Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shaking The Publishing Tree

It is Book Expo America time in the US and Golden Yarns time in NZ.

BEA is the biggest trade fair conference expo for the American publishing industry. This year in a bold move a group of Indie Authors are representing themselves and have a stand at BEA. 
The comments and takeaways have been coming thick and fast all over Twitter today from BEA so the wonderful Jane Friedman has helpfully collated her day’s tweets.

There is definitely movement in digital publishing, distribution and sales. Publishers are finally getting to grips with what they should be doing...
Mobile is really shaking up publishing and here is a slideshow showing this, which was presented at BEA earlier today. Food For Thought!

Here in NZ the mergers of the big publishers are beginning to bite.
Harper Collins announced yesterday that they were moving a lot of their operations out of NZ. This coming on top of the news that Pearson Education was also downsizing meant that it has been a bad week for New Zealand authors. As we are still waiting on news of what the Random Penguin merger will mean to NZ, which will be announced in July, it just adds to the depression about lean times for writers here in NZ.

Hybrid... Indie... Self Publishing the words are on everyone’s lips now.

The rise of the small Indie Press movement with a niche focus happening in the northern hemisphere is beginning to gain momentum here in NZ.
Dean Wesley Smith has a great take on Indie Print Runs...yes Indies are getting into Print!

However the key to all of this is distribution. Kristine Rusch has an excellent post on how the distribution models have shifted without anyone noticing and the change is really profound!

Last week I posted a link to John Green's Radio NZ interview. John has posted a nice article on writing YA for those of you interested in his work...and why he thinks he got so much success. Maureen Johnson is the next to be interviewed by Radio NZ sometime this week. I had to laugh when she tweeted that she had to record the whole interview under a blanket to muffle noise....
*UPDATE Maureen Johnson’s interview on the coverflip project, which I covered in an earlier post, will be on National Radio after 11am, Queen’s Birthday Monday.

Jane Friedman has 2 excellent posts to mull over. 2 Strategic Reasons To Keep Blogging and Why Google+ is Better Than Facebook for Authors. Kristen Lamb takes it a step further looking at Facebook for Authors and what many are doing wrong.

In Craft,

Ava Jae on When Not ToSubmit

Chuck Wendig on Killing Your Darlings...(warning it’s will be witty and profane)

In Marketing,

Pubslush...the Kickstarter site for Books

Why Pick Up a DebutWriters Book?- nice article by Jody Hedlund on how to make readers care.

To Finish,
Short fiction...there is gold in them thar stories...
Two articles to get you thinking. Short Is The New Long- The superb Anne R Allen

Lots of NZ children’s writers will be heading to Christchurch for the Golden Yarns conference this weekend. It will be a great time to look at our industry, what is moving and shaking it and where the opportunities may lie for the nimble writer in the fast changing publishing future.


Pic from Flickr/sammydavisdog

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Standing to Talk

This week people in the publishing blogosphere have been taking a stand.

Ann Patchett took a stand in her opinion piece for the Bookseller.
Ann wanted authors to look after publishers and independent booksellers. ( she is one of those.) In her words... Authors have been protected for a long time, we are very well cared for, but we need to think about our other partners, from bookshops to publishing and self-publishing.”  Unfortunately her tone, in the words of one twitter commenter, was that of a favoured child who has no idea of the resentment felt by neglected siblings...
Futurebook writer Suw Charman-Anderson discussed where Ann went wrong and what she could have warned publishers is all about communication... both ways.

Over in Amazon land the drums are beating. A new publishing venture Kindle Worlds was launched today. This new publishing imprint is specifically fiction. And yes fan ficcers you can make money off it.
As authors collective screens were wiped free of coffee and the screams of what the....faded into the distance this morning wise heads in the industry shouted hold up, this surely can’t be right and investigated.
John Scalzi (Pres SSFWA) gives his very considered opinion...BEWARE copyright terms are for the life of copyright...uh...that’s 70 years in US.

This week the erudite Kameron Hurley wrote a stunning piece on how many writers rely on cliché characters. She then blows accepted history apart when she talks about how women were warriors in different cultures right to this present day...and how they disappear in narrative to become victims...or passive tropes to move the story along. Chuck Wendig is so taken with her exhortation for writers to become better that he adds his own rant backing her up and urging writers to write for the underserved readers out there. Read both pieces. (usual warnings on Chucks writing apply...)

