Friday, December 11, 2015

Raise A Glass To

This is my last blog post of the year and it’s already a day late. I have lots to share with you so grab a Christmas beverage and we’ll start.

This could be the drown your sorrows part of the blog...
Writer Beware has a look at some insidious new clauses making their way into publishing contracts under the guise of being nice.

Anne R Allen’s post on 5 scams targeting writers is being shared all over the web. Read and Beware.

Heather Alexander writes about the frustration of friends referring friends to you because they have book ideas. (We have all experienced this!!)

Melinda Szymanik has an excellent post on Writers Block - and The Write Life has a way you can beat it.

This is the Raise your Glass - Cheers part of the blog!

Joanna Penn has an excellent post on Productivity For Authors. If you are looking for other productivity tips check out these productivity hacks.

China wants to see more English language children’s books. – That’s the takeaway from the  Global Kids Connect conference held this week in New York.

Digital Book World has an excellent post on Amazon and ways that Publishers can use some Amazon tactics.

This is the fill-‘er-up-what-will-they-think-of-next, toast to innovation part of the blog...
Check out the story of this App, where a traditional publisher is harnessing indie authors to deliver novels in serial form, weekly... (you may need another drink to get your head around it.)

Self Publishing and Indie Author Imprints- This is a must read post if you are an indie author.

Refill Your Glass!

In the Craft Section,
11 top articles on Writing Characters- Bookmark! Some of these I’ve linked to before but this is a craft books worth of great writing.

Tips for writing acknowledgements by Julie Musil Bookmark!

Reedsy has an excellent post (and infographic) on Editing (which is what NaNo people should be doing in December.) Bookmark it!

Men with Pens has a great post on how to recognise Passive Voice and get rid of it.

In the Marketing Section,

Sue Coletta – Pinterest for authors- This is an amazing post! I never thought of this way for authors to use Pinterest.  Bookmark!

23 Pinterest tips for authors. (makes more sense after the above post.)

In a Toast to Christmas...
I recently recorded my second podcast with Writers Island where I talked about great gifts for writers. (see sidebar) As Christmas is nearly upon us you might like to check out these amazing gift lists.

To Finish,
Raise a toast to Kristine Rusch ...
In November Kris was on fire with her great business for writers blog posts which I linked to in several blog posts. She has been receiving some push back for her comments about writing what YOU want to write as the key to your career.  This week she replies to the criticism and explores the nature of writer as artist. I think this is an amazing post and one for authors to reflect on as they take their post prandial beverage and contemplate the coming year.

My gift to you – the 12 cocktails of Christmas and the annual Christmas video!

See you in January!


Pic from Flickr Creative Commons/John Morgan

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Talking Across The Room

This week ahead of the Futurebook conference, a day was organised in London where authors and publishers got together and talked to each other. This is unusual in the book business as generally the dialogue is one sided. If you do a Twitter search on #authorday it will bring up some pithy quotes that were said throughout the day to authors and publishers by authors and publishers. The first report of #authorday is up on The Bookseller – Can we trust each other? It is a must read.

Among the discussions at Author Day was the continued lack of illustrator credit in the book business. Sarah McIntyre has made this a special campaign and after Author Day updated her website to reflect this. Pictures Do Mean Business For Illustrators. Authors need to read this!

Also discussed at Author Day – Assisted Publishing and Agents as Publishers. Jane Friedman has an interview with an agent that does this... Is it ethical?

The Author Earnings team of Hugh Howey and Data Guy have turned their sights on Amazon UK. Are the results the same as the US? Some interesting takeaways here... especially for global bestsellers.

Roz Morris has been taking a close look at pseudonyms especially in this digital world where a Google search can haul up stuff you may not want associated with your pseudonym.

21 ways to turn your book into a business - this is great advice for Non Fiction writers.

If you are juggling a writing life with full time work you need to read Darcy Pattison’s excellent blog post on ways to make your life a little easier along with the 10 must have qualities for the Indie author.

In the Craft Section,

7 easy ways to research – K M Weiland

The biggest problem in beginnings - Agent Sarah Davies

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
I will wrap up the year next week... in the mean time if you have a project ready to go Pit Mad will be taking over Twitter on December 4th (US time.) Have fun!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Premature Babbling

This morning my Twitter feed filled up with reaction to a new kid on the YA publishing block and his attitude. Normally a new kid on the block would be welcomed and included but when the new kid talks down about the very genre they are writing in and then writes some dubious blog posts, the YA community will not ignore you. Chuck explains it best with his witty no-holds-barred post on not spitting on the legacy of the writers that have gone before you.

