Thursday, March 28, 2019

The All You Can Eat Buffet

In the publishing blogosphere this week...

Mark Coker had an interesting article in Publishers Weekly about the commodification of books and how publishers must fight the dragging down of book prices.

Patreon has changed the way artists get paid. It is crowdsourcing funding directly to the artist, like the art patrons of old. Patreon has increased its fees but not by much. They have some other irons in the fire that will be interesting for artists.

The EU has passed new copyright rules. Essentially you now have to vouch for all the content on your website. Academics have not been happy with the proposed law with many signing open letters of complaint that it will hurt authors.

Apple is getting into subscription-based content starting with the news. They had their big announcement this week. The question is are they going to take on the Zon subscription service and extend it to books...

Writers can suffer from extreme loneliness. Stuck in a room all day crouched over a computer never seeing the sun... The Guardian recently had an article looking at the home office work lifestyle and made some practical suggestions for a healthy balance.

Jane Friedman recently had a guest post with four Kidslit authors who related their experiences of straddling a trad published and indie published life. Go in with your eyes open.

Staying with Kidlit. Mary Kole has an interesting article on how to get literary themes into your writing for children.

Kris Rusch has an excellent post on grammar. Kris explains how your use of punctuation directly feeds into your author voice. This is a fascinating deep dive into just what constitutes author voice.

Middle Grade Ninja has a great post on how to write fantasy quickly and Anne R Allen has a fabulous post on using Mary Sue’s or Gary Stu’s. If you don’t know what either of these terms mean you MUST read the post. Your readers will thank you.

In The Craft Section,
4 pacing tricks- K M Weiland- Bookmark

6 mistakes that can kill a great plot- Mythcreants- Bookmark

British vs American English- dictionary- Bookmark

When should I enter or exit a scene- Seth Myers- 

Creating Compelling Cadence- Writersinthestorm- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,
Using video marketing- Frances Caballo

Using exclusive content to market- Bookfunnel- Bookmark

Using map artists- Alli blog

13 copywriting tips to help write a better novel- Writers Digest

Self Publishing Formula podcast- The necessity of mailing lists- Excellent show!

To Finish,
Janice Hardy has rounded up all the story archetypes in one big master plot article. This is where you decide if you are writing a quest plot with a revenge motif using a golden fleece style adventure. If you have been wondering about where your story fits read this. 


Yes, I’m really late with 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 I will get it done soon because I want to share some interesting projects with you. If you want to shout me a coffee hit the button up top. Thanks 

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons - A canvas of Light

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Literary Citizens - Thinking Beyond Borders

This has been a terrible week. 
For my international readers, NZ had a terrorist attack perpetrated by a white supremacist from another country. 50 citizens and visitors to our country were killed along with 50 wounded. For a country of nearly 5 million people, with about 2 degrees of separation, the scale of the tragedy is like 4000 people killed in the United States of America. Today our government made it illegal to own a semi-automatic military-style weapon or magazine, effective immediately.

As a nation, we have been forced to look at ourselves in the mirror. Could we have done more to call out hate speech and racism? As we all reflect on some harsh truths, our leaders have been quick to act, to demand that we not say the name of the attacker or anything he espoused. To make funds available for flights and funeral costs to victims families. To extend visas to people caught up in the tragedy of Christchurch. As messages poured in from around the world we were reminded that the world is smaller due to Social Media. 

Social Media brought out the best of our global citizenry with donations, food, flights, and vigils all being quickly organised. But Social Media companies were shown to be the worst global citizens when they failed to stop the hate message video that was live streamed by the terrorist despite trumpeting how good they were at policing their sites.
Many NZ companies have withdrawn advertising from the big social media accounts who failed us on Friday. Many Kiwi’s are closing their FB accounts disgusted with the non-appearance of Mark Zuckerberg to explain why FB failed to stop the video being shared around the world. 

I have been thinking about Global Citizenry a lot this week. In the publishing blogosphere, we can become very Western focussed in our publishing thinking. There is a huge market of readers out there in the rest of the world. I follow The New Publishing Standard and Mark Williams, the editor, recently got in touch to comment on my blog post of two weeks ago with some updated figures which he graciously said I could put in todays blog post.

"In fact our StreetLib author & publisher portal roll-out is at 75 countries this week and will top 100 in April. We hope to have the entire world enfranchised with a publishing portal later this year.’ 
(The underline is mine.) Mark went on to add...

