Thursday, June 27, 2013

When The Game Gets Broken

The big storm rolled on through the country. Everyone put on thermals, hunkered down and suffered through the storm. And now we are in clean up mode with rail links being repaired along with the sea walls around the harbour. Landslips are being cleared away so roads can be reopened through the South Island.

In the publishing blogosphere the talk has been around the examination of eBook royalty numbers and how the 25% net is a losing deal for authors. Passive Guy looks at the Futurebook article Get your Geiger counter out -It's Toxic. Here is an excerpt.
 So, in other words, at these average price points, every time a hardcover sale is replaced by an e-book sale, the publisher makes $2.20 more per copy and the author makes $1.58 less. If the author made the same $4.20 royalty on the e-book sale as he/she would have on a hardcover, the publisher would STILL be making an improved profit of $6.28.
The comments are coming thick and fast on this topic.

Mike Shatzkin, Publishing Futurist, has taken a look at this topic as well, with his long view on where publishers should be concentrating and that is out of the royalty percentages game and going to flat fee per copy. However he also shines a spotlight on how the BIG authors negotiate their contracts and it has nothing to do with royalties.

Porter Anderson writing on Writer Unboxed takes it further...The thought shift happens when you realise that Trad Publishing only favours the bestseller. The tier under is moving away from Trad. What are the consequences?

Last year it was felt within the self-publishing community that when some of the big bestsellers started looking at the numbers...they might not be so quick to sign to a Trad deal. Agent Orange who blogs anonymously is starting to wonder if the Trad publishers have woken up to the fact that with the new options available, a traditional publishing deal is now just another option for authors and not the only game in town. 

Laura Resnick has a great post on how Traditionally Published Authors can use SelfPublishing to their advantage.

The Guardian has interviewed Kristine Rusch about what happened when her Smokey Dalton series got picked up by a Trad publisher. Smokey Dalton is a black PI. Kris is white.... How racist is the publishing industry? I’ve always wondered this myself.

In Craft,
The fabulous K M Weiland strikes again- On Tightening Dialog.

Fast Writing...and how you can do it?

Novelicious has another post in their 5 tips for writing, series

In Marketing,

Back Cover to make it sell your book.

Susan Kaye Quin revisits Setting up yourIndie Business

To Finish,
This could break your love affair with word games....

Pic is from Stuff- The day after... not far from where I live...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Who Are You Really?


Last week I linked to Chuck Wendig’s series of blog post on sexism and misogyny in The SFF and gamer community. It was hard hitting and an important wake up call to the writing community on what is appropriate behaviour in the 21st century. (we can hope) The discussion is ongoing and Chuck turned his blog over to another Sci fi writer for her view on the topic. 
Writers are what they read became a theme and a separate blog post from Chuck. If your book shelves are full of dead white dudes...will your characters be authentic if they are different race, gender....

Another writer up against it this week has been Libba Bray. She has written a blog post that sears the soul on what it is like to have a novel not work...and how many different ways she has tried to make it work. Libba is a successful YA writer and this post is not for the writing faint of heart. It is gritty and realistic...I felt like reaching for the ‘juice box’ after reading it.

Another artist examining the soul this week was Amanda Palmer. On Twitter there’s a lot of comment from people who got ARC’s of Neil Gaimen’s latest book who think this book has shifted his writing into another gear. Amanda’s post on what it is like to see this creative process and the cost to your relationship gives you an appreciation of the joys and the pains of Art. Eyes wide open.

Beta readers are the subject of Porter Anderson’s Ether for Authors...kicking off with Hugh Howey suggesting that giving $10 each to five people to read your MS and tell you when they stopped and why this is better and cheaper than paying an editor first. Some interesting viewpoints in this one.

Writer Beware talks about shonky contracts being put out by a reputable publisher on an ebook romance imprint. The fine print is very fine... and dubious. Read and Be Aware!

Dean Wesley Smith has written a thought provoking blog post on writer self respect, contracts and genre publishing...publish... learn... publish... learn... and Trad will come calling.

Jami Gold looks at using Createspace as a learning experience.

Publisher's Weekly have a post on starting a new online journal for Librarians. With the success of Huff Post and other literary journals is the time right for an online Library Journal? 

In Craft,
Jordan McCollum spills the beans on Elisabeth Craig’s secrets to subplotting
Larry Brooks has a great post on story physics...Narrative Strategy.
Quick and Dirty Grammar...has the run down on comma errors...which one should you use?
Project Mayham has a great post on analysing the first 50 pages in midgrade.

In Marketing,
Go straight to Indie Recon...their weeks focus on marketing blog posts are up.
The Book Designer has the run down on the copyright page.
Catherine Ryan Howard has the checklist for Self Publishing.
Indie Unlimited looks at getting the most out of Smashwords
The Creative Penn has a list of advice on why your books aren’t selling

To Finish,
If it all gets too much, change your name. The Passive Guy links to a site which explores pen names and why writers became someone else.

The weather is one of the wilder nights in the city known for wild weather... so I’m signing off before the power goes out. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Cost Of Being Vocal.

This week in the publishing blogosphere...The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers published their magazine with a chain mail bikini clad women on the front and an interesting article which had a line promoting  Barbie being a role model for her quiet dignity. Women members of the association objected to the tone of the articles and were immediately inundated with abusive emails...comments on their blogs...twitter feeds...from their peers.
When they published some of these responses...and detailed what it was like to be a women writing in this genre... the response was shock. How could writers do this to other writers...? And then it went viral.

