Thursday, November 27, 2014

What Are The Odds?

It is a funny old world...
This morning I read a Salon article on the echoes of the film Mockingjay with the real life events happening in Ferguson. The use of propaganda today to shape public opinion is held up as a mirror while scenes from the movie echo scenes from videos by extremist groups.

On Facebook, children’s authors are telling of publishers pulling out of signed publishing contracts. Projects, sometimes years in the production, just scrapped leaving the authors and illustrators frustrated and wondering what to do next. I look on Twitter and suddenly I’m seeing articles about self-publishing picture books and what it takes... Hugh Howey has dipped his toe into kids book publishing  and writes about it in his lucid way.

The guru Jane Friedman has also written about self-publishing kids books and the perils therein. Kids books are still firmly in the realm of print but with Amazon ramping up their sales of Kids Kindles and software to create kids books, you can see where they think the market is going.

Porter Anderson writes about the question he got asked at a London conference two weeks ago. Can I reasonably expect to succeed? The questioner was talking about both print and digital publishing. With digital publishing you are competing with every book that has every been published...

Kate Tilton is running a giveaway for Joel’s Friedlander’s book design templates (well worth looking at with 40% off, especially the new children’s book designs.)

This Saturday loads of authors in the US are heading to their local independent booksellers to sell books... in a sharing the love event. Great idea to take up here.

It’s getting towards the end of the year and thoughts of Christmas shopping fill everyone with dread. Jami Gold has updated her gifts for writers list.

In the Craft Section,

A NaNo timetable (remember you can use this on any month)

Stealing Without Shame – Stephen Pressfield

In the Marketing Section,
Timing for book launches (interesting article)

To Finish,

Next year will the odds be in our favor?


Pic from Hunger Games movie

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thoughtful Words

This week in publishing Twitter went wild over the Amazon/ Hachette settlement. The New Yorker gave it thumbs up for getting back to the new normal. 

Hugh Howey warned that things won’t change so fast... because of publishers shipping delays to Amazon warehouses. At least they have settled before the Christmas buying rush.

Mike Shatzkin had a few words to say about the behemoth that is Randy Penguin and what he thinks they should do... run their ownsubscription model. Hmmm they already publish half the books in the world... maybe they just need their own bookstores. Either way when it is their turn to negotiate with Amazon it will be watched with interest.

Authors have been asking for years why can’t publishers bundle print and eBooks together
Publishing Perspectives reports on a pre Christmas trial of bundling by HarperCollins in Australia. So if you are lucky enough to live in Australia.... I wonder if it extends to NZ as well?

Porter Anderson took a look at the journey to nearly superstardom by traditionally published author Emily St John Mandel. (Who missed out on the NB Award announced as I write this.) Emily did her own marketing being published by small presses until her 4th (breakout) novel and then the story changed when a big publisher put marketing muscle in. If you read that report I featured last month on blockbusters vs award winners you will see some familiar themes.

Janet Reid has a tell all post about what you should do whenyou get an agent...

The cartoon up top is from the wonderful Inky Elbows AKA Debbie Ridpath Ohi
I know people who would love that as framed merch!!!

In the Craft Section,

Janice Hardy tells you what to do when you have to kill a major part of your novel.

Becca Puglisi has an excerpt from the new Talents and Skills thesaurus... Strategic Thinking. This is a great writer resource.

In the Marketing Section,

Sterling and Stone (better known as Sean, Johnny and Dave) have a guest post on getting 50 reviews a month

To Finish,
K M Weiland, author of some very good craft novels has responded to requests to produce a workbook for her excellent Structuring Your Novel book.
This is a great book on structure so her workbook will be the bee’s knees if you are looking for Christmas presents for yourself...  

