Thursday, May 25, 2023

Reading Between The Lines

 

In Publishing News this week,


Last week publishing social media was full of comment from disgruntled authors discovering they had been let go from a prominent author agency. I didn’t link to it at the time as tempers and opposing viewpoints were swirling and I figured that everyone might calm down and things were not as bad as portrayed. Then the Authors Guild got involved to try to sort out the mess of over 20 authors with contracts in various states of negotiating being hung out to dry. So yes, things were bad. The fallout has probably permanently tarnished the reputation of the agency. There are no winners.

 

This week a hybrid virtual/in person book fair in New York was held over three days. It’s the only Book Fair that attempts to be a national book fair for the USA. After the demise of Book Expo America and virtual Digital Book World offerings, the flagship shows like London or Frankfurt aren’t happening for the U.S. Mark Williams looks at the problems of running a big book fair. Does the English language publishing world really need another bookfair?

 

Germany has just published a survey on reading in their country and the declining levels of literacy among children is alarming. They are embarking on a huge campaign to lift literacy. However, recently their teen reading levels have been huge. Is it the power of TikTok influencers?

 

James Daunt CEO of Barnes and Noble recently spoke on how his policies have changed the face of the bookselling company. The secret is in curation, and local curation at that. Also shelving non-fiction books by subject instead of alphabetically. Wow. Who knew that might work?

 

Jane Friedman has a guest post by Joni Cole on cover woes and what you can do when your publisher gets it so very wrong. Her publisher though she would be happy with an explicit cover on a book about… writing craft. 

 

Randy Peyser has an interesting post on what publishers want. This is not a specific post but does have some interesting ideas for what you should keep in mind when approaching them.

 

Ingram Spark has a useful article on choosing readable fonts for your book. If you are into designing print interiors check it out. Warning- once you go down the typeface rabbit hole you will discover a wonderful new world that can be quite addictive. 

 

Recently the Spa Girls writing podcast had an interview with Matt Bird – a writing craft teacher on the secrets of story. It’s a great interview with different ways to look at scenes and characters.

 

September Fawkes has a great article on things she wished she knew as a beginning writer. This is a must read. It doesn’t matter if you are beginning or not, there are gems to think about… print out…carve on your wall, in here.

 

In The Craft Section,

7 cool tricks for beating the maddening middle- Holly Lisle


Hero’s journey structure and examples- Lisa Taylor- Bookmark


3 steps to engaging your readers- Angela Ackerman


The difference between Character Archetypes and Tropes- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark


How to create insanely complex characters- K M Weiland- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing to Libraries- Goodstory company- Bookmark


12 ways to promote your book- Green Leaf


First impressions, Book Covers-Mibl Art-Bookmark


Relaunching with audiobooks- Bookboss Academy


Moving the needle- Huge Marketing post from SCBWI – BOOKMARK

 

To Finish

Lisa Cooper Ellison has a great column on Jane Friedmans blog, this week she writes about Beta Readers. Lisa looks at  how important they are and how you can help them out. If you prepare questions and manage their expectations it should be a positive experience for everybody. If you haven’t really made use of Beta readers before this is a handy article on how to get started with them.

 

Go Forth and Read.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

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 Matias North on Unsplash

 

Reading gymnastics- or how many ways you can curl up with a book.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Holding On To Your Own Creativity


In Publishing News this week…

Amazon is raising their subscription price for Kindle Unlimited by $2. This comes on the heels of the lowest page read payout to date. Today writers using Amazon Print were informed that the cost to print would be going up. 

 

Recently The Association of American Publishers had their AGM and the big event of the night was the CEO Maria Pallente addressing the issue of AI and publishing. Porter Anderson  has a full report of her speech. If you are keeping an eye on AI you will know that this week the CEO of Open AI has been asking for a regulatory framework from US lawmakers to control AI going into the future.

 

Pearson Textbooks has taken issue with the use of their IP content to train AI’s. They have started sending cease and desist letters and taking legal action. This is because they have plans to train their own AI on their own content so they can expand their business.

