Showing posts with label alan rinzler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alan rinzler. Show all posts

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Writing Costs

This week two critiques of James Patterson’s Master class in writing bounced around my Twitter feed. One was from The Observer and the other from Writer Unboxed.
James Patterson is a prolific bestseller who has a team at his publishers devoted only to his work. This year he started a fund for booksellers to encourage reading. Our local children’s bookseller was a lucky recipient. So a master class from him was always going to be interesting. It’s a huge bang for your buck. ($90US) I can’t help thinking that other writing craft gurus will have to lift their game.

The other topic to get bounced around this week was the cost of publishing.
Joanna Penn has a critical analysis of her own writing business and six figure income. Kate Flora has a critical analysis of how much it costs to write traditionally. (i.e. with a Trade publisher.)

Nick Stephenson is also talking about the cost of self publishing but he sees it as a value....

Last week I linked to Steve Hamilton's fight with St Martin's press Kristine Rusch has an excellent post on this and the fact that had he done it in 2005 his career would be over… but authors who have done it have some tricks up their sleeves…. 

Porter Anderson takes a look at balancing Trad and Indie publishing interests. Whether you come in on one side or the other or are firmly hybrid, there is a lot of discussion in what way a writing career can go now. Porter mentions Deborah Cooke’s recent essay, What I miss about Traditional publishing, (very interesting) as he compares the two camps. Jaye Manus takes issue with some of Deborah’s ideas especially where she says that Indie publishers need someone to say NO that is not a good idea.

Elizabeth S Craig has a great post on publishing podcasts... She talks about her favourites and finds a few more from her readers.

Anne R Allen has an excellent post on social media... she is not a fan of email newsletters. She talks about the best way you can promote.

In the Craft Section,

Revision techniques- Janet Fox (Bookmark)

Planning your plotting – Janice Hardy

In the Marketing Section,

Looking good on a web cam – Rachelle Gardner

Molly Greene has two great posts- 45 ways to sabotage your social media success and

To Finish,

Whether you are Trad or Indie inclined you still need to write a ripping good yarn. So here is the word from Bob Mayer – Finding the shiver effect!

Pic From The Fabulous InkyElbows

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Visibility Fog

As I write this I am sitting in a car looking out on Cook Strait. On a good day you can see the South Island. Today I just see an empty expanse of white coming down on the rolling sea about 500 meters away. Visibility limited.

Somewhere out in the white are big inter–island ferries coming through the strait, along with smaller fishing boats and huge cargo ships. Modern boats have radar so there won’t be collisions.

Book visibility seems to be a theme running through my roundup today. Somewhere in the white noise of Amazon your book is floundering around. How can you make the book visible so it has less chance of sinking without a trace.

Book Radar

Your Cover. 
The Book Designer (AKA Joel Friedlander) has a good post on what a cover should have. Alan Rinzler also has talked to one of the best cover artists in the business about what is iconic and important.

This is how your book is described on any digital platform. Penny Sansevieri describes in detail how to do this for Amazon. You will learn things about search that will blow your mind.

Getting Endorsements and Reviews.
All book marketing comes down to word of mouth in the end. Either the book is being hand sold in the bookstore, Indie bookstores do this amazingly well, or you found a great book because someone told you about it.
Writer platform goes into fine detail about how to target and get reviews. Training Authors has an interesting post on getting endorsements. These are cover pull quotes.
Joanna Penn talks about little tweaks that increase your email subscriber list which increases your reader reach and your visibility.

Small publishers are just as keen on visibility. BAP books is shaking things up with a pay what you want publishing model for a poetry book. They have had great success. It is daring... innovative... would it work for any book? Not sure... but I’m talking about it on my blog at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere so it’s definitely visible.

In The Craft Section,

Writing to gaming music. (This is really interesting.)

How do you know if your concept is right? Larry Brooks with two video tutorials on nailing your concept. (Bookmark)

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing your series- Lindsay Buroker (bookmark)

Website of the Week
Actually it is a roundup of websites… on self publishing some of which will be familiar. But you may find a new one to try out.

To Finish,
Ryan Holiday has an interesting article on Growth Hacking for Creatives... This is thinking outside the box for visibility.

