Thursday, April 27, 2023

Longing For The Good Old Days



In Publishing News this week…


Publishers Weekly highlights a problem facing manga translation freelancers, poor pay. While Manga is surging in the sales lists the money isn’t trickling down to the people actually doing the work in translation ($1 a page isn’t fair) You may as well get an AI to do it… and really scramble the translation.


The New Publishing Standard sounds a warning to publishers who are relying on Booktok to boost their sales. Tiktok is facing bans in some states… Don’t put all your publicity eggs in one basket.


There was lots of chat this week as the first ads inside audiobooks started rolling out on the Audible platform. Audible promises there will be only 8 ads every 24 hours.

It’s another marketing platform which is probably here to stay. 


Recently a writer alerted me to this very damning report from The Bookseller on publisher and agent support to authors in the last few years. I have heard of instances of all these issues highlighted. Publishing is not like it used to be with editors nurturing writers and guiding careers last century (or even 30 years ago)


Kris Rusch writes this week on the way the past can highjack a writers expectations and stop them from trying new things. She compares two different writers she knows who are struggling with new ways of doing things- spoiler alert it’s not the 80 year old writer who has publishing blinkers.


Google has quietly launched some new tools for writers and publishers. If you have been wondering about patreons or substack or some sort of mailing list or paywall, Google has got a new subscription tool for you.


Joanna Penn has an excellent interview with Halima Khatun on how to get  free publicity from newspapers etc. It’s all in the way you pitch a press release.


Congratulations to the Dynamic Duo of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi – They have reached 1million copies sold of their Emotion Thesaurus Book series. If you haven’t checked these books out yet you are in for a treat. They are often cited as essential textbooks in writing courses. Being the Dynamic Duo – they are celebrating by having a huge giveaway of cool prizes.


Anne R Allen has a great blog post on that old chestnut- everybody has a book inside them (and there it should stay.) She has the 10 do’s and don’ts for people thinking that they might want to write a book someday.

Of course many people procrastinate and never write that book – if you want some tips on productivity check out these gems from BangtoWrite.


In The Craft Section,

Backstory Techniques- Part2- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Choosing scenes to cover the right information- Mythcreants- Bookmark

Heinlein’s rules for writing – Becca Puglisi

How to decide what story to write- Scott Myers

Tell Don’t show- Terry Odell- Bookmark

Using Sensory Perception – DiAnn Mills


In The Marketing Section,

How to pitch a book to readers- Penny Sansevieri

Silly fun June dates for promotion- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Book Marketing Plan guide-Adacted

Free resources - Shayla Raquel- Bookmark

5 pieces of blurb advice to avoid- Written Word Media – Bookmark


To Finish

If you are constantly scribbling plot points on bits of paper you might like this planning tool. 

It is like mind mapping plot points but on a screen.

If you are thinking about audiobook production – check out whether there are audiobook narrators in your area. One of our local audiobook narrators is keen to rent out her studio and coach and edit if you want to narrate your book yourself. (If you are in NZ email me for her details.)

It could be the start of a whole new career.





If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links and other extras you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter. 

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top or here. 

I appreciate virtual coffee love. 



PicPhoto by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Who would have thought...

 It’s my Blog Birthday.

Fifteen years ago the word on the publishing street was ‘life is good in the trade.’ People in publishing were excited by the new 13 digit ISBN number. Publishing companies were looking sideways at the new Hachette conglomerate, made up of several big publishing houses and a host of smaller ones. Mergers were still scary stories told over drinks at publishing conferences. Amazon was a small outfit selling second hand books, odd digital stories and a new device called the Kindle. 

Into this gentle pool I waded… not able to see the drop off or the funny fish with the lights.

The Global Financial Crisis happened. Publishers began merging or disappearing and the Kindle blew open the publishing world. 

Fifteen years later, publishing conferences are just coming back again after the Covid years. 

In Publishing News this week...

London Book Fair launched this week with all kinds of fanfare and a shocking arrest as Publishers Weekly details.

Meanwhile, publishing pundit Brian O’Leary thinks it’s time to shake up the publishing supply chain (there must be a better way after 15 years of the same old thing.) 


Fifteen years ago Publisher’s Weekly would have never published an article on how a traditionally published children’s writer dumped by his publisher went Independent and made money.

And they wouldn’t have given the time of day to Manga and how the format has gone global changing the way graphic novels are being read everywhere.


