Showing posts with label goodreads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goodreads. Show all posts

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Clock Is Ticking



This week in publishing news...

Publishing Perspectives has highlighted the call from International Pen calling for protection of writers and journalists in Afghanistan. With the situation changing hourly on the ground over there, writers and journalists are being targeted. The first casualty is always truth and an incoming regime is quick to get control of the message to the people. If you want to help, get in touch with your countries author societies who can direct you to your nearest PEN branch.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard takes a look at Hachette’s purchase of Workman this week. Hachette wasn’t interested in the frontlist but in the gold of the backlist. Publishers are taking note that their digital sales kept them afloat when the bricks and mortar stores were closed. Now they are on the hunt for vaults of backlist to make money from. 


Meanwhile, Kris Rusch has been looking at Omnichannel marketing. What does that mean to the author? It is the seamless experience of drawing a reader into your lair  book world and giving them the same experience wherever they encounter you. It is an interesting read and the way of future marketing.


Publishing Perspectives reports on moves to introduce gamification serial writing apps. Write the serial and unlock a whole lot of enhanced content around it with in-app purchases. Take a look at what may be speeding down the track towards you.


Bookfunnel has just announced an exciting new feature- They are getting into author newsletter swaps. They are making it easy to find other authors to swap freebies with. 


Time has discovered Goodreads, or really the mess of review bombing that has been escalating over on Goodreads. Amazon owns Goodreads and the experience for authors is not a good one. Time for a clean-up of the review trolls. 


New Zealand’s publishers were planning their conference this weekend. Publishing In A Disrupted World. A very prescient conference theme as it happens. Their guests are live streaming in so they may be able to move the whole thing online.


Jane Friedman published a guest article from Sangeeta Mehta on two agents' advice on publishing with a small press. Is it was worth it? Some interesting ideas were put forward. Writer, E J Wenstrom published an article this week on what she had learned in 6 years being with a small press.


Anne R Allen has a great article on cliche story beginnings and how they have evolved. It is especially good if you aren’t sure if your beginning is a cliché.


In The Craft Section,

Story Obstacles- or when you have to take two steps back- Jami Gold- Bookmark

3 things to know about endings- K M Weiland - Bookmark

Describing character emotions, problems, and solutions- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

10 self-editing tips- Maryann Miller- Bookmark

3 useful tips for getting your book written- Lucy V Hay- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section

Building an ARC Review team- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

How to use pre-order strategies on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to market to local media- Penny Sansevieri

What is a soft book launch?- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

Working with Google Docs- TheWriteLife- Bookmark


To Finish,

Yesterday New Zealand went into a snap Lockdown as we had one case of the Delta variant of Covid 19 in the community. Our countries strategy has been to Go Hard. Go Early. This has enabled us to quickly get on top of the pandemic and then life goes back to the way it was. It has been 16 months since our last tight lockdown so we know the strategy works. As we are a gateway to the Pacific Islands we are protecting them as well until we all can be vaccinated. One case quickly turned into 10 and then into 21, but we have traced everybody with genome sequencing so we know where and how it got here. This kind of fast turnaround science was unheard of a few years ago. So what should we do in a tight lockdown? Some writers might think 'I should write that novel', but not everyone has the ideal writing environment if the house is full. Writer Unboxed recently posted an article on the 6 excuses you can use for not finishing your novel in a pandemic.

Or you could be Catherine Ryan Howard – one of our Indie touchstones, who has gone on to have a big thriller career. Catherine wrote a thriller in lockdown about lockdown called 56 days. She writes a small rant in the Irish Times about how it came about. Take one lockdown…





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Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – David Lofink


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Party Details

Today I hosted an hour of an online FB Book Launch Party for a Y A thriller by Helen V Fletcher called Broken Silence (Promo: grab the ebook for 99c.)
I felt a bit nervous as I have never done anything like this before but Helen said she would hold my hand and so I jumped in. It was a blast! I started with party music and the hour just flew by. Lots of authors joined in the launch. They talked about their books and had giveaways and mini competitions for prizes. And the prizes are up for 24 hours so jump on over and join in the fun.

Helen’s book is contemporary Young Adult. Anne R Allen has a great post on her blog about writing contemporary fiction. I had no idea that the word lengths were getting shorter. Anne writes about the reasons you can’t write War and Peace anymore and expect it to sell.

If you were writing a huge novel you need time to beaver away. Where do you find it? Aha! Try this technique for working smarter, suitable for any writer.  While we are on nuts and bolts of the writer’s physical environment check out Copyhackers best practice for setting up your home office!

