Thursday, March 27, 2014

What You Should Be Doing

This week in the publishing blogosphere the news has been about what everyone should be doing...

because the publishing world has shifted again,

because the next big thing is right around the corner,

because the Bologna Book Fair is on,

because the world has changed.

In my Twitter feed this morning was an announcement that Diesel e-books was shutting down after 10 years of indie publishing however new startups are happening all the time and another to hit the starting blocks tomorrow is this new subscription model.

While this is happening Digital Book World is talking up that Apple is now the second largest book store...what does that mean in reality?

Passive Guy shares a rant that got everyone talking this week about what Penguin Random (or Random Penguin) isn’t doing and what they should be...Read the comments they are all entertaining.

Mike Shatzkin followed this up with his very pointed summary of what the Big Publishers should be doing and aren’t (this could be helpful with your own promotion...once you get over the comment of don’t read the book to find the metadata tags...)

This must read post from Elisabeth Spann Craig looks at her experiments with hybrid publishing and the very real questions she has about continuing down that road. Elisabeth has been blogging about her journey over the last year and it is a very honest look at the realities of publishing now for a writer with a traditional back list.

That happy block quote at the top came from Agent Ginger Clark who hit the Bologna ground running, her appointment book already full before she got there.
Publishers Weekly gives the low down on what are the biggest sellers... ups at the Worlds largest Children’s Book Fair.

Book Fairs are tricky beasts for authors... It is all about deals...principally foreign rights and authors don’t usually negotiate is where Agents earn their money. However if you were thinking about translating...Susan Kaye Quinn has just done it in an interesting Indie move and she has a great post about how she did it.

Because the world is changing and writers have to hang in there,

Chuck has a rant on his answers to common writing questions... (pro writers will laugh)- usual warnings apply.

Meg Rosoff also has a heartfelt post on what keeps you from writing, which can also fuel you... (especially good post for those of you who juggle many things before writing.)

The wonderful Catherine Ryan Howard has a rant about contact details on writer’s websites...coz she just may have a deal for you and how can she get hold of you...(this reminds me to check my writing email inbox.) and Fastcompany shares the best PR advice, which writers should think about.

In the Craft section, you should be doing...
Y A High Fantasy – How to do it (only if it’s your thing) and How to create names for it.

Writing fast – How you can do it faster and The tools you need to help you get there. (great post on Scrivener)

In the Marketing Section, You should be....

To Finish,
In the end all the writer has is their own creativity and a willingness to get out there and just create, so here is the 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently because that’s what writers do.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Drinking The Water

What’s been the talking point around the virtual publishing water cooler this week.

If you are into children’s books then the Publisher’s Weekly article on the shifting sands of children’s book selling and the inroads being made by digital into this category is for you. There are some interesting numbers on what genres in children’s are selling well.
(Little Sips)

In the general category... The Mighty Zon is expanding. Publishers Weekly reports they are hiring and expanding their already impressive imprint range. This has raised some disquiet around the water cooler... how big can they get... and already close to half the books on the Amazon bestseller lists come from AmaZon imprints.

In a surprise move the Judge has finally ruled in the Julie And the Wolves e-book case (HarperCollins suing Open Road Media and Jean Craighead George, Author,) that HarperCollins were within their rights to publish the book as an ebook because the original contract for the book signed in 1971 had this clause.
Specifically, paragraph 20 of the 1971 contract states that HarperCollins “shall grant no license without the prior written consent of the Author… including uses in storage and retrieval and information systems, and/or whether through computer, computer-stored, mechanical or other electronic means now known or hereafter invented…”
This is going to affect authors and their backlists...
Open Road are appealing but it’s going to be difficult as while this case has been disputed (from 2011) the author and the agent have died.
(Maybe Something Stronger) 

Mike Shatzkin published an article this morning that is almost a How To Be A Publisher Now 101 course. It is a very interesting read and echoes other things I have been reading around the blogosphere this week that author/publishers are starting to take note of. Use those readers well…Engage, Engage, Engage.
(On to Coffee)