The Alliance of Independent Authors crunched the numbers on their writers income survey which makes interesting reading. I guessed that the Romance Authors were printing money but it surprised me how high the children’s writers were on the survey.


While every writer wonders if anyone is reading, Nielsen took a look at who was buying translated fiction- it turns out everyone is. Men making up nearly half of the readers…along with women under the age of 24. 


Joanna Penn has an interview with a small press publisher about the challenges of niche publishing. It’s full of advice and best practice.


Have you challenged yourself to write a multi point of view story? Barbara Linn Probst on Writer Unboxed has an article of how writers have tackled telling a story with many different voices.


In The Craft Section,

9 hidden problems in your Scene writing- Tim Grahl

Finding the beginning – John Gilstrap- Bookmark

Prologues vs Flasbacks- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Before beginning the first novel-Luke Lovelady

Short stories can have character arcs- Jami Gold-Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Trade Book Reviews- Behind The Scenes- Sandra Beckwith

Updated how to publish a book on Amazon- Dave Chesson- 


8 book marketing strategies to master- Penny Sansevieri

How to get the best cover design- Vasalysa Zaturets- Bookmark 

Tiktok for Authors video workshop- Shayla Raquel- Bookmark


App Sumo have a fantastic deal for the Depositphotos website. 100 photos for $39. Every time this deal comes along designers, publishers, marketers jump on it. Everything is royalty free and you have unlimited time to use the pics/videos/animations/ vectors/ illustrations.


To Finish,

I have been in and out of a now spare room trying to figure out how I would organise my writing office. After 15 years I might finally get one that is not the kitchen table or the armchair or a friends spare room. It’s a big step. First, I have to get rid of all the accumulated stuff in there. Then, I might have to get rid of some books. When I ventured this thought, my family thought I had a fever. Articles like sprucing up your writing nook offer lots of incentive…. 


If you have been reading from the beginning THANK YOU  for sharing the journey with me. It has been a rollercoaster ride. Every now and then someone shouts me a coffee and makes me feel particularly special. This week I’ll be eating cake with the coffee. 






If you want to get the best of my bookmarked links and other extras you can subscribe to my monthly newsletter. 

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top or here. 

I appreciate virtual coffee love. 




Photo by Ilya Chunin on Unsplash

Thursday, April 13, 2023

In The Trenches


In Publishing News this week…

In the continuing war against books… a Texas county has lost their court case to ban books from their library, in consequence they are considering closing the library. (Fill in appropriate words here $#@#$@&*)

The value of books and open access to knowledge is under threat. Don’t be complacent because it is happening over there… It might happen on your doorstep next week. 


Mark Williams has two related stories in The New Publishing Standard  on subscription models for readers this week. Kobo plus is expanding into more countries including the UK and the US and Bookbeat had a bumper quarter after getting rid of the all you can eat subscription model, which other digital reading services use. There will a lot of eyes on this result. Is this the new model for the future of digital subscription?


This week an article on Medium by Ash Roberts caught my eye. Why web3should be part of the publishing strategy for authors. It is a meaty article on the evolution of technological advances. When these advances impact on publishing, authors should be embracing them rather than running the other way. What do you think?


Around the publishing water cooler Children’s Authors are commenting on this story of a double standard. Maggie Tokuda Hall has a lovely picture book about her grandparents who met in an internment camp published by Candlewick – Scholastic wanted it for its educational division which would apply rocket fuel to sales- however they wanted the author to make changes that in all conscience she couldn’t make. Maggie explains the Faustian bargain on offer.


Publishers Weekly spoke to a panel of children’s book editors about the longevity of the Rick Riorden effect on mid-grade books.


Kris Rusch has a post on how writers fail… they get too successful. This is an interesting look at the way success can screw up your writing goals. Are you prepared?


Kathleen McCleary posting on Writer Unboxed asks how long does it really take to write a novel? Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six weeks… why can’t the rest of us do that?


Anne R Allen has a great guest post from Becca Puglisi on Theme and Symbolism and

Kay Di Bianca explains how to plot with post it notes. Find a handy wall…


In The Craft Section,

Understanding 3rd person point of view- Tim Grahl- Bookmark

How do you move beyond the 3 act structure- Tiffany Yates Martin- Bookmark

Have you chosen the right POV for your story- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Does your story need conflict- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

The benefits of writing longhand- Elizabeth Craig


In The Marketing Section,

BookDesign Templates are having a sale until 17th April (midnight) Use coupon code summer23 for 30% off – (I use these interior design templates and they are great.)

