Thursday, April 28, 2016

Author Education

It seems that every month we are mourning a creative genius who made an impact across the world. This week the creative dynamo Prince unexpectedly died at age 57. But the big tragedy as Kristine Rusch writes today in her Business Musings post was that he had no will. 
Kris started her Contract Deal Breakers series with a post on understanding what rights are last week and I had planned to link to that excellent post first when her latest post just slipped into my inbox. Both of these posts are must reads for authors as they highlight the very specific problems that authors face as their estates live long after the author is dead and what to do about it.

In another interesting pairing of posts, Wendy Sparrow writes about how writing romance is seen as easy to do when it is anything but... and Harlequin announced that they are dropping one of their most popular lines. Their letter announcing this is a wonderful example of corporate speak.

Janet Reid this week was asked about Agent contacts and what should be in them. She writes a fairly detailed letter outlining the sorts of things that you should see in a contact. If it says anything else be very careful.

This week Ruth Harris wrote about how to protect yourself from the University of Hard Knocks- or how to protect yourself from the scammers out there. She lists a comprehensive go to list for checking out offers you think might be your pot of gold... or your crock of s....

Publishing Perspectives talked to two pundits at the London Book Fair on publishing trends on both sides of the Atlantic. This is an interesting read. What sells in New York is not what London might pick.

Jane Friedman has a great guest post on her website on ways to generate Online Book Publicity. 

If you are dipping your toe into podcasts there are a few to choose from with book or publishing themes. The Bookseller has a collection of ten different podcasts that you might like to browse. I often link to the Creative Penn podcasts but I have dropped into a few others on this list and they are all good.
(I contribute to a monthly podcast at Writers Island. In the latest episode is a feature on NZ On Air and how writers might be able to access this funding.)

In the Craft Section,
Martha Alderson on using a plot planner-Bookmark

Joanna Penn on writing across genres-  Bookmark

Marcy Kennedy on ways to evoke emotion. Bookmark

Two great posts from K M Weiland on Choosing the protagonist and How to write strong characters.

Ash Krafton on Engineering your series.

In the Marketing Section,

Rachel Thompson on branding 101 for authors- Bookmark

Molly Greene on the new way to go free on Amazon (This is a 
How To on the new Amazon rules) Bookmark!

To Finish,
If you want to get inspired or educated just check into a TEDx talk. This week The UK’s top agent Jonny Geller gave a talk on What makes a bestseller. Food for thought...


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fair Learning

This week is all about the London Book Fair. (It is still Book Fair season.)
The Alliance of Independent Authors hosted a packed online conference at the London Book Fair. They had some wonderful speakers and have put blogposts up on their website with all sorts of juicy information and learning. This is well worth spending some quiet time trawling through.

Publishing Perspectives has their eye on the fair and the interesting ideas to come out of it and Lithub finds out how easy it is to get lost but then you find other things at the fair.

Sukhi Jutla has a great blog post on lessons learned at the London Book Fair.  This is of special relevance to independent authors or those thinking of the hybrid author model.

Joanna Penn has another great podcast, this week, on building your author business. This is an interesting subject because even if you follow the traditional approach to publishing you are still in the author business.

Mark Coker has released his 2016 survey on insights and habits of the bestselling authors on Smashwords. This is a comprehensive look at pricing sweet spots, box sets, etc. etc.

This week Passive Guy pointed out an interesting article in the WSJ about the new selling footprint of famous independent bookstore Shakespeare and Co. The new owner has turned it on its head. Is this the bookstore of the future?

In the Craft Section,

show- Angela Ackerman-Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,


To Finish,
After spending so much time Book Fair related it is time to take a break. Bustle has an article on why authors should take a reading break every now and then. This is a funny post about the need to step away from books in order to write them.

Thanks for all the kind messages about Craicer's 8th Blogoversary throughout the last week.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fair Value

This week I have some links to articles about the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (as promised last week.)

The New York Times had a piece looking at the rise of children’s publishing and the large Chinese contingent at the fair. This augers well for the new fair being inaugurated this year in Singapore for the ASEAN nations.

The London Book Fair is underway right now. Publishing Perspectives has a quick look at what the major talking points will be.