Dean Wesley Smith has another great post in his series on publishing. Getting into Bookshops. Dean shows how it is done if you are publishing on a shoestring. One of those bookmark it posts.
(Slurp It Up)

Jane Friedman has another interesting article from her Scratch magazine and it takes a further look at serialisation… writing and uploading on a new platform called Leanpub in chunks where you get feedback and money…
(Drink It Down)

Porter and Publishing Perspectives Ether issue (at 3am our time this morning) was on the issues that were brought up in Joanna Penn’s interview with KOBO guy Mark Lefebre on pricing of ebooks. Porter gathered up the main points from the audio into an interesting article - Have Authors LowBalled Themselves? This was used as the springboard for the #Ether talk. Check out the article, which links back to Joanna’s article that I linked to last week.
(Look for Something Stronger)

Joanna Penn has a great article this week on how she used promotion and collaborative team work to achieve her goal. Which is to get on the USA bestseller list...this entitles her to splash that title all over her books in future...and she has just done it!
(Pour The Wine)

In the Craft Section,
Ten Dialogue Tips - One of the better articles on dialogue I have read. Bookmark it!

Novel Revision Strategy – retype the draft. (Interesting idea here.)

Defending Your Antagonist - first you have to like them....

Middle Grade Vs Young Adult – the differences between them.

Are you guilty of being didactic? Melinda Szymanik has some thoughts about didacticism and how to spot it in your own writing. Great writing!

Jami Gold has THE post on using keystroke Macros inrevision. (I didn’t know you could do this...whole new world just opened up.)

In the Marketing Section,
Susan Kaye Quinn on Four Ways To Discoverability and a stellar post on Not Rushing To Publish.

Best Ways To Look at Crowd Sourcing projects. This is a really interesting article.

Agent Janet Reid talks about idiot agents... Great article on platforms and web presences.

Indie ReCon keeps on giving and this fabulous post by Angela Ackerman is no exception.  6 SmartWays authors can collaborate. This week Angela was the special guest at a weekly live Twitter chat  #indiechat and was her usual awesome self with a great discussion on marketing and promotion. (Just type #indiechat in the search bar and scroll down to the start and work up.)

To Finish,
We always like to know how the Pro’s do their writing stuff. Here is a couple of nifty articles where writers describe their daily routines.

First get a coffee….

Pic from Flickr Creative Commons/elitatt

Thursday, March 13, 2014

After the Feast

This week Wellington has been celebrating writers. As part of the International Festival of the Arts (held every two years) a week is devoted to writers. An eclectic mix of genres including literary and poets was represented. Stars like recent Booker prize winner Eleanor Catton, Tom Keneally, Marcus Chown and Jung Chang along with children’s book luminaries Ulf Stark from Sweden and Leo Timmers from Belgium.
Writers feasted their ears for pearls of wisdom, feasted their eyes on books, or just feasted with friends and discussed books, writing, their dwindling budget and soaring credit card.

The independent bookshop Unity made a brand statement all over Wellington as they held bookstalls outside all the writer venues with copies of the speaker’s books. Their distinctive Unity bag was everywhere on the streets.

For those unable to get to Wellington this week, bloggers Maria Gill and Phillipa Werry provide some excellent notes on sessions they attended. Thank you to Kathryn Carmody and her team for all their efforts in bringing together such a great lineup.

Around the publishing blogosphere comment is still continuing over ACX and their dropping royalty payment. Porter devotes an Ether post to the discussion...because Amazon owns ACX will royalty payments for ebooks also drop?

Another post getting comment is Mike Shatzkin’s. Mike initially got the wrong end of the stick when commenting on a Huffington Post article by Mark Coker on data but then he crunched the numbers himself and found he was backing up Mark’s claims of Indie earnings.

Bob Mayer takes a look at the interview with the Harlequin CEO and shakes his head. Does Harlequin know who their competitors are now? Bob points out some facts the CEO overlooked.

