Thursday, August 26, 2021

Are We There Yet?

Around the world, there are murmuring from publishers about getting back to face-to-face book fairs. Three weeks ago I was hearing the same conversations at the New Zealand Book Awards and now here we are in lockdown. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard talks about the last-minute cancellation of Beijing’s bookfair and the new normal going forward for book fairs.


The big news if you are an Erotica writer is the closing off of websites and income that were previously open to you due to banking regulators tightening up rules. The Alliance of Independent Authors news team talks about the latest developments in a fast-changing story and a possible solution. 


Kris Rusch has an interesting article this week on social shopping. If you miss shopping with your friends there is an app for you. (There is always an app.) How can authors turn this into a social experience for readers?


Anne R Allen has a great guest post on negotiating author agreements from Joseph Perry. This is a good roundup of terms to be familiar with when you look at your own contracts. Just remember you can change your contract- You don’t have to take everything they say. 


If you have come across the term author platform and are struggling with it, read this great article from Rachel Thompson. 


Scott Myers has an interesting article on organising your writing time. 


Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a team of guest writing coaches that they feature on their website. This week Suzanne Lakin is back with a fantastic post on nailing the purpose of your novel's scene. It’s a must read! 


In The Craft Section,

Using triggers for emotional wounds- Angela Ackerman

How interviews can help a book project- Shalene Gupta- Bookmark

Style sheets – Ruth Harris – Bookmark

Writing emotions effectively- Litreactor- Bookmark

Describing old characters-Kathy Steinnmann


In The Marketing Section,

Boost your chances for a Bookbub featured deal- Bookmark

Author collaboration – does it work?- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Use your Amazon bio- Penny Sansevieri

Fun September holidays for marketing- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Facebook ads for books – Dave Chesson – Bookmark


To Finish,

You have a great idea. You know there is a story in there. Where do you start? Ross Hartmann has a great article on how to expand your story idea, where to start from and what questions to ask. 


Sometimes it is really hard to get motivated to write. Lockdown can either drive creativity or completely sap it. Look after yourself and your mental health. Schedule a dance party for one.






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 – Wendelin Jacober

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Clock Is Ticking



This week in publishing news...

Publishing Perspectives has highlighted the call from International Pen calling for protection of writers and journalists in Afghanistan. With the situation changing hourly on the ground over there, writers and journalists are being targeted. The first casualty is always truth and an incoming regime is quick to get control of the message to the people. If you want to help, get in touch with your countries author societies who can direct you to your nearest PEN branch.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard takes a look at Hachette’s purchase of Workman this week. Hachette wasn’t interested in the frontlist but in the gold of the backlist. Publishers are taking note that their digital sales kept them afloat when the bricks and mortar stores were closed. Now they are on the hunt for vaults of backlist to make money from. 


Meanwhile, Kris Rusch has been looking at Omnichannel marketing. What does that mean to the author? It is the seamless experience of drawing a reader into your lair  book world and giving them the same experience wherever they encounter you. It is an interesting read and the way of future marketing.


Publishing Perspectives reports on moves to introduce gamification serial writing apps. Write the serial and unlock a whole lot of enhanced content around it with in-app purchases. Take a look at what may be speeding down the track towards you.


Bookfunnel has just announced an exciting new feature- They are getting into author newsletter swaps. They are making it easy to find other authors to swap freebies with. 


Time has discovered Goodreads, or really the mess of review bombing that has been escalating over on Goodreads. Amazon owns Goodreads and the experience for authors is not a good one. Time for a clean-up of the review trolls. 


New Zealand’s publishers were planning their conference this weekend. Publishing In A Disrupted World. A very prescient conference theme as it happens. Their guests are live streaming in so they may be able to move the whole thing online.


Jane Friedman published a guest article from Sangeeta Mehta on two agents' advice on publishing with a small press. Is it was worth it? Some interesting ideas were put forward. Writer, E J Wenstrom published an article this week on what she had learned in 6 years being with a small press.


Anne R Allen has a great article on cliche story beginnings and how they have evolved. It is especially good if you aren’t sure if your beginning is a cliché.


In The Craft Section,

Story Obstacles- or when you have to take two steps back- Jami Gold- Bookmark

3 things to know about endings- K M Weiland - Bookmark

Describing character emotions, problems, and solutions- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

10 self-editing tips- Maryann Miller- Bookmark

3 useful tips for getting your book written- Lucy V Hay- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section

Building an ARC Review team- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

How to use pre-order strategies on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to market to local media- Penny Sansevieri

What is a soft book launch?- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Working with Google Docs- TheWriteLife- Bookmark


To Finish,

Yesterday New Zealand went into a snap Lockdown as we had one case of the Delta variant of Covid 19 in the community. Our countries strategy has been to Go Hard. Go Early. This has enabled us to quickly get on top of the pandemic and then life goes back to the way it was. It has been 16 months since our last tight lockdown so we know the strategy works. As we are a gateway to the Pacific Islands we are protecting them as well until we all can be vaccinated. One case quickly turned into 10 and then into 21, but we have traced everybody with genome sequencing so we know where and how it got here. This kind of fast turnaround science was unheard of a few years ago. So what should we do in a tight lockdown? Some writers might think 'I should write that novel', but not everyone has the ideal writing environment if the house is full. Writer Unboxed recently posted an article on the 6 excuses you can use for not finishing your novel in a pandemic.

