Showing posts with label ava jae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ava jae. Show all posts

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Long Haul Writing Career

Today I was reflecting on my online home. It’s part of the spring cleaning happening here. Over ten years I hadn’t changed much on the blog. Now that I have a little bit of energy and because I have a book coming out in a few months, I’m getting more creative and adding new things like a new books website. What will my writing life look like going forward? I’m in re-launch mode of my writing career.
Jane Friedman wrote an interesting article this week on whether authors should concentrate on Social Media or their Author Websites. Note: it is now assumed that all authors will have a website. (and if not... why not?)

Kris Rusch has also been looking at author career longevity. How are the mid-listers faring at their respective publishing houses? Do they still have a career? Are publishers thinking about their business in terms of the long haul?

Joanna Penn has just celebrated her sixth year as an author entrepreneur. She breaks down all the things she has learned on her journey and why she has a long term mentality for her writing career. It’s all about the pension plan...

Susan Kaye Quinn has written an interesting article on the Alli blog about going wide – selling on multiple online platforms instead of just Amazon.  Susan is a powerhouse of great information. (As we head into the next national children’s writers conference, I am reminded that I interviewed SKQ for a keynote speech at the last conference. She knocked it out of the park!)

If you are thinking about a long career you need to keep your eye on the international markets. Diana Urban takes a look at seven things you can do to get more international exposure.

Book Marketing Tools has an in depth look at how to attract and engage more readers. After all that is what makes a career in the long term. This is a great read and a bookmark post.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing podcast team interviewed Brian McClellan on the state of epic fantasy in traditional publishing. It is a very interesting interview and some of the things Brian talks about were surprising. A must watch if you are into epic fantasy.

Screenwriters have to be able to characterise quickly in their writing. Knowing common archetypes is a must in their business. Take a look at this list of ninety nine archetypes and stock characters.

In The Craft Section,

10 dialogue errors to avoid- Writers Writer- Bookmark

How to write without filtering- Ava Jae- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book Marketing in person- Maria Dismondy

Daily deal services- 18 promo sites- Writer Unboxed-Bookmark

Changes in Social Media – Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

I am revisiting a great post by Jane Friedman on the importance of author collectives. This has been on my mind this week as I wrapped up the judging for my stint hosting the FABO Story Writing competition for kids. Fabo Story has been going since 2011- with a few new faces but the same core cast from way back then. That’s a long haul as a collective.


It’s time for my monthly newsletter to go out. 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 my nifty book crammed full with marketing notes.  The blog runs on coffee. If you want to shout me one, please hit the coffee tab. Thanks.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Writers Enemy

This week I have been noticing the adult takeover of the children’s book world. First it was colouring in books – for adults and now book publisher Workman is following this up with sticker books and other childhood past times aimed at adults. Is this a blurring of the ages or a cynical ploy to keep publishers afloat? Children’s books have not taken the print hit that adult books have taken. Hodder must be rubbing its hands at the foresight to trademark Enid Blyton’s name as Joanna Penn mentions in this great article on intellectual property. How many adults will be receiving a new Enid Blyton book for Christmas this year?

Children’s writers have been discussing ways they can help children come to terms with the next four years in US politics. As other writers have pointed out now is the time to write inspirational stories to foster hope. 18 children’s writers look at writing girl characters.

Anne R Allen has written a cracker of a post on writer’s enemies. You know the ones who slyly put you down or criticize you. Sometimes they can be in your own head. Anne gives advice on how to recognise them and deal with them.

December is when your thoughts turn to the big edit of your NaNoWriMo novel. Roz Morris suggests putting it away until after Christmas... for very good reasons.

Dean Wesley Smith has a great article on writing for yourself- Artistic choice and making money.

Donald Maass is a contributor to Writer Unboxed as well as being a respected agent and writing coach. This week he wrote about aiming to answer the big questions in your writing. Putting your purpose on the page is one of those stand out posts that make you reframe your thinking around writing. A must read. (As are the comments.)

In The Craft Section,

How to punch up your action scenes- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Your never ending writing improvement program- James Scott Bell- Bookmark ( I have this writing book and it is a little gem!)

