Thursday, September 24, 2020

Ear Wars


In the publishing blogosphere...

This week Mark Williams from The New Publishing Standard shone a light on a new move from Amazon. Audible launched an unlimited audiobook subscription in Spain. This looks like a big test of audio subscription and the beginning of subscription wars in audiobooks.

Amazon is also making moves on the podcasting front – adding podcasts to Amazon music.


Cory Doctorow is an astute observer of the tech space and an award-winning writer of cyberpunk and surveillance novels. Over the years he has been a high profile anti DRM campaigner. He is holding a kick-starter to get enough money to independently produce the third audiobook in the Little Brother series away from the Amazon system. Kickstarter profiled why he is taking on a corporate monopoly. 


Jane Friedman is an astute observer of the publishing ecosystem. This week she published two in-depth articles looking at the publishing printers supply chain and Amazon’s increasing power in the bookselling market across the world.

If you were wondering when your printed book might show up or why Random Penguin is acquiring other publishers, check out these articles.


Publish Drive – EBook distributors to the rest of the world, have looked at what the best selling genres were in August across the world. Do we all read the same books in times of crisis?


The New Statesman has taken a close look at Goodreads and wonders whether the time is ready for some disruption here. Does Goodreads even do what it says it should on the box?


If you need a shiny landing page, without a website attached, check out Carrd. They offer a neat website page that you can customise for free. 


In The Craft Section,

Discipline vs Enthusiasm- K M Weiland

Struggling through the first draft- Heather Webb

The power of facial expressions- Almost an author

Tips for the historical writer- Sue Coletta- Bookmark

Setting elements- Now Novel – Bookmark

How to write a kissing scene- Ride the pen - Bookmark

Ten editing tricks to make your writing better- Gabino Iglesias


In The Marketing Section,

Email marketing – Miblart- Bookmark

Selling kindle books internationally – Dave Chesson- Bookmark

The power of author collaborations- Sandra Beckwith

No excuse for not knowing where your books sits- Nathan Bransford

Going against the flow -reflowable book layouts- The Book Designer

30 scary author website mistakes- Pauline Wiles


To Finish,

With the fight for our ears going on in the publishing world I thought I might share the podcasts I listen to fairly regularly on the publishing business and other tricks and tips to do with writing and marketing. These podcasts are published weekly. 

The Creative Penn. (The BEST!)

The Self Publishing show. (NB: Mark Dawson’s self publishing 101 course is now open.)

6Figure author. (Jam Packed Tips!)

The SPA girls.  (Brilliant Kiwi Indie Romance Writers)

The Sell More Books Show. (News and Tips)

I also drop into Alliance of Independent Authors and Stirling and Stone every now and then and visit great writing podcasts like - Sacha Black and Mur Lafferty.

There is a writing podcast for everyone....

Grab your headphones!





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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.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Jeremy Segrott

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Book Love



In Publishing news this week,

The Frankfurt Bookfair goes virtual following all the other book fairs around the world. They are opening up their virtual fair free to anyone who is interested. Publishing Perspectives details what virtual sessions are on offer.  


Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly reports that the book industry took a hit in sales over the last quarter. Was anybody surprised? The ongoing size of the contraction has some concerned. If you factor in the huge amounts of books being released this month and up to Christmas, there could be desperate times ahead for booksellers.


This week Amazon quietly announced a new service, Bookclubs. It seems kind of odd when they already have Goodreads. Nate Hoffelder reports, although their new idea sounds good it is missing some important features going forward, namely the club feature. It is still in Beta mode though.


This week Joanna Penn interview Erin Wright about publishing wide and the mindset you need to cultivate to do this successfully. It is a fascinating interview, well worth the listen/read.


This week Kris Rusch wrote about dealing with the effects of the wildfires along the west coast of the U.S. Do you have a Go Bag for your business? In the event of a sudden calamity could you access your passwords… your files… your finances… If you haven’t thought about it – time to make it a priority.  


Have you heard of Booktubers?  These are YouTube book reviewers that are influencers. Wired has an interesting interview with one. I checked out the site and lost an hour watching entertaining book reviews. 


Ruth Harris has an interesting article on imposter syndrome. We all suffer from it. Ruth mentions that sometimes it can be a good thing. 


Dave Chesson has an interesting guest article on changing up keywords in your metadata. If you regularly do this, it can make the book more relevant in the Amazon store.


In The Craft Section,

Antagonist motivations- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Structural Editing- Iris Marsh- Bookmark

How to write a synopsis if you hate writing synopses- Roz Morris- Bookmark

10 things you don’t want when naming characters- Katherine Grubb

How to put your reader into the scene- Sean Platt

Managing your cast of characters- Writer Unboxed


In The Marketing Section,

Building a long term career- Jane Friedman

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Get creative with Bookbub and Promote with creative collaboration- Bookmark Both

Maintaining a reader mailing list – Alli Blog – Bookmark

The hidden potential of audiobooks- Tina Dietz


To Finish,

Being a book nerd, I can waste a lot of time on font sites. Their design fascinates me. Did you know that many of the fonts you read now were designed or based on fonts developed 400 years ago with the printing press?  The Ingram Spark blog looks at the best fonts for books and if you love jacketed books, Ingram are now offering this plus hardback books with embossed covers. FANCY! Meanwhile, check out the Alliance of Independent Authors blog on the guide to the perfect book cover.





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- Rulenumberone2

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Publishing Complications



This week I have been thinking about AI and the implications for writers. It was sparked by the viral post from The Guardian that an AI wrote. If you haven’t read it now is the time to do so. The Paris Review recently published an op ed about creating fictional backstories for AI to make them more human.


