Thursday, June 30, 2022

Writing With The Machines



In Publishing News this week,


Publishing Perspectives writes about a new UK literary magazine starting up which is international in its outlook. Fictionable has short fiction, translated fiction, and short graphic fiction and is backed by some big literary names.


Pan Macmillian has had a cyber-attack that seems to have crawled right across the company over the last week. I’ve seen a couple of references of it hitting the US and now the UK.


This week the UK government released its response to Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property consultation paper. Are the AI’s being given copyright rights? Not yet.

As everyone delves through the document to find out how many rights AI will have, there are rumblings from Techcrunch over Alexa’s new features. Amazon has given Alexa the ability to speak in dead relatives' voices, (for an extra layer of creepy.) Of course, it would never be abused.


Publishing perspectives reports that German audio publisher Bookwire has now added AI voices to its range of narrators, the first audio publisher to do so and have them for sale. (Google offers AI narration only on their publisher dashboard.)

If you want to learn more about this checkout Joanna Penn’s great article on AI Narrated audiobooks.


Book Riot reports on the latest data on American reading habits. The stats say that half the adults don’t pick up a book but it depends on their age. Who are the biggest readers? Some interesting takeaways from this.


Meanwhile, the Alliance of Independent Authors is collecting data of its own. They want Authors to share their earnings and their publishing numbers to get a snapshot of how healthy the publishing industry is. Check out their numbers so far this year.


Penny Sansevieri has a great article on getting the most out of writing conferences. If you are attending one soon, check out her tips.


Jen Calonita has an interesting article in Publishers Weekly on being a children’s writer on TikTok. Embrace the fun.


Kris Rusch continues her series on why writers fail- How do writers treat money? Love it. Loathe it. Spend it. Hoard it. It’s a problem that writers are always struggling with.


Ruth Harris has a great post on how lists can keep you sane as a writer. Use them to jog your memory, plan your scene, character interview, plot points… there’s a list for everything. 


In The Craft Section,

13 Methods for writing the best dialogue

3 ways to infuse Character voice

Point of View and voice- John Gilstrap- Bookmark

Trimming- The tricks of the trade- Scott Myers

The role of the antagonist in story structure- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Is the last page as good as the first- Anne R Allen- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How to acquire an agent- Lauren Sharkey

Kindlepreneur list of promo sites- Dave Chesson

Get better book launch results- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

How to get a great author photo- ALLI

How to prepare for a blog tour- WritePublishSell


To Finish,

It’s been a while since I linked to a Terrible Minds ramble but this week’s news has been an up and down rollercoaster of emotion. Chuck Wendig looks at how writing is a place to put your rage, sorrow, and even joy and have it take the emotional load you may be carrying. 






It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links, come join our happy band and 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 Andrea De Santis on Unsplash



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Reflecting, Educating, Planning, and Celebration



In Publishing News this week,


Those pesky kids books. How dare they have dubious morals. 

Writer organisations are watching the lawsuit in Virginia, filed by Republican lawyers on behalf of a Republican Congressional Candidate who claims obscenity, against two authors and their publishers. The two books in question, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, published in 2019 by Oni Press, and A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maass, published by Bloomsbury in 2016. It doesn’t matter how old the books are…. Will other states follow suit? First they came for….


Mark Williams notes that the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair has been postponed again. While everywhere people think the shocks of Covid 19 lockdowns are over. They are not. Is the publishing world ready for another China lockdown?


The Guardian looks back on how The Costa Book Awards changed reading in the UK. With the shock withdrawal of the awards what is left to fill the gap?


Spotify finally closed the deal over Findaway’s acquisition and took the moment to announce what they have in store for the future. It’s going to be very big!


Cory Doctorow always has interesting things to say about Tech and Big Business and shonky companies and he is generally out there trying to educate people on their rights. This week he pointed the finger at magazine writers contracts. Oh boy do they not make good reading. So if you are a writer just what are you having to sign in the fine print and how much are you liable for? Once you read this, you will be more educated than most. 