In The Marketing Section,

Print pricing piracy- The Book Designer-Must Read

What is a hybrid publisher- Jane Friedman-Bookmark

To Finish,

It wouldn’t be December without a host of ideas for writerly gifts. I spent a long time in front of journal and pen displays today before finding a great writerly gift for my Christmas draw. So if you need some inspiration check out this list from Ava Jae and if the writer has everything... this list from Bookriot.
The last Writers Island podcast is up for the year. Click on the pic in the sidebar.
The last newsletter for the year will be going out this weekend. My To Do list is getting long. Ahh the joys of Christmas, the end of the school year and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.


If you want to catch up on the best of my bookmarked links every month make sure you subscribe to my newsletter.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Facing Your Fear

It’s ten days until November. For many writers around the world November is when they take a deep breath and plunge into NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month.) 
The aim is to write 50,000 words by the 30th.
50,000 words seems like a huge mountain to climb. Fear of the task can paralyse you so that you don’t get started at all. Rachel Thompson has 4 tips to overcome your fear of writing.

Joanna Penn has a great interview with Grant Faulkner where he talks about how NaNoWriMo got started and the origins of the 100 word story site.
You can sign up for NaNoWriMo and find your local group to support you or just beaver away at home.

Roz Morris has an excellent post on pace and structure to help with your NaNo planning and Bookworks has one on Time Management strategies for authors.

October is often called NaNoPrepMo. It is much easier to write 50,000 words if you know what you are going to write first. Jami Gold has her brilliant worksheets for authors available to download so you are all prepared for NaNoWriMo. 

Out in the world Mike Shatzkin has been taking a look at the latest Author Earnings data. He concludes that Bob Mayer was right with his post everything old is new again. Traditional publishers have now figured out how to use the new world of ebook publishing but there are differences in approach.

Kristine Rusch has an interesting post on  how writers can be overwhelmed. The solution is to define exactly what you want to be and or achieve.

Anne R Allen has a great post on the latest twists and turns of the Amazon review policy. This post is getting widely shared. Anne is a treasure trove of useful information and this post lays out what you can and can’t do regarding the new rules of reviews on Amazon.

Susan Spann writes about the intricacies of the advance in contracts. If you have ever wondered how it all works? What earning out means? How advances are calculated? This is the post for you.

In The Craft Section,

Fixing fatal flaws- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Story and Structure love- James Scott Bell

3 ways to spot telling- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Synopsising your way to revision success-Writer Unboxed - Bookmark

Finding your character special hook and Pacing- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Act 2 The dark night of the soul -Sara Letourneau - Bookmark

Where does your drama come from- Lisa Cron - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Launching A Series- Great podcast with Lindsay Buroker

Push marketing or Pull marketing- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

To Finish,

John Green has been acknowledged as a Y A writing superstar. While other writers may envy him his success has not come easy. In a very candid interview he discusses his battle with Writers Block and mental health. Sometimes all you can do is feel the fear and keep going.


If you want to get a selection of the months best links and other fear busting ideas you should subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Playing Nicely In The Trenches

Today my Twitter feed exploded with agents who were appalled at a blog post written by a disgruntled author. Agents don’t talk about the abusive letters they get from rejected authors. But to write an abusive blog post naming the agent and pouring scorn on her was not a good idea for this writer’s career. 
You should play nicely online. The internet is long on remembering and unforgiving. Agents do search you online and on Social Media. If you get a rejection, wail in your own home over a wine. DON’T wail all over the internet!

Joanna Penn has worked hard at her self publishing business. She has fans all over the world for her podcasts and her books and her willingness to answer questions and experiment. Today she posted a tech survey of the tools she uses. A very interesting post.

 James Scott Bell asked the big question. Why do you want to be a writer?
This is a great blog post to sit with and maybe ask yourself. Then take note of the answer.

Publishing Perspectives takes a look at the publishing franchise of Bourne. How did they select writers to carry on the Ludlum legacy? It has to do with love...

Kris Rusch has another brilliant post on contract snags in her deal breakers series. This week it is on definitions. If you thought you knew what the terms meant, think again. This is a comprehensive post looking at Net royalties, time limits and other dastardly goodies.

Staying on Contracts, Susan Spann (lawyer and writer) has a must read post on short contracts. That’s when the publisher does you a ‘favour’ and sends a 3 page contract instead of a 30 page contract because you don’t really need much more than that. Just don’t worry your little writer head about those rights clauses....

