Thursday, July 22, 2021

Publishing Formats or How Many Ways To Profit.



In Publishing News,

While various publishing houses are trying to open up their offices, Sourcebooks, one of the big independent publishers has rethought the way their staff will be working. Publishing Perspectives reports that Sourcebooks are asking their staff to decide if they want to come in or work from home in the future. (Allowing staff to live in 7 states if they want to.)


The Stats are in for the US publishers for the first half of the year. Sales are up. The lions share going to hardbacks…. This should make the publishers happy as there is a race to bring out the political analysis books over the final year of the Trump presidency with some eye-watering sums being thrown around for advance money. The publishers have to get it back somehow and hardbacks have the biggest profit margin.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard keeps one eye on the global publishing market. He lives in Africa, so has a ringside seat to the biggest internet-connected nation in the world. Nigeria. They are about to have their international bookfair – a mix of in-person and digital events celebrating women. Nigeria publishers are looking to go digital.


Meanwhile, Overdrive, the world’s biggest digital library has just completed the acquisition of Kanopy, a video streaming service for public and academic libraries. Entertainment and knowledge all in one big digital package for libraries. 


Authors, with all the digital consolidation, keep an eye on your contract language. It might be time to revisit this excellent post by Dean Wesley Smith on The Magic Bakery. (AKA what rights are you selling.)


In our own corner of the world, the talk was all about New Zealand’s National Library playing recklessly with pirates.

Agent Kristin Nelson wrote this week about a topic that no one really talks about- When the author dream is no longer a dream. 


Bookfunnel is often cited as an indispensable tool for Indie publishers. It enables fast delivery of eBooks and storefront advantages for authors. They have added a few new features that make them even more spiffy. 


Kris Rusch this week takes a look at the ongoing black swan event that is the pandemic. She makes a forceful argument that business is will be an ongoing car crash due to the many people who refuse to be vaccinated. One point she brings up- kids younger than 12 will not be vaccinated. The sneaky virus is constantly mutating. Do you want to save kids?


Writing craft expert, Jerry Jenkins has an excellent article on the unreliable narrator. If you are tempted to have one of these, you have to find a way to make them consistently believable. 


In The Craft Section,

The key to character introductions- Scott Myers - Bookmark

Relationship thesaurus: Forced marriage- Becca Puglisi

How do you know your story is finished- Tiffany Yates Martin- Bookmark

How to write plays children will love- Christina Hamlett

Four ways to create inter-character conflict- Angie Hodapp- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

10 tips for working with an independent editor- Valerie Brooks- Bookmark

Unconventional book launch ideas- Ricardo Fayet

6 ways friends can help promote your book- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Bookbub ads- Bookbub

5 simple marketing strategies for your series- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


To Finish,

I’ve been having an up and down couple of weeks. Some of it is school holidays and some of it is an intractable computer problem. Judith Briles has an interesting article this week on being an author procrastinator. I’m trying not to tick the boxes.

On the other hand, Sue Coletta has an interesting take on multi-tasking. Apparently, it can be bad for our brains. So time to focus on …




It’s nearly time for my 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 – Trish Hartmann- Venice bakery


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Reading Between The Lines


In publishing news this week,

Last year when the pandemic began to bite there was worry that bricks and mortar bookshops would fail and fold. Enter a smart organization that created Bookshop.Org which gave bookshops a digital storefront. A year on- the pandemic is still with us, but shops are beginning to open up. Publisher’s Weekly reports that is still going strong and growing and how the digital storefront is essential.


Meanwhile The New Publishing Standard reports on a savvy move by a Danish publisher that has been buying up world language rights for audiobooks. This is a fascinating story from Mark which resonated with me here in New Zealand. We have a similar visionary who bought up English rights to award-winning European children’s books and founded an international award-winning publishing company on the strength of it. Digital format is open to the world and a small publisher from a tiny country can become a major player. Audiobooks are growing really fast- to the nimble go the spoils.


Publishing Perspectives reports on the European and International Booksellers federation report of 2020. This is a numbers report showing how bookselling fared in different countries. Booksellers in countries without a strong government response had a hard time. If bookshops had a digital presence they managed to stay afloat. The publishers who think everything will go back to the way it once was, before the pandemic, have badly misread the tea leaves. The digital change is here to stay.


