Showing posts with label Beverley Cleary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beverley Cleary. Show all posts

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Healthy Author Business


Two interesting posts from Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard have bookended my week. 

The first was an examination of the new digital publishing and subscription 'Kid On The Block', Legible. They have launched with bold claims about publishing to the world, but Mark thinks they’ve tripped up by focusing on North America first. 

The other post, out today, is the realisation that some of Australia’s literary treasures are out of print and lost. They won’t be the only country where this is happening. Don’t publishers have a duty of care to their nations?


The London Book Fair is on the horizon. This year’s virtual fair offers up three weeks of virtual workshops for writers for the author HQ area of the fair. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at the program.


Recently, Sotheby’s were about to auction off rare Bronte manuscripts until various Bronte societies and libraries heard about it. They want them preserved for the public. Sotheby’s has agreed to delay, which means the libraries have to come up with some cash soon. 


In the various author groups that I am part of, there is huge respect for Kristine Kathryn Rusch. She writes valuable posts about the business of writing. This is where many writers come unstuck. Business is hard. This week she turns her spotlight on the raft of laws about to go through congress aimed at taking apart tech firms. What will happen to authors if Amazon is forced to sell off its publishing arm? This is an important read for anyone in the Amazon ecosystem.


The long-running joke in writer and reader circles is when the next book in Game of Thrones might be published. Spare a thought for George R R Martin who is struggling with regret and writing a book that the TV show changed direction on. 


Nate Hoffelder has written a great article on Anne R Allen’s blog on introverted authors. Yes, some of us struggle with the public face of being an author. Nate has some great tips to overcome fears.


How many of you are curled up like a pretzel when you write? (Guilty, right now.) You know that you need to build healthy writer habits. Here are a couple of posts to jog you into some good habits. Why writers need healthy habits. and Why walking is the best exercise for writers. And don’t forget your mental health too. Writing can be such a slog that it is tempting to quit. Here is a helpful post on when it all gets too much.


My comfort books when ill are Georgette Heyer- her historical research was gold standard. A family member is a regency writer and I often dip into her extensive library of research books from the period. If you are venturing into historical fiction – know that your readers are going to be looking to see if you got your facts right. Check out 5 tips for creating a fully realized historical setting. (Georgette was often in a rare tweak when other writers would crib her words for their novels- the effrontery!)


In The Craft Section,

What to do when you can’t connect to your characters- Ellen Brock

What is your characters emotional shielding- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Trick yourself into finding time to write- Suzanne Henshon- Bookmark

What is an unsympathetic character-  Anne R Allen- Bookmark

The 7 laws of successful villains- Lisa Voisin


In The Marketing Section,

Choose the perfect pen name- Lewis

Use your email signature for book marketing- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

Indie author marketing and promotion plan- Emma Lombard – Bookmark!

10 books to help with your writing life- Rachel Thompson

2 Great posts from Penny Sansevieri- 10 minutes or less to a polished author brand and Monopolise your indie author real estate- Bookmark Both


To Finish,

Back at the beginning of April, we struggled with articulating the loss of Beverley Cleary. (OK 104 years -we need to let go.) Vulture writer, Kathryn VanArendonk, has examined the mastery of emotion that Beverley exhibited in her Ramona stories. I think she has put her finger on just how brilliant Beverley was at close 3rdperson writing and evoking emotion in adults and children.

Oh to write half as well.





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Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – MaxiuB


Thursday, April 1, 2021

And Another One Is Gone

In publishing news this week.

Another one bites the dust and another one’s gone – you know the rest. Yes. Publishing houses buying up publishing houses. Harper Collins, smarting after missing out on buying Simon and Schuster, have bought Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They smacked cash down to buy the backlist- however, the frontlist looks good too. When you read the news report it is clear that backlist is important. Publishers asking for all rights must see the potential money to be made. This is where last week’s blog post from Kristine Rusch is important reading and then you can follow that up with part two published today from Kristine on why Hollywood is bypassing their own writers and rushing to woo book agents for books to turn into films.


