Thursday, April 30, 2015


Digesting the London Book Fair and Indie ReCon generally takes a good month. So much information about writing and publishing  in big bites means you can quickly get full of rich information. Sometimes that means putting nice links aside to digest later.
Createspace has a quick overview on what were some good takeaways from London Book Fair and Young Adult author, SK Holder also has a list of great info learned at the Author HQ Hub. (This is a new venture for London, actually encouraging Authors to the Fair.)

Indie ReCon has posted the panel video How Self Publishing Is Changing Traditional Publishing, held on the last day of their conference. This is a fascinating look at the industry in the middle of change. Well worth grabbing a coffee and taking time to watch.

Publishing Perspectives has a model they suggest publishers should be looking at. Louis CK.
But he’s a comedian I hear you say. Yes but he has taken control of his own content and is using it in new ways. Now if Publishing Perspectives is urging publishers to look at this model...what about writers?

This leads in to the wonderful Roz Morris and some very important words of wisdom for the Author publishing in 2015. (BOOKMARK)

Dario Cirello opens a little can of wriggly things when he did a guest post about crowd funding and patronage. Do you agree or disagree with using crowd funding for your writing project or are you skeptical? The conversation is in the comments so make sure you read them.

Mike Shatzkin takes a look at the next Amazon contract negotiation with the last of the big 5 publishers. It will be the meeting of the behemoths of publishing. Who will blink first? How will it change the industry as a whole? A lot of jobs will be on the line when RandomPenguin and Amazon sit down to parley.

In breaking news, Booktrack (that little Kiwi startup from a few years ago) has some nice big news for authors. (Yes, someone wants to pay us.)

In the Craft Section,
Janice Hardy talks about creating depth with mini arcs. (great post)

Elizabeth Spann Craig’s handy checklist - Is your book ready for publishing.

Bob Mayer has a no holds barred post on traits you must cultivate to be a successful writer.

Chuck Wendig also has THE post on stupid writer tricks. (BOOKMARK)

Jody Hedlund has a great post on using your setting effectively. (BOOKMARK)

Here is a little challenge for you. Describe your current MS in 10 syllables. Make it a DEKAAZ poem. Circus Mystery: Clowning around with codes. (Yes I cheated. It’s all in the pronunciation.)

In the Marketing Section,
Molly Greene has 5 Self Publishing lessons (and a great comment stream.)

Publishers Weekly has the Google Ads 101 guide.

Joanna Penn has a huge post on why she has just changed book titles and covers. (BOOKMARK)

Creative Indie has 7 Design Tips for Book Covers.

The Book Designer has 7 tips for effective Metadata (BOOKMARK)

How to partner with your local bookstore- Do you know what it is like on the other side of the counter. (Interesting Read)

Website Of The Week
David Gaughran, besides being a digital publishing guru, has made it his mission to educate writers about the horrible traps out there for newbie writers. Especially those publishing packaging companies that promise you everything... just sign over your first born child. His article, this week, on the many faces of Author Solutions makes sobering reading and is a must read. (Even if you know about them, you will still be surprised at how far their tentacles spread in the publishing world.)

To Finish,
We all love a good infographic and Jane Friedman has put together  a great one on the various ways we can publish now.

After 100 years of business as usual we are now living in a constant state of disruption in the publishing landscape. We must be making up for lost time.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Standing Up for Conferences

This week I’m still digesting the mega online Indie publishing conference Indie ReCon. I still haven’t caught up with all of the online content, but I’m happy it will stay there for a while. There is so much juicy information there. A big cheer to the behind the scenes team for putting it all together. More than 25,000 people dropped into Indie ReCon last year. I would say that was surpassed this year, hugely!
Porter Anderson, spent some time at the London Book Fair and dropped into The Indie ReCon meet-up at Foyles in London.

Two interesting developments have caught the eye of The Passive Guy this week. The rise of digital reading in China, over 50% of adults are reading online.
And a new bookselling venture in Florida. This one caught my attention as it seems to be taking the showroom bookstore model and tweaking it for Indie Authors. There are lots of comments about how successful this model might be.
I am seeing more Indie authors grouping together to share resources and publish collectively. I’ve been saying this is the way to go for years - this  bookstore selling model seems to take it all a step further.

Authors rarely talk about the hazards of their profession but with J K Rowling tweeting this morning about writers back... (too long sitting in one position,) attention is back on stand-up writing desks. Michael Hyatt blogged about his desk this week and then Nicola Morgan decided to share how she improved her health dramatically in the last month. I’m eyeing up my desk... if I can get to it. It seems to be the repository of the families clutter.

