Friday, November 27, 2020

All Eyes On The Prize


Over the last few months, I have posted the occasional news item about the sale of Simon and Schuster. Sometimes I have seen it as the old stag in the river surrounded by piranhas.

Each piranha wants the stag for themselves and is also trying to avoid being eaten by a bigger piranha. Yesterday I had a news item for you about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp group with their eyes on the prize. Biggest piranha, I thought. This morning Penguin Random House bought Simon and Schuster by outbidding everyone.

They still have to go through regulatory approval because of monopoly, but as they’ve been through this before when they became super big PRH, it looks like a foregone conclusion. 

What this means for everyone? Expect more disappearances of imprints, jobs, and advances.

This isn’t over yet with speculation that Murdoch could come back and outbid the $2.2 Billion offer. The prospect of a publishing duopoly is worrying for many in the industry. Already The Atlantic magazine is sounding an alarm about the industry’s future.

Meanwhile, there is speculation as to what their new name will be. Someone suggested going back to Random House as they keep buying random publishing houses.


This week I listened to Joanna Penn talking with Holly Worton on business mindset and author career. The interview is fascinating. However, the before interview is just as meaty with Joanna talking about attending the Future Book conference, virtually. This conference is aimed at Traditional publishers and Joanna talks about how far in advance of them Indie publishers are in terms of mindset and practice. Mind-Blowing! (You can only hear the beginning 20 minutes if you listen to the podcast.)


A few weeks ago I highlighted the practice of Audible encouraging customers to exchange their audiobooks for another when they had finished listening to them which meant that the author, narrators missed out on the sale even though their content was consumed. (The word I used was despicable – that was me being polite.) The backlash, protests, petitions, worked and Audible issued a statement yesterday saying they would no longer encourage this… and that they would only allow returns up to 7 days. However, it won’t be effective immediately so don’t count on audiobook earnings as a Christmas present.


Recently, Global English Editing shared an infographic of the world's reading habits in 2020. It’s an interesting snapshot into who and what is being read around the world.


Hugh Howey was interviewed by Publishers Weekly about his deal with Houghton Mifflin to bring out the Wool series again. This is the trilogy that keeps on giving. Read the interview to see how Hugh straddles the best of both Indie and Trad publishing with this deal.


In New Zealand, one of our Indie authors had an article published recently about bucking the trend of the out of pocket writer. This is a great spotlight on our success stories who are quietly going about the business.


In The Craft Section,

A three step plan for getting back into your manuscript- Janice Hardy

Busting 3 myths of the inciting incident- Ane Mulligan

Character motivation- Jerry Jenkins- Bookmark

5 Random ways to trim your manuscript- Kathryn Craft- Bookmark

How stakes set up expectations- September Fawkes- Bookmark

What should I write about- Now Novel- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Virtual Book Tour Strategies- Leila Hirschfeld- Bookmark

How to promote consistantly and Festive Book Marketing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark Both

Finding competing book titles- Penny Sansevieri

5 quick and easy ways to use book reviews

Promoting your book on a shoestring budget- Hayley Zelda


To Finish,

It’s the last week of NaNoWriMo and also the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Tonight I launched 3 books in my Circus Quest series with a small party at the children’s bookshop. I decided that I needed to mark 2020 with an acknowledgment that it’s been a tough one for writers and that we have still produced good work, despite the challenges.

So custard pies, candyfloss, cake, wine, and a clown were the order of the day. (and juggling lessons.)

Paula Munier wrote recently about writers keeping a gratitude journal. It’s a good idea. I was pleased to have writer friends and family who I hold deep gratitude for, sharing the wine and the gossip and the pina colada candyfloss.




P.S. This is the last week for Storybundle writing craft books. Scour the online Black Friday deals for Writers- AppSumo have some amazing deals at the moment.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter so if you want the best of my bookmarked links you can subscribe here. (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 – Robert Nunnally 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Profit and Loss


In publishing news this week

A case of a big company crushing the writer… Disney asserts that when they purchased the rights to a contract they did not purchase the obligations and they want a non-disclosure agreement before they even talk about it. The Science Fiction Writers Association is rightly concerned (angry/vitriolic.) Disney can profit off Alan Dean Foster's work and not pay him? How many other writers are in this position? This discussion is taking over the writer internet today with many writers calling Disney out on it.