This time last year there were rumblings of disquiet as the pandemic began to bite into those big events that mark the publishing industry. Would the London Book Fair go ahead and then all the others… This year the same uncertainty is happening. LBF isn’t making a definite answer, yet again. Others are delaying or deferring.


Meanwhile, some interesting stats on the 2020 publishing year have been issued. Mark Williams casts his weather eye over the news from the UK that they had a record publishing year despite bookstores closing. That seems odd. Where did they make their money?


The New Publishing Standard looks at the publishing industry right around the globe. The English-speaking world tends to look at just the U.S and UK markets but the bulk of the English speakers are outside of these two countries. That’s why it was interesting to see Mark Williams talking about China Literature wanting to grow their North American writers to 100,000. The numbers are mind-boggling. Read the article for the first inklings of how the publishing world will be changing in the future.


Anne R Allen and Ruth Harris have a fantastic blog. They have a wealth of great articles to trawl through and always have a weighty nugget to get you thinking. This week Ruth looked at the Look Inside- the make or break of a sale. It is timely to ponder how this important feature is overlooked.


Jacqui Murray has an interesting article on writing collaboratively. I did this years ago and it was heaps of fun. (but also hard work.) I know a few writers who are writing stories in a linked up world and they are having loads of fun together. Now take a story where everyone writes a different chapter. This is taking it to the next level.


Every now and then I dream about the perfect writing office. The amazing writing desk that I will write epics on. Open Culture recently had a great article on Writing Desks. These stunningly beautiful desks made for royalty are swoon-worthy for writers.


Jenny Hansen from Writers in the Storm has written a beautiful article on The Simple Writing Resolution That Changed My Writing Career. This is one of those articles that hit you in the feels and will resonate throughout your writing life. A must-read!


In The Craft Section,

Tips for dividing your story into chapters- 10 minute novelists- Bookmark

How writing improves your relationship with yourself-K M Weiland- Bookmark

Getting the motivation to write- Now Novel

Writing exercises- Reedsy

Handling perfectionism- Elizabeth S Craig- Bookmark 


In The Marketing Section,

13 book marketing ideas to consider before publishing- Penny Sansevieri

Narrating your own audiobook- Patty Jansen- Bookmark

5 little changes that make a big difference- Frances Caballo 

What to do when a writer is weary of social media-Edie Melson- Bookmark

Engage readers with your emails- Heather Gardner- Bookmark


To Finish,

It had to happen sometime. We needed to be able to let go. But it was hard to read that Beverly Cleary died this week aged 104. When I read the news, I had to stop and say thanks for the fantastic stories and the inspiration to write. 

When Beverly was a librarian she was challenged by a young boy who asked her where were the stories about kids like him- ordinary kids. And Henry Huggins began to take shape in her incredible mind. There have been many heartfelt reactions to Beverly’s characters but this one about the value and the challenge of Ramona Quimby is the best one I’ve seen this week. 

R.I.P. Beverly Cleary - forever 8 yrs young.




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 of 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.




Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taking The Long View

In the children’s publishing world Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the big date on the annual calendar. It is just finishing as I write so all the commentaries about the fair will be out during the week. However Publishers Weekly has a day one impressions piece. In other Children’s Book News, today the brilliant  Meg Rosoff  won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award  for her career achievements. 

This week Hugh Howey gave an interview for DBW where he set out in his forthright way what the publishers should be doing now and into the future.
Mike Shatzkin, who programmes the DBW conference, then replied in his forthright way where he thought Hugh was right and where he thought Hugh was completely wrong.
Both of these articles are good reads. As always read the comments where you get a fuller sense of the conversations around both points of view.

Two people who have much to say on publishing and writing are Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. They both keep a sharp eye on the industry and have tremendous business smarts.
Kris is starting a new Business Musings series on Contracts and specifically deal breakers in contracts. Kris starts out by saying she was hoping that contracts would have improved in the three years since she wrote her book on Contracts but sadly they haven’t. With Author Societies calling for fairer contracts in the US and UK, writers need to keep these posts in their must read list.
Dean has a tremendous work ethic and works hard at explaining the writing business. He doesn’t suffer fools and has nothing to prove to anyone. This week he was a little taken aback when he was accused of devaluing the novel art-form because he wrote a novel in a week. Riiiiight.

