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

Thursday, April 18, 2024

What The Reader Wants

In Publishing News this week,

Two reports released in the UK, the UK governments response to AI and The Society of Authors survey on AI show the creators and the government are a long way apart over the value and use of AI. Dan Holloway of The Alliance of Independent Authors breaks down the key sticking points for each report. Governments are watching each other and trying to get tips on how to tackle this disruptive technology.


Pen America is sounding the alarm over the rise and rise of book bans in schools. This is a number which everyone would like to see going the other way. They also call out the worst states for this practice.


Publishers Weekly is pivoting to embrace all sorts of events for publishers. They have appointed a director of content studio to run custom content and events. With the demise of Digital Book World which took over Book Expo America leaving America without a bookfair I’m wondering if they are making moves in this empty space.


Kelley Way has an interesting post on copyright and how to gift it. This is primarily for a US audience but there are useful tips. Always make sure you know what the copyright laws are in your own country if you Indie publish. Passive Guy has a post on 10 copyright myths for a good reminder.


If you Indie Publish you will be familiar with Print On Demand. Book Vault in the UK has been quietly upping the printing game. This week they announced Book Vault Bespoke with foiling, ribbons, sprayed edges, and other goodies available to on demand publishers. Check out what else they have coming. Super exciting if you are a writer.


When is a book club not a book club? Most people understand a book club to be a group that meets to read and discuss one book at a time. How about a club that meets to silent read for an hour. A bookstore has an interesting twist on the book club starting with swap your phone for a glass of wine and comfy chair.


Leah Paulos writes on Anne R Allen’s blog about book promotion. If you struggle with this aspect of writing and publishing, you need to read Why There’s Nothing Icky About Promoting A Book.

Mirella Stoyanova has an interesting post on Jane Friedman’s blog about carving out boundaries. How often do you find your writing time frittered away by demands of others or life expectations or your own inability to commit. Mirella says boundaries are important in the relationship we have with ourselves.

Julie Duffy has one of those posts on Writer Unboxed that writers need to read at least once a year when they feel overwhelmed about the world outside their desk. How To Write When The World Is In A Mess. 


Katie Weiland always has amazing posts on the craft of writing. I was particularly struck with this one on the subplots. Are you paying attention to the structure of subplots? They have a rhythm all their own which can enhance the main story or wreck it. 


In The Craft Section,

Minding your pinch points in writing- Sue Coletta Bookmark!

Foreshadowing- Michelle Barker

How Goal, Motivation, and Conflict add tension- Helena Fairfax- Bookmark

10 Great Writing Tips- C S Lakin- Bookmark

Checklist for beginning your story- K M Weiland- MUST READ


In The Marketing Section,

What MVP means for authors- Kevin Tumlinson

9 author newsletter examples- Mailerlite

How To Create Fun Freebies- Colleen Story – Bookmark

A Q and A with Katie Sadler on Book Marketing – Fiona Erskine- Bookmark

Get your books found on Amazon- Karen Cioffi- Bookmark


To Finish

Elizabeth Craig has a great guest post from Hugh Cook on making your characters leap off the page. Hugh talks about the four fiction techniques regardless of genre that make memorable characters. After all it’s the characters you remember from that book you stayed up all night reading. This is the Writer Holy Grail. 





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Pic Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Trying To Read The Future

In Publishing News this week…


Publishers Weekly reports that advocates, Library Futures, have some new language for laws about eBook licensing for libraries. With judges previously weighing in that publisher eBook contracts for libraries were unfair, this could be a popular lifeline for everyone instead of a lawsuit.


Publishing Perspectives has an interesting news item from Nielsen that print publishing was almost back to pre Covid levels in the UK. In their wide ranging report about book sales in 2022 there were other little items of interest, paperbacks are back and so is horror. They also asked everyone where they got their book recommendations from.