My lunchtime break saw me riveted to the SFF marketing podcast. Lindsay, Joe and Jeff were interviewing Joanna Penn on her new book Launch to Market 3rd edition. Joanna says that it is 60% different from the first edition, which I have so... It’s on my want list.

Cynthia Shannon has a comprehensive breakdown of all the things you need to do for planning and having a Goodreads giveaway. I have been watching the results of experiments in an author group I belong to and it seems like a good thing to try.

Kathryn Goldman has a comprehensive post on audio rights. Who actually owns them? This can get tricky when you produce your audio book. Performance rights... broadcast rights...  translation audio... All the rights you didn’t know you had... (see Joanna Penn’s interview above for more options.)

The fabulous Kris Rusch continues her excellent series on marketing and brand discovery. Her in depth attention to detail posts are like a university course. I feel she should be required reading in a Creative Writing diploma.

Writers Digest has an interview with Kristen Owens on 10 actions she has learned in her first year of professional writing.

In The Craft Section,

Avoid opening page info dump- Jami Gold – Bookmark

The power of the unlikely protagonist- Writer Unboxed – Bookmark

What is irony?- a cool post from Reedsy

How to add meaningful subplots- K M Weiland – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Digressing slightly to shout out to Kevin Tumlinson who writes such great content for the Draft2Digital site. Here are three recent posts.

Author overheads-What you need to know.
Kevin is also the host of the Wordslinger podcast, which is one of my new great podcasting finds!

To Finish,

Today has been a day about organising... Helen organised a fun online book launch but it wouldn’t have worked without attention to detail. What were the secret schedules of the great authors... did they work the same way? Check out this article and be surprised!


It’s nearly time to schedule my monthly newsletter. (Hi to the new subscribers!) I round up the best of the months bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. Thanks everyone who hit the coffee button this week. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thou Shalt...

It has been a funny old fortnight (do you still use that word in daily speech?) I had to take a break from my regular weekly blog due to the recovery dance going backwards.

In the publishing blogosphere it is Frankfurt time! Frankfurt is one of the worlds biggest book trade fairs. This year Frankfurt nodded towards self-publishing with a who’s who line up of speakers for a dedicated two day conference tacked onto the main event.  Along with the many book deals being done at Frankfurt there is lots of discussion about industry trends. ISBN’s are in the spotlight. Porter has been looking at the increasing dissatisfaction with ISBN’s. Are they necessary? (N.B. NZ provides free ISBN’s through the National Library for NZers.)

Just when you thought bookstores were on their way out... Faber (Lit publishers) decide to operate a pop up store selling Faber titles. Other publishers are watching that space.
Amazon announced this morning that they were going to have a store in Manhattan... So the store idea is not dead.

In a little rumble that may herald an earthquake is on the way... Adobe has been identified as scanning people’s digital bookshelves without their consent... this may be the straw that breaks DRM. Publishers may feel that DRM won’t be worth the lawsuits...

Futurebook has an interesting article on Bookbridgr. This is a site that teams up book bloggers with publishers. With the increasing loss of book review pages in print this looks like an interesting option. (Could be room for a NZ option...)

I’ve always thought India was a market to watch... 1billion people... many who speak English... EBooks India has just interviewed Mark Coker on what it takes to self publish there.

Writer Beware has an interesting post on how to ask publishers about rights reversion. This is an important clause in your contract...

Karen Inglis walks her readers through converting a Picture Book to an ‘Enhanced eBook’ through iBooks.

In the Craft Section,

Multi - coloured heroes... diversity in your characters.

Chuck - what you need to know about your second draft. (Great article! Usual Chuck warnings)

In the Marketing Section,

Jane Friedman interviewed Bella Andre... and learned 5 tips for success.

If you are interesting in the self-publishing revolution, Lateral Action interviewed Joanna Penn about her new book Business for Authors.
Writer Unboxed has 5 tips from Joanna to consider when you look at your author business.

To Finish,
The ongoing battle of should you/ shouldn’t you over author blogging is always a weighty tussle.
Here it takes another twist with a guest article on The Book Designer website... Thou shalt blog.

Of course I don’t follow the proscribed rule... in my weekly (ahem) blog but if you want to click on the book covers in the side bar you can get a taster of my writing.


