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!

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