Thursday, October 28, 2021

Give Me The Money!


This week in publishing...

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone said 'here, have some money for your art?' If you work in the creative arts and live in Ireland you might be the lucky recipient of a trial Guaranteed Basic Income for artists from the government. It is being called a game-changer by the artists who receive 325 euros a week. Read the article and weep with envy.


Last week I mentioned a couple of news items on startups in the publishing sphere who didn’t seem to know what they were doing but had been given money to make an impact of some sort in publishing and book discovery. Ireland again is at the forefront in creating an Irish author website store. The website showcases Irish authors, provides them with a sales page the author controls, and sells print books directly. Author collectives can do this to take advantage of group niche markets or marketing but I haven’t heard of a country doing it. It’s still in start-up mode but will be interesting to see where it goes.


Author Ryan Holiday has taken a different route to get money- he has opened a small bookstore in a small town. He is offering a curated book store of his picks and he has an interesting drawcard. 


This week Richard Charkin wrote an interesting opinion piece on his experience of The Frankfurt Bookfair which has just concluded. Richard focused on the slogans that publishers use to try to differentiate and explain what type of books they publish. If only they were truthful, he muses. 


Last week Kris Ruch published part one in looking at IP and its value to a publisher. This week she continues the theme of value and compares publishers with Netflix et al. One phrase that struck me in this great article,  readers don’t care about new. They care about new-to-them.” Netflix understands this, publishers don’t. Do you know the value of your IP and what you as the author and owner of that IP can do with it to make money?


Joanna Penn produced an in-depth article on IP this week to explain all the ways you can use and exploit what you create to make money.


Draft2 Digital has just added a nifty feature to its free reader links sell pages… you can now link print books.


Anne R Allen has a great guest post from William Hahn an audiobook narrator on audiobooks. If you were wondering if it is worth it- take a look. 

I listened to an interview today from Judith Briles from Author U with an audio producer who was reading picture books and using image descriptions for blind children and recording video with sign language for deaf children. The audio format is just a springboard to other audio innovations.


In the Craft Section,

World building basics- K M Allen- Bookmark

Common writing mistakes- K M Weiland

What are pinch points and where do they go- Sue Coletta- Bookmark

Character traits that hike up tension- September Fawkes

How to make your characters' choices more difficult- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Author and Book publicity- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

5 tips for scoring more book reviews- Veronica Mixon- Bookmark

Best ways to grow social media following Rachel Thompson

Are you ready for book marketing- quiz- Frances Caballo

Publishing resources- Bookbub- Bookmark


To Finish,

Angela Ackerman has a nifty newsletter full of interesting tips. This week she rounded up some great resources for authors – including a Pomodoro timer app and links to other great research resources. 


It is nearly November, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) If you are taking the plunge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, GOOD LUCK. If you want to find out more and register, check out the official NaNoWriMo blog. Check back over the last few posts to find great resources for planning and getting ready for November 1st.





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter of best bookmarked links and extras.  If you would like to 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 – Pictures of Money



Thursday, October 21, 2021

Conflict, Disruption and Scandal.


In Publishing news this week,

Scandal, shock, and naughty words were muttered around author communities this week. 


In New Zealand, a government ministry gave money to a start-up. (It can’t be called a start-up if it is 6 years old, but I digress) The Start-Up’s innovative idea was to find out what New Zealand readers are searching for and make appropriate recommendations. This is a big project. They asked and got a big grant of money. But then the flaws in their idea were exposed. One of their recommendations, buy your content (books) from Amazon. (Shipping costs from the US are astronomical.) Had no one in the ministry heard that local indie bookshops do a similar job? I see that Publishers Weekly has picked up this news item. (Shakes head sadly.)


News broke that a group of prominent American Young Adult authors were touting NFT’s to their fans to write content for them in a murky publicity stunt. Their publisher really hadn’t thought through the copyright implications of this. Many authors yelled naughty words this morning and the project has been quickly taken down… but mud sticks.


Forbes breathlessly announced the arrival of a wonderful social media platform that aims to disrupt the publishing industry by… gathering readers in one place to talk about books. 

This is an innovative idea. I wonder that it hasn’t been tried before. There have been howls of laughter around the publishing world. But maybe this Oxford MBA grad is onto something.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard always has a well-researched take on international publishing news. He takes a look at the quiet takeover of a French ebook subscription company and the gateway into a huge market it promises for this Swedish company.


