Friday, December 21, 2018

The Epic Roundup of 2018…

This will be my last post for 2018.
I’m having a few weeks off over Christmas. And it’s a day late too…. So what exciting things can I draw your attention to…
I thought I’d look back over the year and see what happened…

In January everyone was processing all the changes of 2017 and making predictions for 2018. Let’s see how they did. Joanna Penn had a list of coming tech trends for authors. Imposter syndrome- (Warning it’s from Chuck) and layoffs at Createspace had authors wondering what’s up?
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles 
The eyes have it- A fascinating look at how people view the Amazon buy page 
Katie Weiland’s fabulous infographic on Storytelling nuts and bolts.

In February
Scandal in the Children’s Lit community, Apple and Google playing with their book store fronts and the first inklings of how big Audio was going to get this year. Author Solutions has been pinged for predatory practices on newbie authors so much that their other name is shark. But did you know how many aliases they operate under?  
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles 
Killing Writer Perfectionism and Reverse Engineering Your Editorial Calendar

March was the month of… Death. With the deaths of Stephen Hawking, Ursula Le Guin and the news about Harper Lee’s estate… How prepared is your literary estate for after your death?
Findaway voices offer serious competition to Audible and writing podcasts – a source of information and creation for the modern writer., with serial novels. Don’t forget to stretch at your writing desk.
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles 
Seven strategies and Ninety-four tools to find readers 
Anne R Allen- Plot holes and Pot Holes

April had…my eleventh-year blogversary. Reviews disappearing left, right and center around the internet. The rise and rise of AI- Get Siri or Alexa to buy the books and then read them to your child. (I wouldn’t have predicted that eleven years ago!)
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles from 
Larry Brooks- Everything you need to know about story structure and 
David Gaughran- Canva- the author Go To for graphics.

In May   
Literary Embezzlement, the demise of Kindle worlds and implications thereof and GDPR and what it means for authors were the huge talking points in May. Take control of your author business and sell direct. Responsible use of mailing lists is a must.
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles from
Jami Gold - Why head hopping is lazy writing
SFF Marketing podcast- Cultivating a rabid fan base.

June followed up with Book Stuffing scandals and the implications for writers regarding copyright that Cockygate is highlighting. Patricia Cornwall jumps to Amazon and Writers and learned helplessness. Audio publishing- The next big thing!
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles from
Jane Friedman’s guests this month.
What does it mean to write a scene that works and The psychology of Author Marketing

July… When agents are found to be crooked.#daniellesmith and other predators in publishing. Why the literature Nobel was not awarded. Author income surveys and Wattpad the new go-to source for publishers to find the next big thing.
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles 
Sell your books, not your soul
Procrastinating productively

In August Walmart and Kobo teemed up… Is there serious competition ahead for Amazon? Createspace was shut by Amazon in favour of Kindle Print – (They are still ironing out the problems of this move.) Audible, owned by Amazon, changed their contracts… not for the better. And remember Cockygate?
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles from
Anne R Allen-Troubled Characters and their personality problems
Roz Morris- Building readership – a quiet rebellion

In September Bookstores were bought and sold
Contracts were contested and explored and Amazon put up the price of their Ads.. catching everyone on the hop. How will Brexit affect publishing? The days of nice booksellers are on the wane.
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles from
Bookbub- The biggest Ad mistakes
Go Into The Story- Protagonist vs Nemesis

October saw… a global and future focus with the Future Book conference. Publishers are looking at Asia as their next big markets to tackle and you should be too. Blockchain in publishing was talked about as the next big change to negotiate. And everyone everywhere is looking into book serialisation either Audio or subscription streaming. October is also the month where you plan for NaNoWriMo.
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles from
Katie Weiland has a magical post about the power of language
Joanna Penn Interviewed Dave Chesson about keywords for Amazon ads.

November, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo…. Craft articles were the flavour of the month. In publishing news- Amazon changed their systems and glitched a whole lot of writers. Now you really need to advertise as the organic discovery writers used to be able to do has disappeared. Viral sensation The Scottish Granny elevated a children’s book from 7-year-old obscurity to marketing sensation. And China is hunting for children’s books. 
Standout Craft and Marketing Articles 
I guest posted over on Jami Gold’s blog on leveling up your craft learning.
70 plot twists and examples – Reedsy
Bookcover Zone - seriously addictive

And now we get to this week in December 
Publishers Weekly had an article on Hybrid publishers and how authors are redefining success and failure in publishing.
Nate Hoffelder comments on how often Publishing hit USA Today’s list of big job layoff’s in the last decade.
Bookmark worthy posts
Make your own book video trailers for free... 
Writing intuitively - September Fawkes
Writing beats and meaningful actions- Women on Writing

As I’ve rolled through the year’s blog posts I discovered that 2018 was the year of the book cover for me. I bought six and commissioned three. I finished Book Three in my Starlight series and discovered that I have to add another book to that series.  I launched the first two books in The Circus Quest Series. (On sale over Christmas if you need some great books for your child's new Tablet /eReader.) and I was part of the Judging team for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. (Waves Hi to the current crop of judges who will have their first onslaught of books about now!) It’s been a full 2018.

Have a safe and relaxing Christmas break filled with love, laughter, and great writerly thoughts.
I’ll see you back in mid-January 2019 with all those goal planning posts.


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 like the blog and want to shout me a Christmas coffee, hit the coffee button up top or Buy a Circus Quest Book for the creative quirky kid in your life.   

pic: Flickr Creative Commons Lindsaye Eyink

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Are you giving books this Christmas?

If you want the industry to survive and thrive say Brazilian Publishers, you had better step up and buy some books. This plea from the publishers struck a chord with Booksellers everywhere reports the Guardian. Unfortunately Barnes and Noble seem to have missed that memo.

The FutureBook conference was held last week in London. Among the topics discussed were the rise and rise of Audiobooks, voice technology, and podcasts. Can we make publishing rival Netflix was the cry… With Google entering the audio market we could be seeing interesting times soon.

While you are contemplating the news from FutureBook, Richard Charkin was issuing a list of Don’ts to traditional publishers about 2019 in Publisher’s Weekly. If you read the two articles together you will have a fair idea of the state of play in the publishing world going into the new year.

While Joanna is down under, (Hope the weather in Auckland is nice Joanna!) she is continuing to put interesting articles on her blog. Here are the two latest that I found interesting. Money management for authors and Tips for keeping in a Creative Routine while on holiday.

WriterHQ also has an interesting article on how to stay motivated in the Summer holidays… Tip one- ignore kids and don’t do housework… Roz Morris also has a great blog post on staying in touch with your writing project while navigating your way through Christmas madness.

Jami Gold has a great post on writing rules- what rules? - We don’t need those stinkin’ rules and don't forget to check out the writing gift Advent calendar from Becca and Angela! 

Reedsy has started a podcast for writers. The focus is on writing craft. Bang2Write reinforces this focus on writing craft by taking issue with the words aspiring writer. (Remember to expunge the word aspiring from your vocabulary at your next Christmas party.)

This week was my last week running away to my creative happy space for the year. I love it because I’m not faced with laundry, dishes, phone calls, etc. (Everybody needs a creative happy space.) My writing buddy and I spent our last day for 2018 studying Suzanne Lakin’s posts on vision and strategy for 2019. These are well worth doing. Check out all the posts in the series and grab your planner. 

In The Craft Section,

Plotting on Notecards- AR Beckert

Lessons from a lost novel- K M Weiland

The pitfalls of writing a series- Gordon Long

Inciting incidents- Reedsy- Bookmark

The hero’s journey- Joseph Campbell- Bookmark

Writing technique- Euphonics- Bookmark

Taking character relationships to the next level- Mythcreants- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Visibility- Nicholas Erik- Bookmark

Nate’s big list of free and paid book promo sites- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark

Twitter advertising infographic- Barb Drozdowich 

Bookbub ads- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Best Book Covers of 2018

14 Twitter apps/tools for writers- Frances Caballo

Indie Authors – empowered

To Finish,

The Christmas decorations are up everywhere you look. The sun is beating down!  It’s a struggle to get the kids out of bed in the last week of school. Let alone make sure all your present buying is done by then. Writer’s gift lists get updated
so you can buy for yourself... always a good idea. But Tara Sparling has the definitive article on what 
a writer really wants for Christmas.


