Showing posts with label digital publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label digital publishing. Show all posts

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Talking About The Revolution

This week has seen wide ranging discussions on where authors and publishing are positioning themselves.

Hugh Howey kicked it off with a piece in Salon where he said None of this is meant to say that everyone who self-publishes — even those who study the craft, take their work seriously, and produce a constant stream of material — will find material success. There is also luck involved and the fickle tastes of readers. But what is becoming more apparent with every passing day is that you have a better chance of paying a bill or two through self-publishing than you do through any other means of publication.

Chuck Wendig countered with a piece on his blog warning readers that only going down the self publishing route was courting disaster. I traditionally-publish. I do pretty well at that, too, I think, and actually over the last two years have well-eclipsed anything I made self-publishing. Just the same, I don’t think one is better than the other.
Both make important points which have been debated all over the blogosphere this week. Hugh agrees with Chuck...and compared with diatribes from last year on these different perspectives of Publishing Now, these guys are politeness personified (yes, I said that about Chuck...)

Susan Kaye Quin, an Indie midgrade writer, has also been engaging in this topical debate and she has some good points to make. She looks at both positions coming down firmly on the Indie she would. Take the time to read the debate. Mostly everyone agrees Hybrid is the way to go if you can and different types of publishing for separate projects.

However what everyone is saying on both sides is that quality of content matters. You cannot knock off an ebook in a weekend and make thousands of dollars. This week I was invited to speak to a tertiary Creative Writing Programme. I was blunt because sugar coating reality helps no one. However one very important point I hoped they got was they are already on the right track, by being in a course that will teach them to write to their best ability. There after, it is as Chuck says,...’Art Harder’.

Jane Friedman in her new role as VQR guru brought together a high powered think tank to look at where digital is going in literary publishing. Get a big cup of coffee, the ideas fly thick and fast in the middle with multi media, freelancing and earning income. Porter Anderson, covering the HUGE Writers Digest conference last week, also looks at these ideas including the move of agents to become managers. This is an interesting idea and a way forward for agents.

Another big topic getting lots of talk time is Author’s Guild president Scott Turow’s opinion piece on Amazon buying Goodreads. Unfortunately Scott’s anti digital tirade did not go down well in the blogosphere. Dave Gaughren talks about what went wrong for Scott. He is mostly polite (not like other tirades.) In my humble opinion someone who slams Amazon as much as Scott shouldn’t have his books for sale on it.

Futurebook is asking Can Publishers Disintermediate Amazon...should publishers become then....(Check out the article, discuss amongst yourselves.)

Elizabeth Spann Craig has a great blog and this week she is looking at making your comtent work harder for you...I know how she is feeling and have been doing my own investigations down this route...

Anne R Allen says there is a time and place to blog your book...Have you got the right time and place?

PaidContent has looked at Flipboard’s new moves and warns...publishers have not seen this coming and maybe they should be a little bit afraid....The video will knock your socks off (This is a must read!) Your own magazine in 30 seconds...

And to help you with graphics content, new kid on the block, Imgembed, which is revolutionising image capture for blogs, websites more dodgy steals...and it looks great from the photographers side too. That’s where the blog pic came from.

In Craft,

When there is no time...How do you write on the GO

In Marketing,
Joanna Penn on Keywords Metadata and Discoverability and Paid Promotion - is it worth it?

Video Book Trailers...putting one together.

Book Signings that WOW (great ideas from Bookshelf Muse blog)

Author Platform - Are You Being Cautious or Lazy (Catherine Ryan Howard takes you to task.)

 To Finish,
In our biggest daily paper was a great article on a Pacific Writer, Lani Wendt-Young who looked at the gap in pacific islands fiction and started writing a Spec Fic series which has taken off among her target audience, Pacific Island youth and then into the wider world. It is a great project and shows what you can do when you stop talking and just write.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Changing The World...

As we head towards the end of November, the calendar starts telling you that every day is now filled up with something important. You begin to wonder how you will stretch your energy levels and/or brain cells to organise, prepare, plan, execute, remember, 1001 tasks before (insert next important date/time) tomorrow.
So here I am trying to organise my scattered thoughts coherently enough to give you a run down on what the most talked about topics in the writing blogosphere were this week.

