Showing posts with label james scott bell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label james scott bell. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Making A Buck


In Publishing News this week.

After the wailing and gnashing of teeth against AI, the consensus within the trade publishing fraternity is how can we make it worthwhile for us. Jane Friedman has an interesting article on Publishers Licensing Material For AI- hopefully this will trickle down to the authors.


Meanwhile, the Copyright Clearance Center, (The US Copyright office) has announced a new subscription tier that can make available to AI companies content licensed for AI reuse. Publishing Perspectives have a rundown on the subscription model and the CCC’s commitment to being Pro AI and Pro Copyright. (It’s OK if your head hurts over that statement- mine does too.) 


To help everyone navigate the tricky world of AI rights – there are now market places for selling content rights to AI. Check out what the founder of Scribd is doing with his new startup. (There’s money in them thar AI hills.)


With the emphasis on writers being authentic or as Joanna Penn puts it ‘doubling down on being human’ Alison Williams has a post about the platform that authors need now – and it is not Social Media.


For those who have one eye on the elections happening in the near future Kathleen Schmidt has a thoughtful post on the publishing industries responsibilities to free speech and allowing a platform for divisive and dangerous rhetoric. 

We who look on from the other side of the world see the three world areas of conflict being, Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, and American vs American. All of them filling us with a deep disquiet.


Techcrunch reports on Spotify’s moves to have more connections between listeners and creators. They are allowing comments on podcasts and are looking to gradually roll out these and similar features across all their streaming programes. 


London Libraries or Librarians are promoting a new app to get Londoners to read more. It’s called ReadOn and has quiz questions, reading club, recommendations for your next book… everything to promote the beach read into a year long activity.


Bookfunnel has a great article from Katie Cross on creating landing pages with Bookfunnel for selling purposes.


Anne R Allen is taking a break from her great blog over summer as she has some deadlines to meet. However, she has links to some great blogs to drop in on so you can keep up to date. I was touched that she included Craicer in the list. Thankyou Anne.


Lithub has an interesting article on the millennial mid life crisis book. I wasn’t aware that millennials are even ready for a midlife crisis, I thought they had a few decades to go.


Joanna Penn has an interesting interview with Kimboo York on fan fiction and serialization. Check out the podcast /transcript.


With Katie Weiland bringing out an updated version of her story structure book she is posting a series of posts on that topic. Check out the intro to story structure article.

In The Craft Section,

How to use Goal Motivation and Conflict to test story ideas- Alex Cavanaugh- Bookmark

Mispronunciation- Kathy Steinemann

The secret to page turning scene endings-Lisa Poisso- Bookmark

Editing tricks of the trade- Terry Odell- Bookmark

The matter of titles- Barbara Linn Probst- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

August book promotion opportunities- Sandra Beckwith

Introverted writers can market effectively- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

The lazy authors guide to platform- David Gaughran

How to change Kindle keywords- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

How to make a cinematic booktrailer.- Reedsy.


To Finish,

With the news cycle making everyone anxious, escaping into a good book offers the reader time out from the insanity. James Scott Bell has a great post about old time pulp writers and how they could keep the reader glued to the page. Telling emotional stories, keeping everyone spell bound. Those are our superpowers. That is what separates us from the software programs.





Its nearly time for the monthly newsletter? If you want the best of my bookmarked links you can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Author Anxiety



In Publishing News this week,


The Readmagine conference is underway in Madrid and after the opening keynote from Madeline McIntosh from the brand new Authors Equity publishing house, a roundtable discussed  ‘publishing in the age of anxiety.’ This has been a theme through all the bookfairs this year. Publishing Perspectives reports on the big discussion points.


Authors Against Book Bans was officially launched this week in America. They have 1500 authors signed up to support librarians and schools who are battling on the front line of freedom to read.


Dan Holloway reports on Spotify bringing in a new tier to placate the Spotify music fans. It won’t have audiobooks available in it, but if you pay a dollar more…. Meanwhile, a Spotify executive who left the company has ventured out into publishing and is creating deals with Simon and Schuster for all things media. Watch out for even more rights grabbing in contracts as publishing companies become media companies with publishing as a side hustle.


