Thursday, June 20, 2019

New Lamps for Old

This week as the news of Barnes and Nobles purchase dribbled out, there was a taking stock over whether their saving was a good thing. On the whole, it was seen as positive but pundits are still taking a wait and see approach. The news that Waterstones staff felt their wages were too low even in the face of their CEO saying they got a ‘stimulating job’ to make up for it went over as well as you could expect.

News of another screw-over arrived from the Digital Reader. Libraries are smarting. Publishers have been changing the terms of access to ebooks by libraries. In the past six months, three publishers have changed access from perpetual access (at way over hardback prices) to access for two years (at way over hardback prices.) One way to kill ebook lending.

Remember when Audible annoyed the romance writers over the horrible terms of their subscription offering and writers left the service in droves. After all, getting pennies when it had cost you thousands to record an audiobook wasn’t very fair. We’ll do better said Audible. They relaunched their audio subscription with a new name... but it could be the same old... 

The New Publishing Standard is expanding its offering. They are backed by Streetlib who operate out of Italy. Streetlib are keen to open up the rest of the world to digital publishing.  They have committed to Africa where they see the next big market for books. (Just remember all the Commonwealth countries in there...) So a dedicated newsletter for the African publishing market is about to be launched.

Marketing is always a tricky subject for authors. It is hard to put on your marketing hat when you’ve just spent ages with the creative hat on. Two interesting blog posts caught my eye this week for authors wrestling with email marketing. How to improve your email marketing and 14 content ideas for emails. Go forth and improve.

I try to get up and move around every half hour or so when I’m writing. But when you are in the flow sometimes you can forget to do this. Here is a timely reminder from one writer about what could happen if you don’t pay attention. Read it, it could save your life!

How often do you think outside the book? Are you thinking print, ebook, hardback, audio, gaming, movie, voice search, streaming, podcast... If your eyebrows lifted, check out Kris Rusch’s blog post on the licensing expo she has just attended. Joanna Penn’s guest, Makoto Takudome, shows how easy it is to get Amazon Polly to make your book into a podcast. 
Voice search and audio content are here to stay. How can authors use them to tell stories? There’s a new outfit making bite-sized stories for Alexa to read out. They need writers. 

In The Craft Section,

10 writing blogs to check out

Writing the anti-villain- Reedsy- Bookmark

Conflicts and goals in romance- Jami Gold- Bookmark

Goal orientated storytelling tension- Chris Winkle

5 ways to keep readers glued-  H R D’Costa- Bookmark

Two punctuation blunders – Anne R Allen- Upskill Here!

In The Marketing Section

How to get easy author publicity-Rachel Thompson

Getting paid to talk- Events after publication -Emma Darwin

Ten business models for Indie authors- Orna Ross

5 Book marketing strategies- Barbara Freethy- Bookmark!

7 ways to Make more money from your books- Leslie Millar- Bookmark

To Finish,

Jillyanne Hamilton has put together 20 super writing and publishing resources to help you make your book shine. Some of the resources will be familiar to you as I mention some people frequently but there are some new ones in the mix you might like to check out. 
Collaboration is the way of the future. Think artists collectives, Indie publishing houses, or just getting some like-minded friends together to take on the world. 


My monthly newsletter will be going out soon. If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links why don’t you subscribe? You will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you like the blog, you can shout me a coffee by hitting the coffee button up top.
This blog runs on coffee and love so I really appreciate all the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Publishing By Numbers

The Big Big News in the publishing world was the sale of Barnes and Noble this week to Elliot Advisors hedge fund.
After five CEO’s in four years the lifeboat may have arrived in the nick of time for the troubled bookseller. Publishers have been holding their breath as the demise of the largest bookshop chain in the United States would decimate their bottom lines. 
Last year Elliot Hedge Fund bought Waterstones, a large UK chain of bookstores. James Daunt, who had his own branded chain of bookstores, continued as CEO. Waterstones went through a massive rebranding to make each of their bookstores act and feel like an Indie bookstore, thanks to James leading from the front, since 2011. 
So now that they are on the up, Elliot Hedge Fund must be betting that James Daunt can pull it off again as he has been named as the new CEO. (No pressure James.) Barnes and Noble came cheap. Only two years of Waterstones profits to buy one of the largest bookstore chains in the world. 
So how did Barnes and Noble get it so wrong? Author Kristen Lamb shines the spotlight on how the publishing companies could have done something and didn’t. After all, this was their biggest showroom and they effectively gave it to Amazon.

