Showing posts with label Donald Maass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donald Maass. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Little Gifts of Change.

 


In Publishing News this week,

 

Richard Charkin, commentator on the publishing industry, is walking the talk by having his press go to Print on Demand with Ingram Spark. With calls over the last three years or so for publishing companies to be more sustainable this is a move that will hopefully herald a lot of other publishing companies following suit. Along with POD, Richard is using the new kid on the block Shimmr to handle the book promotion. Shimmr uses AI to scan the book pull out the tropes and selling points and then crafts media ads to target ideal readers. Changes might be happening. 

 

Publishing Perspectives reports that Germany has taken the falling stats in reading skills among German youth to heart and they are going to embark on new strategies to help keep young people reading.

 

It’s time to wheel out the big lawyers. In litigation news, Democrat members of Congress (US) introduced a bill to stop the surge of book banning in schools. Their bill is for federal funding to fight the book bans.

 

Dan Holloway has an interesting news roundup for the Alliance of Independent Authors. This week he looks at all the news surrounding the various court cases being brought by authors against AI. There seems to be one law firm spearing the charge. Dan has some interesting things to say about whether these court cases are useful or not. 

 

Meanwhile, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) is sending strongly worded statements to the copyright office about the Tech companies use and abuse of Fair Use which is what the Tech companies are pinning their defense on. 

 

Jane Friedman has a very telling post on how publishing professionals can sometimes screw up a writer’s career. She has an interesting case study, that a lot of writers can probably empathise with. I have heard variations on this problem for years. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut.

 

Anne R Allen has a great post on query letters. If your manuscript hasn’t had any bites, it could be that you are screwing up your query letter. She has a run down on best practice.

 

Katie Weiland has compiled a lovely list of writer gifts that you can share around to your loved ones if you want something particular and they need ideas.

 

December is commonly referred to as NaNoEdMo or the time when writers who managed to write a novel in November take a step back and look at the editing of that novel. Michel Leah has a great article on what to do now. 

 

In The Craft Section,

Story Tropes to avoid or not to avoid- Jami Gold


The 10 most common editing mistakes- Natalie Hanemann- Bookmark


Brainstorming words of wisdom -Dale Ivan Smith- Bookmark


Why the protagonist must be a problem solver- September Fawkes- Bookmark


FBOBA The fragile beauty of being alive- Donald Maass- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing Outside The Box- Terry Odell- Bookmark


20 ways to promote during holiday season- Thomas Umstattd- Bookmark


Publish as an audiobook with Scott Sigler- Thomas Umstattd-Bookmark


Parts of a book- Reedsy- Useful Info


It’s not about You- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark


How to find time for book promo- Sandra Beckwith

 

To Finish,

As we head into December, many writers start thinking about their goals for the year. Have they been achieved? Are you thinking about next year? Are you setting goals?

Kay DiBianca has a great post on acknowledging your accomplishments and planning for the next year.

 

In personal news – I have ebooks on sale all over the place. If you are looking for kids books You can check out my maureencrispbooks website or hit this link for a group sale promo. 

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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

 

Pic: Photo by Mark K├Ânig on Unsplash

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Threat or Opportunity


 

 

This week the Booker Prize longlist was announced. Mark Williams looks at the media focus on nationality and then breaks down how a book gets nominated for the prize. I always wondered, especially when books were longlisted before publication. Eye opening.

 

Sometimes the news coming out of parts of the U. S. about book banning seem to be set in some sort of nightmare dystopian wasteland. What worries many around the world is that these ideas seem to spread to other countries. We cannot be complacent and think ‘only in America’. So the latest news that a Texas school district was repurposing school libraries into discipline centres gave me the shudders. 

 

ReadersFirst is a global coalition of libraries. They recently commented on the real world impact of the 2023 Big 5 Publisher Terms for Library Lending. 

Libraries have to enter into contracts with publishers for how often they can lend out a book in any format. The price for each book has the lending factored into it. For example, a library copy of a best seller might cost the library 3 times the cost of the book in the bookstore for a limited amount of borrows. This is true for digital formats as well. 

 

Kerry Chaput has an interesting post on authenticity and why TikTok is the best place for you to be your authentic writer self.

 

In The AI section, these posts caught my eye. The New York Times has an article on the fear and creativity of using AI which will impact all aspects of publishing.

 

As a children’s writer I always keep one eye on what is happening in educational publishing. Pearson are experimenting with using AI to enhance their content in a walled garden approach for students by using “conversational AI capabilities.”

