Showing posts with label book design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book design. Show all posts

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Heading To Mt Doom.

Last week I started to write my blog post but ended up writing a 2 page letter of complaint to the government MP’s who decided that closing down Learning Media was a good thing.

From a teaching point of view my first Go To Resource was the School Journal Index book, 5 years of Journals indexed by subject and age level and theme.  With four levels of journal coming out three to four times a year, there was a lot of fiction, non fiction, plays, poems and craft activities to form the core resource component in literacy, science and numeracy  programmes.

Learning Media, who produced these resources, are a dedicated bunch with a commitment to high production standards... because they know that their work is what New Zealand children learn to read on. They used to work inside the Education Ministry producing not only free core resources in English but also in Maori and Pacific Island languages. The Ready to Read series was one of the first graded reading series for teaching reading in the world with stories by Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Dorothy Butler among the first to be published.

My school was part of a group of schools that regularly hosted overseas teachers to show them best teaching practice because New Zealand consistently placed in the top tier of OECD literacy achievement. Every teacher who came through my class looked at the quality of the School Journal and sighed with envy. ‘How can we get something like this?’ was the most common refrain. From a writing point of view I, like so many New Zealand children's writers and illustrators, got my start in the School Journal. They happily provided feedback so you became a much stronger writer. Now New Zealand's common refrain is 'How can our government wreck something like this?'

New Zealand’s current publishing landscape has made international news...and not in a good way although NZ’s children’s books seem to be holding up. Because of our small size (4 ½ million) the publishing struggles going on overseas are played out here in a much more dramatic fashion. Porter Anderson covers the recent collection of articles about The Death Of Publishing In New Zealand in Publishing Perspectives along with news that The MAN BOOKER Prize will be open to all English language novels from next year...not just the ones published in the UK. This change is not being celebrated by everyone....

We Kiwi’s have an interest in the MAN BOOKER as we have a young writer in the shortlist for the prize...proving that even tho we don’t have a publishing industry we do have great writers.

So what is a kiwi writer to do when faced with the one way journey to Mt Doom.
Self publishing or working with small Indie publishers seem the only way to go... many commentators are saying that thinking outside New Zealand is the only way to survive. But do we then write generic Northern Hemisphere stories or do we really celebrate New Zealand cultural style and promote our stories (choice eh!) unashamedly? It means a cultural shift because Kiwi writers are like Kiwi birds... happy to be running around in secret, in the dark...we’re not flashy!
So if you are thinking Self Publishing... Publishers Weekly is now behind you...

Passive Guy talks about the rise and rise of audio books and Publishing Perspectives warns about 10 counter intuitive tips that Self Publishers try.

In the Craft Section,

Jody Hedlund with another brilliant post on getting to know your characters and plot.

K M Weiland on most common mistakes.

Chuck Wendig on 25 steps to edit the unmerciful suck from your stories. (usual Chuck warnings apply)

In the Marketing Section,

Publishing Crawl on Researching Literary Agents

Writer Unboxed on the Query Detox

Joel Friedlander has a guest post from Anne Hill on How toSell Books from your Website.

Website to Check Out,
Lydia Sharp has a timely blog post on Posture and tips forwriters from the Physio...(I’m sitting straighter already.)

To Finish,
This week I ventured into The Children’s Bookshop for one book (yeah right!) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. If you haven’t come across John Green, take some time to look at this explanation of the John Green and Vlogbrothers phenomenon. I have been following John Green for a while...and admire what he is doing to connect into his tribe of Nerdfighters. And by the way the book is excellent!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air...and that usually heralds change. You eye up the overflowing study area and vow to get better organised. (Your family snigger coz they’ve heard it all before.)

While you are contemplating your overflowing desk you may take time to contemplate the publishing industry. It too has been struggling with change. The printed word is rapidly changing into the e-inked word.
Curiosity Quill interviewed Jane Friedman about what she predicts will happen to publishing in the next few years and how authors can keep up.

 Joe Konrath takes issue with Ewen Morrison’s article in The Guardian- Are Books Dead and Can Authors Survive. Joe picks apart the article and points out where Ewen got it wrong. (so far 120 comments on this...)

If you pick up your manuscript and a cloud of dust rises into the air you might need to revisit your characters and do a little housekeeping...or a lot.

Jenny Hansen has a terrific list of tips about fighting dirty and ramping up the conflict tension in your story. 

Julie Musil has ten things you shouldn’t do when you build your characters... 

Both of these posts remind you that the story is key...and a strong story is what Editors want to read. A quick revision of WriteOnCon quotes reinforce this...but you can always get inspiration to keep going from revisiting the website and reading the sessions you missed.

Ruth Harris reminds you that all reading is research and offers some very good advice in how to pull gems out of the trashy magazines you just picked up. Don’t feel’s research! (there’s an app for that.) 

Underneath the stacked books and laundry, next to the mouldy coffee cup, you unearth that really great story...the one that has been nicely rejected a few times and sigh. What would it take to just get it out there into the world?

Author Culture peeks into the world of Book Cover Design in an excellent interview with a top book cover designer. Lots of tips here...and some very useful ideas for branding.

The bookdesigner has a link to five nifty fonts that you can use for your Ebook cover and they are FREE

Roz Morris has done the hard work for you and step by step outlines how to deal with the American IRS when you are an author living in another country who wants to epublish on an American site. Bookmark this! It will save you months! 

Anne Allen has a great post on the death of the Book Tour and why we shouldn’t feel too sad about it... The desk has disappeared....the dust has taken think seriously about giving up and reclaiming the space for a home gym....

Teresa M Owen has a handy list about why you shouldn’t become a writer to make you feel better. 

This week NZ National Radio interviewed a New Zealand company that has made a splash with their new product, Booktrack, Soundtracks for Books. James Frey is already making use of the technology with the The Power Of Six (his follow up to I Am Number 4.) Take a look at the videos and think about where we go from here....


pic from meeja darling....a wickedly funny journo blog
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