Showing posts with label Jack Lasenby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack Lasenby. Show all posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deals and Demigods

This week around the publishing blogosphere the news was all Simon and Schuster. While Hachette and Amazon are still embroiled in their contract war, Simon and Schuster quietly went about negotiating new contract terms with Amazon. And everyone wants to know just what those contract terms are.... Hugh Howey has a pretty good idea... it is probably very close to what the Indie authors are getting.

Hugh has been busy this week. His latest quarterly report Author Earnings is out. And it is the first one that looks at the impact of Kindle Unlimited on author income. Porter Anderson has a very detailed look at what Hugh found out. Subscription models look here to stay and authors need to keep a weather eye on their impact.

Australian Author Patty Jansen has been looking at her Indie income with a fine toothcomb. A very interesting analysis.

Articles about the Frankfurt Book Fair are still coming out. Reedsy has one looking at a panel discussion on when publishers get it right... with sales and content. Great read!

In our neck of the woods Walker seems to be going through a tough time. A long time popular editor has been let go and some Picture Book contracts have been cancelled. This is devastating news to the authors concerned as the illustrations were nearly finished. Picture Books can be anywhere from 18 months to four years in production and to pull them at such a late stage in the process sends alarm bells. Time to pore over those contracts... with a lawyer.

The huge success of the Percy Jackson series has the New Yorker looking hard at the quality of the books children choose to read. They draw on Neil Gaiman’s famous address which was in the “Just–so-long-as-they-are–reading” camp and contrast it with Tim Parks essay on reading habits where he suggests there is little evidence of reading upwards from Pulp to Proust. Having a Percy Jackson fan in my house I was treated to a diatribe this week about the important characters in the Greek demigod world. I don’t have a problem with that at all. Where else is the average Kiwi kid going to find out about thirty centuries old myth and legends?

In the news this week Disney has turned its sights on the South Pacific and their newest ‘Princess’ movie is in the works. Moana... ably supported by the demigod Maui. (Please Disney, don’t make it a white bread yawn!) Taika Waititi has written the original screenplay.

In the Craft Section,

How to get around using Trademark in novels from a Trademark lawyer. This is a Must Read post!

In the Marketing Section,

Julie Muesil has a list of podcasts that are required viewing/listening. In the list are two people whom I have referred to before, Joanna Penn and Sean Platt. This week Joanna interviewed Sean so it’s a two for one deal in excellence!

K M Wieland has a guest post on Book Cover design.

To Finish,

Every year Scrivener writing software do a free trial for the month… Go here to find out about it.

The Book Designer has a wonderful bundle discount on book interior designs. Well worth a visit and to grab an absolute bargain!

Huge Congratulations to Jack Lasenby who is receiving a Prime Ministers Award for literature tonight. Jack is one of New Zealand's finest writers for children. I am lucky to be attending this event… where we celebrate NZ demigods of literature.

Unleash your Demigod!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Being a Fan...

Last night I attended the the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. These are our top prizes for Children’s Literature and so are a BIG DEAL.
For many years we have been looking outward trying to make our stories more international...or even ignoring our own stories thinking they won’t be of interest to an international audience. Publishers have hesitated about promoting New Zealand themed stories overseas...they won’t travel well, they're too kiwi. But these stories are our unique point of difference...amongst the fantasy/dystopian/superhero saturated publishing world and this year the judges decided to remind us of that fact.
Through it all Story is the defining Jack Lasenby (81), winner of the Young Adult category, said in his acceptance speech ‘Without Story, I Am Nothing.’
Jack’s writing career reflects New Zealands attitude to its own stories. He is a master storyteller deserving of a wide audience. His first novel for children tackled child abuse when no one ever talked about it and 'that is such a grim subject we don't want anyone overseas to know that happens in the land of Godzone'. Jack was known in New Zealand but no publisher took his work overseas...'it was too parochial'. Then he wrote dystopian Young Adult fiction, before it was popular...'great writing, but too might scare the children.' It won awards. His fun tall tales, for younger children, of life in New Zealand in the 30’s when he was growing up, great writing... won awards...'well the stories are too far removed from current children’s lives...won’t have any relevance to an international audience'. This year Gecko picked up his latest tall tale and took it overseas...and it got favourably reviewed by the Guardian.
Can we get over our cultural cringe and see if the world is ready for some real New Zealand stories. We are the nation of focus for Frankfurt and IBBY so we should start getting behind our great children’s writers.