Everyone has heard of BookTok by now. Have you ever wondered if the influencers get paid for their viral book reviews? Not always and not by the publishers. Vox has an in-depth article on the money behind the viral videos.


You have probably seen gift books with the child’s name personalised in it. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard writes about a Spanish publisher who is taking it the next step further with AI.


Jane Friedman has an ask the editor feature on her popular blog. This week she has a post responding to a memoir writer who is worried about lawsuits.


This week Sandra Beckwith decided to play along with a publishing predator and details the elaborate bait and switch tactics they were trying on her. She also details red flags to watch out for.


Joanna Penn has a fascinating interview with Joseph Nassise on writing diversification, emerging technologies and multiple streams of income. Joseph is traditionally published but has lots of other writing side gigs.


This week one of my favourite writing podcasts – Wish I’d Know Then had an interview with Emilia Rose and Michael Evans. They have started a new subscription platform, Ream.Ink, for writers launching in May. In the episode they talk about how subscriptions can be used to test ideas and enhance the reader journey and the tools they have developed for writers. It is a great interview with lots of tips around managing subscriptions, emails, and content delivery, especially if you want to host your own serial writing.

If you are interested in serial writing -check out’s blog post about the best places to publish serials online currently.


Recently Written Word Media published and excellent article on How to make a book marketing plan. This is one for the print out and keep file.


Anne R Allen has an interesting blog post on writing for the web. Different formats apply. As I was reading it I was struck by the comment that the modern paragraph has been shortened because of the web. If you are a certain age you will remember the rules on paragraphs which feed into essays. Web content has changed the way we read and write now.


In The Craft Section,

Creating more authentic characters- Daniel Parsons- Bookmark

The importance of a great opening- Lucy V Hay- Bookmark

Two great posts from K M Weiland-Two ways to write organic themes and How to write interesting scenes-Bookmark

When your book is about too many things -Stephanie Morrill

How to read body language- Sue Coletta- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,

How to ask for book reviews and why you should- Liz Alterman- Bookmark

What IP rights do I have- Kelley Way

6 ways to overcome interview fright- Alison Nissen

5 ways to build your writer platform- Lucy V Hay- Bookmark

Back cover copy formula- Sue Coletta


To Finish,

Cory Doctorow somehow finds time to write amazing prescient tech thrillers while writing daily longform blogs on how corporates have too much tech power over our lives. Cory has long been a campaigner for freedom from DRM. Because of various DRM issues with Audible’s contract terms he funds and produces his own audiobooks. His latest thriller is set in the world of cryptocurrency. His novels have scenarios that then tend to play out in reality. Keeping an eye on Cory’s work is a way of seeing the future which can give you a heads up in preparing for it.





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Pic: Photo by TAHA AJMI on Unsplash

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Editing Thoughts

This week I have been picking the threads up of my writing life... pulling out the project that was put on hold. When you take a month away sometimes it’s hard to dive back in. This is a good time to edit.

When I read Chuck’s Kubler Ross Stages of Grief of Editing I had to laugh. (Warning it’s Chuck!) My editing thinking is usually harsher. ‘Good grief how did I come to write this mess....’ I have to stop myself from deleting it all and curling up into a snotty whimpering ball in the corner. 
I must have been sending out unconscious signals on editing because some great posts on dealing with criticism fell into my Twitter feed.
Stephen Pressfield has a great post on pushing forward into a project -The 1 way I screw myself up.
Jami Gold also has a great post on criticism and how to deal with it. (even when it’s your own.)

Last Night The Booker Prize went to Marlon James from Nigeria. So this begins his author celebrity life where his every utterance will be scrutinised. Quartz magazine has an article on why turning authors into celebrities is bad for the reader.

Future Book has been compiling manifestos lately from people in the publishing world about how they see the future and what changes they would make. Porter takes a look at some of the ideas- from how to treat publishing interns to instantaneous transfer from writer to reader.

Many people in the publishing world are wondering how to get their books into the Asian market. Christine Sun has a very informative and detailed look at Fiberead, a translation service with a difference.