The Amazon library lending saga goes on and on with Penguin withdrawing its books from the service and then earlier today doing an about face and then a 180. 
Yup it is all over the place. Read Porter Anderson on this issue and also the other big issue of the week….

Penguin again…this time with the launch of Book Country, their new publishing arm, for people who want help to publish. Is it vanity publishing? Opinions are divided. 

Is there something in the turkey stuffing over in America?

Thanksgiving is kicking off about now and the wonderful Jami Gold has a fun post on what to get writers for Christmas…actually some uninterrupted writing time would be great at any time…. Check out her list and start dropping hints. 

Over Thanksgiving while you are trying to digest the huge feast your fingers will probably be getting a workout on Social Media sites. Shrinking Violet Promotions has a handy guide to how to survive Social Media if you are a writer.

The Passive Guy (writing lawyer) gathered together a list of all the posts he has done on the ethics of Agents and conflicts of interest and surprised himself with how many times the issue keeps coming up.

If you are a follower of Roz Morris, she has a wonderful post on her secret life as a ghost writer and how she ghost writes for someone who is her complete opposite. (outdoors, military…Clue sleuths are hitting the comments on this one.) 

Futurebook has wrapped up a series looking at the digitisation of the book industry in comparison to the music industry…It is an interesting read and has a big picture snapshot of what is happening and where it might go.

Over in the craft section...
Victoria Mixon has a great post on 3 characteristics of your protagonist.

Yesterday was a day of joy and sadness.
I had the great pleasure of telling a young writer they had won a wonderful writing award…who knows what the future holds for them…and it was with great sadness I heard of the death of one of my favorite writers, Anne McCaffrey. The Pern series was the first time I encountered female characters who could and did kick butt as strong protagonists. This was a wonderful thing to discover as a teen growing up in a rural area where girls actually finishing 7th form were a rarity.  
We need our heroines to be as strong as our heroes for the hope they bring that we can change our world.
R.I.P Anne McCaffrey

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Taking A Punt

This morning in my inbox was a little heads up email from Publishers Weekly with the round up of children’s publishing news. 
A quick glance down and this takes my eye. Scholastic, Ruckus in joint venture. On the surface it’s another business merger with the biggest children’s publisher. Ho hum. But look a little deeper and think about what this is telling us now about children’s publishing.

Ruckus Media was started a year ago this week by the former head of Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing division. He got together with a web developer to take a well known children’s audio book company Rabbit Ears into the digital age and create apps for the new iPad.  They promised a 12 week turn around time and to release an App a week. They were going to acquire new content and had signed up some impressive authors. Ruckus also promised that eventually they would go into partnership with a publishing house.

So a year to the day they are going with Scholastic.

While the big publishing houses have had a wait and see approach or are nervously dipping a toe in the water of digital publishing. Their top brass have been jumping to get into the market knowing that eventually the publishing houses would have to come to them for their expertise. These guys aren’t going to lose their shirts on this, they are businessmen. Print publishers are now seeing the huge market for new content in Games and Apps and want a piece of the pie.

Ruckus published new digital content first and now they are partnering with Scholastic to bring it into Print.

Writers, You don’t have to sell print rights first...(Do I hear the sound of pennies dropping?)

Children’s writers need to look at their manuscripts and see it as suitable for submission to Digital Media publishers as well as print...especially junior and mid grade writers. Illustrators too could begin submitting portfolios into these smart publishers.

After all if Scholastic can take a punt why can’t you?

Also in the news this week...

These three links have generated much comment around the blogosphere.

On the popular Publishing Perspectives blog a literary agent puts up his argument against agent publishers.

If you are wondering about marketing your new book, Cory Doctorow tells it straight with his to the point article for Locus. Why should anybody care? This is a great article which has generated heaps of comments all over the blogosphere.

