Showing posts with label e-books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label e-books. Show all posts

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Every Wednesday at 2pm (NZ time) I try to tune into the Twitterverse for a Twitterchat.

For those of you who have just been totally confused by that last sentence I will attempt to explain.
Twitter uses hashtags ( # ) to search and curate conversations.
For instance you can go to Twitter and enter in the search bar ‘#publishing’ and get all recent comments on publishing by people who added that ‘#publishing’ term to their tweet if they thought their comment might be relevant to the ongoing publishing conversation.

Twitter chats however are set at regular times and have their own hashtags for you to follow. 
My problem is that two really interesting chats are on at the same time, #indiechat and #kidlitchat. So I flit between them both trying to get the flavour of each and getting a few gems to mull about along the way.

One of the stellar people I have ‘met’ on these chats is Susan Kaye Quin who writes Y A. She recently posted a great article on her blog which crystallises for me the indie publishing journey. Indie publishing is not about one is about your voice and whole writing career. Susan takes a look at the Scarcity vs Abundance model that Kathryn Rusch talks about and identifies the indie publishing journey as being one that draws on the Abundance style of publishing. The mindset is quite different from traditional publishing. Go and get your eyes opened.

In the last week a plaintive post by Agent Jonny Geller from Curtis Brown called The Agents Manifesto highlighted some uncomfortable truths in publishing about the disconnect of publishers to authors. This has been resonating through the writing blogosphere. Roz Morris picks up the cudgels on our behalf and speaks her mind,- Why authors get treated so badly. You will cheer!

For those people who have been nodding and punching the air with last couple of are two more interesting perspectives to chat about with your friends.

Jane Friedman tackles the big question- If the book is dead why buy a zombie?

If you are looking at your bottom drawer and wondering what to do next. Gordon Burgett takes a look at turning idle copy into books, blog posts etc etc.

There’s a good post with 11 keys to self publishing success which should help you focus if you do have work ready for a new life.

Chatting about Craft
Check out these amazing posts. Is your idea novel worthy and how you can tell?

Why you should kill your darlings....practical advice from K M Weiland who shows you how to do it.

Innocent flower has an entertaining post on 6 things she wishes she had known about being a writer...first up the use of the delete key.

There is a beaut guest post from Susan Sipal on The Top Ten Tips I Learned About Writing from J K Rowling.

Over the next few weeks I am preparing resources to help me continue the chat about eBooks at a One Day ePublishing Event run by Kiwiwrite4kids in Auckland on the 28th April. 

Those people who have met me... know I love to chat....
Come along!


P.S. If you are at all interested in the ramifications of Pottermore and the release yesterday of the DRM free Harry Potter books Check out what Mike Shatzkin has to say about the game changing spell J K Rowling has just put on the future of publishing industry.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Going With Your Gut...

The speed of modern publishing varies. 

Recently I was trying to explain to my mother why I haven’t heard anything about my manuscript from a publisher. But they just don’t read it and say yes straightaway Mum. They have to consider whether it will make them any money. They have to get second opinions. Convince marketing, etc etc. Sometimes they take manuscripts out to bookshops and say read this, should we publish. Do you think it will sell?

And sometimes they hang onto manuscripts for a long time...None of my manuscripts have been less than 6 months sitting on an Editors desk. Bones spent a year being considered before I got a voice message saying they would take it.

I get accused of giving publishers too much leniency. I play fair by them as I expect they would play fair with me.

So yesterday when a prominent member of the Wellington Kidlit Community emailed me to tell me of a book that was conceived, written, illustrated, designed, published in print and ebook with a  dedicated website and youtube trailer in three weeks. It completely blew my mind.

The team involved have publishing cred. They have hit the market with a picture book that draws on the recent Christchurch earthquake experience. They decided to see if they could get this project out the door and available within a month of the event. And they succeeded. Everyone donated their time and skills. All proceeds to the Red Cross.

To do this they had to duck the Traditional Publishing way of submitting the project and waiting on decisions and they just went with their gut! They set up a publishing company and whammo. Curly from Shirley is out.