My monthly newsletter will be hitting inboxes in the next few days. 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 like the blog and want to shout me a Christmas coffee, hit the coffee button up top or (Look Right) buy a book for your favourite 6+-year-old. My books are available in print and ebook- and you can feel good about buying books for Christmas.   Next week will be the last blog post for the year... 

Friday, December 7, 2018

All I want for Christmas is....

This week around the blogosphere articles about what to get the writer for Christmas were jostling with trends to watch in 2019. I just wish I was still in November. Every year December comes faster. Things I thought I would have finished by now still linger in the To Do pile. 

December is Na No Edit Mo. The time where you take stock of your NaNo project and give it some editing love. Anne R Allen has a list of Do’s and Don’ts to consider as you embark on editing your novel.   

Ingram must have an interesting To Do List for Christmas... Rumour has it that they are looking to buy Baker and Taylor- their competitor in the Book Distributor business. This could mean a jolly shake-up in the print book world for 2019.

Also making plans for 2019 Frankfurt Bookfair are introducing a new section – Rights trading for Book Tech  

Barnes and Noble are still hanging in there so the winds of change must be blowing snow down the back of their necks. Speculation that this Christmas book buying season could be the one that seals their fate.

It’s been ten years of The Creative Penn blog. I can’t imagine a blogosphere without her. We got started at the same time blogging. She has become a huge influence and a force in the indie world for her lay it all out approach. This week’s post on what ten years has taught her... a must read. I’m also keen to try dictation over the summer. Joanna has a great post on that too.

The fearless duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi always have great ideas of paying it forward in the author community. They are running an advent calendar style giveaway for authors. Check out their great prize draws.

Kris Rusch has an interesting blog post on generations this week. Do the older generation of writers fear or embrace the newer writers in their genre. Do the newer writers learn from or imitate the elders. When are you an elder...? 

Dutton are experimenting with book sizes. They are bringing out limited edition phone sized flip books... starting with John Green’s books – all aimed at the YA market. Just like a phone but in print...

Now Novel has two excellent articles on scenes and character. Every year or big project I choose an area of craft to focus on. 2019 is the year of the Scene for me and this article on Scene is just the perfect one to launch into a year of craft study. And the one on character is pretty good too. Over Summer I hope to play with dictation so this article from Joanna Penn on the best way to do it is a good start.

In The Craft Section,

How to cope with large casts of characters?- KM Weiland- Bookmark

Publishing trends/tropes

Beginnings and Backstory- James Scott Bell - Bookmark

The sample permissions letter- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

The pitfalls of self-editing- Writer Unboxed.

Do’s and Don’ts when creating villains Pt2- Kassandra Lamb- Bookmark

2 great posts from Go Into The Story- Learning the craft in 2019 and how to write one hour TV drama. Bookmark!

In The Marketing Section,

Two great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Marketing a book on Social Media 2019 and  Boost your pre-order strategies - Bookmark

What can authors get out of video content- Kevin Tumlinson- Bookmark

Top book blogs to build author brand – Dave Chesson

5 social media marketing trends to watch in 2019

How to process feedback

To Finish,

It’s the time of year when all the gift lists come out. For writers, there is always some new gadget or programme that might make writing the novel easier. Wearing Jane Austen socks and noise-canceling headphones while writing with a new rollerball pen on pristine paper in a beautifully embossed journal and sipping Writers Tear’s whiskey...Hmmmm Just needs chocolate and it would be perfect! Check out what other gifts you can ask for from these two writer’s gifts lists.


It’s nearly time for 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 like the blog and want to shout me a Christmas coffee, hit the coffee button up top.  I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons/ Marita

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