Showing posts with label Conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Conference. Show all posts

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Reading: It’s all in the mind



In Publishing News this week.

The Writer’s Strike is over (provisionally.)

Many Film and TV writers are hailing this as a landmark ruling for the way it is putting constraints on the use of AI in their industry. As the news filters out, everyone is eager to look at the terms and commenting on why the networks and producers only started to negotiate 10 days ago. 


The Atlantic published a search database you can use to see whether your books have been scraped to train an AI. Many writers have discovered their whole catalogue on there. SSF writers have been especially hard hit. But today I learned an academic family member had two of her textbooks scraped. The Authors Guild has got their lawyers onto it and have published a template take down notice as well as a What To Do Now statement.


Meanwhile, in other AI news the AI industry is looking for poets or anyone who has an MFA to teach their AI’s how to write lyrical language. 


There is a publishing world outside the western centric one. Nairobi is about to have their International Book Fair and they have added a rights market into their programme. Guests are coming from around the world. Publishing Perspectives looks at what is on offer.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard takes a look at the new sales pot for Kindle Unlimited and compares it to the Print figures which have been sliding.


Staying with Amazon, the book business applauded when the Federal Trade Commission of the United States began an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon. Take 17 state attorneys and 172 pages and stir in the words uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power and you get a lawsuit that will take years to unravel. At least it’s a start.


You have finished the book and now you have to edit it. Where do you start? Kobo has the answer. How to edit your first draft.


Kris Rusch is a power house and there is nothing in publishing that she has not done. The big chat around the Indie publishing community is owning your own store and selling there first before going out to the online distributors. This week she talks about merchandise and all things store related with the launch of her first series store. Take a look and have your mind blown.


When an Indie Press ceases to be, it makes the publishing world a little gloomier. Louise Walters writes about the hard decision to shut her press and her thoughts on why Indie Presses need more love from bookshops.


Are you struggling with Social Media? Ambre Leffler has an interesting post on managing your energy and your posts.


Have you been asked to Beta read or are you wondering about how to set up parameters for your Beta readers. Jae from Sapphicquill has a great checklist for authors to use.

If you just need a reason to read, check out Molly Templeton’s 21 thoughts about reading habits.


The Bookbub website is chock full of interesting articles on writing and marketing books . This week they have a comprehensive 140 tips for book marketing from AJ Lee


In The Craft Section,

3 ways to use Theme to deepen your story- Sharon Skinner

Changing the hero’s goal- Michael Hauge- Bookmark

Tropes as a jumping off point- Richard Thomas- Bookmark

Tips for writing a character that you hate- Sue Coletta

Transition sentences- Ruth Harris- Bookmark 

Using Description- Kathy Steinemann


In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri 7 creative ways to boost local book sales and

Holding book events in non-traditional venues- Bookmark

Identifying the 5 core ideas of your book- Judith Briles-Bookmark

3 design secrets for captivating book ads- Teresa Conner-Bookmark

How to glo up your Instagram- Lara Ferrari


To Finish,

Every year The Alliance of Independent Authors run 3 virtual 24 hour conferences. Each of these conferences are themed around a different skillset for authors and are filled with a wealth of information. The next conference is on Mindset. They have a great line up of speakers well known in the author community. (Spot the Kiwis.)

Sign up. It’s free. 





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Pic: Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Staying Connected

In Publishing News this week,

Following on from last week’s news on the rise of Artificial Intelligence Voices for Narration, Publishing Perspectives has an article on a new exhibitor to the Frankfurt Bookfair- Speechki. They aim to fill that gap of quick production of audiobooks. Meanwhile, Richard Charkin explains why he is looking forward to attending the fair in person along with 1500 other exhibitors. (If that raised a small chill, you are not alone. It’s going to be a while before we’re all comfortable again in crowds.)

If you are still curious about AI narration check out the Alliance Of Independent Author's interview with Bradley Metrock.


The New Publishing Standard has a short story on Bloomsbury and the acquisition of a video streaming service and their plans for it. Publishing- Are we looking at an all-media one-stop shop?


Jane Friedman has an in-depth article on supply chain woes where she details what is happening to the publishers and their print runs. It is a great backgrounder in how the consolidation of publishers and the demise of magazines has created this problem.


This week Kris Rusch muses on the omnichannel approach and what authors must remember as they get swallowed up in companies that operate this way. Don’t be a footnote in a Disney-style dispute.


