Thursday, June 28, 2018

Becoming A Super Hero

In the publishing blogosphere this week...

The Digital Reader reports on the news that the audio market was bigger than anyone thought... how big? Pick a number and put a lot of zeroes after it. This really has implications for contracts, rights and as I posted last week... audio only deals.

Influential authors in the English publishing world are speaking out about the poor payments to writers in a recent Guardian article. The news continues to be really bad with most authors working below minimum wage. What does this mean for the future of Literature... nothing good says Philip Pullman.

This week Joanna Penn had a podcast on writing with depression. Her guest Michaelbrent Collings talked about how to manage a writing life if you are also trying to manage a severe mental illness. This was a fascinating podcast and one well worth checking out and referring others to.

Ruth Harris wrote this week about writers and the F word. Failure. Failure is part of the writing landscape. How do we cope with it? Do we let it derail us? This is a great post on redefining the word and learning to deal with ‘Failure.’

Sometimes our ‘Failure’ come from the lies we tell ourselves as writers. Katie Weiland has a great post on the 5 big lies that writers believe and what we can do about them.

This week Kris Rusch talks about opportunities and how writers need to be open to learning more about the business so they can make informed decisions. This touches on Writer Fear... fear of learning because you don’t think you can... But are you open to try?

Writers residencies... sometimes seen as the Holy Grail... a chance to work uninterrupted in a spectacular place and get paid for it... How about a Swiss Tree house...

The eight stages to writing a book by Leigh Shulman details a step by step process for the beginning writer. This is one of those posts you direct people to... when they ask How do you do it...?

Jane Friedman is always a source of well thought out great content. She has a new university textbook out, The Business Of Being A Writer. Jane has updated her post on How to evaluate small publishers. If you are wondering whether small press publishing is for you check out this article. Jane hosts Dave Chesson this week on her blog. He has written a meaty article on the psychology of Author Marketing. Dave has a popular podcast on the subject so check out the article.

The first million words are practice says Kevin Tumlinson of Draft2Digital. This is an interesting article on targets and goal setting and the theory of writer apprenticeship.

In The Craft Section,

Description and setting in deep POV- Lisa Hall Wilson- Bookmark

Creating Stunning Character Arc’s- K M Weiland _ Bookmark

The 12 stages of physical intimacy to build tension in your fiction-Jenny Hansen- Bookmark-Read inside a brown paper bag...

How Structure affects pacing- September Fawkes- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

7 avoidable rookie errors- Debbie Young- Bookmark

YouTube creators monetization- This news is important reading if you have a YouTube channel

3D cover mockups- Derek Murphy- Bookmark Bookmark !!! Check it out... you will see why...

To Finish,

In this unsettled landscape we need to find ways to be calm and achieve a Zen mindset so we can productively put words on the page. With the right mindset and a few tools you can overcome anything so boost your creativity with these helpful oils, fragrances and crystals... and become a super hero.


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 also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you just want to say thanks for the blog you can hit the coffee button up top... Thanks.

Pic: Because you are a super hero to someone!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Writer Rage

It has been a challenge keeping calm this week with the political news dominating the media. Many writers are stuck. Do they try to steer a middle path or ignore what is happening or make a comment. I have seen writers being attacked on Social Media for daring to have a political opinion and voicing it. They are being told that their work is entertainment and to stick to that and not point out anything different, because as one fan said 'I want a small corner of sanity where political views don't intrude.'
So to put your mind at rest I will not be commenting... I will leave it in Chuck's capable hands to tell you what writers should be doing

Anne R Allen has been seeing red lately over people not respecting Book Bloggers or any bloggers in the publishing blogosphere. I understand how she feels. I don't have the readership that Anne has but I get at least two appeals a week to write guest posts or highlight someone or update a post with new information. It is annoying because it clearly shows they don't read my blog. I ignore them including all the 'follow up' emails. Anne has great points to make if you are suffering the Troll Blues.