This week the children’s writing community around the world lost the king of the-coming-of -age survival story, Gary Paulson. Hatchet made an impact in gritty boy alone survival stories even down under. Gary wrote other great stories that slipped under your skin when you read them. Here is a great tribute to a great writer.


Recently KDP slipped in a new feature to the barcode section on the print book cover. If they provide the barcode they will add a transparency QR code which you can load with extra information about the book. Lots of possibilities here.


Don’t forget to sign up for the free Alliance of Independent authors 24 hour craft conference. It’s happening this weekend!


Kris Rusch has an interesting article on IP. How much do you know about your IP? What about books that are out of print and still relevant- shouldn’t they be saved? She takes a look at an Australian project to save cultural works of art that are still in copyright but out of print. Have the publishers missed a cash cow here?


Chapter titles, do you agonise over them? Children’s writers know this can be an important touchstone for children when they are learning to read. Anne R Allen has a great post on why she thinks they should be important for adult readers. Namely the eBook. What better way to advertise your book than the chapter titles- after all we do it for non fiction.


October is National Novel Preparation Month- The month where you get all your planning done so you can start November with a roar. Stephanie Bourbon has a great article on how to plan as a Pantser writer and hit a winning streak. Angela Ackerman also has a great nuts and bolts article on NaNoWriMo prep. It’s time to sharpen your pencils.


Are you addicted to research? Recently editor Denise Willson wrote on Writer Unboxed an excellent article on how to tackle plot holes, dragging middles and spicy events that have lost their fizz. It’s all in your research.


Bridget McNulty has a great article on Now Novel which breaks down the 6 types of Story Conflict. This is a useful resource to remind you that there are other conflicts besides name calling and punch ups.

In The Craft Section,

How to make the reader care- Ross Hartman- Bookmark

Top 5 Subplot mistakes- Lucy Hay- Bookmark

Two great posts - Internal conflict and Using conflict to build tension- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark Both

Capturing complex emotions- Tamar Sloan


In The Marketing Section,

November holidays for promo- Sandra Beckwith

Comp authors and marketing- David Gaughran – Bookmark

Why understanding categories is critical- Penny Sansevieri-Bookmark

Nonfiction Keyword strategy- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

12 things about book marketing and social media- Indie Reader


To Finish,

October is rapidly disappearing, and the problems of the supply chain are about to bite. It might be doom and gloom for print over Christmas, but have you thought about innovative ways to highlight eBooks and audiobooks? Lisa Norman writes about a different way of viewing the coming supply disruption. She has some brilliant ideas. It has changed my thinking… off to make notes.




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 – Jean Phillipe Bourque


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Time Pressure



This week in publishing,


The dynamic duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have launched a new writing thesaurus – The Conflict Thesaurus. As usual, there are lots of cool giveaways but first, you have to go through a choose your own adventure in the writing camp of doom. This is lots of fun and the new thesaurus looks amazing. Well done Angela and Becca!


The School Library Journal is an important trade journal for teachers and librarians. They recently had an article on the supply chain woes that are beginning to bite. Libraries are starting to see a slowdown in acquiring books. 


Joanna Penn interviewed an anthropologist this week on creating cultures. It is fascinating stuff. Are you trying to create cultures for games or book worlds? Find your trusty anthropologist… or dust off those old Uni notes from those courses you did- it turns out that you can have an exciting career in anthropology after all.


Paul Simon is releasing an audiobiography. If you thought I spelled that word wrong- I didn’t. Paul has been working with Malcolm Gladwell and recorded an audiobook autobiography with some new music he has been working on. He has also added conversations with his close friends along with stories of his life. It is an expansion of the audiobook format to encompass a documentary for the ears. This offers loads of possibilities to writers wanting unique audiobook ideas.


How much do you know about the paper your books are printed on? Do you know what 80 gsm or uncoated means? Jane Friedman has a guest post from Andrew Watson who has delved into the treasure trove of printed paper and compiled a book of tips and explanations for working with printers. 


Writer Unboxed has an interesting post from Kathleen McCleary on being a passive protagonist of your own writing life. This gets to the heart of some knotty issues that you may be facing but didn’t know it. 


Barb Drozdowich has a guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog on the 5 Indie author mistakes. The first one caught me by surprise- a failure to think globally. As I was reading, I was thinking about the implications of selling yourself short. Are you frightened of success?


We are beginning the last quarter of the year and Penny Sansevieri has a timely post on refreshing your book marketing. She suggests 5 core marketing strategies that you do every quarter to keep yourself current. 


