Friday, December 20, 2019

Looking Back On The Last Year Of The Decade

My last weekly roundup for 2019 and I thought I would take a trip down memory lane and look at the last year of the decade in publishing. What were the big stories? 


Mark Coker released his annual predictions for the upcoming year. How well did he do? 
Amazon released lock screen ads.
Kris Rusch talked about all the mergers and consolidations over the 2018/19 Christmas break... and lo what do I see in my inbox today, Pearson sells all their remaining shares in RandyPenguin.


Kris Rusch wrote one of most standout posts for author learning. Understanding Intellectual Property. Read it again. 
Young Adult debut author Amelie Wen Zhao got a pile on for having slavery as part of her book and asked her publishers to pull it because of the backlash. This is what happens when you fall foul of an echo chamber. The influencers crying foul had not taken into account that other cultures also have suffered/continue to suffer, slavery- not just the US. Amelie released her book last month and it is doing well. She talked recently to NPR about the controversy in February.
Scams reared their ugly heads. Publishing scammers prey on the clueless. Always check in on Writer Beware- they have a search function. #copypastecris burst on the publishing landscape. At last count 85 books and counting. Nora Roberts promised vengeance was hers.


Bookbub got into Audio and announced Chirp in conjunction with Findaway Voices. They are aiming to promote audio and grow the Chirp audience just like the Bookbub ebook audience.
Creative resistance became a byword for March – Check out Chucks very good post on how to overcome it


In April I ticked over eleven years of writing the weekly blog. 
Writer Guild decided that suing Talent agencies over the shonky deals for screenwriters was a good idea.
The New Publishing Standard shone a light on what China is doing in publishing.
April is the month of the Bookfairs and Kris Rusch told us to have fun with our writing even when our critical voice is trying to derail us.


Ingram became the only distributor on the retail book block after Barker and Taylor threw in the towel.
Google Play decided to make things difficult for aggregators, authors now have to sign up directly. However, they don’t make that easy. Mailchimp wrecked their goodwill with authors and David Gaughran eviscerated them.


Barnes and Noble were sold to a Hedge Fund that owns UK chain Waterstones, their CEO, James Daunt, took over almost immediately. 
Sharjah Emirates opened a TAX FREE publishing city. 
Kris Rusch discovered licensing and completely changed thinking about her writing business.
Publishers changed their terms to libraries causing widespread consternation about ebook lending rates. Macmillan recently stopped their ebook availability to libraries. 
You never discover a new author at a library and then go out and buy all their books SAID NO ONE EVER!


Joanna Penn rattled brains with her mega-post on how AI will change the publishing industry. Since she published this some of her predictions became true faster than she thought. Then it was all about saving money, making money and scamming money. Pearson switched to lending textbooks to students- cue overdue fines! And everywhere there are subscription services.


The world lost Toni Morrison. Dean Koontz signed with Amazon. Morality clauses started to be enforced against authors and Google Play increased its royalty rates. It’s still difficult to get into though. Leapfrog nations are where the money in publishing is.


The Medium article by Heather Demetrios on how to lose a third of a million dollars without trying dominated the month.  Dean Wesley Smith took clueless writers to task about learning the business. Chuck Wendig pointed out that the first job of a newbie author is to ASK QUESTIONS.


The prep month for NaNoWriMo. 
Mike Shatzkin published his list of how publishing will change in the next few years.  Everybody was talking about how exploiting your backlist was the next big thing and Are you hanging on to unexamined beliefs that are holding you back. 
New Zealand lost Jack Lasenby, one of our most-loved storytellers for children.


NaNoWriMo hit along with one of the biggest Indie Authors conferences around 20 Books to 50k. Dean Wesley Smith’s keynote is a must-watch. 
Big Bad Wolf is getting bigger and bigger. There is a huge market for Engish language books in Asian countries. Ruth Harris looked at the publishing rollercoaster and how to stay sane. Just who is really listening to audiobooks? An untapped market awaits.


I leave you with the inspiring post from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. How To Build A  Roadmap To The Author Future You Want.