The Guardian also has a pertinent article on literature writers who deny that their work is actually genre... they wouldn’t lower themselves. SIGH! Read it and cheer.

This week there have been a few posts celebrating pre orders and warnings about pre orders.
Publishers Weekly has an interesting article by Mark Coker of Smashwords on using pre orders to ramp up your first day sales. You need to have preorders across the bookselling sites to get on the bestseller lists.
If you are contemplating using pre orders in your marketing strategy, Carefully reading both these articles will give you the full picture.

November looks like the month I mention Asia every week. Mark Williams has a very detailed post looking at the global publishing industry using mobile phones. If you are looking into the future of publishing, check out what he has to say... grab a beverage of your choice, as it will take a while but it is worth it. Time to think GLOBAL!

Anne R Allen has a blog post that is being mentioned a lot around Twitter. If you are still trying to get your head around the changes in Amazon’s review policy, Anne has carefully laid all the do’s and don’t out for you.

Joann Penn has a very interesting interview up with LiteraryEstate lawyer, Kathryn Goldman. There are lots of things to think about in this interview. If you haven’t given a thought to what might happen to your Intellectual Property in the future... you need to read or listen to this interview.

Future Book has a section on Future Book Tech.  As we are in the middle of exam season here this post caught my eye. Here is a profile of a young man who saw a need to provide mobile exam preparation courses. He is now partnering with some of the worlds biggest educational publishers.

In the Craft Section,

Expand deepen and create – September Fawkes Bookmark!

In the Marketing Section,

Rachel Thompsons book marketing tips part two (Part one was in last weeks blog)

Marketing plans- Jessica West

To Finish,
Last week I had Kristine Rusch as my website of the week. This week she wrote a great post on the journey of one writer, Marie Force. Often we hear we should write to the market... or we shouldn’t write to the market or we should write contemporary or we should write genre.... Read Kris- (take it to heart) and Write what you love!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Speaking Our Fears

The week the world has been shaken up and now everybody is thinking about mortality. 
We are not invulnerable. 
In the writing world Tech Crunch analysed the publishing industry and came to the conclusion that there is a new parallel publishing universe happening. Welcome To The Dark Side.

Catherine Ryan Hyde has written an amazing post onrejection. This tells the story of Pay It Forward. Catherine has some great advice for writers struggling with the lows of the publishing world.

Dean Wesley Smith talks about the times that the writer becomes overwhelmed by the critical voice in their head saying ‘What’s the point?’ This is a great post about reconnecting with the joy of writing.

Jane Friedman recently wrote about the myths of writing and then linked to an interesting article on writers and addictions by Douglas Millikin.

Jody Hedlund has a post on How To Drive Yourself Crazy As AWriter. Jody gives great advice so make sure you drop in and read what not to do.

By now you may be reaching for a stiff drink!

On the good news front. China needs more books. Publishers Weekly has just covered the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair and the news is allpositive... and great opportunities are opening up.

Rick Riordan has managed to get his foreign publishers to stop white washing his characters on the cover of his books. This is great news. I wondered if it was a language translation problem but sometimes that is not the case... Marketing can make the wrong decisions! I was thinking about my own characters this week and realised that all the characters in my head were biracial... but I don’t describe them by skin tone. Something to work on maybe...

In the Craft Section,
Molly Greene has a great novel outlining method

How to decide how many POV characters to have.- Angela Ackerman/ Marcy Kennedy

How to create a memorable setting- Pat Verducci-Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Book Marketing tips- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

Website of the Week
Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been on fire this week with some excellent posts on the publishing industry. She is a multi talented writer/ editor across many genres and is much respected. She doesn’t pull any punches or suffer fools. She will give it to you straight... Read Her!

To Finish

This week I’ve been thinking about talking.  I’m comfortable with chatting to people one on one, small groups etc. Then at our recent National Conference I had to Skype interview in front of 100 people, the lectern was shaking I clutched it so hard. A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed on radio for a new magazine style programme being developed. That microphone looked like an interrogation spotlight! 
Talking in public is important for writers to master. Elizabeth S Craig has a great post on public speaking for writers.