In the writing blogosphere the news in the last two days has been about the astonishing decision of Barry Eisler to reject a $500,000 Traditional publisher two book deal in favour of going it Indie. And Indie ebook phenomenon Amanda Hocking is taking part in a $1million deal for a trilogy with a Traditional publisher.

These two decisions have rocked the publishing world....

Booksquare compares the two decisions and comes out in favour of Eisler...much to their surprise. This is a superb overview on the Trad vs Indie debate.

The great Jane Friedman has a wonderful article summarising the main points of Eisler’s decision and referencing some very informed comment from Mike Shatzkin who called it an 'earthquake in publishing.' The comments following these blog posts are a must read. Commenter’s (and there are some big blog names in there) are posting information on numbers of page hits that equate with a big enough audience to sustain this decision. It is all fascinating and illuminating reading.

Agent Mary Kole takes a look at the decision from an agents point of view and discusses how agents are still relevant in the Indie world.

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

Screenwriting Tips For Novelists- because it is useful!

5 Ways To Strengthen Scenes- Brilliant advice I have been working hard on this all week.

Rolling Around in Text- this is for those who compulsively write in books...can you do it with ebooks...

Over Plotting and How To Tackle this!

To finish,
The wonderful Inkygirl fell foul of Warner Bros this week when her cool 4 Things You Should Never Ask A Writer Tee Shirt was pinged because it had a reference to the boy-who-must-not-be-named.
The printer pulled the tee shirt which is annoying because I want to get one right now...we have all had these questions!!!

Every now and again I check my Blog stats and fall faintly back in my chair as I see the amount of people who read my blog every week. Thanks Everyone. The following video is for T K Roxborogh and her students who have been frequent visitors lately. Something for all of us to enjoy....

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life is like...

Spring Spring Spring. The buds are on the trees. The sun is warmer. 
The Spring storms have hit with a vengeance. Today landslips (from all that rain) caused two trains to collide north of serious injury. At least the snow has stopped and the rain has kept the hay fever down.
We are in the middle of school holidays and I find my good intentions of getting some writing done have being hijacked by either dispute resolution or transportation imperatives.

So it is a rather patchy collection of interesting links for your delectation this week.

Debbie Redpath Ohi has enjoyed some well deserved success this year and in a great post on time management and creativity she outlines how she juggles the many projects she does and keeps her sanity. One of her advice gems is to get an accountability partner. This is a good strategy that I have made use of now and again...nothing like having to justify why you are so slack, to get you moving again.

I have been looking at my Mars story and trying to isolate where the plot is going to go...I can head off in a few directions and I really need to nail down one direction to get the story finished. With this in the back of my mind I have found myself spending more time looking at back story and prologues trying to pull out the essential information and work it better. Two great posts on these topics this week have caught my eye.

Kristin Lamb part of Bob Mayer’s Warrior Writers group has written an excellent post on 7 Deadly Sins Of Prologues If you are tempted at all by using a prologue....take a look.

Laura Pauling has written a nice post on how to use backstory effectively and she links to Story Sensei who has a more in depth analysis of backstory writing.

In my quest to uncover marketing gems for you, gentle reader, I have often read lots of posts on blogging. I don’t usually share these as I figure each writer will find their own way if they want to blog. However I do read a few writer blogs and I know they read me so in the spirit of sharing interesting stuff on writing blogs, Tribal Writer has a post entitled How Fiction Writers can Turn Into Badass Bloggers

Problogger always has useful ideas on blogging and publishing and this week they have a great post on 11 Ways To Convince Readers To Buy Your eBook. (If you have an eBook...or even an eReader...) eBooks are just starting to appear here in New Zealand so if you are a sneezer (an early adopter of technology who shares the experience around) or a ‘wish I had the money to be a sneezer,’ you might be interested in this post.

Over on Craicerplus ( My Amplify Page)

In Defense Of Dead Parents In Children’s Literature.

5 Things A Writer Always Overlooks...(brilliant)

Giving Stuff Away Is Not A Strategy

Finding The Perfect Collective Supernatural Noun...(a very funny list)

Joe Konrath – The Acquisitions Editor. (This satire will make you laugh and make you think!)