In the Craft Section,

8 must read writing craft books (I have most of these and agree)

Creating layered characters- Jami Gold – Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

The definition of an author platform- Jane Friedman- Bookmark

Website of The Week
Bookriot always has interesting posts and a ton of information all over their site. Recently they collected together a list of great writer podcasts. 
If you like to listen to podcasts while exercising or doing chores check these out. (You can hear the latest Writer’s Island podcast if you click on the tropical island pic in the side bar.)

To Finish,
If you are a writer you get used to rejection. Writing is subjective so not everybody will love what you bled onto the page. J K Rowling mega writing superstar that she is (with another Potter book out this week) decided to show some of her recent rejection letters. It does give hope to the rest of us bleeding in the trenches.

 Get a selection of the months best links and other ephemera when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Failure Planning In This Writing Business

This week I was discussing the abuse of interns with an economist (as you do.) He was highlighting how tech interns are offered lots of unpaid work as a leg up in the industry. Its not a leg up... it’s a leg shackle. This morning The Bookseller had an article pointing the finger at unpaid internships in publishing. (Arrgh – not in my own industry! I thought we were better than that...) I have seen Internships advertised now and again on Twitter... and they ask for writers mostly. So go in with your eyes open!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has sideways jumped with her blog series on Contracts and Deal Breakers. Prince’s lack of a will raises some huge issues for any creative legacy. Recently Kris was editing an anthology and saw at first hand what a mess some writers literary estates were in. This is an important issue. And yes it applies to you! Take the time to read her article and think about what you can put in place in the unfortunate event...

If you are thinking like a business owner... and you should be... Molly Greene has an excellent article on Business Plans for Authors this week. This is a quick run through of the basics that you should be covering.

Anne R Allen has a great post for new writers about ways they can derail their writing careers before it even starts. This is a good post to share around. I have come up against these attitudes from writers and I just wince.

This week Catherine Ryan Howard had her first Traditional Fiction book published.  Catherine Caffienated has been a popular go to blog for anybody learning about self publishing. She is funny and honest as she learned in public and helped countless others on the way with her non fiction books. So why go traditional with fiction? As part of her promotion she has an excellent blog post on killer twists.

The Marketing SFF podcast is always a great learning resource to dip into. This week the team interviewed best selling series writer Garrett Robinson and it was a cracker! Garrett writes in public on YouTube. It’s almost performance art... Spend some time with this podcast and get mind blown!

Audible is doing an interesting thing. They are allowing subscribers to gift an audible book for free. I’m trying to see the catch. You get to still own the book. The creators still get paid as if it’s a real sale... you don’t have to buy the book again. Sounds wonderful!

In the Craft Section,

How to write deep POV- Ava Jae- Bookmark

Building the movie in our minds- Jami Gold - Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

How to podcast – Joanna Penn

Susan Spann has written an excellent series on right in contracts. These are Bookmark posts! 
Subsidiary rights and Merchandising rights in publishing deals. Read and have your eyes opened!

Penny Sansevieri has a great post on live streaming on Facebook- and other epic Facebook marketing tips- Bookmark

To Finish,


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Looking for Jam

The Australian government is proposing some radical changes to their copyright laws and the writers have come out to protest. There have been open letters from Booker prize winners and other luminaries in the media over the last week. The Canadian Copyright centre has some warnings for Australia not to go down that twisted path based from bitter experience.

Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware has some warnings about the way spammers are targeting authors. I got one this week which I promptly ignored. (Legit publishers don’t contact randomly through Twitter offering to publish.) However Victoria is noticing how many spammers are using writing contests.

Dave Gaughran has been taking Amazon to task over the scammers that have taken over some bestseller categories. This week Amazon finally decided to do something about it. But it relies on you the author/reader too.

Amy from The Book Designer has an article on the new marketing tricks being offered to authors on Amazon beginning this month. This is like lifting the lid on your quiet runabout car and finding a sports car engine... but to use it might cost you the price of the sports car.

Joanna Penn has another great podcast this week on audiobooks and what she is doing. She is such a great resource. If you have been thinking about audio book narration you should check this out.

Dean Wesley Smith is a creative powerhouse. He runs popular courses on writing as well as his maintaining his busy writing career, monthly magazine, popular blog etc etc. This month he is putting some of his popular writing courses on YouTube... because.

