Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fantasy and Karma

This week the arrest of a literary agency accountant for embezzlement had many authors checking their records. For 17 years the agency accountant was skimming money to his personal use. This has resulted in one famous author being close to bankrupt. As you can imagine Kris Rusch has a few timely things to say, including what happens to the other authors at the literary agency. I had no idea that they lose the rights to their books if the agency bankrupts.

How to spot self publishing scams –Bookbaby’s CEO Steven Spatz has written a quick guide to help you spot the scammers out there. Scammers are active in all parts of our industry. They prey on the dreams of budding authors. Share the article around to help others be vigilant.

Book Expo (America), one of the biggest book fairs in the world, is on now. Every year the question gets asked... Where are the readers? Publishing Perspectives interviewed Austrian book consultant Rudiger Wischenbart about the panels he is chairing and the wild ride he is predicting for publishers. BEA always has an active Twitter stream with comments from all the keynote speakers being discussed. This caught my eye this morning -1 in every 3 teen girls in the U.S are on Wattpad. No wonder Wattpad is moving into TV and film. Are publishers even aware of this, asks Rudiger.

The Publishers Association in the U.K. are calling for their government to follow the E.U’s move and abolish the 20% VAT on eBooks. This makes interesting reading because they are quoting stats of 80% of children needing to read digitally because they can’t afford print.

Aussie children’s author Jacqueline Harvey has written a plea for the labeling of books for boys and books for girls to stop. She is bringing out a new series with covers that are neutral. Take a look.

Dan Holloway puts together a weekly roundup of news for the Alliance of Independent Authors. This week he updates Cockygate. (The anthology he talks about hit the USA bestseller list this morning.) GDPR also gets a revisit with non compliance suits being taken against some of the biggest digital names out there.

I enjoy dropping into the SFF Marketing podcast every week. The team recently interviewed Damon Courtney from Bookfunnel on selling direct from your website, cultivating a rabid fan base and other timely topics. This is one of those brain exploding episodes that if you are an Indie publisher is a must watch/listen.

Long time readers of the blog will know that I am a fan of author collaboration and always look out for new ways to do this. J J Toner has an interesting article on the Alli blog about a successful marketing collaboration.

In The Craft Section,

The ultimate checklist for Chapter One- K M Weiland – Bookmark

Resurrecting a shelved manuscript- Writer Unboxed- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to make a good author website – Nathan Bransford

How to create a compelling bookcover-Joanna Penn- Bookmmark

How to get free book reviews- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to grow your author platform- Catherine Bigwharfe- Bookmark

To Finish,

Some could say that the happenings in the blogosphere I have listed this week are a sort of karma on the unworthy. They might not have sacrificed to the right writing deities or have let greed trump common sense. To get back on the right path your writing office needs to have good Feng Shui.

Anne R Allen has a great post on fantasy and reality in a writers life. How the fantasy keeps us going. May all your writing fantasies come true... off to find fairy dust now.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter where I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. Get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes free, when you subscribe! 

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- Fredkatvox

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Inside Your Writer Tribe

Today I met some writer friends for coffee. This is a monthly ritual where we leave our writing caves or hectic lives and check in with each other. There is the usual round robin of what are you working on... advice sought or freely given and stories told. I have been thinking about writer tribes and how important they are. Joanna Penn has an excerpt from her Healthy Writer Book where she explains the health benefits of a writer tribe.

Earlier this month Jami Gold had a standout post on the cockygate saga. Her conclusion was the author didn’t have a writer tribe. Anne R Allen looks at the fall out of this and examines the author brand and 10 things that will tank it. This should be required reading for all new authors.

What happens to author rights when a publisher changes to a subscription model? In a surprise move, education publisher, Cengage is moving to a subscription model for students. It’s business as usual says Cengage. Not so says authors, How come our royalties have become non-existent? Publishing Perspectives reports on two authors who are going to court in a test case to get legal scrutiny on the changes. If you write for the academic or education markets this article is a must read.

Amazon is giving money away... if you want to design Apps to play with Alexa. One company has secured funding from Amazon for an Alexa App that adds sound effects to children’s books. In April I linked to a little video doing something similar. Writers might like to think about the whole audio production of stories when they are writing to take advantage of these the robot apps.

