Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Ebb and Flow of Publishing

This week in the publishing blogosphere there was a lot of sympathy for the plight of Eilis O’Hanlon. Eilis has traditionally published her crime novels with her partner. They enjoyed modest success then in the ways of publishing... editors move... the series gets dropped and copyright reverts and the book goes out of print. That is until the book get plagiarised and finds a new success on Amazon.

This week Caroline Paul was shining a spotlight on publishing dilemma. Why boys should read girl books? There are some great arguments for this and a disquiet among authors that the push to be gender specific has not done children any favours. Melinda Szymanik explains this very well in her opinion piece.

Molly Green posted a breakdown of her earnings last year. A few authors are doing this now to explain why they are choosing to self publish. Transparency does educate. Her post makes interesting reading. As ever you should read the comments to get a fuller understanding.

Publishing Perspectives shines a spotlight on a new publishing company. Assisted publishing using people working in traditional publishing. It’s another way people can buy the services of a traditional publisher.

Joanna Penn interviewed Mark Lefebvre of Kobo about their global expansion into Asia and the new opportunities for authors who
publish with them. This makes interesting reading. Kobo is 2nd in sales of eBooks behind Amazon and they are growing.

In the Craft Section,
When to write the end- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Revelation Midpoint- Sara Le Tourneau- Bookmark!

7 things that will doom a novel- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

Why every writer needs a VIP- Ruth Harris- Bookmark!

In the Marketing Section,

How to build a media kit- Molly Greene- Bookmark

Website of the Week
The cool One Stop for Writers website has got even cooler. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have put together visual story maps. This is a handy aid to those writers who struggle with structure. 

To Finish,
Stephen King’s book On Writing is one of those must have craft books in your writing arsenal. Here he has 17 screenwriting lessons. These are really writing lessons regardless of the medium.

Fabo is back! It's that time of the year when NZ's wacky children's writers come out of their writing caves and start another round of story starters for NZ children. 


Friday, March 25, 2016

Genre Journeys

This week seemed to be genre week with interesting  articles from across the genre spectrum.
Children’s Publishing day at Digital Book World had some interesting takeaways. A few years ago it was widely speculated that with all these smart phones the early adopters would be teenagers. But they aren’t. They still want a physical book with printed pages.
But the genre could be slowly changing.

Over in the Romance field the HEA (happily ever after) ending is being questioned... do modern romances need this? It isn’t reflected in real life... is it? Some interesting thoughts in this blog post and comments.

James Patterson, who is his own genre, has been making waves this week with the revelation that there is a whole publishing arm devoted to just him... and he is employing them through his publishers, which would make him a Self Publisher with a traditional publishing house or a traditional publishing house with a self publishing imprint devoted to one person. No one can decide but it makes fascinating reading especially as he is publishing across age groups.

Leo Hartas, an illustrator, makes a plea for writers to understand how to commission an illustrator. If you are in the market for having illustrations for your project... read this first. I know illustrators who say these words often.

One of the most heart felt posts on Social Media came from Anne R Allen this week. This follows on from Jami Gold’s post last week. Anne talks about the increasing pressure on writers to be everywhere... You don’t need to be. She makes absolute sense and this is a must read for every author out there.

Catherine Ryan Howard who is a Go To Guru on how to self publish has an agent and a traditional publishing deal. This is an interesting journey... and one a lot of writers are taking as Hybrid is seen as a good career move.

This week publishing futurist Mike Shatzkin has been thinking about the need for publishers to use critical data research in the acquisitions process. These days research and data profiles are becoming easier to find and use so why aren’t publishers using them? As always read the comments for the robust discussion points.

Today while traveling on an errand a character, whom I had put on hold for a few years, popped into my mind demanding that now was the time to tell his story... never mind I’m in the middle of something big... somewhere else. Some characters are so rude! This got me thinking about Story Structure and this led me to one of Larry Brooks latest posts on structure versus pantsing. There is no opposition. There is subliminal understanding that every story should have a beginning and an end. This is a one of those A-HA posts that you will print out!

In The Craft Section,

How to write a love scene- Jane Friedman Bookmark

2 Bookmark posts from  K M Weiland 5 ways to trim your word count and 11 killer chapter breaks.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have compiled a popular posts list.

