Thursday, October 31, 2019

Writing- Ready or Not

It is nearly the witching hour. The time when the clock ticks forward into a new month. The month where writers around the world glance feverishly at their word counts and cheer or despair as the count climbs closer to the goal of 50,000 words. NaNoWriMo has begun.

So for those of you about to launch into the month of writing madness you might like Quick and Dirty Writing Tips from Melissa Donovan. Janice Hardy also has updated her post about ten things to remember if you want to be published.
And if you need any productivity or craft book help don’t forget to check out the Storybundle of great craft books especially for NaNoWriMo.

Everyone else.... Normal Transmission Will Resume Shortly.

This week The New Publishing Standard (TNPS) highlighted a couple of interesting developments. First was the launch of a new subscription service for Harry Potter fans. How can this be a new development you ask. Well back in the day, J K Rowling didn’t sell her ebook rights. And then went on to create a whole website experience around them. It was groundbreaking at the time in terms of fan engagement but also a lesson in how to really market your IP. The subscription service takes it up another notch and TNPS thinks this may become the future for books... 
Second, from TNPS was the news that Publishers Weekly was getting into the paid review game. Regardless of what you think about the ethics of paid reviews, there are some high-end book review sites that do this. Kirkus charges steeply to have a review. TNPS has some interesting comments to make about value for money.

There are some big writing conferences coming up. Kris Rusch, this week, looked at the bane of the writer – Giving Speeches. How do you manage public speaking events? How do you know you are any good? When is the writer off stage in public... (hint: Never.)
Check out her good advice. 

Ruth Harris has a great post on backlist. Have you given a thought to your backlist? Have you shown it some love? This week I reprinted my first book in The Circus Quest Series and took the chance to update the series page in the back of the manuscript. I have been noticing that Traditional Publishers are combing backlists more. They are discovering there is money to be made by slapping them up as ebooks. If they can do this why don’t you? Time to check your contracts.

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a great blog you should drop into. Recently, John Doppler, their contract watchdog posted about the ten most common contractual pitfalls he has seen.  The title of the blog is a great rule of thumb to assess a contract- Who does your publishing contract protect?

In The Craft Section,

Elements of plot development- NowNovel- Bookmark

Creating an Interesting character

On The Nose Dialogue- K M Weiland- Bookmark
2 Great posts from Janice Hardy The science of pacing and Busting Outline Myths – Bookmark Both.

In The Marketing Section,

Content marketing for Fiction and Non Fiction- Alli Blog-Bookmark

Bookbub ads for design inspiration

Improve author website search engine optimisation – The Creative Penn

Free Book Marketing tools- WrittenWord Media

Book marketing tips-1976write

How to promote your book on a shoestring- Prowriting aid- Bookmark

To Finish,

It’s the last day of October and if you are wracking your brains on where to start with NaNoWriMo about to begin, check out Bang To Write’s comprehensive post with loads of graphics about all the ways you can structure your story. Pick one and get started. I’m cheering you on!


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 –  Erik Drost 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Unexamined Life

This week there was lots of chat around the writing watercoolers about the surprise of a joint win at The Booker awards and then came a surprising tell-all complaint about the judges and the process from one of the publishers of a shortlisted book. The whole process seems to be murky and not what you would expect from a high-end literature prize.

Meanwhile, Writtenword Media released its author income survey, for everyone who hasn’t won The Booker. Yes, we aren’t making much money but they drill down into who is and how you can change things.

This week Jane Friedman looked at the current trends over 2019 in book publishing. Publishers have finally caught on to Backlist reprints for serious money. Audiobooks and graphic novels for children (reading by other means) and there are problems ahead for the midlist children’s authors. 

Roger Packer explains the backlist experiments that the Traditional Publishers are doing... but have they got it all wrong with the pricing? In an Alliance of Independent Authors piece, Eliza Green comments on a reader rebellion... over the pricing and breaking up of Patricia Cornwall’s latest book. Amazon may have thrown their prize catch under a bus.

