Thursday, August 25, 2016

Learning On The Job

I’ve been thinking lately about the way publishing works these days. 
Ten years ago it was find an agent or editor and pitch your work. Keep trying and learning and maybe they will like it and you will get published. 
Five years ago it was ditch that traditional route and self publish... just put it out there and find your audience. 

Now it feels like a convergence.

To succeed in this business you have to go in with an attitude of learning and improving your craft. This applies for both sides of the publishing coin. This excellent post by Jamie Raintree explores the ‘act as if’ mindset and planning your career first.

While you are digesting that, Jane Friedman has written about standing out to agents and editors.... This is good advice people.

As you are learning about the publishing business stop and look at Kris Ruschs deal breaker posts. This week she looks at agent contracts.You should be keeping one eye on the gold and both eyes on the scams and navigating your way around.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting interview with Sarah McIntyre, the illustrator behind the campaign #PicturesMeansBusiness. This is a great campaign and a must read for every children’s book author and publisher out there!

Lindsay Buroker is a great writer and one of the hosts of SFF marketing podcast. She writes an informative blog as well. Recently she wrote about genre hopping and how to do it successfully as a writer.

This week Wattpad introduced inside the story advertising. This was predicted about three years ago as one of those ‘and then the world will have gone to hell’ scenarios. But Wattpad being digital and wanting to help the authors has said use the space between chapters. Is it a win/win?

In the ‘what will they think of next, Section,
Augmented Reality. (A.R.) Now think of bookstores. Now put the two together. It’s like playing Pokemon Go on the bookshelves. Especially designed for kids...

In The Craft Section,
Two great articles on writing dialogue- Bookmark Both
Fantastic dialogue tips – Now Novel and Editing dialogue- Jane Friedman

Writing complex characters- K M Weiland – Bookmark

Character Arc development – Jami Gold Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Keyword use on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri - Bookmark

Print is still important- Elizabeth S Craig- Bookmark (and read comments)

Creating the author business plan- Janice Hardy - Bookmark

To Finish,
These days you can write from anywhere and many writers do. Give me wifi and a coffee is the writers cry. However to be a productive digital nomad takes a little more savvy. Here is a list of productivity tips for your next foray of writing in the wild... or your nearest coffee shop


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Striving for Gold

This week the news is all about some big sporting event... meanwhile in publishing...

Mike Shatzkin was interviewed recently by Teleread and they asked him to make some predictions for the future. Mike believes that the biggest changes have already happened in publishing but he did have five events that if they happened would be just as big a game changer as the Kindle.

Jane Friedman has written two excellent posts on using pop-ups on websites. I hate them but apparently they work. Jane comes from the same viewpoint but she has delved into why they work and what her experience of using them is. A very interesting examination of a modern website feature.

Bob Mayer has a pair of interesting articles on why he thinks publishing hasn’t plateaued and what he thinks authors can do to thrive in publishing now. Niche is where it is at. Carve out your spot.

Mediashift have an interesting article on bringing in Beta readers much earlier in the publishing process. They are trying to eliminate the reason why books don’t earn out.  What do readers want to read? Then commission the book. They decided to give it a go with kid’s books. Do kids want to read about Vampire Cinderella? (Start with the cover and then write the book to go with it. Advice I have heard from the SP podcast guys.)

The Alli Blog has some great articles so have a trawl around when you stop off to read this little gem on short print runs and why they can be very valuable.

In The Craft Section,
Recently I had to do a novel synopsis in a hurry. Here are two excellent resources to Bookmark
Jane Friedman – Novel synopsis. and How to write a novel synopsis from Glen Strathy.

What is arch plot and classic design- Ingrid Sundberg- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Elizabeth Spann on preorders

To Finish,
The Olympics... you can’t get away from them in a sports mad country. As they are happening overnight for us a lot of people are bleary eyed in the morning here. Joanna Penn pulled out a piece she wrote when she was in the thick of the Olympics in London. It’s still relevant for authors. Ten things the Olympics can teach writers.


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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Waiting For The Sun

This week I attended the NZ Children’s Book Awards. As in recent years Indie publishers were 25% of the finalists and winners. Some of the small publishers from a few years ago are growing, which is good news. This year’s winners came from a group of writers who have consistently produced great work but have never won big awards. We all celebrate their moment in the sun.