Also in the same issue of Locus there is a spotlight on Ultra Cool Children’s Writer Bruce Colville. He has an audio publishing company that puts full cast audio productions together....(wish I was living near him, I would love to be a voice actor for a book...)

 M J Rose is interviewed by Jungle Red (a mystery writers group blog) about starting the company Author Buzz and how successful it has been. There are some great marketing tips for authors in this article.

Jenny Hansen from Writers in the Storm, examines social media and how that impacts on your Author Brand. This is a useful post because she breaks down the use of hash tags on twitter...and the best people to follow. (you can follow me if you like..:)

40K has a great roundup of trends currently happening in publishing. They use up and down arrows with great effect.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to Articles on

Internal and External Inspiration

25 tips for Queries, Synopsis and Treatments. (This is a great article but comes with a content warning hehehe Cover your ears....Chuck lets rip.)

In the Craft Corner,

To finish,

Explore all avenues....take a punt!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Changing The Variables

March is New Zealand Book Month. Already I have attended a National Address, hosted a dinner, attended a book launch and organised an award party. Somehow I have managed to be out nearly every night since March began.

The National Address, The Janet Frame Memorial Lecture, was given by Joy Cowley. Joy is one our most beloved writers for children and as befits one of our own being chosen to give this prestigious address, the children’s writers were out in force. There was a huge crowd! Afterwards I hosted a dinner for members of the Wellington Children’s Book Association. It was a great night.

I missed one of our member’s book launches but managed to attend another. Mandy Hager has finished her Blood of the Lamb trilogy with Resurrection.  This whole series has been a tour de force.

Our Patron, Jack Lasenby, turned 80 this week and as he has been shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards (his 30th novel for children) we thought it might be a good idea to get all the other Wellington area finalists together. It was a bit of a mission but we managed to surprise them all with flowers and Jack with a large birthday card signed by quite a lot of people...(it helped that he couldn’t make the memorial lecture as I was running around like a mad thing getting signatures and the card would have been hard to hide.)

Today I was reflecting on Bob Mayer’s article on the three author variables and thinking about the quality of the writing here in New Zealand. Both Joy Cowley and Jack Lasenby are among the very best writers for Children we have produced. Joy is known internationally with her readers and picture books and the famous Mrs WishyWashy. Jack is not. He has been a huge influence on generations of children through his work as a School Journal editor and the fact that he has personally known and encouraged our best literary writers over the last 50 years to write some stories for children.

Bob talks about the mix of Platform, Product and Promotion. We have always had strong product but New Zealand is small and our publishers are small and the print runs are small and so the head offices of the big publishing companies pretty much ignore books printed here. With internet and the new global market place, New Zealand children’s books might just be ready to be discovered. All we need is a strong platform and great promotion.

Somebody who has been swinging all the variables of Platform, Product and Promotion is Seth Godin. David Meerman Scott interviewed him on his new project, Poke The Box.

Anne Mini has taken a look at how clichés can destroy your chance of being picked up with a series of funny examples of overridden cliché queries that are in need of editing or just search and destroy.

John Rember has written a guest post for Jane Friedman on the relationship between author, agent and publisher and the need to examine this carefully in the fast changing world of publishing.

March is also Small Press Month...and Elisabeth Spann Craig has taken a look at small press vs large press. Which is better?

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

9 Questions Editors Ask When Reading Your Submission

Authors Engage Or Die

Justine Musk On The Best Way To Blog

Harpers ebook Lending Policy Trashed.

To finish,

Mashable is looking at new digital trends...the way the news is being gathered is changing also how brands are becoming social media and how aggregation is changing bestselling statistics. This is a good article to read if you want to know how these trends will change the variables in publishing through the rest of this year. As New Zealand is about six months behind we have a little bit of lead in time...use it wisely.

The New Zealand Book Council’s video shows some 3D storytelling which is our associations next event in New Zealand Book Month. 


Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Impressions....

Ah Facebook...such a time waster sometimes, and sometimes not.

This week Facebook friend, Sarah Billington, posted on her blog what it is like being an intern at Black Dog Books (Aus.) Sarah is a writer herself and as part of her Uni course got to look at life on the other side of the desk. Sarah has written a small series of posts about being an intern at Black of the takeaways this week was her comment ‘that if you say you are a published author, they will google you.’

