Showing posts with label Sara Letourneau. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sara Letourneau. Show all posts

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Around the writing blogosphere this week the talk was all about the Writers Guild suing the big talent agencies over shonky deals with writers. I have been hearing over the years the grumblings from the screenwriters over Agencies practice of packaging which has torpedoed careers and projects. It’s an insidious form of creative accounting. NPR explains what is happening and why. 

Wattpad has been moving from being an online publisher of fan content to being a TV and movie studio... to being a 'proper' publisher. They have a new imprint for the country from which their biggest supporters come from. It's not who you think... 

Amy Shojai has an interesting post on the Alliance of Independent Authors blog on audiobooks. This format has been increasing in leaps and bounds over the last year with some new players on the block shaking things up. Also well worth trawling through is the Alli conference website with all the fabulous goodies from their recent 24-hour online conference.  

We are heading in Easter weekend and writers everywhere will be wondering how much writing they will get done over the weekend. Here are three really interesting posts on the creative life.
Creativity and discipline- 3 ways to cultivate it by Nathan Wade, guest posting on The Creative Penn

Creative life boundaries by Scott Myers from Go Into The Story

The critical voice- Kristine Kathryn Rusch- Excellent blog post!

E J Runyon has a guest post on Anne R Allen's blog on writing what you know as a starting point for writing. She discusses using sense memory as a creative kick start. Great Post! 

In The Craft Section,

Story structure explained- September Fawkes- Bookmark

The understory- Stephen Pressfield- Bookmark

Struggling with flashbacks?- Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

Are writing prompts helpful- Savannah Cordova- Bookmark

Ctl Alt Del 3 act structure- Go Into The Story

In The Marketing Section,

How to promote with your posse- Pauline Wiles

Focused goals help sell books- Penny Sansevieri

How to use your book cover to sell more books- A D Starrling- Bookmark

Metadata and Book distribution resource checklist- Alli Blog- Bookmark

Creative resources for making the most of Instagram - Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

Collaboration is a beautiful thing. The most fun I've had is when I've been involved in a team planning a project. There's something about creative energy in a team that magnifies your ideas and kick starts your own creativity. I'm lucky to belong to the Fabo team of writers who started quite a few years ago writing story prompts for children in the winter terms of our school year. We kick off again at the beginning of the next school term. However, read this little gem of a story which takes the collaboration model of writing and kicks it up a notch.


In my monthly newsletter, I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. I appreciate virtual coffee love so if you like the blog hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Tristan Schmurr

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Are the barricades being breached yet?

In Publishing News this week...
The UK publishing scene is feeling a little nervous. The Waterstones chain of Bookshops has bought the Foyles chain of independent bookshops from the Foyle family. It could be a good thing... or ... time will tell. (Already commentators are saying the goodwill of all parties may last only as long as the Waterstones CEO stays in his job.)

The EU parliament has voted to progress a controversial Internet copyright law. Free Speech may now not be so free. Publishers are cautiously optimistic. Internet watchdogs are not.

This of course has no bearing on Brexit at the moment. However Tara Sparling has raised some interesting questions about what happens to authors and publishers who publish into the UK after Brexit? Royalties... Contracts... Agents... Markets... At the moment she notes there is a big silence from the publishing community and there shouldn’t be. How will Brexit affect anyone publishing into the UK?

In wider news Audible has tweaked their offerings and are now giving two audio books away each month as well as selections from Bestsellers... Do they finally see some competition on the horizon?

I keep one eye on the academic publishing sector which has been very resistant to change in the digital publishing space. The Guardian’s top journalist George Monbiot shines the spotlight on the rip off that is the academic journal. I have heard rumblings about this for a few years now but things are about to change. (I hear the cheering from the students and the screams from the publishers...)

Kris Rusch has another interesting post on negotiations. She examines the perils of the Hollywood verbal contract. As she explains Johnny Depp’s lawsuits are going to be setting precidents in contract law that are long overdue. Hollywood is not above the law despite what they might tell you. This is a must read about contract negotiation.