 

The biggest hurdle any author has is how to get their books discovered by readers. What if the whole book could be scanned, core themes pulled out to generate Ad copy directly to a reader. 

Enter AI. Publishing Perspectives has an intriguing interview with the entrepreneur behind a new book discovery platform called Shimmr. Where there is a threat there is also opportunity.

 

Recently I listened to an excellent podcast episode from the SPA Girls about subscriptions. They were interviewing the founders of Ream, a subscription platform for authors to host their own serial stories, Wattpad or Patreon style content. It was fascinating and informative. If you are interested in owning your own relationships with readers, check out the episode.

 

Kris Rusch takes a look at how the best laid plans can be derailed and how to cope with the planning muse when this happens. This is good for a reality check. Even the best of us can get it wrong.

 

How to get back to your book in 3 easy/kinda hard steps. This is a great essay written by Denise Massar for Writers Digest. The shelved project is not gone for ever. Time away can clarify what you wanted to say in the manuscript.

 

 

In The Craft Section,

How writers can use mindmapping for brainstorming


Choosing the right scenes for the right place- C S Lakin Bookmark


The 12% rule of story structure- September Fawkes- Bookmark


Iconic characters are made – Donald Maass- Bookmark


Pomodoro tips for writers


Writing tips- outlining- Amy Clipston

 

In The Marketing Section,

Top ten marketing challenges- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


Attracting readers during peak shopping periods- Amazon- Bookmark


The business of writing- Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi


Who are your key influencers- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


6 tips for a book party on a shoe string- Debbie Burke

 

 

To Finish,

What if your book was picked up for a Bookclub read- you would be happy, wouldn’t you? Judith Briles looks at the other side of this in Bookclub thieves. If you are invited to speak to a bookclub be aware that they may only have bought one book. Many readers still think authors are rolling in money. The opposite is true. You might have to educate them.

 

This writing business is hard. It is especially hard if you don’t have a great support network around you. Lisa Fellinger explores how to protect yourself when your friends and family rain on your book dreams.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

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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, it keeps me going. Thanks.

 

Pic: Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Standing Up

 


 

In Publishing News this week,


The death of the Ukranian writer Victoria Amelina stopped the publishing world for a moment. Everyone reflected on the life of courage and commitment to the truth this writer embodied in her professional life. Victoria had just come back from Norway where she had accepted an award on behalf of another friend, children’s author Volodymyr Vakulenko, tortured and killed by the Russians occupiers. Victoria was using her writing skills to document war crimes. She had just finished a day of presenting at the Kiev Bookfair when the restaurant she was meeting other writers in suffered a missile attack. R.I.P.

 

Publishing Perspectives reports on the opening keynote by Hugo Setzer at the Contec Mexico publishing conference. This conference is dedicated to sustainability, translation, and audio publishing. There were some heated challenges to the wider publishing industry about the need to walk the talk on sustainability practice in publishing.

 

AI is back in the dock again this week with the news of a class action against Open AI from authors whose work was recognisably scraped by AI. 

Mark Williams from The New Publishing Standard looks at the arguments in this case and draws some pithy conclusions. Is the demise of the author a valid argument in this case?

 

While the courts are looking at AI- news is breaking that Amazon is using AI to summarise product reviews. So far this hasn’t extended to book reviews but it can only be a matter of time. Will you be able to trust a book review in future?


Meanwhile, Amazon is going to have to do something about the proliferation of AI written books in the bestseller lists. Somehow the bots got in and gamed the system. Amazon did crack down, but not fast enough. To add to their woes Amazon is in court for unfair practice surrounding their Prime subscription model. Their defence lawyers will have to do an amazing job as their client even named their dubious practice after the story of the trojan horse.

 

Joanna Penn revisited AI and the Author in another great podcast session with Nick Thacker this week. This is a great discussion on using AI as a marketing tool. Nick and Joanna talk about how important it is to have a human be the creative brain behind the words.

 

The Alliance of Independent Authors has a deep dive into the seven processes of publishing. This week they are looking at marketing. This is a comprehensive article about mindset and the differences between promotion and marketing books.

 

Kris Rusch continues her excellent series on Niche Marketing. This week she examines what niche really means to the writer and how you can benefit from it.

 

Lithub traces the evolution of the celebrity memoir. 


Now Novel has a great article on using story planners to get the bones of your story down. 


Kathy Steinemann has a nifty redundancy quiz- Can you identify the redundant words in the sentences? A good craft quiz for warm ups.