I am sometimes told by writers here in NZ that we don’t need websites. Sarah’s comments in her blog and facebook are timely. Yes, writers down under, you need a web presence! (And remember to spend some time making your web presence interesting.)
‘Send them to my Blog, Maureen,’ she said...So I am sending you....

You have slaved over the query letter and now you send it in...You are hoping to make a good impression... Rachelle Gardner commented this week about receiving a query letter that starts thusly...

“To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete."

This is a good list to look at...and check your work against, before you craft that important query letter.

Before the query you need to make sure your manuscript is as good as it can get. This post by Douglas Van Bell is a must read. The most Comprehensive and Totally Universal Listing Of Every Problem A Story Has Ever Had...(warning strong content...heheheheh I did warn you...)

And if you are feeling worn out with fixing all those little mistakes here is an inspirational post on keeping the momentum going...The secret is all in the first thing you do each day...

Mike Shatzkin is looking at the serious money being put into enhanced digital books for children. Companies are scrambling to be first in the new wave of publishing that is going to transform children’s books....Will they be called 'books' in the future?

Pimpmynovel has also been looking at the future and what it will mean to publishers very soon....He predicts the rise of the Indie bookstore...check out what he says about agents...

Greg Pincus interviewed Holly Cupala about all the innovative ways she is using to market her books. Holly has kept the audio rights and is making her own audio versions using her own narrators, etc. This, and making episodes available as podcasts, has generated huge interest in her print books. A must read if you are interested in podcasting and retaining your rights.

Over on Craicerplus ( My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on,

What do Self Publishing Success Stories Have In Common (marketing)

ePublishing All You Ever Wanted To Know.

Anatomy of A Best Selling Novel -Structure Matters (very very good)

5 Things Every Writer Should Know About Rights-(the great Jane so a must read.)

The Great Semi Colon Debate...(do you use them )

And back we go to the first place I mentioned in this post, Facebook. Allison Winn has a very good post on what writers should be thinking when they are on Facebook Personal Vs Professional.

I’ll leave you now, senses reeling from all that valuable information....with the first in a great YouTube series by the Plot Whisperer...If you are looking for novel help (NaNoWriMo people) check this out. From this video I realised I have a plot hole in my Mars Project...crater sized...back to work!


pic is from a website looking at neural first iimpressions

Friday, March 5, 2010

Awards... Lets Amplify...OK?

Awards...who needs ‘em....

Um, well lots of us do... so we know what to read...or who to envy...who to celebrate with....

As I have said before, we need to do more celebrating of our amazing children’s writers in this country. Yesterday, the shortlist for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2010 came out.

Once again I wish there was a longer short list...because I know many great Kiwi writers who published great books last year and deserved to be on it and were not. Sigh.(drowning sorrows with wine...)

I was also interested to see the make up of the Young Adult Short would you choose from that stellar bunch? I’ve said it before, but we have amazing Children’s and Young Adult writers living in this country... (and Lia was born here.)

The other thing that caught my eye was the Aussie publishers who made sure that their Kiwi born writers books were submitted to the awards...coz they should be, as Elizabeth Knox pointed out last year when her Aussie published book wasn’t submitted. (They won’t make that mistake again...)

I note that the mistake I saw yesterday, on the booksellers website, that had Cowshed Christmas written by Gavin Bishop and illustrated by Joy Cowley has been fixed up...and that all the illustrators have equal billing with the author on the website today.

In the Picture Book category, another strong showing which has TVNZ slavering...Novice up against heavyweight authors...yes but what about Kyle I he up against himself or Katerina Mataira’s translation of his words and if it wins who gets the award...the translator or the author? (and what does it all mean then...)

The Non fiction section has the usual spread of very different ages and stages of information. What a job to try to compare such a wide ranging group with each other. (In the ring today we have Willie against Ben and Mark...)

Oh plenty to ponder and discuss and gossip about...

