Thursday, February 25, 2021

Changing Worlds

 


 

In the publishing world this week,


If you are on any social media as a writer you will come across the Masterclass ads. These are video classes that you can take with Masters's in any field, but writers get shown ads for classes with famous writers. Recently I saw a Masterclass being offered by Roxane Gay- Writing for Social Change. Bustle interviewed Roxane and found out the background which was the #publishingpaidme Twitter storm from last year.

 

The Audiblegate fight isn’t going away. Recently some canny authors who also hold accounting degrees started taking a hard look at Audible’s figures. Audible book earnings are supposed to fluctuate but Audible kindly smooths them out, so month in month out your books earns the same. Except their numbers are faulty and it looks like they are skimming a lot off the top.

Staying with Audio for a moment, Mark Williams from The New Publishing Standard reports that Spotify is rapidly expanding. Isn’t that music I hear you mutter? Spotify and the digital subscription model are moving into podcasts and audiobooks.

 

Have you seen a cozy mystery lately in the bookstores? I had heard that it was almost impossible to sell one to traditional publishers, but cozies are making a quiet killing in the Kindle store.

 

Writers who have been in a prolonged lockdown are struggling to find creativity, said The Guardian. If this is you – you are not alone, some of the UK’s most famous writers are struggling here. Kris Rusch has a 'grit your teeth and get through this' blog this week. We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. She unpacks the famous JFK speech and applies it to writing.

 

Cory Doctorow keeps one eye on the tech world, but he is a fiction writer. Recently his local bookstore contacted him. They can no longer send out his books because of Brexit. It sounds odd until you read what is happening in the UK to booksellers. (I am old enough to remember the screams from the UK about the paperwork going into the EU-)

 

Recently I read two great craft articles that really got me thinking about plot. Susan De Freitas on how to integrate exposition and backstory and Katie Weiland’s hierarchy of character needs. This is an excellent article on how character goals and needs must drive the story.

 

In The Craft Section,

Sneaky ways to world build- William Hahn- Bookmark


Archetypical character arcs- The maiden arc-K M Weiland – Bookmark


On Pace- Janice Hardy -Bookmark


Using Indirect dialogue- Anne R Allen


10 surefire secrets of torturing fictional characters- Charlie Jane Anders

 

In The Marketing Section,

22 book marketing tips- Frances Caballo


3 book marketing tips you can ignore – Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark


7 expert tricks to improve your author newsletters-David Gaughran- Bookmark


How to tell if your author photo sends the right message- K M Weiland-  Bookmark


19 lessons to grow your email list

 

To Finish,

How often do you get to the last page of the book and you dread turning the page? Mastering the Happy Sad ending of a story is a powerful tool for the writer. Gilbert Bassey writes about this in a guest post on Writers Helping Writers. It is said that the first sentence sells the book and the last page sells the next book. A happy-sad ending stays with the reader a long time.  


Maureen

@craicer

 

It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter, Get the best of my bookmarked links and other assorted tips when you subscribe. You also get a nifty mini book crammed 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 virtual coffee love. Thanks.

 

Pic: Perseverance drop to Mars- courtesy of NASA 

 

 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Life Vs Fiction

 


Articles that caught my eye this week,


Mark Williams from The New Publishing Standard wrote a personal note to his readers this week. Mark lives in The Gambia and gathers up all the publishing news from the rest of the world. His internet has been down for a month and he shared where he works, a nursery school for the poorest children, and the importance of books. Amazing and inspirational. 

 

Why we need tragic stories now more than ever, an article by Vaughn Roycroft got me thinking about tragedy. I try to run from these stories and films but maybe I am doing myself a disservice. These could be an important release valve.

 

Publishing Perspectives has an article on a new and improved ordering system for booksellers that promises sparkles all around. Meanwhile, they also published an article detailing the ups and downs of The Hay on Wye Literary Festival. I wasn’t aware that the festival had pop-ups in other countries. This might not be so good when your brand gets tainted by bad actors, including the founder.

 

Kris Rusch has an interesting blog post on writing deadlines and how having them gives her life focus and energy and measurable productivity. Do you schedule your life around deadlines? How often? Yearly? Quarterly? By the project? 

