Thursday, April 27, 2017

Good Villains

Ssssh You can’t tell anyone but someone with your name left a large amount of cash in a bank account and died with no heirs....
Straight away I knew the letter was a fake.
Several things tipped me off. No letterhead. The appeals to greed, tastefully alluded to, inside the letter. Some of the sentence structure was clunky. (Barclays Bank can afford to hire people who can write.) And my mother rung me up to say she had received a letter just like it earlier this week.

Can you always spot the scammers though? I have been watching Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss), co founder of Writer Beware pointing out  a series of questionable practices to a small publisher on Twitter. The publisher feels that they should be treated like a plumber and get paid by the writer to publish the work. (Hint: they have a license to publish your work under strict conditions... that’s only for fixing the leak... not the house and contents.)

After reading Kris Rusch’s latest blog post on dealing with editors who want to be paid to pass on information to the writer. Along with writers who don’t know what rights they have given up so are missing out on reprint rights because their agents can’t be bothered or don’t know what rights they sold either... I’m not surprised that Kris had a melt down. Know your business! Everybody should read this blog post and be educated.

Jami Gold has an excellent series of blog posts on Indie Publishing that I am working my way through. Her post on long term goals got me thinking. Do you have a master plan? (For world domination...)

Two weeks ago I linked to two important blogs discussing whether author newsletters were a good idea. (Anne R Allen’s blog post and Kris Rusch’s.) This topic has caused quite a stir in the online publishing world. Kris wrote a new blog post refining her thoughts on this. Anne’s blog post had 125 comments.

Writers Digest recently had a blog post about the importance of finding your tribe. That’s all your writing friends... and then Writer Unboxed had an interesting guest post from Kate Brandes about what a debut writers collective did for each other... (I keep saying this is the way of the future...)

Nate Hoffelder writes that Audible are dropping their credit gifting to the dismay of their fans.

Dean Wesley Smith has an interesting post on how to make money from short fiction pieces.

John Doppler has a must read post on the Alli blog about visualising the best sellers. Just how many Indies are in the top 100 by category.

Lit Reactor has a great article on 13 ways to support an author without spending a cent. (Spread the word and be a hero!)

Roz Morris has a fascinating blog post about opening up Book Reviewers to Indie published books. The discussion from book reviewers in the comments is well worth a read.

The fabulous K M Weiland has gathered up her recent series of blog posts based on Marvel movies. The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling according to Marvel. This is an excellent resource for every writer. (Her latest book on characterisation is amazing as well!) I Have been obsessively watching Avengers Civil War and seeing all the plot points!

In The Craft Section,

Checklist to improve your writing- Writers Write- Bookmark

How to Refine your novel- Martha Alderson

Creating your remarkable villain- David Villalva- Bookmark

How to use writers intuition- Colleen M Story- Bookmark

5 qualities of a brilliant story- Roz Morris- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing a new book in a series- Julianne MacLean - Bookmark

International author central on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy knows that I am a sucker for a fabulous infographic so he takes the time to email me and send their latest one. Everything you wanted to know about dynamic characters... in a handy chart!
Sara Letourneau has been taking a break from blogging recently. Here she explains why in a great article, Seven Steps to Honoring Your Reality. This is how you become a writing hero...


I have a monthly newsletter. It is a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other news about my writing and what I am personally learning about book marketing and publishing. I don’t spam or push any products. You can virtually meet me for coffee every month if you subscribe. (Thanks to everyone who has bought me a coffee by hitting the Kofi button.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Who's Counting...

Ten years ago this week I started this weekly blog. I had no idea what I was doing but decided to learn as much as I could about this writing industry. 
I have seen so much change it’s hard to remember that I started blogging just as the first Kindle was launched. That one device started a revolution. Books became digital products and went from being read on dedicated Electronic Readers to Smartphones. 