Congratulations to everyone. A special wave out to all my friends who are spread out across the list, I bask in your reflected glory and wine drinking has commenced to toast you all...(like I needed an excuse. I foresee a tipsy weekend is ahead of me what with commiserations, congratulations and a birthday.)

In my continuing exploration of Social Media as it applies to marketing I have been thinking about this cool site that Jon Bard of CBI mentioned. Amplify is the place you always wanted to store those blog clippings, interesting news etc etc that you keep to yourself, because it would just be too hard to post the links to the six different social media sites you belong to....

Aha...Amplify does it for you. Clip the social media links and you are done!

Best of all you can add your take on what you all your many followers can see and engage in conversation about it or many possibilities...

And finally a very very good article on the future in Digital Publishing...we don’t know where we are going but we are going somewhere...

Unlike the author in this video....Did any one of our finalists have this conversation with their editors???



RIP Jo Nobel

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catching The Speeding Train in the Writing Journey

This week I have been thinking of added content....following on from ideas sparked by the 1000 true fans post and talking to various friends about the widening fields of being a content provider(author)

On Monday I was at Te Papa for the Institute of Modern letters Monday lunchtime talk series which featured Kate de Goldi talking to Vic. Writer In Residence, Paula Boock. Paula’s journey from editor to YA writer to script writer to TV Film producing to writing her first adult novel which we were privileged to listen to a bit of...(main character is a child tho, so she hasn’t strayed far away from us) and it got me thinking about the writing journey.

A long time ago I scribbled stories for myself then I thought I‘d better learn how to write so I went looking for the magic formula.(guess what... there isn’t one) Along the way I collected rejections...then I got an acceptance...I’ve made it, I thought...No I hadn’t.
Lots more rejections later then writing took a back seat to life...I got involved in the writing community, so I wrote by association with some of the best in the world at writers talks etc. Then back to collecting rejections, trying my hand at new styles of writing but always, always learning.

Our writing journeys take us into many lands where the language is different and the culture is foreign and obstacles look insurmountable...and so it is with the new ideas of writing content and digital media to the children’s author. But in essence it is applying your skills in a different way using a different medium or media. (I joked to Fifi on Monday that Paula could be a poster child for the Spinning Gold Conference as she has applied her skills across two or three medias. Fifi is a poster child...Martin Baynton is the poster child, Janice Marriot who is writing scripts for the Wot Wots is a poster child... (they are all marvelous New Zealand children's authors trying their hand at new media.)

They are leading the way for the rest of us...and I will learn from them by osmosis and posting little snippets of interest to you all, who are struggling, like I am, to make sense of the speeding train called ‘Social and Digital media as it applies to our craft.

So onto the Future....Eeeeek I’m not ready.....

Fourth Story Media a new publishing company in the ‘states’ are ready to launch The Amanda Project. CEO Mike Smith describes the company this way on their website.

Traditonally, stories would be told through one medium. A film would exist as a film. A book would exist as a book. Now, the internet and new forms of technology are enabling storytellers to tell their stories not through one medium, but through every conceivable form of media.
— Michael Smith, CEO & Owner, Mind Candy and Perplex City

To have a look at what they are doing with The Amanda Project go here or just look at the video below.

Chorion based in the United Kingdom is working with a range of writers and literary estates to add media content to enhance the book presence. Here’s what they have done for Agatha Christie but their flagship is Children’s lit....(their slide show is really cool)go take a look at their website.

Merchandising: PC games, jigsaw puzzles, mugs, pencils, cushions, deckchairs and more are available at retail and online.
Stage: We license first class productions worldwide and actively oversee the hugely successful Agatha Christie Theatre Company's ongoing professional tours in the UK.
Online: The official website at features blogs, games, downloadable content, information on Agatha Christie and every story she wrote, newsletters and a very popular forum for her fans.

The world is getting bigger and bigger for the author(content provider)...but seriously have you thought about turning some of your writing into added content slogans for merchandise????

And finally as a present to Tania Hutley...(stat counter says her site sends the most people over to read my blog...I’m awed...) the following video because she loved the Buffy staked Edward post.


pic is the Ave Solar train in Spain and the new way to travel without carbon emmissions... it's as fast as a jet...the way of the future????