The Book Designer, Joel Friedlander has been doing some nifty things lately like designing the ultimate writing journal but he also has an interesting blog with lots of guest posts. This one caught my eye. Selling out: Going wide or going exclusive to Amazon by David Kudler

Critique groups... Do you love them or hate them? Litreactor has an interesting article about the 3 things they are good for and the 3 things they really aren’t. Does your critique group stack up?

Janice Hardy has two great posts on questions to ask when you are writing scenes and the difference between a revision, a rewrite and a redraft. These are Bookmark posts.

In The Craft Section,

Writing prompts- Writepractice

Self editing- Merry Writer

How to deal with the passage of time- Jennie Nash- Bookmark

How to read a screenplay- Go into the story- Bookmark

Deep dive with emotion- Christina Delay- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Createspace vs KDP Print Interesting breakdown.

Does a fiction author need a blog- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

Elevator pitches- Standout books

To Finish,

Kris Rusch muses on the books we want to write but others have written before us. Do we still write them? After all everyone’s tale is unique or do we nod and move on? This is a great article on the influences of writers... sometimes they are other writers. Does our tribe subliminally influence what we write?


I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces in my monthly newsletter. Get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes free, when you subscribe!

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- David Rosen

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Author = Expert

There were rumblings earlier in the week and then the emails from Amazon started coming out. The Zon bots were on the rampage and no one seemed safe. Reviewers lost reviews and accounts. Authors got pinged for too many sales- Amazon accusing them of sabotage – and then the hammer fell on Kindle Worlds.
Yesterday the notices went out to all the writers who wrote sanctioned fan fiction that gave the original creators some money as well as the fan fiction writers and Amazon. It’s been an interesting experiment and no one is quite sure why they’ve shut it down. Copyright of the stories remains in the authors hands but then the world and the characters are under the ownership of the originator. 
I foresee a scramble as writers try to figure out what the contract rights reversions will look like.

The many niggles of a less than satisfactory experience with the worlds biggest eBook publisher have triggered many authors to review their marketing strategy going forward.
Kindle Select authors (publish exclusively with Amazon with page reads also counting towards sales) are starting to pull out and go wide. That means establishing a presence on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Publish Drive etc. Some are even thinking of going back to Traditional publishing. The author has more choices now. A great article from Eldonna Edwards puts it into perspective.

Middle Grade and Young Adult writing agents were recently asked what they saw as new trends and what they want to see more of...

Amy Collins was recently at a conference and watched some train wrecks in motion... Know your genre... know what is selling... research is the difference between an author and a writer.

Joan Stewart talks about Author experts. You might be an expert and not even know it. Check out her great article.

Jane Friedman recently wrote an article on the modern website - A smarter author platform for the digital age. This is an info rich article on what works and why - from one of the experts in the field.

Where do you get your ideas from...? I don’t know any author that hasn’t been asked this... Here is a possible answer tho - from old newspapers! Check out this article on a great treasure trove of ideas.

In The Craft Section,

Two great posts-Good character flaws and Novel in a month- Now Novel- Bookmark

Punching up your prose- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Give your hero a hard time- Writer Unboxed-Bookmark

Story development-Writepractice

In The Marketing Section,

Nates big list of analytic tools- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark

How to sell a series on Amazon- Alli Blog- Bookmark

To Finish,

Jami Gold has an interesting post this week that really struck a chord with me. How do you know your writing is any good? This is particularly interesting as I am getting into the sharp end of book judging and these questions have been haunting my sleep.
I know that I have more expertise now judging my own projects than I did before...


I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces in my monthly newsletter. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes.
 If you appreciate the blog, you can hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- Alan Cleaver

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Legally Spotted

What a week in the publishing blogosphere.
Cockygate and the GDPR have filled my news feeds. They both have some important takeaways to consider.

Cockygate is the term writers and industry pundits have applied to a situation involving a romance writer who has trademarked the word ‘cocky’ in relation to her romances. Yes, a word can be trademarked. Will it stand up in a court... that’s the big question? The can of worms has got bigger because in addition to the trademark the author has been sending cease and desist notices to other authors who have the word cocky in their titles. It all gets very emotional with authors and lawyers and lawyers and authors and RWA and lawyers etc. Jami Gold boils it down to branding- The right way and the wrong way - This is a must read.