 

Scholastic are finally embracing digital publishing. Apparently paper mills see no extra value in making book pages. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has some pithy words for the publishing industry as the head of Scholastic points out just how shaky the print arm of publishing is.

Mark also shines a spotlight on HarperCollins India and their search for a realistic AI Indian voice to change the face of audio narration in India.

 

Bookriot reports on PEN America and Penguin Random House taking a school district to court over book banning. This is a warning shot in the battle for freedom to read. How many school districts can take on these giants and win?

 

If you live with anyone whose profession is the subject of TV dramas you will be used to the constant comments about unrealistic work portrayals. Melodie Campbell takes a look at unrealistic portrayals of crime scenes.

 

Katie Weiland has a great article on Why There Is No Such Thing As ‘Just A Story.’ 

Suzanne Bennett has a great article on what to do with abandoned manuscripts… you don’t have to junk them. 

 

In The Craft Section,

How to write organic themes- K M Weiland- Bookmark


Setting and sense of place- Joanna Penn


Does your story make sense-Susan DeFreitas


5 ways to avoid white room syndrome- Linnea Gradin- Bookmark


Ignite with the inciting incident- Lynette Burrows- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

Infographic 7 tips to grow your social media platform- Barb Drozowich


Get reader reviews- Sandra Beckwith


Data on author newsletters- Written Word Media- Bookmark


Booklinker article on Bookmarketing- Bookmark


Tips to improve newsletter design- Sue Coletta – Bookmark


The Rebel Author Podcast -advanced marketing strategies (great episode)

 

To Finish,

What are you doing to fill your creative well? This is a question I often asked my teaching colleagues. You can’t keep giving out creatively to others if you don’t fill your well. Kris Rusch has been musing on the nature of cross training for your brain. This is a good article to mull over at the change of seasons. Are you stretching your writing brain by doing something else?

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

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 Amritanshu Sikdar on Unsplash

 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Breaking The Rules

 


If you have been anywhere on Social Media today, you might have caught a trending topic called Bigolas Dickolas. The owner of the name decided to tweet their appreciation for a four year old book. The tweet went viral and all formats of the book rocketed up the charts. You never know when a book review will change an author’s life!

 

In the academic world, news that the entire editorial board of major academic publisher Elsevier resigned over the fees the journal was charging academics to publish, hit like a thunderclap. The eyewatering prices are detailed in the Guardian along with the complaints of greed from academic institutions. Everyone will be watching the boards of other academic journals – will they follow suit? Meanwhile, the editors are taking their reputations and starting an online journal which will be much cheaper.

 

Many writers are keeping one eye on the current strike happening with Film and TV writers. If you haven’t been seeing your favourite shows lately or found out their seasons have been cut short, the strike by the writers of these shows is the reason. Kris Rusch breaks down why it is so important that writers know the reasons for the strike and how it might affect you in the future.

 

The children’s writing community was shocked this week when a recent book on grief got unexpected publicity. The author wrote the book for her children dealing with the shock death of their father. Unfortunately, the author was arrested for the death of her husband.

 

Our household has an affection for Mo Willams and his Don’t let the Pigeon Drive The Bus and its various spinoffs. Mo has launched a production company to control his IP. If you have an iconic character this might be something to look into.

 

Scribd has altered its Terms of Service (contract) to take into account AI. Publishing Perspectives writes on how EU lawmakers are using these new terms to inform copyright law.

 

Anne R Allen has a good run down on scammers and the methods they are using at the moment. Please be aware of the pitfalls and tell others about them too. Book scammers prey on dreams and Newbies are their favourite targets. However, seasoned hands have been caught so keep your eyes open. 

 

Recently Publishers Weekly held a webinar on best practice for publishers in a changing marketplace. The main points have been summarised in an article on Publishers Weekly. The sky is not falling you will be pleased to know.

 

Recently Orna Ross and Joanna Penn from The Alliance of Independent Authors sat down for an in depth chat on crowdfunding books. If you have been thinking about this- drop in for the podcast or read the transcript. The Alliance (Alli) have a wealth of great resources, they recently did a deep dive on selling books from your own website.