Or you could be Catherine Ryan Howard – one of our Indie touchstones, who has gone on to have a big thriller career. Catherine wrote a thriller in lockdown about lockdown called 56 days. She writes a small rant in the Irish Times about how it came about. Take one lockdown…





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If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – David Lofink


Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Sinners And The Saints


In Publishing News this week,

The UK publishing industry is in turmoil this week over a controversial book that was called out by commentators, who then found themselves targets in a social media pile-on. The book has been pulled for a revision but the apology over the mess has created more controversy with well-known authors tweeting their support citing free speech without checking the facts. There is an open letter being circulated about the treatment of the commentators. 

N.B. If you hold an honoured position in the industry, be very sure of all the facts in the story before making public statements. No one will believe you made the statement as a private individual. As my journalist friends say, Nothing is ever off the record!


News broke this week of depths of parsimony attributed to one of the wealthiest entertainment companies on the planet. The comic book creators for the Marvel Movie franchise are being paid a flat fee of $5,000 and if they are lucky, a seat at the premier.

Yes – You did read that right. Check your contracts people and learn what all the terms mean.


Here in New Zealand, we celebrated the best children’s and young adult books of the past year. A fantastic night was had at the NZCYA awards by all as we gathered in person after last year’s virtual gathering. We are very mindful of the privilege here in NZ. In a nice touch, we applauded last year’s winners who were present. Congratulations to everyone who were finalists and winners on the night!


The New Publishing Standard takes a look at how the first year of subscription with Kobo+ shaped up. Every week there seems to be something about subscription plans as big players and not so big players jostle for room. This is our publishing future, as Mark Williams points out. You can’t ignore it you have to learn to work within it.


If you create comics you might need to look at a rapidly growing comic distributor platform which has just raised a substantial chunk of cash to expand with AI.


The stellar human being, Dolly Parton, is writing her first fiction book with James Patterson.

In an interesting creative addition, Dolly is also writing a companion album of songs that explores the themes in the book. 


This week Time magazine published the 100 best Young Adult books of all time. It made for interesting reading and a lot of Twitter congratulations to living authors. How many books have you read?


Nathan Bransford has a guest post from an acquisitions editor detailing all the steps that go into acquiring a book. Interesting reading.


In The Craft Section,

Don’t let excess baggage bring down your characters- Marissa Graff- Bookmark

Write like you are in love- edit like you are in charge- James Scott Bell 

Dual points of view- E J Wenstrom- Bookmark

Every hack needs an ideas file- Bill Ferris

Which story structure is right for your book- Savannah Cordova- Bookmark

The flat archetype of the child- K M Weiland- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How to give readers a direct amazon review link- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

10 ways to handle bad reviews- Indie Author News

Book marketing success and 5 top Twitter tips for authors- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

Personal branding for authors- Kimberly Grabas- Bookmark

Book Release Checklist – Elizabeth S Craig- BOOKMARK


To Finish,

When chatting to the supreme winner at the New Zealand Children and Young Adults Book Awards, Tania Roxborogh, she recounted a familiar story of feeling utterly demoralised as a young writer. James Scott Bell has a great article on advice for the demoralised writer. 

Success is sweeter after a long agonising climb to the top.





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 Snodgrass


Thursday, August 5, 2021

Publishing - Not A Sprint


This week in publishing news

Canadian authors have been dealt a blow with their Supreme Court ruling that collecting royalties from educational institutions cannot be enforced. This is a long-running dispute going into its 10th year of wrangling after an amendment to the law saw educational institutions copying an estimated $150 Million worth of material with no compensation to the copyright holders.


If you receive a notice asking you to prove your right to publish your own work, what can you do? The Alliance of Independent Authors has a comprehensive article of advice for you. This is something to keep an eye on with some scammers claiming books and putting them on Audible without the creators knowledge. You might not have decided to make an audiobook but a scammer can see the opportunity. With the rise of AI voices getting better they don’t have to work very hard to do it either.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard takes a look at Academic publishers, Pearson. Academic publishers don’t make a cent from the second-hand market which is where most students shop for books. But now they have a plan. Enter subscription. Now you don’t have to choose between rent and an academic textbook.


Have you been struggling to get back into a writing rhythm? Kristine Rusch has a great post on getting into the writing groove. Easy does it. Don’t go for broke.


Reedsy have a comprehensive article stuffed full of tips for anyone looking to find out about audiobook production and publishing.


If you are looking for critique partners check out Critique Circle


Dave Chesson has examined the A+ content blocks that Amazon are now offering and has written a comprehensive article on how to get the best out of the new bells and whistles.


Suzanne Lakin has a masterful breakdown of how to infuse micro tension in your story. She calls it the secret ingredient to the commercially successful novel.


In The Craft Section,

How do I include diverse people in fantasy worlds- Mythcreants

What do your characters falsely believe- Jami Gold

Revising your plot after your first draft- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

The steadfast character arc- September Fawkes  Bookmark

Curiosity and tension in storytelling- Stefan Emunds- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Unique content marketing ideas for August- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Writing Author blogs – Anne R Allen- Bookmark

The best day to discount books- Bookbub

All about email lists- Reedsy- Bookmark

Do Ads work and How can you tell -SPF James Blatch- Interesting article

3 tips for a great cover reveal- Greer Macallister


To Finish,

It’s Olympic time and in amongst the spectacular achievements are the human interest stories that have all the elements of a riveting novel. You can always check Nownovel’s great post on 10 ways to write better plots and see if they match up.




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 – Peppe702

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