This week Joanna Penn and Mark Leslie Lefebvre released The Relaxed Author. This is a book that aims to give you tips and plans to get your writing business wrangled so you can enjoy writing. They have a great podcast interview on how they came to write the book. As ever, Joanna provides a transcript to her podcasts.


It is nearly October and that means checking out all the neat ways to jazz up your social media posts with October themes for Book Marketing. Penny Sansevieri has a great collection of fun dates to play with.


Writer Unboxed has a great guest post from Deanna Cabinian who writes on the Time vs Productivity paradox for authors. What is it about squeezing time to write that makes you productive?


Ruth Harris has a great post on the four deadly writer sins. How many are you guilty of and can you recognise them when you see them? Clea Simon has an interesting post on what playing in rock bands taught her about writing.


In The Craft Section,

Choose your story plot points- K M Weiland - Bookmark

What are character arcs- Chelsea Hindle

12 writer woes and the books to cure them- Roni Loren

How to get emotion onto the page – Lisa Cron- Bookmark

How to snag the best freelance editor- Jodie Renner- Bookmark

4 secrets to making unlikeable characters work- Plot To Punctuation


In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri- Key strategies for book marketing online and Book Marketing strategies for older titles- Bookmark

5 secrets to writing book marketing copy- Casey Demchak and for extra credit listen to this fabulous SPA 

Girls podcast with Jacob McMillen on copywriting for book marketing. Bookmark.

Why your hard sell is a fail- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark


To Finish,

It is nearly time for The Alliance of Independent Authors FREE online conference. The alliance is a great organisation that hosts 3 big online conferences every year in conjunction with the big Book Fairs. The last one of the year is dedicated to Craft. Jump over and look at the speakers. Something for everyone here.


Even though we may all be sick of Zoom – there are some great conferences out there with virtual components. This can at least keep us feeling like we are still connected to the wider writing community. 





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter with the best of my bookmarked links. 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 – Damian Gadal


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Successful Writing

As I write this I am watching through my mobile office window someone assembling conference bags. It brings back memories of doing the same thing (several times) and hope that the people attending your conference will be supercharged with excitement and learning.

Attending a writing conference is one of those great things you can do to give yourself a boost. To get the most out of it you do need to choose your conference carefully. I always look at conference blogs to get ideas and latest information.
Sara Letourneau has a great run down on the latest Writers Digest conference- all the best bits and learning.

Angela Ackerman writes about what it is like on the presenting side and what she learned as best practice in a recent conference.(100% agree with her from my experience of programming 2 national conferences.)

Roz Morris has a great article on how you should approach your writing – Is it a hobby... a vocation... a job...

Once you have decided what your writing means to you figure out what you need to focus on and then look for a conference to suit. Research the speakers.
Sue Coletta was interviewed by Larry Brooks  about her writing success story and how she did it.

Publishers Weekly looks at Indie authors and why they have to spend money to make money.

David Gaughran has found another Bait and Switch vanity publisher that appears at all the big conferences and is predatory. (Forewarned people!)

Conferences can get really expensive so I always look for best bang for my buck or what is available online. An excellent conference is coming up from the Alli folks. And it’s free. The speakers are amazing. 
It’s worth hiring a hotel room and treating yourself.

In The Craft Section,

Two great posts from Now Novel -How to create a fantasy world and Don’t lose the plot

Layering your way through the book – Martina Boone- Bookmark

Outlining scenes – Blood Red pencil- Bookmark


Tom Bonnick from Nosy Crow is having an auction for a MS critique – all proceeds going to feed hungry refugee kids in Calais (It is part of the authors for refugees action group.)

In The Marketing Section,

Joanna Penn has an interview with PR expert Janet Murray on Book Marketing- Bookmark

Rachel Straub writes about how to tackle Amazon’s top reviewers.- Bookmark

Anne R Allen has the 5 things you shouldn’t do in email marketing- Bookmark

To Finish

John Green has been struggling with the problem of Writer Success. He talks about the emotional toll of this as well as the toll on his writing. A must watch video.

Merritt Tierce has written an article about the Dark Side Of Literary Fame. It is a sobering read. 

Know what you are getting into... and cultivate your writing friends. They know the journey and will celebrate with you and commiserate with you. If it’s throw the manuscript against the wall time... then read some advice from Chuck.


mobile office = car

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Having Words!

