Thursday, August 30, 2018

Taking Care Of Business

This week in publishing...

The publishing world is watching carefully to see how the Walmart Kobo ebook store will change things. Kobo, a Canadian company, is making a strategic move against Amazon in the US by partnering with the largest bricks and mortar chain. Forbes business magazine asked the CEO of Scribd what he thought of the move. His answer surprised them.

It has happened... CreateSpace is now officially closing. Moving all your titles over is now mandatory unless you publish in Chinese. For some reason Kindle Print does not support this which is a blow for translators.

Beijing Book Fair is on the hunt for children’s books. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at the biggest Asian bookfair and why they want educational materials. 

The Guardian recently shone a spotlight on the evolution of writers festivals and the way authors are treated at them. Take your average insecure introvert writer and stand them up in front of a festival crowd and say Entertain Us... Hmmm. Are they asking too much from writers? How about appearing nude? Yes, this is happening...

TechCrunch reports that Amazon is ramping up a book subscription model for children’s books, Prime members only. Can this work? Other subscription models have fallen by the wayside. Will children’s books be any different?

I saw a reference late last week to a courtcase in Australia between an agent and a writer with the nub of the dispute- What is in a verbal contract? Kris Rusch takes a look and has some recommendations to authors. This is a must read! .

Anne R Allen has an interesting article about Ian Fleming. The Bond author was completely involved in the production of his books. This is a fascinating insight into what made these novels successful. 

I’m in the middle of writing a series... well two actually. I was interested to see Chuck Wendig recently posted an article on his blog about how hard it is to write a series. I found my self nodding along and stifling laughter. (Warning it is Chuck.)

In The Craft Section,

How to use the thesaurus properly- Useful guide fro authors-September Fawkes

Reedsy have two great posts 20 + writing strategies and a video on First Person Point of View- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to market poetry- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to win at the game of Book marketing – Charli Mills- Bookmark

To Finish,

Roz Morris stepped back and looked at her desk and then her office and mused about the importance of having the right things around you to write. This is a kind of a love letter to the writers desk. Stop and take a moment to look at your writers desk. Is it inspirational?


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. Thanks everyone who hit the coffee button this week. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Seattle Municipal Archives- Mayor John Dore 1936

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Angst, Perfection and Envy- The Writer Triple Threat.

Is the sky falling? 
This week there seems to be all the angsty opinion pieces about the death of reading because of Social Media or ..... (fill in latest fad.) Publishing Perspectives has an open letter from the Authors Guild about Big Tech Content being a threat to writers.
I can’t help thinking that this is Back to School angst in the Northern Hemsiphere.

Nate Hoffelder looks at the weeks biggest news in publishing... Walmart and Kobo’s new ebook venture. Everybody waiting to see how it goes. What is interesting is about five years ago I was following tech companies that had Ebook gift cards on shelf didn’t get much traction.  Kobo and Walmart seem to be bringing that technology back. Will it work this time?

Derek Murphy has a stellar guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog on 10 mistakes I made as an Indie. It’s a must read. Derek wraps up common problems offers solutions and resources. It is a long post chock full of great advice. 

Joanna Penn has a great little video on writer priorities. She is examining her writer business and making changes. Do you need to to be asking yourself hard questions about writer goals? 

Is perfection an art or author sabotage? Judith Briles examined this question on The Book Designer blog this week. I so needed to read this. Sometimes I need someone to say... Let it go out into the world... 

Katie Weiland is always a must go to website for her great posts on writing craft as well as her in depth articles on character. She has some great writng craft books too. I was interested in this weeks post on Writer Envy. Everybody needs to read this post. It’s a good explanation on why we suffer it and what we can do about it.

I always like to lead into the Writing Craft and Marketing Link section with something craft related. Now Novel has a huge post on 30 character flaws. This is a good run down on how to deepen your characters.

In The Craft Section,

Two great posts from Janice Hardy - How to slash your word count while editing- and What to do in act two - Bookmark

Balancing multiple viewpoints- Fictorians- Bookmark

And Angela also has this cool list of great tools- check out weavesilk... addictive!

