Showing posts with label covid 19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label covid 19. Show all posts

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Pick and Mix


What caught my eye in the Publishing World this week.

Reedsy has a very detailed look at Kindle Vella including how the money will work. This is going to be an eyes wide open enter at your own risk programme, which will only suit a few authors.


Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware shared a snapshot of a clause in a publishing contract that has everyone flabbergasted. Take a good long look- this is how royalties will be calculated at Cayelle Publishing. 


The Alliance of Independent Authors has a look at all the different ways you can make a living as an author these days. Take a look at this idea that came across my FB feed today. This is subscription serial writing on another level.


In the must have category…

AppSumo has one of the cheapest deals for stock photo’s around and this deal does not appear often. ($39 for 100 Depositphotos- limited time) I know writers and designers who jump fast on this when it comes up. So move quickly.


Kristine Rusch has compiled an excellent Storybundle of writing craft books. Available now. Storybundle is a pay what you want model. There are some fabulous books in this bundle!


Jane Friedman has an interesting guest post from Lisa Cooper Ellison on inconsistent voices in memoir. How do you keep them all in control when you are writing?


In The Craft Section,

What is an unsympathetic character- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

When you write Second Person Point Of View- Tal Valente

How to write faster- J D Edwin

The main  Hero character archetypes- Tami Nantz- Bookmark

Building the suspension of disbelief- Donal Maass- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,

Unique promo ideas for May- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to pick a best selling title- Barbara Delinsky

Kindle Vella- Is it right for you?- Sandra Beckwith-Bookmark

Great ideas for Book Promotion Contests- Diana Urban

Social media mistakes that can damage your author brand- Penny Sansevieri


To Finish,

I try and keep things upbeat on the blog but I thought I would share with you something that has me muttering epithets. Disinformation campaigns around the Covid Vaccine. I know a few writers who have compromised immune systems, (including myself.) Covid is a nasty constantly mutating disease. Scientists are just beginning to understand that Long Covid symptoms are appearing in 50 % of patients that were hospitalised with Covid 19. The symptoms include organ damage that will last for the rest of their, now shortened, lives. This will be an ongoing burden to health systems worldwide. 

The vaccine is a lifeline to everyone to beat this disease and must have a worldwide take up if we are to stop it mutating into strains faster than we can cope with. (See India.) I do not know why there are people peddling anti-vaccine stories- but it is not based on proper science. There has been a significant breakthrough in the development of the Covid 19 vaccine that will change the way all future vaccines are made. It has nothing to do with your DNA. It is SAFE. (scroll down to @xolotl and @siousiewiles science cartoon on how it works

When you get the vaccine, You Will Be Saving Lives, especially the immune-compromised, (which includes every person who has had cancer for a start.) 

Put your Superhero cape on and get the Jab. 

Thanks for saving my life!





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Paul Wilkinson


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Getting Creative


This week in publishing news…

Publishing Perspectives reports on Penguin Random House India’s moves into the European market. Take one branch of a worldwide company… add a big distributor … Stir… and bake a new revenue stream.


This week I attended a virtual awards ceremony for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It was an odd experience as groups of us gathered around the country to watch a semi-live streaming event and cheer on our colleagues and winners. There was a tremendous outpouring of love for our finalists online throughout the week. It was bittersweet to not be there in person. Kate Reed Perry wrote a recent article on how virtual book events need to change to bring in some magic. Let’s get creative with our events.


The Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli) has pulled together a big post on Lockdown lessons for authors. With countries tentatively making a break from lockdown authors share what they learned and how they would do things differently. 


How much does the rest of the world know about the Asia Pacific publishing region? Mark Williams from TNPS has a roundup for Alli- Did you know that 50% of the people online in the world are in this region? What devices do they read on? Who caters to them? How do you reach 886 million online readers?


Have you been looking at your writing software and wondering whether you are missing something crucial? Author Media has a round-up of the writing software authors are using in 2020. Tech Crunch reports a new kid on the block aimed at creatives. Circle brings all your community engagement, courses, extra creator content into one space. Put together by the team behind Teachable.