 

David Gaughran is a fount of information. He has a great YouTube channel as well as great articles on publishing and marketing books. Recently he posted an article on 9 ways to unleash the power of free in 2021. He is well worth reading and keeping an eye on.

 

If you are nibbling away at book marketing trying to make sense of it (and who isn’t these days…) Bookbub published an article showcasing the best ads that came across their platform last year and how the authors used them.

 

Reedsy has a comprehensive article on how to be a better writer- 20 hacks and tips… 

 

In The Craft Section,

Avoiding Change -What’s stopping our characters- Jami Gold - Bookmark


Writing Sprints -  Joan Hall -Bookmark


Keeping it real when writing descriptively- Dave King- Bookmark


2 Great posts from Janice Hardy 5 minute fix to jumpstart your scene and 

4 mistakes that doom your first page Bookmark Both

 

In The Marketing Section.

Two interesting posts on Authors using Twitter- Writing Twitter Bio’s from Belinda Pollard and How I landed a book deal using Twitter- Pam Mandel


5 reasons you should speak for free- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark


Why hiring a freelance publicist is a good idea- Patricia Smiley


Identifying your reader- Christina Delay- Bookmark


Amazon book promotion preorder infographic- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

 

To Finish,

Valentine’s day was celebrated this week with interesting posts from Romance writers everywhere on the subject of… romance. And then there was this hilarious post from Tara Sparling on why you should never live with a fictional romantic hero during a pandemic.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

Star Light will be reverting to its usual price soon, so pick up a copy while it's still cheap. A review would be awesome, thank you.

 

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 – Lore Sjoberg

 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Writer Care



In Publishing News this week…


Publishing Perspectives published a think piece from Richard Charkin on how Brexit will change the British publishing industry. Richard points out that British publishers will no longer have EU rights – and that now is the time to think and act globally and to support their writers in utilising worldwide English rights. It’s amazing to me that some publishers haven’t figured out they can publish everywhere on the same day. 

 

Joanna Penn had a great interview with David Farland this week. It’s a must-listen/read. David talks about changes he is seeing in publishing with hybrid authors, Kickstarter campaigns, and much more. David mentioned in passing seeing contracts that asked for All formats existing now and to be invented. Deal Breaker Alert.

 

There is a new App on the block- Bookship – Create a virtual book club for friends and readers to stay in touch with your writing and reading. It looks like an app variation of Goodreads but with a book club setting. 


In Indie News: D2D is now offering Payment splitting for collaborators!

 

This week I seemed to be reading lots of articles on writer self-care. This is a reflection of the Northern Hemisphere Winter Blues and Covid lockdown. 

Sofia Koutlaki at The writer recently published an article on how writers can cope a long dark winter indoors.

 

K M Weiland recently wrote an interesting article on overthinking your writing. Are you guilty of perfectionism? Is your ego getting in the way?

 

Meanwhile, Dean Wesley Smith was wrestling with another kind of problem- The Disorganized Writer. Where did you put that story from a few years ago… can you find it in your files?

 

Are you suffering from the Dunning Kruger effect in your writing or is it the well-known Valley Of Despair? Scott McCormick writes on how you can tell that your writing is not as terrible as you think it is.

 

After you have navigated the minefield of writing tripwires, it might be time to recognize the writing habits that work best for you. Gary Smailes has a look at how other writers developed habits and then breaks down the way to become successful in your own writing habits.

 

Angela Ward writes about 10 tools to help you stay more productive in your writing. Fantasy Name generators to description ideas for inspiration. Check it out.