May you have a Blessed Christmas and a Peace Filled New Year 
See you in January.

Get in quick and subscribe to get my last newsletter of the year All the interesting craft and marketing links from 2019. 
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.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

‘Tis The Season

As we steam towards Christmas there is a slightly frantic feel in the air. Did you achieve all you set out to do this year? This week many posts were looking at time management or scheduling or just getting to grips with your To Do List. 
Picture yourself at the Writers Christmas party- let’s listen in to the top conversations around the buffet.

Kris Rusch has an interesting blog this week talking about expectations on yourself. Are you being realistic with your energy?
Scott Myers continues his ten part series on writing goals for 2020 – This week it’s time management.
Melodie Campbell talks with Anne R Allen on her blog on the three things you need to master to stay in this writing game.
Sabaa Tahir asked a bunch of authors what their best advice was to people just getting started in publishing.  Meanwhile K M Weiland pulled out a golden post which still has relevance- The 7 stages of being a writer.
Janice Hardy checks in with the agent dating game for those of you trying to find the right match. 
Max Booth is tired of the embarrassing things writers say… Are you guilty of uttering any of these…?
Publishing Perspectives shares a great Christmas Carol twist story for publishers and Nathan Hoffelder asks everyone if they know about the changes in ISBN’s coming in the new year.

It’s time to go back into your writing cave but before you do you check out this fabulous collection of weird and wonderful websites that Shayla Raquel has collected- A writers research bonanza.

In The Craft Section,

The lie your character believes- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

How To Come Up With A Title- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Worlds Shortest Marketing Plan – Joel Friedlander

Book Promotion 101- Bookbub- Bookmark!-

Write an awesome blog template- Bookworks - Bookmark

To Finish,

Tis the season to be… thinking about writer gifts. Every week since the start of December there has been a neat roundup of gifts you can give yourself… or tell your family to get you.

Next week will be my last blog post for the year. It’s the end of the school year… Summer… and Christmas madness. I’ll be doing my Christmas roundup for my newsletter and then it’s feet up for a while. 

If you want a feast of links and a chance to be in my subscriber Christmas draw go on and subscribe to my monthly newsletter. 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, or an eggnog, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual love. Thanks.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Gifts, Goals, and Global Domination

NaNoEdMo is here, otherwise known as December. Where has the year gone? 
This week my writing buddy commented that we need to take stock of our year and celebrate all we have achieved. How often do we sit back and say ‘I’ve worked hard and achieved some things and I deserve this pat on the back I’m giving myself?
So as we enter into the last month of the year and decade- if you are too shy to acknowledge your achievements, here is my message to you. You Have Done Well, Grasshopper!

In publishing news... 
Smashwords had quietly been innovating in the corner and yesterday they announced a new service- Pre-Sales (Not to be confused with  pre-orders) You get dedicated links to give to all your fans or promo for the length of time you need and you get their emails as well. And Smashwords wants to extend this to ANY creator. The New Publishing Standard took a deep dive into Mark Coker’s announcement of how it will all work.

Streetlib in its quest to be THE Global Bookstore has partnered with Kobo and Bookbeat to distribute audiobooks around the world. This makes sense in light of the recent article from The Times about Deloitte forecasting that 2020 will be the year that audio will outsell ebooks in the UK

Have you thought about 2020 and your publishing goals? While you reflect on your year over eggnog, spare a few thoughts for the coming one. Bookbaby has an interesting blog on how to plan for the future and Scott Myers from Go Into The Story has a whole series of posts designed for you to take a deep dive into goal setting.

Penny Sansevieri has a great post on 2020 marketing goals- don’t forget that marketing is also something to be planned. (Take note, Maureen.) Anne R Allen has a great post on blog commenting. Did you know it is a quick and easy way to get your name out there? Something to add to your personal branding goal planning.

And now for something completely different…
The Dream Team of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have put together the Annual Writer’s Advent calendar. This is where you have the opportunity to enter in a different great giveaway every day… Go Forth And Be Of Good Cheer.

