Thursday, September 25, 2014


Amazon love/hate fuels a lot of debate in the publishing blogosphere. Each side of the argument has its passionate adherents. What you can’t do in publishing is ignore Amazon. If they are not bringing out a new device (described as a game changer by a kids lit agent this week) then they are changing the game in publishing with a new publishing innovation.
Rumours abound as Digital Book World reported chat from authors who are part of an Amazon focus group. Are crowd-sourcing manuscripts and covers the next move?

This week Mike Shatzkin looked at the use of Amazon exclusives in the battle to get market share at book launch time. His article specifically looked at Hugh Howey’s public worry about whether to take a hit in sales for publicity over the 90 day Amazon exclusive. Just how powerful is the Amazon exclusive brand?

Hugh Howey has focused his laser eye on the worst kept secret of rigged best selling lists. The big brands NYT bestseller and WSJ bestseller on a book guarantee branding for the authors life... but are they being gamed by their own brand?

Dave Gaughrin has written a searing post on Big Name publishers and their use of Author Solutions. Publishing Is Rotten To The Core.This is a must read post. When the brand becomes rotten...

Michelle Huneven has written an essay about Writing and thetrouble with it... one of those bookmark posts that you just have to share!

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
Jane Friedman on Authors Social Media

Generating income by diversifying... great post from Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn on author entrepreneurship

Molly Greene on how Self-Publishers can improve the industry.

To Finish,
Writers are often asked what their brand is to distinguish them.

Chuck takes a look at Author Chuck style! (Warning Chuck is not for the faint of heart... and you will need to put down your drink!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vote for...

Dropping into the Twitter and Facebook publishing world conversations provided a welcome relief from the Election fever which is gripping two nations. 
The worry over the vote and who is voting and who is skewing the vote can get overwhelming and put people off voting.

Things that caught my eye this week.
Clay Shirkey’s post... All the big guns are weighing in on whether Clay is right about Amazon and the future of publishing.
If you are inside the big five camp.... poor us. Amazon is the bad guy. We had to collude on pricing to compete with them. We are the best arbiters of taste for the public.
Amazon on the outside… Why do higher ebook prices have to subsidise hardcovers. Lack of access to physical bookstores made us big. Publishers gave Amazon digital rights 7 years ago and never thought about the impact...

Reader’s voting with their feet.

Hugh Howey on DRM Is it dumb or brilliant? (When the argument flags pull out DRM)

Agent Chip MacGregor and his new trends in publishing post. This is nice roundup and one for writers to think about.

Writer’s vote with their M.S.

Vote for Chuck!

In the Craft Section,

How do I revise my novel- the plot whisperer.

In the Marketing Section,

Publishing Middle Grade how one writer is doing it.

To Finish,
If you are needing to escape from all the voting madness and give yourself some writing time here is a list of the worlds best writing retreats for you.

It is New Zealand's Sufferage day where women campaigned and got the vote 121 years ago (first country in the world!) On the eve of the general election…

"Do not think your single vote does not matter much. The rain that refreshes the parched ground is made up of single drops" - Kate Sheppard. 

Sorry this blog is late again...

Pic from  The green tick is not an endorsement of any political party. 

Just get out and VOTE!

Friday, September 12, 2014

What goes in...

This week I sat down with a bunch of committed writing friends to start to pull together four months of creative ideas of what to include in our National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators 2015. Planning a good conference takes time and much thought. My guiding principal is IT IS A WORKING CONFERENCE. Attendees must get knowledge out of it for their money. It is a big chunk of cash and writing time that poorly paid writers and illustrators have to give up so every dollar needs to really be worth it.
Kameron Hurley has a guest post on Terribleminds which is the must read post of the week. (year) Kameron outlines the need for writers to think business. These are some of the issues I would like to explore at the conference.

Hugh Howey takes a hard look at Barnes and Nobel booksellers. What they are doing wrong and will it destroy them. This was echoed yesterday in a comment from one of my writing friends about New Zealand’s biggest book seller chain.

Passive Guy takes a look at agency clauses in contracts. This is an interesting post about tricky legalese in contracts.

The Futurebook team have a twitter chat every week and this last week they were looking at Metadata. How can you find out what you need to find out... and why is it so important. 

Jon Bard takes a look at the KDP Kids Books app that Amazon released last week.

In the Craft Section,

How to write for the 21st century (pet peeves from an agent)

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Six years on from the first conference we organized and issues we never thought of then are now on the table. Storytelling has different wrappers now.
Gaming companies need story content too. This week one of my writing friends was asking for some help with a project her company was working on. They had the idea, they had the graphics, they just needed the story to go with them. Kevin Spacey looks at how storytelling has changed in the shows he has been in.


Sorry late again… Recovery one step forward two steps back...

Wouldn’t this be a cool conference bag?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sharing The News

Today my Twitter and Facebook feeds went a little nuts with the announcement from Amazon that they have a cool new publishing tool for kids writers.

The first comment I saw on Twitter was from Laura Hazard Owen. 
I took a look at what they were offering and thought hmm 650MB not a big file and what about the illustrators? Amazon does not do Royalty splits. Yet.

Recently Hugh Howey wrote a list of Stuff I Want To Know where he calls out to Amazon for answers.  Bundling and royalty splits were on the list.

Also getting comments on Twitter, Mike Shatskin's article on Author Branding and Marketing, are the authors responsible or the publishers?

Book Apps seem to be a hot topic with a comprehensive How To Use Authorly at The BookDesigner site.

HarperCollins UK has put a stake in the ground and is selling ebooks from its own website. This has raised eyebrows for ‘why has it taken them so long...’ and is a direct nose thumb to the ZON. Among the comments is this little gem where HC state that their authors will get a much higher royalty from them than Amazon.

Jim Hines is a funny writer for kids but his two articles this week deal with serious topics. The first, Writer Despair, had a host of writers nodding their heads. The second on the outrage he feels for the justifications used by idiots that viewed hacked pictures this week. This rant is one of the most succinct call outs I have read. Brilliant.

On the subject of call outs... A serial plagiarist has been caught out. This is a sobering read and a timely one. It was so easy for her to do this... Be Warned!

And on that subject Porter Anderson has been examining Author Ethics. Jane Steen has proposed 8 ethics for self published writers... but may be they need to be taken further.

In the Craft Section,

Larry Brooks on the 6 epiphanies that great writers have

The Plot Whisperer has a tip for that sagging middle

In the Marketing Section,
Joanna Penn has gathered all her translations advice into ahandy list

Scott Carter has a great post on Using Free Effectively

Writer Collaborations… a few tips.

Susan Kaye Quinn on using the new Amazon preorder buttons effectively. Great post!

To Finish,

I use Twitter for research... it is a very good tool. Editors occasionally play the #MSWL game where they post on Twitter what they would like to see. Today was one of those days. It is always interesting (just put #MSWL in the Twitter search bar) and now there is a nifty website to go with it. 
Chuck has a note of caution to writers who blindly try to follow the trends - don’t write what they want, Chuck exhorts, Write What You Love!

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