Author websites have been the focus of Joanna Penn’s blog this week. This is an ultra comprehensive post on the subject. You will find yourself coming back again to it. Don’t get overwhelmed as she says... small tweaks.
Joanna has also interviewed Tim Grahl about book titles, productivity, marketing and other stuff.  It’s a wide ranging interview and full of tips.

Last week I linked to Delilah Dawson’s plea about Self Promotion and Social Media. This week staying with this topic Rachel Thompson gives some tips to deal with this stress and not become a spam monster.

In the Craft Section,

Roz Morris on tips for writing when time is scarce (which also has a link to her indie Recon video)

All about Pacing. This is a great post on that tricky craft subject.

Improving your character action beats- great post from K M Weiland

Editing – craft tips

Picking the right editor for each stage of writing.

The ultimate guide to what to do about the boring bitsbetween scenes. Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Book design tip- include reviews

Author Newsletters- Bookmark this

Website of the Week
Dropping back into The Book Designer for a guest post on time saving tools for writers

To Finish,
This is one writer’s experience of attending Indie ReCon. I would agree with her. It is always good to meet up with other authors somewhere just to reassure yourself that you are not alone in this writing gig. Although Indie ReCon was amazing, checking in face to face at an author event is also important. We can spend too much time sitting in front of a screen. Tinderbox 2015 is gathering steam... the timetable is becoming a juggernaut with lots more cool stuff being added. (We’ve got to stop tweaking it!)
I’m off to re-jig the Tinderbox2015 timetable, again, and play around with my writing desk.



Pic is from a review of Standing Desks… this one goes up and down at the push of a button.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Having Words!

Seven years ago I published my first blog post. It was a couple of paragraphs. I was learning how to get to grips with blogging technology. I didn’t know anything. (How do you do a hyperlink?) 
Each week I would educate myself a little more about the publishing industry and what was happening overseas. 
Things really changed for me a year later when I was part of a team putting together the first big National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. I discovered that some of our speakers (industry professionals) didn’t know what was happening overseas and how it might impact us here in NZ. (I was shocked to find I knew more than they did.) 
I increased the amount of publishing news and began to comment on a new type of publishing called e-books. Since then the publishing world has changed drastically. DBW has an opinion piece, looking back on a decade of change.

I’m heading up the planning team for the fourth National Conference (Oct 2-5). From seven legacy publishers of children’s books represented in the first conference only two remain.  The rise of small press and author publishers in NZ has become a real force because of necessity.

Right Now The Indie ReCon Conference Is On. (Free online. 3 days of awesome info.) The speakers are excellent. (A total dream team for a conference planner.) I’m heartened that a lot of the topics being touched upon will also be themes of focus at Tinderbox2015.

Jane Friedman  (a speaker at Indie ReCon) has posted a great conversation with two agents on Self Publishing children’s books. Don’t forget to read the comments.)

In other conference news WorldCon, which awards the Hugo’s each year, is on. And the news is not good. A cabal have block voted and are holding the Hugo’s to ransom. The Hugo’s are Sci Fi  fans biggest awards. It is not pretty. A Grand Master speaks out about the damage to the genre with these tactics. (breaking news; two authors have withdrawn their books from the awards.)

Jo Castle Millar wrote an interesting piece on Jon Ronson’s book, So You Have Been Publically Shamed. Jon’s book ARC went out for comment and two lines were taken out of context. The most dangerous job in the world… having an opinion.

The full Author Say survey results are out. They make interesting reading.  Authors are nodding their heads saying yep... all true. Everyone is interested in the publishers reaction. It is pretty damning. Will we finally see a change in how they treat authors?(Not holding my breath.)

Delilah Dawson, has a new book out (HIT) and I’m seeing the amazing cover everywhere. She also has an interesting blog post which has struck a chord with authors. Social Media and promotion.  Publishers see it as an author necessity. Engage with your public. But what is good engagement and what about if you just don’t want to.  

In the Craft Section,

Editing behind the scenes – The Book Designer

Viewpoint changes and what to do about it

In the Marketing Section,

Promoting your book on Facebook. –Romance University

Website of the Week
Get thee to a quiet room and soak up the awesomeness! ( It’s free and mostly recorded so even tho we are in the Southern Hemisphere we can still attend!) Absolutely Bookmark!

To Finish,
If anything demonstrates how much this industry we are in has changed it is this blog post, written for The Bookseller today on the London Book Fair (on now.) For the newbies reading this... All the advice at the bottom is essential!
For the old hands... an author at a book fair? Yes, Times Have Changed!


Pic Flickr /Creative Commons – Stephan Mosel

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Visibility Fog

As I write this I am sitting in a car looking out on Cook Strait. On a good day you can see the South Island. Today I just see an empty expanse of white coming down on the rolling sea about 500 meters away. Visibility limited.