"Globally there are over 4 billion people online but only 11% of them are in the US and UK. The global book market is worth over $143 billion and 70% of that is outside the USA. The global book markets are incredibly exciting right now, and growing fast. By one estimate that $143 billion valuation for 2017 could be $356 billion by 2022.

Globally TNPS tracked over 50 million people attending book fairs last year outside the US/UK, and came nowhere near covering all.

This past week the Big Bad Wolf book sale ended in Jakarta, Indonesia. It's the world's biggest book sale. 5.5 million books on sale 24/7 for eleven days. I don't have this year's final numbers yet but in 2018 750,000 visitors crammed in to buy books. 4.5 million of those 5.5 million books were in English. Such was the demand that BBW had to make two more trips to Indonesia in 2018.
Big Bad Wolf last year shipped over 30 million English language books to countries like Thailand, Sri  Lanka, Taiwan, Dubai, Indonesia, Philippines and this year is aiming at 60 million. Earlier this year BBW took 1 million English-language books to Myanmar (Burma)."

Mark sent me many more facts and figures and they make eye-popping reading. But to give you a hint check out one of his latest articles on what Streelib is doing in Africa.

For those people wondering about where Big Bad Wolf sources their books... they are remaindered copies onsold by the publisher. If you are a Trad published writer this will leave a bitter taste in your mouth as authors receive no money for remaindered books. 

As I am a children’s book writer I’m always interested in what trends are on the watch list at Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. 

Jane Friedman has an interesting post on Beta Readers. They come in all shapes and sizes.

In The Craft Section,

Writing the first draft- Go Into The Story

Goal oriented storytelling- Chris Winkle- Bookmark

Pet the dog signpost scene- DIYMFA- Bookmark

Finding the perfect title for your book- Alli Blog- Bookmark

Coming up with Scene ideas

In The Marketing Section,

Book Marketing assets and processes- Orna Ross

4 Facebook ad techniques- Luke Heinecke

Book sales description- Joanna Penn- Bookmark

Successful Self-publishing- Creatif writing- Bookmark

Social Media Hashtags for Authors

A few things to know about blurbs- Pub Crawl

To Finish,

Michael Seidlinger from Melville House wrote in a blog post this week about literary citizenship and giving back to the literary community. One of our exemplary literary citizens is Joanna Penn. She has just celebrated ten years of podcasting. This is a phenomenal achievement. Her anniversary podcast is great listening and she announces that she is adding a new podcast on The Creative Penn on books and travel. Congratulations Joanna!! 


In my monthly newsletter, 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 book crammed full with marketing notes. If you want to shout me a coffee hit the Kofi button up top. Thanks. I appreciate virtual coffee love.

Pic: The NZ iconic silver fern, which is a real plant, was redrawn this week by Pat Cambell in the Canberra Times as Muslims going to prayer. (Heart Broken.)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Crowd Success

Today I received the writing craft book I ordered (see my blog two weeks ago) and it was a bittersweet moment. The book looks fabulous, Writing Deep Scenes by Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld, but the bittersweet moment was the realisation that it was published by F&W Media. This week F&W Media filed for bankruptcy. Their most recognisable brand is Writers Digest which they have been publishing for nearly 100 years. They publish writing craft books, magazines, and Writers Market yearbooks. They hold popular conferences and run courses in writing. Hopefully, they can work through this.

Crowdfunding seems to be the answer to lots of publishing questions. There is crowdfunding when you directly fuel a creative project and there is crowdfunding... where it’s a little bit murkier. Writer Beware shines a spotlight on a crowdfunding option for pitching manuscripts... authors enter their MS into the crowdfunding site. If they get over 250 pledges the MS gets looked at by lower-tier agents and publishers. Over 500 and a higher tier of agents and publishers look at it, except that the agents and publishers all have open submission anyway and the publishers have red flags often against their names. Sounds Legit?

In crowdfunding of a different sort... publishers are getting together at the London Book Fair and one of the initiatives is the Book Aid charity. This year they are helping to get Mosul University Library back on its feet after they were largely destroyed by ISIS. 

Slightly digressing I was pleased to see that a local group of authors had got together and started a little venture called The Underground Bookshop. They have committed to having a stall at a local market every week. Good things happen when writers get together. 

The Digital Reader always has his digit on the pulse of what is happening in publishing. This week he reported that Amazon has set up a new ebook quality control feature in author dashboards. While Amazon is tweaking their digital store... they are pulling out of all their pop up stores.

Have you ever spent a long time hunting for a writing file you know you put somewhere in your computer? Editor Lisa Poisso has the article just for you (and me) how to name your files correctly so you don’t lose them.

