Showing posts with label Joe Konrath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joe Konrath. Show all posts

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Editing Thoughts

This week I have been picking the threads up of my writing life... pulling out the project that was put on hold. When you take a month away sometimes it’s hard to dive back in. This is a good time to edit.

When I read Chuck’s Kubler Ross Stages of Grief of Editing I had to laugh. (Warning it’s Chuck!) My editing thinking is usually harsher. ‘Good grief how did I come to write this mess....’ I have to stop myself from deleting it all and curling up into a snotty whimpering ball in the corner. 
I must have been sending out unconscious signals on editing because some great posts on dealing with criticism fell into my Twitter feed.
Stephen Pressfield has a great post on pushing forward into a project -The 1 way I screw myself up.
Jami Gold also has a great post on criticism and how to deal with it. (even when it’s your own.)

Last Night The Booker Prize went to Marlon James from Nigeria. So this begins his author celebrity life where his every utterance will be scrutinised. Quartz magazine has an article on why turning authors into celebrities is bad for the reader.

Future Book has been compiling manifestos lately from people in the publishing world about how they see the future and what changes they would make. Porter takes a look at some of the ideas- from how to treat publishing interns to instantaneous transfer from writer to reader.

Many people in the publishing world are wondering how to get their books into the Asian market. Christine Sun has a very informative and detailed look at Fiberead, a translation service with a difference.

The Author Earnings team has published a new report on what sales look like in the rest of the eBook market outside of Amazon. Kris Rusch takes a look at what it means and offers some advice for Indie Publishers going forward. Kris also has a great post on front list... and how the Traditional Publishers are finally understanding what a backlist means in sales for the front list. If you didn’t understand that sentence go and read the Kris Rusch’s very good article.

In the Craft Section,
The writing world is heading into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That means that there are plenty of writing tips around NaNo in October.

How to find Book Ideas – Now Novel

Plotting mini arcs- Janice Hardy- (Bookmark)

In the Marketing Section,

Media Kits – Janice Hardy

Manuscript to eBook cleaning guide – Joel Friedlander (Bookmark)

Website of the Week
Joe Konrath has long been the go to website of Indie/Self publishers. Here is today’s guest post by Andrea Pearson with the Master Class on how to plan for success in the long term.

To Finish,

After all the editing and publishing, authors are after readers. Angela Ackerman has a great article on finding readers... What are the themes of your book... are there groups out there you can market to? You might find them in very unexpected places.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Looking Ahead

This week the winners of the LIANZA’S (Librarian and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) were announced at lovely event in Wellington. I spoke to one of the judges at the event and we talked about the depth of books on offer this year. The judge said that they could have picked another 5 in each category, so I raised the issue that maybe they need a long list. After all The ManBooker has one. One of the important things about a long list is it raises the profile of up and coming authors. This is really important in a small country with a shrinking publishing market. Sales into libraries and schools make all the difference in our small publishing world. A good long list can become a first port of call for school book buyers. (here’s hoping they take it on board!)

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2014 annual conference wound up in LA this week. Over 1300 kids lit people in one space...WOW. This conference is usually a sellout every year. Some great keynotes and panels were on offer. Fix your self a long drink and scroll down the conference blog where they had notes on all the events.

If you are feeling in need of a conference the ever popular WriteOnCon is back in a couple of weeks. This is a free online conference over two days for Kids Lit writers. It is worth dropping into... getting up early and attending.

This week the stoush between Hachette and Amazon hits the 4th month and the online letter to Amazon from concerned writers hit 900 signatories.

Also in the news is the opening up of the Authors Guild (finally) to Indie writers. This has been loudly applauded... and the appointment of best selling Indie C J Lyon’s to the board has the blogosphere jumping with excitement. First up she called for ways to make the guild better. Joe Konrath produced a 12 point plan that was a masterpiece. Every writers organization should be taking a look at it. The discussion has been wide ranging and is still on going.

The LA Times has been talking ebook numbers...and the sometimes skewed reporting around them.

The Huffington Post has an article on how Barbara Freethy became a best seller...(Interesting post)

Eileen Goudge is a traditional best seller and she is looking at her first foray into self publishing because her publisher no longer felt she was a hot property... after 13 NYT best sellers...