Recently Maggie Lynch wrote about why she created an NFT book collection to sell. If you have been wondering about Non Fungible Tokens and why there is so much interest in them in the creative community- Maggie’s article is a great place to start. It is an interesting and informative read on provenance certificates and anti-piracy methods to protect your work.


Every month Orna Ross, the CEO of Alliance for Independent Authors (Alli) chats with Joanna Penn on what’s happening in the global world of indie publishing. They often talk big picture stuff and have opinions on the speeding trains coming down the track towards authors. This month they have a fascinating chat on how nimble authors are, and need to be. One comment caught my eye in the transcript- With Richard Branson going into Space this week – has anyone thought to license their work for onboard entertainment for off world transport?


Amazon Kindle Vella launched to the public yesterday. In the last three months authors based in the US have been uploading episodes to the serialized fiction platform. Engaget looks at the new shiny platform.


Jane Friedman hosted Intellectual Property lawyer, Kathryn Goldman on her blog this week. Are fictional characters protected under copyright law? Kathryn writes about the legal case being argued over Jack Ryan and how writers have got into trouble using character names from movies and TV. When is a name a character, and not a name?


For a while now authors have been encouraged to write newsletters and to grow a fan base that they can tap into for author book promo, sales etc etc. Many authors have a love hate relationship with their newsletters- not knowing how to use them effectively. Fiction authors particularly struggle. The Passive Guy has an interesting piece on his blog about newsletters being their own genre.


In the Craft Section,

Action beats for authors-Krystal Craiker

The inherent nature of story structure- Jim Dempsey- Bookmark

Plot you way back from an unruly idea- Kristin Durfee- Bookmark

How to end a story- Reedsy- Excellent 

How to tell if your story has too much plot and not enough character- K M Weiland - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

10 Amazon changes authors need to know about - Rob Eager- Bookmark 

Using your back cover well-Bookbaby- Bookmark

5 tips for fitting book marketing into your schedule- Penny Sansevieri

SEO for indie authors- ALLI- BOOKMARK

How Authors are using Social Media platforms- Diana Urban


To Finish,

Today I struggled with my computer, searching to find a missing file. Every time I think I have cleaned up my file labeling structure something always slips up. There I was getting frustrated and thinking this is not a good use of my time- low and behold up pops an article on 10 tools to make you a more productive writer.

I just want a computer that knows what file I’m looking for and gets it for me regardless of where I stuffed it in the system. 





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 – Jon Evans (Guess Who Won)


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Warming Up…


It is summer break time in the Northern Hemisphere. Everyone in publishing is looking for a sign that publishing is going back to how it used to be before the pandemic. And a sign has appeared. Frankfurt Book Fair has just announced that they will be having an in person fair this year in October. 60 exhibitors have signed up so far. Publishing Perspectives has the details. 

The big question is how safe is world travel going to be in October? Digital conferences have filled a gap but I am seeing a lot of wait-and-see discussions on Twitter amongst publishing professionals. Planning something on the scale of Frankfurt Book Fair could be a big bust if the audience doesn’t show.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has an article on the rise and rise of digital book subscriptions. There are still sections of the publishing world that don’t think digital book subscription programmes should be a thing while they load up on Netflix and Spotify.


This week Anne R Allen has an interesting blog post on unsupportive friends and family. Yes, it is a thing. There are writers out there who can’t talk about their success or writing with their family because they just don’t understand what is involved. Anne looks at the reasons why family and friends tend to rain on your parade and how to cope with it.


Penny Sansevieri has an interesting post this week on small changes that can really make a difference to your marketing. Penny talks about using short videos and intriguing bios to add interest to your Amazon author central pages.


Every year Joanna Penn breaks down her publishing income and where she has earned it. In the last year she has been trialing selling direct from her website. She talks about the challenges and the rewards of doing this. 

Another high-profile publishing professional, Jane Friedman, has also broken down her income streams and what has worked over the covid years. 

As some commentators have said, it is becoming more apparent that having a portfolio of paying jobs in publishing is the way to go. 


Brandon Sanderson has a host of best-selling titles, a thriving community of fans that tipped his modest Kickstarter project into millions of dollars, and is a writing teacher who puts his university courses on YouTube for free. September Fawkes recently looked at his advice on making characters interesting to readers. Brandon has three very important scales for creating characters. A fascinating read.