Pic: Cook Strait... what you see on a good day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Being A Hybrid

The Digital Book World conference is over and attendees are digesting the big issues. 
Their comments and ongoing discussions about where publishing is heading in 2013 range from ‘we are over the worst of the transition...things are settling down’ Batten down the hatches... this ride is only just beginning!
It does behoove* the author to keep an eye on what is happening in the wider world.

including What authors want...Hugh Howey...and Hybrid** is your new model.
More authors are being offered Wool like deals! News filtering through Twitter today. (oh joy...maybe this will be the big happy news for authors this year.)

To take advantage of publishing's current state of flux...authors are thinking Hybrid is the way to go. (A mix of Traditional and Self/Indie publishing.)
Dean Wesley Smith has been saying it all along...Dean wraps up a series of blog posts looking at crunching the numbers of the new Hybrid world and how you should approach the business of writing. As always check out the 97 comments!!

The next big talking point was Why online book discovery is broken and how to fix it...This article from PaidContent has many people quoting, dissing, upholding...but no one is ignoring it. I have been seeing it quoted all over the publishing blogosphere along with Brett Sandusky’s Elephants In The Room post that I linked to last week. Lots of other juicy posts in last week's blog are still being chewed over.

Also being hotly discussed...the Tools of Change conference coming up and a keynote issue  Piracy, Does It Really Harm The Author?

Roberto Calas has an in depth look at how to work/write/live Kindle Serials on Lyndsay Buroker’s blog...Boy oh Boy...this is a post that will have your head spinning...but incredible A++ for effort! Dickens followed this model of publishing...(I think he may have been a hybrid...) so maybe we're just going back to the good old days of 200 years ago...

Agent Sarah La Polla has a look at Literary vs Commercial and the reasons for figuring out where your MS lies.

In Craft,

If you are in the synopsis business...check out this great how to do of the best I have seen.

In Marketing,
Maximising the potential of your Facebook Author Page...some very interesting strategies here.

Catherine Ryan Howard looks at Book Distribution and how she has made an important discovery...Hybrids take note!

To finish,
Two posts that rocked me today...You can decide whether I was Buoyed up*** or Aghast****
and The New Yorker on Slicing and Dicing The Content of Books...The new model of discoverability....coming soon to a Search Engine near you.

Oh and if you want a nifty little post to bookmark...try this one 5 other online dictionaries...***** effort!

*To be necessary or proper for: It behooves you at least to try.
**Something of mixed origin or composition.
***become more cheerful
****Struck by shock, terror, or amazement.


Pic: This is a Hybrid Plumeria...Isn’t it beautiful. Image courtsey of

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Keeping Warm

The weather has turned cold down here in the Southern Hemisphere and all the writers I know are scrambling for heaters, blankets, fingerless gloves and other warming devices that can be plugged in and set to run under their desks.

In the blogosphere some writers are keeping warm with rants on the duplicity and underhandedness of other ‘writers.’
Take a well known writer’s name. Add a middle initial. Put that on your same genre self pubbed book. Market...
Galley Cat alerted everyone to the digital duplicity.

You could see it as a blatent marketing ploy...but it is probably lower than that as Sarah from SmartBitchesTrashyBooks explains. Why did the writer target the Romance community?

For those who follow Jane Friedman you will know that she is moving into the literary community combining her social media knowledge, publishing and Uni teaching while working for the Virginia Quarterly Review. Jane was recently interviewed by one of the founders of the Alliance of Independent Authors and it is a great interview. Jane’s tips for author websites as being their hot hub for all things is especially good...chock full of good advice.

Joel Friedlander revisits the best fonts for your P O D book this week. Joel is a great resource and he has a website stuffed with hot tips.

Chuck Sambuchino has a great guest post by Emmy Laybourne on his 7 things I have learned so far series. (7 ways to keep warm, doing some of these.)

Madison Woods gives the floor to Kath Meis, the founder of Bublish which had a lot of word of mouth at last weeks Book Expo America Convention.  Writers, it’s a free tool...and an interesting marketing idea...