Joel Friedlander is another publishing practitioner who has a must read blog. This week he looks at what Self Publishers can do when they find their books have been pirated.

Nathan Bransford still has interesting things to say about the publishing business. This week he comments on a New York Times article about focus groups being asked to read unpublished novels and mark where they stopped reading so the publishers can figure out how much money to spend on marketing.

In the Craft Section,
Making your plot less episodic- The Editors Blog-Bookmark

Making a series outline- Better Novel Project-Bookmark

Dramatic momentum or End of Chapter buttons-Writers in the 

In the Marketing Section,


To Finish,

This coming week Beverley Cleary turns 100 years old. Her books have touched the lives of millions of children around the world. We all love Henry and Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona and a whole cast of characters from neighbourhoods just like ours. She has had a remarkable publishing career which started when one little boy marched up to her library desk and asked 'where are the stories about kids like me.'


Pic: Beverley Cleary Born 12 April 1916

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Venerable and the New...

This week the wonderful Beverley Cleary celebrated 94 years on this earth. 
In a School Library Journal Interview she reflected on her career and how she got started. (for those of you who need a little memory jogging...Ramona Quimby...Henry, Beezus, Ribsy, Ralph...)
When Beverly got started in 1950...books for kids were just moving out of the earnest educational tomes to teach the little savages into fun pacy romps that reflected the child’s world and were entertaining.

I wroteHenry Huggins (HarperCollins, 1950) because when I was a children’s librarian, there was almost nothing contemporary for boys. A little boy changed my life when he said, “Where are the books about kids like us?” All my books are still in print. 

Thanks Beverly for picking up your pen to fill the gap.

So 60 years into the future...this week the i-Pad launched and Publishers Weekly immediately picked up that 6 of the top 10 iPad apps downloaded were children’s books. This will be the game changer for children’s publishing. The most popular of the apps downloaded were picture books!

On launch day last Saturday, Apple sold more than 300,000 iPads—and users downloaded more than one million apps and more than 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore. Parents immediately started snapping up picture book apps from Apple's online store. In fact, children's stories held six of the top 10 paid iPad book-app sales spots as of press time. Typical prices for children's book apps range anywhere from $2.99 for The Cat in the Hat to $9.99 for Miss Spider's Tea Party.

Here is a little video showing how Alice looks on the iPad.

On the marketing front Thomas McMahon of Online Marketing Blog has a great post on how to promote new blogs which can be used for other social media sites.

Darcy Pattison has a brilliant post on ten social media goals for author promotion here is number three...(It was hard to choose which one to give you a taster they are all so good.)

Long-term relationships versus short-term profits
This is an easy one for authors. We want long-term relationships with people who are interested in the stories we write, the passions that fill our days and our books. Those relationships may result in sales; but we also care about deep conversations about our passions, speaking engagements, connecting with kids, learning more about our craft and so on. Relationships – YOU – are important to me!

There is a UK website Smories offering a chance to authors to send in their up to 750 word stories for selection to be filmed and made into a downloadable app...The top five voted on by kids win substantial money and you keep all the rights. Open to submission by email from all English speaking countries.

Over at Casey McCormicks blog there is a big discussion about YA needing a love interest...and how much of a love interest should there be? and What about Boys YA? Do they care? Will they be turned off or on....Lots of comments and juicy discussion.

Over on Craicerplus (my amplify page.)

There is a link to an article on Wuthering Heights and the Twilight effect.
There is a link to brilliant (must read) article on pitching from Alan Rinzler.
And a link to an article on BlogTalkRadio. How to turn your blog into a radio station for free.

So reflecting on the last 60 years and looking forward to the next 60 years in children’s publishing...
Anyone got any thoughts as to what the child’s book will look like then?


P.S. Last week was my two year blogging anniversary....who’d a thought...Cheers Fifi.

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