Thursday, June 26, 2014

Acquisitions Arguments and Awards

This week around the publishing blogosphere...The news that Hachette has acquired the Perseus group is filtering through. Hachette is taking the publishing arm and on-selling the distribution arm to Ingram. Why should you care? Remember the predictions last year about publishers having to get bigger to survive? Hachette gets bigger. Ingram’s gets bigger and knocks out their major competitor along the way. This move has many implications for Indie publishers as Perseus was a main publisher of niche imprints and the main distributor of Indie Publishers. The move has fueled some speculation of what might be coming down the pipeline.... However it is a Sign That The Predictions Are Coming True.

Also in the wider news Amazon is flexing its muscles in the UK and Europe. Amazon is pressing for new terms with publishers some of which include that publishers cannot undersell Amazon even on their own websites and that Amazon is to provide a POD book for every print title currently out of print. There is a nice little phrase, (Most Favoured Nation) being bandied about.

The Carnegie Medal has been awarded. It is one of the top prizes in Children’s Literature... and not everyone is pleased. The book is a Young Adult novel for starters...and it just goes down from there. Kiwi Kids Lit authors will be familiar with this scenario as we watched it unfold last year after our own National Awards.

This years New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards was another celebration of the depth and breadth of children’s writing in this country. The winners were hard to pick from the stellar finalists in each category. Children’s Literature won on the night...with New Zealand Post finishing its 18 year sponsorship in style. Everyone hopes we find another sponsor just as dedicated to celebrating our Children’s Literature awards as NZ Post. (crossed fingers)

In the Craft Section,

Get Back To Basics –Janice Hardy

In the Marketing Section,
The best TED talks on Marketing...This is a great collection and worth bookmarking.

Public speaking for introverts.(video from Joanna Penn)

Creating a Business Philosophy -Elisabeth S Craig

To Finish,
Writers are bibliophiles. Huffington Post has a collection of things YA Readers say about reading but really these could all come out of writers mouths.


pic: The Margaret Mahy Book Of The Year 2014 awarded this week to Vasant Unka. (Penguin NZ)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In Search Of

What has been happening in the publishing blogosphere this week...
The last few weeks have seen those tired old chestnuts aired of 'lets slag off... genre/literary writing or trad/self publishing or Y A/Adult reading' and now have (hopefully) been dropped in the fire. Ava Jae has the best article on how YA has made her a better writer and she doesn't have to put anyone down to make her point.

FutureBook hosted a hackathon for publishers and computer hackers to come together over a weekend and hack code to change the publishing industry… Some big names joined in and learned a few things.

This week the Guardian looks at self publishing... It’s up by 79%. Could become legit – you never know.
Publishers Weekly takes a look at three Self Publishing success stories. 

Publishing Perspectives examines why Writers in English should be looking at German Translations.

Joanna Penn interviews Stephen Pressfield.. Great interview on Writer Resistance- for those of you struggling with self doubt. (If you drop below the video you can read the transcript.)

For those who  are following the ongoing Hachette /Amazon affair... FutureBook has an interesting article with some new developments. It could be a sign of things to come as Big Digital companies change focus. There are rumblings over at YouTube over Indie music.

A couple of times a year the subject of Writing Craft books comes up. Which are the best...most helpful...mind blowing etcetc. Susan Kaye Quinn takes a look at what books are helpful for Self Publishing.

KillZone have a great blog where the different contributing writers talk about issues around writing and publishing. Here they take issue with an insidious little clause that is appearing in writer contracts...The ‘No Compete’ clause and the ramifications of this. Must Read!

Children’s book editors were asked where they had been pitched books...and it makes for horrifying reading.... I know none of you would do this...would you?

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have developed a great series of helpful Thesauri for writers... so imagine their surprise when they saw their cover on something that was not their own work. Timely look at branding, covers and copyright.

Every now and again Chuck hands over to a guest to do a 25 things list. This brilliant post comes from Angry Robots marketer and writer Mark Underwood. Inside the Bookish Shatterdome - or Publishing Revealed.
If you need a dose of Chuck then check out his ramble on writing... a response to a fan when asked how he does this writing stuff. (usual warnings apply)

Jane Friedman has a great guest post on taxes for Self Publishers… If you are doing this…It is a must read!

Say you have an offer of representation/publication... but now you have to let other agents/editors know... How do you do it professionally?
Susan Spann also has a good article on How to find the perfect agent match.

In the Craft Section,

15 questions for your Beta Readers – this is a print it out post!

How to tell if your story is on target- check the log line! Great post from Kirsten Lamb!

Build your writing career... step by step.

In the Marketing Section,

Two timely reminders from Dean Wesley Smith’s series on Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. Put the book up and leave it and I have to sell books quickly. Dean is always a great read and voice of calm reason!

To Finish,

Seth Godin has changed and challenged marketing thinking in the last decade. He has a timely article on whether your work is meaningful.This is aimed at media companies... but then writing is a form of media and so his three questions are rolling around in my head as I write this weeks blog post. They may even apply to the novel I’m in the middle of editing....They may even apply to LIFE.

