Thursday, October 30, 2014

Flying Past The Trolls

This week in the publishing blogosphere, there was lots of discussion around the article published in The Guardian about author Kathleen Hale (gleefully) stalking a reader/book reviewer because her book didn’t rate a 5* review. The ethics around this and the fact that The Guardian published this and effectively implied that book reviewers/bloggers could be called out for giving a less than brilliant review has riled a lot of people. The Dear Author site and The Passive Guy have got very strong opinions on this. Yes, book reviews are subjective. Yes, you might get a lukewarm review... but you don’t engage in troll behaviour. You suck it up and move on.
Published to Death has a list of online reviewers who will look at your book. Obviously they won’t want any troll behaviour.
We want book reviewers. They benefit the whole industry. Do we want to have a reading public who won’t read anything new because they can’t be sure the review was paid for?(sock puppetry)

Hugh Howey is on a roll with some more examination of publishers and book stores.... should we really feel sorry for them? Possibly not when you see what earnings the big 5 (4) racked up in the last few years.

At a recent conference in the US... a comment was made about authors having all their eggs in the Amazon basket.  Porter looks at the use and abuse Amazon may be wielding with Kindle Unlimited.

Audible (the audio book publishing outlet) is owned by Amazon. Recently Jane Friedman had a guest post on her site comparing what CD Baby has to offer... and it’s all good! (starting with 90% royalties vs 30%)

The Plot Whisperer takes a look at NaNoWriMo. What is your goal and how are you going to achieve it. November is always quiet in the publishing blogosphere. Authors are writing and editors are quaking awaiting the December onslaught.

Brain Pickings has the article that explains that Einstein quote that reading Fairy Tales is the best way to improve children’s intelligence.

The 50th Anniversary of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has arrived this week... The only children’s book written by Ian Fleming.  It is being re-released with new covers etc and the original illustrations by a much loved illustrator now. (Chitty was his second book.)
Also in the news this week a Slovakian company has made the flying car a reality. This is a seriously up market Chitty!

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Joanna Penn has joined together with Dave Gaughran, Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant to bring you a deal that I urge you to get. They have combined their 3 magnificent writing and marketing craft books into an Indie Ebook bundle for 99c (no that is not a typo) I already have one of these books (eye poppingly good) and had put the other two on my Christmas list... but I snapped up this deal and you should too. Fly Fly Fly to Joanna’s site and learn more (and get your preorder in on your favourite reading platform.)
The deal is for a limited time. Release date is 3rd November.
(secret news: Joanna will be in Auckland over summer... )


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deals and Demigods

This week around the publishing blogosphere the news was all Simon and Schuster. While Hachette and Amazon are still embroiled in their contract war, Simon and Schuster quietly went about negotiating new contract terms with Amazon. And everyone wants to know just what those contract terms are.... Hugh Howey has a pretty good idea... it is probably very close to what the Indie authors are getting.

Hugh has been busy this week. His latest quarterly report Author Earnings is out. And it is the first one that looks at the impact of Kindle Unlimited on author income. Porter Anderson has a very detailed look at what Hugh found out. Subscription models look here to stay and authors need to keep a weather eye on their impact.

Australian Author Patty Jansen has been looking at her Indie income with a fine toothcomb. A very interesting analysis.

Articles about the Frankfurt Book Fair are still coming out. Reedsy has one looking at a panel discussion on when publishers get it right... with sales and content. Great read!

In our neck of the woods Walker seems to be going through a tough time. A long time popular editor has been let go and some Picture Book contracts have been cancelled. This is devastating news to the authors concerned as the illustrations were nearly finished. Picture Books can be anywhere from 18 months to four years in production and to pull them at such a late stage in the process sends alarm bells. Time to pore over those contracts... with a lawyer.

The huge success of the Percy Jackson series has the New Yorker looking hard at the quality of the books children choose to read. They draw on Neil Gaiman’s famous address which was in the “Just–so-long-as-they-are–reading” camp and contrast it with Tim Parks essay on reading habits where he suggests there is little evidence of reading upwards from Pulp to Proust. Having a Percy Jackson fan in my house I was treated to a diatribe this week about the important characters in the Greek demigod world. I don’t have a problem with that at all. Where else is the average Kiwi kid going to find out about thirty centuries old myth and legends?

In the news this week Disney has turned its sights on the South Pacific and their newest ‘Princess’ movie is in the works. Moana... ably supported by the demigod Maui. (Please Disney, don’t make it a white bread yawn!) Taika Waititi has written the original screenplay.

In the Craft Section,

How to get around using Trademark in novels from a Trademark lawyer. This is a Must Read post!

In the Marketing Section,

Julie Muesil has a list of podcasts that are required viewing/listening. In the list are two people whom I have referred to before, Joanna Penn and Sean Platt. This week Joanna interviewed Sean so it’s a two for one deal in excellence!

K M Wieland has a guest post on Book Cover design.

To Finish,

Every year Scrivener writing software do a free trial for the month… Go here to find out about it.

The Book Designer has a wonderful bundle discount on book interior designs. Well worth a visit and to grab an absolute bargain!

