Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Book Fair Smorgasbord


In Publishing News This Week,


It’s Book Fair season and the publishing world is venturing out to meet in person for the first time in two years. First up Bologna Children’s Book Fair which has just wrapped up. Publishing Perspectives has the lowdown on how it went.


Publishers Weekly takes a look at what will be the big topics at London Book Fair, London will be buzzing next week with the organisers expecting over 20,000 people to attend. They have an interesting collection of talks around publishing in the future too.


Frankfurt Bookfair is next after London they are finalising their programme but the theme this year is Translate, Transfer, Transform. Publishers Weekly details what they mean by the catchy slogan.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard shares his thoughts on The Alliance of Independent Authors tenth anniversary and he also has an interesting column on what’s coming down the track -publishing in the metaverse. 


Dipping a toe into the future is Joanna Penn, This week she had an interesting talk with a copyright attorney and they talked NFT’s, The Metaverse, and other publishing models and how contract law is changing. This is a meaty interview about copyright so make sure you have a long drink while you listen/read.


Writer Unboxed has a new kid on the roster Yasmin Angoe who writes about the eight lessons she has learned as a debut author.


Penny Sansevieri has an interesting post on Indiereader about baking in book marketing strategies as you write the book. A whole different way of thinking as you write, identifying angles for marketing.


Bookfairs are full of resources for the publishing professional but down at the coal face what does the writer rely on? Ruth Harris has organised an impressive list of resources to make research easy for the writer. Need a name, an historical detail, or a date… Ruth has you covered.


In The Craft Section,

How To Write A Blurb- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Cliffhangers not just for the end of the book- Jami Gold

Character states- September Fawkes- Bookmark

Writer life inside and outside story universe- Seth Myers- Bookmark

Dealing with backstory- Janice Hardy


In The Marketing Section,

Step by step guide to author websites - Jane Friedman

10 ways to blog about your book- Amanda Zieba- Bookmark

Author press releases- Sandra Beckwith – Bookmark

Amazon ads for Traditional authors- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

Unique branding for April- Penny Sansevieri -Bookmark


To Finish,

The first quarter of the year is over and we should be all back in the writing groove. If you are struggling check out Now Novels collection of group writing exercises.

The Alliance of Independent Authors celebrates its ten year anniversary at the London Book Fair. They have gone from strength to strength and have a huge international membership now. The founder, Orna Ross, had an enlightening article on the Author and The Creator Economy. It’s fascinating and full of mind food.





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links you can subscribe here. (You 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 or here. 

I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Photo by Hamza NOUASRIA on Unsplash



Thursday, March 24, 2022

Climbing To The Top


In Publishing News this week,

Amazon’s acquisition of MGM has been completed. Expect to see all those old classics turning up on Amazon Prime…. But it’s not just about the old classics it’s a consolidation of entertainment into streaming services. Choose your streaming hero. (Bond or Ironman)


The Society of Authors (UK) have launched a new campaign. Pay The Creator. They are highlighting the insidious tactic of firms asking for content then telling the creator to be happy with the exposure instead of the money. Try that on with your plumber. 


Another week another Brandon Sanderson comment this time from the man himself. He has also been surprised at how well he has done with his Kickstarter ($31 million and another week to go.) He wanted to prove some points to his publisher about bundling. It’s an interesting read and savvy authors will be taking notes for their own marketing ideas.


Kris Rusch has been taking an entertainment law class and she is fascinated with copyright. This post is a must read. If you think you know about copyright clauses you should still read this. If you think it is all too hard… just ask yourself, are you happy to be ripped off? 


Writer Beware has a new home- They are still run by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America but now have a spiffy new website. Of course the old scams are still happening, this time with fancy new apps looking for content.


Joanna Penn has a fascinating interview with Elle Griffin on serial fiction, Substack newsletter being the new Patreon, and NFT’s. Elle has her finger in all of it and it is a glimpse of the future. For instance, take a character you create, licence them as an NFT for fan fiction….


Colleen Story has a great article on why writing success remains elusive to many writers, it’s not that you aren’t passionate enough…


Richard Thomas has an article on Litreactor about short term goals… Are you setting short term writing goals for your career? 


If you haven’t been writing under a rock you will have heard of the Hero’s Journey. Stefan Edmunds, guest posting on Anne R Allen’s blog, talks about The Adversity Cycle. This is a deep dive into adversity, the origins of story, and writing structure and offers a whole ‘nother way of looking at story. 


In the Craft Section,

Opening with a characteristic moment- K M Weiland-Bookmark

6 classic story structures- Writerswrite

Weaving flashbacks seamlessly- Tiffany Martin - Bookmark

2 great posts from Becca Puglisi-  Fear; relational commitment and Choosing the right job for your character- Bookmark Both


In The Marketing Section,

8 questions to know your audience better- Barb Roose- Bookmark

Manage your expectations- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Revamp your old titles- Penny Sansevieri

10 ways to build your audience- Stephanie Chandler- Bookmark

Writers are not your competition- Angela Ackerman


To Finish,

Recently Katie Weiland updated an old article of hers – How to know when you’re a successful author. Katie drilled down into the meanings of success it comes down to who do you write for and why. So how do we answer these questions and not angst over the answers?