Seven years ago I published my first blog post. It was a couple of paragraphs. I was learning how to get to grips with blogging technology. I didn’t know anything. (How do you do a hyperlink?) 
Each week I would educate myself a little more about the publishing industry and what was happening overseas. 
Things really changed for me a year later when I was part of a team putting together the first big National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. I discovered that some of our speakers (industry professionals) didn’t know what was happening overseas and how it might impact us here in NZ. (I was shocked to find I knew more than they did.) 
I increased the amount of publishing news and began to comment on a new type of publishing called e-books. Since then the publishing world has changed drastically. DBW has an opinion piece, looking back on a decade of change.

I’m heading up the planning team for the fourth National Conference (Oct 2-5). From seven legacy publishers of children’s books represented in the first conference only two remain.  The rise of small press and author publishers in NZ has become a real force because of necessity.

Right Now The Indie ReCon Conference Is On. (Free online. 3 days of awesome info.) The speakers are excellent. (A total dream team for a conference planner.) I’m heartened that a lot of the topics being touched upon will also be themes of focus at Tinderbox2015.

Jane Friedman  (a speaker at Indie ReCon) has posted a great conversation with two agents on Self Publishing children’s books. Don’t forget to read the comments.)

In other conference news WorldCon, which awards the Hugo’s each year, is on. And the news is not good. A cabal have block voted and are holding the Hugo’s to ransom. The Hugo’s are Sci Fi  fans biggest awards. It is not pretty. A Grand Master speaks out about the damage to the genre with these tactics. (breaking news; two authors have withdrawn their books from the awards.)

Jo Castle Millar wrote an interesting piece on Jon Ronson’s book, So You Have Been Publically Shamed. Jon’s book ARC went out for comment and two lines were taken out of context. The most dangerous job in the world… having an opinion.

The full Author Say survey results are out. They make interesting reading.  Authors are nodding their heads saying yep... all true. Everyone is interested in the publishers reaction. It is pretty damning. Will we finally see a change in how they treat authors?(Not holding my breath.)

Delilah Dawson, has a new book out (HIT) and I’m seeing the amazing cover everywhere. She also has an interesting blog post which has struck a chord with authors. Social Media and promotion.  Publishers see it as an author necessity. Engage with your public. But what is good engagement and what about if you just don’t want to.  

In the Craft Section,

Editing behind the scenes – The Book Designer

Viewpoint changes and what to do about it

In the Marketing Section,

Promoting your book on Facebook. –Romance University

Website of the Week
Get thee to a quiet room and soak up the awesomeness! ( It’s free and mostly recorded so even tho we are in the Southern Hemisphere we can still attend!) Absolutely Bookmark!

To Finish,
If anything demonstrates how much this industry we are in has changed it is this blog post, written for The Bookseller today on the London Book Fair (on now.) For the newbies reading this... All the advice at the bottom is essential!
For the old hands... an author at a book fair? Yes, Times Have Changed!


Pic Flickr /Creative Commons – Stephan Mosel

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It’s All Subjective

This week I have been mulling over the perfect conference program. This is highly subjective. Why do you go to conferences? Some people say networking. Some say up-skilling in your craft. Some say to learn new approaches to old ideas. That’s my ideal, learning. I’m not into great big crowded rooms where everybody is glad handing and I know no one. So planning the perfect writers conference for me has to have plenty of learning opportunities and meet and greet without being overpowering. We are in the middle of refining our program for Tinderbox2015 and I have a big problem. I want to go to everything!

As I look through this week’s links for you it is amazing how many of them link into something in our conference program.

Passive Guy has linked to two posts this week that have people talking. Do publishers really understand SEO (do you?) and Authorpreneurs. from The Economist which has weighed in saying what authors should be doing regarding their business which is finding influencers and publishers should be publishing celebrity authors to stay afloat. Reading the comments on both those articles is entertaining. And in breaking news Pharrell is writing a series of children’s books... about being HAPPY.

Porter Anderson takes a good long look at publishing terms everyone gets wrong and the implications for planning your writing business. Do you really get royalties if you self publish? And why you need to know the differences.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting opinion piece about whether agents and publishers want authors that know about the publishing business. Do MFA programs want clued up authors?

