Thursday, September 30, 2021

Staying Connected

In Publishing News this week,

Following on from last week’s news on the rise of Artificial Intelligence Voices for Narration, Publishing Perspectives has an article on a new exhibitor to the Frankfurt Bookfair- Speechki. They aim to fill that gap of quick production of audiobooks. Meanwhile, Richard Charkin explains why he is looking forward to attending the fair in person along with 1500 other exhibitors. (If that raised a small chill, you are not alone. It’s going to be a while before we’re all comfortable again in crowds.)

If you are still curious about AI narration check out the Alliance Of Independent Author's interview with Bradley Metrock.


The New Publishing Standard has a short story on Bloomsbury and the acquisition of a video streaming service and their plans for it. Publishing- Are we looking at an all-media one-stop shop?


Jane Friedman has an in-depth article on supply chain woes where she details what is happening to the publishers and their print runs. It is a great backgrounder in how the consolidation of publishers and the demise of magazines has created this problem.


This week Kris Rusch muses on the omnichannel approach and what authors must remember as they get swallowed up in companies that operate this way. Don’t be a footnote in a Disney-style dispute.


This week Joanna Penn and Mark Leslie Lefebvre released The Relaxed Author. This is a book that aims to give you tips and plans to get your writing business wrangled so you can enjoy writing. They have a great podcast interview on how they came to write the book. As ever, Joanna provides a transcript to her podcasts.


It is nearly October and that means checking out all the neat ways to jazz up your social media posts with October themes for Book Marketing. Penny Sansevieri has a great collection of fun dates to play with.


Writer Unboxed has a great guest post from Deanna Cabinian who writes on the Time vs Productivity paradox for authors. What is it about squeezing time to write that makes you productive?


Ruth Harris has a great post on the four deadly writer sins. How many are you guilty of and can you recognise them when you see them? Clea Simon has an interesting post on what playing in rock bands taught her about writing.


In The Craft Section,

Choose your story plot points- K M Weiland - Bookmark

What are character arcs- Chelsea Hindle

12 writer woes and the books to cure them- Roni Loren

How to get emotion onto the page – Lisa Cron- Bookmark

How to snag the best freelance editor- Jodie Renner- Bookmark

4 secrets to making unlikeable characters work- Plot To Punctuation


In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Key strategies for book marketing online and Book Marketing strategies for older titles- Bookmark

5 secrets to writing book marketing copy- Casey Demchak and for extra credit listen to this fabulous SPA 

Girls podcast with Jacob McMillen on copywriting for book marketing. Bookmark.

Why your hard sell is a fail- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark


To Finish,

It is nearly time for The Alliance of Independent Authors FREE online conference. The alliance is a great organisation that hosts 3 big online conferences every year in conjunction with the big Book Fairs. The last one of the year is dedicated to Craft. Jump over and look at the speakers. Something for everyone here.


Even though we may all be sick of Zoom – there are some great conferences out there with virtual components. This can at least keep us feeling like we are still connected to the wider writing community. 





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter with the best of my bookmarked links. 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 – Damian Gadal


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Listen Up!



This week in Publishing


The rise of the AI voice. DeepZen AI is partnering with Ingram to produce audiobooks using AI voices. Joanna Penn flagged this in her futurist segment in December last year. I don’t think she was expecting it to be a reality quite so soon. 

I recently got a chance to play with AI voices with my manuscript and it was uncanny. You can emotionally intensify words in a passage.

 DeepZen is offering all this and more in a cheap introductory package. It really could be a game-changer if you are looking for a cheap way to get into audio. 

Last week I linked to the news story of Audible+ subscription being rolled out to more countries. Don’t forget that Audiblegate is still ongoing. That’s where subscription participants are encouraged to treat Audible like a library and constantly return audiobooks so the writer doesn’t get paid. (The reader gets full credit back - up to a year later. The writer foots the bill for this.) With the drop in royalties from Audible and the cost of human narration, it could be a viable alternative. 


This week the excitement was palpable as authors logged into their KDP dashboards and discovered that Hardback was available. Is it really true? Yes, and early adopters say that you get a fancy coloured ribbon bookmark attached to it as well. Just a reminder, you need to check your dimensions and bleed for printing hardback and you need a new ISBN for the format. Go forth and have fun!


