should read this!

In the Craft section,
The Fabulous Jami Gold on synopsis...This is a great cheat sheet on constructing a synopsis...or even an outline before you write the book.

Blake Snyder, he of Save The Cat (THE screenwriting craft book) has a guest post on his site by Marilyn Brant. This takes the classic Pride and Prejudice and applies the Save the Cat Beat sheet. Great stuff!

Chuck Wendig on 5 things you should know about narrative viewpoint...(Warning it’s Chuck!)

Diabolical Plots has an interview with Kristine Rusch on Critique...Kris and Dean run workshops on critiques but quite differently....Take a look!

The Bookshelf Muse on info dumping...when to do it or not....

Linking you need them?

In the Marketing Section,

AuthorMedia on engaging readers on your Facebook Author Page...3 Great Tips!

Good Author websites...with examples from Bookcovercafe

To finish,
Recently some writers and I were discussing how sometimes you feel a fraud even tho you are published and you might know some stuff about the industry. The lovely Jami Gold has a great post on this subject but even better she links to one of those WOW TED talks that puts it all into perspective. This is a link to share around to everyone!!

Every now and then I post a video to say thanks to one of my commenter’s (FB and Blog)...Melinda this one is for you in honour of Today’s Big Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations Melinda and James.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Gatekeepers...the ones who you have to placate or bribe to get into the hallowed ground...They are tasked with only letting through the gates those that are worthy...

This week on the publishing blogosphere Rachelle Gardner has a post about gatekeeping on your mind. If you have discovered that as you increase screen time reading and interacting with social media there is a corresponding downward spiral in new and exciting ideas coming out of your brain you may be struggling with the same issue.

Chuck Wendig has decided to name February 6th the anti pirate day and started the ball rolling with his thoughts about pirates; Why I hope you don’t pirate my book. Many authors joined him and posted  their open letters to book pirates.

Jody Hedlund has written about when your family doesn’t appreciate what you do and how hard it is to get them on board...they are gatekeepers of your writing time and energy, and what to do about it.

Electricliterature has an interesting post on those writers who have nipped round the back to the side door. Author Entrepreneur...The Hybrid Author. They have some very interesting stats on this new Hybrid model.

John Scalzi (head of SFA) has a post detailing the sales numbers of his latest book... print, audio and epublishing and talks candidly about what is working for him. The fact that he is able to to talk numbers for his trad book is astounding...and The State Of a Genre Novel makes for interesting reading.

If you didn’t get a chance to look at Dean Wesley Smiths post on crunching numbers in a Hybrid world a few weeks ago (it was no 5 in his series) Read this post, No 4 and then No 5. In fact go read the whole series. If you wanted a no nonsense set of guidelines to follow this year to be a successful’s all in these posts.

Last year I gifted myself Steven Pressfields, War of Art and a nice gift it was too.
Editor Shawn Coyne has written a thought provoking post on Steven’s blog about where the midlist writer is now in the big six, Ouch what is a midlister to do...

Apple have decided to highlight self published books...This is an interesting article detailing the latest moves in the Gatekeepers of online publishing.

In craft,
K M Weiland on sure fire awesome setting creation and structuring scenes.
Victoria Strauss is guesting over at Children’s Publishing and she has a nice post on letting your characters into your head.
Plot Conflicts and Desires...or how to get the best out of your plot.

In Marketing,
QR codes...which are apparently big in NZ...

To finish,
How to deal with crushing feedback on your creative may not be what you think it is...or you maybe in this situation.


pic from Flickr /counse
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