Darcy Pattison talks about her last 18 months. This is chock full of information about the decision to Indie Publish and what she has learned. (this is a bookmark post!)

Today was a #MSWL day on Twitter. Agents and Editors write on Twitter what Manuscripts they wish would come across their desks. Type #MSWL in the search bar. If you do query an agent or editor from this, mention the tweet. Another cool search on Twitter is #tenqueries. Agents and Editors going through their slush pile will comment on ten queries live on Twitter and their immediate response. This is a great heads up about what grabs and what doesn’t.

In the Craft section,

Author Biz has a great interview with Editor Shawn Coyne who is working on a story grid book for editors. This is a bookmark post! (and a print out the Storygrid and stick it on your wall post.)

In the Marketing section,

Lindsay Buroker has been sourcing covers from fiverr for short stories - she explains how to do this.

7 must do tactics for promotional tweets. (please don’t spam... the 90/10 rule should apply- thats 90 pieces of interesting stuff for every 10 promotional tweets)

Website of the Week
Bibliocrunch is an interesting hangout. Not only do they host chats on Twitter but they have lots of resources for the Indie Authors.
Here are two of their recent articles- Using Skype to organize a virtual writing groups and

To Finish,
John Green is known for a lot of things that he does well. However today he found out something he doesn’t know well - The quotes from his books. This made for a great confessional post to his brother about how he always assumed that the quote memes were from his books...oops 

If you are interested in finding out more about Tinderbox 2015 - The National Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference in Wellington, NZ, October 2-5th  send us an Email to 2015tinderbox AT gmail DOT com and we’ll put you on our dedicated mailing list for updates and news.


John Green's confession below.

Tweet from a conversation thread with J K Rowling.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas wishes

Today I was braving the hordes with my kids as they did their Christmas Shopping. This is a once a year activity where the kids get to budget and think creatively. (Sounds like publishing.) While they were engaging in creative accounting to make their dollars go further, I was wondering what I was going to write for the last blog post of the year. This was not a year I planned. I was going to have a go at writing a small series of junior fiction books because I wanted to challenge myself. I was going to finish tidying up my Mars book and send it out!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I ended up spending way too much time this year staring at hospital food and wondering how anyone was supposed to get well while eating it or whether it was all a psychological experiment to make you get well faster. (If so, it didn’t work as I kept going back.)
So next year... (God and Surgeon willing.) I will restart...

Joanna Penn was in Auckland recently and wowed authors at a meet-up. She was sponsored by Kiwi tech guys Booktrack. They’re the guys behind soundtracks for books. Joanna interviewed them to find out all about this nifty idea.

Chuck is curious about everybody’s experience with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Is it worth it to the author?

The Verge took a trip into the ‘Zon to find out what might be coming in 2015.

John Scalzi has called out a couple of digital magazines about their rights grab… and they listened. Always check the copyright clauses!

I’m in conference planning mode with a bunch of excellent, talented, goodlooking and creative Children’s Writers and Illustrators for the New Zealand National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. October 2-5 2015 Wellington. (Start looking for those cheap flights.) Janice Hardy writes about the benefits of a small writers’ conference. She is right on the money with her thoughts. (and we have some interesting things planned...*grin* )

One of the tricky things about planning a conference is trying to predict what will be relevant in publishing a year into the future. The Bookseller is doing just that by asking a bunch of publishing tech people what they think will happen in 2015.

In the Craft Section,

How to become a better writer – Rachelle Gardiner

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
I would like to thank all the writers and readers of this blog, the writing communities on Facebook and Twitter, and the Wellington writers who have had my back all year. Although most of you didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes your comments and thoughts encouraged me to keep going even when the going was tough.
Wishing you all a Happy and Safe Christmas. See you in 2015.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What goes in...

This week I sat down with a bunch of committed writing friends to start to pull together four months of creative ideas of what to include in our National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators 2015. Planning a good conference takes time and much thought. My guiding principal is IT IS A WORKING CONFERENCE. Attendees must get knowledge out of it for their money. It is a big chunk of cash and writing time that poorly paid writers and illustrators have to give up so every dollar needs to really be worth it.
Kameron Hurley has a guest post on Terribleminds which is the must read post of the week. (year) Kameron outlines the need for writers to think business. These are some of the issues I would like to explore at the conference.