Thursday, May 22, 2014


Each week I look over my collected links to see what an over arching theme for the blog might be. Sometimes it’s a stretch to link up the content but this week everyday there was something about writers being connected with readers and the disconnect from publishers and distributors with writers.  This is nothing new. I have been observing this for the last five years. However it is interesting to look at this within the context of this week’s headlines around the publishing blogosphere...

Libraries are where the readers are.

Last year two ebook library subscription services models kicked off, Scribd and Oyster. For a flat monthly fee subscribers had unlimited access to ebooks across formats. The big publishers sat back and watched developments and are now jumping on board. Today Simon and Schuster added their 10,000 book backlist to the services, following HarperCollins earlier this month. This is a bid for reader’s affections. All You Can Read buffet for $8:99/month. The publisher gets a cut when a book is lent... Mike Shatzkin is predicting that the biggest publisher of them all, Random Penguin, will start their own global library. (Or will there be a nice buy out in the future...)

Smashwords has just partnered with OverDrive the biggest library database system in the US to make all their books available. This model is interesting. If the one copy of the ebook is checked out customers have the option to buy their copy through the library...a win/win for libraries. And what about the chance for celebrity curated lists of books just for librarians to recommend.

The Amazon vs Hachette fight doesn’t look like it is winding down... Mike Shatzkin looks at the power play and how publishing has been flipped over with the power now belonging to the retailer who has the customers.
If you are an author in the middle of all this what can you do? Take control where you can of your own reader engagement. (get in the libraries...sell from your website.. reader fan email databases...)

Hugh Howey brought out another Author Earnings report this week. The howls that once greeted these one day snapshots of where the money is going in the publishing world have become muted... Everybody is scratching their can this be... the same figures again... Is Hugh right? If you are traditionally published this could be a game changer for you.

Joe Konrath has practical advice for how you navigate this changing world...(a bookmark post!)

Bob Mayer also tells you to take responsibility for your own work. Complaining is not a business strategy!  Change your mindset!

In the Craft Section,

Chuck on Writers Block (Trigger warning for your ears)

Stealing from other writers (it is not a bad thing....)

Elisabeth S Craig on developing thematic ideas

In the Marketing Section,
How to create the perfect trailer. (useful for book trailers)

Slideshare book marketing from Joanna Penn

How to Make WOW blog images with Pic Monkey (from the amazing Jami Gold)

Dave Gaughran has discovered a new site, Noisetrade, which aims to build your fan base. They have just branched out into books from Indie Music.

Website of the Week: August Wainwright has collected the 50 best Indie resource sites around. Many of these are on my regular check list. (one stop shop)

To Finish,
How are the successful authors out there navigating on the publishing sea. Russell Blake a publishing phenomenon is interviewed on how he has gone from 0 to 500,000 sales in a couple of years. (you may hate him after reading but you can't ignore him…) MindBodyGreen checks out 10 things successful writers do differently.

Engage the reader... Make it easy for them to find and buy your next book... SIMPLE. (DUCKS…)
(There are lots of links in the Craft and Marketing sections to help you.)


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hugh and Cry Revolt

Last week, buried in the middle of my blog post were these lines.
Yesterday Icelandic author Baldur Bjarnason wrote a great piece on ethics in publishing. This is a great observation on what a lot of commentators are seeing as the great divide between the two different publishing communities.
Hands up those people who can tell me what the two communities are....hmmmm.

Today, in a breaking news bombshell, those communities just got wider with a new website launched and funded by Hugh Howey looking specifically at crunching the data on publishing stats and earnings for Self Publishing and Hybrid authors. 
For those of you who don’t understand what this means...
If you have a Traditional publishing contract. Your book gets may get an advance. You may get up to 10% net of print price or up to 25% ebook price. You may get a quarterly statement on how sales are going but no other information. The marketing window for your book is usually 6 months...that’s 2 months before publication and 4 months after. After that the publisher is onto the next book and any blip in sales comes from author promotion. In the fine print of your book contract there may be a non-compete clause, you can’t publish with anyone else or anything else except the publisher. Your rights may be held in perpetuity (US law is the lifetime of the author plus 70 years) with no rights reversal clauses.
If you choose to self publish you may get up to 70% of ebook price with Amazon and whatever you set the profit of the book, after your costs have been taken out, on print. You do all the marketing work for as long as you want to.

In both models the author doesn’t really know what they are doing right or wrong with marketing. Data on what works and how different publishing models are successful is very thin on the ground.