In The Craft Section,

Quick and Tidy tips to streamline editing- Insecure Writers Support Group- Bookmark

The secret to writing fascinating Villains- Laurence McNaughton- Bookmark

Creating Plot Twists- Janice Hardy

In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri -5 creative ways to highlight your book reviews and

Organic Facebook reach for Authors- Maggie Lynch- Bookmark

Audiobook Narration with Sean Pratt and Joanna Penn

To Finish,

Tis the season to be thinking about cool writing gifts for yourself… or others. Every Year Jami Gold puts out the Ultimate Writers Gift Guide. And yes it really deserves the title. This is chock full of fabulous gifts. I swooned over the bookends alone….
Nathan Bransford has a different take on the Writer Gift list. This is more tongue in cheek and will appeal to those who like to give the off the wall gift.


I’m doing a roundup of the year for my last newsletter of the year so if you want a feast of links and a chance to be in my subscriber Christmas draw go on and 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, or an eggnog, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons Guilhem Vellut- keen eyed Kiwi’s will see some interesting added features to NZ on the Globe.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Using Other People's Words

In Publishing News this week…
Spare a thought for the Australian women who, with the best intentions, decided that picture books celebrating famous Rap artists and using their lyrics as examples was a good thing. The Guardian explains that Jay Z is not amused.

This week Keynotes from the Future Book conference have been talked about in Publishing Perspectives. Alex Fane explained how staging spoken word events with famous authors are now becoming big business. He is the guy behind all the advertising for Margaret Atwood’s series of talks here early next year. Is this the way of the future for author events? I’m wondering how the conference organisers feel.

Future Book also had a session on audio books. I found the statistics reported of how many and who listened to audio books startling. I never would have guessed 3 out of 4 young men listened to an audio book. Interesting news for publishers who have never looked at this brand demographic and thought that’s where the readers are…

Earlier this month Writer Beware had an interesting story about one of the richest short story prizes on the planet and the rights grab inside of it. I was shocked when I read it. I guess I thought The Times would have been above all that… 

Ruth Harris has a great blog post on the publishing rollercoaster. Are we prepared for failure because it will happen and what about all those good times. 

Kris Rusch has been busy speaking at conferences. She talked about the pursuit of perfection and how the road to finding your best work is long and slow. You are in it for the long haul aren’t you? Are you like Beyonce and constantly raising the bar?

Did you know that writers can lose their fingerprints…. The implications for thriller plots abound. Of course it was a thriller writer who discovered this. Sue Coletta talks about it on The Kilzone Blog.

What are the necessary evils to a novelists life? Writer Unboxed guest Jael McHenry came up with two that sparks fear in every heart. Hat tip if you guess them! 

In The Craft Section,

Weaving Story Threads together – Rosie- Danan- Bookmark

Crime writing tips- Books by Women

How to Ground and Hook your Readers- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

5 ways to sell more books in 2020- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Survival Guide to Facebook for authors- Debbie Emmitt- Bookmark

Book Promotion for the Holidays – Written Word Media - Bookmark

To Finish

I think of Terry Pratchett every day and regret the fact that there will be no more great satire from his pen. It’s easy to do when you wander through my house and stumble over a Pratchett book in a pile or put down somewhere odd because the reader was interrupted. They never rest for long collected on a bookshelf. So reading this article on Terry’s writing advice felt like visiting again with a master storyteller.
The Librarian would be pleased. OOOK 


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? Coming Soon to an inbox near you.
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.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Sustaining The Words

This week was 'the after week' of one of Indie Publishings biggest conferences, 20 Books Vegas. Nearly 1000 indie authors and publishers  got together to look at best practice and share thoughts about publishing. Already the plan is to significantly ramp up the conference for  November 2020 with news today that it will expand to 1500 attendees. After 20 Books, attendees go home heads stuffed with learning and plans, they share their thoughts and takeaways on social media. To give you a little sample- here is a link to Dean Wesley Smith's keynote on having a sustainable writing career. Absolutely must watch!