And for those counting down to the end of November there is a new Movie Trailer up.


pic is chocolate....points for those who get the quote reference

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Future Creativity...

This week I have been thinking about creativity and the future. 
This came about because I was at the Storylines committee wind-up dinner (being an email member qualified me...yippee) and Adele Jackson fab co-ordinator and all round creative ideas professional started talking to me about Creativity and the impact on the classroom of the news that creativity is falling away as we focus on assessment.

Of course the teacher in me takes notice. Adele is in touch with some very classy educationalists whom we invited to The Spinning Gold conference to give us a perspective of writing and illustrating for the classroom in the future. Derek Wenmouth of CORE had posted an article on his blog about creativity which featured an excellent video address by John Cleese on the subject. If we don’t block out sustained quiet time we will not have any creative ideas. We must work at it...carve out time!!!

So of course after those stirring words I looked at my to do list and carved out time. Yes I got some big projects done but unfortunately some more got added to the list...Oh well I know what I need to do. Unplug the internet! (yep I hear you all laughing) I am resisting all efforts by the family to make this a wireless household...too easy I think to get sucked in into checking facebook when I am supposed to be writing. Fleur Beale has a good system, every morning she goes to an office in town without internet and writes...which is why we are all going to the launch of her new book Fierce September tonight....(a great launch and Fleur is going all techy with added content on linked blogs to the book. Check out the Fierce September website.) 

 Looking into the future is what the sci fi pop culture site i09 is all about. It has some great articles abut what is current, analysis, reviews etc...geek stuff including ask a physicist... I was interested in an article this week about the rise of Science Fiction lit. novels and how writers who previously were known for ‘literature’ were now moving into Science Fiction....(making it legit? Guess my reaction...)

E books are on their way to Australia and  New Zealand with news this week that major publishers are about to sign deals that will enable their lists to be published as e-books. As the readers start to make their way into this part of the world it would be good to have local content available to read on them.

Sydney Salter, one of the 30 mid grade authors running the midgrade site From The Mixed Up Files has a great blog post looking at her reaction to her child who saved up and bought herself an e-reader. So is this what kids of the future want to spend their money on? Sydney was sceptical but her non reader is now reading...

So how to get that content picked up so you can be part of the publishing lists of the future....

Mary Kole of has been interviewed on several blogs about being a young agent and she has written a thought provoking post on how she acquires authors. Here in NZ we don’t have many we do more ourselves but overseas getting the agent can be the hardest part of the whole publishing process.

Sunny Frazier has written a no nonsense straight talking guest post on being an acquisitions editor...she doesn’t bother with the query letter but goes straight to google search to find out how web savvy the author is...go read is eye opening!

 If you are now in a state of shock about your publishing and the future you might want to check out this collection of tips from authors who are using social media for marketing... and Chris Brogan has a good post on blogging and websites if you need to do something concrete...(Thanks to Justin, for the link.)

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify page...which is getting a following of its own)
I have links to articles on

Finally Someone Admits To What The Print On Demand Business Model Really Is

Genreality- Self Publishing Realities

Ten Ways To Improve Your Writing

13 Wonderful Truths About Publishing

Dear Dan Brown...(you will laugh)

Ten Tropes you Will Find In Science Fiction Over and Over Again...(geeking over the video clips)

How To Effectively Manage Your On Line Reputation

How To Read A Publishing Contract

In the good news corner Debbie Redpath Ohi,  whose cartoons I have enjoyed over the last few years, got some well deserved recognition purely by accident and through a rejection picked up a publishing contract and a new career...nice one! She carved out time in her hotel room in a frantic rush but the payoff was oh so sweet.
So how do YOU carve out time for writing? All tips appreciated...


Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Thursday Vibe...

Today I was stopped twice by people who said to me ‘My friend has written a book and wants to know what they should do next....’

Is it because it is Thursday and subconsciously I am sending out vibes that say I need a topic for my blog today?