 

In The Craft Section,

Tips for writing rising action- Katherine Grubb


Beginning your story too soon- K M Weiland- Bookmark


How do you know your novel is ready to publish- Anne R Allen - Bookmark


Building a bridge from the beginning to the main conflict- Jami Gold - Bookmark


5 easy ways to get more writing done in less time- Sean Platt

 

In The Marketing Section,

March Madness marketing for Books- Sandra Beckwith


Tips on using Linkedin for authors- Marika Flatt


10 surefire strategies for promotion before publishing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


Street teams: How to smoothly run them for success- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark



 

To Finish,

Shanna Swendson wrote a guest post over at Fiction University - Keep Your Writing Routine From Becoming A Rut. How often have you felt like you were dragging yourself to your desk? Have you lost the joy of creation? Now might be the time to change up a few habits and get re-inspired again.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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 – Book Catalog

 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

To Do …

 


In this week’s roundup

If you have been keeping one eye on Audiblegate, Passive Guy has a roundup of the state of play so far. He also speculates that it would be nice if the print publishers also put limits on how long they would hold the print rights. Susan May, who is the force behind the movement to get owed money back from Audible responds in the replies to the post.

 

With audiobooks being the next big thing for streaming services, it was interesting to come across this article on podcasts that are being snapped up by subscription streaming services and the murky waters of their copyright. 

How many entertainment channels do you subscribe to? Who will buy out who in 2021?

 

Techcrunch reports that a Kids Bookclub company, Literati, has raised $40 million to expand their book clubs to Adults. For a monthly fee, you get sent a print book and the chance to join in book chat about the book with the celebrity curator. The idea is to get more people reading… 

 

Another year… another set of scammers. Anne R Allen has a roundup of the scams just appearing on the horizon of 2021. Cast your eyes over the list and warn others especially newbies. 

 

Ruth Harris has a great post on reviewing readers. What type of nutty reader replies have come across your desk? My mother in law, a romance writer, had a rabid fan who read every one of her books and always complained about the unrealistic weather. Eg. It doesn’t snow in August in America. The romances were clearly set in the southern hemisphere, down under, with maps….

 

David Gaughran has an interesting article on publishing short stories. Have you thought about writing shorts and publishing them? There might be a little bit of money to be made or you could give them to your fans.

 

In The Craft Section,

Writing lessons from Pride and Prejudice- Terena Bell - Bookmark


What good are sex scenes?- Litreactor


Idea testing stages in brainstorming- Janice Hardy


Short Video of master screenwriter Robert McKee on what to keep and what to cut.


Brainstorming the novel- Julie Duffy


Can you have more than one protagonist?- Abigail Perry- Bookmark

 

In the Marketing Section,

Outside the box marketing ideas- Bookmark


How to market an ebook- Reedsy


Endorsing books- who should you ask


33 tips to improve email marketing- Barb Drozdowich – Bookmark


Timing your book launch -Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

 

To Finish,

My To-Do Lists constantly change… probably because I promptly lose them meaning I have to write the list again from memory. How are your To-Do Lists? Have you ever thought of plotting this way? Elizabeth S Craig found it gave her a whole new perspective on plot momentum.


Maureen

@craicer

 

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 – Hey Paul Studios

 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Bookshops and Booksales



 

This week Audible finally let creators know the changes they have decided on to address the concerns of Audiblegate. (Audible’s practice of promoting read and return audiobooks with no compensation to creators last year.) They are promising to create a new dashboard for authors to see which books have been returned and they are changing their terms of exclusivity. Publishing Perspectives asked Author groups what they thought. Not good enough was the answer. This is where the value of belonging to a strong writer’s union comes into play.

 

The Guardian recently published an article entitled Bookshops defy pandemic to record highest sales in eight years. After they published this they had to go and change the title to accurately reflect the article which was on Book Sales. Yes, bookshops were selling books but a lot of the print book sales were happening online. However, as the Society of Authors points out that’s cold comfort to a lot of writers who relied on appearances to pay the bills.

 

Publishing Perspectives interviewed the CEO of Wattpad on their merger with Korean digital publisher Naver. If you have been keeping an eye on Wattpad and how they have grown from a fanfic forum to a movie and television production powerhouse, their merger with Naver, who operates a similar model in Asia, is a good thing. The numbers are interesting. Together they will almost be as big as Netflix.

 

Big Five publishers are back in court for price fixing. Again. They are named as co- conspirators with Amazon. Publishing Perspectives looks at the case and whether it will hurt Amazon at all.