What is your definition of success? 





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 or here. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Talking Tough

In publishing news this week,

The Booker longlist is out and this is when the judges make some sort of statement about the industry. The chief judge has called for translators to get royalties. This isn’t the first time that translators have been highlighted by the Booker judges. The Booker, one of the most prestigious English language literary prizes has made a point of noticing that their long lists have books that rely upon top-notch translations to get into contention. They argue that translators should get co-billing with the original author, or at least their name on the front of the book. 


Publishers Weekly reports on a Caldicot winner setting up a writers retreat for children’s writers. It looks amazing. The retreats are to be themed with 8 or so people at the time across the children’s literature spectrum. 


Bologna Children’s Book Fair is on the horizon and Publishing Perspectives details the new events happening online for attendees and free talks you can drop into. 


Meanwhile, further over in Europe, publishers are helping out struggling Ukraine publishers by taking books mid-production and finishing them off on behalf of their colleagues. There is a real push to provide small books in their own language to all the displaced Ukrainian children who have ended up in different countries. It is great to see publishers working across borders to help out.

Edit: When I originally posted this blog I edited out a paragraph that I couldn’t back up except with a general Twitter thread that was being talked about and shared, the mass exodus of publishing staff because of burnout. It’s a huge problem. So now I’ve found an article about it. 

This week Amazon apparently opened up advertising on traditionally published books by authors. If you have a traditionally published book you can run Amazon ads to it from your dashboard, not your publishers. (Of course, the sales will be good for your publisher…) I haven’t seen a direct link to a statement from Amazon about it yet but it is being talked about as having been slipped into Ad eligibility.


Another week, another Brandon Sanderson comment. Kris Rusch takes to task the thinking behind the sour grape comments about Brandon’s success. It is not down to his publisher's work. Quite the contrary. 


Here in NZ, a publisher has announced they are hosting a new prize for a commercial fiction novel. This has caused a lot of comments about why our books aren’t seen as commercial… or read as widely in our own country. Is it cultural cringe? Across the ditch in Australia they have a thriving Read OZ literature scene… why not here? Melinda Szymanik shares her thoughts on the subject. (Mine would get my mouth washed out.)


Written Word Media have an interesting article on how to dictate a book and Writer Unboxed has a great article from Sophie Masson on story strands using varied narrative forms- she touches on Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s YA books The Illuminae Files which are a tour de force if you want to see narrative forms used in all sorts of ways. 


In The Craft Section,

Writing secondary characters with purpose- Barbara Probst- Bookmark

Trimming tricks- Scott Myers

The role of failure in your character arc- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

Being a hybrid plotter panster- Zoe McCarthy

How to know whether your story is a Horror, Mystery or Thriller- Lucy V Hay- Bookmark

The 3W’s of scene orientation- Kathryn Craft


In The Marketing Section,

9 uses of Free -David Gaughran- Bookmark

Twitter Spaces for writers- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

Author Platform-7 manageable ways to start from scratch- Brooke Warner- Bookmark

6 marketing myths for writers- Lisa Hall Wilson

Strategies to improve your website – Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


To Finish,

Anne R Allen celebrates 13 years of blogging this week, or as she puts it, survives. What a treasure trove of interesting and thoughtful articles about writing, the craft of writing, scams, attitude, mindfulness, creativity, the whole 9 yards as we used to say. Drop in and have a trawl around. It is a blog well worth the visit. Congratulations Anne (and trusty co-blogger Ruth Harris.)





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 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 or here. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

Thursday, March 10, 2022

It's All About The Money

This week in publishing news,

It is difficult to look away from the disaster unfolding in Europe. The call went out from the embattled president to the writers and other creators of Russia to speak out the truth of what is happening in Ukraine. In response came orders in Russia for the arrest of anybody who publicly dissented or protested. That is not stopping a lot of brave people. Publishing Perspectives reports on publishers and writers sticking their necks out, along with an article about a brave Ukrainian publisher continuing to work while in a bomb shelter.


Meanwhile on the other side of the world FastCompany reports on the way that book lovers on Tiktok are changing the publishing industry. If an economics magazine is taking notice something must be happening. (The trickle-up effect?)


James Daunt, CEO of Barnes and Nobel, has released his figures for last year and is optimistic about the future. It is an interesting interview on Publishers Weekly. James says he is in the business of selling reading and his main drivers are young people and Booktok. He also has a pick for the breakout hit everyone has been waiting for. It’s a mid-grade book about unicorns.


The biggest news this week has been Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter which I wrote about last week. A quick look shows he has 21 days to go… and he has ticked past $26 million. Kris Rusch breaks down the numbers and shows where Brandon did everything right.- Master class coming right up.


The Alliance of Independent Authors has a great collection of articles. Recently they published another Ultimate Guide, this one On Multiple Streams of Income. If you want to succeed as a writer you have to be able to turn your hand at a few extra moneymaking things.