Rolling right after Cory was Kris Rusch who detailed just what is happening her in her town about Elvis and Intellectual Property. And then there is the Top Gun potential lawsuit where the heirs of the writer, whose original article the movies are based on, did everything right. Will Big Business blink?


Joanna Penn had a great podcast this week with guest Katie Cross on selling books direct from your website. What are all the things to be aware of? Tax? Currency? Getting paid immediately?


Dean Wesley Smith has a huge library of teaching videos and courses on his website for writers. Recently he was looking at gaps and came up with a whole new list of potential courses which are now in the pipeline. If you are looking to upskill in any area check out the new courses.


In The Craft Section,

2 Great articles from Becca Puglisi-Subterfuge in dialogue

and Character talent skills- Bookmark Both

Character Arcs in the Karpman Drama Triangle- K M Weiland – Bookmark

What does authenticity mean anyway- Lucy V Hay- Bookmark

Creating conflict and resolution in your novel- Now Novel - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Should authors use video to promote their books - Transcript Alli Twitter chat

Get more author and book publicity-Sandra Beckwith

Top 5 social media strategies- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Sell Sheets- Carolyn Howard Johnson- Bookmark

Free ways to build an author platform- ALLI podcast transcript.


To Finish,

It’s Matariki weekend. It’s a big deal here in NZ as it is the first indigenous holiday weekend for our country. The first time in law that the whole country will celebrate the New Year according to Maori tradition. Everybody is talking about how to celebrate it- what traditions should we have - what does it mean for us as family or communities. Matariki celebrates the rising of the Pleiades- which happens around Winter Solstice which makes much more sense for big family dinners and planning New Year’s resolutions. In the Northern Hemisphere around Winter Solstice you celebrate with big family dinners and New Years resolutions while Down Under it’s Summer, it’s hot and we just want to go to the beach. We’re in the middle of Summer holiday’s trying to figure out New Year’s Resolutions at late night BBQ’s which means they will all be broken by January 3rd.

So here’s to a New Year in Winter. May it be fruitful, blessed, and full of Joy for your family and your writing community.

Kua haehae ngā hihi o Matariki.
The rays of Matariki are spread.


The rays of its stars are thought to carry messages for the people. Matariki is a time to share stories, reflect on the past, and plan for the future.





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 Matariki- or The Pleiades – Fraser Gunn 

How to Find Matariki

Look on the Dawn horizon. Find Orion’s Belt.

Look left to Aldebaran (red star) and left again to Matariki/Pleiades cluster of stars.


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Fishing for the Muse

 In Publishing News 

Recently Spotify CEO Daniel Ek addressed his shareholders and talked about their audiobook strategy. Spotify, known for its streaming and subscription models may be trying something different for audiobooks, a marketplace where you can buy the audiobook, not just stream it. 

In related news Spotify has just bought an AI voice platform…specifically the one that recreated Val Kilmer's voice in the latest Top Gun movie. I wonder what they want to do with it? Audio narration anyone?


The closing of the Costa book prize (previously The Whitbread) has sent a small shock wave through the literary community. Once the dream of many- the world's richest book prize, validation galore. Will there be anything to take its place?


This week Anne R Allen had a Writer Beware post on film scams. Yes, a new scam is on the horizon with scammers reaching out to say they can get your book into Netflix or Hollywood. Read the great article and Be A-Ware of the sneaky way they reel in the unsuspecting.


Staying with fish hooks Writer Beware’s Victoria Strauss has a close look at some copyright language that is so contradictory you don’t know what you are actually agreeing to in the contract. 


When the writing life gets you down the writer can be heard whimpering if only someone paid me to do this my troubles will be over. A fantastic dream? A hedge fund in the UK wants to give writers a salary to just write. The Alliance of Independent Authors looked into it and found there were some good points in the model. If this sounds like you, check it out. 


