Showing posts with label Maureen Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maureen Johnson. Show all posts

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Breaking Down The System

Are we all sick of Amazon vs Hachette in the publishing blogosphere? As the issue between them drags on... a lot of authors feel compelled to voice their support for one side or the other and it is starting to get very ugly. Huffington Post reports on the standoff... that one of them may have blinked.

Publishing pundit Mike Shatzkin finally came out and voiced his opinion this week. I was surprised at his tone usually he is more measured in his response. Passive Guy highlighted the problems with Mike’s assessment and the comments are going thick and fast between the blogs.

If you are still interested in how this is all playing out, Barry Eisler has an opinion piece in The Guardian and Stephen Colbert weighs in on Comedy Central.

Earlier this week in London there was a Literary Festival featuring Australian and New Zealand writers.
The New Zealand Listener covered it for Kiwi’s as more of an underwhelming experience.
I wonder if they weren’t just giving in to the cultural cringe factor. We have some great writers here who should be ‘world famous in New Zealand,’ and promoted like All Blacks. Let’s celebrate them and not give into cultural cringe.

The lovely Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware highlights a new scam targeting indie authors. Editors who highlight ‘errors’ and offer to fix them.... After she wrote her blog post she was contacted by an editor....

On a lighter note... This week (prominent Sci Fi publishers) got together with a couple of great writers, Maureen Johnson and John Scalzi, to talk about Social Media advice for writers. Much hilarity ensued. Be entertained. If you don’t know anything about these great writers...go out and read their books! Just don’t take their social media advice.

B.E.A (America’s biggest Book Expo) has just wrapped up. And Author Hub seems to be the biggest winner at the Expo. This was a new initiative where Authors were given an area to conduct business on their own account.  Bob Mayer talks about the ten things that he learned at BEA this year.

In the Craft Section,

15 secrets to writing from George R R Martin

Lessons from James Scott Bell – Excellent post from Angela 

Catalyst and Catharsis – Donald Maass

In the Marketing Section,
Marketing Lessons from Mad Men

What to do when sales slow- Great post from Roz Morris

from Elisabeth S Craig.

The Myths that Printers are Distributors... One of Dean Wesley Smith’s excellent posts.

Publishers Weekly is integrating reviews- good news for Indie Authors

To Finish,
Two publishing interns, who walked away from publishing, talk about why they feel the system is broken. This is a close up look at the lack of diversity in publishing. If it is all white bread making the decisions...then white bread is what you will get.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Angst And The Writer

The publishing blogosphere has been angsting this week over the demise of the Tools Of Change Conference. In an unexpected move Tim O’Reilly decided that publishing knew all about digital and he had other things to do with O’Reilly Media. This came as a big shock to the community which didn’t agree with Tim’s viewpoint. Has publishing really embraced digital? What about the community aspect of TOC ? What replaces all those cutting edge conferences just before Bologna? Brian O’Leary looks at Tim’s decision and wonders if he just sold himself out.

Two of the hardest working people in community building for TOC are now out of a job. Joe Wikert wonders what he should do now, given what he knows.

Google are finally in court to answer the big question... where are those royalties from all those books that you digitised? The second attempt by the Writers Guild class action lawyers to finally get some answers may have worked.

Maureen Johnson took alook, this week, at gender bias in book covers. Did having a female or male name as the author on the cover change the way it was marketed regardless of the content? She asked her followers to flip the covers to reflect the opposite gender and opened a can of worms on twitter. Women authors seem to be getting a girly cover treatment on their book which doesn’t warrant it given the subject matter inside it...Great article...and check out the book covers that her followers came up with.

Rachelle Gardner had the comments flying with her blog post Will My Publisher Let Me Self- Publish too? Her post looking at what was in it for the Traditional Publisher struck a real chord among Hybrid authors and there were many arguments for and against her views and much anguish over non compete clauses in contracts. Take the time to read the comments. Self Publishing could be seen by your Trad publisher as competition...which means contract breaker....

Passive Guy takes Mike Shatzkin to task over the next Publishers Launch conference, Scale. Has Mike missed the boat completely with his focus on big publishing companies changing publishing in the the tech world it’s the little guys who scale up successfully.

In Craft,
Be Your Own BookDoctor...Janice Hardy tells you what to look for.

In Marketing,
Who are you Online and is it different from who you are. An interesting article on the effects of marketing yourself from the Literary Journal VQR.
A list of children’swriters who blog...and how they approach their audience.

To Finish,
Hugh Howey seems to be the flavour of the month for journalists trying to understand what’s happening in publishing. As he wanders Down Under (NZ and Aussie) he is being hounded for press interviews by the folks back home.
His replies add to their angst.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Once More Into The Fray

Every now and then I wonder about what a quiet life might entail...especially when the builders are sawing away, the plumber is banging pipes loudly and the kids are helping Dad paint at the other end of the house....

Before I can drift into fantasy dream mode involving solitude and unlimited drinks I’m interrupted five times...

This week’s blog roundup falls heavily on the craft that was top of my eye when starting to research this week, inspired by all the crafting around here as the builders and plumbers attempt to straighten out some of the kinks in this old cottage.

First the can do this... write like Neil Gaimen.

You can get a professional mindset.

You can increase your daily word count.

You can plan for the long haul like Lee Child.

All your story needs is some attention to...

Emotional structure in your novel.

Crafting subplots that make sense.

Characters who have goals...does this mean all of them?

How to dialogue an argument between characters...

So that later you will be able to step back and take the long view of the business

with and an understanding of ...

Cover design tips.

The US Department of Justice ruling on whether the big six were acting illegally explained (wittily by Maureen Johnson) and what it means to us (writers and readers) in the long term.

Staying safe in the digital age.

Building hype on Goodreads about your book.

and if all else fails you can always try these writing prompts.