Chuck Wendig wrote a great article about sexism and misogyny in writing and publishing. The next day he had to write another dealing with the comments on the first. Then today he had to follow that up, Why Men Should Speak Up About Sexism and Misogyny. The issues of the first article have spilled over into the gaming community, which has the worst instances of abuse to women working in this field. The abuse on Twitter coming to Chuck is miniscule compared to the  women writers who have lifted their heads above the parapet to say what their experience is like from other writers, convention fans and general male population who find out that they write Sci Fi.

I write Sci Fi. I read Sci Fi. I enjoy Science and Researching ideas and thinking of possibilities. I have friends who are scientists whom I talk geek with. I have never been abused as some of these writers have been...however I have had the disparaging comments on how ‘I’ (a woman/mother...) would know anything about that tech subject.... I ignore it and delete that person from my, consider-this-person’s-opinions-on-anything-valid, mental list. I quietly treasure the time a Male Scientist put a disparaging idiot in his place by agreeing with me. The look on that idiots face was something to behold.  The abuse to these women writers, coders and gamers is sustained, vitriolic and pervasive as trolls follow them across all social media. The level of abuse is scary with death threats often the least of the hate messages that spew out across the internet.  It is an important issue. It is nice to see male writers standing up to call out their peers who perpetuate these sexist, misogynistic attitudes. (If you are a Male writer reading this and you think this issue is over the top then read Ann’s Post and the first emails she got in response...Think about getting this level of abuse all the time....)

And so onto the other rants happening in publishing. The tendency of writers to not do their research before writing big articles in which they name other writers has annoyed a few people this week. Porter Anderson takes a look at the other big publishing firefight.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting article on Why Publishing Needs to Foster a Startup Economy. (I’m sometimes wondering if we aren’t time warping to the 1880’s with the beginnings of modern publishing houses.)

With the speed of the publishing industry changes and the announcements in the last weeks of publishers pulling out of NZ, The League Of Shattered Authors makes timely reading. I have always promoted the idea of writer collectives...I think this is the future. Time to start banding together folks.

With the ongoing focus on book covers Chuck asks what works...what doesn’t.... An interesting discussion ensued...and a link to a Lousy Book Covers site.

In Craft,
Some GREAT links this week.

Plotting made easy...This from is one of the websites to keep an eye on.

Victoria Mixon on Revising Wrong

Why Editors Focus On Page One...a great post on Jane Friedman’s site.

The fabulous K M Weiland on the 15 steps she uses to revise her MS’s

In Marketing,

The BookShelfMuse team on Foreign Rights Agents... Everything You Need To Know...This is interesting as Emotional Thesaurus starts to go Global.

Top 5 Errors In Layout from Joel Friedlander. (I am studying this carefully as I work on interior layout tweaking on a print book.)

To Finish,
How does a blog post go viral? The anatomy of a viral blog post tells you one example that worked. And for all you budding filmmakers...Amazon has a new free app for you, Storyteller. It takes your MS and storyboards it.
So you can go viral, Be a Force For Good and Change The World!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Conference Challenges

Conferences have been in my mind lately, specifically Book Expo America (BEA) and Golden Yarns (GY) here in New Zealand. 
BEA brings people from all over the publishing spectrum together for a packed 3 day conference. This is where new research is shared, trends predicted and deals are made. It isn’t much about the writers of the content but more about how the content is managed, packaged, delivered and distributed to the global marketplace. 

Golden Yarns was the latest conference for the Children’s Literature community in New Zealand. This community has now had 3 stellar conferences two years apart. The Golden Yarns conference focussed on best practice writing and illustration workshops with keynotes being delivered by leaders in the NZ Children’s Literature field on their personal heroes. There were many opportunities for the group to share ideas, hash out issues and drink wine. (The wine bill paid for by a NZ Children’s Writing Icon...gob smacking and a lovely gesture as she wasn’t there to drink it.)

Two very different conferences in focus but both valuable to the writing and illustration practitioner.

Breaking down B.E.A.
Bob Mayer gives an entertaining overview of what was going down in old New York Town. His main concern the lack of digital focus by the organisers (who seemed to believe the talk from publishers that ebooks sales have plateaued....) A report to show this was released at BEA.

Sam Missingham examined that report on ebook sales facts and figures, and blew that idea out of the water. Sam $40% BEA 0

Shelf Awareness took a look at a BEA first, Power Readers, who were invited to participate at BEA. Who are they and Why do they matter... they also checked out Neil Gaimen’s talk on why fiction is dangerous.

Inspiring and Challenging
Here in New Zealand everyone who attended GY is coming down off their high. Melinda Szymanik has written an overview of the first part of the weekend.

Over in the UK the Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson stepped down after her two year stint with a great broadside at the lack of reviews for children’s books. The wonderful Malorie Blackman takes over.... 
This sparked a debate in NZ within the KidLit community for our own Children’s Laureate...after all we have a Poet Laureate. If you would like to add your voice to this and are on Facebook, check out this page.

Chuck Wendig has written another 25 things post.... this time on YA Lit. Be’s Chuck.

Jane Friedman has another of her Best Business Advice List For Writers

In Craft,
Jami Gold on Can ThisStory Be to figure out what’s wrong. and What Soap Opera’s CanTeach You...

In Marketing,

The Book Designer has a great blog and his guest blogger Joan Stewart has a take note article on Business Opportunities That Even Savvy Writers Are Missing Out On.

 To Finish,
 A good conference should allow time to network with your peers, should inspire you, educate you and give you tools to move forward in the ever changing world of publishing.
Suw Charman Anderson has written a Forbes article on what she thinks needs to happen next. Why Publishers Should Invest In Authors Not In Books.... could this be the model for the future?

Below the animation announcing Malorie Blackmans appointment...and no that rap was not written for the announcement it’s been out for a few years now.
(Such street cred with her readers!)
pic from Flickr/
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