Alan Rinzler, erudite observer of the business has spent an entire post looking at Barry Eisler and what writers can learn from what Barry is doing.... Alan has been a solid note of warning for the last few years about digital publishing but this year the speed of change in publishing community has got him almost spinning...and if Alan, with his long view, is spinning where are the rest of us in the centrifuge.... ( I could stuff another hot word in here but I won’t.)

The Guardian tells us all about the new release of dot suffixes in the internet domain world and what it will mean for book anyone?

 PaidContent has an overview on a ground breaking move by Google into epublishing in Europe...this may have flow on effects for us down here and is a smack for Amazon.

In the craft section,
What are your characters thinking while waiting for the story to get going. This is a good post on the importance of fleshing out your characters.

Larry Brooks’ Storyfix series on the Hunger Games has been compeling reading over the last couple of months but this post nails the novel and how you can nail your own work down to nine sentences. Just Brilliant.

My fingers are seizing up with cold...every sentence is finishing with me rubbing warmth into my hands...Ah winter...I so missed you...NOT.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Counting The Cost

I am writing this as builders work on our character cottage. Unfortunately the character of our cottage is that of a Saturday night drunk, happy but lurching and having difficulty standing straight. This is fine for a person who will wake up sober the next day but not for a house. Pulling off outside walls to find crooked framing which explains the crooked walls, which means the windows don’t fit properly which means there is rot...these are the hidden costs. We were prepared for some hidden cost but now I am dreading the call of my name from the builders at the other end of the house.

In the blogosphere Writer Beware has a guest post on why small publishers fail with a few scenarios of real situations that have you wincing for all those who are involved. This post responds to comments that asking publishers hard questions about their business  seems mean and intrusive. Given what each scenario an author you’d better know the costs up front.

Sometimes this writing life costs us too much and you feel like throwing in the towel....

Miss Snarks First Victim has a great post on where the quitting decision may be coming from.

L M Preston solicits good advice for beating the blues and Ava Jae of Writability talks about writing through resistance...which echoes Stephen Pressfield's great book, The War of Art, which I bought last week...I recommend this book if you are struggling with the whole ‘what am I doing this for’ scenario.

Agent Mary Kole talks about the decisions of choosing a book to represent for love...or for the potential money...

Fiction is our way of creating a tribe for ourselves- Victoria Mixon This beautiful phrase comes from a very thought provoking post on writing that is challenging and inspirational and shows the costs to yourself as you follow this path.

Lindsay Buroker always has some interesting things to say and this post is no exception. How to improve your sales at Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and iTunes. Check out Lindsay’s previous posts on advertising while you are visiting.

Alan Rinzler has been looking at Book Publicity and he has interviewed three publicists about their work and tips that you can learn from them.

Joel Friedlander has a great rundown on blog widgets and how to get the most out of them design wise.

Jami Gold has a great tip for MS Word and Beta readers...and how to get all their comments all together in one place...tricky and the payment is a saving of your sanity.

This week the Scholastic Media president was interviewed on where Scholastic is going with eBooks enhanced apps etc etc. The interesting numbers from January 2011-January 2012 saw a 474% uptake in children’s eBooks. Scholastic predicts that 30% of all their revenue will be digital by 2015. It is a very interesting article and those of us who write for children need to be flexible in our thinking of where our audience is going.

Jody Hedlund is also concerned about audience and asks whether you really know the demographic that you are writing for. She raises some interesting points in her post eBooks vs Paper...are you taking your audience with you?

Next week hopefully the building work will be nearly finished and we will be counting the cost...and probably reaching for a bottle of solace.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Craic-the-book Project

Who’s your 3am friend?

‘Why don’t you turn one of your manuscripts into an eBook?’ The question was posed as a challenge but it also pointed to a way to use all that research on my blog for the last three years, (as several friends pointed out.) ‘And you can tell us all how to do it.’

So begins the Craic-the-book Project.

First I made a list of everything I needed to do. Each item was going to be a project in itself. I took a deep breath.

ISBN numbers. (if I was going to do an eBook I should look at Print and Audio as well.)
Book cover. Book Trailer. Book website.
Formatting for different devices and media.
Distribution and Storefront.

