Thursday, February 27, 2020

Tricky Questions. Big Consequences.

This week everyone in publishing has been talking about whether the Book Fairs are on or off or postponed or delayed or canceled altogether.
With restrictions on movement and fears about Covid19 and a potential pandemic, the Book Fair season is looking shaky.
London is going ahead but organisers are noting there will be restrictions in place and a smaller fair. There are still going to be plenty of good discussion along with lots of hand sanitiser. LBF are warning about shaking hands. 
With the postponement of major book fairs, there is a knock-on effect happening. May looks like it will be very busy with make-up book fairs. Already publishers are delaying publication because they can’t get books printed in China in time as restrictions on movement slows down the industry.

Ingram Spark are tightening up the rules on what gets printed through them. In their sights are Indie Publishers with badly copied PDF’s, journals with blank pages and anything they think looks dodgy like workbooks. This could catch writers on the hop especially those who publish reading copies and workbooks to go with their books

Jami Gold has a quick rundown on the RWA where we are now report which was just released. Can something rise from the ashes? The bulk of Jami’s post is on how to cope with disappointment. Do you use it to spur yourself on or wallow with chocolate cake?

Kris Rusch has a great post on challenging your comfort zone. Have you been writing the same old thing, book after book? When did you last live on the edge creatively?

Ruth Harris has an excellent post on the five mental traps that the writer can get caught up in. Yes, your writing brain is out to sabotage you. How can you recognize the signs? 

Fae Rowen sat down and wrote a list of things she wanted to achieve in her writing in the next decade. They all have to do with craft. This is a great list to mull over and steal from.

In The Craft Section,

How To Rewrite Your Whole Darn Book- P J Parrish – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Unique marketing ideas for March – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Professional Writing Resources- K M Weiland – Bookmark

To Finish,

During the Christmas/Summer break I went to the movies. I was keen to see Knives Out for various reasons. The cast, and the premise. An old fashioned whodunnit mystery. It seemed so fresh again to be in an audience that were treated as intelligent. After I got used to Daniel Craig’s accent, I enjoyed being surprised by the twists and turns. Excellent storytelling. Is this genre making a come back? How are your sleuthing skills?

Pic: Angela Lansbury- Murder She Wrote- TV Series 1984-96


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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Bad Actors

Today I was perusing Twitter for interesting writing links and I noticed that there was an online chat with Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware. What a super site. Victoria mentioned that it was started in 1998 with the late Ann Crispin. If you put #bookmarketingchat in the Twitter search box you can get a great rundown on the shonky clauses and bad hat operators out there in publishing land from today’s chat.

Chuck Wendig published a thoughtful piece on a trend he is seeing that he is NOT OK with. The soliciting of blurbs from authors for unpublished novels or novels on submission or before they have been edited. Blurbs for editors to take to acquisitions meetings??? So they’ll only publish if you’ve got fancy writer friends? (Not to mention shady opportunities.)

Agent Janet Reid has also highlighted a problem with agent persona theft that is happening.
If an agent is contacting you first… check up! Are they bona fide?

While we’re on bad ideas… Hugh Howey recently published a blog article where he describes the inertia of bad ideas in the writer’s room. He is taking part in a writer’s room for screenwriters at the moment and watching what happens when a writer gets an idea that proves to be bad and how everybody can get carried away trying to make it fit.

Kris Rusch has an interesting article this week on learning from watching horrible performances. What worked? What didn’t? Where was the point that the audience was lost? Now, how could you apply lessons learned in your manuscript?

Apparently, Google Play have made it easier to publish on their platform. After making it really hard last year that many aggregators gave up on them. I went hunting for an explanation and found this article by Publish Drive on how to get yourself into Google Play.

Meanwhile over in Sweden, The New Publishing Standard has a remarkable post today on the tipping point of digital versus print in their publishing landscape. The subscription model in the Nordic countries might be breathing life into the backlist but what about the printers…This makes the recent meeting of printers and publishers in the US have a lot more meaning for the future of print publishing.

Scribendi has put together their list of the 30 best writer’s websites in 2020. Take a look. There are some tried and true sites that have featured here over the years and some new ones you might like to explore.

Written Word Media has published a list of the top ten trends that 2020 will bring to publishing so be prepared. 

Have you heard of a Mary Sue? Do you know what it means? Are they the kiss of death in your novel? Litreactor takes a look at this writer/superhero stand in.

James Scott Bell is one of the better writing craft gurus around. This week he looks at the themes of The Kings Speech and what writers can learn from the way the beats were used to mine emotion in the film.

In The Craft Section,

Mapping story settings – Sara Letourneau

The a-z of novel writing- Writers Digest- (very creative)

In The Marketing Section,

Author websites- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

The perils of also boughts – Penny Sansevieri

A marketing roadmap – Insecure writers Support group – Bookmark

To Finish,

Write On Con is on this weekend! If you are interested in writing for children you need to check out this online conference. It is affordable… $10 and the range of presenters is top notch. The all you can eat feast of craft, workshops, pitching opportunities, marketing, illustrators, writers, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all schedule is here. (US eastern time)


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Pic: Salvador Dali- Not a Bad Actor but I couldn't resist that moustache! (photographer Phillippe Halsman 1942)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

How To Take Care Of Your Writer

This week the fallout continued with The Romance Writers Association of America. Things have gone from bad to worse in just a week with the current board resigning yesterday and calling for elections for an interim board. Many writers have resigned their memberships and many chapters have also tried to distance themselves from the ongoing mess.
With the high level of angst, anger and frustration around Romance land it’s time to look at writer self-care. Do you make time for yourself and incorporate it in your writing routine?
Shelley Wilson has a great article on understanding what writer self-care looks like and building it into your writing day.