Penny Sansevieri has put together a list of top resources for indie publishers- This is one of those bookmark lists to keep coming back to and Derek Murphy has his list of 10 things Indies are doing wrong and what they are doing right.

In the Craft Section,

When is a story not about plot -Jami Gold- Bookmark

The pre proofing checklist- Wiseink- Bookmark

The 5 biggest writing mistakes- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

10 tips for guest posts- Anne R Allen- Bookmark (I wish my guest post spammers would read this!)

The basics of book promotion- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

Website of the Week
I have featured Writers helping Writers before because of the fabulous work on the writing thesauri that Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi put together. They have two new books on Setting coming out that you might like to check out. For Marketing they usually do some cool pay it forward marketing thing which as a side effect gets their book noticed. They are looking for people to spread the word. However with just this wee taster I can see that these writing craft books will be snapped up!

To Finish,
Today I mucked around with resurrecting quince jam which had turned to toffee, while I was doing this I listened to this podcast on creativity and the art of asking and motherhood etc etc. This interview with Amanda Palmer was really interesting and a good way of getting your brain thinking while the toffee turns to syrup.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Can you afford Oysters?

Every few months there seems to be another revolution in the publishing industry. Startups come and game change for a while and then a Big Fish snaps them up.
This week Oyster – the subscription reading service, got snapped up by Google.
Laura Hazard Own has a good analysis of recent history and a pointer to where next it could all go.

With Scribed the only other subscription service outside of Kindle Unlimited providing competition, is Google finally making a play? Mike Shatzkin uses this week’s news to look at the viability of ebook subscription models and what about Apple...

Oyster’s team were very good at Mobile Reading Apps and none of the Big Fish have made a move in this direction so far... So Google has ‘acquihired’ Oyster and their mobile reading technology. There may be big moves in mobile digital publishing ahead. But the subscription ebook model may be going bad...

In amongst the dredging for Oyster news... The Author Earning team of Hugh Howey and Data Guy did some analysis of their own on author incomes. After seven quarters they have enough data on what individual big authors may have been earning... It makes fascinating reading.

Jane Friedman has put together a great series of charts on the publishing industry and an eye opening interview with Richard Nash. He is in demand to talk to conferences about the future of the book. This is a must read for authors! In the future all your income could well come from personal appearances, the wine you select... the endorsements you have... not from your book.

In the Craft Section,

Fast writers and slow writers.- Eizabeth S Craig

Writing Prompts- (Bookmark)

Essentials of Pitching – Ava Jae (Bookmark)

In the Marketing Section,

How to get your Indie book translated – Anne R Allen (Bookmark)

Connecting to readers -C Hope Clark

Website of the Week
K M Weiland is one of those go to writing craft bloggers. This week she shared her publishing year breakdown. This is a great snapshot of what Indie Authors need to do.

To Finish,
This week in the Ask Polly section of The New York Times was a plaintive letter asking Polly if the author should just give up on writing. The reply was quoted all around the blogosphere. Go on and read the pearls of wisdom in this wonderful piece.

Tinderbox is about to strike! Lots of crazy last minute conference details to do until it goes BOOM. I wish I could clone myself... then I could get everything done and attend every workshop!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Market Your Name

This week one of my friends posted an interesting article from Sarah McIntyre about crediting illustrators. Illustrators are often overlooked by authors and award judges when it comes to promotion. It is time that we remembered that a great picture book has an author and an illustrator working in collaboration and so they both should be equally credited when it comes to promotion. Sarah came up with the #picturesmeanbusiness campaign.

Darcy Pattison has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog about the promotion of children’s books and how she is using Pinterest as an experiment because children’s books are about the visual. 

Anne R Allen has a great resource blog for writers. This week she writes about the care and feeding of THE MUSE for writers. There is lots of great advice in here.

Going to conferences can inspire you to new projects. Joanna Penn talks about attending the ThrillerFest conference and what she learned there. This is a really fascinating article as Joanna is exploring the hybrid author position here. She also has a great interview with a publishing futurist…what might be around the corner and coming soon to an author near you... 

Following along on this theme is Porter’s think piece - finding and building fans of books is the most important thing an author can do ... here he reports on some big thinkers in the publishing game on this kind of marketing.