Staying with our global focus on bookselling, Sharjah Emirate has been making waves in the International Book World. They have built Publishing City, a purpose-built complex of over 400 offices for the worlds publishing community. ALL TAX-FREE. This week Ingram signed a large contract to bring Print on Demand services into Publishing City. Porter Anderson takes a look at how this might challenge and change publishing globally.

Amazon has been running a large literary prize for a few years now. This year entries are open to any book published in the English language. The prize is a wad of cash and a translation deal because translations may be the next big thing.

Anne R Allen has an interesting blog post on the lure of the writing template. Are all novels beginning to feel like more of the same? Are writers playing it safe with form and format and copying down the same format time after time or is this just the essence of storytelling.

Jami Gold has a great folder of templates to help writers on her website. She recently came up with another good one to add to her resources for Authors. A truthful to the Author priority list. If you flail around looking for all your to-do lists and get overwhelmed at setting goals and priorities for your writing, this is the template for you. A step by step breakdown of how to prioritize.

While you are thinking of goal setting  Katelyn Knox has figured out a way to track your daily writing and focus goals on a google form. This is really interesting. I never thought of using a google form in this way.

Another tool in the Indie Arsenal is this great website. Creative Law centre. This is a lawyer specialising in authors and their contract needs. Check out this great template for audiobook narrators and then fossick around and find other useful stuff.

Writer’s Digest has a roundup of twenty new agents and what they are looking for... If you want to get a feel for what may be coming in the next few years, go into Twitter (Agents love Twitter) and type #MSWL (manuscript wishlist) for a comprehensive list of agent wants.

Reedsy has put together a collection of solutions for Writer’s Block. Just in case you still need help to figure out what to write next, who to send it to, what your contract could mean. after you’ve used the right template, set your goals and tracked them before heading to Sharjah and appearing in a huge book tour through Waterstones and Barnes and Noble.
It’s all in the little details that add up to the big numbers of dollars... (WriterDreams)

In The Craft Section,

Writing scene endings – Now Novel

How to hint at emotional wounds- Angela Ackerman

Writing tone and voice- Dana Sitar-Bookmark

Internal conflict types- Lonerwolf

2 basic rules of editing- Allegra Huston

Overwriting- How to reduce your word count- Tara East- Bookmark

Story goals are they slowing your pace- Jami Gold - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

11 steps to stellar Instagram- The Digital Reader

The new look KDP reports- Elizabeth S Craig- Bookmark

How to build an author platform- David Gaughran- Bookmark

To Finish,

Suzanne Lakin has a handy blog that I have linked to for quite a few years. Today she posted that she was involved in a huge story bundle. Over $5000 worth of courses, books, and templates for only $49. I was intrigued. It looks pretty impressive. It’s only available for a week so check it out. ( Tip: Go to the learn more page and scroll down the list of goodies.)


It’s nearly time to for my monthly newsletter. If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links why don’t you subscribe? You will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you’re feeling generous and you like the blog, shout me a coffee by hitting the coffee button up top. This blog runs on coffee so I appreciate all the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Rafael Matsunaga- That was supposed to be going up, wasn’t it?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Write Your Own Empire

Recently Danielle Steele was interviewed about her writing day and her answer shocked a lot of writers. No 9-5 for Ms. Steele often 22 hour working days. Aerogramme Studio decided to ask four fiction writers about Danielle's typical working day and what they thought of it. 
Is this what it takes to build an empire?

Anne R Allen is always a voice of sanity around the publishing blogosphere. This week she looked at the psychology of how book scammers work. This is a must share article. There are so many book scammers that prey on the book vulnerable. They are building huge scammy money making empires from the clueless.

Book Expo America ... or the PR room for Book Publishing empires. Bookbub gathered together the hottest trends in promotion at BEA 2019 to share.

Joanna Penn is working on making her name as well known as Jon Snow’s but with a better outcome. She details the steps she went through on her Arc of the Indie Author. Empire awaits.

Celedon Publishing is a new kid on the Trad publishing block in America. However, this didn’t stop them from running a savvy campaign to generate word of mouth for their first book. The Silent Patient launched at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Bookbub took a look at how Celedon achieved this. 

