Showing posts with label bob mayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bob mayer. Show all posts

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Underneath The Covers

Recently the #PublishingPaidMe hashtag trend on Twitter exposed the historical underpaying of black authors in the publishing world. One of the ideas it highlighted was the lack of diversity in publisher lists with publishers limiting themselves to one representative of each ethnicity and claiming they were diverse. Publishers Weekly looks at other negative trends that were exposed with the hashtag trend call out.

How good are you at spotting publishing scams? Unfortunately, even people who have been bitten once are being bitten again. Even when you think that the publisher is looking legit, check, check, and check again. And don’t take an agent's word for it. They have been bitten as well.

Kobo Plus is like Kindle select but without the demand for exclusivity. However, it was limited to just a few countries. But in great news this week Kobo Plus is expanding… YAY.

How do you keep your backups safe? Do you even have backups? Jami Gold looks at all the different ways you can save yourself giant headaches.

Netgalley has been offering their review service for quite a while. Recently they decided to expand their service to audiobooks. With the rise and rise of audiobook sales, this is a welcome move for publishers.

Can authors use A I to help them write a better story? Writers Digest has an interesting article looking at using a tool called Marlowe that analyses your manuscript and points out the flaws and plot holes to fix up. Take a look at Marlowe – you can try it out for free.

As a teacher, I was very keen to encourage my younger colleagues to have some sort of creative life outside of teaching. You need to put creativity into the well because teaching drains so much from you. For me, it was escaping into writing. But as writers, are we draining the creative well and not putting anything back in? This article looks at the importance of having hobbies away from writing.

Bob Mayer and Jennifer Crusie are both big names in their respective genres. Together they have written 3 great thriller romances. They collaborated on a website where they discuss different aspects of the writing craft from their own points of view. Check out their conversation on developing character arcs. Excellent stuff. (Also, their writing is superb!!!)

In The Craft Section,

How to start a novel - 8 steps to the perfect opening scene- Reedsy- Bookmark

Writing emotion- Iris Marsh

In the Marketing Section,

Two great articles from Rachel Thompson - How to improve your email newsletters right now and How to build an engaged following- Bookmark

Using video marketing- Frances Caballo

Amazon Editorial Reviews -Are you using them- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

5 Simple website upgrades- Penny Sansevieri - Bookmark

To Finish,

Brandon Sanderson has been running a Kickstarter for a leather-bound hardback edition of one of his best-selling books to celebrate the 10th anniversary. He modestly asked for $250K because that was what he figured he would need. So far, he’s passed $5 million. Kris Rusch takes a look at Kickstarter for authors and how building a community and stakeholder engagement is a winning formula for writers wanting to try this form of income building.
It’s all part of building up multiple income streams for authors.


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Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Steven Johnson

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Deadlines Deadlines

This week I have been putting all my energy into another project... that has a deadline like an approaching iceberg. Far away it doesn’t look daunting...

While I was flailing, Kris Rusch published this little gem on her blog- It’s not about us. This gives me hope that my ideas will come across even though I feel my writing might get in the way.

I was also struggling with not-being-a-superhero syndrome. At the beginning of the month... I thought sure I can do this big speech and write my NaNo novel. Ummm something has to give... Then I came across this wonderful post and it put this month into perspective. A must read!

Nate Hoffelder always has his fingers on the publishing pulse. This week he looks at how Amazon is rank stripping authors ... for the crime of being... successful?
Nate also looks at KDP print who have upped their cheap author copies. It could be handy if you are selling at Christmas fairs.

Kristen Tsetsi has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s blog about the choices one has to make to get published.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting blog on the ASEAN summit in publishing. People down under should be keeping an eye on this emerging market.

Janet Reid answered a letter from an author whose day job company owns everything they create. A lively discussion ensued about how much of your time a company can own... Can they really take ownership of your novels...

A few weeks ago I had to have an author photo taken... I looked at all the different shots and decided they weren’t really me. I was trying to be serious and author-ly.-It didn’t work. It’s Murphy’s law that after you do something the universe will send you the right information.

Along with the picture, I had to write a bio.  Again The Universe provided after the fact, with a great post by Anne R Allen.

Reedsy has a nifty little blog of what should be going in an author media kit...  got that in time!

In The Craft Section,

Details in writing- Bookbaby- Bookmark

The conflict box- Bob Mayer- Bookmark

Choose the right sentences- K M Weiland – Bookmark

Rhythm and pacing – Jennie Nash- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section.