I don’t think I am, as I often have 8 - 10 links already to talk about when I sit down to put it all together.

Maybe I’m sending out a vibe on super busy Thursday that says ‘stop me rushing off to the next appointment and ask me a question about writing.’  

My answer both times was ‘Tell your friend that now you must research!’ The internet is full of great sites that can point you in the right direction and the library is full of great books on the craft of writing, so you can make sense of what you have created.

So in that spirit, here are a few places to look.

Jenn an Intern at the Elaine English Literary agency this week posted a great little article on synopsis which outlines what a good synopsis should have.

A synopsis can make or break your chances. After your query has been accepted, it is your first chance to make a good (or bad) first impression. You have to find a good balance between saying enough and not saying too much.

Mary Kole of has a good article about knowing your category. This is good advice from an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

For example, and this is from my own imagination, not a recent submission: what do I do with a 5,000 word fiction picture book about world politics? Or a 5,000 word middle grade about a baby puppy who goes on a naptime adventure? Or a 300,000 word YA starring a talking salmon? Maybe a 10,000 word YA about a character’s messy divorce?
If all of those examples weren’t immediately funny to you, you need this post. When I speak at conferences, I tell people all the time that booksellers will not build you your own shelf at their stores just because you want to do something different.
Tony Eldridge has a great article this week on his Marketing Tips for Authors Blog about off line marketing specifically teaming up with a fellow author to present workshops.
 I want to suggest a different approach. Why not team up with another local author and do a free "workshop" for writers and aspiring writers? Think of the benefits of presenting a joint presentation:

He outlines some useful ideas to help you think about how to structure the workshop and make it be of use to you. (As I am in the middle of planning some workshops for later in the year, this is very timely.)

Last week I linked to Jane Friedman’s article on Writer Unboxed which discussed blog content and how much unpublished work you should put on your blog. There has been lots of talk in the writers blogosphere about Jane Friedman and Chuck Sambuchino’s different points of view on this topic.

Jeannie Ruesch looks at both arguments, boils them down to their essential points, then she offers her opinion on the topic and some good ideas to mull over.

Their posts seem to have a slightly different focus on what “your work” qualifies as, in regards to this topic.  Sambuchino focuses on your fiction summary, your high concepts as most important to keep off the web.  But ultimately, the point that both make is to establish WHY you are putting your work–whatever it is– out there for the world to see.  What is your objective?

Jeannie is right - for your blog or your website you must have a plan.  The Illinois chapter of SCBWI has a great newsletter called Prairie Wind and their contributor Margo Dill looks at three very popular blogging writers and talks to them about their blogs and their styles.

In the big wide world this week.

The Wall St Journal reported Google’s announcement of its new e-book  service  which will be ready to roll in the next few months. And so it has begun, the dividing up of the digital publishing world, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

Google says users will be able to buy digital copies of books they discover through its book-search service. It will also allow book retailers—even independent shops—to sell Google Editions on their own sites, giving partners the bulk of the revenue.
The company would have copies on its servers for works it strikes agreements to sell. 
Personanondata a publishing industry blog has taken a look at the e-publishing world of the Now and what may become the industry norm in The Future with it’s article entitled Content Farms....yes think of all the connotations... then read this article.
Demand Media’s approach is a “combination of science and art”, in the words of Steven Kydd, who is in charge of the firm’s content production. Clever software works out what internet users are interested in and how much advertising revenue a given topic can pull in. The results are sent to an army of 7,000 freelancers, each of whom must have a college degree, writing experience and a speciality. They artfully pen articles or produce video clips to fit headlines such as “How do I paint ceramic mugs?” and “Why am I so tired in winter?”

Over on Craicerplus (Just click the amplify button on the right) 
there are links to articles on...

The cost of quoting lyrics in your book

A great article on loading first impressions of characters

Twitter – a book addicts paradise

Parent problems in Young Adult Literature

What writers really mean...

7 Reasons Why Writers Need To Start Using Video For Book Promotion

Jodi Picoult - All she wants is respect!

I feel bed vibes...