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
Lessons from 2014 RWA –tips for marketing success – Jami Gold

Social Media Platform infographic (this is a printout post!)

To Finish,

Jane Friedman has an interesting guest post about an Appcalled Episode. It allows writers to post up chapters with animation or comic book styles and have reader interaction. Perfect place to play with characters etc and the whole thing is specifically designed for mobile reading... A sign post for the future.


Thursday, May 22, 2014


Each week I look over my collected links to see what an over arching theme for the blog might be. Sometimes it’s a stretch to link up the content but this week everyday there was something about writers being connected with readers and the disconnect from publishers and distributors with writers.  This is nothing new. I have been observing this for the last five years. However it is interesting to look at this within the context of this week’s headlines around the publishing blogosphere...

Libraries are where the readers are.

Last year two ebook library subscription services models kicked off, Scribd and Oyster. For a flat monthly fee subscribers had unlimited access to ebooks across formats. The big publishers sat back and watched developments and are now jumping on board. Today Simon and Schuster added their 10,000 book backlist to the services, following HarperCollins earlier this month. This is a bid for reader’s affections. All You Can Read buffet for $8:99/month. The publisher gets a cut when a book is lent... Mike Shatzkin is predicting that the biggest publisher of them all, Random Penguin, will start their own global library. (Or will there be a nice buy out in the future...)

Smashwords has just partnered with OverDrive the biggest library database system in the US to make all their books available. This model is interesting. If the one copy of the ebook is checked out customers have the option to buy their copy through the library...a win/win for libraries. And what about the chance for celebrity curated lists of books just for librarians to recommend.

The Amazon vs Hachette fight doesn’t look like it is winding down... Mike Shatzkin looks at the power play and how publishing has been flipped over with the power now belonging to the retailer who has the customers.
If you are an author in the middle of all this what can you do? Take control where you can of your own reader engagement. (get in the libraries...sell from your website.. reader fan email databases...)

Hugh Howey brought out another Author Earnings report this week. The howls that once greeted these one day snapshots of where the money is going in the publishing world have become muted... Everybody is scratching their can this be... the same figures again... Is Hugh right? If you are traditionally published this could be a game changer for you.

Joe Konrath has practical advice for how you navigate this changing world...(a bookmark post!)

Bob Mayer also tells you to take responsibility for your own work. Complaining is not a business strategy!  Change your mindset!

In the Craft Section,

Chuck on Writers Block (Trigger warning for your ears)

Stealing from other writers (it is not a bad thing....)

Elisabeth S Craig on developing thematic ideas

In the Marketing Section,
How to create the perfect trailer. (useful for book trailers)

Slideshare book marketing from Joanna Penn

How to Make WOW blog images with Pic Monkey (from the amazing Jami Gold)

Dave Gaughran has discovered a new site, Noisetrade, which aims to build your fan base. They have just branched out into books from Indie Music.

Website of the Week: August Wainwright has collected the 50 best Indie resource sites around. Many of these are on my regular check list. (one stop shop)

To Finish,
How are the successful authors out there navigating on the publishing sea. Russell Blake a publishing phenomenon is interviewed on how he has gone from 0 to 500,000 sales in a couple of years. (you may hate him after reading but you can't ignore him…) MindBodyGreen checks out 10 things successful writers do differently.

Engage the reader... Make it easy for them to find and buy your next book... SIMPLE. (DUCKS…)
(There are lots of links in the Craft and Marketing sections to help you.)


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Data Differences

This week, around the blogosphere, the comments were on the awesomeness of IndieReCon and the news that Amazon has dropped the royalty payments for ACX, their audio publishing arm. 

ACX is not available to writers outside the US but it is helpful to keep an eye on these developments with one of the biggest publishers. 
Chuck has a few pithy comments to say on the general argggh coming from authors around ACX. (Wise up people.)

 One of the great things about Online Conferences is that information stays online so you can refer to it...or in the case of writers in another hemisphere, get to it at a time that suits you. IndieReCon stuff is still available. I dropped back in to read Angela Ackerman’s post on collaboration that was really informative. Of course I then scrolled down... So much good stuff in there. Take some time to delve into the chats and posts. 

