Showing posts with label Shelli Johannes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shelli Johannes. Show all posts

Friday, August 22, 2014

Spinning the Truth

What has been happening this week in the publishing blogosphere...

The open letter signed by over 900 American authors to Amazon about the ongoing dispute with Hachette has now got an international flavour with a German version springing up. Amazon is in dispute with German publishers about eBook prices... and over 1300 German language authors have signed an open letter. Porter Anderson takes a look at the two sides of this ongoing story. Which truth should we subscribe to?

Maggie Stiefvater delivered a keynote address at SCBWI that wowed people... She has published an excerpt... about writing being thievery... Excellent reading.

WriteOnCon is nearly set for takeoff... They have posted their list of agents dropping in. It promises to be a huge weekend. Take some time to check out what is on offer in this free online children’s writers’ conference.

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
Joanna Penn continues to break new translation ground. She details how she has approached the German edition... and gets her translator to talk about the process. Fascinating reading.

Joel Friedlander has a guest post on planning your blog posts around your book.

Elisabeth S Craig has updated her database collection of editors, designers and illustrators for free lance projects.

Kris Rusch has added a new post to her discoverability series, which will shortly be turned into a book.

Self Publishing - three links

Jan Ruth (romance) on how to make the most of it.

Trevor Richardson on his journey which involved getting his rights back and starting a literary magazine.

To Finish,
The lovely Melinda Szymanik has packed a lot into her six month writing residency... if you can’t get away to another city maybe you could try organising a writing retreat when you can’t afford to go on one.  This could be handy if you want to combine it with the excellent WriteOnCon free children’s online writing conference... Or maybe you could dream about the most excellent writing studio... where you can contemplate writing your own truth.

maureen (late again…sorry. I am getting better….)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Independent Thinking

As I write this Indie ReCon is hitting midpoint (19-21 US time). 

This conference, like WriteonCon, is free, online and chock full of great content. Indie ReCon is for writers who are thinking about or doing their OWN publishing. Three days of other writers giving their time and expertise to help empower others.
Even if you are not ready to step into the Indie world there are topics covered that are of use to the traditional author.

Bob Mayer kicked IndieRecon off with his keynote on the Future of Digital Publishing.

Jessie Harrell looks at the Pro’s and Con’s of going Indie...and she lays it out honestly.

Marketing plans made easy with Shelli Johannes. Shelli is a great blogger, source of inspiration and advice.

Denise Grover Swank looks at Business plans...and spells out what you need to focus on...because if you go Indie You Are A Business... (Kris and Dean have been saying this for years!!!)

Alicia Kat Dilman takes a look at 10 ways to make your cover stand out.

These are just 5 presentations from 17 on the first day...Check out Indie ReCon and scroll down the left sidebar...give yourself heaps of time!!

Writer Beware has a warning post to Christian Writers about an outfit targeting them who solicits the author first...then ties them up into contracts with little gems like this...
It's an exclusive life-of-copyright world rights grant term with no provision whatever for rights reversion other than the publisher's discretion in discontinuing publication if sales fall below 50 copies in a year. In other words, the publisher can hold onto your rights for as long as it chooses, and you have no recourse for getting them back.
Check out Writer Beware for other hidden contract bombs that Blessed Hope Publishing hope you don’t see.

Around the Publishing Blogosphere discussion over the Future of Foyles workshops held this week in London where the massive Foyles Bookstore invited the public to tell them what they wanted in a future bookstore over two days of workshops. Ideas abound as Porter Anderson covers what came out of it. Lots of Independent Bookstores are taking a look at the ideas for their own selves.

The bookstores are doing this on behalf of all independent Bricks and Mortar bookstores.

Anne R Allen has 5 blogging rules that Authors can ignore and 5 they can’t. As usual great content from Anne.

Joanna Penn has a great guest blog from a children’s writer who podcasts and uses animation software in her marketing. The free animation software is the next great thing to play with...

WanaCon an international online writing conference is coming up if you want to check it out. (The brainchild of the WANA team and Kristen Lamb.)

 A Film Character Has Become An Editor At A Big Name Publishing House...Check out this breaking news from The Onion.