Yesterday I saw a plea from an experienced writer who was asked to comment on a contract. The writer ended up spelling out what the contract was asking for. 
The term of the contract was the term of the copyright of the book, which (in NZ) is the life of the author plus fifty years. Don’t do that. Give the publisher first printing rights in English in North America, or limit the terms to something reasonable like five years not the rest of your life plus fifty years. 
The contract gave the publisher first option on any future books by the author. Seriously. Do you want to go back to that publishing company every time you write or are thinking of writing another book to see if they want to publish it?
The contract was not just for first printing rights, but for all derivative rights. Everything. Not just ebook. All languages, all countries, all formats including print, ebook, audiobook, film rights, everything. Another paragraph said that he basically didn’t get any say in what other editions were prepared- additional printing, book club edition, library edition, abridgements, adaptations, etc. 
The author was expected to provide contact info for famous people who would give blurbs, provide cover images, have the manuscript professionally proved before submission, etc.
Contracts are negotiable. Many writers are so happy to get one they never think about what they are signing. Kris Rusch pointed out in this week’s business post the problem of an IP holder going back over their assets and making an anthology audio book, twenty years later, without looking at the contracts of the anthology contributors.- Would writers even know that they were owed money?

This week Jami Gold wrote about reading recently published books in your genre. Are you doing this as part of your research? It sparked a lively discussion on her FB page. How recent is recent asked one person… I have seen agents say (this week) comp books must be under two years old. You should keep an eye on what is getting published in your genre just so you know what is being overdone.

Jonny B Truant and Sean Platt are the mouths of Sterling and Stone an indie powerhouse story studio. Recently they were interviewed by Forbes Magazine about their writing model. Take 15 writers and 150 books… This is another twist on the collaboration model.

Have you come across the ten commandments of writing? This is a nice mantra to share around your writing groups.

In The Craft Section,

In The Marketing Section,

To Finish,

How are your New Years resolutions writing goals going? Did I see a wince?
Debra Eckerling has a great post on rebooting your writing goals. Remember every day is a new day to begin something.


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.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

History Lessons

February is Black History month in the United States. With diversity or the lack of it in publishing on everyone’s minds there are numerous ways publishers and booksellers seek to show they are listening to the people at least in one month. Unfortunately, sometimes they can get it so wrong. Barnes and Noble and Penguin Random House believed the world was ready for classic white literature to have new diversity style covers…. PR Disaster.
As POC writers pointed out, they could have just highlighted or even published our books!

Elsewhere in the world, the Taipei bookfair has been postponed. This week more than half a million people would have been attending one of the largest literary events in the world. The New Publishing Standard points out that this will probably not be the only casualty to the Corona Virus.

London Book Fair is still on… and they are ‘amping up the profile of audio books and all things audio related at this year’s fair. Publishing Perspectives looks at what is on offer. They also have a report on how many Wattpad stories have been picked up for film, television and book deals.

Anne R Allen has a timely reminder that some readers will persist in believing that you wrote about their lives in your books. This is upsetting for everyone. How can you solve the problems when life imitates fiction?

Kris Rusch has been writing about optimism and the writer. This is a great read for the writer who maybe staring at the bank balance and wondering why we do this thing called writing.
Jami Gold looks at editing and life challenges and puts the two on the same level. An interesting shift in mindset here.

Iva Cheung beautifully demonstrated a problem, in comic form, that she is seeing in publishing houses. Many new editors have no idea what a style sheet is. Her comic does highlight a basic knowledge gap. For a dive into what style sheets are check out this post from Ruth Harris.

Two interesting posts caught my eye today on craft. James Scott Bell on the curse of expository dialogue and Copy Blogger and their tools for editing – take 3 highlighters. As I was reading this, I was reminded of P G Wodehouse’s style of editing. He would pin each page of the novel onto his study wall in rows. Good pages went to the top row. All the others would move up and down the rows depending on how much editing he thought they needed. He wouldn’t send a book off unless every single typewritten page was on the top row.

In The Craft Section, (Bookmark All of them!)

The ultimate guide to creating characters- 1000 day MFA-Shaunta Grimes BOOKMARK

In The Marketing Section,

To Finish,

Today is New Zealand’s commemoration day. We remember the treaty that was signed between two very different peoples in 1840 and the subsequent ups and downs of this relationship. We are really only now coming to terms with the legacy of injustice. Now, after 180 years, it will be compulsory to teach our own history in schools. Having studied a little bit of New Zealand history in university this is going to be a wake-up call to the general population. If you want a quick primer on what the treaty was about check out this fabulous graphic novelization that was made for children by Toby Morris.

Ina kei te mohio koe ko wai koe, I anga mai koe I hea kei te mohio koe, 
kei te anga atu ki hea.
If you know who you are and where you are from, then you will know where you are going.


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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