Joanna Penn has reached her 7th anniversay milestone of freedom from the day job and she takes stock of all that she has learned. It’s a nice roundup and offer pointers for other creative authorpreneurs.

Jane Friedman has updated her evergreen post on 10 ways to build traffic to your website... How many are you doing?

In The Craft Section,

Start me up- Janice Hardy

4 tips for stronger writing- Kathy Stinemann- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

12 effortless marketing tips- Bookbuzzr- Bookmark

Big Book Marketing blunders- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Marketing uncovered- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Print On Demand books- a nice little comparison from Reedsy- Bookmark

To Finish,

Have you ever fallen out of love with your book?
Sarah Letourneau has written a great post When the fire goes out, what to do when this happens. Sometimes that book you were dying to write just remains dead no matter what you try to do to resusitate it. Sarah has some helpful strategies. Chuck Wendig has also been musing on this topic and as usual he has talked about trusting the process in his own special style.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you want to say thanks for all the blog posts you can hit the coffee button and help fuel my week. 

It’s nearly Circus Quest book launch time and there is soo much to do. If you know a quirky confident beginning reader then check out my Circus Quest series. Custard Pies at your own risk….

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Good and The Bad….

In publishing news this week,

Book Funnel has released download codes.
These are one use codes that you can hand out at events for free copies of your books…
This is another great tool in the PR arsenal for writers.

The New York Times has an article about the alternative Nobel Prize for Literature that the
Swedish librarians are promoting. If you haven’t caught up with Nobel news… due to a scandal the
Nobel Prize for Literature was not awarded this year.

Joanna Penn has two really interesting videos up this week on her blog.
Writing a series - the continuation issues to avoid. This is part of her video shorts series.
The other video is a long form interview with Stephen Pressfield. I linked to Stephen’s blog
last month … he has been posting his latest book as a serial on his blog, The Artist’s Journey.
Stephen is a writer’s writer. He looks at deep issues that fuel or stop creativity.
It is a great interview.

Kris Rusch has an interesting blog about reader tastes and blaming the writer.
Many people agree that not everything released on TV or at the movies is to our taste but somehow we
hold writers to a different standard. What happens when our favourite writer tries something different?

Editor/Agent and Kidlit specialist Mary Kole writes interesting writing craft articles.
This week she looked at writing the book that you don’t want to… what can you do about it?

What would you sacrifice to be a successful writer? First born child… health…. Sanity?
Writing and wellness has an article on the five sacrifices every writer must make in order to succeed.

Jeff Goins writes interesting long form articles.
This one touched a chord with a lot of writers commenting. What to do when you feel like a fake?
Why a shadow career is necessary. (Jeff references Stephen Pressfield in the article.)
Jeff talks about the dance we make between art and money...

Blogging isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Many writers struggle to know what to put in a blog.
I did, hence you have been reading writing craft tips and marketing ideas etc for the last ten years on this blog.
Anne R Allen has an interesting post on how blogging jump started her career.
Long term blogging does work for your writing output and has other unexpected benefits.

Sara Letourneau is celebrating her ninth blogoversary with a list of great writing tips.
Sara always has great advice so check these out.

In The Craft Section,

Katie Weiland has been on fire with great craft articles. I discovered I had
bookmarked four of them for this weeks blog.

Mythcreants has an interesting article on hiding your foreshadowing in plain sight.

Now Novel looks at Person vs Society conflicts- Bookmark

Reedsy has The Book Title Generator… go and have some fun….

In The Marketing Section,

Mailing lists for authors- Chris Fox- Bookmark

10 reasons Book Reviews still matter- Interesting long form article from Litreactor

Book reviews - The primer- The Book Designer

When to start book marketing - The Creative Penn

To Finish,

There are writers who you read everything they write...follow their social media… enjoy hanging out
with talking shop… or worship from afar through time and space.
And then there are the other kind- The ten types of writers we need to throw down a well.

Amy Collins details what you should do to not be a bad writer on social media.