It’s been a while since we heard from Chuck who has been facing some pretty hefty life changes recently. This week he looks at Writer Self Care and the delicate balancing act a writer has to do to produce Art while not falling apart. 

Anne R Allen has a very thought-provoking blog this week on unexamined beliefs in writing. Do you know someone who has sabotaged themselves over a belief that is untrue but seems hardwired into their brain? So it is with writing. Are you holding on to beliefs that are sabotaging your writing?

Kris Rusch is also looking at the writing business. How are you examining the choices you make in your business? Are you leaping from one thing to another or are you examining the way carefully? Does that mean you may miss out on opportunities?

Unleash your storytelling superpower! Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA has a new series looking at how to identify the specific archetype that you are drawn back to again and again. 

In The Craft Section,

The 10 step checklist for writing a better than average novel- K M Weiland- Bookmark

5 misunderstandings that keep writers from Plotting- Mary Buckham

How To Develop Your Book Idea- Now Novel – Bookmark for NaNoWriMo

The Ins and Outs of Internal Dialogue- Writersinthestorm- Bookmark

Pre plotting a novel – Martha Aalderson

Tips for NaNoWriMo

In The Marketing Section,

10 best Book Trailer types- Adam Cushman 

The 30 scariest author website mistakes- Pauline Wiles- Bookmark

Building a fan base- Angela Ackerman

How To Write A Book Blurb- Tara Sparling- Bookmark

You can now add audiobook codes to your Universal Book Link – Yay!

To Finish,

With all the stress factors involved in writing why would you do it? Give it all up and leave it to Artificial Intelligence. Yes, AI’s are writing books and designing book covers. You can buy a print book today, untouched by a human hand. ( A quick examination shows they probably aren’t suitable for The Booker, yet.)


My monthly newsletter is due out this weekend. It's a long weekend here so there are no excuses... (kids, garden, market bookstalls... I will prevail...)When you subscribe to the newsletter you 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 – Thomas Galvez

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Planning For The Future

This week I have been thinking about Preptober and the drive to write a novel in a month. I was listening to Joanna Penn’s interview with Grant Faulkner, the executive director of NaNoWriMo and the comment came up that even if you don’t write your 1700 words in a day or you binge write and take day-long breaks- you are still laying a foundation of habit. The habit of writing. 

While we are in Preptober... Reedsy has a roundup of things to help you prepare for November. Perry Elisabeth has 15 simple things to help you survive NaNoWriMo
If you are wondering about giving dictation a go in November check out Daily Writing Tips. They recently had an article about dictating books into speech recognition software. There are writers who absolutely swear by this. 

Jami Gold has been thinking about vision and goals. How do we know we have succeeded in our goals if we never articulate them? Jami has gathered together great worksheets and resources to help with goal setting and author business.

Over in the Publishing world, it’s Frankfurt Book Fair, one of the biggest industry book fairs in the world. Publishing Perspectives reported on the opening keynotes. Did you know that Netflix is sourcing content from books in translation? They are looking at best sellers in other languages and then creating a TV series. Book then TV show.

The other keynote that caught my eye was the warning to the publishing industry about the rise of AI and what that may mean for copyright going forward. This is a hot new topic and one that is getting a lot of traction from publishing commentators. Last week I linked again to Joanna Penn’s article on how she thinks AI will impact the author community. Keep an eye on this tech development.

Mike Shatzkin keeps an eye on the publishing industry. He has been a commentator and consultant on publishing and future predictions for over 40 years. Recently he published an article on the 7 ways publishing will change in the next few years. Backlist will be king and watch out for major changes in Non-Fiction publishing.

The other writer I like to go to is Kris Rusch. She also has a long history in the publishing industry. She has edited, commissioned, written just about every type of writing there is. In this weeks article, she looks at the three types of writers that are in publishing now. She predicts only one of them will survive. 

Kris references that article that I commented on last month. If you are still trying to get to grips with what a book deal means and what an advance is check out this article from Electric Literature where an agent explores the ins and outs of a book deal.