Angie Hodapp of the Nelson Literary Agency has an interesting post – Genre Isn’t Everything and High Concept Isn’t King. She breaks down stories based on four different types of appeal. This is a great article for looking at your stories in a different way.


In The Craft Section,

Using writer’s intuition to solve problems- Laura Highcove - Bookmark

The only reason your story premise is important- K M Weiland - Bookmark

5 tips for nail biting suspense- Savannah Cordova

How and why reading improves writing- Sue Coletta - Bookmark

Are epilogues good or bad?- Mythcreants- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

14 Virtual tour strategies- Leila Hirschfeld- Bookmark

Top 10 tips for a BB featured deal- Draft2Digital

Advertising design elements that impact ad clicks- L A Sartor- Bookmark

How to grow your author social media platform- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

How to do a Multi-author anthologies- This is a fascinating read- Bookmark


To Finish,

Colleen Story, a writing coach, talks about the four questions you should ask yourself about why you write and whether writing really matters to you. This is a chance to dive deep into your psyche and examine your motivation.

Kristine Rusch has been looking at these questions from the deadline end. Do you have external deadlines? Do you make internal deadlines? Are they stimulating or terrifying?

Are you more productive when someone else is holding the stopwatch? 





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 – William Warby

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Any Excuse


In Publishing news this week,

Heading into the last quarter of the year and Author social media has been commenting on the saga called Bad Art Friend. I don’t think there are any winners in the story of writers behaving badly. The real winner was the man who got the kidney.

 If you are going to write about a true event – change the details.


Dave Eggers is launching a new book. However, he has a caveat. He is only allowing certain bookshops to stock it. Maverick move or cunning publicity stunt- Check out the Guardian article and see who gets the new book.


Another publishing platform follows in Wattpad’s footsteps. Techcrunch reports that Inkitt has scored some big money to get into film, audio, and merch, all from an AI figuring out what the top stories are on their platform. While we’re on the tech side- StoryOrigin has launched a Beta reader model for authors.


If you have been trying to figure out just how we ended up in a paper – ink - labor - haulage- book shortage, read this explanatory article from Vox. And order your Christmas books now!


The New Publishing Standard has an interesting article on Podcastle- an AI podcasting production platform. I went down a rabbit hole checking them out and they really sound interesting. It seems like every week I have something about AI and audiobooks in my blog. This form of publishing is rising like a rocket.


Fiction has been renamed. I can see you all scratching your heads and saying To What?  Fiction is now ‘Upmarket Fiction’. Anne R Allen explains how this term became a catch all. I think I’m still firmly in the down-market fiction bookshelves…


Kristine Rusch has been musing on writer burnout. When everything gets too much, and you come to a screeching halt in your work what do you do? Do you take your own advice?

Be kind to yourself- We are living in interesting times.


Joanna Penn talked with Katie Weiland in the latest Creative Penn podcast. K M Weiland has been writing excellent blog posts on the craft of writing for years and has a series of excellent craft books. (I have some.) Check out the podcast and/or the transcript on outlining. Lots of meaty craft tips.


Do you need a Writing Coach? Jane Friedman has a guest post from Seth Harwood, a writing coach, on what it is they do and how to figure out whether you need one.


Now Novel has an interesting article on how to develop a story idea. This is chock full of advice so bookmark or print it out to study.


In The Craft Section,

7 ways to write pertinent antagonists- K M Weiland – Bookmark

Writing and the art of surrender- Lindsay Syhakhom

How to write conflict without bad guys- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Self editing tips- Write Life

How to kill your side characters- Sacha Black – Bookmark

10 ways to write better plots – Now Novel


In The Marketing Section,

Maintaining an Author blog is easy- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

How to be your own book publicist- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Don’t rely on Facebook- Miral Satter- Timely!

Be where your readers are- Frances Caballo

Promote your book before its published- Bookbub

3 simple ways to improve your platform- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


To Finish,

The Alliance of Independent Authors collected a list of craft books that their members think are indispensable. There are some familiar titles on the list. If you are thinking of getting any of them for Christmas, order now.

Every year Kevin Anderson curates an excellent collection of writing craft books for NaNoWriMo. It’s out now and there are some hot off-the-press ones in this collection. As I said in my newsletter- It’s a win/win. The authors get the money directly, you get great books and for another win you get to support a charity.





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 – Daniel Oberhaus (2020)


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