Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Moves

The weather scientists this week said that Winter has been so warm that Spring has come a month early. And this is a symptom of climate change. At the moment we have a late blast of winter going through and it is bleak and wet out there. (So breaking Elmore’s sacred rule never start with the weather....)

In the publishing blogosphere this week...


Kobo launched three new e-reading devices this week in NewYork...and got the publishing blogosphere talking...because along with the hardware...Kobo has new content to go on the hardware. Kobo Kids a dedicated e-bookstore for children...Beyond The Book for all stuff beyond the book including a special Font for dyslexics... and other nifty things. So another shift in the publishing world has happened.

Also in a quietly heralded move...The Alliance of Independent Authors has done a deal with PubMatch. If you are a member of Alli you can get a 90% discount on getting all your overseas rights sold...Read all about it...It is an interesting move.

Dave Gaughren has been comparing distributors...Smashwords and new kids on the block Draft2Digital.

Long Time readers of this blog will know that I have a bit of a geek thing with space etc etc and that this year the prominent writers in the SFF Geek community have been calling out misogynist and threatening behaviour towards women in the community. John Scalzi (just stepped down as Pres. SFF) has been targeted for his very vocal support by troll lowlifes. This week around Social Media a picture of John in a dress went viral calling John a feminist. John’s beautiful reply will have you chuckling. Way To Go John...also if you haven’t read any of his are really missing something, he is a great writer!

Bob Mayer has 53 books under his belt and has decided to write a quick article about ten things he has learned as a writer...This is a good checklist for yourself.

The fabulous Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her comics on rejections...This will put it all in perspective.

Roz Morris runs a few blogs which I have referred to over the years in this blog...however I haven’t ever profiled her Undercover Soundtrack blog. Writers who write with soundtracks in their ears, talk about why they write to music and what sort of soundtracks they use.

In Craft,

In Marketing, There are some very fine articles this week.

Website to check out.
If you write Midgrade...Check out Emblazoners. This is another example of an author collective that niche market themselves. Roam around and get a feel for what they are doing and read the excellent article on writing midgrade series.

To Finish,
Be Surprised.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

R.I.P Rights, Readers and Elmore

Today the news came through that writing legend Elmore Leonard died. He was a popular crime and thriller writer getting his start in pulp fiction. He had 10 rules for writing that have become a popular meme around the blogosphere but Leonard often broke his own rules. Here is a link to the interview where Elmore Leonard explains when to break the rules.

If you are looking for a cheat sheet in the game of life...Lifehacker has 10 infographics and cheat sheets to help you.

Last week I was immersed in WriteOnCon...and this week it’s Romance (a family member is staying here to attend the Romance Writers conference.)  Romance Writers are a savvy bunch often way ahead of other genres in marketing and trends. Here is a collection of great writing articles for Romance writers but they could easily apply right across all the genres.

However if mid grade is your specialty (and it’s mine) here is Peter Lerangis on writing for this age group.

Read this through carefully.

By posting your content on the Sites, you expressly grant Random House a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid-up worldwide, fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, perform and display such content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Submission, in whole or in part, and in any form throughout the world in any media or technology, whether now known or hereafter discovered, including all promotion, advertising, marketing, merchandising, publicity and any other ancillary uses thereof, and including the unfettered right to sublicense such rights, in perpetuity throughout the universe.

Are you shaking your head and wondering why anyone would sign a contract with this in?
Well lots of writers could be in .4 in your latest contract. However this little excerpt comes from a Random House contract where they invite writers to contribute blog posts to their online blogging universe. FOR FREE.

In the blogosphere this week...Barnes and Nobel and Simon and Schuster have made up. Great news for the writers left out in the cold... However Barnes and Nobel are not having a good week with reaction to their quarterly earnings out yesterday bringing out the doom sayers. Mike Shatzkin takes a look at the bookstore that wants to compete on all fronts. 

Another bookstore getting a mention is our local proudly independent Children’s Book Shop...check out this article on what a bookstore should be doing by British author Mal Peet who graced our city with his presence in the first part of the year.

Passive Guy asks Do You know What Your Rights Are Worth? This is a good run down on different rights in your contract.

Galleycat has a list of what agents have on their wishlists.