James Scott Bell has a great post on How To Describe Your Main Character. You may think duh, but how often do you write a list of attributes? Do you sprinkle them in your writing or avoid it altogether? This week I had a conversation about this with a writer from a minority culture. I have tended to avoid descriptions thinking readers would fill in their own preferences until it was suggested to me that readers have been conditioned to expect that the character will always be white, able-bodied and without glasses unless specifically stated otherwise.  Hmm. Lots of food for thought for me. I imagine all my characters as mixed race. I don’t know why because I’m not. I have never described skin tone deliberately in my writing, maybe it’s time to start. 

In The Craft Section,

How to create an antihero- Icy Sedgwick

Rules – do we need to follow them?

How to proofread- TCK Publishing

Watching out for redundancy- Jami Gold- Bookmark

A story idea each day- Go Into The Story- Bookmark

Tweak boring stereotypical white dudes- Litreactor- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

How to build a long term career- James Scott Bell

Two great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Using competing book titles for book marketing and 12 questions I’m always asked about Book Marketing- Bookmark

3 reasons to start planning Christmas Social Media campaigns now- Frances Caballo

Using kindle keywords- Dave Chesson (New research from Dave.) – BOOKMARK

Tips for compelling book description Part Two

To Finish,

Every year the good folks at Storybundle put together a special bundle for NaNoWriMo. Over the years I have filled my Kindle up with great writing craft books from these bundles. Take a look at this year's Nano Storybundle. The money goes directly to the authors, a little bit goes to charity, you get a great bargain... WIN/WIN


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.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Excuse Me – We’re writing.

Keen eyed blog readers will be aware that this blog is a 24 hours late.... I have a great excuse. I was teaching suspense and other deep dive techniques to young authors in a holiday writing camp. Teaching techniques is a sure fire way to tighten up your own writing. Add in eager bright young writers (and their writing is so good it keeps you on your toes,) and your day is fun but exhausting! Delaying my blog to assist the writers of tomorrow... a good trade off I think.

It’s October and that means it’s prep month for NaNoWriMo. In catchy phrase terms Preptober. This is where those people who set aside November to write a 50,000 word novel in a month start to plan their stories, get their new journals, and lay in a stock of food for the duration. Shayla Raquel has the ultimate guide on how to rock Preptober so you can hit the keyboard running on November 1st.

With NaNoWriMo around the corner... it is timely to be aware of how to keep yourself well as you binge write. Don’t forget to build in breaks... and figure out a way to keep yourself sane throughout November. Procrastination and writing excuses can hijack you at just at the wrong moment. Chris Smith has a 5 step guide to defeating writer procrastination. 

Janice Hardy has written a remarkable roundup of all the lessons she has learned from her decade in publishing. What she would do differently if she knew. This is the information you wished you had known, the advice you should have taken. Share this with all the newbie writers out there. Old hands will be nodding all the way through.

Sam Bleicher recently guest posted on Joanna Penn’s blog on dealing with facts in science based fiction. Writing science fiction means getting the science right. This can be paralysing for the writer. How much science is too much? If you write in a genre that relies on facts like gravity this is a good article to help you out. (Thought: Space explosions... if there is no air in space can you have those movie firey explosions?) 

Kris Rusch always like to change things up around her publishing schedule and she has come up wit an ambitious idea for the holiday season... which starts around now. However the idea is so novel there are no contracts out there to cover the kind of collection she is thinking of... How do you write a contract for  creative contributors  for something that hasn’t been invented yet.

Recently Penny Sansevieri asked if I would write a blurb for the revised edition of How To Sell Books By The Truckload On Amazon. I was happy to do it as Penny is one of my Go To resources for understanding author marketing. Take a look at this excerpt on writing Amazon descriptions that recently appeared on Jane Friedman’s blog.