 I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. I appreciate all the virtual coffee love from people who hit the Kofi button as a thank you for the blog. (I needed it... I'm nearly ready to push the publish button on my first two Circus books...)


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Looking For The Silver Lining

This week the Christmas music really ramped up in stores. Here in the Southern Hemisphere we have the triple threat of School Year End Madness, All Things Festive, and Summer which starts on December 1. We are in the middle of a heat wave and facing water restrictions six weeks earlier than normal. The grass is dying.

Indie Burnout is the topic of Kris Rusch’s latest blog. Are you setting yourself punishing schedules? Worrying about 60 day cliffs or writing 10K in a day. Kris is noticing more and more burn-out cases. She has some good advice for managing your career.

A must read/listen is Joanna Penn’s latest blog on estate planning for authors. Do your heirs know that they are responsible for your literary estate for 70 years after you die? Have you got everything organised? There are lots of tips in this podcast.

School Library closures are happening more and more in the UK. Cressida Cowell is sounding a warning that this trend is really hitting the already disadvantaged children who don’t own books. The National Literacy Trust’s latest report is particularly grim reading. 

Meanwhile UNESCO has released a report highlighting a real concern over boys reading ability. This week on Facebook I shared a post on why kids are turned off reading. If you assess their every page turn how do they learn to read for pleasure?

The Guardian published an article about a once respected publisher going to the wall leaving huge debts and then seemingly starting up another publishing company. Authors are crying foul...

Meanwhile Rosie Amber has a post looking at the dodgy nature of some independent presses. Are they asking for money... always a worrying sign. Know what you are getting into.

It is not all Doom and Gloom... Publish Drive a nifty little aggregator, based in Europe and distributing into China and the East has just made their service available to the US. This is great news for all those people who got stuck with Pronoun’s sudden demise.

Anne R Allen always has great advice. Here she looks at 10 tips that keep your author blog running sweetly.  Elizabeth S Craig has some great tips for productivity and To Do Lists.

How Indies can stop worrying and learn to love bookmarketing. This is an attitude change. A timely post from Belinda Griffin.

In The Craft Section,

Wounds matter- Kristen Lamb

Identity and theme in YA- Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

PB creation templates-Debbie Ohi- Bookmark

Editing your writing- NowNovel- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book Review sites and Twitter lists –Bookworks- Bookmark

Finding a Literary Agent- Jane Friedman

To Finish,

It’s been an interesting time recently watching prominent people in the media fall on their swords... or get impaled by their actions over sexual harassment. You would like to think publishing is above all that.... sadly no.

To Finish on a happier note... I’ve been named as one of the five judges for the New Zealand Children’s Book Awards. This means that I will be doing what I love best over Christmas – READING!


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like what I do, feel free to hit the coffee button. Thanks.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Who Are You

What are the themes of your writing life? Do you know? Sara Letourneau explains how to find them in your writing. Will knowing about your unique themes make you a better writer? This is a great read on an interesting topic.

This week Children’s authors in the U K were not happy. Every year a range of books are made available for one pound for children. The new line up for World Book day 2018 heavily features celebrity authors. Any children’s bookseller can tell you that very few celebrities can write for children. Are we dumbing down our kids literature on purpose?

I have reported over this year Amazon’s venture into brick and mortar stores. First with their bookshops... or book showrooms as they seem to be, then buying the chain of Whole Foods shops and now they are venturing overseas. Can you see them in France?

David Gaughran has made it his mission to defend the innocent writer from Author Solutions shady practices. A S has many names and seems to be able to survive by changing names but not tactics. Lately David has been turning his crusader eyes to the shady practices of Kindle Unlimited scammers.

What is the psychology of good cover design? Is it to fit in or stand out? Damon, the man behind Damonza book covers tells all.

The next ALLi Indie Fringe conference is coming up in two weeks. If you haven’t dropped in on the other two this year don’t miss this one! It’s free. The Alli conferences are on around the time of the big Book Fairs. With Frankfurt Book Fair coming up this Indie Fringe conference is on Author Business. Check out the speakers they have lined up.