In The Craft Section,

Ideas for writing prompts- Now Novel

5 steps to creating a unique character voice- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

The essentials about supporting characters- Stavros Halvatzis- Bookmark

The one question you must ask about scenes- Marissa Graff - Bookmark

The importance of a strong story concept- Scott Myers 


In The Marketing Section,

How to create an easy blog calendar- Rachel Thompson

What to tweet- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

Publishing timeline for holiday sales i.e. plan for Christmas now- Steven Spatz- Bookmark

Amazon book reviews- Tucker Max

Book marketing and Integrity- Sandra Beckwith- Interesting article.


To Finish,

I have a bookcase filled with books that were termed pulp novels back in the 50’s and 60’s. They were called pulp because the standard of paper used to print the books was low-grade newsprint, the covers were soft and often had a graphic picture on the front usually picturing a woman in peril (while wearing impossibly tight clothes.) The strategy of pulp writers was to get straight to the action, take the reader on an entertaining ride and tell the story. They were popular with readers and many writers made a good living often with a pseudonym to separate themselves from what was considered low-brow entertainment. Dean Wesley Smith takes a look at how the pulp writers worked and what we can learn from them today.





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 – Blondinrikard Froberg Euro cup 2013

Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Next Big Thing


We are halfway into 2021 and I feel that I have been writing every week on the rise of entertainment subscription companies. 

This week Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard, reported on yet another new kid on the block BookBeat which is quietly gathering steam in the Nordic countries and will probably try to break out soon. Another subscription reading/ listening service, are we going to see subscription wars soon for our reading dollars? 

Mark also reported on Wattpad’s new merged Webtoon entity- which is making bold claims to knock down every border in entertainment. 


Publishers Weekly reported in-depth on a webinar from NPD, a data and trend company. They have been analysing publishing over the last couple of years and have made some startling conclusions. Manga has gone from niche to mainstream in record time. They report that licensing is huge in children’s books- And it is all about backlist. This is driven by Booktok influencers in children’s books. It’s a fascinating read. 


Mike Shatzkin, a long time publishing commentator writes about the third disruption to hit publishing since the 1990’s – The growth of Print On Demand and the rise of Ingram in this space. When Traditional Publishing takes notice after Indies have been in this space for years, is that mainstream?


Ebooks are mainstream technology but did you know they are 50 years old? Yes I was surprised too. Here is a handy infographic showing their history.


Meanwhile staying right in the present, Brad Frazer writes on Jane Friedman’s blog about the copyright headaches being caused by NFT’s. (I wrote about them two weeks ago.) I think this technology is still in its infancy and we will be seeing teething problems for a while.


Kindle Vella is still in the news around author groups. They have been tweaking their requirements before the big rollout. You can now publish your serial as a book. There are some strings and you have to be in the US.


Kristine Rusch has another great post in her Fear Based decision making series for authors. How much is your writing being affected by your fear? Are you afraid to push the envelope in your story?


My First Writing Craft book was How To Tell A Story by Gary Provost and Peter Rubie. Gary’s descriptive sentence for explaining the dramatic arc in the story is a classic. Recently Sue Coletta examined the sentence again and Gary’s Buts- How you can test a story idea. This has Must Read written all over it. 


In The Craft Section,

8 tips to writing unreliable narrators- Deb Caletti

Character types – orphan- Scott Myers

Understanding the mirror moment- September Fawkes- 


How to show your protagonist is stressed- Kathrine Grubb- Bookmark

3 mistakes writers make in act 1- Jeanne Bowerman- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

5 Twitter tips for marketing books- Newsbreak

What happens when you find a typo- Sandra Beckwith

Unique marketing ideas for July- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Social media tips for book marketing- Penny Sansevieri

Reader magnets for Indie Authors – Alliance of Independent Authors- Bookmark


To Finish,

Ruth Harris writes about writing superstars and how we are just like them. They started from nothing, just like us. So, what was their secret? They were everyday stars like us.

They showed up, they wrote in the teeth of rejection. It is that simple and that hard. 

Another great post from Ruth.




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 – Shyn Darkly

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Healthy Author Business


Two interesting posts from Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard have bookended my week. 