The Returns system is often called flawed because it can encourage waste of epic proportions. Publishers are locked into big publishing runs and then Booksellers get locked into taking huge amounts of books, which they can’t sell so they get returned for a credit at the publishers. Often those books are in such a poor state they need to be dumped or pulped... a scheme ripe for graft as one enterprising bookseller, now in court, found out.

If by lucky chance the books are returned in good condition they can be on sold quietly to Big Bad Wolf- A book retailer in Asia known for the huge discount booksales fairs. BBW have just celebrated 10 years in the business with the startling prediction that in the next 5 years they WILL be selling 1 billion books.

The New Publishing Standard have been trying to find out just how big the book market is in China. All indications are that the market is seriously underrated. If you take Amazon and their bookselling dominance and then look at Alibaba- the eastern equivalent- they must sell books as well. The fact that Alibaba recently clocked up 1 billion dollars in sales in 68 seconds-( yes, that is not a typo,) indicates that if the book market was proportionally as big as Amazon’s then it must be huge!

It’s the middle of November and NaNo WriMo is getting serious. If you have the mid month writing blues check out these prompts. 
Or gamify your sprints with 4thewords- and slay some monsters while adding more words to your daily total.
Or read this inspiring article on the secret of writing success by Diana Wink.

The secret life of an audiobook narrator was an interesting read. Nobody prepares you for the fact that you can’t read the words you have written. It’s harder than you think-says Bill Bryson.

Are you a push writer or a pull writer? This is a thoughtful read about motivation and getting the words down.

In The Craft Section,

How to add dimension to your story- September Fawkes Bookmark

Writing a series, 7 Do’s and Don’ts-  Kassandra Lamb- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to write a blog post people read- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

How to DIY an audiobook- Renee Conoulty and Sacha Black- Bookmark

Email sign up forms- Blogging wizard

To Finish,

A Reedsy rep emailed me, this week, to tell me about a new plot generator that they had developed. 
So much fun!  When you are in the middle of NaNo WriMo and you need some inspiration to crack on with the final 20,000 words...check it out for inspiration or even just your next project!
Don’t Forget the Storybundle NaNo collection of Writing craft books- only available until the end of November.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links every month, you can subscribe and 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.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Promoting Books? Get Reading!

In Publishing News this week...

Publishers Weekly reports that Amazon is reducing it’s buy in from publishers to make space in its warehouses. Should publishers be concerned? It’s only going into the busiest weeks of the year for sales...
Staying with Amazon, they have launched a new marketplace for teachers resources. Now all those nifty resources that you make for your classroom can be sold online to other teachers.

The Macmillan CEO came out to defend their library embargo to librarians. Publishers Weekly reports librarians wern’t impressed. Read the article and think about how someone in the publishing industry could get it so wrong.

On the other side of the world Sharjah International Book Fair has just wrapped up. TNPS reports that they broke their record and had over 2 million people attend. Meanwhile down the road The Algiers Bookfair, on at the same time, reported declining numbers. They only had just over 1 million. TNPS are doing a fantastic job of showing how many potential readers are out there.  

It’s been a busy week around here as another child prepares to spread her wings and fly to the other side of the world. More of my family will be overseas than at home for the next few months. I have swapped writer duties for mother/lifecoach/cheerleader/travel organiser mode. Juggling life has shot my November writing goals out of the water. Oh for a bit of silence I thought so I was interested to read this article about writers and silence that might not be golden. Do you crave silence to write or is it a trek down to the local coffee shop?

Should writers be perfectionists? Kelsey Engen has 10 ways perfectionism kills the writer and 10 ways it doesn’t (Which side of the fence are you on?)

Recently the Guardian had an opinion piece from a crime writer who was taken to task by a concerned citizen about the content of his novels. Writing crime meant he condoned it.  Hmmm. Where does the line stop between the writing and the author?

What makes readers give an unknown author a chance? Barbara Probst posed this question to a whole range of reader groups and reported her findings in an interesting article on Jane Friedman’s site. Yes, the book is judged by the cover but that wasn’t all.