In effect the whole project was to turn myself into a publisher.

As eBooks began to change the publishing landscape my weekly blog roundup reflected the hot topics under discussion.  Publishing eBooks whether you do it on your own or with an eBook publisher or with an agent or a traditional publisher, the big concerns can be broadly grouped into three categories.

Quality of the Content.
Career Impact.

Quality of the Content.
eBooks range in quality from badly written, badly formatted, 500,000 word epics to 5000 word pristine short stories. It can be vanity publishing at its worst and niche publishing at its best.
My manuscript Craic had been doing the rounds here in New Zealand staying between 6-12 months at each publisher.
“It’s a great story. We’re sure someone will pick it up.”
After five years of getting positive rejections and nearly getting a contract twice you feel somewhat crushed. So using the positive rejections positively I felt I had quality content.

Marketing starts at the book cover. With different formats it was going to be important to have a strong cover that could be scaled down to thumbnail size on a computer which is how the rest of the world would be finding the book.  With the rise of the eBook has been the rise of the book trailer. There are different opinions about whether book trailers work. In several discussions with school librarians, both here and overseas, they were adamant that a book trailer sold a book to kids. Librarians used them on websites and kids queued for the book after seeing the trailer. My book is a midgrade and book trailers aren’t as common as in Y A so I had to decide whether to do one or not.
A dedicated book website this could be the store front. As my blog is my author home page I needed a site that could be all things Craic. I had already created a book website for my book Bones (published by Penguin) so I knew roughly what I needed to do.

Career Impact
As my career seemed stalled, movement on that front was always going to be a positive. I haven’t abandoned traditional publishing. With the recession in publishing and the impact of e-publishing on traditional print publishers everybody is looking for the magic solution. The writer now has many options, epublish only or a mix of traditional and epublishing either on their own or with an agent or print publisher.
Midlist, midcareer writers who have been abandoned by their print publishers are now discovering huge opportunities in their out of print back list, making them available as eBooks. This now has print publishers scrambling to get back this potential gold mine by sending updated contracts to authors with very very fine print. If you are in this position, check out any new contract with a magnifying glass.

Here endeth Part One of The Craic the Book Project.
Next week... Book Covers and Book Trailers

Now for those of you who need your weekly fix of great links....

In the blogosphere this week there was the big discussion over negative reviews and the huge stoush on Goodreads between writers and reviewers...OUCH. The Guardian tried to sum it all up.

Alan Rinzler looked at The Pitch...Specifically the new author pitch - Show Don’t Sell. He breaks down when and how to use different pitches and to whom.

Will Terry looks at his epublishing year and breaks down the numbers. This is an interesting post on reality checks and cheques.

Jane Friedman has been quoted all over the place this week with an article that have got everybody talking on eBook statistics.

Jane also appeared on U S Television tonight talking about the SOPA and PIPA Bills which are being discussed in the US Senate. If you want to know how it these bills may affect you check out Wikipedia, they blacked out their page in protest yesterday.

Apple is set to make a big announcement later today...Rumours suggest it is an ebook publishing app specifically targeting Textbooks. (Like Garageband for ebooks.) Groundbreaking? Probably!

I’ll finish with Chuck. He has a brilliant post on the 25 things a writer should do.
(warning its Chuck.)

Update: Apple's new announcement...yup take a moment to think about how easy it will be to create an enhanced book....

I’ll leave you with a little book trailer....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Passionate About....

FaBo Story is back! 
Nine wacky writers get together to deliver another challenging writing experience to New Zealand kids. Come over to Planet FaBo and let your imagination go. (coz we need it.) This is a writing blog with a difference.

This week in the writing blogosphere there has been a discussion over writing blogs and whether they are worth the time it takes and does it really have anything to do with your brand. This has morphed into sub discussions over branding and the worth, in general, of Social Media.

So what am I doing here? 
I write a blog about what’s topical in the publishing world with a smattering of craft tips and odd things I have enjoyed while looking for other things.

What am I passionate about? 
You could say Space, Teaching, Writing for kids....actually I’m passionate about Learning. I love Learning. I can’t help it. I like finding out stuff. I started this blog three years ago to learn about the internet and then social media just sort of fell into it and along the way I discovered great craft tips and new tech and there you have it. 