The reason branding confuses you- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

How to get on bestseller lists- Alicia Rades. Bookmark

Indie Author Mistakes- Write to Done- Bookmark

To Finish,

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a comprehensive list of writing tools on their website... You should check it out.
The NaNo Storybundle of writing craft books is still available... this is the last week you can get this. I have been enjoying delving into the great books on offer.
 Christmas decorations are going up in the shops... so if you are thinking about gifts for writers check these out.
See you next week when I will be sane, the deadline will have been met and it will all be over....


I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces every month. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Feel free to hit the coffee tab. I need another cup....

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Great Expectations

This week I have been thinking about expectations. This was sparked by Kris Rusch’s excellent blog post on the Indie and the Bestseller. Do you even know what questions to ask for your writing career or are you asking the wrong people? This applies to both Indies and Traditional published people.

Meanwhile Bob Mayer was also thinking along the same lines but looking at being an Introvert writer in an Extrovert world. How do we even cope?

John Scalzi takes a look at what life is like for the writer at the top of the heap. It is not all Champaign and roses.

Kelly Van Sant has an interesting blog post on Pub Crawl about what previously published means to an agent. She explains her reasons on why she doesn’t take on manuscripts from Wattpad. Read the comments for other schools of thought on this.

Do you have a media kit? What is in it? Joel Friedlander has an excellent article from Joan Stewart on what things make your media kit stand out. Dressing up your Media Kit.

Laurence O’Bryan has put together an interesting project called Author Teams. Check out what he thinks authors can do in collaboration with others.

Joanna Penn has been down under recently. While here in NZ she conducted workshops and found time to announce her new press imprint. She writes here about why she decided to go into what looks like being a Traditional publisher. Fascinating Joanna!

The Winter SCBWI conference has just wrapped up in New York and if you are interested in children’s books you need to check out the conference blog. They have a team of writers live blogging the whole event so it is chock full of interesting bits and pieces.

Tahlia Newland has been looking at audio companies. She has a comparison about who is best and why you should choose them for your audio book production.

In The Craft Section,

Writing Cues- Prolifiko

Joanna Penn interviewed on her writing and research

Top Time Savers for Writing- Elisabeth S Craig-Bookmark

Three types of character arcs- Sarah Letourneau- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Why email marketing rocks- Frances Caballo - Bookmark

5 reasons authors should blog- Anne R Allen-Bookmark

Book Cover Design- Reedsy-Bookmark!!!! (with amazing infographic)

To Finish,

Suzanne Lakin is always a great Go To when looking for inspiration for your writing. In this great post she looks at that old standby of authors... Procrastination. What might be behind it?
If you have always been a careful writer, and therefore are slow to finish writing then this article by Pamela Hodges on vomiting out the first draft and why you should could be a writing life changer.

Vigilant readers will see a new icon on the right hand side... It’s nearly ten years of weekly blogging. It would be nice if the blog bought me a cup of coffee.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Going This Way or That Way

Daylight saving happened this week. We put the clocks forward by an hour. ‘So is this why your blog is early?’ I hear you ask.... I am traveling so you get an extra day to enjoy this roundup.

Bob Mayer was musing this week that publishing has become same old same old. This is an interesting blog post from Bob.  Indie publishing has seen a dip in sales. What can you do about it?

Bookworks has an interesting interview with a family that decided to publish books. Each member works on a different genre. So they set up a publishing company...

Writer Unboxed has a great post on knowing when to walk away from a publishing deal. This is always a hard decision.  Read the comments. It does open up the discussion.

Joanna Penn has a great interview with Toby Neal on keeping a series fresh and price points. This is well worth a read/listen!

Kristine Rusch has finished her excellent Deal Breakers Series and is taking some time to look around at the publishing business now. She talks about the positive changes from Draft 2 Digital and other distribution services.

Nate Hoffelder doesn’t think the UK Society of Authors is going far enough with their request for the UK to adopt an EU directive that would protect authors from a take-it-or- leave-it contract.  When you read the examples your heart does sink a little.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting interview with Merilyn Simons former head of the Canadian Writers Union on the changing state of publishing in Canada. She looks into the future - to survive Traditional published and Indie published writers might have to merge.

As we move into October... which gets us closer to November... NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. October is traditionally NaNoPrepMo. Janice Hardy has a great post on 5 ways to make the most of October planning.

In The Craft Section,

First Drafts- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Self editing tips- Joanna Penn

Scenes vs Chapters- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Thinking like a writer- Darcy Pattison

Keeping your readers hooked- Elizabeth Spann Craig

In The Marketing Section,

Preparing for a cover design meeting- Elisabeth Spann Craig- Bookmark

10 tips for book marketing- Bookmachine- Bookmark

To Finish,

Nothing beats a great podcast. You can listen while you do other things... Today while preparing dinner I was listening to the Author Biz podcast with guest Stephanie J Pajonas.
It was so interesting I was in danger of burning dinner. Stephanie talked about how she uses auto responder to engage with her email list. How she grows her email list and using Instafreebie.... It was a riveting show.