Somewhere out in the white are big inter–island ferries coming through the strait, along with smaller fishing boats and huge cargo ships. Modern boats have radar so there won’t be collisions.

Book visibility seems to be a theme running through my roundup today. Somewhere in the white noise of Amazon your book is floundering around. How can you make the book visible so it has less chance of sinking without a trace.

Book Radar

Your Cover. 
The Book Designer (AKA Joel Friedlander) has a good post on what a cover should have. Alan Rinzler also has talked to one of the best cover artists in the business about what is iconic and important.

This is how your book is described on any digital platform. Penny Sansevieri describes in detail how to do this for Amazon. You will learn things about search that will blow your mind.

Getting Endorsements and Reviews.
All book marketing comes down to word of mouth in the end. Either the book is being hand sold in the bookstore, Indie bookstores do this amazingly well, or you found a great book because someone told you about it.
Writer platform goes into fine detail about how to target and get reviews. Training Authors has an interesting post on getting endorsements. These are cover pull quotes.
Joanna Penn talks about little tweaks that increase your email subscriber list which increases your reader reach and your visibility.

Small publishers are just as keen on visibility. BAP books is shaking things up with a pay what you want publishing model for a poetry book. They have had great success. It is daring... innovative... would it work for any book? Not sure... but I’m talking about it on my blog at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere so it’s definitely visible.

In The Craft Section,

Writing to gaming music. (This is really interesting.)

How do you know if your concept is right? Larry Brooks with two video tutorials on nailing your concept. (Bookmark)

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing your series- Lindsay Buroker (bookmark)

Website of the Week
Actually it is a roundup of websites… on self publishing some of which will be familiar. But you may find a new one to try out.

To Finish,
Ryan Holiday has an interesting article on Growth Hacking for Creatives... This is thinking outside the box for visibility.

Pic: Cook Strait... what you see on a good day.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Deja Vu.

So will 2015 have the flavour of 2014 with the virtual book lockouts, impassioned pleas for support and authors being left the worse for wear in the battle of the publishing behemoths? One of the sobering takeouts for anyone watching is that it is not the publishers bank accounts that get hammered. It is the authors and their careers. For authors to have a book not visible online hurts sales... which means their next book becomes a harder sell, (despite what the publisher might say to the contrary.) This hurts their future earnings/career.

In the children’s publishing world Bologna is the rally cry. The biggest children’s book rights fair in the world and the news is all gelato and where the agents missing bathrooms are on Twitter.  Despite Bathroomgate, everyone is upbeat. The world wants middle grade. Yay. Even middle grade space! I have a drawer full of manuscripts...

Another class action suit has been registered against Author Solutions, which is OWNED by Penguin Random House. And still there is a deafening silence by publishing journalists to expose this company. Could it be that every big publisher has their fingers in this pie...

For the last three years I have been noticing the claim that Book Apps are just around the corner... not the next corner, the one after that. Here it gets stated again in several places this week. (Must be the Bologna effect.) If only we had partnerships... author/ illustrator/ app designer. Maybe the time has come.

The time has come to move on for self publishers says Porter Anderson. In his usual thought provoking way Porter looks at all the arguments around self publishing and how the mindset holds back the author. 
Elizabeth Spann Craig finds out her traditionally published series is at an end. When you know it is time to move on... whole new publishing life coming right up. Take some time to read the comments on these articles. There is lots of extra insight into how these decisions get made.

A couple of years ago... I talked in my blog about an interesting marketing concept; Downloadable e-books on those plastic gift cards as a point of sale display, just right for the impulse purchase at the bookstore counter.  There were several companies looking into producing nifty stands of these for publishers. Another company has joined in making this a marketing reality but with short run cards that will appeal to authors.  

In the Craft Section, (all of these are bookmark worthy)

In the Marketing Section, (Every one of these a book mark post)
Sam Messingham has the article on using Twitter effectively.

Crowdfunded publishing- Jane Friedman

Website of the Week
Not really a website more like a phenomenon!
The Creative Penn or Joanna Penn has made such an impact on sharing her journey in real time as she negotiates new publishing landscapes that it is hard to imagine the blogosphere without her. Her website is packed full of information. She has a popular podcast and her books are best sellers.
Bibliocrunch caught up with her to ask the five important questions  about her publishing journey. And if you check out her latest podcast interview she is talking with an audio marketing expert. It is, as usual, packed full of information and as Joanna acknowledges this is a must for writers to look at with so many car makers enabling in-car podcast radio as their latest feature. 
Bet you didn’t see that coming.

To Finish,
Getting books in libraries is a big thing for Authors. It means visibility, more people reading your work and sales down the track. Now authors are being encouraged to make their Indie e-books available to libraries. Check out the nifty infographic.


Related Posts with Thumbnails