Showing posts with label bookshelfmuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bookshelfmuse. Show all posts

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sparking Ideas

My brain is still buzzing from Tinderbox – that and I’m finding myself falling asleep at odd times. Some of this, I’m told, is body readjustment after a long campaign of heightened stress levels. I put it down to operating on about 3 hours sleep a night for a week.

For those of you who have never been on a committee putting a big event together... there are many behind the scenes details to organise. We started planning Tinderbox 18 months ago, scoping out what we wanted to have at our conference and researching who would be the best fit to deliver it. We had to do all this with one eye on the changing publishing marketplace. With themes established then it was booking presenters in and finding a suitable venue. Booking your presenters early is key! Along with the quality of the presenters the following list can make or break a conference, food, wifi, room size, assessments, hands on workshops, goodie bags and transport. All of this needs to be tied down early so that if anything falls over you have time to fix it.

Tinderbox was fantastic! The presenters were inspiring, the food was amazing and the high creative energy of the delegates was encouraging. My team were called Goddesses and I bow down before them. And the Wifi stayed on, with a little help.

Meanwhile in the outside world....

Stephanie Meyer sent the publishing world into the Twilight zone... with a gender bent version of Twilight.

Waterstones – the biggest bookshop chain in the UK decided that they would cease to sell the Kindle, apparently because e-publishing is failing.

Yup everybody is still mixed up.

Stephan Pinker, Linguistics Professor and International Grammar Guru, declared that writing rules were only superstitions.

Macquarie University published their findings on authors in Australia which makes fascinating reading. Your average Aussie author is a woman, writing genre fiction, earning twelve grand.

In Florida the Novelists Inc (NINC) conference wrapped up. This conference is for novelists who have had two or more books published. Elizabeth S Craig has a round up of what was discussed at the conference. Very interesting takeaways here...

In The Craft Section,
NaNoWriMo is coming up so here are 7 ways to keep it going throughout the year.

How to hook readers - Setting the stage and Puzzle Pieces

Style Sheets and Guides -Ruth Harris (Bookmark)

In The Marketing Section,
Can serials be profitable in Kindle Unlimited?- Lindsay Buroker (Bookmark)

How to Twitter tips- Molly Greene (Bookmark)

Website Of The Week
Inky Girl has a newsletter. This is a great resource for all those artists out there. 

To Finish,
The Ten commandments of Indie Publishing is a very good pep talk for writers as is Jane Friedman’s Author Business models, a must read!

As I was putting together this roundup I was struck by the fact that many these links were ideas discussed at Tinderbox. Just add coffee and an enthusiastic crowd soundtrack. Or make plans to go to the next National conference in two years time.

To bed to bed….

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A short word...

This is the Skinny Blog Post because I have to travel urgently up country
In the news here in NZ, the closure of Learning Media which deserves a long broadside blog post on its own.

Overseas the Goodreads Bullying debacle goes on and on. Nathan Bransford had some thoughts on this. Reviewers behaving badly.... IMHO if you don’t like the book, don’t review it. Life is too short.

Roz Morris has a great blog post on how to deal with Critiques and Editorial Feedback.

Writers Guide To Publishing has a comprehensive post onbacking up your many ways should you ... could you do it...

In Craft,
K M Weiland has two stunning posts on building writing confidence and Crafting Opening Scenes with input from Roz Morris.

Artists Road is also looking at Beginnings and reflecting the other.

Write Practice has a close look at the crafting of series books...what do you need to nail down.

Even the Huffington Post has a look at writing tips.

In Marketing,
The Bookshelf Muse team on hand selling your book.

Dear Author has a guest post on cover design for won’t look at your book cover the same way again...

Website to check out...
This week I posted on Facebook an article by KristineKathryn Rusch on one book vs career publishing which struck a nerve... Kris and her husband Dean Wesley Smith have covered all aspects of the book publishing trade between them and their Business Of Publishing posts are to the point master classes in being a professional writer.

I promise a longer post next week after I’ve calmed down* over the NZ Governments breaking of an internationally recognized, award winning, educational publishing company dedicated to giving NZ children the best of our writers and artists for 105 years...because education should make a profit for the government shouldn’t it?