In Craft,
There is a swag of very good articles today.
Elisabeth S Craig on Outlining...This is very good.
Jami Gold is calling all pantser’s and if you are not sure what type of writer that is you need to check out the article from the very clever Ms Gold.

In Marketing,
The Indie 50 best sites...this is a mix of craft and marketing...
Twitter lists and how to use them...a great how to guide.

Website to check out,
The Oatmeal....comics on grammar...

To Finish,
Publishers Weekly has been looking at where our audience has gone...The latest YouTube meetup had nearly 7000 vloggers...with teens to the forefront. Some of these teens have over 2 million subscribers to their channels....Where are the publishers? Can authors tap into this underground movement... or are we a dying artform...


Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Two Day Package Of Awesome

Around the blogosphere this week...WriteOnCon.
 The seriously brilliant initiative of some savvy KidLit authors is in its 4th year of awesomeness. A free online conference for Kid Lit authors who can’t get to a conference...and believe me when you are on the other side of the world, in a small country, you salivate at the conference schedules. WriteOnCon has just wrapped up and you can go onto the site and see some of the keynotes and videos. I got lost today in watching the live pitch hangout, which wasn’t live for me but had heaps of information in it. I will be dipping into all the archived sessions for the next few weeks and I confidently predict that the keynotes will continue to be blogged about all year, like last years WriteOnCon.

While I was otherwise focused...Mike Shatzkin was pointing out Losing Bookstores is a Big Problem for Publishers. Now you might be thinking, duh heard it all before, but Mike highlights some important points for publishers of children’s books and books that are outside the straight fiction narrative.

Porter Anderson covers the other top watercooler topic...The Bowker Annual Report just out and if you want the complete report which many publishers subscribe to, hand over $799 or take a look at the articles Porter highlights, where they break down and explain the significance of the figures.  In-store awareness is slowly giving way to increased importance of author Web sites, product placement on a e-reader or tablet app and review and recommendations.
Who is buying what, and this may surprise you, men bought more hardback format last year. Porter gives a comprehensive run down on all the discussions happening as a result of the report.

Kristine Rusch, as usual, delivers a comprehensive article on the publishing industry now. This week she looks at markers of success for writers. Kris has a wealth of experience and lays it out for writers...and then she talks about Indie publishing and how success markers here may be quite different.

Elisabeth S Craig has been writing about her journey to hybrid author and she shares some home truths about juggling the two strands ofher career.

In Craft,
The Bookshelf Muse on writing an authentic fight scene. (My Dad commented a couple of days ago to me about a fight scene written by a women that was really bad. ‘Men don’t stop and analyse what the next punch will be...’)
10 tips from Billy Wilder on how to write a good screenplay...useful for novels.

In Marketing,

To Finish,
Chuck has a guest post on his blog. 25 steps to being a traditionally published author –lazy bastard edition. You will laugh... you will wince... Yes, other people write in Chucks warned and entertained.

I'm off to drop back into WriteOnCon...


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bookmark It

This last week I’ve been meeting up with writers in various venues discussing writery things.... Sometimes it was what we thought the librarians would pick as their top books for 2012 in the Librarian and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa or the LIANZA’s as they are most commonly referred to. The awards are out...and I have great pleasure in saying to various writers.... including award winners...I told you so!

In other publishing blogosphere news... LA SCBWI conference wrapped up this week. This conference is the one everyone in children’s writing wants to go to, (or the NY Winter conference.) A few years ago they got a team of writer bloggers together who blog the conference for all of us who live around the world and can’t get to LA. Go to the blog and scroll down on the right for all the topics covered... Take your time and dip into the conference panels, keynotes, interviews....aaaaah. There is even a sampling of fabulous tweets from #LA13SCBWI throughout the four days.

When you finish that...breathe deeply. Squash down that green imp of jealousy and register for WriteOnCon...a free two day online conference for children’s writers, now in its fourth year, happening next week. With another brilliant line up of speakers again. WriteOnCon 2012 is still being referenced around the blogosphere now. IT WAS THAT GOOD.

When you have done that...
Make the time to watch this fabulous video where Joanna Penn interviews James Scott Bell on writing, self publishing and the business of being a prowriter. It is top notch brilliant. I have two of James Scott Bell’s books and they are amazing!

And after that...
You must read this blog post.