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

E-books, Shooting for the Moon?

I’m baaccccck.

The kids are gearing up for school and as I write this the kitchen table is covered in adhesive book covering.

The topic for this week is books...E Books...You don’t need to cover them for a start.

If you do a quick search on the internet on any topic chances are that someone has written an e-book on your search term.

There are websites selling e-books about writing e-books and how they became millionaires doing just this.

If you are unsure about the whole e-book phenomenon and its place in modern publishing I will attempt to explain it. (remember I’m just back from holiday and for all I know my brain might still be there.)

Electronic books have enabled many people to call themselves authors. Anybody with a word processing program can write a book and post it on the internet. Things get slightly trickier when you ask for payment for the book.

As any author knows writing the content of the book is hard but the make or break for a book is marketing. In the marketing of a book, key decisions on Appearance, Distribution/ Publicity and Price determine whether the book lives or dies

These decisions are not taken lightly in the print and paper world and they should not be taken lightly in the e-book world.

David Meerman Scott has a great article on How to write an e-book on his website webinknow.

Appearance means layout, design, font, cover art these are the bare bones for e-book readability.

Distribution/Publicity can be handled with dedicated websites, advertising, blogging, articles, testimonials all driving viral virtual traffic to the book.

Price is the hot topic in e-book world. This week Apple launched the i-Pad and took its big anticipated step into the e-book reader market. Never mind that the i-Pad is being billed as a big i-Pod without key features like a camera for video or a phone, the e-book readers are now becoming mainstream instead of a geek candy.

Of course if you are going to shell out $499 US for the i-Pad you want to have some thing to read on it. This week the price stoush between Amazon, the worlds biggest e-book store and Macmillan publishers have raised eyebrows as Amazon pulled all Macmillan books in their preemptive strike to force Macmillan to back down on its pricing of e-books alongside their paper books. Macmillan is wanting to sell e-book copies of their print books at very similar prices on the day of print publication. (Amazon backed down last night.)

Richard Curtis predicts that this will be the turning point for publishers and authors.(Royalties of 20-25% tho-it is to dream Richard.)

Opponents of the high price of e-books point out that publishers are not paying for printing, paper warehousing, distribution etcetera on an e-book so the price shouldn’t be so high. Of course the poor author in this probably doesn’t see an increased royalty on an e-book in this model. This then starts the author thinking well maybe I could just publish an e-book myself and get all the profit. If you have a niche that is unprofitable for a mainstream publisher, that could be the best option, investigate it.

Going down this route you need to be aware of DRMs, EPUB and other acronyms to make your brain explode but it could lead you to a whole new earning platform and knowledge is power.

(DRM=digital rights management-buy one download only, no sharing with your friends or other digital media like i-Tunes music tracks....EPUB= dedicated software that converts your content into e-reader format so you can sell it on Amazon, Adobe 6.5plus)

Children’s book authors are still reliant on mainstream publishers as e-books with great graphics interface are still in development but this will change in the next few years with the refinement of e-book readers. (Think picture books like Xbox games on an e-reader.)

2010 the beginning of another decade which will see huge changes in publishing...

Meanwhile in geekdom Obama’s plan to decimate space exploration as a short term cost saver has sent strong signals to their space science community that their government is not behind them.

To put this decision in context Marcel Williams of New Papyrus magazine knocked some figures together when the Augustine commission released its findings in August last year.

Marcel asked-So what should President Obama do?

At the height of the Apollo program, the NASA budget reached$33 billion a year in today's dollars, nearly twice as large as NASA current budget. NASA's $17 billion annual budget represents less 0.6% of the total Federal budget while the US Federal government is spending nearly a trillion dollars annually on defence related purposes. So a $3 billion annual increase to the NASA budget would be extremely tiny relative to the overall Federal budget.

The underline is mine...a trillion dollars- think what that could mean to education, health, the UN food programme....

I personally agree with the comment on the bottom of the cosmos magazine article yesterday.

I predict an upsurge in science fiction writers in India China and Japan as they take the global lead in space exploration and fuel their children’s dreams of space.


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