* pigs will fly first...

 pic 1964 School Journal...Four levels covering 5year olds to 12 year olds. Four issues a level...16 journals a year sent to schools (free) in class sets of 30. Each journal comprising of 3 Fiction short stories, 3 Articles, one play, one craft activity, 8 poems all graded at the reading ability of children in each level and cross indexed according to subject and reading level in a comprehensive index issued every year covering 5 years...which was my teaching bible. All schools considered their journal room holding up to 20 years worth of class sets to be their prime reading resource for teaching reading literacy and keeping NZ in the top 5 for reading literacy in the world over many decades.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Moves

The weather scientists this week said that Winter has been so warm that Spring has come a month early. And this is a symptom of climate change. At the moment we have a late blast of winter going through and it is bleak and wet out there. (So breaking Elmore’s sacred rule never start with the weather....)

In the publishing blogosphere this week...


Kobo launched three new e-reading devices this week in NewYork...and got the publishing blogosphere talking...because along with the hardware...Kobo has new content to go on the hardware. Kobo Kids a dedicated e-bookstore for children...Beyond The Book for all stuff beyond the book including a special Font for dyslexics... and other nifty things. So another shift in the publishing world has happened.

Also in a quietly heralded move...The Alliance of Independent Authors has done a deal with PubMatch. If you are a member of Alli you can get a 90% discount on getting all your overseas rights sold...Read all about it...It is an interesting move.

Dave Gaughren has been comparing distributors...Smashwords and new kids on the block Draft2Digital.

Long Time readers of this blog will know that I have a bit of a geek thing with space etc etc and that this year the prominent writers in the SFF Geek community have been calling out misogynist and threatening behaviour towards women in the community. John Scalzi (just stepped down as Pres. SFF) has been targeted for his very vocal support by troll lowlifes. This week around Social Media a picture of John in a dress went viral calling John a feminist. John’s beautiful reply will have you chuckling. Way To Go John...also if you haven’t read any of his are really missing something, he is a great writer!

Bob Mayer has 53 books under his belt and has decided to write a quick article about ten things he has learned as a writer...This is a good checklist for yourself.

The fabulous Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her comics on rejections...This will put it all in perspective.

Roz Morris runs a few blogs which I have referred to over the years in this blog...however I haven’t ever profiled her Undercover Soundtrack blog. Writers who write with soundtracks in their ears, talk about why they write to music and what sort of soundtracks they use.

In Craft,

In Marketing, There are some very fine articles this week.

Website to check out.
If you write Midgrade...Check out Emblazoners. This is another example of an author collective that niche market themselves. Roam around and get a feel for what they are doing and read the excellent article on writing midgrade series.

To Finish,
Be Surprised.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

R.I.P Rights, Readers and Elmore

Today the news came through that writing legend Elmore Leonard died. He was a popular crime and thriller writer getting his start in pulp fiction. He had 10 rules for writing that have become a popular meme around the blogosphere but Leonard often broke his own rules. Here is a link to the interview where Elmore Leonard explains when to break the rules.

If you are looking for a cheat sheet in the game of life...Lifehacker has 10 infographics and cheat sheets to help you.

Last week I was immersed in WriteOnCon...and this week it’s Romance (a family member is staying here to attend the Romance Writers conference.)  Romance Writers are a savvy bunch often way ahead of other genres in marketing and trends. Here is a collection of great writing articles for Romance writers but they could easily apply right across all the genres.

However if mid grade is your specialty (and it’s mine) here is Peter Lerangis on writing for this age group.

Read this through carefully.

By posting your content on the Sites, you expressly grant Random House a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, fully paid-up worldwide, fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, transmit, perform and display such content and your name, voice, and/or likeness as contained in your User Submission, in whole or in part, and in any form throughout the world in any media or technology, whether now known or hereafter discovered, including all promotion, advertising, marketing, merchandising, publicity and any other ancillary uses thereof, and including the unfettered right to sublicense such rights, in perpetuity throughout the universe.

Are you shaking your head and wondering why anyone would sign a contract with this in?
Well lots of writers could be in .4 in your latest contract. However this little excerpt comes from a Random House contract where they invite writers to contribute blog posts to their online blogging universe. FOR FREE.