In Craft,
Give your stories depth by having a ghost plot running through them...A nice little post on how to set this up...when you read it you will get an AHA moment.

In the same theme...Set up more payoffs in your story. This is the bit where the readers think ...OH You Clever Writer....

The Script Lab has got the scene questionnaire...and it is a good focus for writers as well as scriptwriters.

To finish,
I leave you with Chucks Exhortation to just follow his simple writing plan...which is being retweeted all over the place.

On FB I'm asking what Children's writers would put in their Writers Bug Out response to this from Writers Digest.... Feel free to leave a comment.
If you had to leave the  house in a hurry, what would you have in your writing bag? 


Pic from Flickr Creative commons/Cyron

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Against the crowd

Last weekend I travelled up to Auckland to take part in a workshop on eBooks.
My bit was to tell attendees what I discovered when I decided to make Craic an eBook.
In a nutshell - Know what you are getting into, (Publishing- Dean Wesley Smith has a great post on that.) 
Remember that you want to do the best work that you can, so pay attention to detail...because you are going to be putting your name on this product and you don’t want your name to stand for a crappy reading experience.

The workshop was a great success. The organisers made sure there was information available for everyone at all stages of the e publishing spectrum. I’m sure by the end of the day attendee’s were wishing that they had brought spare heads to help them process what was coming at them.

You may need to grab your spare head for help with understanding this week’s dramatic change in the world of epublishing. Microsoft are partnering with Barnes and Noble. 
Barnes and Noble are a book store chain with their own ereader, Nook, who are in competition with Amazon. Microsoft is...well who hasn’t heard of Microsoft?

While we are on the subject of ereaders, epublishing and the rise of the independent writer... Passive Guy takes issues with some of Mike Shatzkin’s comments on how no big writers have gone indie yet and why. This is a good read, giving you an overview on the current issues facing writers as they weigh up options. Especially interesting are the comments from some big authors....

 One of the biggest challenges in the decision to go how to be noticed by your readers. Marketing is so important and so hard to do, if you are an introverted writer sitting in a closet somewhere. So here are a few links that may help you to open the closet door.

Mid Grade writer Shelli Johannes has taken a hard look at what worked and what didn’t in her Indie experiment...The numbers are interesting and so is what not to do....

Amazon has announced their next big move in their publishing stuff....especially kids series on screen...Check out what they are looking for.

For those writers who love a challenge... Storyaday is the thing to do for May.

To finish
Those that have been following me for a while know that I am interested in author collectives and how they support each other and market their work.

Check out this delicious it!  (Hey FaBo Team are you watching?)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Quest For Quality Content

There has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about ‘indie’ publishing and how many wannabe authors have jumped on the bandwagon and are happily uploading eBooks by the score. The books are badly formatted with sloppy editing and containing spelling and grammar mistakes in the hundreds. 
This plethora of dross overwhelms the Reader, who is searching for a quality read. 
The Author who has worked hard on editing, formatting and laying out a quality read, is buried in the slush. 

What To Do....
The Reader starts to look for quality filters...word of clubs and others to make navigating to the quality content easier.
The Author is stuck in the bind of having to market and promote like crazy, to get their name out there enough, so it stays in the readers consciousness long enough for the reader to click the buy button...while trying to write more quality content.

This month the Craic book project has stalled...due to unforseen family circumstances and so I have done no marketing on Craic. I have just checked the Google search on Craic and found some new bars have opened up in New Zealand with the name of my fictional rock band...hmm wonder where they got that name from.... 

What I should be doing...
Making sure I don’t commit any of the 7 worst mistakes of the indie author.
Checking out pet peeves of marketing and vowing to get better...

When I find time to write more quality content I should be looking carefully at my word choice...(warning this is a Chuck post...great... but his word images are not for the faint of heart.)

I should be reading quality craft books and practising finding my 'Aha' moment. (just bought two of James Scott Bells and am preparing to throw myself into the work as I have two manuscripts to rework, one to finish and one to start...I need more quality content to follow up Craic you see...)