I’m starting to see plaintive moans from authors whose books are being held up in the great print delay of 2021. Supply chain issues, paper shortages, stuck boats in the Panama Canal, and overloaded ports in China have all conspired to delay print runs, especially for the pre-Christmas book rush. This has a knock-on effect on prices. Expect your Print book prices to go up. Ingram has already raised their print prices by 3-6%.


Joanna Penn has an interesting interview with Sarah Werner on producing audio drama. This is your full cast of characters audio play version of the audiobook. If you love listening to plays and want to turn your novel into an audio play, check out this interview. Just a note, all things narration have separate licenses- ISBN’s. A narrated audiobook is different from a cast of characters audiobook which is different from an AI narrated audiobook- although ISBN agencies might not have cottoned on to that last one yet, but it will come.


Written Word Media has a new ad programme for authors called Reader Reach- They will do the Facebook Ad marketing for you… for a price.

Meanwhile, Storygraph, an alternative to Goodreads is gaining traction.


Victoria Strauss has an update on the #Disneymustpay scandal. If you know anyone who has written for Disney or one of their many imprints, spread the word that the Task Force (a representative group from many writers organisations,) want to hear from them. Disney is NOT going out of their way to find the authors they owe royalties to.


This week Kris Rusch had a standout post entitled Comparison is The Thief of Joy. This post is one to mull over as you look at your creative life. I read it out loud to my family and we talked about what it meant to each of us. 


In The Craft Section,

2 great posts from Angela and Becca -Everything to do with Characters and Describing your characters appearance- Bookmark Both

What’s the plot point- David Farland

Crafting The Short Story- Insecure writer support group- Bookmark

What setup in a novel means- Janice Hardy

Story Planner success- Now Novel- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Is your website missing crucial elements? Bookmark

Making Ebook Bookstagrams- Bookbub

The social side of Social media for authors- Writers in the Storm

Ads promoting debut novels- Bookbub

Should you sell your books from your website? Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark


To Finish,

The news is out. Netflix has acquired the whole of Roald Dahl’s literary estate.

They have plans! Expect to see a bevy of Dahl movies, animations, musicals, and what about the books? Special tie-in’s, re-releases, animated digital versions…. The possibilities are endless. I hope Quentin Blake (as the iconic Dahl illustrator) gets a cut. Rumour suggests that the price was $500M. That estate is worth a lot of golden tickets to Netflix.


Don’t forget - every writer has a literary estate for the life of copyright. The Dahl heirs will be popping champaign for a long time on this, also the agents, the executors, the lawyers…





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.



Thursday, September 16, 2021

Knowing the Why


This week in publishing,

Beijing Bookfair has now opened after a delay due to the pandemic. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at what is on offer in the face-to-face fair. Honoured guests to the fair are either zooming in or flying in. Either way, the success of Beijing will probably set the pattern for other book fairs going forward.


The Alliance of Independent Authors has their craft conference soon. It’s a free 24 hour conference with great presentations from excellent writing teachers. Check out who is speaking and what is on offer.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard writes about Audibles' expansion into new markets with their unlimited subscription model. Will the expansion of their territories tempt the big publishers into Audible finally? With supply chains in peril, digital might hold out the lifeline.


Kris Rusch has a great post this week on the supply chain and how it is going to impact booksellers, especially the Christmas market. All the rumours are true. Buy your Christmas books now.

If you are not sure how a book gets from acquisitions to the bookstore, Nathan Bransford has a guest post on this very subject. When you put this together with Kris Rusch's post you see what traditional publishers are up against with their supply woes.


Publishers Weekly talked with some agents about the Middle-Grade book market. What do they see coming up and how is the genre changing. One thing they talk about which was a talking point at my dinner table last night was the expansion of Middle Grade into lower Young Adult – Big issues stuff without the romance aspect. 


Jane Friedman has a guest post from Jennie Nash about the why of writing a book. This is a great post that asks an important question. If you can’t answer it you shouldn’t be writing. Knowing your why means digging deep. This is a must-read. Jennie also has ten tips to write a book worth reading.