This week Geraldine McCaughrean won the Carnegie Medal for her novel Where The World Ends, a mid grade- early secondary book. She used her winner's speech to highlight the problems of publishers dumbing down language for children. She has direct recent experience of publishers asking her not to write long words. What happens if we don't stretch our reader's minds? Read the Guardian article on Geraldine's speech and find out.

With the biggest publishers of content in the world (*FAANG) taking over the interface between the creators and the consumers what is next for the poor content creator. Alli director Orna Ross published an article on the Alli blog looking at Self Publishing 3.0 -direct sales between authors and readers. We have the means. We have the technology. What is stopping us?

Last week I highlighted Kris Rusch's blog post on author learned helplessness. The Passive Guy - contracts lawyer in real life- added some learned commentary on Kris' article backed up with some recent discoveries of his own. (If you haven't read Kris' blog post, you are missing out on a valuable learning opportunity.) This leads on to an excellent article about the growth mindset of authors by Jennie Nash. Do you have a growth mindset? It may make all the difference to your career.

In industry news... a wrinkle. Audible (owned by Amazon) has started making audio first deals with writers. This has some major implications to rights sales and contracts.  Melville House Publishers saw it as a tricksy problem for publishers. Read their blog from a writer's perspective before you make up your mind. 

Should you start an author newsletter before you have a book contract? The writer chicken and egg problem. Tamela Hancock Murray suggests that you should and moreover she details just what you should put in one too.

Rebecca Monterusso has written an intensive breakdown of what a scene actually is, on Jane Friedman's blog. "They should do the same thing your global story does: upset the life value of the character and put them on a path to try and restore it."

In The Craft Section,

8 common pacing problems  and How to dump info - September Fawkes- Bookmark Both

In The Marketing Section,

Spice up your Amazon Book Pages- Joanna Penn - Bookmark

Combating release day stress- Elizabeth S Craig

8 cover design secrets- Derek Murphy- Bookmark

To Finish,

In our house we have extroverts and introverts and people who sit squarely in the middle. This can make for challenging conversations when it comes to attending Book Launches. The introverts would rather have a quiet celebration dinner. The extroverts a full on party! So what happens when an introvert has to launch a book with a splash? L L Barkat  has the introverts guide to launching a book. 

Happy Solstice Day -

Congratulations Prime Minister on the birth of your baby girl- I'm sure children's writers all over the country are wrapping books for you.


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 also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you want to shout me a Solstice coffee to say thanks for the blog you can hit the coffee button up top... Thanks.

*FAANG- Facebook Amazon Apple Netflix Google (finance speak for media stocks)

Pic: The Scream - Edvard Munch

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rumblings and Rumours

O what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.*

The more authors dig under the cockygate saga rocks, the more slimy practices are being exposed. They seem to be going in a circle as David Gaughran has sleuthed a connecting rod from one chancer to another.  Book Stuffing - a scam to fool the page read algorithm so the author can grab more from the pot of money in Kindle Unlimited gets a close look. 
Following closely on this is the bribery and the bullying tactics being placed on readers. This hurts everyone in your genre. We want to nurture our readers not pillory them.

Kris Rusch has written an interesting post on learned helplessness.  Do you suffer from it? Have you got fixed in your mind that you need to have help to achieve in your writing career? Many writers actually suffer from it though they might not know it. 

Stephen Pressfield is writing a new book on the writers journey.  He's writing it as a serial on his blog first. Stephen is pretty famous for his writing book, The War of Art, which is a fabulous read. Take a look at some of his serial entries.

Now that Book Expo is over, the analysis of the new format begins. Separating the rights area off from the main display hall might have been a sound idea in theory but in practice...
Publishing Perspectives looks at what they got right, what they got wrong and where to next for these big book expo's. 

The Author's Guild is like the American version of the Society of Authors. They have been changing their way of operating to make it more responsive to its members needs. Regional chapters and a help desk with a direct line into Amazon have made writers sit up and take notice.