Kris Rusch continues her learning from the licensing expo series. The publishing industry is fixated on the latest releases, however, the money is in the backlist. That’s what the licensing expo is all about mining the longevity of your IP. The longer the better. Quite fascinating.


Writer Unboxed continues their PR and Marketing series with Ann-Marie Nieves. This week Ann-Marie delves into the differences between them and gets advice from some big writer names on how to make the best of book marketing communication.


In The Craft Section,

How to make your character sympathetic- Mythcreants- Bookmark

7 questions about your first chapter- Abigail Perry

7 essential tips to plan your novel- Beth Barany

They’re all going to die, why does it matter- Jami Gold- 


Make sure the reader knows who’s talking- Emma Darwin- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Paying for a professional book review- Patti Thorn

Promoting a book with hybrid author events- Penny Sansevieri- 


PR and Marketing tips for authors- Ann- Marie Nieves- Bookmark

How to succeed as a non-fiction author- Penny Sansevieri-Bookmark

Instagram reels strategy- Good ideas for book marketing


To Finish,

Sometimes, the muse, packs their bag and leaves town. This can leave the writer struggling and feeling like a fraud. Good News. You are still a writer. Dargan Thompson has an article that picks you up, dusts you off, and gives you a pep talk about how you are still in the game.





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 Clark Young on Unsplash

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Reading The Future



This week in publishing news,


The outgoing UK Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell called for the government to fund school libraries. The Guardian reported that Cressida's experiment where 6 primary schools received a curated collection and dedicated training to school librarians and teachers has been a huge success, now it needs to be replicated. Speaking as a teacher, the last thing you should do is get rid of the library…and it’s always the first to go when you need an extra classroom. If you want engaged, reading-for-life, children - fund the school library!


Publishers Weekly examined a law that has just passed in New York State – Freelance doesn’t mean Free. The onus is on the contractor to pay up in 30 days or the freelancer can double the bill. I know so many freelancers that would greet this kind of law with cheers.


Wordsrated released an examination of the length of best sellers in the last year. Results… the books are getting shorter. Is this because paper and ink cost more? Attention spans… reading is not trendy? Dive in for the number breakdowns.


Writer Beware examines a bad contract from one of the top serial writing companies. This is a must read.  Everyone in publishing needs to be aware of contract speak for taking everything and leaving you no rights at all. However, there is a sneaky way around this contract if you want to write serial fiction.


WhiteFox Publishing celebrated their 10th anniversary by canvassing opinions from publishing people about how they see publishing changing in the next 10 years. Some interesting ideas were mentioned that writers should be aware of.


The Readmagine conference on publishing futures wrapped up in Madrid. Publishing Perspectives interviewed Luis Gonzales on the biggest challenge for the publishing industry that he sees going forward- Renewing the narrative that publishing is good for society.


Every week I get unsolicited offers from marketers wanting me to feature their content on my blog. Rarely do they have anything to do with publishing or writing and so I immediately junk them. This week I received a tip from Timothy Moonlight who wrote a comparison article on audiobook royalties and how he is having success with a new distributor Soundwise. Why can’t content marketers be like Tim and send relevant information that fits this blog.


Last week I mentioned that Kris Rusch had attended the Licensing Expo. In my inbox popped an email from Darcy Pattison on her experiences at the expo where she took her children’s books. It is a fascinating read.


John Wilker has written an interesting article on how he wishes Indie bookshops would support Indie authors. He makes some good points. Marketing your books is always going to be challenging and we must celebrate the Indie bookstores that walk alongside us.


Can you market books without social media? Penny Sansevieri has an article by Carol Michel who did just that. If you have been wondering about the value or time suck of social media for bookmarketing this is a fascinating read.


Beth Havey wrote an interesting article on the lure of stuffing your book full of literary symbolism. Are you tempted to throw everything and the kitchen sink in your book or do you go back once you have written it and find the symbolism naturally occurring?