In The Craft Section,

Going deeper into structure- Jami Gold- Bookmark

2 great posts from Scott Myers- Franklin Leonards advice on screenwriting and Scene Descriptions

How to use archetypical arcs in your stories- K M Weiland – Bookmark

5 ways your story hurts your novel- Janice Hardy - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

17 Book Marketing quotes to inspire- Sandra Beckwith

How to be a great podcast guest- Joanna Penn

Creating a prelaunch strategy for your book- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

All you need to know about Book sizes- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

How Bookbub ads drive sales- Bookbub- Bookmark


To Finish,

This month Joanna Penn celebrates 10 years as a full-time author - entrepreneur. This is milestone anniversary. Joanna has documented her journey to being a 6 figure Indie author and sustaining this career for many years. Her podcast backlist is phenomenal as is the depth of the information that she has shared with her guests to the author community every week. She is excited for the future. I’m always interested in where she thinks the tech will go as she is an early adopter. Heres’ to many more years of fabulous learning from The Creative Penn.

She definitely knows her Why!





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 – Buzz Farmers

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Sharks and The Scammers



This week in publishing,

Scammers and their scammy ways have been filling my social media this week.


Long Time readers of this blog will know scammers are out there. They prey on the dreams of authors and change their names and methods frequently. The hardest conversation, the one we don’t want to have, is the one where we know we are going to be pouring cold water on the dreams of Newbie writers. None of us like to do that and so many of us just stay quiet and hope they won’t be burnt too much. But these conversations are necessary. Newbies don’t know the ropes like we do. At the very least tell them to google the offers with the search term scam or complaints. 


A Tale of Woe was shared with me this week as a warning to authors out there. This is an Author Beware situation involving scammers targeting authors on Facebook.

Authors like to run giveaways for their fans. They use their Facebook author pages. Everything is fine until a book scammer targets them. Very quickly the author’s page is cloned. A fake page is created using copy/paste from the author's page so that it looks genuine. The scammer starts targeting page followers and giveaway entrants with friend requests. From there it’s a quick hop to asking for credit card details for book sales or sending them to fake book sites. Meanwhile, the author has no idea this is happening until the complaints come in. Facebook yanks their author page and they lose all their social media accounts. A devastating blow. What can you do? 

The author in this situation shared with me their plan to save their business. Read it carefully and check your privacy settings on Facebook. These scammers are targeting authors specifically. 

“If an author or artist discovers they've been cloned they need to act swiftly. The first 24-48 hours are one of the only opportunities to contain the problem. One emergency containment method is to temporarily make an author/artist's business Facebook page only viewable to their country. Seek guidance on methods to identify the imposters and request action from Facebook and Google to delete them from the system. Once some sort of normality is resumed then gradually different countries can be added back to the page viewing list.

Note - if the country where the imposters are based is identified it would be advisable to not add that country back to the viewing list for as long as possible. 

Google can remove 'phishing' sites within 12 hours, but Facebook offer no guarantees as to whether they can remove a profile or not. If an imposter is using a private VPN to access the internet, then they may never be found.”

Anne R Allen has a great post on how to stay safe from scammers.


Brenda Pollard revived an old post on how to figure out if you have received a genuine publishing offer. 


There are rumours on KBoards- Is Vella over before it got started? There have been grumblings about Vella from authors lately. Where are the readers for serial content on Amazon? Occasionally news does break on Kboards – Take with a grain of salt.


Staying with Amazon- Two publishers have filed class actions against Audible for irregularity in payments. Audiblegate is now before the courts. It promises to be an interesting court case. Here is hoping that Audible sorts out this mess that is hurting authors' pockets.


Kris Rusch has another great post in her series Jumping The Digital Divide – When should you get behind the hot new thing in publishing. Kris gives her reasons for a carefully considered approach. 


Publishers Weekly takes an in-depth look at the power of BookTok recommendations.


Substack- the darling of the subscription newsletter community claims the prize of Salman Rushdie to their platform. Should we take them seriously now?


Audiobooks wars are about to hit India with two big players eying up the 3rd biggest market for audiobooks. The New Publishing Standard takes a look at the Indian Audiobook market.


