Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Going This Way or That Way

Daylight saving happened this week. We put the clocks forward by an hour. ‘So is this why your blog is early?’ I hear you ask.... I am traveling so you get an extra day to enjoy this roundup.

Bob Mayer was musing this week that publishing has become same old same old. This is an interesting blog post from Bob.  Indie publishing has seen a dip in sales. What can you do about it?

Bookworks has an interesting interview with a family that decided to publish books. Each member works on a different genre. So they set up a publishing company...

Writer Unboxed has a great post on knowing when to walk away from a publishing deal. This is always a hard decision.  Read the comments. It does open up the discussion.

Joanna Penn has a great interview with Toby Neal on keeping a series fresh and price points. This is well worth a read/listen!

Kristine Rusch has finished her excellent Deal Breakers Series and is taking some time to look around at the publishing business now. She talks about the positive changes from Draft 2 Digital and other distribution services.

Nate Hoffelder doesn’t think the UK Society of Authors is going far enough with their request for the UK to adopt an EU directive that would protect authors from a take-it-or- leave-it contract.  When you read the examples your heart does sink a little.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting interview with Merilyn Simons former head of the Canadian Writers Union on the changing state of publishing in Canada. She looks into the future - to survive Traditional published and Indie published writers might have to merge.

As we move into October... which gets us closer to November... NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. October is traditionally NaNoPrepMo. Janice Hardy has a great post on 5 ways to make the most of October planning.

In The Craft Section,

First Drafts- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Self editing tips- Joanna Penn

Scenes vs Chapters- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Thinking like a writer- Darcy Pattison

Keeping your readers hooked- Elizabeth Spann Craig

In The Marketing Section,

Preparing for a cover design meeting- Elisabeth Spann Craig- Bookmark

10 tips for book marketing- Bookmachine- Bookmark

To Finish,

Nothing beats a great podcast. You can listen while you do other things... Today while preparing dinner I was listening to the Author Biz podcast with guest Stephanie J Pajonas.
It was so interesting I was in danger of burning dinner. Stephanie talked about how she uses auto responder to engage with her email list. How she grows her email list and using Instafreebie.... It was a riveting show.


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Successful Writing

As I write this I am watching through my mobile office window someone assembling conference bags. It brings back memories of doing the same thing (several times) and hope that the people attending your conference will be supercharged with excitement and learning.

Attending a writing conference is one of those great things you can do to give yourself a boost. To get the most out of it you do need to choose your conference carefully. I always look at conference blogs to get ideas and latest information.
Sara Letourneau has a great run down on the latest Writers Digest conference- all the best bits and learning.

Angela Ackerman writes about what it is like on the presenting side and what she learned as best practice in a recent conference.(100% agree with her from my experience of programming 2 national conferences.)

Roz Morris has a great article on how you should approach your writing – Is it a hobby... a vocation... a job...

Once you have decided what your writing means to you figure out what you need to focus on and then look for a conference to suit. Research the speakers.
Sue Coletta was interviewed by Larry Brooks  about her writing success story and how she did it.

Publishers Weekly looks at Indie authors and why they have to spend money to make money.

David Gaughran has found another Bait and Switch vanity publisher that appears at all the big conferences and is predatory. (Forewarned people!)

Conferences can get really expensive so I always look for best bang for my buck or what is available online. An excellent conference is coming up from the Alli folks. And it’s free. The speakers are amazing. 
It’s worth hiring a hotel room and treating yourself.

In The Craft Section,

Two great posts from Now Novel -How to create a fantasy world and Don’t lose the plot

Layering your way through the book – Martina Boone- Bookmark

Outlining scenes – Blood Red pencil- Bookmark


Tom Bonnick from Nosy Crow is having an auction for a MS critique – all proceeds going to feed hungry refugee kids in Calais (It is part of the authors for refugees action group.)