In The Craft Section,

Choosing the right setting for a powerful scene- Angela Ackerman

Chekov’s gun and your story- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

Conflict in scene writing – Go Into The Story- Bookmark

How writing a novel is like romance- Janice Hardy Bookmark

20 writing tips to improve your craft- Reedsy- Comprehensive!

In The Marketing Section,

Audiobook promotion for authors- Alli Blog Bookmark

Font tips for book covers-Christine Holmes - Bookmark 

Tips for Compelling Book Descriptions - David Kudler

Free podcast tool- Cool Resource

5 easy steps to repurpose your blog into a podcast.- Kunzonpublishing
(If you are keeping up with changes in tech, you will be aware that voice search is fast becoming mainstream. Audio is taking off like a rocket and voice search bots will be playing audio clips more often. Check out Joanna Penn’s AI and the future podcast she did in July. Already changes she thought were coming in a few years were announced this week.)

To Finish,

NaNoWriMo is often a time when everybody starts to share their best craft books for writers. Sacha Black has pulled together 11 of the best books around. I have a few of these. Take a look there just might be the perfect book for you in the list. Feel free to comment with your own best book on the craft of writing.


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 1894 NCCA

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Life Is A Story

This week I had to come to terms with the mortality of one of my favourite writers. He slipped away into the next great adventure. I was asked to provide one of a series of public tributes and I found it quite hard and moving at the same time to reflect on a time and place that we both lived in and that feels like another country in today's world. The world is so fast-paced compared to my childhood which felt like a long summer of outdoor experiences. I look at my own children and wonder what their memories will be. Will it be wrapped up in technology? It got me thinking about literary estates and longevity of storytelling lives and the sheer breadth and depth of all the storied lives that have gone before us.

This week Ruth Harris looked at the seduction of the New Book idea. When you are tired of the old book idea... or the writing is dragging... isn’t it wonderful to play with the new shiny idea that makes writing fun again? Is there a danger in chasing after the new?

I’m always interested in book cover designs. Today I saw a fabulous cover of a book that will be out next year. But what was really interesting is that there are different book covers for the US market, the UK market, and the Aus/NZ market. What makes different countries prefer different motifs? IngramSpark has a roundup of the design trends they have noticed so far.

Statistics, love ‘em or hate ‘em, sometimes you just need to wrap your head around them. So this week Sandra Beckwith of BuildBookbuzz put together some publishing statistics for authors to help them understand and plan their careers. Take a look.

Branding is another subject authors love to hate. Yes, you are a brand but you can be a brand in a good way. Why branding confuses you and how to fix this in a good way written by Rachel Thompson especially for authors. 

Kobo has an eye on the fastest-growing format in publishing. This week they have launched an easy way to upload your audio files and you are not locked into anything. Another company entering the Audio publishing space.

Joanna Penn is always a fount of interesting wisdom and content. This week she had a great post on collaborative writing with  David Mark Brown who got together with his writing group to write stories... with fifty authors! Joanna also has a great interview with Blaire Palmer on transitioning to a creative career. 

Are you in danger of succumbing to the new cult of the first sentence? Do you need an intervention? Does the first sentence really matter? Scott McCormick takes issue with the cult and offers ways to get free.

In The Craft Section,

5 quick questions to help you write awesome characters- Bang to Write 

What are the traits of an espionage hero?- Piper Bayard- Bookmark

Give your readers someone to hate- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

How to identify Second Draft Writer Blues- Lucy Mitchell

When literary devices become tangled- Peter Selgin

In The Marketing Section,

Q and A with Literary Agent on identifying trends- Bookmark

How to spice up your boring author interview- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

Pinterest and Instagram for writers- Frances Caballo

4 ways Publisher Rocket helps authors- Dave Chesson

Bookbub Author profile examples- Bookbub

How to launch a book with more preorders- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish, 

A neat little video from author Jenna Moreci on the ten tips for writing your first chapter. Just when you thought you knew what to do... laugh out loud funny.


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: Creative Commons – John Lustig- Light reading

Related Posts with Thumbnails