From time to time surveys come out with data that says how well self publishing is doing against traditional publishing. I have linked to a few over the last few years in my blog. 
The ebook market where most authors self publish has been on the up. 

Today Hugh Howey’s report was released looking at raw data that crunched the numbers of the biggest selling genres (romance, sci-fi/fantasy and thriller/suspense) on Amazon on one day. 92% of the top 100 genre bestsellers were ebooks. Indie authors were outselling Traditional Big 5 authors in these categories. 

There are many bombs in this report. Porter Anderson does a good job of looking at them and extrapolating ideas but you should read the report for yourself. Hugh is the leading voice in the Indie author community at the moment. He is advocating a change to fairer contracts for authors and a partnership model with publishers. Below is his mission statement for the AuthorEarnings website.

Welcome to AuthorEarnings, where our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.

Two weeks ago he made it very clear just exactly what he thinks author contracts should consist of and what he thinks author societies should be advocating.

So after a few hours digesting The Report, Digital BookWorld weighed in with their analysis and they took issue with the one day data and the extrapolation thereof... however they also agreed that there was something rotten in the state of ....

Now Hugh is the first to say that this is one day...on Amazon... in January... and he is keen to have that dialogue from other authors on their experiences (see the website for ways to contribute to the discussion.) Steve Moseby takes up the challenge, he looks at the figures from The Report and wonders whether they are true based on his UK print figures and annual income after only one days data.

In Other News
Passive Guy sends out a warning over a contractual clause where any future law changes in any territory in the world will be the problem of the author. This, after an author was accused of blasphemy, following the passing of a law in India after her book was published. It all hinges on the word ‘will.’ He follows that up with another post on contracts. (As he is a lawyer he doth know what he speaks of.)

Cassandra Clare is tired of the constant carping of some who keep asking why she is still writing her book series ... she notes that male authors don’t get asked this. A thoughtful restrained response from a YA author.

In the Craft Section,

5 big screenwriting mistakes and 5 fixes...(this is a bookmark post!)

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Hugh Howey again... He responds to a writer who has decided not to be tainted with self publishing because the goal is to emulate his heroes and publish the same way. A very interesting read and response by Hugh.


 Pic is from Passive Voices new range of tee shirts...check them out and chuckle... and maybe buy one or two.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trolls and Turtles

Reviews...fake...nasty...and contained has been the topic around the Blogosphere this week.

As I have said before, if you don’t like the book don’t review it...or say why you don’t like the book and back it up....

Goodreads new policy is to try to stop the bullying reviews and personal attacks of authors on the site. The freedom of anonymity, while you are sitting at home, to write on the internet a corrosive review of a book or author because you can...and no one will call you out to your face for your behaviour...brings out the troll in some people. And trolls seem to seek affirmation of their troll behaviour from other trolls.  Any writer putting their head above the parapet to call out troll behaviour gets targeted. Hugh Howey talks about this and how he was guilty of ducking it until this week...A great article from Hugh.

Being the geek I am, I read PopSci and this week PopSci looked at a scientific study of negative reviews on science stories and found that constant negative reviews which are emotive, skewed the perceptions of the readers to put aside the facts of the science article.
PopSci pulled the plug on comments on their articles on their website...there are still ways to comment...FB, Twitter.... but not on their website. 
If you carry out those results to their logical end--commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded--you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the "off" switch.

Self-publishing advice has an article which tells you about the subculture of Amazon Reviewers...yes they talk to each other...

Porter Anderson spends a lot of his Ether just looking at the articles flying about reviewersthis week and there are many... So take a long break and maybe reach for alcohol.

The Frankfurt Bookfair is about to kick off and as usual there are lots of side events looking at the state of publishing. Publishing Perspectives takes a look at one aspect that will be big news at the fair... Self Publishing : the industry implications and impact.

Another must read is Kris Rusch. This week’s stand out article is the stages of an Indie writer. This is being tweeted around the blogosphere...

Elisabeth S Craig also has a nice little post on being a Hybrid Writer.

Chuck has always been Mr Nice when talking about traditional publishers, after all he may cuss but he is not a hypocrite.  (Unlike a certain author who is getting roundly dissed for his hypocrisy all over the web.) Chuck traditionally publishes but doesn’t diss Indies or Amazon or anyone that plays fair... until today when he came out in Chuck mode in an open letter... Dear Publishers.

In Craft,

In Marketing,

MediaBistro takes a look at how to do book covers with public domain pictures.

DigitalBookWorld looks at 5 ways that authors can handle bad reviews.