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Going Digital...3 links to contemplate...

Yes this post is all about the digital revolution...well actually it’s not a revolution any more. It’s life moving fast on the digital highway.

I too have finally succumbed...Life got too complicated last week and so I went and phone....Yup and my thumb is sore! Learning to text....OMG.
I am not giving out my number...because I can’t remember it...and if I get a text from the two family members who know it, I fumble and drop it and miss it and take 15 minutes to text Five words...

So I will get there...This from the geek who reads PopSci and PopMechanics...I know about it intellectually.....Anyway the model I have has the features I want which I’m still trying to make work.

But investigating this marvel of modern technology I discovered no games, but a cool music composer...You can sing into it, convert it to a score, change keys, rhythm, and instrument and save it.

Who needs games....

And so onto the digital bytes that relate to marketing and writing and conferences that I have for you this week.....(I’ll add this to the marketing links sidebar next week because there are some great links. )


’The future is now. Sometimes, we don’t look outside our little angle of it, and that means we miss some possibilities. Other times, we realize something’s out there and we have part of the puzzle, but we’ll catch a different view that gives us even more. I’ve compiled a list of 100 possibilities and things happening out there on the Internet that might be of interest to you. You may have even more to add.’

The amazing Chris Brogan (expert in social media) posted this post at the end of January.
I scrolled down the list and there were links everywhere for more effective web marketing, running your e-business, you name it and Chris did.

One of the points Chris made was that you should be looking at the opposite of what you do on the web so you can get ideas... sounds funny doesn’t it, but you have to read the post.
More important is the list of nearly 100 posts responding to it with people around the world adding to the list...Brilliant stuff...I’ve already sent links to peoples way from the responses.

Chris has broken down his list into these categories.

Streams of Information
Web based work
Small and local
Mobile Applications
And Money

The seminar programme for the Digital Publishers Forum is up....and a varied programme is on offer.
Martin Taylor is talking on e-books fresh from a NY conference on them
Adrian Keane from Pearson Education... is talking about educational digital publishing
Neale Pitches from South Pacific Press is talking on his experiences e-publishing.
And a bloke with my brother’s name... but he’s not....tho he sounds just as interesting....
The Wellington seminar is on April 1 ....and a 50% discount for NZSA members looks well worth it...

For those of you waiting for news of the conference....It’s’s coming... We are finalising the programme as you read this....we have a cool logo nearly ready to go...and we are putting the call out for sponsors...So if you Book People know anyone who wants to partnership with us, Please get in touch! Don’t forget to get on our advance notice mailing list, if you want to come. See sidebar.

But to whet your appetite on Children’s Book Conferences...Here is the amazing Alice...She has just blogged The three day New York Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators Conference. There are some great observations on talks and panels and people and publishers. The photo’s are awesome especially the winners of the Illustrators award. And don’t worry about the recession...well that’s what they were saying in New York last week.


The pic -the hottest tee shirt item on the web at the moment... couldn’t resist...sorry Twilight fans....I’m sure Stephen King will be wearing one given his comments on the series this week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Author = Content Provider

Reading Beattie’s Book Blog, as most of us in the industry do, I came across the press release for the Brand New ‘Digital Publishing Forum. Martin Taylor( has put together a group of like minded authors and publishers to explore and help push New Zealand in to the Brave New Digital world. Here is a little taste of what he wants NZ to take notice of.

Digital publishing opens up the multi-billion dollar global book industry to both existing and new players. It needs new skills, technologies and ways of doing business. If you think you've got something that we should be aware of or sharing with others, contact Forum director Martin Taylor. We want to hear from with suggestions for:

· Content providers looking for technology

· Technology providers looking for content

· Speakers

· Sponsors

· Suppliers

· Service providers

· Investors

· Anyone who can help build an internationally competitive digital publishing industry in New Zealand.

He is running a series of workshops throughout the country in March 2009

So for all you content providers out there this could be worthwhile keeping an eye on....

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