FaBo Story began the same way. A group of kiwi writers started talking on Facebook about how we could have some fun writing an online book and interact with kids, getting them to write alongside us and so Fabo Story was born. Because the kids are such good writers we had to have a bit of a rest before we did it again...and make it harder so they didn’t out write us every time. (we do have our pride.) And we are developing the accident.

The Book Designer has a great post on Author Brand. It clarifies what you, the author, should be thinking about.

Alan Rinzler has taken a careful look at what it means to be a writer today in this new publishing world and as he is one of the most experienced editors around, he is worth reading.

Raymond Benson has a guest post on Joe Konraths Blog about his experience with epublishing. Do you realise that you are in it for the long haul? What else should you be doing with the new publishing experience?

Someone I noticed this week with a new publishing experience was PJ Hoover. She has brought out trading cards to go with her ebook Solstice. The Trading Cards have Q R Codes. What’s this I thought and dived into the world of two dimensional barcodes which show enhanced content via smart phones. And this is available for kids. Brave New World, step this way....One company has even Q R coded the classics so you can read while waiting in line.

In the Craft Corner, there are two absolute standouts for you to devour.

The phenomenal Kidlit team have the Complications worksheet. This is a brilliant aid to plotting that you will want to bookmark.

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

Call For Submissions- A new publisher to have a look at.

What Went Wrong With The Star Wars Prequels...(Read it and see what not do with great storytelling.)

To finish,

The YASaves debate is still going on. (see last weeks post) Today Jay Asher of 13 Reasons Why, was asked his opinion. As you can imagine it was to the point. It is all about the readers and their experience, The Young Adults understand it, their parents might not.  

This week I passed the following link on to people who were looking at wonderful backlists with no idea what gold it contained for them now.

Bob Mayer has taken a good hard look at Indie vs Trad debate and has basically said stop taking sides and start taking advantage. He has some very pointed advice for publishers and authors and agents. 
Read it. Think about it. See how it can work for You. Be Passionate. 


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Conference Connections....

It is conference season for Children’s Writers and Illustrators. 

WriteOnCon starts next week. It’s Free and Online and close to 500 people have signed up for it. (Click on forums to sign up.)

SCBWI LA Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators  L A summer conference has just finished and they had a record breaking crowd of over 1100 attendees this year.

Alice Pope and her team blogged their way through it again this year. You need a team to blog a conference of this magnitude. Last year was the first time that they did it and it was a stupendous undertaking. This year they surpassed themselves. For us who can only dream about one day making it over there to just experience it, or in our case having to put on our own conference so we could get the opportunity to learn, upskill, and network  in our craft, the SCBWI Team Blog is the way to go.

Just a warning there is so much information about what’s new, what editors are looking for, trends, multimedia, master class information, tips, learning,....Set aside time to really study what has been posted. And it is a lot! I clicked older posts 8 times before I got to the start of the four day conference. Along the way the information coming at me was incredible.

If you are in this business you would be a fool not to check out the blog.   

Michelle from The Y A Highway blog posted her impressions as an attendee and soundbites  of what she took away from the conference. It is a great little roundup of highpoints.

A couple or three  sites caught my eye this week to share with you before I got snowed by the conference blog.

The Book Doctor has an article up on organising your days on a weekly basis. It is timely as life gets pretty busy around here and fitting in time to write and not feel guilty is very tricky. So check out the advice from The Book Doctor Team.

Pimp My Novel has reposted an article from last year about 12 easy steps to help market your new novel. This is a good wake up call from the sales director of a publishing firm. Especially lead in times...websites etc...and Book Trailers.

As an aside Christopher Cheng from Australia/New Zealand SCBWI got an award In L A last week for most helpful  Regional Advisor and he did a session on creating book trailers...yes the authors HAVE TO DO IT and his session showed how you could do it in 30 minutes. You have to read SCBWI TEAM BLOG!