Dave Morris writes about traditionally published authors being told that it is super hard to make eBooks. He was asked if this was true by a best-selling author whose publishing company assured him it was.


The Alliance of Independent Authors decided to canvas their authors for their best tips for success in 2024. They came up with 25 tips and tricks for success.


Jane Friedman has an interesting guest post from author brand strategist Andrea Guevara, on being yourself so others can find you.


Joanna Penn has an inspirational interview with disabled writer Daniel Bate on how he overcomes his challenges and manages to write, and what sort of technology and apps allow him to do it. This article has been written by Daniel using dictation software as he is blind, paralysed, and dyslexic.


Dave Gaughran has a new series starting on his YouTube channel. How to turn your book cover into a killer Facebook ad. If you haven’t come across Dave before I recommend you check him out. He is highly regarded by everyone who is anyone in the Indie Author community for the quality and expertise of his advice, all of which is free.


Penny Sansevieri looks at why your Amazon Ads might not be working and Sandra Beckwith talks about author technophobia and how to overcome it.


Written Word media have a comprehensive post on 100 book marketing ideas for authors.

Katie Weiland has a great post this week on 9 ways to maintain your creative focus while you juggle writing and life.


How do you know when you are telling in a story? Check out this great post from Suzy Vadori on how to spot the signs.


In The Craft Section,

Choosing the chosen one- Vaughn Roycroft- Bookmark

The most important thing to include the story- Angela Ackerman

Getting the best response from your characters- Janice Hardy

How are Archetypes different from Tropes- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

Inner conflict -the driving force- C S Lakin- Bookmark


In the Marketing Section,

Beyond the words, the impact of a brand style Deb Vanasse-Bookmark

Using hashtags-Kathy Steinemann

Using Bookfunnel as a landing page – Katie Cross-Bookmark

Canva tips for authors- Jeevani Charika- Bookmark

Book marketing strategies- Dale Roberts


To Finish,

You know the scenario… you are at a party and inevitably someone asks what you do? You tell them and you get the reply, ‘Have I heard of you?’ Aside from being annoying – how would I know what you’ve heard? How do you navigate the conversation after that? James Scott Bell looks at this dilemma and how to rise above it.

I am reminded of my uncle who used to make up highly technical terms for ordinary jobs when he was asked these questions. 

I am a content creator for an international media company currently specializing in long form content for juveniles in the speculative genre. 

Or you can just invent a boring job title.





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Photo by Cosiela Borta on Unsplash

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Slogging Forward



This week in Publishing News,

The Guardian published an article on the latest survey of children’s reading habits. Woe. Children are not reading as much as they used to. And the books they are reading are not challenging enough. They particularly bemoan secondary school students who are barely reading at all in the UK and Ireland. There has been some talk about the falling sales of YA but I don’t think we are in crisis. It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and they are gearing up for an election. They need lots of drama to fill the newspapers.


Meanwhile, the finalists for the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced this morning. What a super line up! Congratulations everyone. I have judged these awards and I know how hard it must have been to come up with this shortlist. It is also great to see more books being entered, we’re only a few books short of the mark to have a long list, like the adult book awards. 


Publisher’s Weekly reports on the layoffs at Hachette. They have let go editors at Little Brown. When the publishing industry is under scrutiny to be more diverse in its people hiring, these particular layoffs don’t look good.


Audiobooks continue their upward trajectory in sales. They made over $2 Billion in sales last year. The survey from the audio publishers association reports that listener demographics are also on the rise with more children listening to audiobooks

The Textbook companies have got together to sue Google. At issue is the way that Google ads promote pirated textbooks to poor students. They are enabling scammers say the textbook publishers.


Dan Holloway of The Alliance of Independent Authors keeps an eye on publishing news and he recently reported on the willingness of media companies to do partnership deals with Open AI. If they’re not doing deals they are suing Open AI.