The Author Earnings team has published a new report on what sales look like in the rest of the eBook market outside of Amazon. Kris Rusch takes a look at what it means and offers some advice for Indie Publishers going forward. Kris also has a great post on front list... and how the Traditional Publishers are finally understanding what a backlist means in sales for the front list. If you didn’t understand that sentence go and read the Kris Rusch’s very good article.

In the Craft Section,
The writing world is heading into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That means that there are plenty of writing tips around NaNo in October.

How to find Book Ideas – Now Novel

Plotting mini arcs- Janice Hardy- (Bookmark)

In the Marketing Section,

Media Kits – Janice Hardy

Manuscript to eBook cleaning guide – Joel Friedlander (Bookmark)

Website of the Week
Joe Konrath has long been the go to website of Indie/Self publishers. Here is today’s guest post by Andrea Pearson with the Master Class on how to plan for success in the long term.

To Finish,

After all the editing and publishing, authors are after readers. Angela Ackerman has a great article on finding readers... What are the themes of your book... are there groups out there you can market to? You might find them in very unexpected places.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gazing into 2015

The sun has been beating down and we have been traveling through the North Island on our annual family pilgrimage. I tried hard not to think of all the projects I wanted to start/complete this year (they are all from last years Annus Interrumpi.) My family thought I was taking a complete wellness break... I was sleeping ... honestly! So now I’m back with first post of the year.

As 2015 rolls in... writers take stock of where they are and where they want to be next year and what the publishing world is going to throw at them. Everyone who has spent any time in this business knows that change is constant!

Over the last five years I have read Bob Mayer’s New Year predictions and he usually is on the money. So here is his take for 2015.
Mark Coker of Smashwords is taking a similar line and getting quoted all over the place in the last week.

With book publishing stats for last year being digested and comments about the drop in e-book sales from publishers... does this spell the beginning of the end of the e-book phenomenon. NO. Killzone notes the sky is not falling and Hugh Howey is busy gazing into the sky of 2015.

Chuck Wendig takes his usual hilarious (profane) ramble on 2015 writing resolutions and what he would like to see happening in publishing in 2015. Chuck cautions everyone about subscription models like Kindle Unlimited. It might be good for the reader...but.

This week Oyster enrolled the Macmillan group into their model, which means they have a significant number of the top ten publishers. Subscription wars may be about to start.

The Digital Book World conference is happening as I write. (#DBW15) They kicked off the conference looking at Children’s Publishing. Jane Friedman has links to all the slide presentations and a nifty infographic about the demands on children’s reading time. Porter Anderson looks at Children’s Publishing figures... 25% of all print publishing and the growing take up of e- books in this sector. Where to next?

Writer Beware takes a close look at Publishing contracts- Are you sabotaging yourself?

Are we all over crowdfunding publishing or is there a better way… Futurebook chat roundup makes interesting reading.

If you need a lie down after all those resolutions Writer Unboxed has a post on Tolerating Uncertainty.

In the Craft Section,

The Smelling Post- or writing about this sense...

Graphic post on whether your main character can survivemultiple assailants (definitely for thriller writers!)

In the Marketing Section

Website of the Week
Agent Janet Reid has a great site where she answers authors questions about agents... here she looks at what happens when an agent quits the business but still wants to rep you.

To Finish,
If you have teenagers in the house... chances are you have heard a lot of Taylor Swift. Have you ever noticed how her songs are plots of YA novels....

Pic from Flickr/Creative Commons Su Bo An

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Knee Jerks

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards are usually news for a few hours in the morning after the award ceremony. The only people who seem to care are Booksellers, Librarians and the Kid Lit community here in NZ. Not So This Year.

This year the Public have been warned that the winner of Book Of The Year and Senior Fiction (that’s Young Adult) is a smutty book with naughty language and deviant drug behaviour not to mention (gasp) the sex.