 What interesting gems are there in my blog link roundup today? 
The importance of story links many of them.

From a cool infographic about how a story is born from Mediabistro to the importance of voice for audiobook narrators, the impressive Cris Dukehart on being a serial killer...and how to get the right narrators for your project from Bob Mayer.

There is a guest interview featuring Editor Cheryl Klein who talks about the importance of plot and Bubblecow has a nifty piece on getting constructive feedback so you can edit.

The Guardian has an opinion piece on how Fan Fiction of popular stories is driving the new books being picked up and Rachelle Gardner has reprised her post on how to craft Book Proposals so your story can be picked up...

Selfpublishing should be a marketing tool. This guest post has had lots of comment on Jane Friedmans blog and is a must read for the week along with the Books and Such agents blog on why everybody in publishing feels disenfranchised.

Joanna Penn has helpful hints on a marketing list to get your stories noticed and Catherine Ryan Howard tells you how to get your first readers.

Every link, a nice little story...I leave you with a video from Dan Blank about how the quality of the stories you create should last for generations.

The pic is The New Zealand Post Children's Book Award supreme winner...a distinctly New Zealand Non Fiction Story...which just happens to be a graphic novel!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Changing The Variables

March is New Zealand Book Month. Already I have attended a National Address, hosted a dinner, attended a book launch and organised an award party. Somehow I have managed to be out nearly every night since March began.

The National Address, The Janet Frame Memorial Lecture, was given by Joy Cowley. Joy is one our most beloved writers for children and as befits one of our own being chosen to give this prestigious address, the children’s writers were out in force. There was a huge crowd! Afterwards I hosted a dinner for members of the Wellington Children’s Book Association. It was a great night.

I missed one of our member’s book launches but managed to attend another. Mandy Hager has finished her Blood of the Lamb trilogy with Resurrection.  This whole series has been a tour de force.

Our Patron, Jack Lasenby, turned 80 this week and as he has been shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards (his 30th novel for children) we thought it might be a good idea to get all the other Wellington area finalists together. It was a bit of a mission but we managed to surprise them all with flowers and Jack with a large birthday card signed by quite a lot of people...(it helped that he couldn’t make the memorial lecture as I was running around like a mad thing getting signatures and the card would have been hard to hide.)

Today I was reflecting on Bob Mayer’s article on the three author variables and thinking about the quality of the writing here in New Zealand. Both Joy Cowley and Jack Lasenby are among the very best writers for Children we have produced. Joy is known internationally with her readers and picture books and the famous Mrs WishyWashy. Jack is not. He has been a huge influence on generations of children through his work as a School Journal editor and the fact that he has personally known and encouraged our best literary writers over the last 50 years to write some stories for children.

Bob talks about the mix of Platform, Product and Promotion. We have always had strong product but New Zealand is small and our publishers are small and the print runs are small and so the head offices of the big publishing companies pretty much ignore books printed here. With internet and the new global market place, New Zealand children’s books might just be ready to be discovered. All we need is a strong platform and great promotion.

Somebody who has been swinging all the variables of Platform, Product and Promotion is Seth Godin. David Meerman Scott interviewed him on his new project, Poke The Box.

Anne Mini has taken a look at how clichés can destroy your chance of being picked up with a series of funny examples of overridden cliché queries that are in need of editing or just search and destroy.

John Rember has written a guest post for Jane Friedman on the relationship between author, agent and publisher and the need to examine this carefully in the fast changing world of publishing.

March is also Small Press Month...and Elisabeth Spann Craig has taken a look at small press vs large press. Which is better?

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

9 Questions Editors Ask When Reading Your Submission

Authors Engage Or Die

Justine Musk On The Best Way To Blog

Harpers ebook Lending Policy Trashed.