In The Marketing Section,

Platform building and related terrors- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Optimizing book review process- Joanna Penn- Bookmark

When 60 is the new 50 – pages to submit to agents- Agent Janet Reid

How to build a following with uniqueness- Travis Jonker-Dan Blank- Bookmark

To Finish,

Dave Chesson has an interesting podcast and suite of Author products. Here he has collected all the book title genenerator tools in one handy list. It doesn’t matter what genre you write there is a title generator 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 will also get a nifty short book crammed full with marketing notes. 

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Barbara Ann Spengler- Arizona Winter Sky

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dirty words

Selling Selling Selling. The words that Authors hate. 
But I just want to make up stuff and write. 
I don’t know how to sell. 
What if no one likes it? 

This cuts right to the core of the writer secret fear. What if I can’t write and they finally find out I’m a fraud. 
This week Roz Morris wrote an excellent article on building a readership as a quiet rebellion against selling. It is a must read.

K M Weiland has an excellent post - How to market when you hate marketing... It’s all about mindset. If you reframe the conversation to giving... This is a great post. Lots to think about.

If you are an Indie/Hybrid Author you will know that getting a Bookbub featured advert is the holy grail of Book Marketing. Many apply - few are chosen. Bookbub is introducing another new service... New Releases...

Bookbub was at The Romance Writers Association conference- Romance writers are some of the savvyest writers around. Bookbub has an RWA book marketing takeaway list. 

Many writers use Gmail. Anne R Allen has a interesting guest blog from Nate Hoffelder on the changes that are coming to Gmail and how Authors can make use of them.

Two great posts from Jane Friedman’s website recently - Non Fiction writers who let their knowledge get in the way. We have all met that person who is full of facts and figures and can turn an interesting subject into a boring one really quickly. What can Non Fiction writers do differently?
Do you need a Trade Distributor? I am wrestling with this at the moment. Jane Friedman has an excellent post on what a trade distributor will do for you and what they won’t.

Kris Rusch has been thinking of writers who are pushing themselves hard in the Hamster Wheel of Doom. Are you writing to market too much without writing a book of the heart? 

Do you have an author uniform? Do you need one? I hadn’t thought about it before until I realised that quite a few of my fellow children’s authors do have an author uniform... sometimes unconsciously. Then I wondered about the writers for adults... 

In The Craft Section,

Emotional wounds- Angela Ackerman ( Buy the Book)

Crafting a body language voice- September Fawkes- Bookmark

Man vs Self- Now Novel -Bookmark

Building Characters layer by layer- James Scott Bell – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Bad book design choices from The Book Designer- 

Stop selling books Start selling benefits- Bookbaby- (Interesting flip)- Bookmark

How to self publish and market a children’s book- Joanna Penn talked to Karen Inglis this week about  this subject in another great podcast. Bookmark

To Finish,

Among the other dirty words whispered around writing and publishing are scams that target the newbies.
The Alliance Of Independent Authors has got a wary eye on something new. De Montfort – a hedge fund specialist has added a new venture... De Montfort Literature.  A writer will be selected and paid a years salary to write a novel. Sounds too good to be true... Well If you think a hedge fund can flip the book publishing world on its head... pick winners and bestsellers... and leave the writer alone to write what they want... which is what they are promising then the successful writer had better read their contract very carefully. Take a look at what could go wrong under this model.


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. I promise… Newsletter out this weekend.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Writing Life Game

In Publishing News this week...

The Guardian reported on the take down of a  book piracy site that had the pirates claiming authors were elitist. Unfortunately The Guardian’s headline could have been more tactful.

Cory Doctorow talks about the changes that Audible have instigated that hit authors in the pocket. Word on the street says don’t take an exclusive audiobook deal...

The alliance of Independent Authors are now advising that authors should move from Createspace to Kindle Direct for print. (Having my own Kindle print headache at the moment so be prepared.) They also have a great post on research trip claims and expenses.

Last weekend was the annual Society of Children’s Book writers and Illustrators Summer conference in L.A . Over 1100 delegats, three days... fabulous panels etc etc. Check out the SCBWI blog which live blogs most of the conference. Scroll down the right hand side and read the gems from the conference. 

Writing through life’s catastrophes. This is a pertinent blog post on what to do when life really falls apart. How do you write through the chaos?

Jess Lourey guest posted on Jane Friedman’s blog  with the definitive post on how to republish your back list after getting your rights back. This is a must read post if you are in this position. 