Children’s author C Alexander London this week wrote a brave article about coming out as Gay to children... and their reactions. All they really wanted to know was when the next book was coming out.

Larry Brooks has a great article on story development. What is the key criteria to the story? It’s a compelling premise. Another must read article from Larry.

Molly Greene has been carefully examining her earnings and her book goals. She sets out her Marketing goals for 2016 and the reasons why she is doing all these changes to her book business.

Recently I was chatting to my husband about Scrivener as I thought it might be useful in his office for a project his team was working on. He downloaded a free version and became a convert. This seems to be what happens when someone tries Scrivener- instant writing software love. Here is a master tips article for all those Scrivener users.

What are the marks of a Professional Independent Author? The key word in that sentence is ‘professional.’ The Book Reviewers site has a breakdown of what you should be aiming for.

Elizabeth S Craig has a great article on valuing your time. Writers are often asked to do things for free and it’s hard to say No. How do we evaluate the events we participate in so that they add value to us as writers? This is a great article to get you thinking about your time price.

In the Craft Section,

Essential writing tools -Angela Ackerman Becca Puglisi Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Using images for marketing- Joanna Penn Bookmark!

An Instagram primer for authors- Frances Caballo Bookmark

To Finish,
This week marks the eighth year of Craicer. I have been thinking about all the things I have learned along the way.
1. Commitment to a deadline. There is nothing like the creeping hour hand of the clock to make me stop researching and get the blog published.
2. Chances to push out of my comfort zone. Researching and writing this blog every week has made me a Go To person for speaking to groups or planning programmes or podcasting. Somehow people think I know stuff.
3. When I’ve struggled with my health the fact that I had a regular appointment to research and write up for others what I have learned has kept me sane. Ok not as crazy as I could be.

I am grateful for the people who read the blog, ask questions or share the blog to new readers. It always makes me laugh when I’m with a bunch of authors and someone asks 'how do you...' and the response from the group is “Read Maureen’s blog!”
Thanks everyone for reading and sharing the blog over the last eight years!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taking The Long View

In the children’s publishing world Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the big date on the annual calendar. It is just finishing as I write so all the commentaries about the fair will be out during the week. However Publishers Weekly has a day one impressions piece. In other Children’s Book News, today the brilliant  Meg Rosoff  won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award  for her career achievements. 

This week Hugh Howey gave an interview for DBW where he set out in his forthright way what the publishers should be doing now and into the future.
Mike Shatzkin, who programmes the DBW conference, then replied in his forthright way where he thought Hugh was right and where he thought Hugh was completely wrong.
Both of these articles are good reads. As always read the comments where you get a fuller sense of the conversations around both points of view.

Two people who have much to say on publishing and writing are Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. They both keep a sharp eye on the industry and have tremendous business smarts.
Kris is starting a new Business Musings series on Contracts and specifically deal breakers in contracts. Kris starts out by saying she was hoping that contracts would have improved in the three years since she wrote her book on Contracts but sadly they haven’t. With Author Societies calling for fairer contracts in the US and UK, writers need to keep these posts in their must read list.
Dean has a tremendous work ethic and works hard at explaining the writing business. He doesn’t suffer fools and has nothing to prove to anyone. This week he was a little taken aback when he was accused of devaluing the novel art-form because he wrote a novel in a week. Riiiiight.

Joel Friedlander is another publishing practitioner who has a must read blog. This week he looks at what Self Publishers can do when they find their books have been pirated.

Nathan Bransford still has interesting things to say about the publishing business. This week he comments on a New York Times article about focus groups being asked to read unpublished novels and mark where they stopped reading so the publishers can figure out how much money to spend on marketing.

In the Craft Section,
Making your plot less episodic- The Editors Blog-Bookmark

Making a series outline- Better Novel Project-Bookmark

Dramatic momentum or End of Chapter buttons-Writers in the 

In the Marketing Section,


To Finish,

This coming week Beverley Cleary turns 100 years old. Her books have touched the lives of millions of children around the world. We all love Henry and Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona and a whole cast of characters from neighbourhoods just like ours. She has had a remarkable publishing career which started when one little boy marched up to her library desk and asked 'where are the stories about kids like me.'


Pic: Beverley Cleary Born 12 April 1916
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