Orna Ross recently wrote on the Alli blog an interesting article on the psychology of success for authors. Do you think self-publishing is second best? It is a fascinating article on growth mindset versus a fixed mindset and got some interesting comments.

Kristine Rusch is at the big licensing fair this week and in her prep for it, she came across an interesting article on the Led Zepplin empire. What does that have to do with writers you wonder? Changes in the music industry hit before changes in the book industry. In many ways, we are following behind the music industry. So when a music publisher suddenly pivots and exploits the backlist of a band... what does that say about where there will be future changes in the book industry? Read this article, especially if you have Trad contracts.

Jami Gold has an interesting post this week on story planning. How tightly do we hold onto our plot details? Is there room for spontaneity? How do TV scriptwriters do it? This is a great craft article to get you thinking.

In The Craft Section,

Stay Thirsty- secret to storytelling- James Scott Bell

Gameify your writing life- Rochelle Melander- Bookmark

When should you stop revising- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Giving writing feedback- Now Novel

Extended metaphors- Reedsy

In The Marketing Section,

How to get free book reviews- Penny Sansevieri

How to use Google Data Studio to analyse Facebook ads- Karley Ice Bookmark

Identify your reader – Chris Well

The most nonsensical terms used in book blurbs- Be Aware- Litreactor- Bookmark

Should you crowdsource your cover design?- Publishers Weekly

To Finish,

Who would be a bookseller? The Guardian recently went in search of booksellers and found quite a few who wouldn’t do anything else. The Indie booksellers had great tales to tell of community building but the fringe bar takes bookselling to another level. Buy a book and receive a complimentary alcoholic drink... My vision instantly leaps to a chain of book bars... An empire in the making.


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

If you know any bright six-year-olds... my Circus Quest books are available. Book 3 has just arrived so there is a sale to celebrate. Click my books page link.

Pic: Iron Throne from Bytesdaily

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Author Rewards- Can You Afford An Elephant?

This week around the publishing blogosphere the chat was around author business.
Nate Hoffelder flagged that the new Amazon publishing dashboard has added a projected royalty earnings button. Things must be on the up. Markus Dohle CEO of Penguin Random seems to think so. Talk this industry up he says... 

Every writer has struggled with rejection. Writing is subjective. Not everyone will love what you write. In fact, as a writer, you regularly go through rejection of your own words. Anne R Allen has a fabulous post on rejection and why it feels so awful... 
Writer Unboxed came at rejection from another angle- Are you making writing harder than it needs to be

Joanna Penn has been on fire recently with great podcasts that this blog post is in danger of becoming an exclusive ode to The Creative Penn. If you have yet to watch/ listen to a podcast you are missing out on one of the most valuable sources of knowledge about Indie publishing around. Joanna also transcribes her podcasts... so you can read all the great information. So check out Why you need to treat your writing like a business and Joanna’s great interview with Frances Caballo on Pinterest and Instagram. And if you look carefully there are two more links in Craft and Marketing – both Bookmarked!

Understanding metadata and SEO is important in marketing. Miral Satter besides being CEO of Bibliocrunch is also savvy on SEO. (Search Engine Optimisation.) Miral has a must-read post on ways to nail author SEO.

I often wish for a nice team of elves to take over social media marketing and asking for reviews. It is so hard as I hate to bother anyone... Ingram has got a great post on how to build a community and get a team of elves together. Penny Sansevieri has a good post on how to get review recommendations.

Have you often wondered if there was a secret writers club that the big players are members of? There is, it’s called NINC.  They have amembers only newsletter but I recently came across a link to their article on crowdfunding for authors. This put me in mind of Kris Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smiths Crowdfunding campaign that is breaking all sorts of goals. If you donate even a little bit of money you get author workshops... Seriously, seriously good prizes and there are only a few hours left...

In a Writer Beware moment – I often come across new writers in writing groups plaintively asking about publishers who want to publish their work if they would pay some money in first. Now there are Hybrid publishers who do a good job for authors and then there are the scammers who don’t. Here is a great article that lays out what you should be looking for to tell the difference. Pass it around- the more everybody knows the better for our industry.