Are you setting goals for 2020? (I’m ducking for cover as I can hear the screams that we’ve only just got into November...) Stephen Spatz makes a case for planning your reading goals early. You do read don’t you?

In The Craft Section,

Surprise your reader in every scene- September Fawkes - Bookmark

Identifying your characters fatal flaw- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Cover reveal checklist-Bookbub- Bookmark

Finding competing book titles- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Copywriting formulas- Blogging wizard- Bookmark

To Finish

Penny Sansevieri has a great post on using video for book promotion ideas. It doesn’t have to be hard she says. There are some nifty sites out there who can help put together something fun. Bookmark this article and play with Book Promo for 2020.

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- Kimba Howard

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Don't Blink

This week has been quiet as everybody hunkers down to write 50,000 words. 
Amazon quietly closed its brick and mortar stores for a week and made changes. Instead of the books being face out as they were displayed before many are now spine out... and they now sport nifty e-ink price signs showing price and star rating. What are they doing with all the space they’ve freed up? Book tech.

In the showdown between libraries and McMillan publishing Who will blink first?
McMillan’s first salvo was to limit E-book copies, ramp up the price, and delay availability.
Libraries see it as an attack on the vulnerable who can’t afford the huge prices to buy print or can’t read them. (E-books have an audio capability for those with sight problems.)
Libraries are now refusing to stock McMillan titles...

How many authors have thought to themselves about changing their name to Anonymous... Imagine all the books you could say you wrote.  Publishers Weekly reports that Hachette have been warned by the American Department of Justice about the publishing of A Warning by Anonymous.
They want copies of non disclosure agreements and work histories of the Anonymous author who is an official in the White House. But will Hachette give them up? Great publicity for the book due out soon.

Also in Publishers Weekly an opinion piece hads been shared around the virtual water cooler. We need diverse editors. This shines a spotlight on the problem of diverse books being ignored because the editors lack the understanding to champion the stories effectively. 

Tara Sparling has been writing a hilarious series on book blurb writing... Here she is with part three. Short fiction and self help.

As a writer for children I keep an eye on what is news in the wider children’s publishing world. 
An interesting article caught my eye about the lack of teen books. What do you give the good readers who are 11-14 and have read everything in their school library? They don’t want romance issues, love triangles or very bad language...They don’t identify with upper YA who are 16 plus. A gap in the market apparently. (I was this teen- I discovered Sci Fi and now I write it for this gap...)

Eric Carle at 90 has just signed away his whole lifes work to Penguin Random House. This article from Publishers Weekly was interesting as it talked about the IP (Intellectual Property) of the Carle estate. Why do you think PRH wanted it...think of the merchandising. Coming on the heels of another in depth post by Kristine Rusch on how writers have been conditioned not to expect a fair deal on IP and I just wonder who got the better of the deal, 90 year old Eric or PRH.

Jami Gold has another top notch post for writers looking for good resources to help them during the November salt mine tour of duty. 

In The Craft Section,

Mindmapping for the novelist- C S Lakin- Bookmark

Enhance your writing by layering- Jordan Dane - Bookmark

Introducing tastes in story- Zoe McCarthy

Writing the first chapter- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

Creating a mood scene using light and shadow- Angela Ackerman

Should you have exposition scenes- Go Into The Story

In The Marketing Section,

When you need a blog post idea fast- Edie Melson

Basics of an author platform- Rachel Thompson

7 vital website ingredients- Small Blue Dog- Bookmark

How to spot cover design issues- Amy Collins

How to use mailerlite for authors- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

Top twitter tips for authors- Bookworks- Bookmark

To Finish,

Craft Books Galore! Prolific works have put together 51 craft book resources for the NaNo WriMo author, and they are all free... but you need to hand over your email address and then find the time to study the books.
Have you thought of collecting your must have desk items into an exclusive store for your fans? Check out what one writer is doing with the Kit website. 


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; Gary Cooper in High Noon
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