Thursday, July 28, 2016

Playing Nicely In The Trenches

Today my Twitter feed exploded with agents who were appalled at a blog post written by a disgruntled author. Agents don’t talk about the abusive letters they get from rejected authors. But to write an abusive blog post naming the agent and pouring scorn on her was not a good idea for this writer’s career. 
You should play nicely online. The internet is long on remembering and unforgiving. Agents do search you online and on Social Media. If you get a rejection, wail in your own home over a wine. DON’T wail all over the internet!

Joanna Penn has worked hard at her self publishing business. She has fans all over the world for her podcasts and her books and her willingness to answer questions and experiment. Today she posted a tech survey of the tools she uses. A very interesting post.

 James Scott Bell asked the big question. Why do you want to be a writer?
This is a great blog post to sit with and maybe ask yourself. Then take note of the answer.

Publishing Perspectives takes a look at the publishing franchise of Bourne. How did they select writers to carry on the Ludlum legacy? It has to do with love...

Kris Rusch has another brilliant post on contract snags in her deal breakers series. This week it is on definitions. If you thought you knew what the terms meant, think again. This is a comprehensive post looking at Net royalties, time limits and other dastardly goodies.

Staying on Contracts, Susan Spann (lawyer and writer) has a must read post on short contracts. That’s when the publisher does you a ‘favour’ and sends a 3 page contract instead of a 30 page contract because you don’t really need much more than that. Just don’t worry your little writer head about those rights clauses....

In the Craft Section,

8 must read writing craft books (I have most of these and agree)

Creating layered characters- Jami Gold – Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

The definition of an author platform- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

Website of The Week
Bookriot always has interesting posts and a ton of information all over their site. Recently they collected together a list of great writer podcasts. 
If you like to listen to podcasts while exercising or doing chores check these out. (You can hear the latest Writer’s Island podcast if you click on the tropical island pic in the side bar.)

To Finish,
If you are a writer you get used to rejection. Writing is subjective so not everybody will love what you bled onto the page. J K Rowling mega writing superstar that she is (with another Potter book out this week) decided to show some of her recent rejection letters. It does give hope to the rest of us bleeding in the trenches.

 Get a selection of the months best links and other ephemera when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Socially Speaking

This week I’ve been thinking about social media, mostly because I’m away from it, visiting family. Every now and again it is good to get out and meet people face to face whom you only spend time with on Social Media. Shared laughter and hugs stay with you longer than emoji’s. And often the gossip is better in person.

When you spend a lot of time on line sometimes you forget to take a step back and figure out the best use of your time on line. Molly Greene has a great list of 45 ways that you may be sabotaging yourself on Social Media.

Back ups... Back Ups... Back ups...
There are so many ways to lose everything. If you are storing your work online make sure you have a copy off line too. Google just took 14 years of an artists work in an accidental deletion. Please read the comments - it could be you!

Think Longterm. Create a Body of Work. This is a key chapter in Joanna Penn’s latest non fiction book, The Successful Author Mindset. Joanna shares this chapter on her blog this week. It Is Gold!

Jane Friedman has an interesting guest blog this week from Gabriela Pereira about the value of an MFA. This is always an author discussion point. Do you need an MFA to be a writer? Genre writers say NO BUT.... Read this excellent article on the myths and realities.

Catherine Ryan Howard has just had a successful book launch of her first traditionally published book. But the second book deadline is looming up... and Catherine found it difficult to focus. This is a very honest look at how fear of the second book can hold us back. How to write a novel when you’ve forgotten how.

Janice Hardy is an absolute treasure. She always has solid advice for writers. It is rare for me not to link to some gem of hers every week. She has a great blog post on writing accountability. This is a great way to progress your projects...

In The Craft Section,

Writing Character thoughts- Darcy Pattison- Bookmark

Query Letters – The Pitch- Writer Unboxed

15 Character creation tips- Now Novel - Bookmark

The burden of knowledge- or how to get your thoughts on the page- Jennie Nash-Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Social Media in 30 minutes a day- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

How to give away free books and why you should – Book Funnel and Joannna Penn-Bookmark

To Finish,
I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a monthly author newsletter.  I write for children but I blog about writing, marketing and publishing book trends for adults. This does make for a confusing brand according to the marketing experts.

When I get together with other children’s writers we always ask each other what we’re working on and we share interesting ideas. So as I can’t sit down and have a coffee with you in real life why don’t you subscribe to my monthly newsletter. I’ll share some of the best bookmarked links and some interesting (death defying) research from my current writing projects. You can ask me questions on Twitter or Facebook. I love to chat.... 