The Podcast for Writers Island is in the sidebar if you want to listen to some cool Indie Music and Writer Tidbits and me. I guess I should probably tell you that a version of this blog is up on Bibliocrunch every week. Talking isn't so bad… when you are writing.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Celebrity Writing

Many writers cringe when they read reports of celebrities writing a book,* children’s writers especially. We all know that writing a children’s book is hard. Every word has to be chosen with care. They may look easy because there are fewer words but they aren’t! The ‘celebrity’ who thinks their brand needs a book, an instant best seller with publisher or ghost writer doing all the work, just makes us all grit our teeth.
Gwyneth Paltrow has decided to launch a publishing company... an extension of her website where she will memorialise her thoughts for the world.
Gary Oldman is about to publish his debut novel about Vampire Cowboys which he hopes will become a series.
What can authors to do in the face of these wonderful additions to the publishing oeuvre?  Mike Shatzkin looks at brand and merch and vertical publishing with publishers selling author experiences in seminars and events.

Poetry is becoming the new hot thing on Instagram and Tumblr. Three of the top ten poetry books have all come from poets posting their work online. It’s an accidental form of celebrity and an interesting twist on publishing and promotion. Become a poetry phenomenon on Instagram and the deals will follow.

James Scott Bell has a Bookmark post on how to be a prolific writer. James talks about the structure of your day and the goals you need to set yourself.

Neil Gaiman was asked about writers block recently. He doesn’t believe in it but he does have some advice to get through a creative block.

Last week I linked to Anne R Allen’s excellent post on 5 delusions that block writers from succeeding. This week Anne followed up that viral post 5 more delusions blocking writers.

Robin Black has a great post on 21 things she wished she had known before she started this writing journey.

In the Craft Section,

Tips to tighten up writing- Sue Coletta – Bookmark

NaNoWriMo Triage center - Angela Ackerman

7 ways your characters can screw up their decisions to make a better plot.- Janice Hardy - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,
Demystifying Amazon categories and keywords - Penny Sansevieri - Bookmark

Website of the Week
Three nifty little ideas for you this week.
Karen Marston had a website malfunction which prompted her to write a post on backing up. Here she talks about all the ways to back up your website.

Did you know Google has added a record feature to Google Docs? You can dictate your manuscript now.

After you have twisted yourself into a pretzel getting your NaNoWriMo word count up You may need this handy Infographic Yoga for Writers chart.

To Finish,
A few years ago the FABO team wrote a story collaboratively and had great fun doing it- but it was hard work. Joanna Penn has been writing a horror thriller with J Thorn, who has worked collaboratively with many writers. This is a great interview if you are thinking about how to do it without killing your writing partner.
Or you could always work with a celebrity….

*I'm sorry about that link - it is vile isn't it?  How the publishers could keep straight faces when faced with this prose….


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Genre Bashing

This week I have been reflecting on the idiocy still perpetuated that somehow literary genres read by a majority of women are inferior to other literary genres.
Romance novelists were taken aback by a snarky article on plagiarism at the Washington Post this week. Instead of talking about the plagiarism that had been discovered the journalist went for the who-can- tell-because-it’s-not-real-writing angle.
Jenny Trout writes an excellent rebuttal and if you want to further enjoy the smack down read the comments following her post about Shakespeare.

Amazon has changed its Kindle Unlimited payouts again. At the same time as doing this it has finally (after twenty years of business) taken the plunge and opened a bookstore in Seattle. Just one... with 6000 books, a lot of them face out on the shelf....

If you are diving into NaNoWriMo and have popped your head up for air, check out Chuck Wendig’s post on surviving it...
November besides being the month of insane novel writing is also Non Fiction month. Nicola Morgan had a passionate post on the lack of recognition to our Non Fiction children’s writers.

Anne R Allen has written a post that has been passed around the blogosphere - 5 delusions that block writers from succeeding. The speed of the sharing showed that many writers found some truths in this excellent post.

Jane Friedman takes a look at literary journals... the struggles of writers to get published echo the struggles of these journals to publish.

In the Craft Section,
Two great posts on dialogue tags- Actions speak louder from C S Lakin and 10 dialogue mistakes from Marcy Kennedy - Bookmark both!

5 smart tips to write a draft at speed- Roz Morris – Bookmark

Planning a Character Arc – Angela Ackerman

In the Marketing Section,

Author marketing –ways to support your writer friends without compromising your own platform.

To Finish,
Stephen Pressfield and Black Irish books have a great series of videos on The Story Grid which you should check out for NaNoWriMo. Darcy Pattison has some tips to help you carve out a writing life.

If you are a fan of popular podcast serial Night Vale... Then look out for the book. It is 2015 and publishing has changed. Now we can take podcasts and get big publishing deals.