The Alliance also has some great podcasts on all things writing related. Check out Sacha Black and Michael La Ronn on marketing children’s and YA books and other interesting advice on their Q& A. They have transcripts of their podcasts.


Anne R Allen has an interesting blog post on changing up the author bookshop event. She got together with writer friends to have live theatre reenactments of scenes from their books. Think of the possibilities….


Two great writing craft articles caught my eye this week. James Scott Bell on writing and showing character emotion. A super post with great advice from the master.

Sarah Hamer writes a great post on the Story Triangle. She boils down structure to 3 essential must haves for a strong story. 


In The Craft Section,

Structuring an ensemble cast- September Fawkes - Bookmark

Tips for writing multi author series- D Wallace Peach- Bookmark

10 tips for writing steamy scenes- Gwynn Scheltema

Characters and writing race diversity- Gwen Plano

A Scrivener trick to use in Word- Debbie Burke- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

8 unique venues for children’s author visits- Chelsea Tornetto- Bookmark

Talking pre publicity- Sam Missingham- BOOKMARK-Print Out.

7 creative ways to sell more books- Fussy Librarian

6 savvy book promo ideas- Indie Author Central

Understanding Author Brand- Reedsy- Bookmark


To Finish

There is a great quote about writing from Elmore Leonard- ‘Try to leave out the parts people tend to skip.’

When you are faced with writing drudgery it can be tempting to skip over these bits, promising yourself you will fill them in later… and later doesn’t happen.

Two fantastic articles tackle this situation. Katie Weiland looks what might be triggering your resistance to writing and offers some great tips for getting through the drudgery.

Susan DeFreitas identifies the problem as your inner storyteller not knowing enough about your story/scene to write it. Both these articles have great tips to help you when the story writing becomes a slog.





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

Friday, May 17, 2024

Opening The AI Box

Regular readers will notice that the roundup is a day late this week. It is Graduation time and we have been attending ceremonies and celebrating the achievements of a new graduate in the house.


In Publishing News this week


The first quarter stat shot from the AAP shows book sales were flat. If you get into the weeds of the stats, eBooks were up and everything else was down or just ticking along. Here in my city an independent bookseller said that after a flat first quarter they had hopes that book sales would be picking up. Of course I was helping their bottom line by buying books.

Meanwhile, Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard was reminding readers that the statshot doesn’t show all the sales of books. Amazon is still doing quite nicely as they are on target to get $1 billion in eBook revenue.


If you are a children’s writer you will be noticing the pleas for more midgrade books, and where are the midgrade books, and why don’t we have more breakout hits for children. The questions and end times statements are everywhere. Mark Williams was particularly incensed with an opinion piece stating it was phones that brought about the downfall of midgrade reading.


Richard Charkin has an interesting look at the new A to Z of publishing terms and buzz words. This is a good snapshot of the things that concern trade publishing in 2024.

In happier news the Dream Team, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have launched their latest Emotion Thesaurus book, Emotion Amplifiers. This is a revised and expanded companion to the book that began their one million sales thesaurus journey. 

James Scott Bell looks at the recent strike down of the Non Compete clause and how this clause will no longer be enforceable from September this year. The non compete clause started the practice of using pen names at different publishing houses. This could tie into book advances. 

Does this mean the end of the advance too? 


If you have been trying to get a handle on marketing, you will have come across the terms list builder promotions. List builders are for promoting the benefits of joining a newsletter list. One author found out the downside of list builder promotions and sounds a cautionary note on Jane Friedman’s blog.


Jaire Sims has a guest article on Anne R Allen’s blog on what she wished she had known about self publishing before she did it. First research your subject.


Sandra Beckwith has ten tips for writing an op-ed article or essay about your research, or non-fiction book.


Are you a writer that keeps your current work in progress close to your chest or do you share every step of the process? Julie Johnstone writes on Writer Unboxed about Sharing your work too early: The soft tissue principle.


