Showing posts with label Bologna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bologna. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Is It On A Bucket List?

In Publishing News this week,


There was a quick backlash on Social Media when a publisher announced that they would be using an AI to vet submitted manuscripts. They walked it back after only a few hours. Even though they are a Science Fiction publisher- this was a step too far for their writers. Just imagine, said one commentator, AI scraping trends and plots and writing its own book from submissions. Of course it will never happen….


The International Publishers Association are shocked at the dismissal of the case of attempted murder of a Norwegian publisher. 25 years ago, the publisher was shot 3 times. Many believed it was because they had published Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses book. It shook the publishing world at the time as an attack on free speech. If we don’t speak truth to power - who will?


Mark Williams had me chuckling so hard I nearly fell off my chair with this personal opinion about the London Book Fair. Sometimes you have to laugh because otherwise you would cry. Who knew there was a bookfair on in London that generated lots of sales?- Not the UK news media.


Bologna Children’s Book Fair is underway, and the early news is that everyone is having a good time- except for the transport strike. Publishing Perspectives is on the ground talking about the in person and virtual events.


Publishers Weekly looks at the dire news for mid-grade books. Everybody wants them… and no one can find a good one, apparently. What to do? The only country bucking the trend is The Netherlands and they’re translating from Korean. 


In digital reading hardware news- Kobo is bringing out a colour ink version. Commentators are already looking at the E-Ink hardware wars on the horizon.


Draft2Digital is partnering with Fable. As far as I can tell this is a first for both companies. Fable runs virtual book clubs- many for celebrities and TikTok influencers. If you want to have an author book club, check it out. Draft2Digital is a publishing distributor, mainly for eBooks but now also for print. This could be a very interesting collaboration.


Ninc have analyzed the book cover trends for 2024- Font is still king. Illustrated and Animated covers are still on brand, I was surprised at how many genres now use them.


Anne R Allen has an interesting post on Substack Newsletters vs Blogging for authors inspired by Jane Friedman’s article last month. I post my weekly blog on Substack for people who want to get it in their inbox. I don’t charge. My monthly roundup newsletter with extras and oddments is through Mailchimp. As a children’s writer I’m always struggling with the concept of author newsletters for this audience as the buyers aren’t the readers, generally. Maybe I should write a serial story newsletter.


The Passive Guy highlights a post from Dean Wesley Smith on how big your name is on the cover of your book. Do you hide away or boldly brand? Dean also has a series of marketing posts on at the moment.


Joanna Penn has a great interview with Rachel Herron on Facing Fears in Writing and Life. This is well worth the time to read and/or listen. Rachel also mentions having ADHD. Katie Weiland recently had a great guest post on navigating the writing process if you have the ADHD superpower. 


Sue Coletta has a great post on Story Bibles. Do you jot down important details so that you don’t forget them or is editing always a surprise with how many times the main characters eyes change. Sue looks at all the ways you can keep on top of the details.


In The Craft Section,

Strong plots need significant goals- September Fawkes

Style over plot and characters- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

Is page 98 as strong as page 1- Donald Maass- Bookmark

What to do when you lose your way- Matthew Norman

5 simple ways to create high stakes- C S Lakin-Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Book PR and super powers- Ann Marie Nieves- Bookmark

The reason for pre sales- Catharine Bramkamp- Bookmark

How to love book marketing- Patricia Crisafulli

19 ways to Promote on TikTok-KellySchknecht- Bookmark

How to market with another author- Ingram Spark Blog


To Finish

Bucket lists. Yes, they are still a thing. Have you got a bucket list? Many people have life lists or travel lists… but Karen Banes thinks writers should have writers bucket list. Goals that you want to achieve in your writing life. She lists 100 ideas to get you started





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If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.


If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic Photo by Tobi on Unsplash


Thursday, February 29, 2024

Writing Mindset Problems



In Publishing News this week,


Lee and Lowe published their latest survey on the diversity in publishing. Has anything changed since the covid years… only a little. It is a bit disheartening to see that a survey done every four years doesn’t show the bar shifting that much across the data points. 


Italy is preparing for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and their guest of honor status at Frankfurt. Publishing Perspectives looks at their industry figures and what is on offer for Bologna. In a nice touch one third of books sold in Italy are children’s books.


Staying with kids books- Oxford University Press has launched an app called Little Oxford for parents to give to their children. It is full of educational content and subscription based. Now if one press can do it will others follow suit? (If you are a press, I know an App maker in this field looking for content.)


If you are trying to keep tabs on all the moving lawsuits to do with AI, drop into the Passive Voice blog. Passive Guy who runs it is a lawyer and he has been watching with interest the counter suing going on with Open AI- Someone hacked their AI for a lawsuit? Or did they?