How often have you seen a movie based on a book and wondered what happened?  There was a Twitter storm when the first pictures of BBC America’s The Watch, based on Terry Pratchett’s beloved books, were released this week. Not what the fans wanted at all.  Kris Rusch continues her look at licensing Intellectual Property and how they are working with a games company to take her books and characters into the gaming space. How much control should an author have over the product? Is it like films?


Rachel Thompson has an interesting article about self-publishing now and how authors have to understand all the ramifications of choosing this way of publishing. 


In The Craft Section,

How to write, and what not to write about the family, in your memoir- Sharon Harrigan- Bookmark

2 great posts from Angela and Becca- 6 tricks to layer on the stakes and Conflict thesaurus- Losing one’s temper- Bookmark Both

Begin at the beginning – or maybe not – Barbara Linn Probst

The trials and tribulations of DIY audiobooks- I popped this into craft because it has audio craft tips.- Andrene Low


In The Marketing Section,

Social media might not mean what you think it means-Sadie Hartmann- Bookmark

Book Cover redesigns- Alexander von Ness

A deep look at reader guides- P H Solomon- Bookmark

7 Book Marketing mistakes authors make- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

4 top book formatting mistakes to avoid- The Book Designer


To Finish,

We were doing so well… and then, as a friend said, Covid bit us on the butt again.  New Zealand goes back into lockdown. So to all those writers stuck back at home with the kids and the spouse and the pets and the mayhem… Here is the hacks guide to writing while the kids are at home.


Stay Safe. Be Kind. (Let’s rock those masks…)





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?

When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Curran Kelleher Venice Mask


Thursday, April 9, 2020

Book Love

Another week in the strange world of publishing in a global lockdown situation.
The European Union Publishers are mentioning dire consequences for their industry and cultural life in general if governments don’t recognize that books are as essential to people’s wellbeing as food. 

Meanwhile, Gardner's book distributors in the UK are closed or open or in between or… The New Publishing Standard is scathing about the risk to their employees.

A New Zealand story that got some global attention was The Booksellers campaign #BookshopsWillBeBack. As we go into our 3rd week of lockdown we are looking forward to life on the other side. But what will the new normal look like? One thing is certain if we want to have our local shops in our communities we need to support them. Everybody needs to commit to buying local where ever possible and that includes your local bookshop.

What about writers… 
The problem with high-stress situations is that writing often goes out of the window. Anne R Allen has a great post of writing in a time of collective grief- yes that is probably what you are feeling and why you can’t string two sentences together.

Becca Puglisi has some great practical tips on how to get through this pandemic when your kids are locked in with you. This is a must-read.

Writer Unboxed looks at productivity vs chaos and offers some advice on how to strike a balance that will help you keep your sanity.

Kris Rusch has been filling her blog with great creativity posts which are must-reads but I find her long term perspectives on the book industry really interesting as well. This week she looks at what she is doing to remain calm and focused. This is all good advice and she has some great yoga links as well.

Jane Friedman has an interesting post from Lisa Cooper Ellison on how to sustain your creativity in the midst of the pandemic. One of her great tips is Keep Showing Up. You never know when the creativity could flow, by showing up you are ready when it happens.

In The Craft Section,

2 Bookmark posts from Jami Gold- Storytelling Verb Tenses and Asking Why

Michael Hauge’s 6 steps on structure

5 signs your book needs work- DIYMFA- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

8 Things to get your book noticed on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

New Facebook live tools – Frances Caballo

To Finish,

I was amused to see this Guardian article on the new lockdown game – Judging famous people by their bookshelves, then it occurred to me what was missing in my weekly skype check-in calls with other writers. I don’t have a bookcase behind me. I’m usually at the table with a messy kitchen bench behind me. I should be sitting in front of an erudite bookshelf. To do this properly I would need to rearrange 14 bookshelves. But then how do I make a decision? What books would you put into a show collection? The ones you think you should read or the ones you actually read? 

(Day 15 LD) P.S. Fabostory has started early... and this week I'm in the hot seat- details in the sidebar.

Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons Plappen- Bookshelves- (Interesting mixture here)

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Fighting On

As the world struggles to deal with the pandemic, the publishing world is also struggling to survive in rapidly changing times. Like the musicians of the Titanic who bravely played jaunty tunes as the ship was sinking underneath them, so the publishing world is putting on a brave face while the ground rocks under their feet. We can have book fairs online said Bologna.