There are rumblings and rumours about whether Amazon is winding down Createspace in favour of KDP Print. Nate Hoffelder takes a look at what might be happening within the world of Amazon Print On Demand.

As the Northern Hemisphere slides into summer, thoughts turn to all the big writing conventions that happen over summer.  Gail Carriger has the must pack list for authors who are planning their professional development trips.

In The Craft Section,


In The Marketing Section,

Turning your readers into fans- Bookworks- Bookmark

To Finish,

Kate Krake has listed 52 fears of writers. Who knew we were such a fearful lot?  Naming your fear and confronting it can help. Spending too much time worrying about your writing fears can paralyze you. 
Check out this post by Ann Kroeker on filling and stilling your mind so that you can cope with your writer fears.


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 also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you just want to say thanks for the blog you can hit the coffee button up top... Thanks.

 * Walter Scott

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Publishing Playground

Throughout the week I have been watching the same old issues make the publishing news... I thought we would be over #cockygate by now but NO we got #tiffanygate. A judge heard the opening arguments over why the trademarked word  cocky should stand... and ruled against but it doesn't stop there.
Jami Gold writes why every author and reader should care about this case and it does make sobering reading. You do need to read what she says.

While we are in the realms of people not playing nice with others, David Gaughran, (tireless justice warrior of the oppressed author) has taken a look at the new rules that Amazon has just rolled out over how much promotional material should be allowed in books. To save you scratching your head... promotional materials are extras outside of your actual story. If you include a chapter from your next book... sign up pages, pictures of all your other books... bonus chapters... whole complete other books the reader wasn't expecting.
The new rules are an attempt to stop story stuffing- where savvy or unscrupulous authors stuff hundreds of pages into their books to gain more page reads and game the page read payout system. However Dave points out some scams that Amazon seems to have overlooked.

Anne R Allen has highlighted a few more scams that are targeting authors so take a look and be prepared to warn newbies about them. Because we are all nice supportive members of the publishing community aren't we....

This leads on to something I have been closely involved with... the announcing of the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. I am one of the five judges this year who have been reading all the books submitted since December. And it was really tough. The two authors on the panel of five were left in awe of just how good the writers are in New Zealand. When you see book after book at such a high standard it makes you look at your own work with a more critical eye. Which is only a good thing. Settling on the shortlist was not easy. It is an experience I think all writers should do at least once. Either that or make it a priority to read the shortlist books and a few extra in your genre to see what I'm talking about. It is an education in the craft.

Over the years of the Indie publishing rise and rise, Traditional publishers have hung onto their flagship authors almost as a last bastion of their castle walls. Indie authors who have had great success, after being dumped in the great contraction of publishing houses earlier this decade, have warned that it was only a matter of time before Amazon snagged a big writer. So Patricia Cornwell's move to Amazon took some people by surprise but not the Indie community- A new flagship series is on the cards for her fans.

Debbie Young of The Alliance of Independent Authors blog has a plea for all the writers out there. Don't neglect to learn your craft. Marketing won't save a bad book. She details what you should be looking at in your own writing to work out how to improve.

In The Craft Section,

Examples of foreshadowing- Harvey Chapman- Bookmark

The Writers Spice cabinet - James Scott Bell

Use Theme to determine subplots- Amanda Rawson Hill-Bookmark

Two great posts from Reedsy How to recognise Chekovs Gun and a Character profile template.- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Creative ways to use images- Bookbub- Bookmark

When and how to change your title- Dave Chesson (Dave has a great podcast too)

To Finish,

Sometimes you just need to get back to why you are writing in the first place. An inspirational quote can put things in perspective and help you refocus away from negativity. Now Novel has collected some wonderful quotes to challenge and inspire you.
Go forth and conquer....

 In my monthly newsletter, coming this weekend, 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 just want to say thanks for the blog you can hit the coffee button up top... Thanks.

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- Elliot Brown
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