Thursday, May 26, 2016

Money In Money Out

My 400th Post!

This week in publishing news Simon and Shuster were hit with a class action on payment of eBook royalties. This one will be rattling the cages of a few big publishers. It all hinges on whether publishers treat an Ebook sale as a ‘sale’ or a licensing agreement.

Rattling Author and Agent cages; the news that Month9 publishers were in trouble and having to downsize their business. There was lots of support for the authors and editors caught up in a financial mess not of their making. This great article on how to evaluate a publisher got shared around.

Kris Rusch has another installment in her deal breakers posts, on Non Compete clauses. This is an awful little clause that can stop a writing career in its tracks. Writer Beware has highlighted a few over the years. Read and be very aware what the implications are.

Nicola Morgan is an in demand festival and school speaker in the UK. Lately she has been coming up against the notion that writers should be ‘happy to speak at festivals for free as exposure.’ The UK Society of Authors is running a campaign about this and here Nicola sets out her reasons why she won’t lower her fees without a good cause!

Porter has a thought provoking article about book prices being driven downwards thereby devaluing all creative work. There was lots of discussion around these ideas. Have we encouraged the reading public to only buy free?

We have all heard about laptop crashes and writers losing manuscripts... Janice Hardy has a great article about organising your hard drive to find your work in the first place and then you can back it up!

Rachel Thompson is a force to be reckoned with. I’ve linked to two of her marketing posts today. However this article struck a chord. How often are we left wondering why something failed? Rachel has written a great post on turning rules for failure into success.

Jane Friedman is one of the industry’s Go To Guru’s. She turns her clear and insightful gaze on crowdfunding. Should authors do it?

In the Craft Section,
Creating unforgettable settings- Part 3 and 4 Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

What are your characters not saying- and What can you do about plot -Two Bookmark posts from Janice Hardy

Avoid this pitfall when plotting –Roz Morris Bookmark

5 traits of a winning concept- Mythcreants-Bookmark

Getting the right feedback- Belinda Pollard- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Rachel Thompson hosts a Twitter chat on book marketing. She has a helpful list of book marketing tips -Bookmark

Website of the Week
The Killzone is a great collective of crime and thriller writers who post great articles on the writing practice. Larry Brooks has a fabulous guest post here on receiving and working with editing criticism. As with all my links read the comments for a fuller picture.

To Finish
This week I was thinking about what my next writing craft book might be... and telling myself that really I didn’t need another... (oooh look shiny new book over there) My Kindle is mostly packed with writing craft books which I dip into on a fairly regular basis. Storybundle has been a great source for good writing craft books. And they have another great offering this month. 5 great books in a bundle or 10 if you pay over $15- you do the math. I have some gems in my Kindle from the last Storybundle. You pay what you like, the author gets a sale and you help a charity as well.


Thursday, May 19, 2016


I’ve been racing around the country on a lightening tour dropping in at all sorts of stunning places and meeting all sorts of amazing people. Meanwhile the publishing world keeps ticking on.

In case you didn’t know... Amazon owns Goodreads. This didn’t matter so much as Goodreads continued to do their thing... until today when they launched a hand picked also recommends eBook deal service. (They know all about you... so it was inevitable.)

Writer Unboxed has an interview with Magdalene Thomas about the secrets of how to work the Amazon algorithms. This is going to mean much more now that Goodreads is doing the same thing.

Steven Pressfield has an interesting article on the steps you need to think about to find a great title for your book

Publishers Weekly have an article on how to update a children's book.

 Kristine Rusch has an interesting article on option clauses. These are important in a contract but authors often don’t understand how important. The choice of words in an option clause confers power in a contractual relationship. Kris points out the pitfalls. This is a must read!

Getting motivated after having time away can be a struggle. Chuck understands and so he has written a great post on the toxic myths that ambush the writer and stop them from writing. (Warning, its Chuck so be prepared!)

Kristen Lamb has also been looking at the hard truths of being a professional writer. She offers some words of advice about getting over the first draft.  

If you drop into Twitter chats, sometimes the hour goes so fast that you miss some of the gems under discussion. Rachel Thompson has a popular Twitter chat on Book Marketing and she posted a link to the Storify version of the chat today. Take a look- So much great information there.

In The Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
Jane Friedman on getting started with email lists- Bookmark

Penny Sansevieri has two great posts on Marketing for Self Publishers and Part Two Bookmark

To Finish,
The wonderful Maria Popover from Brain Pickings was invited to give the commencement speech at her Alma Mater. She has an inspiring speech on Cynicism and Hope. Just the ticket if you need to re focus yourself.

Our culture has created a reward system in which you get points for tearing down rather than building up, and for besieging with criticism and derision those who dare to work and live from a place of constructive hope. Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively, in yourself and in those you love and in the communication with which you shape culture. Cynicism, like all destruction, is easy, it’s lazy. There is nothing more difficult yet more gratifying in our society than living with sincere, active, constructive hope for the human spirit. This is the most potent antidote to cynicism, and it is an act of courage and resistance today.