Around the world, publishers and booksellers are fighting to keep going. In Italy, the first of the European countries to really grapple with the pandemic, the cultural industry federation has called on their government to see their industry as essential. Preserving and supporting Italian culture and heritage is vital in this time they say so that something remains on the other side of the pandemic.

Today, here in New Zealand, we learned that all of our major magazines have been terminated effective immediately because of the lack of advertising. That is nearly three hundred journalists out of work not to mention art editors, designers, photographers, printers, distributors etc. The flow-on effects are huge and also the potential loss of cultural and historical print institutions.

Meanwhile, Amazon, the everything store, has slowed down their delivery of what they see as non-essential. Books apparently fit in this category. If they aren’t supporting us surely they could waive their fees – the publishers cry.

There are many calls to shop indie to keep the independent booksellers alive. Many of them have ramped up their online web stores and have become creative in how they deliver locally. When you are stuck inside with the kids a dedicated book store can still get your reading books, puzzles and colouring books to you. Many bookstores are resorting to GoFundMe campaigns to stay viable. 

In times of crisis, people turn to comfort foods and occupations, binge-watching movies, TV, online gaming and reading books, all created by storytellers in different mediums. We are an essential industry. However, there seems to be a gap in the understanding of the average person that the storytellers need to be paid for their work. This is their livelihood. 
Recently, the Internet Archive in the U S made their collection of IN COPYRIGHT books freely available and downloadable. (Who needs pirates when institutions do this.) This directly tramples all over the writer's income. The Authors Guild have sent an open letter of protest

Many authors have been attacked online for NOT supporting the free downloads of their work. In the culture of free content, the creator gets nothing. This is not sustainable. 
The creator works for free only in certain circumstances- when they can afford it.  Hopefully, the W.H.O. call to creatives to help in the Covid 19 response will also generate some paying work.

While we are in lockdown and staring down the barrel of a great recession Nathan Bransford decided to interview Mike Shatzkin about how he sees the publishing world on the other side. The pandemic will cause an acceleration of consolidation and the rivals to Amazon will start to move. Fascinating ideas here.

Kris Rusch brings her calm good sense to the fore in her most recent blog. Many of us have been feeling creatively lost, struggling to get the words out and wondering how to be creative in the face of such uncertainty. Kris says this is a normal reaction and offers some great advice for getting through the tough times. Chuck Wendig also has thoughtful advice on how to cope with creativity in this time.

Sharon Bially writes that there is a silver lining in not being able to have your book launch in an article on Writer Unboxed. Here is a great opportunity to have two book launches… the online one now and when everything gets back to normal, the real-life one. Check out her ideas for making the most of the extended promotion of your book.

In The Craft Section,

How to set tone and mood- Janice Hardy – Bookmark

How to rescue an endangered book- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Character internalization- Jami Gold-Bookmark

500 writing prompts- Written Word Media

Write tight- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

7 expert tricks for author newsletters- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Book marketing during Covid 19- Judith Briles- Bookmark

Book Marketing and Covid 19-Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

For some people, this will be a time when they commit to writing down the book they have always wanted to write. Writer Guru Jerry Jenkins has pulled together a comprehensive post on how to write a book. 

For the rest of us…
 Chin up- We can get through this.

(Day 7 LD)

Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Getting Creative

Last week I was urging people to look for the silver lining. A lot can happen in a week. 
Sadly, I am seeing many people in the arts industry who have had their jobs disappear, launches canceled, speaking gigs (that pay the rent) postponed or stopped. Then I saw booksellers struggling and the layoffs of staff have begun.

Some great booksellers are keeping their staff on full pay and giving them vacation time. Others are coming up with innovative ways to stay relevant in the community. A friend who does a regular storytime in a children’s bookshop is now doing an online version for the store. (They also have a mobile EFTPOS machine so they can go out to cars with your phone in order.) Other bookshops have started a delivery service. 
Now is the time to get creative to weather the Covid 19 storm. 

With the canceling of so many festivals, some kid’s authors got together to hold an online book festival for kids. Check out how they are doing it and share the idea around.

Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and others are relaxing their licenses so teachers can use their books and crafts in videos for children who are unable to go to school. Authors who have their own licenses for this may be able to offer something similar. 

Librarians overseas, are arguing that now is the time to relax the fair use rules on copyright. This is tricky as authors should still be paid for their work. It is their livelihood.

Amazon is priority shipping- anything not a priority for Covid 19 is getting delayed. Unfortunately, books are not seen as a priority. However, that doesn’t apply to KDP print and ebooks. (silver lining)

In the middle of all this Macmillan ended its library embargo. Everyone told them you don’t mess with librarians, but they had to find out the hard way.

Kristine Rusch talks about Black Swan events and how the world and business change forever at these times. This is an interesting read and something to ponder on as we look at our author business. Dean and Kris are also offering big discounts on all their courses for authors who are stuck inside. 

Nate Hoffelder is noting that most of the Book Fairs are talking postponement. He has a blog post on what to take if you are planning to go to a fair as soon as everything gets back to the new normal.

Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors has a very useful article on how Indie Publishing might be able to weather the Covid 19 storm.

In The Craft Section,

4 tips for creating Villains- Sacha Black - Bookmark

Ways to add depth to settings- Jordan Dane- Bookmark

Taking the first step towards writing- Shanna Swendson- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Packaging your book- Keywords, metadata, and selling points- Nicolas Erik- Bookmark!

Increasing discoverability- Facebook Goodreads Twitter- Ingram blog

Change your author blog into a website- Nate Hoffelder- Bookmark

To Finish

In this time of uncertainty with the news constantly changing around us it can be tempting to lock ourselves away and go back to comfort food, books, etc etc. If you know anyone contemplating plans to write that picture book, ‘because it’s easy to write a kids book’ send them over to read Melinda Szymanik’s blog- The picture book gospel. 

Now is the time to be kind and to think outside of the box, to get the word out about books and reading. Write reviews, talk on social media about favourite books, share your process, invent words games, social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Writers are already ahead of the rest of the world in these skills. It’s time to show them off.


It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter of the best of the months' bookmarked links.
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr- Creative Commons – Bill Smith- Girl Scout cookies 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Looking For The Silver Lining

This week the publishing industry was trying to catch up with all the cancellations as the Covid 19 virus is now a global pandemic. Publishing Perspectives announced a roundup today of what’s been canceled. 

Meanwhile over on Amazon, there have been scams taking advantage of people’s fear. Let’s rip off some scientific articles dress it up with a salad of opinion and badly formatted or just scanned pages of tips and sell it to frightened people. 

If you are thinking it’s all a big conspiracy theory and the virus isn’t that bad you need to read this detailed article on the statistics of the pandemic thus far. 

I was hoping to find some silver linings I could share with you this week. This became especially important for my mental health as I investigated the contents of our emergency bag and discovered expired food. Hmm. What would a writer need to get through some forced isolation time? A separate workroom from children and spouses for a start. (The laundry- I’m always in there.) Lay in a stock of pain killers, cough medicine, your favourite chicken soup, wine, chocolate, pens, and paper and get in a stack of books from your local bookshop.
When you are all settled in, channel Mary Shelley. She wrote Frankenstein during a pandemic. You too could write a novel that changes the literature landscape. 
(N.B. You might have to handwrite it just like Mary if the internet goes down because everyone is working from home.)

This could be a great time to do some computer spring cleaning says Litreactor- Have you ever spent twenty minutes going through the files of your manuscripts trying to find the latest version where you didn’t make that stupid change that resulted in the hero heading to Antarctica? Clean up your hard drive.

The Portalist caught up with some pandemic apocalypse writers and asked them why people were searching out their books. First of all, Chuck Wendig apologized for writing a book about a pandemic in an election year….

If you were planning on attending a book fair or conference that has just disappeared there is light on the horizon. The Alliance of Independent Authors online conference is still on. Attend virtually and soak up all the great information for free this weekend.

A ray of sunshine amid the gloom for UK writers. Their government is dropping the VAT on books.

Kris Rusch examines the double-dealings of Hachette this week when their staff walked out to support Ronan Farrow’s protest over publishing Woody Allen’s memoir. It’s ok to enforce these clauses of non-compete to authors but not when the shoe is on the other foot.