The media frenzy over a bookseller refusing to stock it, a conservative political party denouncing it, and an editorial in a major Sunday paper declaring it a waste of space is really sad. In the quotes and comments that the journalists chose to focus on, it was clear that the people doing the loudest complaining hadn’t even read the book but picked up that it might be ‘questionable.’
As one children’s writer commented...’have they forgotten that the Children’s Book Awards cover Young Adult fiction and this book is aimed at 15+

Into The River, by Ted Dawe, is a hard hitting book. It is aimed unapologetically at the hardest to reach demographic in our society. It shines a spotlight on something the wider public would rather not acknowledge...the disenfranchisement of young Maori men. 

Bernard Beckett, The chief judge of these awards has finally been asked why it was chosen and he makes a clear case for the importance of this book.

Emma Neale one of the early editors also makes an impassioned plea for the book. They are two who have read it and thought about the issues and so they have some authority to judge. 
Reporting knee-jerk reactionary comments from people who have not read the book is sloppy journalism.

The rest of the Kid Lit community here can’t believe Ted’s luck. All this publicity means the book should be flying out book sellers doors. Add in that it was self published and the world definitely changed in New Zealand’s Publishing landscape last week.

Across the world the rumbling of disquiet over Barnes and Nobles decision to stop making the Nook e-reader had pundits scrambling to explain what it would mean.

Digital Book World has taken the demise of the Nook and focused on where digital content may be heading...along the way they take a look at the children’s book industry.  

Futurebook looked at the rise and rise of Book Apps and mobile media and wondered why Apple was not connecting the dots on this in their digital publishingmarketplace. 

This all makes interesting reading about publishing futures when you add in Amazon’s latest news the patenting of e-book extras...or enhanced e-books.

In Craft,

Shortstorywritinggroup has this week’s story writing exercises

Badlanguage looks at research tips

In Marketing,

Bestsellerlabs has a look at the marketing maze and how to navigate it.

To Finish,
John Scalzi has laid down the law on his future appearances at Sci Fi Cons. As he is a draw card and attendance at Cons is built into Sci Fi publishing contracts...this is putting a firm stake in the ground on the side of anti harassment of his female colleagues. Of course he is getting dissed for it.

The Bookselfmuse has a great guest post on weathering reviews and taking criticism, something that might come in handy if you’ve had a week like Ted’s.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Burning Up The Charts

Nothing happens quickly in publishing.... This used to be the mantra. Today the Department of Justice released some of their documents from the Agency Pricing lawsuit against Trad Publishers. An economics  professor did some helpful charts. My Goodness the publishers involved moved at the speed of light!

Across the blogosphere and looking at another lawsuit...Porter Anderson takes a close look at the reporting around the Author Solutions lawsuit...or lack of it. In a case where the number of authors who may have been burnt by the various imprints of this *helpful* publishing company run up past 150,000 how is it that this case is not being widely reported in mainstream media or even in some specialist publishing journals.

Interestingly the same judge is presiding over both cases...wonder if she’ll write a book about her experiences.

What saddens me is how little research is done by potential authors to find out the state of play in publishing right now. 
1. It’s hard to get a traditional deal. 
2. Agents are becoming de facto publishers. 
3. Authors are having some success in self publishing. 
4. Self publishing is a lot of work and you need to know what you are doing. 
5. You will not get rich as a writer.
This is reality. 
In all of the above a publishing firm that tells you that they can dissolve all those barriers... just hand over your credit one to run away from! So many people go into this with their eyes shut...following the dream...which can turn into an ugly nightmare.

Elisabeth Naughton has written about her publishing journey from Trad to Indie and it makes interesting reading. It is a very honest and reflective piece, which mirrors the journey that publishing itself has taken in the last five years.

In April, just before the London Book Fair, the Guardian published an opinion piece on how the rise of self publishing has changed the book world and the implications for traditional publishers.