In further Open AI news, they have just released an AI that can make a video based on text. This is next level and in Beta but already its worrying commentators. 


Writer Unboxed has an interesting article from a children’s publisher about the rise in AI manuscripts that they are seeing. They are begging for an assurance that your work is written by a person. This is what Joanna Penn was talking about when she said to double down on being human. Joanna has a whole section of her website on how to navigate a fast changing AI world for authors.


Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware has a post on Writer Scams and how to manage your mindset when you feel overwhelmed with all the scummy behaviour out there. All Is Not Lost!

If you are a fan of the Emotion Thesaurus group of books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi- There is another one on the way and it looks like a great addition to the bookshelf.

Are you looking for a comparison list on what is the best book formatting software out there? Check out this list.


Trisha Jenn Loehr has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog about tropes. This is a great overview on when using them is good, when having too many is bad and what the downright ugly looks like.


Ruth Harris has an excellent post on getting past writer’s block. She has 7 hacks that will get the writing muse working again.


In the Craft Section,

Important Do’s and Don’ts for writing novellas- Kobo team

How to write conflict without bad guys- Angela Ackerman

What makes a good action scene- Terry Odell- Bookmark

How to use dynamic and static characters- C S Lakin- Bookmark

How to use antagonists in your story- K M Weiland- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

A guide to welcome emails for authors

Fictional characters on Social Media- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Advertising book tips- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Improve author website SEO- Debbie Emmitt- Bookmark

How to make a short animated ad for your book.


To Finish,

Recently James Scott Bell (Writing craft teacher with excellent writing craft books) wrote about timeless writing advice. He was commenting on advice for writers written by Louise Parr in 1894 that could have been written today. Writers have struggled with the same challenges through the decades, how to tell a good story. We are hardwired for story - we love the ads that tell a little story rather than BUY BUY BUY. We crave the payoff at the end of a great novel/film/song. Writing is a solitary activity but you share it with writers through the ages who struggled with the same things you do. Seek out your tribe of online writer friends or a group of offline writer friends who understand the ups and downs of crafting stories. 

We will all be cheering you on.





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links  and other assorted stuff you can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. It feeds my caffeine addiction. Thanks.



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Thursday, March 9, 2023

Pull Out Your Toys


In Publishing News This Week...

In the continuing saga of being a HarperCollins employee- you strike for 3 months, you get told that HC is settling but reducing their workforce and now you hear that severance is all voluntary for a limited time. Publishers Weekly takes the time to remind readers that this was predicted early this year. (See Februarys blog) If you want a more personal story about why it’s so hard to work in publishing, Electric Literature has an essay on how a living wage has never been a priority in publishing.


After last weeks news and then backtrack on cleaning up Roald Dahl to this week examining the role of sensitivity readers. Do we really need them? Canadian reporters explore why the publishing industry is feeling alarmed. Meanwhile, well-known Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has decided that she will write her memoir after all. That’s 80 years well lived.

Anne R Allen has a great post on whether you should fictionalise your life. It’s called Autofiction if you are thinking about it.


It’s Bookfair time and on everyone’s lips is AI. The Author’s Guild is being proactive and having their lawyers write clauses for writers and publishers to insert into writing contracts limiting the use of AI and Machine Learning on new work. 


Mark Williams highlights a little snippet from Animation Magazine – They are embracing AI and using it to make short animations. This new tech promises fun times ahead. Publishers have you thought about your own IP?


Kris Rusch continues to look into AI audio and whether its suitable in the first instance to make their print books accessible. She delves into the contracts and hidden fees and concludes that Google is probably the best player at the moment in this space.


Bologna Children’s Book Fair celebrates its 60th year and everyone is happy to be back. The big sellers at the fair…children’s mental health books. The legacy of the covid years.


Mattel toy company is moving into books which will be based off their IP. So if you have a hankering to ghost write Barbie fiction or Hot Wheels road trips there is a place for you in the Mattel story world.


Earlier in the year I linked to a news article about Adelaide books and the problems they were having. Jane Friedman has a guest post this week from a writer caught up in the mess. How Bad Publishers Hurt Authors. Yes, she checked and she checked it was not a scam… it looked legit. Even the most savvy of writers can be sucked in. 


Do you wake up itching to be back at the manuscript or has it become the dreaded homework. Naomi Rose writes about how you can find ways to be pulled by love not pushed by force into your writing.