To finish,

Mashable is looking at new digital trends...the way the news is being gathered is changing also how brands are becoming social media and how aggregation is changing bestselling statistics. This is a good article to read if you want to know how these trends will change the variables in publishing through the rest of this year. As New Zealand is about six months behind we have a little bit of lead in time...use it wisely.

The New Zealand Book Council’s video shows some 3D storytelling which is our associations next event in New Zealand Book Month. 


Friday, March 6, 2009

Celebrating The Brilliance...

I have been contemplating publicity over the last couple of the light of the NZ Post children’s book awards shortlist coming out.

First there was The DomPost, Wellington’s newspaper only printing the Wellington parochial is that...we should be celebrating our collective national brilliance...then there was The Herald, Auckland’s newspaper making a right hash of the shortlist putting the wrong illustrators with the wrong books and leaving poor Melinda out completely.

I have passed several bookshops lately none of them have the list displayed in the window...ok they are chain stores but come on....celebrate the brilliance people!

So feeling a little disheartened about it all I started looking on the web at my usual link sites for some inspiration and to feel better as I broke my toe on Wednesday....

The lovely Madeleine of The Buried Editor came to my rescue with a brilliant post on author publicity from an editor and publishers perspective. She has her own little imprint at Blooming Tree Press called CBAY (Children’s Brain’s Are Yummy.) Here is a little snippet of what she has to say.

Besides, your book will never be as important to your publisher as it is to you, especially with your first book. Your book is most likely the only one you have coming out that year. Even at the smallest of presses, this is unlikely to be the case. With the big houses, you could be literally one book out of dozens being produced that month, much less over the year. And even at the small houses where your editor may have read the manuscript dozens of times, he/she still has not put in the kind of time, effort, or love that you have. And the house publicist may not have read the book at all. You are the best advocate for your book. You should take this responsibility seriously.

So, here are some things you can do to market your book:

Go and read the rest of her post Here.

This morning I heard our esteemed patron and all round good keen man, Jack Lasenby, speaking on National Radio, the interviewer asked him only question about his book, Old Drumble. I thought to myself ‘huh DomPost, I bet you want that interview I did for you on Jack now....’ They didn’t run it because they didn’t have space last June when Old Drumble came out. But it was an attempt to celebrate the brilliance...

I thought that I would post the book trailer that Brian Falkner has made for The Tomorrow Code because I think it is brilliant and he is shortlisted and really just to celebrate the brilliance...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Honour and The Glory

The short list is out!....and to all those who made it WELL DONE...and wonderful how you managed to keep your lips sealed for three weeks....

The amount of Wellingtonians on this list is incredible! (so what were those muttering s last year about Wellington being overrepresented in the judging panel....Just look at the short list this year!- it would be cheaper to fly the finalists down to Wellington...than the huge bill to fly all the Wellington people north...)

For the Spinning Gold Conference Team....hats off to the two finalists!!! And look how many of our speakers there are on that great list...Not to mention our own dear Patron of the Wellington Children’s Book Association-Jack Lasenby.

Judging the winners is going to be a tough job!

Go Here to see the New Zealand Post Children's Book Award shortlist for 2009

Congratulations Melinda (waving madly over the blogosphere)

My fingers are wearing out from the congratulations emails that I have been sending....

New Zealand should be celebrating the brilliance!!!


Pic is the Rugby World Cup Trophy....the William Webb Ellis trophy...ah if only the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards were as well known.....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

'Dem Bones'

Eirlys Hunter who gave me a quick lesson in how to sign a book, Beth Braddock who saw Bones in draft,professionally,9 years ago and Fifi Colston...when I grow up I want to be like her....
Author...mind blank... you back Em
John McIntyre and his amazing bookshop...
Jack Lasenby...

Bones is launched!

It was a dark and stormy night...the rain turned into hail and back into rain again, unable to make up its mind, while inside The Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie, a sleepy little hamlet, an interesting group of people gathered to launch a small novel that was not a chapter book!

How’s that for an entry in the Bulwer Lytton contest for the worst opening line of a book.

Meanwhile the real report of the night goes as follows...