In The Craft Section,

How to write with emotional truth- Bang2write- Bookmark

B speaks for A dialogue tricks- Stephen Pressfield

Using writing sprints- Paul Bonea- Bookmark

How to love self-editing - Hayley Milliman- Bookmark

Flawed characters= Great fiction – Kristen Lamb

9 weird ways to beat writer's block

In The Marketing Section,

How to make the most of Goodreads- Joy Rancantore- Bookmark

Author entrepreneur ethos- Jarie Bolander- Bookmark

Testing Bookbub ads- Bookbub- Bookmark

Choosing a publicist- Jane Friedman

3 simple mistakes to avoid in marketing- Jeff Bullas

Book Hooks and Blurbs- Sacha Black

To Finish,

This little video of A Day In The Life Of An Author popped across my Twitter feed today. I was intrigued by the elephants in the garden... every author has them.
They will be first on the list when I make my millions in royalties... LOL.


My monthly newsletter is where 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 mini book crammed full with marketing notes. I always appreciate virtual coffee love. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons William Warby – Elephants at Whipsnade Zoo

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Content Warehouse

In publishing news this week....

Google has often flirted with opening up the Google Play store to ebooks. It opens for a few months then closes then opens, getting everyone's hopes up again, then closes. Many authors go through a third party like Draft2Digital or PublishDrive trying to get their foot into the Google Books door. But in publishing news this week Google is kicking the aggregators to the curb, cutting out the middle man and going direct to authors and publishers. But with nothing special on offer Nate Hoffelder has to ask why?

Remember when Patreon decided to stop the small micropayments to creatives? When the bulk of your Patreon income comes from those $1 a month supporters the outcry across the creative sector was loud and strong. Pateron backtracked in 24 hours. Now they have been doing some thinking and consulting with creatives and they have a new tier structure. 

Reedsy has launched a new epub to mobi converter. This is a big deal if you struggle to get your mobi files small enough not to incur a transaction charge. If you are a children’s book author with internal illustrations this is a huge cost that cuts into your royalty. 

Storytel has been making waves again. This time Publishers Weekly has noticed them quietly offering Harry Potter in Arabic and beginning to make inroads into audio publishing. But they are not offering royalties by the listen, as other audiobook publishers do. They are offering royalties by the minute.

Many authors who use Mailchimp as their email provider were dismayed when Mailchimp changed the rules on them this week. David Gaughran, fearless knight defending the little author, asked them to explain. They did. David eviscerated them. This is a must read for any author with a mailing list.

Back Matter... I never thought about how varied it could be. Anybody used a colophon? This is an interesting post on how to use back matter properly. And how even the smallest things in the back matter can enhance or destroy your reputation. 

In the Craft Section,

Style that doesn’t go out of fashion- Anne R Allen

Showing scene through character senses- C S Lakin- Bookmark

500 writing prompts- Bookmark

Creating unforgettable settings- Becca Puglisi

What makes an epic story- Vaughn Roycroft

Avoiding the cliched emotional response- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to set up your website foundation- Tyler Doornbos- Bookmark

The equation for marketing success- Ingram Spark Interesting!

Defining our brand- Jami Gold- Bookmark

10 book cover design trends in 2019

I’m boring- the author bio – Janet Reid- Bookmark

10 critical book marketing strategies- Penny Sansevieri

To Finish,

Inventory. Have you got one? Kris Rusch is preparing to go to a licensing fair with her husband Dean Wesley Smith. Between them, they have more than 1000 pieces of inventory that could be licensed. If you are wondering what this is, it’s Intellectual Property. Read Kris Rusch’s post on how they are selecting and preparing IP rights for sale. 


My monthly newsletter is due 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 mini book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Positive Learning

Today as I was researching good articles for you I kept feeling like I was witnessing a slow-motion car wreck. I like Twitter but there are days when the good people of the Twitter world that I follow are in meltdown fatigue over the incessant bad news coming out of the US. But it is important to still keep an eye on what’s happening over there. If you start opting out because the news is not good, big changes that you should be vocal about will be slipped in when you are not looking. This is democracy. You participate in it or lose it.

Anne R Allen had an interesting post on Author persona. Who are you really? This is a good post if you are struggling with the whole online identity thing. This goes together nicely with DIYMFA’s article on building a good author brand. How far do you go being authentic online?  Bill Nye decided to break his whole nice scientist guy brand this week by swearing about how bad Climate Change is and demanding the world take it seriously. And yes the media ignored the message to talk about Bill using the F word. Was there any other way it was going to go?