Publishing went through a huge revolution along the way. Ten years ago I couldn't have predicted the loss of established publishing companies and book stores. Now 70% of all books are being bought online and we see the rise of Independent writer publishers. Over the years collaboration amongst other writers for education and publishing opportunities have been vital to understanding this brave new world we are working in. From writing in isolation to being globally connected to writing tribes via Facebook and Twitter to virtual publishing houses it has been a fascinating ten years.

I have been following Joanna Penn’s writing odyssey with three other writers in New Orleans and reflecting on the nature of collaboration. Joanna likes to look at her career in writing in Olympic bites, every four years, to remind herself how far she has come.

Hot off the press about to start their journey is a new publishing house for children’s fiction in New Zealand. One Tree House. This is a welcome addition to the shrinking children’s book publishing island. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great trend.

Bologna was a busy fair according to Publishers Weekly. There wasn’t a break out hit this year. But everybody wanted feel good stories. I wonder why?

Penny Sansevieri has an interesting article on break out bestsellers and what you need to do to reach the dizzying heights of Number One.

Joanna Penn looks at deep diving into analytics to find out how to improve your sales on Amazon. This is an interesting read.

There is a new writing craft Storybundle out. Kris Rusch has put it together and there are some good books on offer in there. I’m still working my way through the great Storybundle from Christmas. If you are on the lookout for good textbooks on writing then take a look.

Over the last two days writers have been quietly seething on Twitter with the hashtag #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. It’s funny and sad at the same time. Diana Gabaldon reported that her publishers said they couldn’t put her degrees in her bio because it would intimidate her readers... umm

Chuck has written an entertaining list of 25 things he has learned in five years and twenty books. (That is a huge workload...) Warning it is Chuck so go in braced and be prepared to laugh..

Erinna Mettler has an interesting article on working with the crowdfunding publisher Unbound. Ten years ago I couldn’t have seen this kind of publishing platform.

In The Craft Section,

How to write love triangles – Roz Morris -Bookmark

Are you choosing the right protagonist? -  K M Weiland-Bookmark

Give your characters the courage to change- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

Using Twitter for research- Becca Puglisi 

In The Marketing Section,

What are your subsidiary rights?- Janet Reid-Bookmark

Book Cover design- Reedsy- Bookmark

Two Great posts from Frances Caballo How to get your emails opened and

Making yourself the brand- Draft 2 Digital

To Finish,

Have you ever been in the situation of not having the cash to buy the shiney new book but wanting to support the writer and/or illustrator. Debbie Ohi has a lovely list of things you can do to support your favourite writers besides giving them chocolate... (Chocolate is always welcome tho...)


Thank you to all my regular readers. It has been a wonderful ten years. I have learned so much. Thank you to all those who have shouted me a coffee... (virtual or real!)
If you want to get a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other goodies make sure you subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Marketing The Writer

This week all the different ways to market seem to be discussed everywhere. Authors are always stuck when it comes to marketing. Marketing is a mindset and suits an extroverted personality. A lot of authors are introverted so marketing books can be a real trial let alone marketing themselves.

Kris Rusch responded to a question about author newsletters this week with a thoughtful blog about why she feels uncomfortable about them. You might feel the same way.

Anne R Allen also was thinking about author marketing mindsets and wondering if a blog was a better way than a newsletter.

Donna Galenti explores some of the rookie mistakes that authors make when they first try to market themselves. Tip. Start before the book launch.

Writers know how to write but do they know how to write marketing copy? Joanna Penn has a great interview with Joanna Wiebe on tips and tricks to help you write marketing copy for your books.

Sonja Yoerg wrote a guest post for Writer Unboxed unpicking the love-hate relationship many authors have with Goodreads. Is Goodreads your friend?

Buffer had an interesting article on Google Plus for marketing. People often forget that this website is a direct link into a Google search engine.