Suzanne Lakin has a great post on nailing the purpose of your scene. It is a must-read.


In The Craft Section,

10 ways to write better plots- Now Novel- Bookmark

3 ways to strengthen a scene-James Scott Bell- Bookmark

3 rules for raising story stakes- Laurence MacNaughton- Bookmark

Revising your plot- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

Pacing and character changes- Linda Clare


In The Marketing Section,

QR Code generator for authors- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

Book promotion language can attract or repel readers- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Interactive storytelling -Alliance of Independent Authors transcript of conference session

A checklist for in person events- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

30 Book Marketing ideas – Nathan Bransford


To Finish,

Sometimes all you want to do is run away from the world and write. Headphones might block the world out but sometimes you need a little bit more. Kate from Wordsnstuff blog has made a list of writing music. She has a mix of classical white noise and film tracks. If writing to music is your thing check it out. 




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 of 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, September 2, 2021

Trying To Get Paid

In publishing news this week…

The Scarlet Johannson / Black Widow standoff over a contract dispute with Disney sounds very familiar in the writing world. Earlier this year writers’ groups banded together to seek reparations after Disney didn’t pay royalties. Now they have thrown their weight behind Scarlet’s dispute. How many times do they need to be told? Pay the creators.


Frankfurt Bookfair is stumbling along in a will they, won’t they, be live or virtual or both or neither this year. They have been bleeding big publishers and now their guest country of honour might not show up. Mark Williams takes a look at the latest news.


Publishing Perspectives has an interesting article on the latest sales numbers for crime and thrillers. This powerhouse genre has usually been a reliable performer but their numbers are dropping. Why? Is it sexism?


There have been mutterings and warnings around the blogosphere on the supply chain issues in the book industry. Last year with lockdowns around the world, book printing slowed up and then earlier this year bulk lots of books flooded the market. The whole supply chain is in a pickle. CNN points out the problems on the manufacturing side and Publishers Weekly examines the price hikes on books due to the supply problems.

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a great chat with Adam Croft which touches on this and the big stoush between Amazon Print and Ingram Spark.


Staying with the Alliance of Independent Authors -they have a great article on rights reversion. When you negotiate your contracts have you paid attention to this clause. This is fast becoming one of the most important clauses in a book publishing contract. When do you get your rights back? Yes, you can negotiate this and you should.


There is a new monthly magazine on the print stands, The Indie Author Magazine. It is in its first year of production and being Indie focused it is available in digital and app formats. This month’s edition features the indie powerhouse group 20 books to 50k along with lots of other craft articles. 


Recently Jane Friedman featured an article on Darcy Pattison, an exceptional Indie children’s author. This is a totally fascinating article on how Darcy works and has succeeded in making a 6 figure income in the tough world of children’s publishing.


Kris Rusch has another great article in her publishing across the digital divide series. This week she examines the growth of international markets. Do you have an international focus? Do you even know where the big growth areas are? 


I have a few craft books on structure and am always interested in reading about structure analysis. One of the best at this is September Fawkes. She recently wrote an article on Variations of Story Structure which is a master class and a must-read!


In The Craft Section,

Conflict without violence – adding depth- Litreactor- Bookmark

Fantasy Army recruitment- Mythic Scribes

What nonfiction writers should learn or unlearn when writing fiction- Paula Munier

Stop keeping yourself small-Lauren Sapala- Bookmark

7 tricks to refresh a scene- September Fawkes - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How to write an author bio- Sandra Beckwith

Ultimate guide to mailing lists – Alliance of Independent Authors- Bookmark

How to create a boxset- Bookbub

2 Great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Why a good author brand is a must- And Smarter book 

promotion with seasonal ads – Bookmark Both

How to market your book without social media promotion- Carol Michel- Interesting!


To Finish,

Ruth Harris always writes an entertaining article on the writing life. This week she tackled blurb writing and the fear we all have around writing them. Ruth has some great advice and tips to go big on the blurb. 

Disney writers could try this simple sentence. Pay Me For My Work That Is Making You Billions. 





My monthly newsletter with the best of my bookmarked links will be going out soon. When you subscribe you will 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 the virtual coffee love. Thanks.



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