Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feeling The Emotion

ANZAC day* is always emotional. Whether you are braving the chilly dawn for the memorial service or later in the day at a full civic ceremony...there is always the tear in the eye, the tight feeling in your throat. On this day I think of all the members of my family who served in their different wars and are still serving. The one who didn’t come back in 1916, age 23 with no known grave...his brother, my grandfather who did. My husband’s grandfather, one of less than 200 that survived Gallipoli and the Western Front. ANZAC day is always harder when one of our family is overseas serving as a Peacekeeper.
When we were overseas last year, we met a Turk on a train in Italy. It was a special moment as we both talked about the war that forged our two nations. Each of us had a story to tell about visiting Gallipoli and crying. He talked about seeing a fused piece of metal, the result of 25 bullets that all hit together at once.
What a hell it must have been!

In the blogosphere this week a different kind of war was happening as reaction to Barry Eisler’s keynote address to the Pikes Peak writer’s conference was furiously debated on Twitter. Agents and Publishers taking exception to Barry’s comments that Legacy publishing was a lottery and their only value was for print distribution deals. Once the hot comments were out of the way and agents and publishers climbed down off the ceiling...debate was more constructive. Read the comments people...but give yourself some time...

In the last year very successful indie e-publishers have begun partnering with big publishers for print only deals and agents are becoming publishers on the side, organising editing, covers and marketing of eBooks or is pretty easy to see Barry Eisler’s point.

The London Book Fair has just wrapped up and there was lively debate around the changing nature of agents. So do you want a manager, a partner, a business coach...or a deal maker? And No an Agent is not necessarily going to do all of that.

Joanna Penn was also thrilled to be at the Fair. She has a huge blog post filled with video interviews and comments about the 2013 Fair, which had the most writers attend ever. Take some time over this one.

Joel Friedlander talks about his war on Word won...and what he is doing about it. Check it out and get a great deal on his solution!

Seven Steps To The Perfect Story is one of those amazing graphics that you really want to print out, stick on your wall and gaze at for a long time.

Myths about Query letters to Agents...don’t get too worried.

Elizabeth Spann Craig has been looking at Audio books and ACX. This is a feel good post telling you how to use ACX.

In Craft, It is all about Character Emotion...
Real Life Diagnostics- Hooking The Reader- Janice Hardy dissects a submission.
Dropping into the Emotion Thesaurus, it’s all about sarcasm....

To Finish,
Roz Morris talks about Obituaries and why they are so important for writers...


*ANZAC Australian and New Zealand Army Corps remember their fallen soldiers on 25th April the date of the landing of the Corps at Gallipoli in Turkey 1915. New Zealand lost ¼ of their men and more than ½ were severely wounded. The Turks lost twice as many allied casualties and their leader Ataturk Kemal became the Father of Modern Turkey. After a disastrous nine months the Allies left the peninsular in the dead of night leaving behind more than 44000 dead to lie with 87000 dead Turks. New Zealand suffered the largest casualties relative to their population of any Allied Nation and the campaign changed forever both Turkey, who won, and Australia and New Zealand, who lost but found and forged their own national identities away from Britain.

I saw Dire Straits perform this live when I was never fails to remind me of the loss and weariness of war and the need for Peace.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Finding The Plot

Paulo Coelho is credited with saying,
'There are only 4 stories...a love story between 2 people, a love story between 3 people, the struggle for power and the voyage.'

I am reflecting on this statement, which really pares back plot, and thinking about where the story swirling around in my head fits.

Several of my friends have finished big creative projects and they are in that flat space between ideas. (hey guys, how about combining all of those...)

Recently I heard a well established fiction writer say that he gets all his ideas from non fiction and that is all he reads between his novels.

On Facebook we are joking with Brian Falkner, a friend of ours who writes excellent YA Science Fiction thrillers, about new discoveries last year in Science, Brian had already invented them as plot devices in his books. If he dreams it up suddenly it becomes reality.

Ideas, plots, conspiracy theories and character motivation all swirling around in the blogosphere this week.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction.

Susan Kaye Quinn is interviewed on her new series...which began when she had one of those high concept ideas while traveling and she had to interview her own muse to find out what happens next.

Hugh Howey is being referenced all over the blogosphere again...this week it’s his three rules for writing...

Orna Ross looks at the Vanity Publishing vs Self Publishing. Are they the same? It is all about value.

The brilliant Joel Friedlander has added three new non fiction style templates to his fiction book design templates. If you are looking at POD check out what Joel is doing...very brilliant stuff.

M J Rose is looking at the book launch that happens when your books are not in the book store because of a dispute....Perfect is the Enemy of Good. Great post.
In the Craft section,
Great fiction goes for the guts- Kristen Lamb with a straight to the point  blog post.

In Marketing,
Pinterest for authors...Jane Friedman takes a look at how you can use this social media site.
Getting it up and keeping it up-The conundrum for Indie authors

To Finish,
Neil Gaiman has addressed publishers directly at the London Book Fair to tell them what he thinks they should be doing...making mistakes.

The publishers will probably think he has lost the plot.


Pic from DH Wright

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Talking About The Revolution

This week has seen wide ranging discussions on where authors and publishing are positioning themselves.

Hugh Howey kicked it off with a piece in Salon where he said None of this is meant to say that everyone who self-publishes — even those who study the craft, take their work seriously, and produce a constant stream of material — will find material success. There is also luck involved and the fickle tastes of readers. But what is becoming more apparent with every passing day is that you have a better chance of paying a bill or two through self-publishing than you do through any other means of publication.