The Craft Section,

2 great posts from Angela Ackerman -Throw rocks at your characters-and How symbolism adds depth to a story - Bookmark

Understanding tone- Reedsy Blog- Bookmark

Settings that crawl under the skin- Jaq Evans

Writers guide to romantasy- Alexa Nazzaro- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Author education- a crucial investment- Penny Sansevieri

Creating an author press pack- K M Allen- Bookmark

Bookbub ads- Bookbub- Bookmark

Goodreads, the ultimate author playground – Corina Amos- Bookmark

Marketing with a blog- Karen Cioffi


To Finish

Dan Holloway reports that ChatGPT 4 has been folded into the free programme from Open AI and is available as an app. Many writers are using ChatGPT for help with writing tasks and research, now they have access to next level bells and whistles.

Bloomberg reports AI voiced books topping 40,000 on Audible averaging 4 stars. This technology is here to stay. Authors need to develop some ways of dealing with the opportunities and challenges of this rapidly advancing technology. The Alliance of Independent Authors has compiled a MUST READ list of practical steps for writers to consider how they interact with AI in their work.





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter If you want the best of my bookmarked links you can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Photo by Curology on Unsplash

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Is It On A Bucket List?

In Publishing News this week,


There was a quick backlash on Social Media when a publisher announced that they would be using an AI to vet submitted manuscripts. They walked it back after only a few hours. Even though they are a Science Fiction publisher- this was a step too far for their writers. Just imagine, said one commentator, AI scraping trends and plots and writing its own book from submissions. Of course it will never happen….


The International Publishers Association are shocked at the dismissal of the case of attempted murder of a Norwegian publisher. 25 years ago, the publisher was shot 3 times. Many believed it was because they had published Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses book. It shook the publishing world at the time as an attack on free speech. If we don’t speak truth to power - who will?


Mark Williams had me chuckling so hard I nearly fell off my chair with this personal opinion about the London Book Fair. Sometimes you have to laugh because otherwise you would cry. Who knew there was a bookfair on in London that generated lots of sales?- Not the UK news media.


Bologna Children’s Book Fair is underway, and the early news is that everyone is having a good time- except for the transport strike. Publishing Perspectives is on the ground talking about the in person and virtual events.


Publishers Weekly looks at the dire news for mid-grade books. Everybody wants them… and no one can find a good one, apparently. What to do? The only country bucking the trend is The Netherlands and they’re translating from Korean. 


In digital reading hardware news- Kobo is bringing out a colour ink version. Commentators are already looking at the E-Ink hardware wars on the horizon.


Draft2Digital is partnering with Fable. As far as I can tell this is a first for both companies. Fable runs virtual book clubs- many for celebrities and TikTok influencers. If you want to have an author book club, check it out. Draft2Digital is a publishing distributor, mainly for eBooks but now also for print. This could be a very interesting collaboration.


Ninc have analyzed the book cover trends for 2024- Font is still king. Illustrated and Animated covers are still on brand, I was surprised at how many genres now use them.


Anne R Allen has an interesting post on Substack Newsletters vs Blogging for authors inspired by Jane Friedman’s article last month. I post my weekly blog on Substack for people who want to get it in their inbox. I don’t charge. My monthly roundup newsletter with extras and oddments is through Mailchimp. As a children’s writer I’m always struggling with the concept of author newsletters for this audience as the buyers aren’t the readers, generally. Maybe I should write a serial story newsletter.


The Passive Guy highlights a post from Dean Wesley Smith on how big your name is on the cover of your book. Do you hide away or boldly brand? Dean also has a series of marketing posts on at the moment.


Joanna Penn has a great interview with Rachel Herron on Facing Fears in Writing and Life. This is well worth the time to read and/or listen. Rachel also mentions having ADHD. Katie Weiland recently had a great guest post on navigating the writing process if you have the ADHD superpower. 


Sue Coletta has a great post on Story Bibles. Do you jot down important details so that you don’t forget them or is editing always a surprise with how many times the main characters eyes change. Sue looks at all the ways you can keep on top of the details.