Joe Konrath has been a vocal member of the writing community for a long time. He recently took issue with comments from literary agent David Gernert. He raises some good points about gate keepers...the changing nature of the agent and who they are working for and contracts… 

If you are interested in contracts check out this post – Don’t Get Screwed- Contract Provisions Every Creative Should Know. 

Porter Anderson gave Hugh Howey the floor (his space in Writer Unboxed) to answer a comment from a reader about what Hugh considers the ideal print publishing deal he would go with. It is very interesting as Hugh describes the deal he has with Random House UK over the US part of the operation...and why he went with UK... (he tangata, he tangata, he tangata! people, people, people!) 

Hugh also has his 3rd report up... a look at Barnes and Nobel, a bricks and mortar chain bookstore and a snapshot of sales...surprise surprise or perhaps not as the figures are still hitting the same marks. 

Data and the need for it, exercises the Harvard Book Review this week. This is a call out to the publishers to maybe start providing some. 

Forbes takes a look at Brands... and finds out some very interesting information. Would you rather be a Grisham or a Jack Reacher. Which earns you more? 

In the Craft Section 
Jami Gold has an excellent post on How To Be A Good Editor. 

6 Ways To Survive Rewrite Hell. 

The Write Practice- How To Finish Projects 

Create Inspirational Workspaces 

Jody Hedlund on Developing Characters 

In the Marketing Section 
A big article on Discoverability and Marketing- they are essentially the same thing. 

Tim Ferris On How to make a viral book trailer 

10 Book Marketing Mistakes Self Publishers Make 

Website of the Week: K M Weiland. 
I know I reference her a lot but have you actually trawled around her website... check out this post. How Not To Be A Writer -15 Signs You Are Doing It Wrong 

To Finish
Neil Gaiman has a different take on piracy.... data food for thought…


Pic from Flickr/Creative Commons/Mezdeathhead

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Preparing for 2012

The year is nearly over and the blogosphere has filled with predictions for 2012.

What should happen... will happen... aint gonna happen in 2012?

Bob Mayer always has an interesting line up and he is often right on the money, speaking of which he is getting lots of comments on number eight and how publishers account for the money...hmmm.

Jane Friedman has looked at her year and listed what she thinks is the best advice she has given. Jane is a media professor so if you want a university course in writing and publishing check this list out!

Joe Konrath has put up his list of resolutions for writers...what is interesting is he starts with what he said in 2006 then 2007 then 2008 then 2009 then 2010 and adds a short piece for 2011. Go through the list and see the really solid advice that he gives. Worth printing out and sticking on the wall!

The news today over on the Passive Guys blog (writer lawyer) is HarperCollins attempt to enforce a contract infringement for a contract written in 1971 asserting it owns the eBook rights for Julie Of The Wolves by Jean Craighead George. Check out what he has to say and also his follow up post on the  ground breaking ruling called the Peggy Lee Decision. Given what HaperCollins is trying you might just need to know this piece of advice!

Jenny Hansen is giving an early New Years gift to writers with a cheat sheet of the best keyboard shortcuts for writers.

David Robinson has written a useful guest post on creating book covers. Check out the comments where writers have put links in to free software to give you a hand.

To finish,
Book riot has a funny roundup entitled you know you have read too much Young Adult fiction when...(great for Y A writers to hold a mental measuring stick on their own work.)

I am now in the sunny North except it is raining... Time for me to get out the old novel and finish it! 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air...and that usually heralds change. You eye up the overflowing study area and vow to get better organised. (Your family snigger coz they’ve heard it all before.)

While you are contemplating your overflowing desk you may take time to contemplate the publishing industry. It too has been struggling with change. The printed word is rapidly changing into the e-inked word.
Curiosity Quill interviewed Jane Friedman about what she predicts will happen to publishing in the next few years and how authors can keep up.

 Joe Konrath takes issue with Ewen Morrison’s article in The Guardian- Are Books Dead and Can Authors Survive. Joe picks apart the article and points out where Ewen got it wrong. (so far 120 comments on this...)