Huge Congratulations to Jack Lasenby who is receiving a Prime Ministers Award for literature tonight. Jack is one of New Zealand's finest writers for children. I am lucky to be attending this event… where we celebrate NZ demigods of literature.

Unleash your Demigod!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Big Ideas...

Two weeks to go before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which has become a rallying cry for the would be novelist mostly in the U.S. 
Of course come December all the agents and publishers then wade through tonnes of unedited manuscripts. Last year Editors were calling for December to become NaNoEdMo.
If you are contemplating transferring your big idea into a novel ... read this very good piece by writing guru Larry Brooks on how to decide if your concept is good enough.

A lady who has concepts that are mega bestsellers, Barbara Freethy, stunned the publishing world this week with a new deal announcement.
Barbara, an Indie author, has sold nearly 5 million eBooks. She has just partnered with Ingram for a print only deal.
For those of you who don’t know, Ingram are the biggest distributor of books in the U.S. They do print and distribution for the big 5/4/3 plus a host of smaller publishers. Now just contemplate the ramifications of this deal. Then go and read Porter Anderson for some details.

Occasionally people ask me what I think of the whole Self Publishing/Indie movement... I mostly reply that when the Indie authors can crack print distribution the landscape will be forever changed. (This is that moment!)

Yesterday Hugh Howey wrote a plea to the whole writing community that it was time to stop arguing with each other and just get along. Everybody is sick of the Them vs Us rants between Trad and SP. It’s a very well reasoned argument and as you read it... some parallels are immediately evident with our own political landscape.

Frankfurt is over for another year... what was the main talking point in the literary world? Subscriptions and their impact on publishers. The success of this model for those publishers who have bought in to it is fueling the idea that maybe they can do it on their own.

Translators in Germany are getting a raw deal… Publishing Perspectives takes a look at what it’s like for them.

In this neck of the woods an Australian editor got a grant to spend 10 weeks researching
Y A trends with publishers and agents in New York and Bologna. Her report is fascinating. It’s a big read so make yourself comfortable. I was very interested in the way books were marketed as either Block Busters OR Award Winners.

Catherine Ryan Howard, one of my go to gurus about Self Publishing has just updated the tax section in her helpful blog. Maybe you won’t need a US tax number after all.

Another guru Susan Kaye Quinn also has updated information on using Amazon pre order buttons... this is gold advice for those people who have a series in the works.

In the Craft Section,

Editing your own writing – K M Weiland

James Scott Bell pulls out 10 essential plot and structure tips from his phenomenal book Plot and Structure.

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
After your big idea session... you need to relax… Check out this handy infographic on Yoga positions for writers...
I would add a good stretch for the wine bottle to it.


Pic: Cool use of keyboards.... Shawn DeWolfe

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thou Shalt...

It has been a funny old fortnight (do you still use that word in daily speech?) I had to take a break from my regular weekly blog due to the recovery dance going backwards.

In the publishing blogosphere it is Frankfurt time! Frankfurt is one of the worlds biggest book trade fairs. This year Frankfurt nodded towards self-publishing with a who’s who line up of speakers for a dedicated two day conference tacked onto the main event.  Along with the many book deals being done at Frankfurt there is lots of discussion about industry trends. ISBN’s are in the spotlight. Porter has been looking at the increasing dissatisfaction with ISBN’s. Are they necessary? (N.B. NZ provides free ISBN’s through the National Library for NZers.)

Just when you thought bookstores were on their way out... Faber (Lit publishers) decide to operate a pop up store selling Faber titles. Other publishers are watching that space.
Amazon announced this morning that they were going to have a store in Manhattan... So the store idea is not dead.

In a little rumble that may herald an earthquake is on the way... Adobe has been identified as scanning people’s digital bookshelves without their consent... this may be the straw that breaks DRM. Publishers may feel that DRM won’t be worth the lawsuits...

Futurebook has an interesting article on Bookbridgr. This is a site that teams up book bloggers with publishers. With the increasing loss of book review pages in print this looks like an interesting option. (Could be room for a NZ option...)

I’ve always thought India was a market to watch... 1billion people... many who speak English... EBooks India has just interviewed Mark Coker on what it takes to self publish there.

Writer Beware has an interesting post on how to ask publishers about rights reversion. This is an important clause in your contract...

Karen Inglis walks her readers through converting a Picture Book to an ‘Enhanced eBook’ through iBooks.

In the Craft Section,

Multi - coloured heroes... diversity in your characters.

Chuck - what you need to know about your second draft. (Great article! Usual Chuck warnings)

In the Marketing Section,

Jane Friedman interviewed Bella Andre... and learned 5 tips for success.

If you are interesting in the self-publishing revolution, Lateral Action interviewed Joanna Penn about her new book Business for Authors.
Writer Unboxed has 5 tips from Joanna to consider when you look at your author business.

To Finish,
The ongoing battle of should you/ shouldn’t you over author blogging is always a weighty tussle.
Here it takes another twist with a guest article on The Book Designer website... Thou shalt blog.

Of course I don’t follow the proscribed rule... in my weekly (ahem) blog but if you want to click on the book covers in the side bar you can get a taster of my writing.

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