Booklinker have a comprehensive post on marketing- Bookmark

Mastering amazon ads one tweak at a time- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

2 interesting posts for Di Ann Mills -What is a one sheet and why do you need it? and

Enlisting your readers for blog ideas.


To Finish,

Sometimes writing and publishing can feel like a slog uphill while dodging falling boulders. Writing should be fun or at least energy giving. Heather Wood has five writing habits that you should incorporate into your writing routine to shake yourself up and Colleen Story has a fun alphabet of helpful tips for writers. 

Go forth and conquer that story.





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 British Library on Unsplash

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Plot Twists


In Publishing News this week,

News broke this week that Amazon was shutting the doors on Book Depository. The warehouses are based in the UK and had free delivery to anywhere in the world. This was a boon if you were looking for a hard to find book and postage was prohibitive. Now there are lots of job cuts. While everyone was wailing about the news, Mark Williams started drawing some comparisons to what else Amazon is doing to its book business. This is a big flag to book consumers!


Also closing their doors is Overdrive’s eBook library app Overdrive. They are putting all their energy and promotion into the Libby App for libraries. 


Publishing Perspectives have an article on the upcoming London Book Fair which will have Sustainability as a major new programming initiative. They have speakers and panels devoted to this and how publishing can clean up their carbon footprint throughout the duration of the fair. Comments on this range from "it’s about time," to "print on demand would take care of the carbon wastage of stripping and returns." Will the publishers be asking the hard questions about their sustainability practices?


Publishing Pirates got taken down in India- They were pirating … print copies. 


In AI News. (It’s too big to ignore the impact it will have on publishing so better to have some knowledge of the issues.)

A writer got Chat GPT to write a novel and detailed how he did it. It’s for sale. 115 pages 0 input from a human.

Chat GPT has been blocked in Italy with Open AI (its parent) being taken to court over Data Protection (GDPR) violations which will be a test case for the EU. This may be the slow down that the Tech founders were looking for. There is nothing like a lengthy court battle to slow things down. 

Meanwhile, an Australian mayor is also taking Open AI to court over the falsehoods claimed by ChatGPT that he was a criminal. Many users have noted that the first paragraph is alright but subsequent paragraphs are so much fantasy that you can’t rely on it at all to state the facts.

John Fox has 26 ways an author can use ChatGPT- (Be very aware of what you are doing.)

Kris Rusch has a MUST READ article on copyright and Chat GPT and MidJourney- Can you afford a court case?


Matt Holmes has a great guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog on the 4 pillars of marketing. This is a print out and read primer on what to do to make it easier on yourself and how to tackle book marketing. 


Anne R Allen has a great article on how much description you should be putting in your novel or memoir. Some genres need it more than others.


In The Craft Section,

Story verbing- Storyempire- Bookmark

How to write exotic settings- Sarah Hamer

A framework for moving past your first draft- Amy Bernstein -Bookmark!

How to listen to your protagonist- Sarah Bradley- Bookmark

Saggy Middle ? Use conflict- Sacha Black

Got 15 minutes- how to fill it with writing 500 words- Colleen Story – Bookmark!


In The Marketing Section,

5 tips to balance bookmarketing with writing- Colleen Story

F.A.R. Marketing – Angela Ackerman

2 interesting articles from Bookbub- How to use Bookbub ads tutorial and Insights About Bookbub 

subscribers- Bookmark Both

What to expect when pitching a book for film rights- Penny Sansevieri

ALLI Podcast Best use of your time with limited money- Bookmark 


To Finish,

A good plot twist keeps you on the edge of your seat. I have stayed up all night to finish books… complained to author friends that their twist at 2 AM meant I didn’t sleep. This is the drug that keeps a reader chained to your book. They have to know what happens next!

Setting up the twist takes careful thought and almost invisible clues. James Scott Bell has a great post on micro scenes and Laurel Osterkamp has an interesting collection of tips for creating plot twists that create suspense.


As I was compiling this week’s blogpost news I kept thinking I was reading plot twists for the book ‘publishing as we know it now.’ I think the ending will be a zinger!





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 Bansah Photography on Unsplash

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