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Classic Writing Challenges

This week there has been a lot of discussion on The Alliance of Independent authors (Alli) making a distinction between ordinary independent authors and ‘professional’ independent authors. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at what Alli are trying to do... Because we are all professional aren’t we?

Kris Rusch has another stand out post on Contract Dealbreakers... This week it’s Rights Reversion. This is an important post to read especially if you are looking at a contract where the publisher wants all rights... or no dice. (this is common in NZ.)

A few weeks ago I had a link to a post by Steven Spohn on Chucks Blog, on the nature of writing disabled characters. This week, Disability in Kids Lit, posted an article of terms to be familiar with if you are writing a disabled character.

This week Mike Shatzkin announced that he will no longer be programming the Digital Book World Conference as he thinks the big strategic questions facing the book industry have been answered. Mike shares an overview of the last decade. And what a decade it has been.

Writer Unboxed has an excellent article on dealing with Writers Block... In a choose your own adventure style.

Hugh Howey writes an excellent story. This week on his blog he talks about breaking ideas. Not just breaking but shattering them to find an unforgettable idea... and writing from there.
It just might be a new classic.

In the Craft Section,
Nailing Internal Dialogue- Jane Friedman Bookmark

Three steps to a smoother writing style- Roz Morris – Bookmark

Two Bookmark posts by Janice Hardy, Creating unlikeable but compelling villains and False Starts.

Desire is the driving force- Michael Hauge- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

5 steps for the killer book talk- Jane Friedman Bookmark

Optimal success in book pricing- Digital Book World

Before you self publish read this- Joanna Penn – Bookmark

Canva newbie guide- (Excellent overview of this tool)

To Finish,
Today there was a spirited opinion piece in the Guardian taking issue with the tired old list of books being foisted on children as classics. The list came from the BBC’s Love to read campaign and was contributed to by the public. But modern children’s literature was missing. We know it's being bought so why doesn’t it make these classic lists?

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is being made into a film. This book has won numerous awards and is the only book to win both The Carnegie (Patrick Ness for writing) and the Greenaway Medal (Jim Kay for illustration) It is absolutely a modern classic. Do we have to wait for a film to be made to validate this? (Trailer out today.)


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Publishing This Way or That

July has stumbled in stomping its feet about the weather and cursing about never getting a clear run at being jolly cold. (Why are my jonquils out? Its not Spring yet!)

In the roundup this week,
 Porter Anderson chats with Jon Fine on the perceived curatorial mark that Traditional Publishers bring. Jon has interesting points to raise because he has worked on both sides of the fence. He points out that Indie publishers can rise above the herd if they pay attention to all the details.

Why is Dystopian Fiction popular? Are we living in a dystopian future now? This is an interesting article from European publishers about why Dystopian fiction sells to their teen audience but at the cost of their own countries voices.

For the Typography buffs out there, some good news. Google has reorganised its Font Library for the web.  You can find fonts easily and they have a nifty comparison widget. Why is that interesting... because they have a whole lot of free fonts and you can use them on websites and other places where people might read interesting stuff online written by you.

Kris Rusch has another Deal Breakers post. This looks at Contract termination language. In these days of ebook perpetuity how can you negotiate a termination clause and what should you ask for. This is really interesting, as the term out of print in the digital age now has no meaning.

James Scott Bell has a great post on writing advice you should ignore. That doesn’t mean ignore the post. James has written quite a few excellent writing craft books and is one of my go to craft book gurus. Here he takes issue with some of that tired old writing advice and explains how you can break the rules

Joanna Penn has an interesting interview with 3D designer about how writers can utilise 3D design. No they aren’t completely opposite. Children and Young Adult writers will be able to see the value straight away. 

In The Craft Section,

Combining genres- Stephen Pressfield

Choosing the right story setting- KM Weiland Bookmark

151 Plot resources- Now Novel

The 5 key turning points- C S Lakin- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book promotion – Do this, not that – The Book Designer- Bookmark

Create a box set bundle- Joanna Penn-Bookmark

To Finish,
If you are looking into a publishing future that is starting to have overtones of a dystopian landscape and you aren’t quite sure about self publishing, an Australian print company has a step by step overview of what you need to know. Google has a lot of answers to questions. Read widely about how others are doing it before you you leap in.


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