The new Canadian Prime Minister was sworn in today. Three words have echoed around Twitter following the swearing in ceremony. It’s a reflection on long it has taken and that we still have a way to go.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Subscribing To NaNoWriMo

This week Amazon review policies and translations are still topics of interest at the publishing water cooler AKA Twitter.

Selfpublishing Review has written a blog post about the new Amazon review policy detailing what you can and can’t do. A must read!

Roz Morris always has interesting posts and this week she adds her thoughts to the Translation discussion. It is always good to check out the comment stream where the discussion continues.

Porter Anderson has been looking at the Society of Authors call for fairer contracts. The Society is the UK authors collective. The Society is joining with The American Authors Guild and momentum is growing to change publishing contracts. Take the time to read this.

Subscription services may be making a come back if the latest Disney deal is anything to go by.

Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant have a popular writing blog but they are branching out into subscription too. They have been working on an App called Story Shop. They have a Kickstarter for it. Check out what they are offering, The App almost writes the stories for you!

This week a spotlight was put on organisations behaving badly.
Wil Wheton called out Huffington Post for not paying authors and then went on to expand that call to other creatives who should be paid for their work. Exposure doesn’t pay the mortgage you know.

Agent Natalie Lakosil helped by Jen Laughran shone a light on agents. Yes, agents have other jobs, they are just as poorly paid as writers... but be wary of Schmagents!

It’s the last week of October and writers around the world are holding their heads and thinking why did I say I would do NaNoWriMo.
Chuck Wendig asks the same question and adds his own particular spin to why you should/shouldn’t do it. (Usual Chuck warnings!)

Anne R Allen has a great post from Ruth Harris on the joy of writing and how to keep it going during NaNoWriMo. Ruth shares inspirational words from other authors about how to keep the momentum going.

Here is an interesting post on when to design your bookcover... If you said before you write the book... you would be right.

In the Craft Section,
Help for Pantsers and Plotters- Stephen Pressfield

Janice Hardy has two great posts, How to tighten the MS and How to polish the MS

Jane Friedman talks to Larry Brooks about compelling concepts Bookmark!

Critique Circle has 3 essential tips for NaNoWriMo

In the Marketing Section,

Molly Greene has the website essentials
Penny Sansevieri has the essential book selling how to

Novel pitching with Chuck Sambuchino

To Finish,
The people behind the Stop Procrastinating App have put together a tell all infographic on NaNoWriMo... How to survive it... How to achieve it... How to do it.

For all those attempting NaNoWriMo... Good luck


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thoughts in Translation

This week Amazon announced they were cracking down on fake reviewers. GULP went all the authors. Authors always think the worst. So what does it mean? Passive Guy takes a look at why Amazon has tweaked the review system. It’s all about trust.

The Frankfurt Book Fair has been happening and suddenly everyone is talking about translations. Germany just happens to be a huge market for translations. The Bookseller talks about the move to global authorship.

Amazon is in the translation business (of course) and Publishing Perspectives this week talked about the huge injection of cash into Amazon Crossing and sounded a note of caution to the translators who make it all happen.

Joanne Harris delivered a speech this week at the Manchester Literary Festival which is getting shared all around the internet. Why do people expect authors to work for free? Do readers ever ask what does the author wants from them? This is a fabulous read!

Jami Gold asks authors - What is your long term plan? This is one of those posts that have you thinking for a long time after you read it. Every author should read this.

This author life has its ups and downs, Lance Rubin wrote a great post on blocking out the noise and just creating.

Sometimes you come across a piece of writing that turns you on your ear and that you just have to share with someone. That happened to me this week when I heard a podcast interview with Paul Bishop on Authorbiz. I listened to it in the car and then couldn’t wait to share the ideas with my writing partner. Just WOW.

In the Craft Section,
Now Novel has two great articles- What is good writing and Guide to Writing a Romance novel

The secret power of Voice – James Scott Bell

Tips for Queriers- query, synopsis, first page

Brainstorming the hero – Angela Ackerman

Letting go of the practice novel- Writer Unboxed- Bookmark!

Turning a unique phrase - Joanna Penn

In the Marketing Section,

5 basic elements of an Author website – The Book Designer - Bookmark

Website of the Week.
Larry Brooks has an excellent website full to bursting with great content on writing. Here are just two recent stand out posts. The unspoken pinch point – climax and How to plan your novel in 6 weeks. Both are bookmark posts!

To Finish,
Infographics... Translating lots of information into handy charts.
And now you know everything.


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