When is your image not your image? When a photographer takes a picture. If you think this is messed up, author lawyer Passive Guy explores the problem of celebrities getting sued for using pictures of themselves on Instagram. It’s a copyright violation. Image use and consent are important. However in good news... Creative Commons has made a search engine to help everyone find the right picture in the public domain. 

Kris Rusch has an interesting post on Kickstarter stress.  First, you have the stress of putting a Kickstarter together then you have the stress of the outcome. Kickstarter success can be just as stressful as a failure. If you are looking for ways to make some money for your writing project check out these 9 inexpensive revenue streams for broke writers.

Publishers Weekly had an article this week on the rise of chapbooks. These are little giveaway books that publishers make available to retailers and reviewers to stimulate word of mouth. It’s an interesting marketing tool. Penny Sansevieri has a great post on the importance of having a marketing plan which ties in nicely with Createifwritings one on how to get reviews.

Emmanuel Nataf, a founder of Reedsy, has an interesting post on why speculative fiction is needed now more than ever. The ability to tell a story for people and show them what bad choices can cause to the world may be the only way we get through to humanity. The Handmaids Tale is a case in point.

In The Craft Section,
Emotional writing- Joslyn Chase

How to write effective action scenes- Writepractice-Bookmark

Sensory detail and emotional depth- Lisa Hall Wilson

Story Structure in a flash- September Fawkes- Bookmark

Fight, Flight or Freeze- Psyche 101 for writers – Becca Puglisi- Bookmark 

In The Marketing Section,
Growing newsletters from zero- Christina McDonald- Bookmark

9 reasons authors need newsletters- Nate Hoffelder -new series on The Book Designer- Bookmark

3d photo’s for Book cover ads- John Doppler

Small business marketing best practice

4 effective book marketing strategies- Badredhead media

Make your book marketing plan a success- MJ Connolly- Bookmark

To Finish,
I’m a sucker for learning. I love learning and new ideas and ways of doing things. So Reedsy publishing a list of podcasts about books and writing was especially welcome. I already listen to a few podcasts on the list regularly. TCK Publishing put together this super list of TED talks for writers. That’s my viewing sorted for the week.


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 mini book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic; Flickr Creative Commons –  Alan Levine

Thursday, May 9, 2019

For Sale; Creativity

With the screenwriters on strike from their agents, there has been a shuffle in Hollywood surrounding how projects get writers attached. Some interesting developments... Word of mouth, writers lifting up other writers, and some innovative websites that have sprung up have resulted in studios suddenly seeing more and varied kinds of projects. Will it last? Should the agencies be worried?

Ruth Harris writing on Anne R Allen’s blog recently had an interesting blog post on creativity. How do you go from a mediocre idea to a brilliant one? There is new research out that says all you need is a little frustration.

Many authors use Patreon to reward their fans. The idea is a good one... A monthly ongoing payment to support the writers' work. However, Kris Rusch looked at the small print and saw a rights grab in the first sentence. So... what do we do when we love the service but it has a fish hook? This is a great post on understanding copyright and what is your own bottom line.

I was interested to read that Findaway, the new kid on the Audio block disrupting Audible, is introducing hardware. They have developed the Wonderbook. A Playaway audio player designed for the school and library market. Back in my teaching days, we had Listening Post which the children loved. Earphones on, storybook in hand, and read along with the narrator. One of my plays was produced in this format. I was thrilled because I knew kids loved listening to stories. This old technology (cutting edge when I was a child) has largely disappeared but now every child seems to own headphones and we have a boom in audiobooks....

Yesterday I listened to a mammoth post by Joanna Penn on Exclusivity versus Wide- the conundrum that faces the Indie author. Joanna broke down the arguments for each side by format, Ebook, Print, and Audio. Joanna posts a transcript of her podcasts... if you want to quickly scan for the main points but if you have the time to listen, it's well worth it.
Staying with Joanna, She recently interviewed Ruth Ware on self-editing and contracts. This is also a must listen/read for a quick primer on best practice.

While you are contemplating selling your own books... spare a thought for your website. Career Author has an interesting article on viewing your author website as a hub and the spokes going out always bring your reader back...

One of the things that struck me recently is how many people seem to think it is OK to wander into a bookshop, look at a book and then search it up and buy the book online, sometimes while standing in the store. When you know how the margins are squeezed for bookshop owners, the showrooming model that Amazon has adopted for their brick and mortar stores is not a great customer model for the Indie bookstore owner. If you want to get your books into stores you also need to support them. A bunch of children’s bookstore owners hilariously turned this on its head this week to make a point.