Chuck Wendig countered with a piece on his blog warning readers that only going down the self publishing route was courting disaster. I traditionally-publish. I do pretty well at that, too, I think, and actually over the last two years have well-eclipsed anything I made self-publishing. Just the same, I don’t think one is better than the other.
Both make important points which have been debated all over the blogosphere this week. Hugh agrees with Chuck...and compared with diatribes from last year on these different perspectives of Publishing Now, these guys are politeness personified (yes, I said that about Chuck...)

Susan Kaye Quin, an Indie midgrade writer, has also been engaging in this topical debate and she has some good points to make. She looks at both positions coming down firmly on the Indie she would. Take the time to read the debate. Mostly everyone agrees Hybrid is the way to go if you can and different types of publishing for separate projects.

However what everyone is saying on both sides is that quality of content matters. You cannot knock off an ebook in a weekend and make thousands of dollars. This week I was invited to speak to a tertiary Creative Writing Programme. I was blunt because sugar coating reality helps no one. However one very important point I hoped they got was they are already on the right track, by being in a course that will teach them to write to their best ability. There after, it is as Chuck says,...’Art Harder’.

Jane Friedman in her new role as VQR guru brought together a high powered think tank to look at where digital is going in literary publishing. Get a big cup of coffee, the ideas fly thick and fast in the middle with multi media, freelancing and earning income. Porter Anderson, covering the HUGE Writers Digest conference last week, also looks at these ideas including the move of agents to become managers. This is an interesting idea and a way forward for agents.

Another big topic getting lots of talk time is Author’s Guild president Scott Turow’s opinion piece on Amazon buying Goodreads. Unfortunately Scott’s anti digital tirade did not go down well in the blogosphere. Dave Gaughren talks about what went wrong for Scott. He is mostly polite (not like other tirades.) In my humble opinion someone who slams Amazon as much as Scott shouldn’t have his books for sale on it.

Futurebook is asking Can Publishers Disintermediate Amazon...should publishers become then....(Check out the article, discuss amongst yourselves.)

Elizabeth Spann Craig has a great blog and this week she is looking at making your comtent work harder for you...I know how she is feeling and have been doing my own investigations down this route...

Anne R Allen says there is a time and place to blog your book...Have you got the right time and place?

PaidContent has looked at Flipboard’s new moves and warns...publishers have not seen this coming and maybe they should be a little bit afraid....The video will knock your socks off (This is a must read!) Your own magazine in 30 seconds...

And to help you with graphics content, new kid on the block, Imgembed, which is revolutionising image capture for blogs, websites more dodgy steals...and it looks great from the photographers side too. That’s where the blog pic came from.

In Craft,

When there is no time...How do you write on the GO

In Marketing,
Joanna Penn on Keywords Metadata and Discoverability and Paid Promotion - is it worth it?

Video Book Trailers...putting one together.

Book Signings that WOW (great ideas from Bookshelf Muse blog)

Author Platform - Are You Being Cautious or Lazy (Catherine Ryan Howard takes you to task.)

 To Finish,
In our biggest daily paper was a great article on a Pacific Writer, Lani Wendt-Young who looked at the gap in pacific islands fiction and started writing a Spec Fic series which has taken off among her target audience, Pacific Island youth and then into the wider world. It is a great project and shows what you can do when you stop talking and just write.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hot Button Writing

Just before I took a holiday from the Internet for Easter... the news came in that Amazon was acquiring Goodreads.
In the fast world of Publishing Now, you know the news is big when a week after the announcement the fur... still flying around the blogosphere.
Those that hate all things Amazon are cursing. Those that love all things Amazon are trying to be calm....

Hugh Howey jumped first with an interesting blog post, which canny Amazon immediately updated their press release to include. This is a good thing says Howey. He makes a compelling argument for the merger. (Buy Buttons on Goodreads)

 Others are not so sure. 
Amazon, with its review problems, (sock puppetry) became only a buy platform after readers found trustworthy reviews on Goodreads. So will Goodreads recommendations count for anything in the future?

Laura Hazard Owen of Paid Content put some compelling questions to Otis Chandler of Goodreads and Russ Grandinetti of Amazon. First Do No Harm....
If you look at the comments... people are still asking the questions...

AmazonGoodreads will be the hot topic for a while...

Last week I mentioned another hot button topic, which is still simmering away underneath the AmazonGoodreads marriage, Barnes and Noble dropping Simon and Schuster books. S&S weren’t going to pay the new fees B&N wanted from publishers to display their books in stores.

As more information filters out it is becoming clear that B&N changed their pricing to publishers to reflect the fact that they are being seen as a showroom.
Go to B&N. Look at the latest book by your favourite author. Jump onto wifi. Buy it, at a better price, from somewhere else.

This is the reality now...and how do bookstores compete with this?  And what happens to the author whose publisher won’t take part in the game? VQR has a great article on what S&S authors are doing and what authors and publishers should do when they find themselves in the same situation.

In New Zealand the Hot Button topic is who made it onto the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Who didn’t and should have been. And do we really agree with the Judges comment that there are no feisty girl heroines?

 Neal Pollack was riding a one way trip to Stardom when he got derailed by Hollywood. He talks about reinventing himself using Kindle serials.

In Craft,
Writer Unboxed have posted their 90 writing tools in a single post.

KillZone 8 ways to edit suspense and pace into your MS. (craftbook in a single post)

In Marketing,
Lindsay Buroker has been a canny marketer in the past on Amazon and as the algorithms change she has changed her marketing what works now.

To finish,
Following on from the Random House eBook contract debacle of early March, Dean Wesley Smith wrote one of the most definitive posts on rights reversal clauses in publishing contracts that I have seen. This is a must read. The comments are a must read. This post is being shared all around the place.

Writing, Publishing Contracts, Bookstores, Reviews, Marketing, Awards. All Hot Button issues. Wear gloves. Read at your own risk.


pic from
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