 

Kris Rusch writes this week about the rise of e-reading due to Covid-19 lockdowns and how Bertelsmann danced with the numbers trying to prove that there was a huge number of Indie publishers, so that they wouldn’t be slapped by regulators for controlling too much of the market by buying Simon and Schuster. As it is, they may have over 50% of the Trad publishers market.

 

The Alliance of Independent Authors has an interesting blog post on whether having your book in book shops is worth it for Indie Authors. With Trad Publishers used to getting books published in China for little cost they can use the sale or return option as a carrot for bookshops to stock their books. Indies using POD have higher costs per book which impacts on discounts to bookstores. This article breaks down the numbers and the cost benefit for Indies to use bookstores.

 

Anne R Allen has a great guest post from Joseph Perry, a literary attorney, on important clauses to take note of in a publishing contract. One thing to remember, Joseph says, is that the publishing contract is always written in favour of the publisher.

 

How often do you stare at your just completed hot mess of a manuscript and wonder how to tackle the revision aspect. Jean Grant has an interesting blog post where she breaks down the way she revises. Having a checklist of things to look out for is a good starting point.

 

In The Craft Section,

5 mistakes writers make with relationships- Bang2Write


Understanding third person omniscient POV- Tiffany Martin


Using Twin Relationships in Writing- Becca Puglisi


5 point plan on how to kill a character- WritersWrite- Bookmark


Good Storytelling- Internal and external stakes- Karen Woodward- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

Heart centered Book Marketing- Beth Barany- Bookmark


Amazon Keywords 101- Penny Sansevieri


February Content ideas- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


How to get publicity for your book- Kaelyn Barron- Bookmark


What’s the deal with Amazon verified reviews- Sandra Beckwith


How to use Book Awards for publicity- Sandra Beckwith

 

To Finish,

Are you aware of time racing differently due to how engaged you are with a book? Have you struggled with narrative time? What about reader time? How does the reader experience the forward motion of your story? Writer Unboxed has a great article on Character Time and Reader Time and how you can make the most use of time in your manuscript.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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: The Tannery Bookshop- Christchurch

 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Magnetic Poetry



This week in publishing news…

Wattpad has been sold to Naver, a south Korean group who own other e-publishing ventures. It’s a deal that makes sense according to Techcrunch as they will probably keep it going in the same way.

 

How many of you know someone who has a digital subscription for entertainment? 

Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has an interesting comment on Netflix’s goal of 500 million subscribers. If digital subscription is the new way to get entertainment where are the publishers?

 

Orna Ross of The Alliance of Independent Authors, and Joanna Penn get together once a month to talk about the publishing industry and new projects they are working on. The January meeting was all about planning for the year ahead. Check out the transcript or listen to the podcast. There are some great nuggets in there on goal setting and time chunking.

 

If you like setting yourself challenges, Austin Kleon talks about the 100 days and suck less challenge he has got going. You can also do mini-challenges It’s all about creating the habit of showing up.

 

Every few years Jane Friedman updates her infographic on all the different ways to publish. With the pandemic changing the publishing landscape, Jane has updated her infographic.

 

The Write Life has rounded up their top 100 websites for writers. Take a look. There is something for everyone in this collection. For podcast lovers check out Writing Excuses.

 

This year I have decided to read more poetry. I am in awe of poets as they seem to have a hot line into creating memorable lines. If I want to get better at writing I need to learn to read and write poems. Here’s a great little instruction list for writing poems.

 

In The Craft Section,

New Year New Writing goals- Michael Hyatt


Dreamzoning-7 steps to find new ideas- K M Weiland


Getting past the blank page- James Preston


Give your characters something to die for- Karen Woodward- Bookmark


7 ways to use deep POV- Lisa Hall Wilson- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

A beginner’s guide to Amazon pre-orders- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


The shy authors guide to book promotion- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


Alternatives to Goodreads- Emily Stochi- Bookmark


8 tips for better manuscript formatting- Now Novel

 

To Finish,

Today has been an historic day for the USA. Among their ‘firsts’ on inauguration day was the first ever US National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman.