How productive are you when it comes to writing? Could you do it better? All authors will be nodding because it’s always a guilt trip for us. Joanna Penn has an excerpt from her recent book on productivity which has some great tips.

In The Craft Section,

3 act arc for showing shame in fiction- Writers in the storm

What will you sacrifice to be better- Beth Cadman

The circle theory of story- Go Into The Story- Bookmark

Tricks and tips for catching errors Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Writing prompts- a waste of time? Savannah Cordova

How to end the story, questions- Writepractice- Bookmark

World building is for every story- Jami Gold

In The Marketing Section,

5 ways to stand out as an author on social media- Eevi Jones- Bookmark

A tool to format book descriptions- Kindlepreneur- Bookmark

Twitter for authors – Bookbub

Author engagement-build brand and fans- Bookworks

Cheatsheet on how to write a logline- Bang2write- Bookmark

To Finish,

The act of writing is the act of creation. Sharing your creation is the tricky bit. If you are tempted to  Indie publish you need to understand how to be an Entrepreneur. Some might say that writing and entrepreneurship are opposites. But they both need a passion for the project. Jami Gold has an excellent post on looking at entrepreneurship from a writers point of view.

I have some Advance Reader Copies of my middle-grade novel, How To Lose A Rockstar to give away on my Facebook page. Drop in and take a look.


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 mini book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic; Flickr Creative Commons – Studio Sarah Lou

Thursday, May 2, 2019

What is your goal?

Around the publishing blogosphere this week...
What is the biggest threat to the print industry at the moment? Ho hum you think... another article about digital or audiobooks... NO. The lack of paper for printing is starting to make itself felt.  Publisher's Weekly reports that at the recent BISG conference, it was the number one topic.

Somebody hasn’t told Wattpad that there is a shortage of paper... They are steaming ahead with their print publishing arm. Their first offerings are off to a great start after being chosen by an AI.

Amazon this week trumpeted that you could contact them and talk to a human... They meant Alexa... who isn’t human. However, this raised an interesting point. What happens to copyright if an AI writes the book? Passive Guy took a look at what’s happening in the music world with AI scores.

If you have parted ways with your agent, how much should you disclose about the relationship to another agent? Bookends Literary talks about agent baggage.

Meanwhile, in the print distribution business... the only US competitor for Ingram has just thrown in the towel with their retail wholesale division. The industry pushed back when Ingram wanted to buy Barker &Taylor last year, because of the power one distributor would have in the marketplace. Who is laughing now? Not the publishers.

If you are wondering how Bookstores are doing this year check out this comprehensive article by Nancy Herther for Against The Grain- a blog site for bookstores, libraries, and publishers. If indie bookstores are struggling why is Amazon opening up more bricks and mortar stores? Are Indie bookstores really taking a hit? 

Every time I turn around Streelib seems to be doing something interesting... (Hmmm their  goal could be world domination outside the US/ UK.) They are getting into Apps. Their press release this week announced they had partnered with Stary which has over one million users in the 10 months it’s been operating. Stary is just like Wattpad and we know what happened there... 

Jami Gold has a great article on The Power of Character Arcs. If you were one of the many who saw Endgame this week. This discussion on drive and focus is the article for you. (There are no spoilers.)

In The Craft Section,

Making a big revision- Jami Gold- Bookmark

How to treat your setting like a character- Kyle Massa- Bookmark

7 tips to make your monsters meaty

Stay on target - Janice Hardy

7 thoughts about collaboration- Dan Brotzel- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to reduce marketing anxiety- Booklife

Author publicity for the camera shy- Bookworks- Bookmark

Ten reasons to run your writing like a business- Leigh Shulman- Bookmark

An informal guide to understanding facebook ad jargon- Digitalgal

No one is born famous- Penny Sansevieri

How to write effective facebook sponsored posts- Social Media Examiner- Bookmark 

To Finish,

Kristine Rusch has a very interesting post on goal setting this week. How often do you set little goals? This is a mindset shift which may end up changing your work life completely. My To Do list has To Do Lists on it... I’m off to break it all up.


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you.
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic; Flickr Creative Commons - Jesper Sehested and The PlusLexia team inspire Dyslexics by finding stories of success from people with Dyslexia. Way To Go Jesper!