The National Book Awards in the US were announced overnight and everyone is talking about Ursula Le Guin’s speech. It is not long but it is as masterful and inspiring as she is herself.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Twists and Turns

Ahh the twisty world of publishing...
This week Barnes and Noble, the biggest bookstore chain in the US (owner of Nook and a model for other chains to follow) introduced a Print On Demand service.
Yes you can upload your MS and they will print it.
They won’t sell it or make it available in their store but they will print it. If you want it sold in Barnes and Noble stores you need to get your MS printed by CreateSpace. (owned by Amazon.) Just reflect for a minute on that last sentence….
Dave Gaughran wonders if the fell hand of Author Solutions may be behind this especially given the “charges” for basic editing etc that you may need.

St Martin’s press an imprint of Macmillan have decided that they will not be shopping for successful Indie authors. This is interesting as they took on Amanda Hocking and sold truck loads of her print books. Are the negotiations too difficult with savvy Indie authors? Digital Reader takes a look at implications.

Publishing Perspectives reports on a children’s book subscription model being trialed in France. This is aimed at libraries and schools first. If it works it will roll on to the English-speaking world next.

Joanna Penn has been attending the Screenwriters festival in London... She is all fired up with what she learned there. This is an interesting read. If you are at all interested in what Joanna is doing she is coming to Auckland in December and wants to meet up with kiwi writers.

Sir Quentin Blake has been thinking about accessibility in his work lately. He talked with the BBC on what he would like to see more of. (We need more of these voices advocating for children!)

Amazon just bought the .book domain name and a few others…hmm I wonder what their future plans may be.

Claude Nougat has taken a close look at free promotions and finds some surprising information and some great tips. (A must read)

In the Craft Section,

Writing humour - K M Weiland

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Have I got a deal for you!

This week the Seattle Weekly took a close look at the world of Bezos. Is Amazon publishing over?

Hugh Howey is trying to understand digital disruption. Could the author become obsolete?

Script Mag has a post on author’s estates if the worst happens… 


November is all about NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) This is where the writer commits to writing a 50,000-word novel in a month. Just to let you know 50,000 words is on the light side for a novel unless it’s a children’s one. Agent Janet Reid has the genre word count lists... so you might want to rethink your 50,000-word picture book.

If you are diving into NaNoWriMo there are always lots of cool deals around for writers...
Scrivener (MS software) always has a free download trial and there are various writing craft book deals around.

Last week I urged you to pick up Joanna Penn, David Gaughran, Sean Platt and Johnny B Truent’s book bundle for 99c. Each day Joanna, Dave, Sean and Johnny are writing great articles and linking to their 99c deal, which is available for the rest of this week!

Kevin J Anderson has chosen 12 books to go into a mega NaNoWriMo bundle for the month of November. You pay $15 or more and you get all 12 including the writer craft books from Kris Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Chuck Wendig... whom regular readers will recognize as often being referenced in this blog. (Christmas came early...Yeah!)

Live Write Thrive has a list of inspiring books that aspiring writers should read. Have you read them all? (4...)

Helen Sedwick recently got the chance to hear someone from Author Solutions speak -  Welcome to the Hotel California...
Author Solutions has some dodgy clauses in their contracts... and they are the behind the scenes company for many SP options being run by the big 4...(this is a Writer Beware situation.)

Murderby4 is a group blog of Thriller writers. They have a nice post about helping budding authors without killing their spirits.
Long time readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of group blogs... Romance University has a great post on how to set one up.

James Scott Bell has a post on Killzone about writing what you love and earning money from it.

BooksellersNZ have an interview with Julia Marshall of Gecko Press. (She’s looking for junior novels at the moment...)

In the Craft Section,
Creativity on demand... The BICHOK solution.

Chuck Wendig on NaNoWriMo writing tips...

In the Marketing Section,

How to help your books sell themselves – Sean Platt (Don’t forget the 99c bargain)

How to kick start your sales – Dave Gaughran (Don’t forget the 99c bargain)

To Finish,
Last week I hinted that Joanna Penn was coming to Auckland. 
IT’S TRUE and she wants a meet up with any Kiwi Authors who would like to meet her. 16/18th December.
Go here and fill out a form for her... so she can figure out how best to cater for everyone!

Sadly I won’t be there... but you guys can party with Joanna on my behalf!


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