Warrior writers has a great post from an editor/agent on taking criticism like a pro. This piece echoes discussions I have had with other writers this week talking shop after various writer events. 

Maya Rodale has an interesting article in Huffington Post on Serial Fiction and a new app called Rooster which chunks a book for you in 15 minute bites so you can read on your

Jane Friedman has a free article from Scratch to read (you need to create a login but it is worth it) Four agents talk about the business and what they are doing. Kristin Nelson is doing some interesting things with her digital arm which echoes this guest post on Joel Friedlander’s site this week. It will turn your ideas of content upside down.

In the Craft Section,
Sarah Megibow on having an Emotionally Healthy Publishing Career

Elisabeth S Craig talks about writing in longhand (something I do.) and the differences it makes to thinking about your writing.

James Scott Bell on writing the middle first...brilliant post from the master!

In the Marketing Section,

Joanna Penn on Changing Book Covers...this is an interesting look at what works and what doesn’t and the emotional connection of the reader.

Website of the week...Two again.

Darcy Pattison has a wealth of information for the writer on her website. Check out this one on using spreadsheets to keep track of characters.

To Finish,
Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest’s Agent’s blog profiles new agents and updates books regularly. There is a contest on his blog for midgrade contemporary novels looking for agent representation. You have to spread the word to enter the contest. An interesting way to run a (and No, I am NOT entering I’m full up on midgrade SciFi.)


Pic from Shodan
Flickr/Creative Commons

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Data Differences

This week, around the blogosphere, the comments were on the awesomeness of IndieReCon and the news that Amazon has dropped the royalty payments for ACX, their audio publishing arm. 

ACX is not available to writers outside the US but it is helpful to keep an eye on these developments with one of the biggest publishers. 
Chuck has a few pithy comments to say on the general argggh coming from authors around ACX. (Wise up people.)

 One of the great things about Online Conferences is that information stays online so you can refer to it...or in the case of writers in another hemisphere, get to it at a time that suits you. IndieReCon stuff is still available. I dropped back in to read Angela Ackerman’s post on collaboration that was really informative. Of course I then scrolled down... So much good stuff in there. Take some time to delve into the chats and posts. 

Joe Konrath has been a vocal member of the writing community for a long time. He recently took issue with comments from literary agent David Gernert. He raises some good points about gate keepers...the changing nature of the agent and who they are working for and contracts… 

If you are interested in contracts check out this post – Don’t Get Screwed- Contract Provisions Every Creative Should Know. 

Porter Anderson gave Hugh Howey the floor (his space in Writer Unboxed) to answer a comment from a reader about what Hugh considers the ideal print publishing deal he would go with. It is very interesting as Hugh describes the deal he has with Random House UK over the US part of the operation...and why he went with UK... (he tangata, he tangata, he tangata! people, people, people!) 

Hugh also has his 3rd report up... a look at Barnes and Nobel, a bricks and mortar chain bookstore and a snapshot of sales...surprise surprise or perhaps not as the figures are still hitting the same marks. 

Data and the need for it, exercises the Harvard Book Review this week. This is a call out to the publishers to maybe start providing some. 

Forbes takes a look at Brands... and finds out some very interesting information. Would you rather be a Grisham or a Jack Reacher. Which earns you more? 

In the Craft Section 
Jami Gold has an excellent post on How To Be A Good Editor. 

6 Ways To Survive Rewrite Hell. 

The Write Practice- How To Finish Projects 

Create Inspirational Workspaces 

Jody Hedlund on Developing Characters 

In the Marketing Section 
A big article on Discoverability and Marketing- they are essentially the same thing. 

Tim Ferris On How to make a viral book trailer 

10 Book Marketing Mistakes Self Publishers Make 

Website of the Week: K M Weiland. 
I know I reference her a lot but have you actually trawled around her website... check out this post. How Not To Be A Writer -15 Signs You Are Doing It Wrong 

To Finish
Neil Gaiman has a different take on piracy.... data food for thought…


Pic from Flickr/Creative Commons/Mezdeathhead
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