If you pick up your manuscript and a cloud of dust rises into the air you might need to revisit your characters and do a little housekeeping...or a lot.

Jenny Hansen has a terrific list of tips about fighting dirty and ramping up the conflict tension in your story. 

Julie Musil has ten things you shouldn’t do when you build your characters... 

Both of these posts remind you that the story is key...and a strong story is what Editors want to read. A quick revision of WriteOnCon quotes reinforce this...but you can always get inspiration to keep going from revisiting the website and reading the sessions you missed.

Ruth Harris reminds you that all reading is research and offers some very good advice in how to pull gems out of the trashy magazines you just picked up. Don’t feel’s research! (there’s an app for that.) 

Underneath the stacked books and laundry, next to the mouldy coffee cup, you unearth that really great story...the one that has been nicely rejected a few times and sigh. What would it take to just get it out there into the world?

Author Culture peeks into the world of Book Cover Design in an excellent interview with a top book cover designer. Lots of tips here...and some very useful ideas for branding.

The bookdesigner has a link to five nifty fonts that you can use for your Ebook cover and they are FREE

Roz Morris has done the hard work for you and step by step outlines how to deal with the American IRS when you are an author living in another country who wants to epublish on an American site. Bookmark this! It will save you months! 

Anne Allen has a great post on the death of the Book Tour and why we shouldn’t feel too sad about it... The desk has disappeared....the dust has taken think seriously about giving up and reclaiming the space for a home gym....

Teresa M Owen has a handy list about why you shouldn’t become a writer to make you feel better. 

This week NZ National Radio interviewed a New Zealand company that has made a splash with their new product, Booktrack, Soundtracks for Books. James Frey is already making use of the technology with the The Power Of Six (his follow up to I Am Number 4.) Take a look at the videos and think about where we go from here....


pic from meeja darling....a wickedly funny journo blog

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gate Keepers And Their Shiny New Keys...

The Gate Keepers jobs are changing.

The big news in the writing blogosphere this week is Agents Becoming Publishers. From a few testing out the brave new world of ebook publishing (see a previous blog post of mine) a couple of months ago, this week more agents are jumping into the publishing water. 

What does this mean for writers? 
Unscrupulous agents can take their 15% as agent and pass you on to their publishing arm which may take 50% as the publisher.  A few agents are renting their services out for flat fees. A writer must weigh up very carefully the pros and cons of traditional agent services and ‘new’ agent services....

If you are in the market for an agent or thinking it may be a good idea in the future, read these and be aware of how agencies are changing in this brave new world.

Another big move this week was the launch of Pottermore, JK Rowling’s new website, ebook publisher, storefront and fan club all rolled into one site. Phyllis Miller comments upon the changes that the launch of Pottermore might have on the ebook marketplace...especially the ditching of DRM (Digital Rights Management) on the Potter ebooks. Publishers Weekly is taking a ho hum approach while commenting on how rare it is that a writer still has ebook rights...

If you have a successful brand, and J K Rowling does, why not look at what merchandising opportunities you can get out of it. You are a business after all. You have created the characters and the world etc etc...a range of clothing, mugs and stationary can be sold exclusively from your website. One of my favourite authors Jasper Fforde (NYT describes him as Harry Potter for grown ups) is doing it and if it is Ok for an Adult Writer to do it...surely a Children’s Writer can do it.

Joe Konrath has a great post on how to make your ebooks another storefront for your work. Put the blurb on the front cover...such simple advice.... Anne Allen has a post on the new trend of using ebooks as queries, and the reverse, Agents looking to rep successful ebook writers...sticky sticky.

In the craft corner,

The League Of Extraordinary Writers has a great post on Dystopian Rites of Passage.

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

5 Things More Important Than Talent- this is a great post...lots of comment on this.

Ten Terrifying Questions For do the great and the good do it?

The Art Of Being Different-Justine Musk. Justine writes a wonderful blog and this article is a great self affirming read...because all of us writers are quirky and interesting, aren’t we?  