In The Marketing Section,

How authors can find readers- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

To Finish,

Y A Highway is an interesting site where YA authors hang out. They have an interesting infographic (very Jasper Ffordish) with lots of clickable links on all sorts of interesting posts. This is well worth a trawl. Children’s writers cover all genres the good and the bad...


Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Scattered Writer Brain

Last week I linked to a couple of posts on the first day of the Digital Book World Conference. This week Porter Anderson covers Day Two and Jane Friedman shares her takeaways from the whole conference - 4 lessons in publishing. This post has been passed around Social Media quite a few times and is a must read.

Selina Kitt shines a light on scammers on Amazon. This is a sobering read and goes to the heart of the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. It is also a lesson in eBook formatting. Even when you are doing it right for the reader, you may be doing it wrong.

Jessica West takes a look at the grey area of paying for reviews. No you shouldn’t pay for a review but there are technical services that take a fee and their reviewers are legit. Using one of these services can make you a best seller.

If you’re a children’s author you always have an eye on Bologna. Publishers Weekly interviewed seven agents about what’s hot and what they are looking for at Bologna.

Roz Morris always has something interesting to say. This week she looks at ways to blog about your book without blogging your book. This is always a tricky topic for authors... how do you entice readers to check out your work without giving it all away.

The UK Society of Authors is ramping up their Creator Campaign for Fair Contracts. Many international author societies are supporting this too. When you look at the writing festivals that aren’t paying their writers and add that to the unfair contracts it can get pretty depressing out there.

Jami Gold has a timely post this week on when you just have to admit you are not a super publishing hero. Sometimes you just can’t do it all. It is an excellent article. Jami asks pointed questions to help you identify if you are falling into this common writing trap.

Ben Zackheim gathered together his list of great podcasts. I have listened to about half of these teams and I must take some time to listen to a few more. Sometimes just listening to authors chew the fat about writing is enough to make you feel energised to get back into your writing.

Booklife pulled together some great people to talk about book reviews and discoverability. This is a must read.

In the Craft Section,
Getting inspired to write- James Scott Bell

The copyedit from Heck- Kristine Rusch – Must Read!

Short Story Secrets-Anne R Allen

In the Marketing Section,
11 reasons why authors need Social Media-  Frances Caballo and The Book Designer - Bookmark!

Connecting with readers- Elizabeth Spann Craig -Bookmark

Website of the Week
If you’ve got that book finished and you're thinking 'now the hard part begins,' you are right. However there are a few voices out there in the Blogosphere that can point you in the right direction -marketing wise. Penny Sansevieri has been a marketing Go To site for authors for a few years now. Here are just three posts that caught my eye this week. 50 ways to promote your book- Part One and Two and 5 minute marketing.

To Finish,
I came across this interesting article today on Creativity. What are five areas you would like to grow and develop in your writing? Take Five Fat Files... is a way of refining your goals and making them more achievable.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Business of Writing

The above is the whole reason I started this blog in the first place (coming up on 9 years).

Over the last two days I have been following the #DBW16 on Twitter. DBW is Digital Book World and they have conferences on... Book publishing now and in the future.
All the usual suspects were there but what is always interesting at DBW is you often get a glimpse into what’s going to hit in a years time. Tech startups that suddenly get big... etc
Porter and Jane Friedman were both there doing live tweeting... and some interesting ideas were being talked about. Porter has a wrap up of day one and The Bookseller (UK) has their own perspective on it. Next week I’ll link to day two but if you are interested put #DBW16 in the search bar in Twitter (click live) and get some gems.

Ros Barber’s blog post about telling the truth about what writing is really like now is getting talked about all over the place. It’s a brave writer that actually tells it like it is... because we can be seen as biting the hand that drops the crumbs....

Joanna Penn talked with Orna Ross this week on her podcast about Rights Selling and a fascinating chat it was too. This is a sit down with a beverage of your choice and take it all in. It is compelling listen.

Bran Lindy Ayres has a great post on writing diversity. It is thought provoking and lays out how a writer should approach telling a story when they don’t identify with the race, gender or sexuality of their characters.