Cartoon from the fabulous INKYELBOWS!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Food for Thought

Sorry for the delay in posting this week. However there are some chewy big ideas for you to chow down on.

(The Main Menu)

The phenomenal success of the movie The Fault In Our Stars (adapted from #1 bestselling Y A novel) in its opening weekend seems to have spurred the critics to write new opinion pieces about Young Adult literature and the poor sad fools who read it and write it. The Slate article caused much rolling of eyes within the children’s writing community and a very funny rebuttal from YA author Kathleen Hale.

While this was being shared around...the notion that ‘worthy’ YA was written by men also got an airing and a well articulated smackdown. Read the articles (P.S.A. make sure you aren’t drinking in front of the keyboard.)

Three YA writers talk about how demeaning it is to have your book consistently compared to Twilight because A) They are female. B) They write YA and C) They write for girls.
Why don’t the Male writers get the abuse and the comparisons...Good points backed up with facts.

Publishers Weekly has a great article on How Reality Became The Hot New Thing In YA...and I may just have to check out Scotts latest book judging by the last comment in this article.

The Amazon/ Hachette discussion goes on and on. Is Amazon really the devil? A measured (lets look at this problem) opinion piece also from Publishers Weekly.

Jane Friedman has been looking at the future of magazines... Do they have a print future? What was the last magazine you bought and why? I confess that all the articles I’m interested in I read online. So Jane may have some very good advice for magazine publishers.

Every writer wants to get a contract...but recently one writer got a contract that had her lawyer gasping in disbelief. Please Read This! (sadly I have heard of this before...)

While on that subject Agent Kristin Nelson is also cautioning about contracts... with anyone!

Agent Janet Reid answers some very interesting questions from a reader on whether you need an 
agent...and No you don’t... Great advice tho.

Agents are always interesting to follow on Twitter. Every now and again Agents do a #tenqueries which is where they write a twitter comment for the next 10 Manuscripts they pick up out of the slush pile. These can be very insightful for what not to do. Just put #tenqueries in the search box.  Also check out Agent advice on The Worst Ways To Begin Your Novel.

Passive Guy looks at Amazon and PayPal buy buttons and the changes happening in payments, which outfit is best for you.

How the Indie Authors fared at BEA last week…A good overview of the impact and importance of Indie Authors at the biggest trade book fair.

(Choice of Desserts)

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
Joanna Penn on Translation and Self publishing in Germany. Very comprehensive How To post. Also If you missed her amazing post on knowing your it is again!

(After Dinner Mint)

To Finish,
One Non Fiction writer had an idea that wouldn’t fit into the conventional publishing box. They carefully researched what they could do...with such a specialised book and then hit on an interesting idea...serialise it and aim it at different communities. This is a fascinating journey of a publishing success story.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Breaking Down The System

Are we all sick of Amazon vs Hachette in the publishing blogosphere? As the issue between them drags on... a lot of authors feel compelled to voice their support for one side or the other and it is starting to get very ugly. Huffington Post reports on the standoff... that one of them may have blinked.

Publishing pundit Mike Shatzkin finally came out and voiced his opinion this week. I was surprised at his tone usually he is more measured in his response. Passive Guy highlighted the problems with Mike’s assessment and the comments are going thick and fast between the blogs.

If you are still interested in how this is all playing out, Barry Eisler has an opinion piece in The Guardian and Stephen Colbert weighs in on Comedy Central.

Earlier this week in London there was a Literary Festival featuring Australian and New Zealand writers.
The New Zealand Listener covered it for Kiwi’s as more of an underwhelming experience.
I wonder if they weren’t just giving in to the cultural cringe factor. We have some great writers here who should be ‘world famous in New Zealand,’ and promoted like All Blacks. Let’s celebrate them and not give into cultural cringe.

The lovely Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware highlights a new scam targeting indie authors. Editors who highlight ‘errors’ and offer to fix them.... After she wrote her blog post she was contacted by an editor....

On a lighter note... This week (prominent Sci Fi publishers) got together with a couple of great writers, Maureen Johnson and John Scalzi, to talk about Social Media advice for writers. Much hilarity ensued. Be entertained. If you don’t know anything about these great writers...go out and read their books! Just don’t take their social media advice.

B.E.A (America’s biggest Book Expo) has just wrapped up. And Author Hub seems to be the biggest winner at the Expo. This was a new initiative where Authors were given an area to conduct business on their own account.  Bob Mayer talks about the ten things that he learned at BEA this year.

In the Craft Section,

15 secrets to writing from George R R Martin

Lessons from James Scott Bell – Excellent post from Angela 

Catalyst and Catharsis – Donald Maass

In the Marketing Section,
Marketing Lessons from Mad Men

What to do when sales slow- Great post from Roz Morris

from Elisabeth S Craig.

The Myths that Printers are Distributors... One of Dean Wesley Smith’s excellent posts.

Publishers Weekly is integrating reviews- good news for Indie Authors

To Finish,
Two publishing interns, who walked away from publishing, talk about why they feel the system is broken. This is a close up look at the lack of diversity in publishing. If it is all white bread making the decisions...then white bread is what you will get.


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