Website to go look at,
This is an author run co-op with some illustrious members...making waves in the indie publishing world. Check out how they got together and how they publish their work. I keep saying this is the way of the future...

To Finish,
SCBWI has introduced a new award for non traditionally published books...and Katherine Applegate (Animorphs) has been signed by HarperCollins for a new series on the strength of 3 sentences...

The green trolls of jealousy should be gathering to pull her down about now. 
More Power to Katherine’s Arm. 

I saw in my Twitter feed today a nice reminder....
If you think your idea is too weird to fly... just remember these four words. 
Teenage. Mutant. Ninja. Turtles.

Feel free to comment....


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, July 11, 2013

Rabble Rousers

Last week I referred to the media frenzy surrounding Into The River, which won Senior Fiction and Book of The Year at the New Zealand Post Children (and Young Adults) Book Awards. The media frenzy revolved around concerned groups of people calling for the book to be banned and stripped of its award, because in their view there is explicit content in it not suitable for children. As I stated last week the book is for Young Adults and is aimed at 15+ and reporting knee-jerk reactionary comments from people who have not read the book is sloppy journalism.

The media has moved on to cover other things...however the vitriol surrounding this book has not. This last week many Children and Young Adult Authors have been concerned about the level of personal attacks being made on Ted and the Award sponsors, New Zealand Post, on social media sites. The authors who have stepped in to defend Ted have also become targets with hate filled comments being left on their own websites and on public social media platforms.

The hurt being done, by a small number of vitriolic people with a deeply conservative viewpoint to the New Zealand Children’s Literature community is very palpable. These libelous slurs live on in social media, forever searchable. 

There are many things wrong that we should be taking the time to debate like the high suicide rate amongst our young people, the high youth unemployment and teen pregnancy figures, the ease of access to harmful drug substitutes at our local corner stores. These are very real threats to our young people in New Zealand. Why is there such a negative focus on a book that may help teenagers understand these issues and find solutions safely? 

This is why the children’s writers have been defending this book. With bile all over the award sponsors social media sites, will the children’s literature community lose its pre-eminent awards because of the actions of a small group of uninformed people who have not read the book? 

I Hope Not.

Overseas the news that the judge found Apple guilty of collusion in price fixing is starting to make waves.

Earthshaking is how Mike Shatzkin describes the latest figures coming out from Hachette in the UK. More than 50% of all sales, print and digital are being made online. This article is a must read for authors on the future implications to the publishing industry. With B&N pulling out of Nook it seems that the publishing world that we are getting used to may be going south very rapidly.

Last week Sci Fi author and out going president of SFFW, John Scalzi, posted his manifesto for attending Sci Fi Con’s (something often built into Sci Fi genre authors contracts.) He won’t be going to a Sci Fi Con(vention) unless they have a published anti-harassment policy. Over 1000 authors have signed his manifesto, however it has also raised questions about limiting income for authors. One author writes why she won’t be signing the manifesto...with John’s support.

Jane Friedman’s article on Optimizing Metadata and its importance in marketing is being widely shared around.

Media Bistro have an infographic detailing where books were most abandoned in the reading.

The Guardian has a great article where they asked the editors of the finalist children’s books in the Branford Boase Awards to write their top 5 tips to authors.

In Craft,
Two fabulous links from Janice Hardy, 10 Questions To AskWhen Choosing A Setting and You Need More Scoundrels In Your Life. (My epiphany - all my favourite reading heroes are Han Solo’s)

Jody Hedlund has a great article on The Most Important Edit You 
Can Give Your Book.

In Marketing,

Joanna Penn has a new marketing book out and she is doing excerpts of it as guest posts on different blogs...Check out Dave Gaughren’s blog for her take on Marketing Myths.

Goodreads shares a slideshow about Using Goodreads for publicity and marketing.

Nicola Morgan has started her own author shop. If you think about the ramifications of merchandising it seems a logical extension of the Author Brand. Check out what she has planned...

Cool Website link to visit. on Random Place and it will take you to a wonderful setting...where you can imagine writing a story...or just long for a lotto win so you can go there.

To Finish,
One of my wonderful author buddies found this great video comment by Young Adult author John Green when he found his debut book was being challenged as inappropriate for children...The reasons sound very similar to what is happening here in New Zealand and John’s answer to the critics is beautifully put.

FYI: NZ Children's Authors are sending letters of support to Ted and NZ Post.


pic from Flickr/JvL 
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