In my quest for quality content to read and learn from I need to look at what others have done and how they have had the stars fall into line...
Grammar Girl springs to mind, along with this TED talk by Andrew Stanton on Storytelling. (the guy who wrote Toy Story and Finding Nemo...)

A couple of agents examine middle grade fiction and what they think authors need to be aware of.

Joel the book designer has a handy post on designing your book yourself... Lets not be sloppy out there!

The Horn Book (that august filter of quality work) has turned its sights on the picture book app and has a check list of what is a quality app and what is not!

I should be checking my author platform... finding where I should be, and BEING THERE.

Somehow I need to fit this in and stay sane enough to cope with the chaos of my home at the moment. So...if I am a little distracted beer/bear/bare/ with me and I will hopefully get it all together sometime soon when I find my Wonder Woman cape and magic bracelets.

By the way Craic is available on...
and Smashwords for ePub

It is a quality read....hehehe.


get your wonder woman costume here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Covering The Book

The Craic Project -Episode Two
A book is judged by its cover.

Book covers - The most important starting point for a reader, getting their attention! I set about reading up on them. What does a Book Cover need?

1. A strong choice of colours to have the book stand out.
2. An arresting image.
3. A clear font choice.
4. The ability to retain all these elements when reduced to thumbnail size. 
This is important because all the marketing of the book is on screen and book covers are reduced to thumbnail size...Check out Amazon and scroll through the average list of books in your genre. Focus on the books that grab your eye.

What colour palettes are being used in your genre? 
Opinion is divided on midgrade covers, from bubblegum cartoon to photo realism. I took myself to the book shops and stood back in front of the midgrade section to see what stood out. Very little. This is because the mid grade book cover is being influenced by the Young Adult cover. The Young Adult book cover is leaning towards paranormal and steampunk colour palettes...that’s browns, blacks and sepias and contrast white. This is what is being published now...bear in mind that books accepted now will take one -two years to come out so styles will change. I checked out what others were saying. Bookseller opinions were that they were over the muted colour tones.

After I finished rereading Craic for the umpteenth time I had several strong images and colours in my mind that represented the main themes of the book.
You know how it is when you have a vague idea of what you want but not a specific. I decided to look at a stock photo site just doodling around to see what was there.

Stock photo sites are a serious time many cool images. Along with the photos, many artists have uploaded designs as well.
I found two images that represented almost exactly what was in my head and more importantly the colours were strong. The purple image I thought may have been designed just for Craic (I fell in love. If you have read Craic you will know what I mean...If not, what are you waiting for...heheheh. )
Were they too strong? Go to target audience...What do they think...which one...or combination of them... Combination won out.

The cost of the image depends on how popular the image is, the size that you want and the type of license you need. You want a large image for clarity, especially if you are going to be using that image in a variety of media, print, screen, video...(altho not always, see below on book covers) 
So I quickly had to work out a budget. (I had a limited budget however the Book Cover is hugely important so invest money here.)

I had to figure out what licenses I needed and how to buy them.  I made one mistake, getting a more extensive license for the purple image, which means I can print it on teeshirts and sell it if I never know I may just want to do that...hehehe.

Once I selected the images, bought and downloaded them then I had to figure out a way of combining them and find a title font.

Fonts...a serious timesuck, so many wonderful fonts.... I went with a Celtic theme because Craic is an Irish Gaelic word...and just happened to find a font called Dumbldor. How could I resist?

For the price of a couple of dinners, a friend played around in Photoshop and combined the images for me. Then back to the target audience for reaction and tweaking.

While I was checking out images... I was checking out books from the library on making YouTube videos. They all agreed that a good YouTube video was storyboarded and had a matching musical soundtrack...More research required.

Next week... What I learned about Book Trailers.

For those of you who have skipped down to the Main Event...The Link roundup.
What has been talked about in the blogosphere this week?

Apple’s announcement of iBooks and iAuthor iPad App software and the way they have used the EULA (End User Licence Agreement) After you have downloaded the free software then you find out that Apple will take a 30% cut of your work if you sell it. And you can only sell it on iTunes. There are lots of fors and againsts about this move. Check out Writer Beware and read the comments to get a good handle on this one. (my 2c is they don’t own your content and you are free to take that content and drop it into any other software to make an Enhanced Book App with. Latest numbers out... last year 32 million iPads sold.)