In The Marketing Section,

Joanna Penn has an interview with PR expert Janet Murray on Book Marketing- Bookmark

Rachel Straub writes about how to tackle Amazon’s top reviewers.- Bookmark

Anne R Allen has the 5 things you shouldn’t do in email marketing- Bookmark

To Finish

John Green has been struggling with the problem of Writer Success. He talks about the emotional toll of this as well as the toll on his writing. A must watch video.

Merritt Tierce has written an article about the Dark Side Of Literary Fame. It is a sobering read. 

Know what you are getting into... and cultivate your writing friends. They know the journey and will celebrate with you and commiserate with you. If it’s throw the manuscript against the wall time... then read some advice from Chuck.


mobile office = car

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

On The Journey

It must be the season for figuring out how to get people reading again. Here in NZ our Book Council published a report that said Kiwi’s weren’t reading their own fiction. Why aren’t they? Everybody has opinions. Maybe it’s because they can’t find the books in bookstores.

Hugh Howey talks about the dismal earning reports of B&N and then goes into detail about how Indie bookstores are changing the face of bookselling. This is a fantastic read and for extra reading credit check out what Hugh would do if he owned a bookstore... highly likely in the future.

So what are Bookstores selling? The Guardian wrote about The Secret DNA behind Bestsellers and talked with the writers of an algorithm that attempted to find out. They have published their findings in a ... Book.

To make the bestseller... you need word of mouth... marketing... advertising budget.. etcetc or you can just get some pods. Jane Friedman has a fascinating guest post about street teams/ mini marketing brigades of fans

What about the contracts of all those people helping you to get published. Kris Rusch winds up her deal breakers series with a comprehensive list of who and how to deal with foreign rights requests.

And that brings us right to the beginning.... The writing.
Rebecca Solnit has Ten Tips On How To Be  A Writer. They are all good.

In The Craft Section,

Giving your characters backstory- K M Weiland Bookmark

Inciting incidents – Stephen Pressfield- Bookmark

How to self edit- Now Novel-Bookmark

The pantzer outlining method – Molly Greene- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Self publishing vs Traditional- Joanna Penn- Bookmark

Do writers need a FB page- Kirsten Lamb- Bookmark

How much does a book cost – Digital Book World

Social Media Care- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,
While we are figuring out how to get our book out there... it’s a fact of a writers life that they will be spending time alone trying to figure stuff out. Daphne Grey Grant has a great post on how to work alone. Self care tips for the stressed writer. I’m off to find a warm drink... chocolate...


Pic : Flickr/Creative Commons /Jogendra Joshi

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Being Mad Helps

This week has been financial reporting week for some of the big publishers. Oh the tangled web of eBooks and Print Books. Is one cannibalizing the other? Pundits pored over the statistics. The Financial Review looked at the state of the publishing industry.

Mike Shatzkin has a brilliant post on the state of play with publishers still sticking to their plan of high eBook prices. Mike shows why he thinks this is a short sighted idea. The comments on this article were fast and fascinating with people discussing buying habits. Do you wait for a sale or buy an $11.99 eBook?

Gladdening the heart of Publishing warriors everywhere was the nice little snapshot of Author Earnings ISBN acquisitions. They are in decline. So was this why PRH cut them loose?

How often do you write what you want to write? How often does your editor get cold feet or ask you to tone it down. Or you get cold feet and tone it down first. This week K.C Alexander took over Chuck’s blog to talk about how she was tired of having her characters toned down, as not fitting a perceived feminine model... and things were about to change. This is an excellent post on courage and truth to your writing.

Kris Kathryn Rusch has been putting together an anthology of the early women writers in SFF. She explains how she came to be involved in the project. It all stemmed from being told that women were discriminated against in Science Fiction. Women of a certain age are ignored and their work disappears... so what do you do. You get MAD and then you become a force...