I would like to thank Janice Hardy, Bob Mayer, Joel Friedlander, Romance University, KM Weiland, Maureen Johnson, Darcy Pattison, Stephen Pressfield, Neil Gaimen, Scribblers Cove and Chip Macgregor for all inspiration found today as I attempted to escape the racket.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Writing Life On The Edge...

It’s been a funny old week in the writing blogosphere. 

The Wall Street Journal piece on the darkness of YA Fiction spurred a huge twitter backlash (#YAsaves) that had it in the top three trending topics inside of an hour. Among the authors singled out in the WSJ article was Judy Blume who was surprised to find that her books were considered too dark to read. Judy linked to a Blog post by a young writer about why she reads YA Fiction. 
Today Maureen Johnson wrote an article for the Guardian looking at the response and how YA Authors feel about the WSJ reviewers comments.

If you write or read YA Fiction have a look at each side. I think there are valid points for each argument. 
Yes there is a lot of violence, gore, death and illegal behaviour in some YA Books. 
Writing about it and the consequences of it can give a safe mirror for a teen that may have to deal with some of these issues in real life. 
Reading these books does not automatically send a teen out to commit mayhem. 

The increasingly younger age group who are picking up Young Adult books, because they want to appear older, are the real problem I feel. I had a serious freak out moment when I heard an 8 year old was reading Twilight at my daughters school. As a teacher, a parent and a children’s writer that made my hair stand on end. (that’s my 50c worth)

Young Adult writing will always be controversial and edgy and the writers and readers wouldn’t have it any other way. (Banning a book is great for sales.)

Writers for Younger children are much safer? Not so. The seventh UK Children’s Laureate was announced yesterday and immediately there were negative comments about the author.

Julia Donaldson has written more than 150 books for children. She is a standout writer and an awesome campaigner for the continuing existence of public and school libraries. However judging by the comments following the Guardian article announcing her appointment...there are a few people out there who think her classic The Gruffalo teaches children that it is ok to lie and they argue she plagiarized Maurice Sendak. Some days you wonder about the parents of your readers...

Also in the news this week how small chain bookshops are repurposing themselves in the current climate...What experiences can they bring to the customer that Amazon can’t...and how Pop Up book stores are working in the US....(Pop Up means short term in an empty space.)

Over in the Craft section there are three excellent links for you on Editing.

Grub Daily has a great post on line editing...with some great examples from old pulp fiction. I have a serious collection of old pulp fiction myself, this is an excellent way to sharpen your editing skills while reading it.

Beth Hill of The Editors Blog has a great (and comprehensive) checklist for editors and writers on big picture editing. This is one to bookmark!

The editors at Edittorrent have a great blog post on openings that annoy...If you are wondering about your killer opening go on over and check out what they have to say.

On Craicerplus (my Amplify Page) I have a link to an article on

Author Agent Speed Dating Service...(one author who wants to make things easier for all of us....)

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you will have seen a lot of interesting articles, just for those communities, that I have passed on this week.

To Finish,

Writer Unboxed interviewed Nathan Bransford about why he left Agenting, his new midgrade book coming out and other interesting stuff. Nathan has one of the most popular blogs out in the writing blogosphere and he is always an insightful commentator. 

And I’ll leave you with a video from Cory Doctorow –Every Pirate Wants To Be An Admiral...Why he lives life on the edge...


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scrambling For The Books

It’s been nine days since the Christchurch earthquake. 
We are still in a state of emergency but now the NZ media are including in their bulletins other news from around the country and the world. 

Daily life in the rest of the country is getting back to normal but the pain is still there under the surface. The people you meet on the street this week don’t look as if someone has kicked out their stomach.

The whole country has rallied around various fund raising efforts as the death toll rises higher and the tally of buildings that are, or need to be, demolished grows. We are all more aware of the ground beneath us, the power and randomness of Nature and the need to acknowledge that, there by the grace of God, you have been spared the worst.

Wellington, where I am based, sits on two fault lines and we get rumblings beneath our feet all the time. We had a nice little (4.5) jolt on Tuesday night to get the heart racing. We would like to think we are prepared at all times for a disaster but in truth we are probably not. Around Wellington the conversations this week are on where to put the disaster kit and what to have in it. The supermarkets have been running low on batteries and torches as everyone pulls out and updates their kits.

I have been mulling over this question, If you had only ten minutes to rescue your possessions from your house, what would you take? In my mad would be antique books, photographs, documents and the computer.

I have lots of pottery...I never thought about saving that...the books came first on the list... What does that say about me.....hehehehehe (finding the antique books would be a challenge tho...) 

Books....they divert, educate, elucidate, console, challenge, terrify and come in handy as tables and deportment aids.

Hmm can’t see ebooks helping out as a deportment aid however they are increasing their presence in our lives. Bookbee has collected quotes and stats about the uptake of ebooks (women between the ages of 35-55 are the biggest users....I would never have guessed that.)

If you are struggling with what to put in your book, you might want to check out these links.

Irene Watson of Selling Books has an interesting article on working with a Co Author...she is looking at only one co author tho....The FaBo team have nine...hmmm nine times the fun....

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

Ten Tips To Effective Book Covers (a must read)

Grief (making sense of it)

Changing Times, Changing Book Design,

A fun look at Deadlines and what they do to us.

Productivity for Creatives...this is an excellent guest post by Charlie Gilkey on Jonathan Fields Blog.

This week the children’s writing community here in New Zealand were in awe of American YA writer Maureen Johnson who organised a fundraising effort for Christchurch Earthquake victims that quickly went viral. Our eyes get a little misty when we think of the generous spirits all around the world who write for children.

To finish, here is a little pick me up from Slushpile Hell....and Some Dancing Books.


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