Some of the speakers at the Alli conference have writing books in this years NaNoWriMo Storybundle which is available now. Every year I point out this bundle of books going into National Novel Writing Month. October is NaNoPrepMo. This years NaNo Storybundle is stuffed full of workbooks for writers. For the cost of one book get 15 and there are some gems among them!

Chris Syme is pulling back on Facebook ads. Chris is a marketing guru whom I’ve often linked to in my roundups. She has an interesting article on why she is cutting back and the new strategy to be more effective going forward. This is a bookmark post.

Another bookmark post with warnings is Chuck’s post on saggy middles. If you have read Chuck Wendig before you will be prepared for his 25 ways to fight saggy middles. If you haven’t read a Chuck post... be warned!

In The Craft Section,

How authors can write faster- Daisy Hartwell- Bookmark

How to make your reader cry- Livia Blackburne

What is an emotional wound? – Becca Puglisi-Bookmark- This is a sneak preview into the next Emotion Thesaurus, coming soon from the Dynamic Duo!

Plot isn’t Story- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Developing Themes- The inciting incident- Sara Letorneau- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Indie Ebook promotion strategies- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Multi tiered price strategies- Martin Cavannagh - Bookmark

Book Marketing checklist- Tim Grahl- Bookmark if you haven’t already

To Finish

This week Anne R Allen decided to explore whether having a pen name was still relevant in this day and age. With Google search at everyone’s fingertips can we stay anonymous? Do we still need a pen name?


My monthly newsletter will be ready to go out soon.  I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Thanks everyone who hit the coffee button this week. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Good Villains

Ssssh You can’t tell anyone but someone with your name left a large amount of cash in a bank account and died with no heirs....
Straight away I knew the letter was a fake.
Several things tipped me off. No letterhead. The appeals to greed, tastefully alluded to, inside the letter. Some of the sentence structure was clunky. (Barclays Bank can afford to hire people who can write.) And my mother rung me up to say she had received a letter just like it earlier this week.

Can you always spot the scammers though? I have been watching Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss), co founder of Writer Beware pointing out  a series of questionable practices to a small publisher on Twitter. The publisher feels that they should be treated like a plumber and get paid by the writer to publish the work. (Hint: they have a license to publish your work under strict conditions... that’s only for fixing the leak... not the house and contents.)

After reading Kris Rusch’s latest blog post on dealing with editors who want to be paid to pass on information to the writer. Along with writers who don’t know what rights they have given up so are missing out on reprint rights because their agents can’t be bothered or don’t know what rights they sold either... I’m not surprised that Kris had a melt down. Know your business! Everybody should read this blog post and be educated.

Jami Gold has an excellent series of blog posts on Indie Publishing that I am working my way through. Her post on long term goals got me thinking. Do you have a master plan? (For world domination...)

Two weeks ago I linked to two important blogs discussing whether author newsletters were a good idea. (Anne R Allen’s blog post and Kris Rusch’s.) This topic has caused quite a stir in the online publishing world. Kris wrote a new blog post refining her thoughts on this. Anne’s blog post had 125 comments.

Writers Digest recently had a blog post about the importance of finding your tribe. That’s all your writing friends... and then Writer Unboxed had an interesting guest post from Kate Brandes about what a debut writers collective did for each other... (I keep saying this is the way of the future...)

Nate Hoffelder writes that Audible are dropping their credit gifting to the dismay of their fans.

Dean Wesley Smith has an interesting post on how to make money from short fiction pieces.

John Doppler has a must read post on the Alli blog about visualising the best sellers. Just how many Indies are in the top 100 by category.

Lit Reactor has a great article on 13 ways to support an author without spending a cent. (Spread the word and be a hero!)

Roz Morris has a fascinating blog post about opening up Book Reviewers to Indie published books. The discussion from book reviewers in the comments is well worth a read.