It was a dark and stormy night....

Wellington turned on its wild weather to launch Bones. The author wishes to thank all the people who ‘braved the elements’ (actually given the state of the weather outside the author is amazed and humbled that people would venture out in it to come and celebrate with her.)

I tried to get around everyone there to thank you personally but if I missed you in the crowd please pat yourself on the back... getting there was a mission!

Jack Lasenbys speech was amazing!

I have seen Jack launch two books before, both of them far more worthy than mine, and he has always left the author speechless. I was so glad that I had written a few notes because when I had to lift my head and face you mind was a total blank...Thank goodness for two year old Ella who filled the silence with her own little speech so her mother could collect her scattered wits. I figured that Jacks speech would be short because the book is A SMALL NOVEL, (yes Jack that is imprinted is NOT A CHAPTER BOOK) Jack took me by surprise when he drew so many parallels with the great children’s books...while he was speaking I kept thinking wow that author must be pretty good, I must buy it...and then something dropped in my head (not a penny, more like an anvil) as I realised that he was talking about me and my small novel.

I didn’t talk about the book, just thanked people really, but for those of you who don’t know the books history. I wrote it in 99. It was liked by a publisher but they felt that my characters needed to be more developed so I put it away and worked on something else, children, another novel etc.

I pulled it out last year and rewrote part of it and the word count climbed from 10.200 to 10,500 ish (more characterisation you understand.)and sent it out to Penguin. I didn’t hear anything for six months so I rang to say “I guess you don’t want it.”

“We want it,” came the reply, “but can you cut 2000 words out by next week.” So out came the characterisation and a few other things. It was accepted after my editor, Catherine O’Loughlin, who did a great job, cut out another 2000 words...

It is a great skill, being able to cut words out and have the author read it and say...”but I thought you were cutting out lots of words.” My husband has this skill...(so why didn’t I give it to him, amazing editor that he is!...I wanted to do it myself...stupid huh!)

I’ll put in my speech notes can fill in the gestures and the rest of the ad libbing and other asides. A note for those who were there, The waiata, Emily, leader of my music group wanted me to sing, probably would have been nice and formal maybe in Latin or Maori and more suited to a BIG I will save it up for another time...(probably Emily is about to make me pay for it today at Mass.) I thought ‘Dem Bones’ was more appropriate.

Here is the speech and some pictures.

Book launch speech

A book launch is a bit like a wedding or a funeral there are so many people here from different facets of my life.

I’d like to Thank Jack Lasenby for officially launching the book. I was asked a few months ago why I love his work so much...I relive my childhood while reading his books. If you grew up in the country you saw drovers and mobs of sheep and cattle, and you certainly met some of Jacks characters...

I’d also like to Thank John and Ruth McIntyre...everybody has a story to tell of the first time they came into this shop.

My first time, I was looking for one good book to read to my class. John, consummate master of putting his hand on the right book, let me leave with only eight.

Ruth is definitely his match, all the committee meetings held in this shop, and just as you finish... Ruth says “have you seen the latest...

I’d like to Thank my family for putting up with me, especially my husband. He goes over my writing with a fine grammatical comb. He’s an expert at his job... rates reasonable.

There are lots of people in this room who have provided inspiration and encouragement over the years. They know who they are...(no you aren’t in this book but there are other books...)

I would particularly like to Thank the Wellington Children’s Book Association. It’s ten years since I joined the WCBA and the people I’ve met, the panels and visiting overseas authors make the business of being a writer so much more enjoyable. There have been quite a few people, over the years in the association, whose encouragement and friendship in writing have meant a lot to me. They are mostly still on the committee or past committee members. Those who can’t make it sent their congratulations through. Kate de Goldi, who said eight years ago, You be the convenor, you’ll have time...I was eight months pregnant at the away celebrating her parents golden wedding anniversary. Fleur Beale and Janice Marriott both asked why I was having a launch when they were at other ends of the country and couldn’t be here.

Every writer has a mentor...who cheers you on ... tells you your writing is crap... gives you inspiration and listens to your moaning... I’ve dedicated this book to that person.


Related Posts with Thumbnails