The New Publishing Standard is a great resource for finding out what the global publishing community is doing.  Mark Williams does a fantastic job of keeping abreast of all the news. This is where I first heard about Big Bad Wolf- who sell remaindered books in the English language in huge 24-hour 10-day long book sales in Asia. They sell millions of print books and they are getting bigger. TNPS looks at the recent news about BBW going online. Traditional publishers have missed a trick here. Mark is also doing a great series for Alliance of Independent Authors- this week he looks at how geographically spread Amazon is… not as far as you might think.


The BBC took a look at the murky world of 1-star reviews. This hurts.


While you are thinking about global publishing Kristine Rusch talks about how the publishing industry still keeps to a 75-year-old publishing model and how this model is about to fail all the debut writers who have their books coming out in the publishing deluge this week. Add to this the overworked printers and you have a perfect firestorm for writers. Writing careers may be over before they start. This is a must-read piece for understanding how the publishing industry evolved and what needs to change.


A librarian recently sat down with a stiff drink to write what it is like to manage the buying budget for a library and have to deal with ebook lending restrictions and prices above the hardback copy. With libraries shut due to Covid 19 many patrons borrowed online, this hit the library budget. Do publishers really hate libraries that much?


This week Joanna Penn interviewed Emily Kimelman about creativity and ambition. This was a great interview. How do you structure a writing life around kids… when to get help… Is it wrong to be ambitious for yourself? Imposter syndrome… 


I have a nifty little gadget that lifts my laptop into a standing desk… but every now and then I think hmmm a treadmill desk… Check out the benefits for this writer.


With the recent attention in publishing on diverse voices one writer highlights, in The Guardian, the plight of disabled writers- They are diverse, own voices… where is their seat at the table?

In The Craft Section,

Worldbuilding – cultures- Mythic Scribes

When you have no story conflict – Jami Gold – Bookmark

Stir your echoes- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

Fiction to Nonfiction writing challenges

Have you forgotten to have fun?- Julie Glover- Bookmark

Creating believable characters – Yen Cabag- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Why authors should know their target audience- Kate Tilton

15 steps to self publish- K M Weiland – Bookmark

Lean book publishing- Sabrina Ricci

55 tweets to start posting now- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

Picture Book Resources- Bookmark


To Finish,

It is nice to peer through the gloom and see a shining light- a feel-good story. Angela Ackerman tells the story of the Emotion Thesaurus and how they (Angela and Becca Puglisi) accidentally started a small publishing empire doing everything the wrong way round. More power to them I say! 





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 - Jonathan Pearson



Thursday, September 3, 2020

Keep Calm and Carry On

In publishing news this week...

If you have been checking into book social media lately you will have noticed the many new book release posts. A side effect of the early lockdown overseas is that the usual Spring releases were delayed until Autumn and the Autumn releases are still coming out or have been delayed until next year. The first Thursday in September is when the books hit the bookshops and if you are a Bookseller in the UK that’s nearly 600 books being released today. As you can imagine that is a lot of books needing attention. (And not getting it!) Another side effect of this is that printers are snowed under trying to print the books.

Should we hold off writing and publishing until things get back to normal or is this the new normal? Rachelle Gardner has a she’ll-be-right post to soothe your anxiety.


Today the news that Simon and Schuster were on the sale block broke. S&S are number 5 in the big publisher lists. With the merger of Penguin and Random House into the behemoth PRH it was only a matter of time before another sales merger would happen. Who will it be? Publishers Weekly lays some smart money out.


Scammers have been particularly active lately in the Book World. One horrible scam that is attracting attention is the fake book publishing offer from a major book publisher. These people prey on dreams. If your friend tells you they’ve received a book offer from a big publisher ask them where the email came from. Writer Beware has screenshots of these offers which look like they come from Big 5 publishers… except for the odd email header. 


China has moved to put the Beijing Book Fair online using smart technology. This is a huge move as the book fair has been getting bigger every year. In a surprise move, they have decided that the book fair will go for longer. How about a year-long book fair with free attendance? TNPS looks at what is on offer.


John Peregine has an interesting article on the Writers In The Storm blog about plagiarism. There are six types. Do you know the differences? If not, it could cost you a lot of money and a trashed reputation.


 U.S. Independent bookstore Powell’s announced that they were quitting Amazon. Powell’s CEO likened the move to quitting smoking. Passive Guy takes a look at whether this is actually a good move.


Jami Gold has a brilliant post on the dark moment in your script. This is excellent advice and I found I was mulling over my protagonist’s actions wondering if I had properly hit the emotional low of the 'all is lost' plot point.


In The Craft Section,

MS diagnostic opening scenes- Maria D’Marco - Bookmark

New writers guide to revising fiction- Cady Hammer

The secret ingredient in a Pixar movie- Scott Myers-  Great Short video!

Drawing your plot- James Scott Bell

Dynamic Dialogue- Laura Drake- Bookmark

Discipline vs Enthusiasm- K M Weiland - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Two Great Articles from Sandra Beckwith- How you can share your knowledge to market books and 5 common Press Release mistakes

Eight Book promotion strategies – Haley Zelda  (N.B. Learn from savvy romance writers!)

Creating discussion questions for your book- Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

Growing an email list- Alli Team- Bookmark!

Ten tips for amazon success- Garry Rodgers- Bookmark

Powering up email book marketing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


To Finish,

As I am writing this we are having an earthquake.  (5.7) We can get very blasé here about earthquakes as they are frequent. They don’t call us the shaky islands for nothing. But we are all a bit twitchy as this is the tenth anniversary of one of our biggest quakes and it’s 2020… what more can happen this year? Take a deep breath. Breathe Out.  Breathe In. Breathe Out. Let’s go calmly onward into September, the joys of spring… and stay positive.




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: WW2 motivation poster

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