As I have said in earlier posts, the futurists are predicting that publishers will only survive if they become more niche so it is useful for authors to look at this form of marketing as well. This week I have been delving into marketing books again and the new buzz word coming out is fusion marketing. Teaming up with other industries and marketing together.
Alan looks at some of these ideas and shows examples of book campaigns that are doing this.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page)

What Writers Wish They Had Known Before Pitching

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far (a satire...very funny but thought provoking too)

Open Sky Website lets Authors Sell Directly To Consumers  (On Fusion Marketing )

Writing Vs Storytelling (Nathan Bransford writes a brilliant article on looking closely at why we love or don’t 
love best sellers and what we can learn from them)

How A Sticky Note Can Change Your Life

Some Tips For Writing A Series.

And in other news
The FABO Story project is off with a hiss and a roar and we are getting some great stories from the kids. Go and check out Chapter Two and the winning kids chapter two version. Kids can join in at any time as a new chapter is posted each week. New Zealand Illustrators have joined in with a team of their own getting together to illustrate each chapter for us...

If you are dreaming of book trailers....and going global....check out how you can run a TV Ad in the States  for very little money. Is this where FABO will end up?...heheheheh If you read the SCBWI TEAM BLOG you will find out that it’s not  such a silly idea....


pic is from Christopher Cheng...his view of the 1100 attendees at SCBWI LA.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Things Worth Doing

This last week I have been mulling over things worth doing. 

This started when I decided that during the  long weekend rather than fritter it away with the usual family activities spread out over an extra day we should make it count. So the contents of the kids bedroom were hauled out and painting, ceiling to floor, began...Of course the rainy weather meant that the room has taken its time drying and so the contents of the kids room are all over the house.... The kids had fun camping out in other family bedrooms and found going back to their nice clean bright room a wrench. But the room looks it was worth doing.

Next week I am chairing a panel discussion on Boys and Reading at the City Museum. In preparation for this I have been sent little bios of the panel members, so I can introduce them properly etc. As I know all of the panel members this is a timely reminder for me to think about what I would say if I was asked to put a short bio together for someone who doesn’t know me. (Hmmm lucky I’m chairing this really, and can remain anonymous, letting the panel be the stars they are...) 

I recently came across a new site where 30 mid grade writers have gathered together to promote midgrade...and their short bios are entertaining and give a sense of their personal style. (Midgrade is commonly called junior chapter books or junior novels...for children 8ish-12ish. It’s my favourite age to write for. It’s my favourite age to teach as well. There must be something in that as I think sometimes I’m a ten year old trapped in an adult body...oooh gross.)

So in the spirit of worthwhile bios and media kits for authors, here is a great link to an article which gives a good run down on what the author should be including in this internet savvy age. This has to be the most comprehensive list of what to include in a media kit that I have seen. It covers every eventuality...sample questions... book trailers...definitely a must read.

Jody Hedlund has a great blog that I drop into from time to time. This week she has a great post on  5 tips for playing the smart publishing game.  I mentioned to a friend recently how many new writers want information on a plate now and who don’t realise that going out and researching is the start of learning about publishing. Of course Jody puts it so much better. She makes some worth while points about connecting with other writers and writing, writing writing.

Alan Rinzler has a superb post entitled The Number One Issue for Writers Today. If there is one piece of worth while writing advice you need to read... this is it.

And on the topic of worth while things to do...Today one of our own literary gems, Kate de Goldi, was awarded a major prize from the creative arm of our government to research and write a book about another quiet literary gem here in New Zealand. For those of us in Wellington, Susan Price is an icon of New Zealand children’s literature. Those of us lucky to have visited the amazing Susan Price collection of children’s books know what an amazing unsung hero she is. For one of our best children’s writers and reviewers to be given the means to write a scholarly study of Susan and the gift to the nation of her collection and what it means to children’s literature is truly wonderful news. 

A very worthwhile project indeed.

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify page)
There are links to articles this week on ...

So what comes next after Steampunk and Zombies?

Writing A Series – good points to remember.

10 ways authors can profit from instant free screencasts.

21 things you writers know that non writers don’t.

And a nod to my geek side
Top 10 places to find alien life...( I picked over half of geeky am I )



pic is Kate de Goldi...(nice pic Kate)
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