Jane Friedman has been getting serious of late with email marketing. She has written two excellent blog posts on email newsletters for authors and how to improve the newsletter to make it relevant. I’m interested in exploring this from a children’s writer point of view. Who do we send newsletters to...

I don’t subscribe to many newsletters but one I do and try to read frequently is Larry Brooks. His Storyfix website is great. His newsletters are direct and punchy on the craft of writing. Larry recently had a melt down moment which is worth reading. Writers you need to study your craft... figure out some stuff then apply it. If you write then you should read this.

Four important questions that agents ask writers in the pitch session... and yes you should be able to answer them...

In the Craft section,
Goals Conflict Stakes- Janice Hardy (Bookmark)

Copyediting –it’s not rocket surgery- The Book Designer (Bookmark)

Fishing out your manuscript hook- Kate Moretti (Bookmark)

How to write a synopsis- sorta- Ava Jae (Bookmark)

4 Revision Goals- Darcy Pattison (Bookmark!)

In the Marketing section,

The unexpected effect of perma free- M Louisa Locke- Bookmark

Website of The Week
Every now and then you come across a web comic that exactly illustrates the writing life. Chances are you have seen an Inkygirl comic. So you really need to check out her awesome website where she has other great helpful tips. Inkygirl is also promoting the #picturesmeanbusiness campaign to recognise picture book illustrators on metadata and awards.

To Finish,

Mark Coker of Smashwords recently put up his Slideshare deck ... 6 hours of concentrated workshopping on publishing ebooks. You don’t have to wade through all of it. Just look at the transcript and scroll down to the section that interests you. This is like a Master class in eBook marketing.

Pics From the fabulous Inkygirl

Thursday, July 9, 2015


I’m sitting in a warm house listening to classic jazz and being completely distracted by the hail hitting the windows. I am supposed to be on a writing retreat. That’s where you run away to a distraction free zone and wrestle with your manuscript. As I write this Stormy Weather is playing on the stereo… and out the window. Honestly you would think I was writing fiction.

It has been a little bit stormy out in the publishing blogosphere this week.

There have been storms of internet bad behaviour over at Goodreads… which follows the Twitter storm over E L James last week.
Anne R Allen has a great blog piece where she talks about the rise of the bullying culture among readers, authors and reviewers and what we can do about it. She quotes Anne Rice, who this week declared she ‘was fed up with censorship by troll.’

The Alliance of Independent Authors is promoting their ethical author manifesto and it has a clause about not engaging in troll behaviour along with other good acts of authorship.

Writer Beware has an interesting post on Amazon reviews. Amazon has been tightening up the reviews it posts because of sock puppetry and one star bullying behaviour but they may have gone too far in the zealousness. It all hinges on their data mining… and boy do they know a lot about you.

(Sorry just had to take a break to dance around to Louis Armstrong’s Aint Misbehaving.)  

Mike Shatzkin takes a pot shot at the WSJ and the Guardian. This week they will both be publishing the first chapter from Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set A Watchman. Aside from the 1950’s era of journalism involved, Mike thinks they and Lee’s publishers have completely missed the point in getting readers for this book.

Nathan Hull of The Bookseller is lamenting the way the rest of the world is looking to the US subscription model woes as a reason not to go the subscription way. Subscriptions can work for authors and publishers if they realise that Europe is not the US which is still operating on a paper and print mentality.

Jane Friedman  always has interesting things to say. Here she looks at the P and L sheet publishers have to fill in before they decide to publish. Authors should also be aware of the Profit and Loss Sheet and how it impacts them.

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
If you are thinking about audiobooks in your writing future check out this interview by Joanna Penn with Jeffrey Kafer.

If you are interested in the latest cover designs, Shelftalker has rounded up this year’s trends in Y A. Hands are in…

For the design types… a discussion on the latest typography offerings for digital books.

Molly Greene on the 99c ebook sale.

How authors can use Mailchimp and the best ways to use Goodreads.

When your cover gets copied – what you can do about it. (Writers helping Writers)

Website of the Week.
Bob Mayer always has interesting things to say. This week he has a great post on outlining your novel. And for those people thinking about going to a conference in the near future here is his slideshow on how to get the most out of a conference.

To Finish,

Wimbledon is on this week. They are sweltering in the heat. Publishing Perspectives has an entertaining look at what it might be like if publishing was like Wimbledon.  

Back to wrestling with the manuscript...
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