In the blogosphere this week...Barnes and Nobel and Simon and Schuster have made up. Great news for the writers left out in the cold... However Barnes and Nobel are not having a good week with reaction to their quarterly earnings out yesterday bringing out the doom sayers. Mike Shatzkin takes a look at the bookstore that wants to compete on all fronts. 

Another bookstore getting a mention is our local proudly independent Children’s Book Shop...check out this article on what a bookstore should be doing by British author Mal Peet who graced our city with his presence in the first part of the year.

Passive Guy asks Do You know What Your Rights Are Worth? This is a good run down on different rights in your contract.

Galleycat has a list of what agents have on their wishlists.

In Craft,
There is a swag of very good articles today.
Elisabeth S Craig on Outlining...This is very good.
Jami Gold is calling all pantser’s and if you are not sure what type of writer that is you need to check out the article from the very clever Ms Gold.

In Marketing,
The Indie 50 best sites...this is a mix of craft and marketing...
Twitter lists and how to use them...a great how to guide.

Website to check out,
The Oatmeal....comics on grammar...

To Finish,
Publishers Weekly has been looking at where our audience has gone...The latest YouTube meetup had nearly 7000 vloggers...with teens to the forefront. Some of these teens have over 2 million subscribers to their channels....Where are the publishers? Can authors tap into this underground movement... or are we a dying artform...


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, June 27, 2013

When The Game Gets Broken

The big storm rolled on through the country. Everyone put on thermals, hunkered down and suffered through the storm. And now we are in clean up mode with rail links being repaired along with the sea walls around the harbour. Landslips are being cleared away so roads can be reopened through the South Island.

In the publishing blogosphere the talk has been around the examination of eBook royalty numbers and how the 25% net is a losing deal for authors. Passive Guy looks at the Futurebook article Get your Geiger counter out -It's Toxic. Here is an excerpt.
 So, in other words, at these average price points, every time a hardcover sale is replaced by an e-book sale, the publisher makes $2.20 more per copy and the author makes $1.58 less. If the author made the same $4.20 royalty on the e-book sale as he/she would have on a hardcover, the publisher would STILL be making an improved profit of $6.28.
The comments are coming thick and fast on this topic.

Mike Shatzkin, Publishing Futurist, has taken a look at this topic as well, with his long view on where publishers should be concentrating and that is out of the royalty percentages game and going to flat fee per copy. However he also shines a spotlight on how the BIG authors negotiate their contracts and it has nothing to do with royalties.

Porter Anderson writing on Writer Unboxed takes it further...The thought shift happens when you realise that Trad Publishing only favours the bestseller. The tier under is moving away from Trad. What are the consequences?

Last year it was felt within the self-publishing community that when some of the big bestsellers started looking at the numbers...they might not be so quick to sign to a Trad deal. Agent Orange who blogs anonymously is starting to wonder if the Trad publishers have woken up to the fact that with the new options available, a traditional publishing deal is now just another option for authors and not the only game in town. 

Laura Resnick has a great post on how Traditionally Published Authors can use SelfPublishing to their advantage.

The Guardian has interviewed Kristine Rusch about what happened when her Smokey Dalton series got picked up by a Trad publisher. Smokey Dalton is a black PI. Kris is white.... How racist is the publishing industry? I’ve always wondered this myself.

In Craft,
The fabulous K M Weiland strikes again- On Tightening Dialog.

Fast Writing...and how you can do it?

Novelicious has another post in their 5 tips for writing, series

In Marketing,

Back Cover to make it sell your book.

Susan Kaye Quin revisits Setting up yourIndie Business

To Finish,
This could break your love affair with word games....

Pic is from Stuff- The day after... not far from where I live...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Cost Of Being Vocal.

This week in the publishing blogosphere...The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers published their magazine with a chain mail bikini clad women on the front and an interesting article which had a line promoting  Barbie being a role model for her quiet dignity. Women members of the association objected to the tone of the articles and were immediately inundated with abusive emails...comments on their blogs...twitter feeds...from their peers.
When they published some of these responses...and detailed what it was like to be a women writing in this genre... the response was shock. How could writers do this to other writers...? And then it went viral.

