Thursday, April 30, 2020

Getting Your Ducks In A Row

In publishing news this week, there was consternation as the generous donor to the Bookshop hardship fund was revealed. Was it a PR coup, genuine, or a sarcastic tribute from a company that is loathed by brick and mortar stores. 

While governments are scrambling to keep their economies going in the wake of the pandemic…there have been calls to see books as essential to the well being of communities. The UK publishers set out a 5 point list of demands. Meanwhile, a couple of agents took a different view and wrote why books aren’t essential in a Publishers Weekly column.

This week Publishing Perspectives reported that China’s bestsellers seemed to have bucked the slump in sales that has hit everywhere else. It’s a fascinating look to see what makes the bestsellers list over there.

If you want a deep dive into analytics Alex Newton of K-lytics fame made his analysis of the coronavirus impact on the book market free today. Well worth a look.

Bologna Bookfair is rolling out a series of online events next week as they move the trading hall to a virtual marketplace that replaces the postponed fair. They are using the postponed dates 4-7th May for their virtual fair. This is probably going to be the way of the future so all eyes will be on Bologna to see how it works out.

Has reader behavior changed through this uncertain time? Are you reading more or less? New books or old favourites? Digital or Print? Bookbub has a revelatory article on what they are seeing.

At the end of last year, Joanna Penn interviewed Andrea Pearson about productivity. Andrea runs her writing business from home while homeschooling young children and hosting two podcasts. If you need tips on how to juggle life… check out the transcript or listen into the podcast. (She is a juggernaut!)

Kris Rusch is always my Go To. (As if you didn’t know- LOL)  She makes sense of this crazy world of publishing and how we can approach it. This week she warns that Traditional Publishers who are delaying book launches until later in the year could be doing themselves and their authors a huge disservice. She has some good advice. 
Today I saw in my Twitter feed the first of the publishing layoffs of editors and book designers. Sadly, this is just the beginning. I think we will see a very contracted book industry before the end of the year.

In The Craft Section,

How to outline a novel- Roz Morris- Bookmark

How to avoid writing a dull series-David Farland- Bookmark!

In The Marketing Section,

4 ways to market YA titles- Jennifer Tucker

Build a community of readers- Karen Lock Kolp-Bookmark

Unique content for May – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Just when you feel overwhelmed at all you should be doing, struggling to create writer energy, along comes Ruth Harris. Her gust of common sense stops you in your tracks and makes you rethink what you are doing. 10 ways to feel like a writer when you can’t write thanks to the coronavirus is a MUST READ. I played around on book cover sites and invented books for the hell of it and along the way did some learning and it was great for my mental outlook. I could float along without feeling that I was paddling furiously to get nowhere.
Note To Self- Be more like a duck.

Another year has ticked over in the life of the blog. It is nice to see that people I linked to way back, in the beginning, are still hanging in there. What changes we have seen in the last 12 years. We are definitely living through interesting times in publishing. 


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Thursday, April 23, 2020

When we get back to normal- will it be different?

This week there were interesting anecdotes from around the book publishing community on how the continuous lockdown has affected book sales. 
Audiobook sales and podcast listening has tanked. When I thought about my own life I realized why. There are no commutes. People’s consumption of podcasts and audiobooks during their work commute drove audiobook sales. I’m behind in so many episodes in my regular podcast listening I should just escape to the car for an hour and catch up on them in the driveway. 

One country that seems to be bucking this trend is Sweden- they aren’t in lockdown therefore audiobook sales are booming.

Mike Shatzkin has been looking at the cracks that have been exposed in the publishing industry because of the pandemic. How reliant is everybody on a functioning supply chain? With paper produced in China in short supply… alternative editions seem to be the way forward but for the price-conscious having an ebook priced the same as a paper book is not going to cut it. 

Kris Rusch has been looking into the past to see how publishing fared the last time there was a big disruption to the publishing industry. There wasn’t an indie book scene back then so what happened to writers. The title of her post is train wreck so that should give you some ideas. She explores the ways that writers could be much better off this time.

Penguin Random House, the biggest publisher, has been doing some experimenting according to The New Publishing Standard. They have opened an online branch in India’s Amazon platform… get ready rest of the world?

Anne R Allen has a great post on successful writers and detectives. They have lots in common. Check out the post to see your alternative career.