The first was an examination of the new digital publishing and subscription 'Kid On The Block', Legible. They have launched with bold claims about publishing to the world, but Mark thinks they’ve tripped up by focusing on North America first. 

The other post, out today, is the realisation that some of Australia’s literary treasures are out of print and lost. They won’t be the only country where this is happening. Don’t publishers have a duty of care to their nations?


The London Book Fair is on the horizon. This year’s virtual fair offers up three weeks of virtual workshops for writers for the author HQ area of the fair. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at the program.


Recently, Sotheby’s were about to auction off rare Bronte manuscripts until various Bronte societies and libraries heard about it. They want them preserved for the public. Sotheby’s has agreed to delay, which means the libraries have to come up with some cash soon. 


In the various author groups that I am part of, there is huge respect for Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She writes valuable posts about the business of writing. This is where many writers come unstuck. Business is hard. This week she turns her spotlight on the raft of laws about to go through congress aimed at taking apart tech firms. What will happen to authors if Amazon is forced to sell off its publishing arm? This is an important read for anyone in the Amazon ecosystem.


The long-running joke in writer and reader circles is when the next book in Game of Thrones might be published. Spare a thought for George R R Martin who is struggling with regret and writing a book that the TV show changed direction on. 


Nate Hoffelder has written a great article on Anne R Allen’s blog on introverted authors. Yes, some of us struggle with the public face of being an author. Nate has some great tips to overcome fears.


How many of you are curled up like a pretzel when you write? (Guilty, right now.) You know that you need to build healthy writer habits. Here are a couple of posts to jog you into some good habits. Why writers need healthy habits. and Why walking is the best exercise for writers. And don’t forget your mental health too. Writing can be such a slog that it is tempting to quit. Here is a helpful post on when it all gets too much.


My comfort books when ill are Georgette Heyer- her historical research was gold standard. A family member is a regency writer and I often dip into her extensive library of research books from the period. If you are venturing into historical fiction – know that your readers are going to be looking to see if you got your facts right. Check out 5 tips for creating a fully realized historical setting. (Georgette was often in a rare tweak when other writers would crib her words for their novels- the effrontery!)


In The Craft Section,

What to do when you can’t connect to your characters- Ellen Brock

What is your characters emotional shielding- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Trick yourself into finding time to write- Suzanne Henshon- Bookmark

What is an unsympathetic character-  Anne R Allen- Bookmark

The 7 laws of successful villains- Lisa Voisin


In The Marketing Section,

Choose the perfect pen name- Lewis

Use your email signature for book marketing- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

Indie author marketing and promotion plan- Emma Lombard – Bookmark!

10 books to help with your writing life- Rachel Thompson

2 Great posts from Penny Sansevieri- 10 minutes or less to a polished author brand and Monopolise your indie author real estate- Bookmark Both


To Finish,

Back at the beginning of April, we struggled with articulating the loss of Beverley Cleary. (OK 104 years -we need to let go.) Vulture writer, Kathryn VanArendonk, has examined the mastery of emotion that Beverley exhibited in her Ramona stories. I think she has put her finger on just how brilliant Beverley was at close 3rdperson writing and evoking emotion in adults and children.

Oh to write half as well.





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links You can subscribe. (And 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 – MaxiuB


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Shiny New Object


This week I listened to an interview on NFT’s with Joanna Penn and John Fox. Non Fungible Tokens have a controversial press. Many consider them a fad, or a scam. But some are looking at them as the Next Big Thing. Joanna and John discuss how authors can use them to create new work, much like the musicians and visual artists are doing. 

Last week Bloomberg Financial Magazine looked at the power shift back to musicians with NFT’s. Today The Guardian wrote about Christie's auctioning an NFT from Tim Berners Lee of the original source code from his invention of the internet. It was for events like this that publishing contracts now contain legal clauses like ‘universal rights in all formats existing and to be invented.’


I am always interested to see a Mark Williams look into the future piece. Mark lives in The Gambia and comments on Global Publishing. This week he takes a look at the power of internet and where the potential emerging markets are. There are some fascinating statistics for publishers looking at other markets. (Like 94% of the world’s internet users are not in the USA.)


So many research institutions studying so many types of reading behaviour can’t they work together? That is the call in 2021 at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. (Collaboration, who knew that would be a thing?)