The fabulous K M Weiland has gathered up her recent series of blog posts based on Marvel movies. The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling according to Marvel. This is an excellent resource for every writer. (Her latest book on characterisation is amazing as well!) I Have been obsessively watching Avengers Civil War and seeing all the plot points!

In The Craft Section,

Checklist to improve your writing- Writers Write- Bookmark

How to Refine your novel- Martha Alderson

Creating your remarkable villain- David Villalva- Bookmark

How to use writers intuition- Colleen M Story- Bookmark

5 qualities of a brilliant story- Roz Morris- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing a new book in a series- Julianne MacLean - Bookmark

International author central on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy knows that I am a sucker for a fabulous infographic so he takes the time to email me and send their latest one. Everything you wanted to know about dynamic characters... in a handy chart!
Sara Letourneau has been taking a break from blogging recently. Here she explains why in a great article, Seven Steps to Honoring Your Reality. This is how you become a writing hero...


I have a monthly newsletter. It is a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other news about my writing and what I am personally learning about book marketing and publishing. I don’t spam or push any products. You can virtually meet me for coffee every month if you subscribe. (Thanks to everyone who has bought me a coffee by hitting the Kofi button.)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Writing Trends

What are the current trends in writing? Everybody wants to know.
Writers do know some trends. Their incomes are all over the place or dropping.
The current political situation is seeing dystopian themed books being dusted off. The South by South West film and television festival is currently full of Handmaids from The Handmaids Tale, a book by Margaret Atwood. This book freaked people out when it was first published and seems set to continue if all the articles about the festival handmaids is anything to go by.

The London Book Fair is on* and chat on the floor suggests that Brexit will hit UK publishing scene hard. Also I see on Twitter that it’s not just the Brits who are un-nerved. Several EU countries are facing Brexit calls of their own in upcoming elections.
We are in unsettled times.

The Bookseller talks about the difference between a bestseller and a profitable book. I was surprised to learn that they are not the same thing.

If you have tried to make sense of your publishers royalty statements lately, read Mike Shatzkin’s recent blog on Profit and Loss formulas and how publishers are getting them wrong. Could be some ammo in there for negotiations.

Sacha Black wonders if now is the time to go wide given the current trends of income uncertainty.
The latest Author Earnings report is out, and interesting reading it is too. Here in NZ we recently had our own version of Writer Income surveyed... which was pretty dismal reading. Data Guy has some comments on the NZ situation in English language publishing.

Mike Sahno wrote a guest post on Anne R Allen’s blog about the 5 pieces of bad advice regularly given to literary writers.

Auburn Seal of Bibliocrunch has some rock solid advice if you are spinning around with writing speed trends. Should you write faster or write slower? If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything you should do... set some solid goals.

Dan Blank has some sage advice for figuring out where you should be placing your book, marketing wise... way before you publish it. This is a must read.

Subscription curation is all the rage in children’s publishing according to Publishers Weekly. Publishers are directly helping parents choose wisely along with publishing classroom versions of popular books to get around censorship.

Elizabeth Craig was recently asked why didn’t she sell her books on Etsy. And this sparked a whole new way of looking at writing.

In The Craft Section,

Developing Themes – The midpoint- Sara Letourneau- Bookmark

Using Scrivener – Writer Unboxed

In The Marketing Section,

5 tools every Indie author should use- Frances Caballo- Bookmark!!

To Finish,

Reedsy is a great resource for writers. They often have great infographics... (I’m such a sucker...) However Ricardo has recently been putting together a huge list of writing competitions. Have a look.
And for all those people who want a publisher to look at their work... Catherine Ryan Howard’s 50 easy ways to get a publishing deal will resonate with everyone.

* Don’t forget to check out Alli’s LBF Indie Fringe 24 hour conference. You might just get a jump on some writing trends.


Every month I round up the best of my bookmarked links and put them together with some other goodies. You can join the trendy people and subscribe to my monthly newsletter.Thanks to the lovely people who shouted me a coffee. It is much appreciated.

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