If you are interested in gatekeepers...(you want more of them) copyright protections...(you want less of it) then you need to take a look at Porter’s Ether for the week and that will bring you up to speed on what has been talked about this week around the water coolers in New York.

If you want to get right to the craft bit.

Ginger Clark...(Uber Kid’s Lit Agent) answers questions from writers...great round up including is there an optimum time to send that query?

In Marketing

So there you have it every one a bookmark post!

To Finish,
I have been following the misogynist pull up in Sci Fi for the last month. It is Con season in the states...and the trolls are out in force. Sci Fi writers are often at Con’s as part of their publishing contracts and it has been sad to see them having to defend their right to be there if they are women. However there are quite a few male Sci Fi writers pushing the misogynists right back, as John Scalzi beautifully says in ‘A Creator’s Note To Gatekeepers’ it’s an economic argument. Women read and play these cool games too.

So around the blogosphere there has been general high fives when one writer called the police over the 50 rape and murder threats she received in two hours...ongoing. And there was an arrest. When a writer commented on this in her BBC radio programme she was inundated with the same kind of troll calls. So she asked to talk to a couple of trolls. It was enlightening for everybody!

Along with this was Cassandra Clare’s experience as a YA novelist at Comic Con this week with the City Of Bones movie set to come out very soon. Interviewers questions were inane because they saw the movie as being for teenage girls and they weren’t worth wasting time on.
Anyone seeing red yet?
Read the great slap back which is being tweeted around the blogosphere today.

"We write by the light of every book we've ever read." Richard Peck


pic from Flickr/creative commons- The Laird of Oldham The flag of Greater Manchester City.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Over the last week I have been wandering up and down the country avoiding the earthquakes in my home city...they were waiting for me when I came back...another three today...It’s like being on a moored boat every now and then the floor rocks.

Rocking the publishing blogosphere is some Amazon bashing that is going over the top...Melville House engages in some strong rhetoric that had the blogosphere shaking heads. Passive Guy takes a look at the impassioned argument from Melville House in Breaking News: Amazon declares war on the Book Industry and discusses what it may mean...someone needs to have a lie down.

Here in New Zealand the keynote speaker, Sandy Grant, at our local Publishers Association Awards...painted a disquieting picture echoing some of the passion from Melville House as well as looking at copyright issues and government efforts to break this. Authors are left scratching their where are we in all this?

Jami Gold has discovered new and horrible ways that authors are being pirated...and scraped by lowlifes and you will need to hang on to a table while you read this. It involves mash fiction...scraping and Amazon...actually mixing that lot up and it could be some sort of new adult stuff which is the target of pirates at the moment. Wouldn’t it be simpler to write your own book?

Every now and again there is a publishing blogosphere story that won’t lie down...and the RandomPenguin washing of Author Solutions is one of them...Porter devoted a whole Ether post to it last week...I flagged it for you in my last post but since then it has got bigger and murkier....

Finally some happier news...after all how many shocks can you take...(last count over 1900 this week)

The fab Literary Agent Jennifer Laughren, from whom I shared a tweet with you a couple of weeks ago, had a Reddit community question time when you got to ask her anything on the agenting business. It is a great little read and explains why she is one of the top agents specializing in Kids Lit.
And Smashwords has a preorder button...Media Bistro tells all about it.

In Craft,
Chuck - Ten Thoughts On now you should be used to the warnings on content.

James Scott Bell from the great Killzone blog on creating conflict in fiction.

The League of Extraordinary Writers have their top craftbooks list...and I’m pleased to say I have about half of them...and JOLLY GOOD they are too. I’m working on acquiring another couple.

Writers In The Storm have a great post on figuring out turning points in your story...

In Marketing,

Selfpublishing advice talks to Bob Mayer on How He Did It....which echoes Kobowritinglife’s advice on how to promote on Kobo...

Bestsellerlabs has the second part of their navigating the book marketing maze...full of helpful tips.

Darla has another list of self publishing tips...

To Finish,
If you think you would like to try doing the audiobook yourself... Joanna Penn has a nifty little article for you about what it entails.

Since I started writing this...we had another three quakes...mostly they are little but every now and again Mother Earth likes to wake us up...which is why you need Resilience if you are a writer (Rachel Gardner) or just live in an earthquake zone....

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