Chuck Wendig wrote a great article about sexism and misogyny in writing and publishing. The next day he had to write another dealing with the comments on the first. Then today he had to follow that up, Why Men Should Speak Up About Sexism and Misogyny. The issues of the first article have spilled over into the gaming community, which has the worst instances of abuse to women working in this field. The abuse on Twitter coming to Chuck is miniscule compared to the  women writers who have lifted their heads above the parapet to say what their experience is like from other writers, convention fans and general male population who find out that they write Sci Fi.

I write Sci Fi. I read Sci Fi. I enjoy Science and Researching ideas and thinking of possibilities. I have friends who are scientists whom I talk geek with. I have never been abused as some of these writers have been...however I have had the disparaging comments on how ‘I’ (a woman/mother...) would know anything about that tech subject.... I ignore it and delete that person from my, consider-this-person’s-opinions-on-anything-valid, mental list. I quietly treasure the time a Male Scientist put a disparaging idiot in his place by agreeing with me. The look on that idiots face was something to behold.  The abuse to these women writers, coders and gamers is sustained, vitriolic and pervasive as trolls follow them across all social media. The level of abuse is scary with death threats often the least of the hate messages that spew out across the internet.  It is an important issue. It is nice to see male writers standing up to call out their peers who perpetuate these sexist, misogynistic attitudes. (If you are a Male writer reading this and you think this issue is over the top then read Ann’s Post and the first emails she got in response...Think about getting this level of abuse all the time....)

And so onto the other rants happening in publishing. The tendency of writers to not do their research before writing big articles in which they name other writers has annoyed a few people this week. Porter Anderson takes a look at the other big publishing firefight.

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting article on Why Publishing Needs to Foster a Startup Economy. (I’m sometimes wondering if we aren’t time warping to the 1880’s with the beginnings of modern publishing houses.)

With the speed of the publishing industry changes and the announcements in the last weeks of publishers pulling out of NZ, The League Of Shattered Authors makes timely reading. I have always promoted the idea of writer collectives...I think this is the future. Time to start banding together folks.

With the ongoing focus on book covers Chuck asks what works...what doesn’t.... An interesting discussion ensued...and a link to a Lousy Book Covers site.

In Craft,
Some GREAT links this week.

Plotting made easy...This from is one of the websites to keep an eye on.

Victoria Mixon on Revising Wrong

Why Editors Focus On Page One...a great post on Jane Friedman’s site.

The fabulous K M Weiland on the 15 steps she uses to revise her MS’s

In Marketing,

The BookShelfMuse team on Foreign Rights Agents... Everything You Need To Know...This is interesting as Emotional Thesaurus starts to go Global.

Top 5 Errors In Layout from Joel Friedlander. (I am studying this carefully as I work on interior layout tweaking on a print book.)

To Finish,
How does a blog post go viral? The anatomy of a viral blog post tells you one example that worked. And for all you budding filmmakers...Amazon has a new free app for you, Storyteller. It takes your MS and storyboards it.
So you can go viral, Be a Force For Good and Change The World!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Standing to Talk

This week people in the publishing blogosphere have been taking a stand.

Ann Patchett took a stand in her opinion piece for the Bookseller.
Ann wanted authors to look after publishers and independent booksellers. ( she is one of those.) In her words... Authors have been protected for a long time, we are very well cared for, but we need to think about our other partners, from bookshops to publishing and self-publishing.”  Unfortunately her tone, in the words of one twitter commenter, was that of a favoured child who has no idea of the resentment felt by neglected siblings...
Futurebook writer Suw Charman-Anderson discussed where Ann went wrong and what she could have warned publishers is all about communication... both ways.

Over in Amazon land the drums are beating. A new publishing venture Kindle Worlds was launched today. This new publishing imprint is specifically fiction. And yes fan ficcers you can make money off it.
As authors collective screens were wiped free of coffee and the screams of what the....faded into the distance this morning wise heads in the industry shouted hold up, this surely can’t be right and investigated.
John Scalzi (Pres SSFWA) gives his very considered opinion...BEWARE copyright terms are for the life of copyright...uh...that’s 70 years in US.