In The Craft Section,

Will readers find your protagonist worthy?- Angela Ackerman

Comedic writing- Now Novel- Bookmark

Novel and script editing tips- Novel Factory

Gender neutral replacements- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

Writing onomatopoeia- Joe Bunting- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Best Fonts for Print- Kindlepreneur

Selling books on your website- Penny Sansevieri

The formula for more book sales – Sandra Beckwith- Boomark

To give it away or not- Kim Catanzarite-Bookmark

Unique ways to engage readers with live streaming- Shailee Shah- Bookmark


To Finish,

How often do you reward yourself with something creative after writing your novel. P A Cornell builds Lego sets. Then she got thinking, Lego is really like story building. Take those Lego bricks and find out the 10 things that Lego can teach you about 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 Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash



Thursday, June 17, 2021

Shiny New Object


This week I listened to an interview on NFT’s with Joanna Penn and John Fox. Non Fungible Tokens have a controversial press. Many consider them a fad, or a scam. But some are looking at them as the Next Big Thing. Joanna and John discuss how authors can use them to create new work, much like the musicians and visual artists are doing. 

Last week Bloomberg Financial Magazine looked at the power shift back to musicians with NFT’s. Today The Guardian wrote about Christie's auctioning an NFT from Tim Berners Lee of the original source code from his invention of the internet. It was for events like this that publishing contracts now contain legal clauses like ‘universal rights in all formats existing and to be invented.’


I am always interested to see a Mark Williams look into the future piece. Mark lives in The Gambia and comments on Global Publishing. This week he takes a look at the power of internet and where the potential emerging markets are. There are some fascinating statistics for publishers looking at other markets. (Like 94% of the world’s internet users are not in the USA.)


So many research institutions studying so many types of reading behaviour can’t they work together? That is the call in 2021 at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. (Collaboration, who knew that would be a thing?)


Another American court has passed a directive that Ebooks must be made available to Libraries. The Association of American Publishers sees this as a copyright fight. Publishers Weekly takes a look at the implications, meanwhile, tucked in the bottom of the article is a reference to the power of librarians and how quickly they can mobilise.


Kris Rusch has another great post on FOMO- The Fear Of Missing Out and how this can cause writers to jump around trying to please everybody and end up having the joy of writing sucked out of them. Be like the Tortoise.


Charlie Jane Anders has written an interesting breakdown of the  7 wrong lessons creators learned from Game Of Thrones to mark the 10 year anniversary of the first episode and Jan Drexler has one on the promise you make to your readers.  


In The Craft Section,

Using triggers for emotional wounds- Angela Ackerman

Grammarly alternatives- Reedsy- Bookmark

The flat archetype of The Ruler- Archetype Series – K M Weiland- Bookmark


2 Great posts from .-Lucy V Hay 6 ways to make your writing stand out from the crowd and

8 ways to write your novel outline- Bookmark Both


In The Marketing Section,

What is the Clubhouse app and how to use it.- Naomi Nakashima

Authors - be where your readers are- Frances Caballo

How to build your author website- Written Word Media

Leveraging your networks- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

2 Great posts from Joanna Penn- Mistakes in book promotion and Marketing your book

Bookmark Both


To Finish,

It’s midway through the middle month in the year. How is it progressing? Sometimes we need a shake-up to get us out of a slump. Edie Melson has 10 strategies to shake your online writer’s presence up.  Ali Luke has a great post on writer motivation with 7 ways to stay motivated with your writing project.

Of course, once you start brainstorming… you may just invent something that will change the world.





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. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Tim Berners Lee- Athanasios Kasampalis

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Profit and Loss


In publishing news this week

A case of a big company crushing the writer… Disney asserts that when they purchased the rights to a contract they did not purchase the obligations and they want a non-disclosure agreement before they even talk about it. The Science Fiction Writers Association is rightly concerned (angry/vitriolic.) Disney can profit off Alan Dean Foster's work and not pay him? How many other writers are in this position? This discussion is taking over the writer internet today with many writers calling Disney out on it.

Draft To Digital has introduced a welcome change to their services. They are now offering payment splitting. If you have collaborated with other authors on a book or a boxset they can split the royalties now. 

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is moving its dates in 2021 following London Book Fair’s announcement last week. Bologna will now be in June and will be bigger than ever with a new parallel programme running alongside.

Are you guilty of using violent imagery when you don’t need to? Michael Gallant has an article on the Bookbaby blog about the prevalence of violent imagery in words and when to use it appropriately.

How can you tell if you are growing as a writer? K M Weiland has a great article on how you can tell if you are spinning your wheels or reaching for new heights.

Kristine Rusch has written another interesting blog on what she sees is the Train Wreck of Trade Publishing at the moment. She is responding to Mike Shatzkin’s October blog post The end of the General Trade Publishing Concept. Mike comments on where trade publishers are getting their money now and how they see the titles they acquire. Kris points out that when a publishing guru like Mike finally sees the handwriting on the wall it’s almost too late for the industry to learn and change.