Draft To Digital has introduced a welcome change to their services. They are now offering payment splitting. If you have collaborated with other authors on a book or a boxset they can split the royalties now. 

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is moving its dates in 2021 following London Book Fair’s announcement last week. Bologna will now be in June and will be bigger than ever with a new parallel programme running alongside.

Are you guilty of using violent imagery when you don’t need to? Michael Gallant has an article on the Bookbaby blog about the prevalence of violent imagery in words and when to use it appropriately.

How can you tell if you are growing as a writer? K M Weiland has a great article on how you can tell if you are spinning your wheels or reaching for new heights.

Kristine Rusch has written another interesting blog on what she sees is the Train Wreck of Trade Publishing at the moment. She is responding to Mike Shatzkin’s October blog post The end of the General Trade Publishing Concept. Mike comments on where trade publishers are getting their money now and how they see the titles they acquire. Kris points out that when a publishing guru like Mike finally sees the handwriting on the wall it’s almost too late for the industry to learn and change.

September Fawkes is always an interesting read. Here she unpicks Arrogance vs Confidence and Humility vs Self Depreciation

In The Craft Section,

How to continue writing when you get stuck- Novelize - Bookmark

7 plot structures for pantsers- John Peragine- Bookmark

How to start your synopsis- Becca Puglisi

The charm of the large word in the right place - Mathina Calliope- Bookmark

Creating a Storyworld- SlapHappy Larry

In The Marketing Section,

How to set up a sponsored product ad- Dave Chesson

Starting from Zero- Joanna Penn interviewing David Gaughran- Bookmark

Using video marketing and why it’s important- Frances Caballo

Marketing a new book - Bookbub- BOOKMARK

4 easy SEO tips for writers- Ivelisse Rodriguez

How to make free 3d mockups of your book- Bookmark

To Finish,

As the publishing world changes and the pandemic hits all the events you might have gone to… authors and booksellers are having to get creative with their marketing. Lisa Tener interviews some of the team behind A Mighty Blaze-  a social media community for authors and readers on how to virtually market the book.

It has to make a profit for someone...



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 Harford

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Book Marketing



This week in Publishing…

In welcome news this week Amazon has introduced series pages and now you can run ads to them. General jubilation in the author community. 


Meanwhile, The London Bookfair dates for next year have been announced. Instead of a Spring fair, it’s in Summer…giving everyone that much more time to be vaccinated and be ready to spring back into the publishing calendar that we used to know. (Prediction – I don’t think we’ll see life as we used to know again.)  


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard reports of Storytel’s Interim report. Storytel is based in Sweden and is digital subscription model. With moves into India and acquisitions all over Europe, the  audiobook subscription market is getting bigger and bigger- But will it overtake print books? We could be watching the tipping point. 


Big Bad Wolf is set to unleash 20 million English Language books in a four day flash sale in Malaysia. (If you ever wondered where your ‘pulped’ books go on your royalty statement.)


A simple hack for when you want to make your literary criticism essay go viral… Attack the author.  The Nation looks at the ethics of this.


The Alliance of Independent Authors have a great article up on Leveling up your author business. This is a must read. All authors are keen to learn. If we are learning we are growing our business.


Joanna Penn has an interesting interview this week on Networking for Authors. How often do you poke your head outside of the bubble and just chat with other authors. Lot’s of lovely things happen when authors get together. Check out the interview and pick up some tips.


