Showing posts with label joanna penn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joanna penn. 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.





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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Shopping For Content


In Publishing News this week


Another publisher is eyeing the content creation opportunities in mixed media. Penguin Random House has bought Boom Studios. Boom is a graphic novel publisher and film studio producing animated series for television and streaming. 

Dan Holloway reports that Webtoon, the biggest digital comics platform, has just launched on the stock exchange and is now valued at nearly $3 billion after the first day of trading. South Korea firm Naver owns Webtoon and Wattpad. Watch for other publishing companies going shopping for media companies.


Publishing Perspectives reports on Germany’s almost 2% growth in sales for the first half of the year. Should we be optimistic?


Mark Williams offers his acerbic take on the annual speech to the publishing faithful by Charlie Redmayne (yes, he is the brother.) CEO of Harper Collins. Will publishing embrace AI? It seems that quietly there are toes being dipped in the water. Speechify is promoting its text to speech app as an alternative to audiobooks and in the education sphere there is Bookbot doing text to speech for disadvantaged children.


Natalie Aguirre has a guest post over on Anne R Allen’s blog about tips on finding an agent. Joanna Penn recently interviewed agent and developmental editor Renee Fountain about preparing manuscripts and submitting queries for agents. 


It was nice to see a positive news story about romance readers coming out of a media organization. Teenagers are discovering romance book clubs.

Meanwhile, Gabino Iglesias asks Does America Still Care About Authors in Esquire. He had the novel experience of being welcomed in France for his work, the same work in America gets him brickbats.


Jane Friedman has an interview with a midwestern publisher about what it takes to thrive away from the usual publishing cities. This is an interesting interview on being nimble and carving out your own niche.


The Alliance of Independent Authors has an in depth article on plotting strategies. It doesn’t matter whether you are a pantser or a plotter there are some good tips here.


Katie Weiland has a great post on Everything You Need To Know About The lie Your Character Believes. This is one of those AHA posts where you shake your head and wonder how you could have missed this profound principal of story.


In the Craft Section,

Creating Characters- Stephen Geez- Bookmark

8 different types of scenes-K M Weiland- Bookmark

Three emotional problems to avoid- Becca Puglisi

How to avoid dumb moves- James Scott Bell

Suspense vs Anticipation- Sue Coletta- Bookmark

5 steps to better sex scenes – the Bridgerton way- Bang2write


In The Marketing Section 

How to create an e-newsletter- Stylefactory productions

How to talk about your book before publishing- Sam Missingham- Bookmark

Ask for a review- Rob Bignell

Book cover ideas- Cameron Chapman- Bookmark

Guide to book giveaway platforms- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark


To Finish

I seem to refer readers to Katie Weilands story structure website every week. The reason is she is a great teacher of the finer points of character and story structure. She has written excellent books on the topic. I own some and they are very readable and straight to the point. Katie has just released two new story craft books. She has revised and updated her excellent Structuring Your Novel and released a new book Next Level Plot Structure. Check out her detailed post about the books and treat yourself to a great read. 





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.


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Thursday, July 4, 2024

Forewarned is Forearmed.


In Publishing News this week,


Australia’s online book retailer Booktopia has gone into voluntary administration. This caught everyone by surprise, including Australian booksellers and publishers who are seeing a big hole opening up in distribution. The June redundancies should have given everyone a heads-up. Now will they flog it off and who to?


Amazon announced its dates for Prime Day and immediately Indie Bookstores got into action. Dan Holloway talks about the concerted actions to drive sales away from Amazon by TikTok and the American Booksellers Association.


In the UK, Waterstones have announced the new Children’s Laureate, Frank Cottrill-Boyce. Each laureate serves for two years, and they campaign for a cause associated with children’s literature. The new laureate is passionate about the freedom to read.


Over in the USA, librarians have been discussing the freedom to read problems that they are having, especially soft censorship. That’s the censorship when you think a book might be challenged and so you don’t buy it. Authors filling a need for books for marginalized communities are being hit in the pocket with this type of censorship.


The complaints about Baillie Gifford using their fossil fuels money to finance book festivals in the UK resulted in them pulling their funding of the festivals. Now the festivals have to find alternative funding. Some publishers have stepped up. 


Roz Morris has a great article on the six main hustles that are targeting writers so far in 2024 and what you can do about them. Over at Writer Unboxed, Michael Castleman writes about why we are seeing more writing scams than ever before and how we can avoid being ripped off. Make an effort to read these articles. Forewarned is forearmed.


Ruth Harris writes about the sting of rejection. It’s not about you the writer. She points out that there can be many things that generate a No response. David Lombardino writes about successful editor author relationships. Who is in charge?

Elizabeth Spann Craig talks about procrastination and being kind to your future self.


Draft2Digital is working hard on integrating Smashwords into the fold. They are also renaming their book cover acquisition. If you haven’t checked out D2D lately, they have a pretty comprehensive distribution network and loads of free stuff for authors and publishers.


What makes timeless fiction timeless? Donald Maass asks the writers golden ticket question. ‘Timeless characters stand in for us but are larger than we are.’ This is a fascinating read from a master agent.