We are all told we need to have email subscribers etc etc but what do we actually do with them once we’ve got some. Will Hoekenga wrote an interesting blog post – 7 emails you should send to your subscribers but probably don’t. This opens up a whole new world... and now you have to read Jami Gold’s great post -What is your reader retention plan...- Masterclass!

Recently an email came across my inbox with a pointer to a new US based website. Formswift combines a nice website with a whole lot of legal forms for free lancers and their business. Basic contracts, cease and desist orders... There is a huge range all downloadable, all free, that you can use as a basis for what you need.

Anne R Allen and Ruth Harris make a potent team for authors. They are always writing insightful helpful blog posts. Ruth has a wonderful post of 7 ways to rekindle joy in your writing. This is a print it out and stick it on the wall mantra for writers!

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
5 steps to great cover art- This is in the great 5 question series by Jane Friedman. Bookmark. (Today’s 5 questions to Henry Baum is also interesting)

2 literary agents have great posts this week. Mistakes writers make in query letters- Steve Laube and Oops it happened again by Marisa Corvisiero. These are Bookmark reading if you are going to query!

How to number your series books for Amazon- (it’s trickier than you think) Bookmark

Website of the Week
Kate Tilton has a great website with all sorts of resources for writers. She hosts #K8chat on Twitter and generally is a fund of all sorts of useful information. Here she has put together her list of Book Review bloggers. Bookmark

To Finish,

Hands up those who noticed the new thing in my side bar. I have been wondering how to put a progress bar on my blog for a while. (I’m treating my series as one whole project.) So up pops this handy guide from J Abram Barneck.  It is excellent! Of course I could go crazy and add the 2 finished books in the drawer... 2 books plotted... 6 books still to go all from different projects – Beta readers saying my Mars book needs a sequel...  but I won’t bore you about my business.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Hand Wringing

This week was a turbulent one in the blogosphere.
There was angst about the U.S elections, Angst about Author Solutions, Angst about Mike Shatzkin’s blog.

General Angst everywhere.

Phillip Jones of the Bookseller, finally got Andrew Phillips of Penguin Random House to talk about Author Solutions. Andrew laid out one side of the story where PRH thought Author Solutions was a good idea. 'Unfortunately a few authors have disagreed.' 
‘A few,’ spluttered the leading commenter’s. With class actions happening, every major writer organisation’s complaints ignored and a long list of complaints from writers who have lost large sums of money there was an outpouring of disgust over the article. If you weren’t sure about Author Solutions and their imprints for big publishers this is required reading.

Staying on the subject of assisted publishing Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware tried to contact author Steve Alten. She was concerned about the look of his new publishing venture to help other authors, but had no success until Chuck Wendig wrote a blog about it.  What is the definition of a vanity press? Chuck laid it out and then there was the response from Steve. The tennis match of eyeballs on the responses from each side played out all over social media.

Mike Shatzkin, publishing futurist, published a blog this week where he talked about changing his mind on what is happening with Agency and print sales. Porter wrote a piece discussing this. It is all very murky. Has Amazon put one over the publishers by getting them to agree to Agency conditions where they set the prices? Have publishers’ tactic of inflating eBook prices until they were more expensive than buying a print copy helped print sales and booksellers or is it all an elaborate lie. Are adult Colouring In books skewing what is really happening in print sales?

If you wanted to try your hand at publishing a colouring in book Joanna Penn has a comprehensive interview with Meg Cowly on how to do it.

Novel Approach, a book review blog, discovered that Amazon has pulled all their reviews and they are legit. They can’t get them back and Amazon won’t talk to them.

We need some good news!
Susan Kaye Quinn breezed in with a great post on finding joy in our writing. This saved us from being overcome with despair.

In the Craft Section,
Why scripts are rejected- Becca Puglisi

In the Marketing Section,

How to make eBook design count- comprehensive by DBW- Bookmark

To Finish,
Nosy Crow Publishers wrote about how they select books to publish. They are a nimble bunch in London.
Top Agent Kristen Nelson wrote about her first year under the new request regime of asking for the first 10 pages up front. If the authors were sweating over the query letter- Kristen was finding that the first ten pages really showed if authors knew their craft. Angst in a good way over this blog.


Tweet from Victoria this afternoon... scary.
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