Her poem is sensational and timely. A MUST WATCH

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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 – Steve Johnson – Magnetic fridge poetry

 

Friday, January 15, 2021

And We're Off...



 I’m Back…

Yes, this blog is one day late. It will not be a trend for the year. (Way to go, Maureen, starting 2021 with an apology… OTOH isn’t that how we feel about 2021? It is supposed to be better than 2020.)

 

Over the Southern Hemisphere Summer, I tried to take a complete media and screen break. It worked some of the time…

This week I’m back in the swing of things researching, writing, and twiddling with my current WIP. I was on a roll yesterday with Pomodoro sprint writing so didn’t stop to get the blog done.

The posts that caught my eye over summer were the usual, what will 2021 be like for writers, what can we learn from 2020, and wow, what a great idea. 

 

Written Word Media has a post on the top ten trends authors need to know about 2021.

If you have been keeping an eye on publishing news, the shrinking of the Big Publishers is on that list. Let’s buy up publishers screamed accountants. (Obviously, they know where the money is- authors backlist IP) Publishing Perspectives reports that Aussie Illustrator Robert Ingpen’s backlist of titles, owned by one publishing house has been on-sold to a new publishing house. 

In other acquisitions, over Christmas, a hedge fund bought Overdrive the Ebook library service and now there are rumours that Wattpad may be on the block. If you haven’t checked into how big Wattpad has become, Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has all the info and the rumoured price tag. (Eye-popping.) And just in, Nate Hoffelder reports that The Book Designer site has been sold to a dubious operator…. 

 

Looking back at 2020, Writer Beware had a rundown of all the scammy behaviour that popped up over 2020. Some of these scams are still ongoing. Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the bad actors out there. Fore Warned is Fore Armed. I have just seen a reference to a new scam this week, Negative reviews on your books, which will be taken down by the reviewer… for a price. (Don’t engage… coz then they know you are a soft touch.)

 

Paula Munier has a handy roundup of writing lessons learned over 2020. These are timely reminders. Also, no idea, however weird, is too weird. Just think over the real-life plotlines of 2020 for a moment. (Or even the first two weeks of 2021…)

Nothing is to ‘out there’ anymore. 

 

Colleen Story thinks writers should take more risks this year. She has five reasons why this is a good thing. 

If you are wanting a challenge for 2021, the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge is open for the next month. Every year I vow that one day I must do this challenge. I’m in awe of my fellow writers who can write picture books... It is a special skill.

 

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a great roundup of Tech resources for authors for you to bookmark and investigate over the year ahead.

 

If you have been following the blog for many years. (12+) you will know I am a fan of author collectives. There is nothing like a group of authors to cheer you on. Recently Bookbub profiled a group of authors who got together to write a series set in a joint world. They are having a lot of fun. I know a couple of authors who are doing this with writer buddies- Cue writer envy- Such a cool thing to do. Check out how they make it work.

 

Alison Williams has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog. This is a must read for a great tip to get your manuscript from first draft to second draft to ready to publish. (Everybody cue your movie trailer voices.)

 

In The Craft Section,

Write yourself a bad review- K M Weiland- Bookmark


Editors share their top tips- Emma Lombard


The vital importance of your writing community- John Peregine


10 quick tips to make your writing craft better- Diane Glazman- Bookmark


Inner conflict- reflecting the inner struggle - Janice Hardy - Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

10 Smart book promotion services- Penny Sansevieri – Bookmark


How to price your self-published book


Book Promotion a marathon, not a sprint- Sharon Bially- Bookmark


How to declutter your book marketing- Pauline Wiles


How to market your Kindle book- Penny Sansevieri


Extra,

Video on marketing on YouTube- This is by musician Mary Spender- It deals with musician income, however, this could be a heads up for the future as the book industry is following the music industry- (Subscription streaming services anyone?)

 

To Finish,

The Fabulous Spa Girls are back with tips on how to set goals for your writing year. They have a series of Golden Questions to answer which then make setting goals for the coming year so much easier. Then you can drop into Michael Hyatt’s website to learn about SMARTER goals, to put them into place.

 

2021… Here we come.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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 – Marco Verch- Pomodoro Timer.

 

 

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