Russel Blake (suspense writer) has written the definitive post on How To Sell Loads Of Books.
In one post he sets out a career plan and an implementation schedule. (must read post)

Aussie writer Scott Gardner talks about finding an international voice if you live in far flung countries. Interesting comments on this guest piece for Publishing Perspectives.

In Craft,
Elisabeth Spann Craig on the What If method of generating ideas...(this is my preferred method)

Angela Ackerman talks about Donald Maass (uber agent) and his ideas on cultivating the reader...its all about emotional layering....

Layering information in your story...Info with Attitude from the Killzone team.

In Marketing,
Livehacked has got The Marketing Plan...This is long, so set aside some time for this one. It is the guide to marketing self published books.

13 Timeless Lessons On Marketing from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy. You will never look at an ad the same way again.

To Finish,
Neil Gaimen’s Make Great Art, book of the sensational speech from last year, is out and I have held one in my hands. It is a thing of beauty. Brainpickings has Neil's 8 Rules for Writing, which you can follow and have chart topping success like Neil.
To write...


Pic fromFlickr/ geeky.  (hehehehe... a pie chart)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Raise A Glass to 2013

Predictions for 2013 have been circulating the publishing blogosphere over the last week.

Will we be down to 3 mega publishers by years end?

Will Amazon drop free?

Tablets over e-readers over print?

What kind of gatekeepers will be around for the new new new publishing order?

With the publishing business going through a revolution every other week...most predictors have thrown up their hands saying we can’t predict anything!

One person who has stuck his neck out is Mark Coker of Smashwords. Mark has a unique position to comment from. As an author and Bright Guy behind Smashwords he straddles not only the publishing distribution side but also the trenches of the content providers bearing the flag for small publishers and indie authors. He has 21 predictions and an in depth analysis of why he thinks each one will happen. (grab a big coffee)

Kristen Lamb has also stuck her sword into the ground and put together some interesting comments on what is coming in 2013. She has some great ideas on how you can use different ratings on different editions too. Great food for thought in 2013. Kristen had a huge 2012 establishing the international WANA Tribe community along with a busy writing and speaking schedule...(Raise a glass to her)

What will happen to literary agents in 2013...their role is changing as rapidly as publishing.

For other writers...the emphasis is not on what they think will happen outside the walls of their study but what they should be focusing on inside.
Dean Wesley Smith is always a quality read...he has his list of what writers should be thinking about going into 2013. This is GOOD ADVICE. (take with a nice boutique beer)

For those that want Chucks take on 2013 and writing....take a deep breath and plunge in. (warning it’s Chuck! You could need a stiff drink!)

The NY Times has even started their year with a look at publishing...but of a different sort. A book designer fed up crappy covers on classic books has taken books he loves but can’t find new editions of and is redesigning them and publishing them himself under the Whisky Priest label. (cool label!)

e Singles burst onto the publishing scene last year. PaidContent looks at why and what this year may hold for eSingle writers.

Passive Guy has an IP lawyer talk about legal issues in much can you quote? (share out the rest of the Christmas cake)

Catherine Ryan Howard has written a great article on ebook pricing and why she is moving all over the place with it...(too much espresso? LOL)
Catherine uses Gumroad on her website to sell her books and this intrigued me so I investigated. Pretty nifty outfit similar to PayPal but it means buyers don’t need to belong to PayPal to use it and sellers can get shortened links to embed directly into websites.

In Craft,
The brilliant K M Weiland has been continuing her examination of scene structure. Take a look at story scene structure part three and four and it will be completely obvious why a major publisher has asked her to take some classics and apply her magnifying glass to their construction this year.

Editor Lyn Price has a close look at the multifunctional life of dialog tags used right.

In Marketing,
It’s time to look at author websites...Have you cleaned up your website?