Kris Rusch takes a look at the Crazy Rich Asians author and how he gatherered together a team to negotiate his way through the Hollywood film scene. In advance publicity for the film he talks about turning down a huge deal from Netflix to take a smaller deal which gave him more say. Shrewd marketing or a huge risk... Great read.

Anne R Allen has a superb post on studying personality disorders to make more complex and interesting antagonists. There are some really good descriptions here of different types of disorders and how they manifest. A Bookmark post. 

In The Craft Section,
Two great posts - Simple pacing techniques and 4 ways to choose a better theme for your book-from K M Weiland- Bookmark

How to write a novel- Step by step with Jerry Jenkins

In The Marketing Section,

Why are wannabe screenwriters getting scammed- Hollywood reporter (This is also useful info for writers doing pitch contests.)

Using Cafepress for Book Merchandise- Elisabeth Craig - Bookmark

Spice up your Amazon Book Pages- The Creative Penn- Bookmark

To Finish,

Do you play games on your computer or phone? Do you feel guilty that you should be writing? Fear not Bold Hero! There is a quest just for you. How would you like to battle fearsome monsters and save the *fantasy* world through your word count. Game your writing. Take a look. It could be just what you need to bust that word count target. 

I can breathe a sigh of relief after last night’s award ceremony for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is over. It was a huge honour to be a judge and nerve wracking as well. The finalists were all amazing. The winners well deserved. The judges still have to write up their reports but now we can talk and attend social events again.... 


In my monthly newsletter ( coming 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 want to shout me a coffee, feel free to hit the Kofi button. Thank you to my caffeine sponsors! Life has been a roller coaster lately. I couldn’t have done it without the magic brew. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Collaboration or Not.

In publishing news this week,

The cockygate case has been resolved… by the withdrawal of the lawsuit. Some of the parties are said to be happy with the outcome. 

Walmart and Kobo are set to rattle the ebook cage a little. A joint venture between the biggest chain store in America and Kobo e-readers could change the look of the ebook industry in the very very near future.

This week Publishing Perspectives had an article about the new publishing city one-stop-shop marketplace, palace in Sharjah that I found very interesting. If you have an eye to the Arabian market they are looking for good partnerships. However the main interview subject was with a rep from Austin Macauley, a firm that has been suspected of dubious practices. David Gaughran took them to task about giving this firm legitimacy.

Publishers Weekly had an interesting article this week. What editors wished authors knew and what authors wished editors knew. Some interesting takeaways here.

Maisie Williams has started a nifty app for creative people to come together and work with each other. Techcrunch has the in-depth interview.

Kris Rusch has taken a look at what happens when business over-capitalize and fail. What’s this got to do with writing? You are a small business. Are you being sucked into the Amazon easy money stream?

Ruth Harris has written a nifty article on what to do with your old manuscripts. No, don’t use them for fire starters… get in there and mine them.

Have you tried dictating? I keep thinking I will and then floundering and giving up. Joanna Penn interviews Christopher Downing on practical tips for dictating your manuscript. These tips make a lot of sense.

September Fawkes has an interesting article on genius. What does it mean to be gifted? How does that apply to writing you ask? Read and find out.

In The Craft Section,

18 ways to writer funnier- Writers Digest

How to dump info without dumping- September Fawkes- Bookmark

Punctuation without tears- The Creative Penn- Bookmark

MS Word styles and formatting- Joel Friedlander- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Two great posts from Penny Sansevieri 6 reasons to revise and re-release your book- and

Ebook pricing- Written Word Media- Bookmark

How to reach the right readers- Diana Urban- Bookmark

18 Book marketing tips- Frances Caballo

To Finish,

Reedsy has a great info graphic article on the hero’s journey- just right for all you teachers of creative writing out there. 

Decoist has an article on closet office nooks. I write on the kitchen table because I can’t find my desk under the piles of ‘temporary’ stuff placement that my family think is fine. My dream is an office just for me… in the meantime maybe I can find space in a closet… 


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.  I’m heading into NZ Book Awards Week… hopefully with an all clear from the Doc. If you want to shout me a coffee to get through it, feel free to hit the Kofi button. Thank you to my caffeine sponsors!

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Dwyane Madden

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