 

Donald Maass has another cracker of an article on Writer Unboxed. What are your promise words? He takes a dive into the words used in the opening chapter that should signal what the story is promising the reader.

 

 

In The Craft Section,

2 Great posts from K M Weiland How to trim your word count and

Think about the lie your character believes- Bookmark


Turn the tables on popular tropes in fiction- Liz Kerin - Bookmark


A guide to writing Romance- Now Novel-Comprehensive!


Subterfuge in dialogue- Becca Puglisi


Can a novelist write like a screenwriter- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

 

 

In The Marketing Section,

How to write a good book description- IngramSpark


2 interesting posts from Penny Sansevieri- Quiz your book marketing knowledge and How the current tsunami of books reshapes book publicity- Bookmark


10 tips to get a Bookbub featured deal- Draft2Digital- Bookmark


Author newsletter data- Bookbub- Bookmark

 

To Finish,

Recently the BBC publicised another author getting a first publishing deal in her 70’s. What is interesting is this author has been signed for a 5 book deal and she is 77. Writing is for every age group and it is never too late to start. The only pre-requisite is that you have an entertaining story to tell.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter. If you want the best of my bookmarked links 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: The poster for the Kyiv Book Fair

 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Where Will You Find Your Next Read?



This Week In Publishing News,

 

Authors behaving badly can be a career killer. This week an author called out a reviewer for only giving her 4 stars. The backlash over the author's vitriolic comments to a hapless newbie reviewer had a slew of 1 stars being attached to the book. Then the publisher dropped her.

Note to all authors- Never comment on reviews. It’s the safer way. Read Anne R Allen’s excellent article from a few years back for a refresher on not taking reviews personally.

Anne’s latest post is on readers pet peeves- They are not the same as writers pet peeves. You shouldn’t ignore them.

 

Publishing Perspectives had an exclusive article this week. Elsevier’s director of sustainability, Rachel Martin, recently spoke at an international congress on sustainability and announced that within a few years all mainstream printed books would be displaying labels specifying their environmental credentials. 

 

The Audio Publishers Association in America reported that their annual earnings were up by 10% to $1.8 Billion. More than half of the population had listened to an audiobook. 

This fits in well with the report from Publishers Weekly over the latest trends in children’s publishing. Audio is the hot trend across all age groups. Paper is driving midgrade and everyone is looking for graphic novels and Webtoon stories.

 

Business Insider reports that tropes are where its at if you want to go viral on TikTok. This speaks to the importance of knowing and using tropes in your books. (It’s how you use or twist the tropes that make you stand out.)

 

Grace Bialecki has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s site about when an author needs a website. These days a website can be many different things and on many different platforms.

 

Two big AI articles came out this week.

Publishers Weekly had a widely read post on how AI is about to turn the publishing world upside down. This huge post from Thad McIlroy talks about whose jobs are under threat.  Thad also takes a positive view that being human will be the biggest advantage. 

You can only understand the perils surrounding a new technology after you fully appreciate the opportunities that it affords.”

 

The other big AI article comes from Peter Houston and the way AI search is set to upend online publishers who rely on ad sales on their websites to generate income. AI is just going to scrape the content and not refer the user to a website. This could be problematic if you rely on your website to sell books.

 

Katie Weiland is always a must read for me. She usually puts her finger on what might be troubling me writing craft wise. This week however she took a different tack and looked at Imposter Syndrome. This is a stand out post on how writers can deal with that inner critic. A must read.

 

Joanna Penn recently Interviewed John Fox on crafting the linchpin moments of your novel. This is a deep dive into why we need these plot points to work and how to strengthen scenes.

 

In the Craft Section,

2 Great posts from Sue Coletta- How critical distance improves writing and Why readers love anti-heroes. Bookmark Both


The nemesis as the protagonists shadow- Scott Myers – Bookmark


Connection Love Loss Hope- Donald Maass- Bookmark


7 ways to ensure you reach your writing goals- Jordan Kantey

 

In The Marketing Section,

Choosing a title that hooks your reader- Draft2Digital- Bookmark


8 ways to market your book- Brian Feinblum


Using drip marketing- Thomas Umstattd- Bookmark


Working effectively with your book designer- Andrea Reider- Bookmark


5 things I tell authors that really annoy them- Sandra Beckwith


Successful self promotion- Penny Sansevieri

 

To Finish,

This week Kris Rusch talks about curation and how over the years the places and people you used to be able to rely upon to tell you what to read or listen to have changed. Combined with this recent article from the UK Booktrust on how many parents feel they lack the skill to help their children to read, I asked my teen how she discovers books and music. Spotify was her answer to the music one but she surprised me when she said the School Library. With all the published angst about book influencers on TikTok – the humble school library is still in there. This makes the survival of the school library so important. They are shaping readers of today and tomorrow- if we don’t support them we won’t have a publishing industry.