Susan Kaye Quin always an interesting commentator on things indie...has written a great article on TheAge Of The Empowered Writer...that’s now.

This week Huffington Post had a great article about Amanda Palmer appearing at The Grub St writer’s convention and giving one of the most talked about keynotes of a writing conference this year. They have a link to the video of it...and it is stunning! Take some time out to listen to this speech and reconnect with why you write.

Here in New Zealand we were treated to a rare interview with John Green...YA wunderkind and half of the Vlog brothers. Here is the link to the podcast if you missed it on Wednesday.

In Craft,

K M Weiland On 5 Reasons You Should Stop Writing...(not what you think)

In Marketing,

A must read post from ChocolateandVodka about Front Matter and End Matter and what readers will be surprised!

To Finish,
Have you ever wondered whether your book will last for the length of a long haul flight? Wonder no longer...Qantas has taken a stand on behalf of the neglected long haul passenger who has run out of reading material half way across the Pacific...


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Burning Up The Charts

Nothing happens quickly in publishing.... This used to be the mantra. Today the Department of Justice released some of their documents from the Agency Pricing lawsuit against Trad Publishers. An economics  professor did some helpful charts. My Goodness the publishers involved moved at the speed of light!

Across the blogosphere and looking at another lawsuit...Porter Anderson takes a close look at the reporting around the Author Solutions lawsuit...or lack of it. In a case where the number of authors who may have been burnt by the various imprints of this *helpful* publishing company run up past 150,000 how is it that this case is not being widely reported in mainstream media or even in some specialist publishing journals.

Interestingly the same judge is presiding over both cases...wonder if she’ll write a book about her experiences.

What saddens me is how little research is done by potential authors to find out the state of play in publishing right now. 
1. It’s hard to get a traditional deal. 
2. Agents are becoming de facto publishers. 
3. Authors are having some success in self publishing. 
4. Self publishing is a lot of work and you need to know what you are doing. 
5. You will not get rich as a writer.
This is reality. 
In all of the above a publishing firm that tells you that they can dissolve all those barriers... just hand over your credit one to run away from! So many people go into this with their eyes shut...following the dream...which can turn into an ugly nightmare.

Elisabeth Naughton has written about her publishing journey from Trad to Indie and it makes interesting reading. It is a very honest and reflective piece, which mirrors the journey that publishing itself has taken in the last five years.

In April, just before the London Book Fair, the Guardian published an opinion piece on how the rise of self publishing has changed the book world and the implications for traditional publishers.

Russel Blake (suspense writer) has written the definitive post on How To Sell Loads Of Books.
In one post he sets out a career plan and an implementation schedule. (must read post)

Aussie writer Scott Gardner talks about finding an international voice if you live in far flung countries. Interesting comments on this guest piece for Publishing Perspectives.

In Craft,
Elisabeth Spann Craig on the What If method of generating ideas...(this is my preferred method)

Angela Ackerman talks about Donald Maass (uber agent) and his ideas on cultivating the reader...its all about emotional layering....

Layering information in your story...Info with Attitude from the Killzone team.

In Marketing,
Livehacked has got The Marketing Plan...This is long, so set aside some time for this one. It is the guide to marketing self published books.

13 Timeless Lessons On Marketing from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy. You will never look at an ad the same way again.

To Finish,
Neil Gaimen’s Make Great Art, book of the sensational speech from last year, is out and I have held one in my hands. It is a thing of beauty. Brainpickings has Neil's 8 Rules for Writing, which you can follow and have chart topping success like Neil.
To write...


Pic fromFlickr/ geeky.  (hehehehe... a pie chart)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Angst And The Writer

The publishing blogosphere has been angsting this week over the demise of the Tools Of Change Conference. In an unexpected move Tim O’Reilly decided that publishing knew all about digital and he had other things to do with O’Reilly Media. This came as a big shock to the community which didn’t agree with Tim’s viewpoint. Has publishing really embraced digital? What about the community aspect of TOC ? What replaces all those cutting edge conferences just before Bologna? Brian O’Leary looks at Tim’s decision and wonders if he just sold himself out.

Two of the hardest working people in community building for TOC are now out of a job. Joe Wikert wonders what he should do now, given what he knows.