To finish,
I was having an email chat with Dylan Owen of The National Library of New Zealand (Children’s Collection) about being on a panel addressing the topic of whether storytelling was dead.(upcoming AGM of WCBA) 
In the conversation I referred to a problem I have been mulling over lately, the fact that traditional gate keepers seem to be reluctant to get involved in children’s ebook reviewing. Dylan was able to give me some hot off the press news. School Library Journal has started a new review blog looking at apps for children and Dylan was about to extend the School Library Service, Create Readers blog that reviews books to include ebooks...

So the Gate Keepers have some new hats to try on and some new shiny keys to play with...


pic The gates of Graceland.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

6 Facts About Children's Publishing Now.

The recent Spinning Tales conference for New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators highlighted  some important need to know facts about the state of children’s publishing here and overseas. As I research for this blog, every week I come across articles and discussions that support the 6 most important facts.

1. Writing for children is a business. It is not sitting down and tossing off a gentle story about clouds and raindrops and having a publisher fall on their knees to have the chance to publish it for all the little kiddies to read.
It is a hard slog to write a good story and harder to write a good children’s story. The little kiddies are web savvy and digital literate.  Your story must drag them away from T.V, cell phone, Xbox and YouTube.  Good Luck There! Janice Hardy has an excellent post on making the reader care.

2. Writing For Children has to be commercial so that the publishers make money and stay in business...but look out there are others too who want to make money off you.
Publishers print lists are contracting. E publishing is expanding. We are not authors any more we are content providers.  The 10% that content providers get and the 7% they get for e-rights (overseas) is not worth it for the author or the publisher unless the print run is sold out. Add into this the changing nature of publishing contracts and the implications of epublishing on contracts. 

The author must be contract savvy or have an agent who is. 

It helps if you know what the scams are out there for unwary authors.  Larry Brooks has a writer beware publicity scam (?) where TV stations want to make a buck off you.  Publishingtrends highlights the Kindle swindle.  Watch out for copyright scammers who make ebooks from your  web content.

3. Publishers are being challenged by new technology. Everything is changing. Everyone is scared. 
The ease of digital publishing and printing have authors questioning whether they need the traditional publishers. Arguments for and against are everywhere on the web. 
Joe Konrath interviewed Bob Mayer about his move to have his own publishing company, then Joe threw down a challenge to his traditional publishers (ouch!) Jody Hedlund and Jami Gold have taken an opposite view.  

The stakes are high. 

Here in New Zealand, publishers are digitising their back lists...this will make it harder for an author to get their rights back if the book is not selling because ebooks are forever, unlike print.

4. The author must do the bulk of the publicity. 
Publishers are not sending writers out on tour unless they are big sellers! There is no money in publishing to spend on promotion which means the book doesn’t get promoted unless the author does the job. Sellingbooks has a good post on publicity made easier, and 10 buzz building secrets every writer should know, takes it to the next level.

5. You must have a web presence. You must be searchable. Your internet presence must promote your brand. Your brand is your writing. You must make it easy for your readers to find you and buy your book.

Groups of writers have gathered together to help each other promote and publicise their work. This has become a very good way to get noticed and share the load for the average introvert writer. 
Readergirlz annual teen literacy week is just about to start and the Diva’s have linked into some very big names. Take the time to trawl their site and think of the implications for shared publicity.

6. At the moment there are no E publishing gate keepers here in NZ. The reviewers I know haven’t been forthcoming when I have asked if they would review ebooks. It is too hard. The take up of E readers here at the moment doesn’t warrant it. New Zealander’s quickly become enthusiastic adopters of new technology so the ebook explosion will happen quite quickly.

This is probably the time to strike if you want to get into ebook reviewing.   We need filters and trusted reviewers to say this is worth the price. Although as I have been reading lately the small price you pay for an ebook means if it is a dud you haven’t lost much.  
Quality writing for children in an ebook format is likely to get lost in the crowd unless....See Number 3 and 4.

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

Dean Wesley Smith gives the full Uni Course On Cover Design.

eBook Conversion Comparisons...for when you create that ebook.

Agents –You Gotta Have A Contract! - Read it, Weep and Be Warned! See Number 2

The Periodic Table Of Storytelling....geek cool

The Top 5 KidsLit Agencies

To Finish,

Get out there and share the love because our words have the power to change lives....

Question: Any more facts children’s writers should know? Write a comment.

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