In The Craft Section,

Know your genre- Scott Myers

In The Marketing Section,

8 ways to sell books locally- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

The new normal is working from home surrounded by others who are also working from home. Trying to retain sanity and normality can be challenging. The virtual world is at your beck and call. Here are some ways you can keep in contact with your fans and peers. Just remember to have a great bookshelf behind you. The above picture would be just perfect!


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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, April 16, 2020

Lockdown Blues

Here we are still in the middle of the pandemic and thoughts and discussions abound on-line as to how the world will be when we get out of this. Will life be the same as before? Will we be able to go back to our local bookstore or will it have disappeared? What will the book industry look like on the other side?

Meanwhile, Anne R Allen had a great wake up article on getting your social media affairs in order just in case…Do you have a social media executor? (This also is a time to contemplate literary estates.)

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a great article on how to run online conferences or workshops. Yes, this could be the new normal for the rest of the year with conferences and book fairs transitioning online.

The ever trusty David Gaughran has an extensive article on Author Platforms. They are now more important than ever. And no, it is not just your website. It is who you are!

This week Kris Rusch talks about keeping sane as a writer in this mad mad world… She is also running a Kickstarter for writing craft bundles… with some good giveaways so you should check it out. 

William Kenower has an interesting article on Writers Digest about the cold open. When you are staring at the blank page. How do you get into the story and engage your creative mindset. He shares some tricks of the trade…

In The Craft Section,

2 great posts from Janice Hardy- 5 ways repetition is hurting your novel and plotting in 3 simple steps- Bookmark Both

Active vs Passive voice- Jami Gold Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Rachel Thompson- Promoting your books right now and Get ready for 2020 NaNoProMo- Every May Rachel hosts and teaches book promotion- Bookmark both

To Finish,

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a great website for authors. It is chock full of great resources. I often link to interesting articles on their blog. Today Angela wrote a great article on goal setting for writers during a pandemic… Great advice

I have been thinking about how much this pandemic has been showing us what is important in life. The unsung heroes (usually the lowest paid,) that keep the food arriving in the supermarkets… that clean the hospitals and streets… that work long hours doing essential work but never getting the good recognition they deserve. While these people are out there, the rest of us are consuming creative content to keep entertained. Entertainment also created and delivered originally by unsung heroes (also usually the lowest paid.)
The Romans were right. Bread and circuses… Marcus Cicero 

(LD Day 22)

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, April 9, 2020

Book Love

Another week in the strange world of publishing in a global lockdown situation.
The European Union Publishers are mentioning dire consequences for their industry and cultural life in general if governments don’t recognize that books are as essential to people’s wellbeing as food. 

Meanwhile, Gardner's book distributors in the UK are closed or open or in between or… The New Publishing Standard is scathing about the risk to their employees.

A New Zealand story that got some global attention was The Booksellers campaign #BookshopsWillBeBack. As we go into our 3rd week of lockdown we are looking forward to life on the other side. But what will the new normal look like? One thing is certain if we want to have our local shops in our communities we need to support them. Everybody needs to commit to buying local where ever possible and that includes your local bookshop.

What about writers… 
The problem with high-stress situations is that writing often goes out of the window. Anne R Allen has a great post of writing in a time of collective grief- yes that is probably what you are feeling and why you can’t string two sentences together.

Becca Puglisi has some great practical tips on how to get through this pandemic when your kids are locked in with you. This is a must-read.

Writer Unboxed looks at productivity vs chaos and offers some advice on how to strike a balance that will help you keep your sanity.

Kris Rusch has been filling her blog with great creativity posts which are must-reads but I find her long term perspectives on the book industry really interesting as well. This week she looks at what she is doing to remain calm and focused. This is all good advice and she has some great yoga links as well.

Jane Friedman has an interesting post from Lisa Cooper Ellison on how to sustain your creativity in the midst of the pandemic. One of her great tips is Keep Showing Up. You never know when the creativity could flow, by showing up you are ready when it happens.