Thursday, April 25, 2019


April arrives and now suddenly we are heading into the last week of the month. The Easter break seemed so much longer when I was a kid… 

In the publishing blogosphere… Nora Roberts has filed legal proceedings against the person responsible for #CopyPasteCris. For those of you who missed this earlier in the year. As of the filing, more than 40 authors had over 100 sections of books lifted and pasted into someone else’s novels. The person responsible is claiming that the ghostwriters she hired did this, but it is looking pretty murky. Nora is going into bat for the authors that haven’t got the money to do it themselves. (sainthood beckons)
There is a small light on the horizon for those authors who can prove that their work was ripped off. Amazon has a claim form… where you can get all the royalties that were paid to the scammer. 

Joanna Penn has a great interview with a TV and Film producer on how to get your work in front of production companies. If you think you have a story that would translate well check out this interview.

Publishers Weekly have reported a second month of dismal sales in bookstores. Everybody is still chasing the next big thing… on the up are Young Adult titles.

Anne R Allen has a great post on using Social Media effectively and thereby avoid the cesspool. This is timely as April has been a shocking month for all things horrible on social media. 

Kris Rusch has been hunkering down and dealing with her critical voice. She has worked out how to use this persistent nay-sayer in her life. Give it a job. This is a great post!

Katie Weiland always has great posts on her blog about scene or structure (Her Marvel series ones are epic.) She put together a great structure blog post which has a way to calculate how long your book is going to be. Smart cookie, Nadine Avola, has worked up a brilliant template for this post, just plug in the numbers.

Jami Gold has a great post on revising verses completely rewriting your manuscript. At what point do you throw the whole draft in the bin and start again. I have writer friends who have trashed whole novels. Is there another way?

In The Craft Section,

What can you do when you don’t have time to write?

More than a happy ending- Jami Gold- Bookmark

How to write a perfect scene- Bang2write- bookmark

2 great posts from Scot Myers- Character driven storytelling and Story Types-Bookmark

Working with a large cast of characters- September Fawkes

Master list of copy editing skills- Jami Gold

In The Marketing Section,

5 tips to spice up your Amazon author profile- Joanna Penn

Marketing tips for debut authors- Bookbub

Seasonal book marketing- Debbie Young - Alli Blog

6 gadgets to take to your next book fair- Janice Hardy -Bookmark

Newsletters for the reluctant author- Elizabeth Craig

5 tips for making videos- Bookmark

Series pages- IndiesUnlimited- Bookmark

To Finish,

Every now and then you read a feel-good story that just combines everything the world needs in a cute package. Sick of your job... Love books... want to make a difference in kids lives... I give you the amazing traveling bookshop.


My monthly newsletter, where I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links is due soon. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. I appreciate virtual coffee love so if you like the blog hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Gandhi- Matt Brown

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Around the writing blogosphere this week the talk was all about the Writers Guild suing the big talent agencies over shonky deals with writers. I have been hearing over the years the grumblings from the screenwriters over Agencies practice of packaging which has torpedoed careers and projects. It’s an insidious form of creative accounting. NPR explains what is happening and why. 

Wattpad has been moving from being an online publisher of fan content to being a TV and movie studio... to being a 'proper' publisher. They have a new imprint for the country from which their biggest supporters come from. It's not who you think... 

Amy Shojai has an interesting post on the Alliance of Independent Authors blog on audiobooks. This format has been increasing in leaps and bounds over the last year with some new players on the block shaking things up. Also well worth trawling through is the Alli conference website with all the fabulous goodies from their recent 24-hour online conference.  

We are heading in Easter weekend and writers everywhere will be wondering how much writing they will get done over the weekend. Here are three really interesting posts on the creative life.
Creativity and discipline- 3 ways to cultivate it by Nathan Wade, guest posting on The Creative Penn

Creative life boundaries by Scott Myers from Go Into The Story

The critical voice- Kristine Kathryn Rusch- Excellent blog post!

E J Runyon has a guest post on Anne R Allen's blog on writing what you know as a starting point for writing. She discusses using sense memory as a creative kick start. Great Post! 