This week Joanna Penn Interviewed Dharma Kelleher on writer self-doubt and writer's block. Self-doubt about your work can be crippling. This is a great interview- gift yourself some quality time to read/listen to this.


Angela Ackerman is guest posting over on Katie Weilands blog-(2 powerhouses in the same website room.) Her topic 7 Tips For How To Write A Book When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing.


In the Craft Section,

2 great articles from Angela Ackerman- Know your character and Do you want your character to stand out- Bookmark Both

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

What makes a good protagonist?- Jack Smith

Author voice vs Narrator voice September Fawkes- Bookmark

Lies, Secrets, and Scars- Lynette Burrows- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,

Five secrets to generating more sales- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to Pitch a Story – Now Novel- Bookmark

Social media for authors – Dave Chesson

Drive traffic to your website- Julien Bradley

1000 sign-ups a week? It’s possible- Ashleigh Renard- Bookmark

The business of writing- shorten your learning curve – Angela Ackerman- Bookmark


To Finish,

DIYMFA is an interesting site to trawl around for inspiration. Recently they had an article from Stephanie BwaBwa on Author goal setting using an authorial calendar. Stephanie drills down to the bottom line. Where is the money… how to get it…the steps you need to plan for how to get it.

An interesting tip from Seekerville on buying your own ebooks when they are on sale and then using them for gifts at a later date…


You gotta save money somewhere…





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 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 or here. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Publishing Icons



This week in Publishing News,


Reuters reported that Amazon is closing all its physical bookstores

I wonder what happened? Maybe customers didn’t like only seeing face out books of the top 100 in the store? Or perhaps customers didn’t like not taking the book away with them when they bought it, instead having to wait for it to be sent the next day. 

Or maybe it was the lack of book aware sales people or their experiences with the contactless physical shop. I wonder what they will experiment with next?


Publishers Weekly reports on an Industry meeting where publishers were trying to figure out what to do about the paper shortage. I reported a couple of weeks ago that Italy was dropping art books from publishing lists. But the paper shortage is biting hard and now publishers might have to change their way of business (Outmoded, some would say.) Do we really need massive print runs to get the unit price down? Booksellers have to return unsold books which then get pulped or sold to Big Bad Wolf in a cut your losses deal. Will Print On Demand be the way of the future along with a big book price rise? There may be other ways out….


Brandon Sanderson decided that he would have another Kickstarter. He posted it on the 2nd . as a surprise. In 6 hours he surpassed his previous record and by the end of the day had passed $14 million and he has the rest of the month to go. 

How did this happen? Kickstarter author experts analysed his spectacular success. 

Give the fans what they want. Brandon has noted that his fans like book boxes. He is releasing 4 secret books next year. In the 8 months where there isn’t a book release, he will send a book box of swag related to one of his previous books. 

He gamified the launch. He is releasing the title of each book each week of the Kickstarter so that you have to keep coming back. The books are already finished and different tier rewards release different formats. Or you can go straight to premium and get everything for $500.

He has made a cool easy shared video and his fans are getting the word out. 

That’s all you need for Kickstarter success. (And being Brandon Sanderson, of course.)


Apparently, there is money to be made in NFT’s. Illustrators are being snapped up to produce limited-edition images for middle managers to market as NFT’s. But if the NFT bubble bursts, on the horizon lurk custom-made 3d avatars for the metaverse.


Victoria Strauss has joined Writer Unboxed. Her first article for them is a breakdown of the most common writing scam that gets authors every time. Surprise! We saw your little book and we want to take it to Big Publishers/ Film Directors… someone rich and famous our fee is… Victoria shares what the red flags are.


Who knew that Horror was the favourite of Latin America? Apparently, we like classics Down Under. 

Check out this reading infographic-What are people reading around the world?  Market your books accordingly.

And just in case you think that books are not selling, check out Book Riots reading statistics for the last two years.


Ruth Harris has a great article this month on how to get rejected. Before you think oh that’s easy… just check out the mistakes that authors are making that get them rejected before they send in the manuscript.


In The Craft Section,

 2 Great articles from Jami Gold-Nods, smiles, and frowns. How to avoid talking heads and Story focus- Character or plot?- Bookmark

18 tips on writing better sentences- Helen Bolam

Writing prompts with dream symbols- Kathy Steinemann

Cause and effect- 2 sentences to use when editing- Kahina Necaise- Bookmark

Breaking writing rules- September Fawkes


In The Marketing Section,

7 questions for your book marketing plan- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

What sells books in 2022- Kobo- Bookmark

Book marketing resources- Indie Book review

How to launch on a budget- Thomas Umstattd- Bookmark

Have you found your book marketing niche- Colleen Story


To Finish,

In the children’s writing world there are touchstone authors. The ones that create a genre niche so perfectly that their books are instantly iconic. So, it was a huge sadness when the news broke that Shirley Hughes has died. An extraordinary illustrator and storyteller.

Requiescant In Pace.





I’m late with the monthly newsletter (Aaargh.) So if you want the best of my bookmarked links go on and subscribe. (You will also get a nifty mini book 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 or here. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Illustration by Shirley Hughes. 


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