In The Craft Section,

2 Bookmark posts from Jami Gold- Storytelling Verb Tenses and Asking Why

Michael Hauge’s 6 steps on structure

5 signs your book needs work- DIYMFA- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

8 Things to get your book noticed on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

New Facebook live tools – Frances Caballo

To Finish,

I was amused to see this Guardian article on the new lockdown game – Judging famous people by their bookshelves, then it occurred to me what was missing in my weekly skype check-in calls with other writers. I don’t have a bookcase behind me. I’m usually at the table with a messy kitchen bench behind me. I should be sitting in front of an erudite bookshelf. To do this properly I would need to rearrange 14 bookshelves. But then how do I make a decision? What books would you put into a show collection? The ones you think you should read or the ones you actually read? 

(Day 15 LD) P.S. Fabostory has started early... and this week I'm in the hot seat- details in the sidebar.

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 Plappen- Bookshelves- (Interesting mixture here)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Fighting On

As the world struggles to deal with the pandemic, the publishing world is also struggling to survive in rapidly changing times. Like the musicians of the Titanic who bravely played jaunty tunes as the ship was sinking underneath them, so the publishing world is putting on a brave face while the ground rocks under their feet. We can have book fairs online said Bologna.

Around the world, publishers and booksellers are fighting to keep going. In Italy, the first of the European countries to really grapple with the pandemic, the cultural industry federation has called on their government to see their industry as essential. Preserving and supporting Italian culture and heritage is vital in this time they say so that something remains on the other side of the pandemic.

Today, here in New Zealand, we learned that all of our major magazines have been terminated effective immediately because of the lack of advertising. That is nearly three hundred journalists out of work not to mention art editors, designers, photographers, printers, distributors etc. The flow-on effects are huge and also the potential loss of cultural and historical print institutions.

Meanwhile, Amazon, the everything store, has slowed down their delivery of what they see as non-essential. Books apparently fit in this category. If they aren’t supporting us surely they could waive their fees – the publishers cry.

There are many calls to shop indie to keep the independent booksellers alive. Many of them have ramped up their online web stores and have become creative in how they deliver locally. When you are stuck inside with the kids a dedicated book store can still get your reading books, puzzles and colouring books to you. Many bookstores are resorting to GoFundMe campaigns to stay viable. 

In times of crisis, people turn to comfort foods and occupations, binge-watching movies, TV, online gaming and reading books, all created by storytellers in different mediums. We are an essential industry. However, there seems to be a gap in the understanding of the average person that the storytellers need to be paid for their work. This is their livelihood. 
Recently, the Internet Archive in the U S made their collection of IN COPYRIGHT books freely available and downloadable. (Who needs pirates when institutions do this.) This directly tramples all over the writer's income. The Authors Guild have sent an open letter of protest

Many authors have been attacked online for NOT supporting the free downloads of their work. In the culture of free content, the creator gets nothing. This is not sustainable. 
The creator works for free only in certain circumstances- when they can afford it.  Hopefully, the W.H.O. call to creatives to help in the Covid 19 response will also generate some paying work.

While we are in lockdown and staring down the barrel of a great recession Nathan Bransford decided to interview Mike Shatzkin about how he sees the publishing world on the other side. The pandemic will cause an acceleration of consolidation and the rivals to Amazon will start to move. Fascinating ideas here.

Kris Rusch brings her calm good sense to the fore in her most recent blog. Many of us have been feeling creatively lost, struggling to get the words out and wondering how to be creative in the face of such uncertainty. Kris says this is a normal reaction and offers some great advice for getting through the tough times. Chuck Wendig also has thoughtful advice on how to cope with creativity in this time.

Sharon Bially writes that there is a silver lining in not being able to have your book launch in an article on Writer Unboxed. Here is a great opportunity to have two book launches… the online one now and when everything gets back to normal, the real-life one. Check out her ideas for making the most of the extended promotion of your book.

In The Craft Section,

How to set tone and mood- Janice Hardy – Bookmark

How to rescue an endangered book- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Character internalization- Jami Gold-Bookmark

500 writing prompts- Written Word Media

Write tight- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

7 expert tricks for author newsletters- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Book marketing during Covid 19- Judith Briles- Bookmark

Book Marketing and Covid 19-Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

For some people, this will be a time when they commit to writing down the book they have always wanted to write. Writer Guru Jerry Jenkins has pulled together a comprehensive post on how to write a book. 

For the rest of us…
 Chin up- We can get through this.

(Day 7 LD)

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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