Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Grapes Of Wrath

Another week in publishing… another meltdown in publishing. Hopefully this is not a sign of a new normal for 2020.
So what is it this time? 
The novel American Dirt got rave reviews pre-publication. The book was compared to a modern Grapes Of Wrath and so it has come to pass that wrath has been visited upon the author for writing a story of Latin immigration - without being Latin.
The furore has been public and vitriolic. The author has disappeared. The publisher has tried to calm the waters, not sure if he just poured petrol on the fire with this press release.
Publishers Weekly is reporting the cancellation of the book tour in favour of Town Hall style meetings about the book. Is all publicity really good? (Can’t help thinking this would be the classic author nightmare.)
* Just edited to add in this great post from Jami Gold -What Do the Calls For Diversity Mean For Our Writing

Meanwhile in other publishing threats, The White House is trying to pull a book because of revealed national secrets that may be in it. Anybody who is close to National government has to have their manuscripts approved for release. Apparently this one was… weeks ago…

Also in a banning frame of mind is Digital Book World. They have banned Macmillan from attending the Digital Book World conference because of the way they are treating libraries. Is this a publicity stunt, a highlighting of the Macmillan/ Library issue or the building of barricades for the revolution…

This week Lee and Low published their annual baseline survey on diversity in publishing. Is the publishing world hiring a more representative band of people?

Writer Beware has a new collection of scams hitting the newbies and its Pay To Play or in this case pay to get profiles on magazines… sadly Publishers Weekly may also be in this camp.

Jane Friedman has updated her guide to Writers Conferences so if you are thinking about attending one this year – take a look.

I came across two great posts on plotting this week. An oldie but a goodie from Chuck Wendig and Story Arcs from Write Practice.

In The Craft Section,

Story Structure – Heroes Journey- Karen Woodward- Bookmark

15 keys to writing dialogue – Ruth Harris – Bookmark 

7 rules to cliffhangers- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

How to write a mystery novel- Huge collection of links- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Unique content ideas for February- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Nates big list of promotion websites- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark lots!!

Jacketed case printing – Ingram Spark’s new shiny 2020 goodie!!

To Finish,

As I come across interesting publishing links during the week I pass them on to people who are working at the coalface of any issue currently of concern. Our NZ Society of Authors is having a battle over what copyright means with government advisors. This week Joanna Penn had an interview with Rebecca Giblin on the importance of contracts and what to watch out for in publishing clauses. The interview is well worth a listen for the breaking news that an AI has been granted copyright. 
2020 is going to be an interesting year.


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Pic: Henry Fonda

Thursday, January 23, 2020

2020, Ready or Not

It’s 2020… another year in the always fascinating world of publishing and writing beckons. So what happened over the Christmas break while everyone was supposed to be drinking eggnog and contemplating the end of one decade and the beginning of the next?
This time, just as the offices are shutting, is beloved by governments and organisations who want to get something controversial or sneaky out in the open, secure in the knowledge that when people find out it will be a done deal. Enter the Romance Writers Association of America with an edict censuring one its most prominent members just before Christmas. Unfortunately for them members were still active on Twitter on Christmas Eve. There was nowhere to hide as the biggest romance association publicly crumbled. The last month has been a public relations nightmare of epic proportions. For a comprehensive rundown on events as they unfolded read Jezebel and then read Jami Gold for her ideas on how to fix the mess. (Today RWA has appointed a new executive director so hopefully they will be looking at the other suggestions as well.)

Of course being the beginning of a new year the predictions are out for what might be coming down the track for authors and publishers.
Written Word Media have ten publishing trends for authors which makes interesting reading.
Joanna Penn and Orna Ross got together to look out into the next decade and see what is coming down the train track towards us. Forewarned means being prepared to surf the change instead of drowning in it.

Kris Rusch writes a careful post of what happens in an election year to sales of books. Like it or not, American news has a ripple effect on entertainment sales. (That’s us, BTW)
Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware looked back over 2019 and the scams and shonky deals that proliferated. She warns that the old scam artists are up to their tricks again… so do yourself a favour and glance over the list of what to be aware of going into 2020.

What happens when the publisher and the fans don’t want you to stop writing a character? Lee Child has been trying to get rid of Reacher for a while… and this time he may have made it stick by handing it all over to his brother….

Last year Audible got taken to court by the big publishers over publishing captions for their audio books which was seen as ebook publishing by another way… So what happened in court… They settled.

Meanwhile the ongoing stoush between libraries and Macmillan is continuing. Macmillan stopped new releases to libraries as they claimed it hurt their sales. (Libraries have to pay very top dollar for the books.) Libraries responded. Who is hurting the most? 

Meanwhile in your New Year planning you should be looking at business plans says Jane Friedman. Janice Hardy cautions about making the same old self-publishing mistakes.
The 100 best writing websites have been rounded up again...

In The Craft Section,

How to write a killer villain-Christina Kaye- Bookmark

Authentic dialogue – Chris Fox

In the Marketing Section,

How much copy should you write on your homepage- Infographic- Barb Drozdowich- Bookmark

Content Marketing - David Gaughran – Bookmark

Build a street team- Angela Ackerman

To Finish,

Anne R Allen takes a look at Bookbub and discovers it can be just like Goodreads only much nicer! Remember the days of writing a review and recommending books?
Get your 2020 off to a great start and write a review for someone’s book. Good karma awaits.


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.
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