Chris Lavergne’s publishing business is directly to young mobile professionals. He explores the way his business has been growing in a great article on Techcrunch. Short books are the way to go... and Print is for luxury books with an appropriate mark up. This seems to be flying in the face of publishing accepted practice so how come his business is expanding in leaps and bounds? Porter explores what Chris is doing and offers his perspective on it.

Alison Morton recently wrote on the Alli blog about what constitutes a marketing success. Are writers guilty of only seeing traditional publishing bestseller numbers without understanding what a break even point might be. Maybe it’s not too hard to get a bestseller after all.

In The Craft Section,

Common writer entry level mistakes- Larry Brooks- Bookmark

Writing habits we can’t fix- Jami Gold- Bookmark

How to right size your book- Ruth Harris on Anne R Allen's excellent blog.

Writing voice lessons- Paula Munier- Bookmark

April – a month of story ideas- Scott Myers- Bookmark

Improve Book Descriptions- Jane Friedman-LBF17- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Sorting out your media book pitch- The Book Designer- Bookmark

Joanna Penn’s keynote at LBF17 on making money with your books- Bookmark

To Finish,

Are we guilty of snobbery when it comes to Book Marketing? Is our mindset a build it and they will come attitude? Does it work? And what about the writers who think that other genre writers are somehow a lesser breed? Mandy Hager, one of New Zealand’s best writers for Young Adults puts her finger right on a problem that many writers pretend they don’t have. Are all writers equal? Is it a fault of marketing?


My monthly newsletter is out. If you want to get a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other goodies make sure you subscribe.Thanks to all those who have fed my caffeine habit by hitting the Kofi button.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Buying the Bestsellers

This is the week of the Buy.
Amazon bought Souk. Why should the average writer care? Souk is to the Middle East what Amazon is to the West. Digital books are only 1% of the market. They only have to go into China to get total world domination...

Kobo, the Canadian digital device and bookseller has bought Shelfi. Why? For the tech developers apparently, ( or is it because they have a perfect understanding of buyer’s reading habits.)

Microsoft unveils a digital bookstore. Why? Because everybody else has one... (I wanna bookstore... Google and Apple have one and Amazon has a big one....) Meanwhile a savvy bibliophile wandered into an Amazon bookstore and saw that they don’t sell books like other booksellers. They group them differently.

How is your reading this year? Elizabeth S Craig decided to put a reading plan into action this meant having another identity on Goodreads.

The Writers Guild Association home of script and screenwriters looks like it is gearing up for another strike. Negotiations have broken down between the studios again on what they pay the writers. Why are the content creators the last in line to get paid?

There are rumblings in the universities. Should academics publish their own textbooks? There was an interesting panel debate at London Book Fair on this.  Is the traditional academic publishing world finally getting the shake up of self publishing. The days of the $400 text book may be numbered.

Bologna is on! Bologna is the world’s biggest children’s book fair. At this time all the children’s writers get a case of travel and book envy. Publishers Weekly has a quick run down on what everyone is looking for.

James Scott Bell has a great article in Writer Unboxed asking is your writing big enough? You know those sweeping sentences that go on for half a page and your eyes and attention remain riveted to the page, even while you subconsciously know that no editor these days would let a writer ramble on but the writing is soo good and you just can’t help reading on. I have shelves full of writers that were sparing with a full stop but they could sure tell a story. They were prolific and belonged to the pulp school of writing. Anne R Allen wonders if the constant pressure to write and repeat is a good idea. What about those writers who write slowly?

In The Craft Section,

Creating a strong moral premise- Jeff Lyons- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Author bio’s a help or hindrance- Anne R Allen - Bookmark

Amazon keywords to double your readers- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

This week Marie Force wrote a fantastic article on chasing the best seller lists and how she realised that she needed to change her focus. Kris Rusch talked about the bestseller lists and who you are writing for. It is a fabulous article and a must read.


My monthly newsletter is going out soon. If you want to get a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other goodies in your inbox you can subscribe here.If you want to shout me a cup of coffee hit the Kofi button. Thanks to all those who have fed my caffeine habit.

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