Kris was about to post the last article in her Dealbreakers series when she heard about the demand by Hachette for the advance back from Seth Grahame-Smith over the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series. It’s big money and the contract is murky. This is a must read post as Kris explains. The contract is available to read and it is scary. The author was not the most important party in this contract. They weren’t even second...

In The Craft Section,

Using contractions in dialogue- K M Weiland- Bookmark

How to create strong character arcs- Sean Platt and Jonny B Truant- Bookmark

Avoiding book publishing blunders – The Book Designer- A great all round article!

Writing setting descriptions – James Scott Bell – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book Marketing – The Good The Bad and The Ugly

10 tips to get book reviews- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

To Finish,
LitHub is an interesting website that publishes long form interviews and articles. Today they published an article on Nan Talese, an editor with her own imprint at Knopf Doubleday. It is a fascinating look through her life in publishing from editing Hemingway to working with Simon Tolkein.  

You have to be a little bit mad and passionate to write and work in publishing.


Pic: Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (1931)

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dining Out

This week Barnes and Noble announced that they were going to mix it up in the bookselling trade by introducing four concept stores with restaurants. So you can now go out to dinner at a bookshop. For some of us that would be perfectly fine. I am reminded of a wonderful bookseller, in Wellington, who  reminds us at every book launch that wine and books are a great mix but not wine on books. Mike Shatzkin takes a look at this new idea and points out the flaws in their planning. As a publishing futurist he predicts some interesting changes in the bookselling model.

Digital Book Worlds conference next year has morphed into a four track extravaganza. Each strand is being designed by a separate expert. That’s four mini conferences in one. It looks like an interesting line up. (Having programmed multi track conferences myself it looks like a lot of work!) The NZSA has a writers forum weekend coming up. The programme highlights look very familiar. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.)

Staying with Digital Book World... They have an interesting article on audiobooks. Authors can you afford to produce an audiobook? This goes into the nuts and bolts. As always I recommend you read the comments because then you get so much more information.

If you like filling your ears with interesting content then check out the SPA Girls podcast. These romance writers host a 30 minute podcast every week on Self Publishing. They recently attended NZRWA and talk about what it was like learning from screenwriting guru Michael Hauge.

In the recent Edinburgh Book Festival there was anger at the tone of a debate on YA Books with one author saying that 90% of YA is crap. The Guardian picked up on it and explored the arguments supporting and defendingYA.

Garry Rogers has an interesting blog for writers who want to get their crime details right. He recently decided to ask his best selling guests about the tipping point in their respective careers. This is a fascinating series of mini interviews.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are about to celebrate their first anniversary of One Stop For Writers. So of course they have some interesting new features to come. They have just introduced scene mapping and world building tools.

In The Craft Section,
Creating memorable characters- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

Character detail – James Scott Bell - Bookmark

A lesson in dialogue- Jennie Nash on The Book Designer-Bookmark

1 mistake that writers make – Stephen Pressfield

Do you share your WIP- Jami Gold- Bookmark

Writing in Busy Times- Elizabeth S Craig

On Editing- Great article from Writer Unboxed

Revising Query letters- Query Shark-Bookmark

Moving beyond hair colour – Jody Hedlund

In The Marketing Section,

Two interesting articles from Joanna Penn. Breakdown of BookSales- an up close look at her last year of sales and Two million books - an interview with a best selling crime writer.

ISBN’s everything you need to know – Bookwork – (NB if you are in NZ you can get free ISBN’s 
from National Library)

Using Pinterest for branding- Rachel Thompson-Bookmark

5 apps to boost Book Marketing- Frances Caballo-Bookmark

To Finish,
Jane Friedman has an interesting interview with Sage Cohen about her new book Fierce On The Page. Sage has some great thoughts on giving yourself permission to write and what a fierce writer really means.

It’s nearly time for sending out my next newsletter where I share the best of my links from the last month and other interesting thoughts. Why don’t you subscribe and catch up on some good reading.

Maureen Crisp

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