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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Striving for Gold

This week the news is all about some big sporting event... meanwhile in publishing...

Mike Shatzkin was interviewed recently by Teleread and they asked him to make some predictions for the future. Mike believes that the biggest changes have already happened in publishing but he did have five events that if they happened would be just as big a game changer as the Kindle.

Jane Friedman has written two excellent posts on using pop-ups on websites. I hate them but apparently they work. Jane comes from the same viewpoint but she has delved into why they work and what her experience of using them is. A very interesting examination of a modern website feature.

Bob Mayer has a pair of interesting articles on why he thinks publishing hasn’t plateaued and what he thinks authors can do to thrive in publishing now. Niche is where it is at. Carve out your spot.

Mediashift have an interesting article on bringing in Beta readers much earlier in the publishing process. They are trying to eliminate the reason why books don’t earn out.  What do readers want to read? Then commission the book. They decided to give it a go with kid’s books. Do kids want to read about Vampire Cinderella? (Start with the cover and then write the book to go with it. Advice I have heard from the SP podcast guys.)

The Alli Blog has some great articles so have a trawl around when you stop off to read this little gem on short print runs and why they can be very valuable.

In The Craft Section,
Recently I had to do a novel synopsis in a hurry. Here are two excellent resources to Bookmark
Jane Friedman – Novel synopsis. and How to write a novel synopsis from Glen Strathy.

What is arch plot and classic design- Ingrid Sundberg- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Elizabeth Spann on preorders

To Finish,
The Olympics... you can’t get away from them in a sports mad country. As they are happening overnight for us a lot of people are bleary eyed in the morning here. Joanna Penn pulled out a piece she wrote when she was in the thick of the Olympics in London. It’s still relevant for authors. Ten things the Olympics can teach writers.


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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Taking Sides

The news at the moment is all around voting. Britain goes to the polls tonight about staying in the EU. American senators are staging a sit in about wanting to vote on a gun law. Australia is gearing up for a National Election, the outcome of which may spell a real hit on copyright. What does it all mean for publishing? Porter Anderson takes a global litmus test on how the publishing industry may be faring in this toxic political landscape.

In the meantime independent presses are opening bookstores... This seems to be a move designed to increase a unique community awareness and maximise profits. After all if Amazon can do it with a third bookstore planned soon...

Bob Mayer speculated recently about what would happen if Barnes and Noble closed...
Audio Books are being pushed into the mainstream- why? Digital Book World speculates about profits.

A lot of authors are concerned about the scammer attacks happening on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. However Amazon’s method of dealing with a book taken over by a pirate scammer was not helpful. Instead of dealing with the scammer Amazon closed down the hapless author’s account. This author and a few others may have got caught up in Amazon’s clean up of email blast services which were tweaking their bestseller lists. Hugh Howey explains how this happens. But will Amazon touch Bookbub- the most influential marketing list around...

Anne R Allen has another edition of her scamming watch out list targeting authors. This is a must read and share around post.

In a nice piece of good news Apple have begun to pay out their refunds from the price fixing case they were involved in.

In The Craft Section,

How to plot – K M Weiland- Bookmark

Glimmertrain essay on Description- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,
5 Online Marketing Trends Authors should consider

How to nail Author SEO- Miral Slatter
To Finish,
Publishers Weekly highlighted the story of two children’s authors who were disinvited from school visits ... One of the authors seemed to be disinvited because he openly supported another children’s author who had written a ‘controversial’ book. As some children’s authors have said... you want to censor us because of what we ‘might’ say?

Good luck with all the voting...


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Alan Cleaver

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Scattered Writer Brain

Last week I linked to a couple of posts on the first day of the Digital Book World Conference. This week Porter Anderson covers Day Two and Jane Friedman shares her takeaways from the whole conference - 4 lessons in publishing. This post has been passed around Social Media quite a few times and is a must read.

Selina Kitt shines a light on scammers on Amazon. This is a sobering read and goes to the heart of the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. It is also a lesson in eBook formatting. Even when you are doing it right for the reader, you may be doing it wrong.

Jessica West takes a look at the grey area of paying for reviews. No you shouldn’t pay for a review but there are technical services that take a fee and their reviewers are legit. Using one of these services can make you a best seller.

If you’re a children’s author you always have an eye on Bologna. Publishers Weekly interviewed seven agents about what’s hot and what they are looking for at Bologna.