Holiday pics...

This is where I went... and Yes it looks like this!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Failure Planning In This Writing Business

This week I was discussing the abuse of interns with an economist (as you do.) He was highlighting how tech interns are offered lots of unpaid work as a leg up in the industry. Its not a leg up... it’s a leg shackle. This morning The Bookseller had an article pointing the finger at unpaid internships in publishing. (Arrgh – not in my own industry! I thought we were better than that...) I have seen Internships advertised now and again on Twitter... and they ask for writers mostly. So go in with your eyes open!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has sideways jumped with her blog series on Contracts and Deal Breakers. Prince’s lack of a will raises some huge issues for any creative legacy. Recently Kris was editing an anthology and saw at first hand what a mess some writers literary estates were in. This is an important issue. And yes it applies to you! Take the time to read her article and think about what you can put in place in the unfortunate event...

If you are thinking like a business owner... and you should be... Molly Greene has an excellent article on Business Plans for Authors this week. This is a quick run through of the basics that you should be covering.

Anne R Allen has a great post for new writers about ways they can derail their writing careers before it even starts. This is a good post to share around. I have come up against these attitudes from writers and I just wince.

This week Catherine Ryan Howard had her first Traditional Fiction book published.  Catherine Caffienated has been a popular go to blog for anybody learning about self publishing. She is funny and honest as she learned in public and helped countless others on the way with her non fiction books. So why go traditional with fiction? As part of her promotion she has an excellent blog post on killer twists.

The Marketing SFF podcast is always a great learning resource to dip into. This week the team interviewed best selling series writer Garrett Robinson and it was a cracker! Garrett writes in public on YouTube. It’s almost performance art... Spend some time with this podcast and get mind blown!

Audible is doing an interesting thing. They are allowing subscribers to gift an audible book for free. I’m trying to see the catch. You get to still own the book. The creators still get paid as if it’s a real sale... you don’t have to buy the book again. Sounds wonderful!

In the Craft Section,

How to write deep POV- Ava Jae- Bookmark

Building the movie in our minds- Jami Gold - Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

How to podcast – Joanna Penn

Susan Spann has written an excellent series on right in contracts. These are Bookmark posts! 
Subsidiary rights and Merchandising rights in publishing deals. Read and have your eyes opened!

Penny Sansevieri has a great post on live streaming on Facebook- and other epic Facebook marketing tips- Bookmark

To Finish,


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Looking for Jam

The Australian government is proposing some radical changes to their copyright laws and the writers have come out to protest. There have been open letters from Booker prize winners and other luminaries in the media over the last week. The Canadian Copyright centre has some warnings for Australia not to go down that twisted path based from bitter experience.

Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware has some warnings about the way spammers are targeting authors. I got one this week which I promptly ignored. (Legit publishers don’t contact randomly through Twitter offering to publish.) However Victoria is noticing how many spammers are using writing contests.

Dave Gaughran has been taking Amazon to task over the scammers that have taken over some bestseller categories. This week Amazon finally decided to do something about it. But it relies on you the author/reader too.

Amy from The Book Designer has an article on the new marketing tricks being offered to authors on Amazon beginning this month. This is like lifting the lid on your quiet runabout car and finding a sports car engine... but to use it might cost you the price of the sports car.

Joanna Penn has another great podcast this week on audiobooks and what she is doing. She is such a great resource. If you have been thinking about audio book narration you should check this out.

Dean Wesley Smith is a creative powerhouse. He runs popular courses on writing as well as his maintaining his busy writing career, monthly magazine, popular blog etc etc. This month he is putting some of his popular writing courses on YouTube... because.

Penny Sansevieri has put together a list of top resources for indie publishers- This is one of those bookmark lists to keep coming back to and Derek Murphy has his list of 10 things Indies are doing wrong and what they are doing right.

In the Craft Section,

When is a story not about plot -Jami Gold- Bookmark

The pre proofing checklist- Wiseink- Bookmark

The 5 biggest writing mistakes- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

10 tips for guest posts- Anne R Allen- Bookmark (I wish my guest post spammers would read this!)

The basics of book promotion- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Website of the Week
I have featured Writers helping Writers before because of the fabulous work on the writing thesauri that Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi put together. They have two new books on Setting coming out that you might like to check out. For Marketing they usually do some cool pay it forward marketing thing which as a side effect gets their book noticed. They are looking for people to spread the word. However with just this wee taster I can see that these writing craft books will be snapped up!

To Finish,
Today I mucked around with resurrecting quince jam which had turned to toffee, while I was doing this I listened to this podcast on creativity and the art of asking and motherhood etc etc. This interview with Amanda Palmer was really interesting and a good way of getting your brain thinking while the toffee turns to syrup.


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