Jami Gold has a great guest article on her site this week. What sort of marketing plan suits us? If you want to learn anything about marketing books talk to a Romance writer. Siera London shares lots of tips to be thinking about.


in the Craft Section,

5 components of the perfect scene- C S Lakin- Bookmark

Why you should side write your protagonists origin scene- Marissa Graff- Bookmark

6 questions to ask when editing scenes- Go Teen Writer

Use a character’s career to support your theme-Becca Puglisi

Emotional truth and storytelling- Robin Farmer - Bookmark

4 story weaknesses that lead to sagging middles- Tiffany Martin- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Maximising books sales with Facebook and Bookbub- Melissa Storm- Bookmark

3 tips for better author blogs- Sandra Beckwith

The fabulous David Gaughran latest book marketing video- MUST WATCH

5 basic rules of Social Media- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

How to announce a book launch to your mailing list- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to launch a book during a pandemic- Samuel Moore Sobel


To Finish,

Every now and then I drop into the Killzone blog because I am in awe of this collective of writers. They have a great roster of writers talking about all sorts of things. They were the first author collective to do swag and this is where I found writing craft guru James Scott Bell. This week James was writing about the terrible task faced by writers everywhere. How to weed out books. I confess I fail utterly at this. Do you have a non-negotiable criteria list for keeping books?





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 – Paul. I can’t decide if this is great or terrible book store marketing…


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Escape Writing


It is November! Outside I hear fireworks… inside, everyone wants to know who has won the US Election. Meanwhile, there are writers around the world trying to block out all distractions to get on with NaNoWriMo. Don’t forget to check out the NaNoWriMo Storybundle of craft books available until the end of November. (Early Christmas present to yourself. There are some great books in there!)


This week the big news was the arrival into the UK of just in time for the UK lockdown. This initiative has made news in the US and surpassed all their projections in the first week in the UK. This is a way for indie booksellers to sell books that keeps the money in their pockets. Great for shop local campaigns. Meanwhile, Passive Guy takes a look at Indie Bookshops that have started Go Fund Me pages just to stay afloat.


Across the channel, the European publishing industry is fighting a campaign of cultural awareness. Books are essential to the well being of a community and therefore bookshops should stay open. Some countries agree- others not so fast, Monsieur.


An ugly rumour about Audible has been doing the rounds among authors. They are promoting trading in your audible book credit for another book. Surely not, said authors. That would mean authors would never get paid for their audiobook under the subscription model. Nate Hoffelder found out the rumour was true and Audible is promoting this. This is a despicable thing to do to authors stuck in this program. 


Kris Rusch had a great blog this week on how much writing and storytelling is an escape for the writer as well as the reader. How often are you diving into your manuscript with relief as you escape from the outside world?


Writing and Wellness has an article on ways writers can benefit from silence and how to build it into your busy day.

Joanna Penn has an interesting interview with Wendy H Jones on writing and marketing in multiple genres. How do you market yourself when you tackle such widely different markets?


Ev Bishop has a must-read post on Branding 101 for Authors. This is a really interesting article on mindset. For instance, what do you want your readers to take away from your stories? The answer is your brand. Sounds simple but that is only the start. 


Litreactor has a great article on story openings. What are the five things to keep in mind to wow the socks off anyone reading the first page.


In The Craft Section,

Incidental Characters that make your novel zing- C S Lakin- Bookmark

Love triangles that work.- Roz Morris

Top 5 mistakes writers make with police characters- Stuart Gibbon- Interesting

How to develop your character- and writing exercises on tense - Now Novel- Bookmark

10 ways to get a stuck story moving- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

12 tips to write tight- Debbie Burke- Bookmark!

How to spill strong emotion on the page- Laura Drake


In The Marketing Section,

Selling books internationally – Dave Chesson- Bookmark

20 tips to rock your Social Media- Frances Caballo

5 Book Launch prep essentials- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Email marketing – Julia Evans- Interesting

5 reasons authors should email market- Rachel Thompson


To Finish,

With the word count of 1667 per day to crack in the month of November for NaNoWriMo, many writers look for ways to avoid distractions. One of the biggest distractions is the internet… and the US Election. I have a nifty Neo keyboard that doesn’t connect with the internet and runs on batteries. But this week Techcrunch unveiled a little beauty of a keyboard The Freewrite Traveler- a clamshell, take anywhere keyboard and screen. Of course, you don’t need a dedicated unplugged device. You can write anywhere if you have the tools, on your phone, dictation, message yourself, or good old pen and paper. Get those words down. Escape into your 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 – Eden Janine and Jim- Magician Cardone


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