I have been thinking about stickability, especially from the writers that keep producing good work year after year. They barely make a living yet they still keep writing and contributing their time to the writing community. All of the winners of the children’s book awards this year exemplify this. Finalists have to take unpaid time off work to visit schools and libraries as part of an awards roadshow. Kristen Lamb has a great article on embracing the grind. Ann Kroeker also has a wonderful article about writers seeing the 3D sound effects movie in their heads and the feelings when this translates as 2D flatness of their writing.
We’ve all been there. We are there still. Someday we will crack it!

Chuck Wendig wrote an interesting blog post this week, 25 reasons why I put down your book. This is a great list to remind authors that first and foremost you have to entertain the reader. (Warning it is Chuck so be prepared!)

From the writers point of view sometimes things can get a little dicey in your head. Stuart Nadler has written a moving tribute to all the characters he has killed off who haunt him still. Every writer has struggled with their conscience as they killed off a character... but sometimes the ghosts live on....

Writer Unboxed had an interesting article from Jo Eberhardt that garnered over 290 comments. The problem of female protagonists. If you look at your bookshelves how many of your books have Female protagonists or are written by women? Jo highlights recent research into the myth that we are writing gender balanced books. A very interesting read.

Jane Friedman has an interview with two literary agents on hybrid authors and how they can navigate their way in the publishing world.
David Gaughran reminds all authors to research who you are working with and go in eyes wide open.

In The Craft Section, (A fabulous list today)
13 ways to add depth to your novel- Victoria Mixon- Bookmark

Choosing your antagonist- Blood Red Pencil- Bookmark

When Theme smothers premise- Larry Brooks- Bookmark

Sequel scenes- K M Weiland - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section

7 tips for blog traffic- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

Tips for branding your book series- Book marketing tools – Bookmark

2 Goodreads features – Frances Caballo

To Finish
Angela Ackerman has written a fabulous article on influencers. How to find them, what they can do for you and more importantly what you can do for them. This is a must read! All authors need that helping hand... and big mouth to spread the news about your latest book.

You can’t rely on winning an award right off the bat. It takes years of crafting relationships and being prepared for the long haul before  the sun comes out. Then it will feel absolutely blinding if the reaction from one of my friends who won this week is anything to go by.

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 Pic From Flickr/ Creative Commons/ John Taylor

You thought I was going to post a picture of the sun.... hehehe. TA DA!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Living To Write

Some weeks in the publishing blogosphere the focus seems to be all on one particular topic.
This week everywhere I turned it was on writing craft.
The Atlantic put out a story about a computer analysing 2000 stories and coming up with the six main arcs of storytelling. The most popular one involving a glass slipper. This is an interesting read.

Then Neil Gaiman’s advice to authors popped up all over my Twitter feed. Neil has cult status out in publishing land but hasn’t made it onto the bestseller list for the worlds richest authors (who are making a tidy sum off kids books and movies.)

Now Novel had a great post on writing advice from Nobel prize winners. You can’t beat that for excellent craft advice. (And then a whole lot of great craft articles went into my Craft Section.)

Joanna Penn had a fabulous interview with Ellen Bard on writer self care. This is a must read as every author I know can relate to this. As the weather has turned super cold here, looking after your self and your mental health is timely.

Teleread has an interesting article on Amazon Author accounts and how to make sure that Amazon doesn’t close you down over something trivial.

Joel Friedlander has an interesting article by Judith Briales on Book Piracy. Judith has a list of things you can do if your book ends up on a nasty site.

The biggest children’s writers and illustrators conference is over for another year and a good time was had by all. Those of us who live vicariously through the SCBWI LA16 Conference blog have got some excellent reading ahead with quick outtakes from every session.

In The Craft Section,
Agent Kristen Nelson continues her series on 9 story openings to avoid

Janice Hardy- On putting your five senses in. - Bookmark

Two standout posts from KM Weiland on structure- What the mouse can teach you and Don’t make 
this structural mistake- Bookmark both.

How to evoke wonder in your writing- Writer Unboxed – Bookmark

From the Writers helping Writers website- a comprehensive list of writer tools- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section

To Finish,
Jane Friedman has a guest post from Jessica Strawser on 5 ways to keep writing when life intervenes. This is one of those thought provoking articles where you reflect on your writing life and think about your writing goals. Are they pushing you over the edge or keeping you from falling.


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Pic from Flickr /Creative Commons/Killa Bea
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