Showing posts with label PJ Hoover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PJ Hoover. Show all posts

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, May 19, 2011

Rockstars and Writers

Last night I sat glued to my cell phone and the computer and vicariously shared in the excitement of attending the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Melinda texted me the winners and Johanna Knox and I got them onto our WCBA blog in close to real time. As each text from Melinda came in I cheered the winners. 

The text announcing Fleur Beale’s win had me jumping up and down with excitement.

Fleur is the great heroine of Children’s Writing in New Zealand. Since 2005 she has been a finalist every year. Her work has consistently made the top five in all the big awards for children’s writing here in NZ but she has never won until Last Night!

Absolutely Well Deserved – A Long Time Coming and Oh So Sweet! Congratulations Fleur!

So what do I have for you this week...

Gabriela Pereira has blogged beautifully about why writers need writer friends...and for me Fleur has been every one of the main points listed here.

Business Insider has a great post about the four hour work day...and I know that Fleur in her new writing studio does this which is why she is a winner...

YA Highway has a great reference post about the differences between MG and YA . Fleur writes both and she is very good at both...

Around about now Fleur is probably reaching for a stick to beat me over the head so I’ll stop....
(Gotcha, Fleur xx).

Seth Godin  and Michael Stackpole have been busy rattling cages this week.

Seth has written an interesting and very thought provoking post on the future of libraries. I’ve passed it on to my librarian friends and hopefully they are still speaking to me. What do you think the library of the future will look like...I think there are some positives here for librarians....

Michael Stackpole has a post looking at House Slaves vs Spartacus....This is an examination of writers who are traditionally published and Independently published. Michael is in both camps but which one is better...?

If you like contests this one is a doozy.

The wonderful PJ Hoover has a great contest happening on her blog to celebrate the ebook launch of Solstice. 
I referred you to P J Hoover last week when I mentioned that P J’s Agent was bringing out Solstice and she was being interviewed on The Spectacle blog about this new move in publishing. P J has a 20 book giveaway happening...Go and Check It Out!

Janice Hardy has written a wonderful clear description of the difference between Show and Tell. This is one of those posts you bookmark and refer to again and again.

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

Children’s Writing and Cross Promotion

Boys Don’t Read -Except They Do

Why Writers Drink (warning content, hic)

To Finish,

Access your inner rock star, people!

For all the finalists at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and for all those cheering them on...
The pen is mightier than the sword...

and The Solstice ebook trailer By P J Hoover



Pic is the cover of Fierce September by Fleur Beale. NZ Post Children’s Book Awards -Young Adult Winner 2011.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Forgiveness and Group Branding

I am guilty.
I am guilty of not having a set routine, of not setting goals to check off, of procrastination...which is why this blog post is late.
Forgive me.

So what have I found to get you thinking for the next week.

The Author as Publisher...this thought was revolving around my head as I hung up the washing on the first sunny day here in two weeks. The Wall Street Journal has a good overview of what is happening with Amazon moving into the publishing market. They use several author experiences as case studies. In particular the royalty amount Amazon is paying (70%) which makes it worthwhile to look at what they are offering to authors and how this changes the publishing landscape.

With all these possibilities in mind Tony Eldridge retweeted a blog post from October last year on marketing plans with a multiple pronged attack. This is a handy list and as he says you don’t have to do all of it. One of his bullet points is joint ventures. Tony had already posted an excellent article on the synergy of working with other authors on a joint venture. Each week as I research my blog post I am finding more of these author collective initiatives. They are a very good idea.

Create a Group Presence
If you are finding the whole author online presence very daunting, get together with a few friends and create a group presence. This divides up the work each author has to do online. It promotes collective branding as a group. It can give you wider exposure.

A while ago I talked with Stacy Nyikos about the class of 2k8 and how that was set up and how it operates. It is such a good idea that it has morphed branding on its own with 2k9, and 2k10....
In a collective author venture everybody has input into the brand. The brand promotes itself collectively and individually. The brand provides speakers to events, a fan club to promote them, a built in author blog tour....
You can be as big a presence as you want and can cope with, from Readergirlz with their video TV channel to PBJunkies, writers with its focus on parent events.
(Note: As I was loading up the links to the blog I found this one for dystopian writers, courtesy of P J Hoover of Spectacle writers....)

In Facebook land I am part of a collective of writers experimenting with writing a group book. We are still developing the story but alongside we are brainstorming ways that we can bring children along for the ride online. We are going to have to think seriously about collective and individual branding the project. This all seems like adult work...when at the moment the collective energy and camaderie has us feeling like the kids at the back of the class having a secret plan and executing it while the teacher (publisher) is not looking. When we grow up and put the whole project on a more serious footing, it is still going to be fun given the personalities involved....

So having confessed I spend too much time researching social networking...Chip McGregor of McGregor Literary has a timely reminder with a guest post by Rob Eagar of what an author should be doing with the 10 plus hours they spend online.

Following on from this is a good post by Mike Duran on routine and how this can benefit an author’s career. He makes the point that he never understood why his agents asked him how fast he wrote a novel...and why that fact is important to know.

This month is SoCNoC. (Southern Cross Novel Challenge)Yes, here in the Southern Hemisphere we have our own NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month) in a winter month. are organising it and people from all around the world are taking part which goes to show that authors like a goal and need a whip cracking challenge to apply butt in chair.

I attended Ruth Paul’s Two Little Pirates Book launch last night, at The Children’s Bookshop. The publishers representative commented in her speech that so proud are they of this book they had ordered 19,000 copies to be printed and distributed in Australia and Canada as well as here in New Zealand. This is a well deserved accolade for one of our best writer illustrators. Two Little Pirates is gorgeous!

Over on Craicerplus (my amplify page)

Marketing Tips for Authors 10 Tips on Preparing A Speech

The Number One Habit of Highly Creative People

The Three Best Takeaways from Book Expo America (this is a must read on copyright and royalty changes)

Author Marketing Experts inc.Free Toys and Downloads for Authors

Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize longlist...great lit for under 10s



Pic is the cover of Two Little Pirates
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