Thursday, July 29, 2021

To Market To Market



In Publishing News this week…

Some changes over at Amazon caught writers by surprise this week. Amazon introduced A+ which is a spiffy new makeover for your Amazon detail pages. They have a new section on the book page from the publisher- Where you can add video, banners, images, bells  and whistles. Take a look and then dive into amping up your book pages.


Mark Williams over at The New Publishing Standard published two items this week that caught my eye. Indian publisher Byju has just shelled out $500M to buy children’s books subscription platform, Epic. Epic provides books to North American schools for free in return for data insights for publishers. Byju is promising $1Billion expansion for the programme. 

So, get kids invested in subscription reading platforms and you get lifetime customers. Lots of implications here for children’s publishers.

The other news item that caught my eye from Mark was Storytel’s new audiobook app for the Tamil language. 

For the literacy-challenged emerging markets the USP Tellander has latched on to which western publishers appear oblivious to, is the game-changing reach audiobooks bring to internet-savvy people around the world who have never learned to read but come from rich oral-storytelling traditions.

With 5 billion people online – many from an educationally poor background, providing audiobooks in their own languages would be a huge marketing advantage to any savvy publisher. 


Ruth Harris has turned her laser eye onto how Amazon and Bookbub can help you get noticed for free. Have you ever really checked out your author page on Amazon? What about on Bookbub? Dive into this article and start making notes.


Jessica Conoley has a guest post over on Jane Friedman’s blog on the most important choice you will make in your writing career. How you talk to yourself. This information is so important I have two items in this week’s roundup on the topic.

Jennifer Alsever has a roundup of the 7 hot serialization platforms for indie authors. 

The Killzone blog has lots of great content, along with a great publishing model. John Gilstrap recently published an interesting article on writing to be heard. How knowing his writing will be recorded as an audiobook is changing the way he is writing.


In The Craft Section,

Knowing who your invisible narrator is- Milo Todd- Bookmark

How to build your own MFA experience- Tasha Seegmiller

Building POV and stakes in short stories- Rachell Shaw- Bookmark

Archetypes- The Crone- K M Weiland

Dialogue as a source of conflict- Mia Botha- Bookmark

Serialisation storytelling- John Peregine


In The Marketing Section,

The ultimate guide to comparison authors and genres- Alliance of Independent Authors- Bookmark

Bookbub deals on permafree books- Bookbub

Tools and resources – The Creative Penn- Bookmark

5 simple ways to optimize reviews-Blue Ink Review

In-depth article on marketing to Kindle Unlimited subscribers – Written Word Media- Bookmark


To Finish,

How often do you psyche yourself out of doing something? Is it fear of success or fear of rejection? Or do you tell yourself you just aren’t good enough?

The self-rejection voices in our heads can be insidious and loud. Royaline Sing has some ways to combat their mantras and get you back on the write path.





It’s the end of the month so time for my monthly newsletter full of the best of the bookmarked tips and other bits and pieces. 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, 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

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