 

Beta Readers are an important step in the publishing process. As first readers they can flag plot holes or scenes that just aren’t working. Check out this article on How Beta readers might save your book from disaster.


In The Craft Section,

How to edit your novel- Alli Blog- Bookmark


What is the big deal about ‘was’- Terry Odell


Top 5 mistakes with sex scenes- Bang2Write


How to build a flesh and blood character- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark


Human moments- Donald Mass- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

How writers can be successful in media interviews- Anne Alenskis


Tips for working with a cover designer- K M Weiland


5 book marketing tasks that can be done in 5 minutes- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


4 cornerstones to success for book marketing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


Branding tips for authors- Shayla Raquel- Bookmark

 

To Finish

Rules- you need to know the reason for the rules before you break them is a popular saying. In writing, there are many lists of rules floating around. Some are common-sense and some are more obscure but can be the difference between a readable sentence and not. (*wink*) 

Check out this article on writing rules to make you shine not whine.

Many writers want to finish the story before they tell anyone about it. Jane Friedman has a guest post from Catherine Baaab-Muguira  on why you should start promoting your writing before you are ready.

 

Breaking Rules can be empowering.


Maureen

@craicer

 

Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

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 Alex Lvrs on Unsplash

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Under The Skin

 


In Publishing News this week,


Many writers muttered Hallelujah when Ingram Spark announced they were making print file uploads of Print On Demand books free along with free revisions for the first 60 days. There was general joy all around the publishing socials. They wouldn’t have changed their policy because every other print POD service is free would it?

 

Business Insider reports that Tiktok has registered a publishing press trademark. I wonder how they are going to advertise their books to readers or reviewers or even how they will go about getting books to publish? Now all they need is a buy button…

 

The Writers Guild of America called their TV writer members out on strike. This last happened about 16 years ago… and suddenly there was lots of Reality TV popping up. The writers have been screwed by streaming. The New Yorker lays out the case.

 

The arrest of a Taiwan publisher visiting relatives in China is making the Asian book industry nervous. The disappearance of the writer and publisher is being highlighted by news agencies around the world, reports The Guardian.

 

The UK Publishing Association reports that they had a bumper year last year with physical book sales up. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard points out that their reported numbers have huge million dollar holes. What happened to their digital book industry?

Mark also points out the double standard over Storytel Norway being accused of favouring their own brand on their own platform. Who knew that was unethical? *coughAmazoncough*

 

Kris Rusch writes this week on the gradual breakdown of favourable terms for writers from Amazon. She has been an advocate of going wide for years. This is her last heads up blog post on the danger of putting all your sales eggs into one basket. All the signs are warning of an iceberg ahead.

 

Ruth Harris has an interesting post on Outlines, AI, and Stormy Daniels. Ruth tries her hand at using AI to write a blog post and concludes that the prose is very boring. Then she thought about a biography of Stormy Daniels….

 

Lit Reactor has a great article on books with a lack of character development and concludes it is not a problem. Do we really need to see the characters grow and change? Sometimes the fact that they don’t is comforting. 

 

In The Craft Section,

Assuaging the pain of punctuation- Tiffany Yates Martin - Bookmark


5 things to know about writing for teens- Jennifer De Leon


The difference between character archetypes and tropes- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark


What is a psycological thriller- Cailean Steed- Bookmark


What we can learn from reading bad fiction- Richard Thomas

 

In The Marketing Section,

7 tips for strategic pricing- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


Critique sites- Kathy Steinemann


Should you pay an influencer- Sandra Beckwith


What goes on the copyright page- Darcy Pattison- Bookmark


Readerscout- new free tech from Kindlepreneur- Bookmark

 

To Finish,

The 122 page book, Death Of An Author has been making small waves after it was recently published by Seth Godin’s press Pushkin Industries. 95% of this murder mystery is written by AI. The New York Times reviews it fairly. Some will like it. Some will hate it. 

Creativity is not under threat- yet. 

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

 It’s time for my monthly newsletter? If you want the best of my bookmarked links and other extras why not subscribe and join our merry band.

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 Possessed Photography on Unsplash

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