To finish,
Joanna Penn also had a huge 2012...She looks back at her achievements and how she is working on a refined plan for this year. Plan A: indie career, working with her agent, continuing her series, starting another one, audio books, podcasts, her online courses, speaking schedule...
(Pass out in envy overload.)

photo from Flicker/ Dinner series. (Mojitos...yum!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Exploding Heads...

December is the craziest month of the year in New Zealand. 
It is the month when you juggle end of school year events at schools. Christmas celebrations with all the organisations you are involved with, as well as your children’s and your spouse’s. It is the start of the summer holidays. 
While you are rushing around trying to prepare for Christmas, you are also trying to juggle the holiday timetable, travel, destination etc etc.
Throw in a few unexpected events and life gets more than complicated. In December I find myself just concentrating on each day at a time because otherwise my head will explode.

This week around the publishing blogosphere there is a lot of head exploding about this article. Ebook readers to go the way of the dinosaurs. Of course writers publishing ebooks are worried...Do we need to be?

In the last week Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware (an excellent site) has dealt with sock puppetry of a different kind...where a small publisher has had writers extolling their virtues...unfortunately the writers in question didn’t know they were. The twitter feed exploded when Chuck Wendig found his name had been used. Victoria does a great job bringing scams to writer's attention and her latest find is on International out if you are contracting for or to services overseas.

James Scott Bell has written a great post on 10 ways to sabotage your writing. Hopefully you are doing none of these...I could be guilty of letting the Zombies in...

Zoe Winters drops in from her Social Media Blackout to say what she has learned and achieved. Do you remember life before Social Media? How was your writing then? (a safe sane existence?)

While I was away from Social Media a few weeks ago on my travels, Kassia Krozser from Booksquare was interviewed by 40K Books. I have seen snippets of this great interview all over the place and the whole thing makes VERY INTERESTING reading. Kassia is in demand as a speaker at big publishing industry conferences where she regularly explodes heads with her presentations. In this interview she has the heads up for publishers and what they should be doing now and also for authors. Flexibility is the ultimate key!

Porter Anderson in his new Ether for Authors round up talks about the rise of publishing industry conferences targeting Authors...join the dots... Authors increasing interest in Indie publishing...ergo they need tools and skills... and as Porter says Krozser’s interview works as a useful position paper, and it’s the kind of thing I hope more authors are taking the time to read these days. Craft work is grand, but when it comes to understanding the business in which that craft must be published, authors can no longer “stick to the writing blogs.” Knowing what publishers face in today’s market is the only way for an author to find a place for him- or herself.

Check out their speakers...many of whom have been featured in this blog over the years.
I note that the cost of a publishing industry conference is nearly $2000 NZ so maybe a 3 day holiday away around the 12-14th February where you can drop in to this makes good economic sense.

The FutureBook Conference held last month in the UK goes under the microscope in Nick Harkaways blog. How broken is the old publishing system when the accountants are running the asylum... (cue zombie music)

Passive Guy highlights the wonderful Indie author Hugh Howey (author of mega selling Wool) and his new contract whith S&S which breaks new contract ground. I know this has been a hot topic here in NZ among authors so take a look at this. (Is this the contract of the future...please please please...) 

In Craft,
A nice round up for this week.
From J R R  Tolkein. 6  writing tips.

From K M Weiland. Structuring scenes and also Why stupid characters make stupid books (must read)

From Gina Conroy. Cutting fat from your WIP

From Elisabeth S Craig. Writing in small chunks of time

From MythicScribes 9 Amazing Blogs for Writers...and yes there are familiar names here for you.

In Marketing,

To finish,
Scholastic Editors have forecast their top 10 trends for 2013 (remember people that it usually takes a year to publish a book...)

Hold Your Head NOW


P.S. As always I urge you to read the comments on the links I put up each week.
Conversations I highlighted in last weeks round up are still going so if something from last week caught your eye, check in again... there is still plenty to talk about.

Pic from Grmisiti who has a whole lot of scary pictures from the Zombie Walk in Sao Paulo. This is not the scariest!
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