In The Craft Section,

Story structure explained- September Fawkes- Bookmark

The understory- Stephen Pressfield- Bookmark

Struggling with flashbacks?- Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

Are writing prompts helpful- Savannah Cordova- Bookmark

Ctl Alt Del 3 act structure- Go Into The Story

In The Marketing Section,

How to promote with your posse- Pauline Wiles

Focused goals help sell books- Penny Sansevieri

How to use your book cover to sell more books- A D Starrling- Bookmark

Metadata and Book distribution resource checklist- Alli Blog- Bookmark

Creative resources for making the most of Instagram - Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

Collaboration is a beautiful thing. The most fun I've had is when I've been involved in a team planning a project. There's something about creative energy in a team that magnifies your ideas and kick starts your own creativity. I'm lucky to belong to the Fabo team of writers who started quite a few years ago writing story prompts for children in the winter terms of our school year. We kick off again at the beginning of the next school term. However, read this little gem of a story which takes the collaboration model of writing and kicks it up a notch.


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 appreciate virtual coffee love so if you like the blog hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Tristan Schmurr

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Telling A Story For Eleven Years

Eleven years ago... Amazon released their first Kindle for general release. (Their first attempt sold out in 5 hours and they took 6 months to get over it.) They needed content to put on their Kindles... and so the miniscule ebook market got an Amazon rocket and the only direction was up. 
I was a debut author wondering all about the publishing industry. 
My fabulous friend, Fifi Colston, this years Otago University Children’s Writer in Residence, said start a blog. I decided that I would find out as much as I could about what was happening overseas and share it every week to my fellow writers. So much has happened in eleven years. 
Along the way the blog has morphed into a curated news collection, has been syndicated and shared around the world and provided a reference resource for conference planners. It provides a rhythm to my working week and an excuse to noodle around on social media. (And I was hugely honoured to be the recipient of the Betty Gilderdale Award for outstanding service to the children’s literature community in part due to blogging weekly for over ten years.)

Lessons learned. 
Always keep a word doc open for snippets for the blog.
It is ok to not make your deadline of 11.59 pm. (I write this at 10.30pm.)
You never know who is reading the blog so don’t assume they know as much as you do.
The world is smaller. Eleven years ago it took eighteen months for changes in the publishing industry to filter down to New Zealand. Now it is less than six months. 
We still need to work on our author collectives to truly make an impact here and overseas.
Side Note: FABO is back for another year. See sidebar for details.

Thoughts for the future... I’ll keep learning and writing the blog and I hope you always get at least one nugget of rich learning every week. Thank you for the odd cup of coffee or email of encouragement. It does mean a lot to me. 

Now back to the reason you are here - Things that caught my eye this week.

Do you remember Dungeons and Dragons? Hands up if you played it... hmmm. Writers Digest has a great guest article on how Dungeons and Dragons can make you a better writer.

Bologna... Bologna... Attendance was up... exhibitors were everywhere and children’s books were celebrated. Porter has the rundown on all things Bologna – The worlds biggest children’s book fair. (Shoutout to two kiwi children's book writers who are about to live the dream as guests at the Dubai Book Fair.)

Bookworks has an interesting roundup of online book creation tools... write and produce your book in the cloud. Pie in the sky thinking?

Rachel Thompson always has an interesting blog of super strategies for authors. This week she wrote about her pre-launch strategies for authors. 

Kris Rusch has a great post that resonated with me on writing for fun. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the publishing world and our personal goals that the fun goes out of the writing. She looks at her long career and talks about what happened when she wrote just for herself. (After having publishers sit on my writing submissions for YEARS before making decisions, I completely agree with her.) 

In The Craft Section,
First Pages and character emotion- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

16 Villain Archetypes- Tami Cowden- Bookmark

Writing a novel – How to hook your readers- Robyn Murphy

Storyteller Rule Book- Have at least 6  painful decisions- Secrets of Story

7 things to try when writing is hard- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Bonding the character and reader- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,
5 steps to a social media strategy in 2019

5 facebook ad mistakes- Social Media Examiner

2 great posts from the Alli Blog -Narrating your audiobook and Automated Emails for reader magnets- Bookmark both.

Trends- What Bookbub readers are buying- Bookbub blog

How to increase your mailing list- Indies Unlimited - Bookmark

To Finish,
A story popped up on my Facebook feed about a town called Story, that is for sale. A whole town for sale? My imagination went wild. What could you do with a little town... Writers this could be your chance. Wouldn’t it make a fabulous writer’s colony... only $3 million. (Maybe in my next eleven years... LOL)


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 appreciate virtual coffee love so if you like the blog, hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Ian Bruce

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