In the Craft Section,

39 writing tips to take seriously- Zoe McCarthy- Bookmark

Test your story concept- Scott Myers- Bookmark

Killer plot twists- Tom Corson Knowles

Children’s writer's biggest challenge- Sherryl Clark- Great Read!

In The Marketing Section,

Book sales techniques- Sarah Bolme- Bookmark

Making an editorial calendar- Willow Woodford- Bookmark

To Finish,

One of my young friends suffered a concussion at work and she was at a loss as to what to do for the compulsory week off. She couldn’t look at screens or bright lights. Audiobooks I said. It’s a form of reading with your ears. It takes you right back to reading with Mum. The light switched on, and we went on to talk about Stephen Fry’s superlative reading of the Harry Potter series. There are reading snobs out there who say that reading anything outside of the printed page is wrong… however, science now backs up that audiobook listening is reading. 
Yay for Science! 


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr- Creative Commons - Sean Freese 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Let’s Be Careful Out There

The Covid 19 virus has started spreading across the world and the media are spending more time on the sensationalist aspects and ramping up the hysteria instead of the facts.
In the publishing world, the big conferences that are the tent poles of the publishing year are looking very shaky. London Book Fair has just been canceled due to many big publishers pulling out. Already we have book launches canceled or delayed. China is the world's largest printer for publishers. Due to travel restrictions, books are being delayed. If you can’t get your books out to the stores what can you do?
The latest Bond movie is delayed due to worries about audiences in theatres staying away because of contagion concerns.
Kris Rusch talks calmly of what happened to book sales in moments of crisis. Are you prepared for business disruption?

The news was out today, Simon and Schuster are up for sale. Among the reporting of dire predictions was the whimsical, what would you do with a book publishing company? 
Will Amazon buy it to get print legitimacy? Just think of all their backlist. (Stephen King… Judy Blume… Cassandra Clare…)

While you are contemplating owning a big publisher, Anne R Allen has a great blog post on the clueless ways people who know nothing about publishing offer advice. How many of these have you fielded at parties when someone finds out you write?

The Guardian recently published an opinion piece from a writer about the guilty secret many of us have. We are sponsored by someone rich to write. This is a truthful piece on what it is really like to be a writer these days. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it is going to get any better.

Audiobooks are going from strength to strength in the publishing world as the new format to get into. Joanna Penn has a great interview with Michele Cobb on all the opportunities in audio publishing.

I’ve been experimenting with writing sprints lately. They are lots of fun and you can get a surprising amount down if you don’t stop to edit your words in the middle. (Note to self!) The Pomodoro technique does work. If you don’t know how to do it check out this nifty post.

Do you belong to a writing group? This week I was thrilled to see the last person in a writing group I have been keeping an eye on for a long time finally have her book published. Writing groups can be your best cheerleaders. -There are many different types so search around to find your cheerleading tribe.

In The Craft Section,

9 Types of Narrative Devices- Joe Bunting - Bookmark

Screenplay structure simplified- Scott Myers- Infographic- Bookmark

Tips for writing a cozy mystery- Elizabeth Spann Craig

In The Marketing Section,

Looking Good -Design tips for authors- Heather Weidner- Bookmark

Panel Best Practice- Penguin Random House

How to make your author future reality- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

Anatomy of a Bestselling Amazon Book Promotion- Penny Sansevieri – Bookmark

To Finish,

What do you do when you find out that your work has been plagiarized - but worse… they won a prize with it. You could go up in flames or you could doubt yourself or you could write an interesting thoughtful piece of how you deal with this. 
Take a breath, people. Innnnnn. Ouuuuut. Don’t use hysteria as your default emotion. Check out the facts. Make considered decisions. (I’m looking at you people in the back overstacking your shopping trolleys with toilet paper and bottled water.) 

Just a note- One of my nurse friends reported today that people are stealing bottles of hand sanitizer from the hospitals. Surgical masks, sanitizers, etc are needed by medical professionals. The mask does not work if it gets wet- One cough and it’s done for. 
Please use soap and water (20 seconds) and dry your hands. It works just as well.


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

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