In The Craft Section,

Strong plots need significant goals- September Fawkes

Style over plot and characters- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

Is page 98 as strong as page 1- Donald Maass- Bookmark

What to do when you lose your way- Matthew Norman

5 simple ways to create high stakes- C S Lakin-Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Book PR and super powers- Ann Marie Nieves- Bookmark

The reason for pre sales- Catharine Bramkamp- Bookmark

How to love book marketing- Patricia Crisafulli

19 ways to Promote on TikTok-KellySchknecht- Bookmark

How to market with another author- Ingram Spark Blog


To Finish

Bucket lists. Yes, they are still a thing. Have you got a bucket list? Many people have life lists or travel lists… but Karen Banes thinks writers should have writers bucket list. Goals that you want to achieve in your writing life. She lists 100 ideas to get you started





It’s nearly time for monthly newsletter with the best of my bookmarked links and other interesting extras. You can subscribe here to join our happy band.


If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.


If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic Photo by Tobi on Unsplash


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Shopping For Ideas


In Publishing News This Week,


In a surprise move this week Small Press Distribution closed its doors. This came as a shock to all its clients who just 24 hours earlier were being told of their great new partnership with Ingram. Publisher’s Weekly reports on the news and what clients can do now to save their books.


Also making surprise moves is the Indigo Books and Music chain in Canada. They have sold the publicly listed company back in house and are taking it off the stock exchange. Indigo has been losing money and got hit with a cyber-attack that crippled them for months. Publisher’s Weekly reports that they are going back to the basics of bookselling which means selling books, not merchandise.


Spotify is continuing to roll out its premium audiobook service to customers. This week Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand are being wooed to sign up.


Publishing Perspectives reports that China’s publishing industry looks in good shape with kids’ books leading the way. Also, they have been experimenting with short form video to drive sales. I wonder where they learned that trick….


Italy has had a great culture card that they gifted to their 18 year olds to spend on books and theater experiences for a year. This propped up their publishing industry through Covid. Now Italy is tweaking the eligibility criteria and publishers are nervous. 


Fast Company magazine examines how Harper Collins has become more sustainable by tweaking their font and saving paper. 


Joanna Penn has been updating her Book Launch Blueprint  and she shares the chapter on Book Marketing. Meanwhile, Penny Sansevieri has some interesting thoughts on how to navigate book marketing when there is a tsunami of books being published.


Ruth Harris has a great post on listening to your subconscious. The muse has a thousand faces. But sometimes you have to get out of your own way to tap into that story telling gold.


Angela Ackerman is talking psychology this week. We are all hardwired for stories. Angela explains that writers need to tap into reader psychology and cognitive dissonance to write an unforgettable story.


Kristen Hacken South writes an interesting article on Writer Unboxed about emotional resonance. How much emotion is too much. How do you find the balance between flatline and melodrama. A great article.


In The Craft Section,

How to write a gripping inciting incident- Angie Andriot- Bookmark

Vonnegut’s rules for writers explained- James Scott Bell - Bookmark

How to choose story settings- K M Weiland - Bookmark

What are pinch points and where do they go- Sue Coletta- Bookmark

Set your intention first.- Sarah Hamer


In The Marketing Section,

Booktips to save money- Penny Sansevieri

Connection over promotion- Katie Sadler- Bookmark

Pros and cons of book giveaways- AJ Yee- Bookmark

Lead generation landing pages- Convertkit- Bookmark

How effective is social media?- Rachel Thompson

Easiest way to get Book Reviews- Bookmark


To Finish,

A couple of times a year Kris Rusch curates a writing craft book collection on Storybundle. You pay what you like to get access to some great ebooks. If you pay over a particular threshold you get the whole bundle with exclusives, extras, and support a worthwhile charity. The money goes directly to the authors, so this is a win/win/win. It is a limited time offer so check it out and score some bargains. I have filled up my Kindle with great craft books from these bundles over the years. Don’t forget, you can claim writing craft books on your tax.





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to buy me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic: Photo by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash


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