Hugh Howey takes a hard look at Barnes and Nobel booksellers. What they are doing wrong and will it destroy them. This was echoed yesterday in a comment from one of my writing friends about New Zealand’s biggest book seller chain.

Passive Guy takes a look at agency clauses in contracts. This is an interesting post about tricky legalese in contracts.

The Futurebook team have a twitter chat every week and this last week they were looking at Metadata. How can you find out what you need to find out... and why is it so important. 

Jon Bard takes a look at the KDP Kids Books app that Amazon released last week.

In the Craft Section,

How to write for the 21st century (pet peeves from an agent)

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Six years on from the first conference we organized and issues we never thought of then are now on the table. Storytelling has different wrappers now.
Gaming companies need story content too. This week one of my writing friends was asking for some help with a project her company was working on. They had the idea, they had the graphics, they just needed the story to go with them. Kevin Spacey looks at how storytelling has changed in the shows he has been in.


Sorry late again… Recovery one step forward two steps back...

Wouldn’t this be a cool conference bag?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In The CON Zone.

I’m just popping up from the world of virtual conferences to write this blog post.

Conferences have been the main topic of the week for me. It started earlier in the week when I had a book association meeting and on the agenda (officially) was conference 2015. Yes I know that is next year...yes I know that it is probably last third of next year... Yes I know that is 18 months away. But when we planned the last National Conference of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators we started 18 months out. You have to if you want a good Keynote speaker... and other great faculty presenters. You have to if you want a good venue... You also have to find out from your potential attendee’s what they want to learn about. **

Twitter was full of NY2014 SCBWI chat about how awesome it is and was. The great thing about the NY and LA Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is the live blogging that goes on at these events (great for us writers on the other side of the world.) So instead of feeling envious of Kyle (pres of NZSA) getting to go (his choice, he paid for it, he deserved it) you can live vicariously and go visit the blog and scroll down on the right, dropping into those presentations that interest you. (Alternatively you can buy Kyle a couple of beers and pick his brains next time you see him.)

IndieReCon is happening now. 3 days of awesome virtual conference which is free. There are quite a few kids writers on the faculty of this conference which is Genre Writing orientated and very practical for writers looking into Indie publishing. There is lots of info on marketing, book production, agents etc. I started, yesterday, listening to a webinar on Fear and Writing with the Awesome Susan Kaye Quinn. I had already bookmarked her Marketing Indie Mid Grade books post to share here...(Read It!)

In the story that doesn’t die...more commentary on the Author Earnings site and the talking/hand wringing that is going on.
Brian O’Leary on The Empire Strikes Back – if Trad publishers would get past the handwringing and realize the game has irrevocably changed and what they can do about it.

Eoin Purcell on understanding the technology shift where writers have moved quicker than publishers.

Passive Guy (who is also presenting at Indie ReCon) on Mark Coker’s, guest column in Publishers Weekly (subscribers only) this week, reaction to the Author Earnings reports...yes I know that was long winded... (badly worded, it’s late..) just read the link...Passive Guy quotes extensively from the article.

In the Website of the Week
I want to highlight two.
Writer Unboxed is a website that has a large list of contributors. It is like a classy magazine with long form essays exploring some aspect of writing or publishing. The contributors are publishing and writing veterans. Jane Friedman contributed a long form essay from her new magazine Scratch on serial or episodic writing which is fast becoming a reader favourite. This is an examination of what it is and how to do it and who is doing it and why.

Today was #MSWL day on Twitter. Manuscript Wish List. If you type #MSWL into the search bar all the tweets from editors and agents come up of what they want to see. If you have a story that fits that criteria...when you query, following their individual website guidelines, you must put #MSWL in the query. It makes for interesting reading.

In the Craft section,

Larry Brooks on The Bermuda Triangle of Storytelling (Bookmark this!)

In the Marketing section

Check out IndieReCon....

To Finish,
The Daily Dot has an article looking at the restarting of an authors career in Kindle Worlds...The Kindle Fan Fiction site...ho hum you might think until you find out that the author is L J Smith who was the original writer of Vampire Diaries who found her rights to her own work cut out from under her when she was fired from the TV show of her own creation...

**If you have any ideas for topics to learn about or conference wants... either comment here, on Facebook, or through email. We are preparing a short survey which is coming soon.

To finally finish....Hank Green, Brother of John (half of the Vlog brothers) posted a great Video today on books...its a rant really but only the vlog brothers can be...


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