Google are finally in court to answer the big question... where are those royalties from all those books that you digitised? The second attempt by the Writers Guild class action lawyers to finally get some answers may have worked.

Maureen Johnson took alook, this week, at gender bias in book covers. Did having a female or male name as the author on the cover change the way it was marketed regardless of the content? She asked her followers to flip the covers to reflect the opposite gender and opened a can of worms on twitter. Women authors seem to be getting a girly cover treatment on their book which doesn’t warrant it given the subject matter inside it...Great article...and check out the book covers that her followers came up with.

Rachelle Gardner had the comments flying with her blog post Will My Publisher Let Me Self- Publish too? Her post looking at what was in it for the Traditional Publisher struck a real chord among Hybrid authors and there were many arguments for and against her views and much anguish over non compete clauses in contracts. Take the time to read the comments. Self Publishing could be seen by your Trad publisher as competition...which means contract breaker....

Passive Guy takes Mike Shatzkin to task over the next Publishers Launch conference, Scale. Has Mike missed the boat completely with his focus on big publishing companies changing publishing in the the tech world it’s the little guys who scale up successfully.

In Craft,
Be Your Own BookDoctor...Janice Hardy tells you what to look for.

In Marketing,
Who are you Online and is it different from who you are. An interesting article on the effects of marketing yourself from the Literary Journal VQR.
A list of children’swriters who blog...and how they approach their audience.

To Finish,
Hugh Howey seems to be the flavour of the month for journalists trying to understand what’s happening in publishing. As he wanders Down Under (NZ and Aussie) he is being hounded for press interviews by the folks back home.
His replies add to their angst.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Passionate about Data...

Today I popped into The Children’s Bookshop and noticed a new series being promoted...what was so interesting to me was this contemporary thriller Y A series had photos of all the books in the series on the inside cover and when they were coming out... 2 months apart! The whole 6 book series in a year. This year Indie Authors have been talking about publishing two or more books in a series in a year to capture readers...and feeling quite happy that they weren’t being restricted to one book contracts from traditional publishing houses. This is the first time I have seen a traditional publishing house run with this idea.
There are so many risks to writing a full series when you don’t know if there will be an audience for it. A respected Editor looked at my Book One of a series and said...make it bigger...The first book has to sell the whole series. For a publisher to commit to a full year publishing schedule of six books is taking a punt on the reader when they don’t know if the book will take off. So how do you find these do you know what they want and what they will buy? It is all in the DATA.

Cory Doctorow has been stirring the pot this week with his article on the importance of metadata andhow publishers don’t actually know who their readers are...and they definitely aren’t telling the writers. So who does know? Cory has the answer and he has a warning that this is going to be a very important issue for publishing in the future.

But what metadata are Readers concerned with? Front matter and End matter and Authors had better have a handle on all of this.

Of all the data coming out, authors do like to keep an eye on trends and what editors might be looking for. Publishers Weekly report of a panel discussion with children’s editorstalking about exactly this is required reading.

James Patterson (mega author) is passionate about children reading and wants America to wake up to the demise of the publishing industry and libraries...So this week he took out front page ads in The New York Times to tell everyone of his concerns. He wanted to plant the issue right in front of Readers...reaction to his ads have been mixed from the literary community.

Kickstarter looks likeit could be replacing the publishing interesting article for mid career writers to chew over.

Rachelle Gardner had the horrible experience of nursing a writer through a complete computer meltdown just before the MS was due at the publishers. She talks about all the different ways you should be ensuring this does not happen to you.

Author Solutions is off to court.
A class action is being taken against them. When you read Dave Gaughren’s article about how many publishers are involved in some way or other with Author Solutions, this court case looks very serious for everyone. Reputations...and profits...all on the line.

Today a twitter discussion between agents about New Adult became a blog post on how agents should treat each other and what to be aware of in their public pronouncements. Do you really want an agent who doesn’t know anything about your genre?

In Craft,

For those writers wrestling with screenplays...Tell the story in visual beats.

In Marketing,

To Finish,
Concert Pianist James Rhodes has written in the Guardian a thought provoking post on creative passion. Find what you love and let it kill you.... Read it and see whether you agree with him...How passionate are you to get that novel written? What are you doing about it?

Sorry about the huge URL's that appear this week. Bloggers highlight link broke in the middle of preparing this post.

PIC from
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