September Fawkes is always an interesting read. Here she unpicks Arrogance vs Confidence and Humility vs Self Depreciation

In The Craft Section,

How to continue writing when you get stuck- Novelize - Bookmark

7 plot structures for pantsers- John Peragine- Bookmark

How to start your synopsis- Becca Puglisi

The charm of the large word in the right place - Mathina Calliope- Bookmark

Creating a Storyworld- SlapHappy Larry

In The Marketing Section,

How to set up a sponsored product ad- Dave Chesson

Starting from Zero- Joanna Penn interviewing David Gaughran- Bookmark

Using video marketing and why it’s important- Frances Caballo

Marketing a new book - Bookbub- BOOKMARK

4 easy SEO tips for writers- Ivelisse Rodriguez

How to make free 3d mockups of your book- Bookmark

To Finish,

As the publishing world changes and the pandemic hits all the events you might have gone to… authors and booksellers are having to get creative with their marketing. Lisa Tener interviews some of the team behind A Mighty Blaze-  a social media community for authors and readers on how to virtually market the book.

It has to make a profit for someone...



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. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Jonathan Harford

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Show Up Because The Show is Online

Today we went into Level 2. The kids go back to school next week - which feels like a big win. I’ll really know it’s true when the house is quiet and there aren’t toast crumbs everywhere. 
As I follow a lot of writers and publishers, I am very aware that life over in the Northern Hemisphere is very different. Many books have been delayed or published with hardly any publicity. Spring releases are being pushed back six months. Everyone predicts a huge bottleneck in September. 

In May, the industry starts thinking of the big Spring book fairs. Bologna (held a month later) was online last week and they have just published their visitor numbers. Who was predicting a huge online visitor turnout? Their success is hopefully going to spur others on to make a bit more of an effort in the online festival space. 

I was interested to see a Twitter conversation from an author about being rejected when they asked for payment for an online address. Their reason. They put just as much work into an online address as they do in real life so they should get paid. (ABSOLUTELY)
Online events are taking over the social space. Authors have to get used to talking to others through their computers. Esquire just published a big article looking at how different life is for authors now because of this.

The big children’s writers conference SCBWI is online this year. For a lot less than the usual sum, you can attend from the comfort of your own home. Although I did see an agent lamenting that the networking at online conferences was non-existent so why make the effort to attend. 
The bottom line is if you want a vibrant industry in the future you have to show up at the hard times and keep plugging away. 

This week Ask An Author wrote this post on how do you know when you’ve made it which was really saying show up, do the work and keep doing it.

Meanwhile, if you are still in juggling-the-kids-and-trying-to-write mode, Lit Reactor interviewed authors to find out some good survival tips.

In Industry news… IngramSpark has jazzed up its publishing dashboard. Along with some new features they are offering free ISBN’s now. (Just be aware that if you pick up a free ISBN you will not be recorded as the publisher of record. Whoever issued the free ISBN will be.) 

David Gaughran has the rundown on Apple books finally making their publishing dashboard friendly to PC owners. That means everyone can publish direct with them now. Their royalty system if you are direct is very nice so I expect this will be taken up with cries of glee.

Publishers Weekly has been looking at the new changes in digital publishing that Penguin Random House are doing. As they are the biggest publisher around it is always interesting to see where they think the next big thing is…and it’s interacting with readers through big virtual conventions.

Kristine Rusch writes today of the freedom in throwing out her calendars for 2020 and reinventing her year. It’s a mindset change that may make all the difference to your mental outlook.

Jami Gold has an excellent post on breaking the writing rules. Will It Be Easy or Hard?
What is one writers’ never break rule can be another’s guideline. Are there any rules you shouldn’t break?

 In The Craft Section,

Survive the chaos point-Melodie Campbell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section, 

Rachel Thompson has been hosting NaNoProMo on her website and it’s chock full of great posts on book marketing – here are two excellent posts- Will your novel solve a reader’s problem by Janice Hardy and How to safely choose and use colours for your website by Nate Hoffelder. While reading, put your name in the hat for some great prizes from Rachel’s guests.

How to write a novel synopsis- Jane Friedman has updated this classic post.

How to market with a BOGO- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

I have been doing a lot of intense learning over the last few weeks in publishing design software. Going down font rabbit holes… learning to manipulate images… (badly.) David Gaughran has recently launched a YouTube channel and one of the first offerings was a great tutorial on Canva for Facebook ad creation. And then he showed in real-time other nifty sites all available in his handy blog post on 12 free graphic design tools. When I think how long I spent trying to remove a background last night and David just mentions a free site that did it at the click of a button…. I nominate him for Sainthood.  


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links Go on and subscribe. You will 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. I appreciate virtual coffee love. Thanks.

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