In The Craft Section,

The Fear Thesaurus – Being watched-Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

6 ways to find the best ideas before writing- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Writing un-putdownable characters- A C Williams

Tension and micro tension to keep your readers hooked – Tiffany Yates Martin- Bookmark

The ultimate guide to writing for audio- Jules Horne- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

July social media dates for book marketing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Write emails that sell books- Nick Stephenson- Bookmark

How to write an author bio- Beth Barany

Street teams- Angela Ackerman

Another take on book trailers- Terry Odell- Bookmark

Book promo in July – Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


To Finish,

This week Kris Rusch returned to her current series of articles about why writers fail. This week she looked at the problem of aging. How often has a writer started a great series, realized it was going to be a life’s work, and given up halfway through or died on the job? Should we be holding back? Is the fear of big projects causing us to fail before we start? 

Can we future-proof our writing?





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 Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Places You Will Go



This week in Publishing News


It’s Queen’s Birthday Honours at the moment in the UK.

Arise Sir Quentin Blake (I can just imagine the fabulous illustrator's whimsy portrait of the event.) 

Arise Sir Ian Rankin- (Can I borrow that sword for my next murder mystery?) 

Across the pond the number one bestselling book is Oh, The Places You Will Go by Dr Suess. It must be graduation time. This illustrates the power of the Suess backlist for keeping publishers afloat.


Amazon is pulling out of China. They are shutting up shop for Kindle eReaders immediately and will close their e-bookstore and app down next year. Could be tricky times ahead if you sell into China.


This week the New Statesman business magazine published an article looking at the rise of independent bookshops and compared them with Amazon’s increasing prices for books.

Are they really losing out against bookshops? 


Publishing Perspectives reports on the latest numbers from Italy. Heading into Summer, visits to bookstores are up which means print sales are up. Everything is looking good but what is really behind the numbers… comics?


Publishers Weekly has an interesting report on the Readmagine conference, an annual publishing futures conference in Europe. The first sessions looked at current global trends in reading. There are lots of intriguing ideas to unpick here on reading, its communities, and opportunities to mix it up with other forms of communication and streaming, and its only day one! 


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has an interesting opinion piece on how Kobo’s move to add the Arabic language, which I reported on last week, is a potential game changer for the predominantly English language based eBook industry.


Kris Rusch attended the 2022 Licensing Expo and shares her initial thoughts. If you can remember way back before Covid, Kris was fascinated by the opportunities licensing had for content creators (writers). She is still optimistic but cautionary.


Joanna Penn interviewed Tammi Lebrecque (NewsletterNinja) this week on The Creative Penn podcast. This is a power house interview that should be mandatory listening/reading for authors. Yes, I know it’s scary but you can adapt ideas for your genre.


Julie Issac has a written a great guest article on Sandra Beckwith’s Bookbuzz blog, When ‘good enough’ is not good enough. This is a thought provoking post on what not to do when you are thinking of adding value to your readers.


In the Craft Section,

9 ways to approach relationship dynamics in fiction- K M Weiland - Bookmark

The art and importance of ambiguous writing- Becca Puglisi

How to sharpen your first sentences- Carolyn Dennis- Willingham

5 solutions when you are stuck- Bang2Write- Bookmark

Your microcosm is our world- Donald Maass- Bookmark

4 tricks to transform scenes- Zena Dell Lowe


In the Marketing Section,

6 strategic benefits to publishing an ebook- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

7 ways to build an author platform- Reedsy

9 things learned from tracking 150k books on Amazon- Ingram- A deep dive into detail.

Prize ideas for book promo- Bookbub

6 ways an author bio sells books – Ruth Harris- Bookmark


To Finish,

The writer’s imagination - where would we be without it? Sometimes it lets us down, cue writer's block. Sometimes it keeps us up all night. Di Anne Mills has an interesting article on how we can enhance our imaginations, so our readers get a better experience from our writing.






It's nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links, come and join us by subscribing. 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 Rumman Amin on Unsplash



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