Roz Morris always has something interesting to say. This week she looks at ways to blog about your book without blogging your book. This is always a tricky topic for authors... how do you entice readers to check out your work without giving it all away.

The UK Society of Authors is ramping up their Creator Campaign for Fair Contracts. Many international author societies are supporting this too. When you look at the writing festivals that aren’t paying their writers and add that to the unfair contracts it can get pretty depressing out there.

Jami Gold has a timely post this week on when you just have to admit you are not a super publishing hero. Sometimes you just can’t do it all. It is an excellent article. Jami asks pointed questions to help you identify if you are falling into this common writing trap.

Ben Zackheim gathered together his list of great podcasts. I have listened to about half of these teams and I must take some time to listen to a few more. Sometimes just listening to authors chew the fat about writing is enough to make you feel energised to get back into your writing.

Booklife pulled together some great people to talk about book reviews and discoverability. This is a must read.

In the Craft Section,
Getting inspired to write- James Scott Bell

The copyedit from Heck- Kristine Rusch – Must Read!

Short Story Secrets-Anne R Allen

In the Marketing Section,
11 reasons why authors need Social Media-  Frances Caballo and The Book Designer - Bookmark!

Connecting with readers- Elizabeth Spann Craig -Bookmark

Website of the Week
If you’ve got that book finished and you're thinking 'now the hard part begins,' you are right. However there are a few voices out there in the Blogosphere that can point you in the right direction -marketing wise. Penny Sansevieri has been a marketing Go To site for authors for a few years now. Here are just three posts that caught my eye this week. 50 ways to promote your book- Part One and Two and 5 minute marketing.

To Finish,
I came across this interesting article today on Creativity. What are five areas you would like to grow and develop in your writing? Take Five Fat Files... is a way of refining your goals and making them more achievable.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Diverse Publishing

This week I have been thinking about Diversity and the representation of diversity in publishing. Some of this was sparked by the campaign of an 11 year old girl who was searching for books that showed people of her race as the main characters in books.

I was talking with my writing buddy recently over my characters and I made the comment that none of my main characters were the same colour as me. I always saw them as mixed race though I never made a point of describing them as such. As my writing buddy hears and critiques my writing first... the fact that the characters were mixed race was news to her. This sparked a conversation about whether to info dump character information. (NO)

Info dumping statistics this week was Lee and Low, children’s publishers, with their report on Diversity in Publishing. We all know that publishing is White Skin dominant... It is also female gender dominant...
Here in very multi cultural NZ, the loss of many of our NZ publishing offices to Australia has always concerned writers here. It widens the ditch that our distinctive Maori/Pasifica stories have to hurdle over to get published.

Today I was watching #Pit2Pub on Twitter. It was interesting to see the number of pitches that used diversity hash tags. A new kid on the Twitter pitch block is Pitch Match. – this is a 3 hour pitch fest broker party happening on the 11th.

A brief Twitter storm happened with the reporting that Amazon was opening bricks and mortar bookstores across the U.S. This was quickly shut down on Twitter but it still raises questions...

Bob Mayer has been rallying the writing troops this week with two great posts on ambushing writing fear and what is becoming his annual exhortation to writers to face up to the harsh truths of this writing business. Go in with your eyes open...

This has been echoed by Agent Jennifer Laughran when she answered a question about sham agents and how you can tell who they are. (Especially important for people doing Twitter pitches)

You’ve dodged the sham agent and got your diverse story polished, what can you do next on your publishing journey?
You need an Author Business plan. This one is a comprehensive lists of things to think about on your way to establishing your author business.

Joel has put together a workflow checklist for book designing and publishing your project.

When it comes to selling this discussion on Ingram’s acquisition of, a turn key bookstore that can be dropped into an author website, by Bookworks has some interesting opinions.

In the Craft Section,

Using a scene template- C S Lakin Bookmark

Drafting in layers- Elizabeth S Craig- Bookmark

In the Marketing Section,

Rethinking book cover design – Dave Bricker

Book Marketing ideas -Bookbub- Bookmark

To Finish,
The last memory I have of the late, great Dame Katerina Mataira (Ngati Porou) was the speech where she didn’t mince any words to the publishing establishment. ‘Where are our Maori books? ‘The market is too small’ they said. So I have to do it myself.’ She went on to write, publish and sell in all genres across the board at over 70 years of age. “You have a niche product. No one will publish you. Get out there and do it yourself.”

The Pic is the cast of the new Harry Potter play. Yes, that is the Golden Trio. J K Rowling has said she never mentioned skin colour in the books for Hermione. Score for Diversity!


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