Staying with this theme The Digital Book World Conference is on at the moment.
Bob Mayer recaps his thoughts on what’s been talked about so far and his participation on the self publishers panel...Yes even Mr Mayer can be outclassed!

Angela Ackerman AKA The BookshelfMuse has written a timely post about pulling back on social media. This resonated with a large amount of people who commented with links and advice to help focus on the task at hand.

Jeff Vandermeer has a blog post on Literary Estates and what it means for an anthologist to try to deal with them. TIP Even if you have only one piece published, have a literary executor...Jeff tells you why!

School starts next week and I’m about to start the mammoth job of covering books!


Craic (8-12 yrs) is available on Kindle and Smashwords (2.99US)
Check out for more information.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Standouts for me are....

Ok late again... but can chant this now...I’ve been busy!

Storylines, conference, storylines, conference, conference .....etc... only three weeks to go.

Storylines is over for another year. (Onwards to the next big event I wonder what that is....?)

We had nearly 3000 people through the doors last Sunday. (...we still haven’t cracked it....still trying tho)

There were lots of great moments. Standouts for me...Mrs Wishywashy (aka Martin)

Children, yet again, going nuts over Hairy Maclary and also The Wot Wots who made their debut at a Storylines event. The Wot Wots were Richard Taylor and Martin Baynton... The creators dressed in WotWot costumes and holding animatronic puppets.

Richard Taylor, is such a nice guy, genuinely interested in what children wanted to know...he brought along a couple himself....You wouldn’t see a five time Oscar winner in Hollywood packing his own gear in and out and blowing up balloons for a display, huh! Martin Baynton was Mr Enthusiastic. Such a great pair.

They brought along a bigger than life size model of Jane from Jane and the Dragon...Martins book which WETA have done such a superb job of animating. There were some great moments in their sessions too like Richard saying that the state of animation is moving so fast that they haven’t got the time to train people up so they are pinching them from the Wot Wot team. Children’s Television being the best training ground for animators.

The Illustrators were their usual super cool selves. I finally got a dream wish come true. Frazer Williamson was doing little sketches daubing them with Gouache watercolour and giving them away. We are now the proud owners of a Surfing Penguin on a Fish...framed the next day. But a knockout was witnessing Frazer being given a drawing from a young fan, in appreciation. Such moments, priceless!

Now onto another topic.

Shelli Johannes has a cool blog called Market My Words.

She is a mg/ya author who, like me, is interested in marketing ideas for authors. Shelli interviewed Molly O’Neill of Katherine Tegen books an imprint of HarperCollins about author web presence and best marketing ideas. The interview is a great read with some good advice from Molly. Below is just one of the pieces of advice that Molly shares.

Go to Shellis blog to read the whole article....I recommend it.

I’ve got a handful of additional advice, mostly gleaned from talks I used give about marketing:

• Take the time before each book is published to sit down and make a marketing plan for yourself, separate from anything your publisher may be doing. Think about your limits and be realistic. It’s great to come up with wildly creative ideas, but sometimes carefully thought out simpler ideas can accomplish far more. Set goals for yourself, and make sure they are goals that you can accomplish, not something that you have little control over (like winning an award). Set specific goals, and give yourself benchmarks to measure if you’re meeting them. For example, don’t just have goal of “make brochures.” Make it be “make brochures and distribute at least 50 to local area teachers.” Instead of just “set up local book signings,” which may or may not be successful, add to it, set up book signings and attend 4 other events at your local bookstore, so you can see what works—and
doesn’t work—for other authors, and so you become a familiar face. And make sure on every marketing plan, there are a couple things that are new—maybe even things that seem a little scary...whether that means cold-calling schools to offer school visits, or trying blogging, or speaking in public….Growth in your approach is important, and trying new things can open up possibilities you never even considered.


pic is Richard Taylor as a wotwot and Jane (storylines wellington 2009)

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