 

Maureen

@craicer

 

If you want the best of my bookmarked links in a 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 Shunya Koide 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, February 16, 2023

Finding The Words



 In Publishing News,

Remember that court case? Simon and Schuster is still up for sale. Publishers Weekly looks at the corporates who might be tempted.

 

Mark Williams has been doing a bit of sleuthing and he has uncovered some big plans by Storytel for expansion into Africa. Audiobooks could be on the menu before print…or even bookshops.

 

Yesterday I had to admit to my teen that books get banned. She was disbelieving. How can anyone ban a book? It was hard to answer. I was left remembering a local author’s comment when his book was banned in the US. “It did wonders for my sales.” So here are the most banned picture books in the last 2 years. In other banned book news, Tanzania has banned Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

 

There is lots of chat around AI and its use or misuse. Writer Beware has an article on the Findaway Apple clause which is very interesting. There is some confusion about what happens to your book if you ask Findaway to tell Apple you don’t want your book to be part of its machine learning programme. (Narrators rights, see last weeks blog.) Some authors are waiting to see if their books will be pulled from Apple as emails indicate that this is a possibility. 


Chat around the author water cooler (Twitter) indicates that AI is a tool – You get into problems when you outsource your creativity to AI. Don’t fall into the trap of asking AI to generate a book everyone has seen before. Check out the list of overused tropes here. 


Here are a few articles that will get you up to speed on current thinking about AI and creative writing.

AI reveals the most human part of writing- A PHD researcher looks at the tools out there.

How AI can help or hurt your writing- Rachel Thompson has an interesting list of things that AI can help with written by AI. A great breakdown of AI as a tool.

Joanna Penn has a step by step article on how she has used AI when writing and publishing a short story. She has screen shots on all the different steps she used. This goes from ideas to editing to titles to art to using AI’s that we all use in editing. 

If you haven’t noticed, even your email uses AI to generate words or phrases for you so it’s here to stay.

 

Kris Rusch has added another post to her series why writers fail. This one is about learning and taking risks. Sometimes the very thing stopping you from succeeding is the fear of taking the next step. 

If you are wondering what rules there are for writers to bend a little- Check out this article from senior editor, Robert Lee Brewer at Writers Digest.

 

It’s been a rotten old week down here in New Zealand. A cyclone ripped through the North Island and caused immense damage. Devastation and trauma are almost instant creativity killers. If you are struggling to find emotional calm or space to let creativity flow, you are not alone. Take time out or change your focus to learning or improving your writing craft. As Melinda Szymanik says in her excellent article, Sometimes the good thing you wrote will get its moment at some point down the track. Or maybe it is a step you needed to take to get to the thing that will fit with the publisher's aims. Whatever you do, don't throw it out. And keep going.


Barbara Linn Probst has a great article on Writer Unboxed – What Actually Makes You A Better Writer?

 

In The Craft Section,

Tips for how to slay your bloated wordcount- Suzy Vadori- Bookmark


41 Character prompts- Kindlepreneur


5 similarities between your hero and your villain-Sue Coletta- Bookmark


Do’s and Don’ts of writing a series- Kassandra Lamb


Kurt Vonnegut’s rules for writers- Terry Odell- Bookmark

 

In The Marketing Section,

5 important reasons for using YouTube for Marketing- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


How author platform connects to Author Brand- Jane Friedman- Bookmark


How to talk about your book- Karen DeBonis-Bookmark


Top 10 ways to market your book in a month- Rachel Thompson


6 tips for choosing the right book marketing service.- Penny Sansevieri

 

To Finish,

Wherever a disaster happens there are acts of heroism. There are many acts of kindness unnoticed, unsung, and often under the radar. The shine of the human spirit in the darkness can be the glimmer that leads another out of a very dark place. We have seen a lot of heroism in the last week both here in NZ and overseas. As writers we need to write and celebrate the little acts of heroism as well as the big ones. Donald Mass has a checklist of other ways to write a hero. 


My thoughts are with the families of the heroes. While their loved one is helping others, their family is backing them up by getting on with their own acts of bravery, coping in a natural disaster without them. Two of our first responders gave their lives. 


Sometimes there are no words.


Maureen

@craicer

 

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

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.

Thanks.

 

Pic: Pete Thomson/NZStuff


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