How to survive rejection. Even the great writers struggled with this bane of the writer life. Lit Hub details how poet W B Yeats coped with rejection. It is a great essay. If you have been struggling lately John Kerr has a great practical piece on ways to survive the rejection blues.

Joel Friedlander has written a great post on tips for the work at home writer. This is a must-read. By the way, Joel has just launched a new book template – Gourmet. This is especially for all those people who have dreamed of writing a cookbook. 

In The Craft Section,

Six subplots that add style to your story-Writers write- Bookmark

Why lack of structure is killing your characters-Bang 2 Write- Bookmark

Beginnings and Backstory- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

Stuck in the middle- Margot Kinberg

Writing Backstory through Dialogue- Becca Puglisi

Imagery description overkill- Mary Kole

In The Marketing Section,

Spotify now has ads... John Kremer

5 great ways to get readers engaged- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

7 ways to use Instagram- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

Getting your rights back- Elizabeth Spann Craig- Bookmark

Set up local book links for ebooks- Alli Blog- BOOKMARK

To Finish,

I have been wrestling with carpal tunnel effects all week and it is annoying. Aside from the tingling in my left hand, I have been keeping reasonably good health. However, that is not the case for other writers. I am in admiration of those writers who have a severe chronic illness and still manage to write new words.  Kris Rusch has a short excerpt from her upcoming book – writing with chronic illness. Kris talks about celebrating achievements even if they are small. This week I have been thinking about that and a day with new words is a good day.


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 coffee, just hit the coffee button up top.  I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic Flickr Creative Commons - James Cridland

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Go Global - Resistance Is Futile

It’s March and that means the publishing industry wakes up and announces new things…

Streetlib the Italian based digital book provider has expanded again
and is now in every country in Africa and enabling authors to publish in their own languages.
They have also expanded down under, this month opening up in Samoa. (last month it was NZ and Fiji)
They are on a super roll to enable authors to publish globally in their own languages. This is a big thing
in terms of readers.
Did you know there are more people online in Nigeria than in the UK? Think of the new readers…

Bookbub decided that as Audio is the big thing they better get involved and so they have launched
a new service called Chirp with Findaway voices. Where they showcase featured audio… for very CHEEP.

Recently the Guardian wrote about the world of academic publishing. That is where the author
of the article has to pay a huge sum of money to the journal to publish their academic findings.
Then the journal goes on to charge huge sums to the university libraries for subscription fees
to read the article… after the university paid for the research in the first place.
Someone is making heaps of money.
However Cengage an academic subscription service for students have quietly been circumventing
huge textbook fees and have just enrolled their 1,000,000 subscriber.

StoryTel, an online everything entertainment subscription service, have also been expanding.
They have opened up in Poland and they write about how subscription to an all in one service works
Instead of spreading your love between Netflix, Itunes, Amazon, Spotify…. Get it all in one handy package.
This is the future… and books, newspapers, journals, etc are write in amongst it...    

The world is available to you in 24 time zones… which is a good thing because it doesn’t matter where you are
in the world you can attend the London Book Fair Alliance of Independent Authors conference
which is 24 hours of amazing goodies for authors and all FREE.
Conference organiser Sacha Black was just interviewed on The Creative Penn on Villains and Heroes
and it is a craft must listen.

Meanwhile another week another predator… Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords, found it
an interesting experience when he was contacted out of the blue by a publishing company that wanted
to make him a household name…. Hmmm.

Last year I reported the author disquiet around the handling of Harper Lee’s estate.
Now there are problems with all the theatre productions of To Kill A Mockingbird.
How to kill a golden mockingbird….

Roz Morris has been writing her blog for ten years. That’s a lot of content. She reflects on how she got
started and what she has learned along the way.  Anne R Allen has a great post this week on
how to write web content. Something I struggle with…

In The Craft Section,

How to write humour- WritePractice-

Effortless writing- Copyblogger

Unsnagging your plot- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

How to avoid repetitive sentences- Janice Hardy - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Email newsletter examples- Hubspot- Bookmark

2019 Literary Calendar- Build Book Buzz- Bookmark

8 marketing tips- Writer Unboxed

To Finish,

Creative resistance is a thing. It is the nagging little voice that tells you all the words you’ve just written are awful
and you may as well give up. There are some great books out there to help.
The War of Art- Steven Pressfield is a great book or you can read Chuck Wendig’s latest blog on Self Rejection


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 coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic Flickr Creative Commons- Kevin Gill. What the world would look like if the polar ice sheets melted.
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