Another American court has passed a directive that Ebooks must be made available to Libraries. The Association of American Publishers sees this as a copyright fight. Publishers Weekly takes a look at the implications, meanwhile, tucked in the bottom of the article is a reference to the power of librarians and how quickly they can mobilise.


Kris Rusch has another great post on FOMO- The Fear Of Missing Out and how this can cause writers to jump around trying to please everybody and end up having the joy of writing sucked out of them. Be like the Tortoise.


Charlie Jane Anders has written an interesting breakdown of the  7 wrong lessons creators learned from Game Of Thrones to mark the 10 year anniversary of the first episode and Jan Drexler has one on the promise you make to your readers.  


In The Craft Section,

Using triggers for emotional wounds- Angela Ackerman

Grammarly alternatives- Reedsy- Bookmark

The flat archetype of The Ruler- Archetype Series – K M Weiland- Bookmark


2 Great posts from .-Lucy V Hay 6 ways to make your writing stand out from the crowd and

8 ways to write your novel outline- Bookmark Both


In The Marketing Section,

What is the Clubhouse app and how to use it.- Naomi Nakashima

Authors - be where your readers are- Frances Caballo

How to build your author website- Written Word Media

Leveraging your networks- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

2 Great posts from Joanna Penn- Mistakes in book promotion and Marketing your book

Bookmark Both


To Finish,

It’s midway through the middle month in the year. How is it progressing? Sometimes we need a shake-up to get us out of a slump. Edie Melson has 10 strategies to shake your online writer’s presence up.  Ali Luke has a great post on writer motivation with 7 ways to stay motivated with your writing project.

Of course, once you start brainstorming… you may just invent something that will change the world.





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 – Tim Berners Lee- Athanasios Kasampalis

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Facing The Music


This week Japan just jailed some copyright pirates. (Is that a cheer I hear from authors?). How much did publishing lose? The New Publishing Standard crunches the numbers and asks is it piracy if the pirates were just filling a gap in the market? 


The European Writers Council is looking sideways at EU member nations this week who have been dragging their feet over ratifying the Single Market Digital Copyright Directive. They have had two years. There are now some very nervous content providers out there looking at their disappearing copyright. Publishing Perspectives looks at implications.


Dave Chesson is on a roll with another comprehensive article on how to choose good book titles. This is a fascinating deep dive into the emotion of book titles… just in case you thought they were pulled out of a hat.


Kristine Rusch has another great post on fear based decision making in publishing. There is so much to mull over in here. Kris is writing mainly about the US publishing world but these things echo around. I know that print runs have been drastically cut in the last ten years here in NZ.


Anne R Allen has a very good blog that is chock full of interesting content. This week Anne has a mini-rant on self-publishing. It is not a childish game. This is not a let’s play at publishing dress-up. It’s a business and the choices you make at the beginning can make or break you. (Totally Agree)


I was interested to see an opinion piece on Forbes about micropayments and the continuing lack of a viable way to show one-time appreciation. It was big news about five years ago as everybody thought it would be sorted soon. And still we wait. A tip jar could make all the difference to writers whose work is stuck behind paywalls and subscription plans. How many subscriptions does one person need?


Brenda Copeland has an interesting article on Show and Tell. We often hear writing advice that emphasises the Show -Don’t Tell mantra. But sometimes you need some telling. Brenda shows where it is most effective.


In The Craft Section,

5 types of surprise and how to write them- September Fawkes- Bookmark

5 ways to get unstuck- Lisa Tener

2 great posts from Jami Gold -How we can avoid talking heads and Characters and Settings- make them interact- Bookmark Both.

Archetypes- The parent- (another in her excellent series) K M Weiland - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section

FAQ on Lyrics In Books-Bookbaby- This question comes up all the time- You may need to bookmark it if it’s something you want to do in the future.

Book promotions- The long term- Anne Janzer

How to get awesome book cover blurbs and Who are the best Booktubers- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark Both

Podcasting as an Indie author- The Alliance of Independent Authors- Bookmark


To Finish

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Finalists were announced today. Congratulations to all finalists. I have been a judge for these awards and it is no easy task. There would be many fine books that would have just missed the cut. We need a longlist. 





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 – Tim Green - Sax Maniac


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