This week the erudite Kameron Hurley wrote a stunning piece on how many writers rely on cliché characters. She then blows accepted history apart when she talks about how women were warriors in different cultures right to this present day...and how they disappear in narrative to become victims...or passive tropes to move the story along. Chuck Wendig is so taken with her exhortation for writers to become better that he adds his own rant backing her up and urging writers to write for the underserved readers out there. Read both pieces. (usual warnings on Chucks writing apply...)

Susan Kaye Quin always an interesting commentator on things indie...has written a great article on TheAge Of The Empowered Writer...that’s now.

This week Huffington Post had a great article about Amanda Palmer appearing at The Grub St writer’s convention and giving one of the most talked about keynotes of a writing conference this year. They have a link to the video of it...and it is stunning! Take some time out to listen to this speech and reconnect with why you write.

Here in New Zealand we were treated to a rare interview with John Green...YA wunderkind and half of the Vlog brothers. Here is the link to the podcast if you missed it on Wednesday.

In Craft,

K M Weiland On 5 Reasons You Should Stop Writing...(not what you think)

In Marketing,

A must read post from ChocolateandVodka about Front Matter and End Matter and what readers will be surprised!

To Finish,
Have you ever wondered whether your book will last for the length of a long haul flight? Wonder no longer...Qantas has taken a stand on behalf of the neglected long haul passenger who has run out of reading material half way across the Pacific...


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Writing

It is St Valentine’s Day...the feast day of the martyred priest who married Christians in defiance of Emperor Claudius (269AD). Patron Saint of Lovers, Marriage, Young People and Bee Keepers.

Around the Publishing Blogosphere several big conferences are about to kick off. O’Reillys Tools of Change is underway but this year they started with Author (R)Evolution Day where for about the first time writers got to be at a big publishing conference with content directed at them. Porter Anderson wraps up the important points...Metadata!!!!
Mediabistro has the low down on Porters panel discussion at this event...promotion. This is very hot off the press as ARD was yesterday.
TOC starts today and Indie ReCon (Free and Online) is this weekend.

This week Charles Gonzales post on Discovery only being a problem for publishers got mentioned a lot as people took sides.

Bookish the new ‘Discovery’ site set up by 3 Big Publishers launched and quickly got panned for what it wasn’t and should have been. Everybody had such high hopes!

Joanna Penn has a great post on writing more and getting a daily writing habit and another one on Sampling...This is a must read if you are thinking of going digital.

Mike Shatzkin wraps up his series on Bookstores...Publishers and the Future. Would you pay to browse a book store?

Rachelle Gardner cautions about who is reading your unpublished work...and who should be...while 

Writeitsideways continues this theme with the post Want Agents To Read Your MS...Do This First.

Chuck has a thoughtful reflective post on The Hardest Writerly Truth (usual warnings apply)

KillZone has a great post on Working On More Than One Book At A Time.

The Passive Guy has the run down on What Every Writer Should Know...If you are teaching writing or planning a conference you should read this!

In the Craft section,
The Fabulous Jami Gold on synopsis...This is a great cheat sheet on constructing a synopsis...or even an outline before you write the book.

Blake Snyder, he of Save The Cat (THE screenwriting craft book) has a guest post on his site by Marilyn Brant. This takes the classic Pride and Prejudice and applies the Save the Cat Beat sheet. Great stuff!

Chuck Wendig on 5 things you should know about narrative viewpoint...(Warning it’s Chuck!)

Diabolical Plots has an interview with Kristine Rusch on Critique...Kris and Dean run workshops on critiques but quite differently....Take a look!

The Bookshelf Muse on info dumping...when to do it or not....

Linking you need them?

In the Marketing Section,

AuthorMedia on engaging readers on your Facebook Author Page...3 Great Tips!

Good Author websites...with examples from Bookcovercafe

To finish,
Recently some writers and I were discussing how sometimes you feel a fraud even tho you are published and you might know some stuff about the industry. The lovely Jami Gold has a great post on this subject but even better she links to one of those WOW TED talks that puts it all into perspective. This is a link to share around to everyone!!

Every now and then I post a video to say thanks to one of my commenter’s (FB and Blog)...Melinda this one is for you in honour of Today’s Big Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations Melinda and James.

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