G.D.P.R. is the new regulations from Europe, which take effect on the 25thMay and affect anyone who has or operates a mailing list. That includes authors who have newsletters and mailing list sign ups on their websites. 
Seth Godin has written about the GDPR and the marketer’s dilemma very neatly and succinctly. This gives you an overview. Nick Stephenson engaged a lawyer to talk him through what changes he had to make on his website. 

Sharp eyed readers will notice a small privacy policy notice on my websites. I’m still working through all the ramifications so this policy may change in future.

Now armed with all your knowledge of GDPR you can read Nicholas Erik’s huge post on everything to do with mailing lists.

Joanna Penn is talking about critical mindsets this week. Do you have the right mindset for your author business. And yes, if you are writing it is a business.

Kris Rusch takes it one step further looking at growing the author business too fast and not having the right people in place to help you when you need it.

And have you ever thought about copywriting... In the Alli blog this week was an interesting post about fiction writers making money on the side with their writing skills.

Natasha Bajema talks about creating 1000 reader superfans from zero. In the article she references David Gaughran’s new book. (I think it’s 5 star)

Anne R Allen features a lot in this week’s blog... mainly because she consistently puts out great stuff. Check out this post on 10 tips for getting your novel off to a good start.

In The Craft Section,

100 scripts to download and study- Go into the story- screenwriting - Bookmark

9 ways to keep your writing safe- Alexa Bigwharfe- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Seven new books for writers- WrittenWord Media

Not sold in stores- ways to excite readers- Bookfunnel- Bookmark

To Finish,
Chris Fox is an Indie Publisher guru and so I was interested in his short video about shortcuts... and how sometimes they are a massive mistake for the writer.  This is an excellent motivation video. Let’s be careful that we are dotting i’s and crossing t’s.


My monthly newsletter is due out soon. I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you appreciate the blog, hit the coffee button up top and feed my addiction  LOL. 

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- USFWS Mountain Prairie

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Swimming With The English Babel Fish.

This week an article from Publishing Perspectives caught my eye.
Non English speaking countries are seeing the tech revolution and rather than being left behind are encouraging their populations to learn English. It got me thinking about how many of these new readers we must be overlooking. Do we think to market in Turkmenistan? This is a fascinating article on diversity and the new lingua franca- English

Publishing Perspectives also had an article looking at a subscription model for children’s books. Amazon is offering a curated selection of PRINT books to be sent to your child on an ongoing basis.

Kris Rusch writes about cultural change this week. What happens when you are flavour of the month and then the flavours change? How many writing careers have been sabotaged by this thought?

This week Cambridge Analytica closed its doors... and authors wondered if was safe to dip their toe back into the FB water. With all the problems of author pages needing to be boosted all the time to get visibility two posts crossed my path this week on how to circle around this. Facebook Groups seem to be the answer. Joel Friedlander has an interesting guest post from Frances Caballo exploring 10 ways Authors can grow Facebook groups and Lois Hoffman has a neat article about how to build your author platform with Facebook groups

The Alliance of Independent Authors have a wealth of information, check out their recent conference page.... They also have some great articles like this one from John Doppler on piracy and impersonation and what you can do about it.

Jami Gold is aptly named because she dispenses craft writing tips that are pure gold. Head hopping in a story can be problematic for both the writer and the reader. Jami takes a look at how to avoid it. A must read.

Anne R Allen looks at writing a great first sentence. Here she details 22 first sentences that caught her eye and why they work. A must read.

In The Craft Section,

The secret to journaling -Wicked cozy authors

How to info dump without info dumping- September Faulks- Bookmark

Point of view- Reedsy

Plot isn’t story- K M Weiland- Bookmark

27 writer’s residencies... Go On Take A Look

Why you need grit- Aliadventures- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book cover design fundamentals- The Creative Penn

How to get Amazon reviews- Lisa Tener- Bookmark

May inspirations for author marketing – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

The inventor of the original Babel Fish, Douglas Adams, was a unique writer. If you loved Hitchhikers guide or Dirk Gently take a look at these top ten writing tips.


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you want who hit the coffee button this week... feel free, I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

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