In The Craft Section,

Creative ways to brainstorm ideas- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

How to use antagonists in your story- K M Weiland- Bookmark

Developing a scene outline- C S Lakin- Bookmark

Using tone in literature- Reedsy

Handling a cast of thousands- Terry Odell - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Book Promotion timing – Sandra Beckwith

Positioning your book-Jane Weisman

Choosing an author name format- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

2 great posts from Authors Red Door- table of contents sales tool and copyright page marketing- Bookmark Both


To Finish,

This week I have been listening to Joanna Penn and Rachelle Ayala talk about AI tools and how authors are using them on the Creative Penn podcast. Whichever side you come in on, I really think you should give this transcript a read, or listen to the podcast episode. I had a few aha moments. Rachell is a romance author with a PHD in applied maths and a background in computing. So straight away she was able to explain what an AI is and is not and how it works. This was a super interesting episode. If you have been dismissive or fearful or bewildered by the changes that are coming like a runaway freight train towards you, take some time to understand what sort of tool AI could be in your writing business. At the very least you will be more informed of the possibilities even if you don’t choose to actively use them.





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 Jan Canty on Unsplash Due to a glitch the photo hasn't loaded but you can check it out here.


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.





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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 20, 2024

The Freedom To Read



In Publishing News this week,


This week the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) issued a statement on The Ongoing Violation of Children’s Rights in Gaza. IBBY is an international organization dedicated to celebrating and promoting reading all over the world. Every two years they award children’s literature’s highest honour, The Hans Christian Anderson Medal (often referred to as The Little Nobel.) Publishing Perspectives highlights the statement as not casting blame or fault. An exercise in deft diplomacy, calling everyone to work together on behalf of the children.


Down here in the Pacific, we watch the political moves happening around the pond. This is also true of the Book Fairs that have been gaining more prominence down our way. 

The Beijing International Book Fair has just kicked off with 71 countries attending this year. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard looks at who is attending and speaking. All eyes will be on the AI in publishing event happening at the fair.


Publishing Perspectives highlights the World Expression Forum which recently met in Norway and dedicated a portion of its programming to how the freedom to read is tied up with democracy. They caution that the publishing industry can’t be complacent.


Not complacent is the American branch of Oxford University Press, whose workers are picketing outside the office. 


GoodeReader highlights a new piece of tech aimed at the educational market. A foldable eReader tablet you can read and write on, from ReadTych. Is this what we have all been waiting for? 


Two fantastic podcasts caught my attention this week. The SPA girls interviewed Maggie Marr, a specialist contract lawyer and writer. This is a great insight into contract language, negotiations, and best practice. Everyone should listen to this. 

Joanna Penn interviewed Steve Pieper on click testing and selling direct. Steve looks at how click testing works and why you should do it. Check out the podcast or read the transcript.


Are you looking after your health? It’s the Winter season down here and I’ve been simmering chicken soup most of the day. While the house is smelling wonderful, I’m also reminding myself that I need to follow the advice for writers in caring for your health by Emily Young.


The Mary Sue published a list of the greatest Young Adult reads of all time. Any list is subjective, but they may have nailed it with this list. What do you think?


Choosing names for your characters is often fraught. Sometimes the right name is elusive, and you can’t quite get a handle on the character until you have the name sorted. Ginny Moyer likens it to naming a child. It means just as much.


In The Craft section,

10 tips on writing a fantasy novel- Lucy Hay- Bookmark

Finding your story's throughline- Mythcreants

Avoiding headhopping- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

Scene structure and transitions- K M Weiland – Bookmark

Redeeming your villain- Becca Puglisi


In The Marketing Section,

Why you should care about library distribution-Draft2Digital

Direct sales strategies- Bookbub- Bookmark

What’s in a title- Jane Corry – Bookmark

When is the best time to release a book- Sue Coletta- Bookmark

Learning to love Amazon’s freebies- Caroline Howard Johnson


To Finish,

How often have you closed a book and decided not to finish it. I used to force myself to read the rest of the book hoping it would get better but now I shake my head and put it down. Amy Bernstein has a great post on Jane Friedman’s blog on making sure your book doesn’t fall into the DNF book club. 

With so much news on the ways to stop people reading, you owe it to your reader to give them the best reading experience you can.





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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.


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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Challenging Times


In Publishing News this week,

The Romance Writers of America has filed for bankruptcy. For many years this association was the biggest writer organization out there. They had huge conferences which were the industry standard. A series of scandals in the last few years has seen their membership dwindle from over 10,000 to around 3000 or less. This means they can’t pay for hotels which they used to book 5 years in advance for their big conferences. The bills are due. There is no money leading to the filing. It is not the end of the association, but tight times are ahead. Meanwhile, the way things have been left has annoyed some writers. 


When Simon and Schuster was up for sale, Meta (Facebook) was interested in acquiring it. Good E Reader reports from recordings shared with the New York Times that they didn’t want the publishing company really- only the content. This is a heads up for any other publishing companies going up for sale. You could get bought for AI training purposes.


Publishing Perspectives reports that Bloomsbury have bought the academic publishers Rowman Littlefield. This is their biggest ever acquisition and doubles their footprint in the US. Richard Charkin’s monthly column on the good and the not so good aspects of publishing has academic publishers in the profitable section, so an excellent bottom line for Bloomsbury. Academic publishing has a captive audience- much to the annoyance of academics.

Dan Holloway of The Alliance of Independent Authors has a quick rundown of the opposition by some of the corporate sponsor behind the Hay Literary Festival. Do you take the money and close your eyes to where it has come from? Can literary beggars be choosers?


Lorna Fergusson writes about getting the balance right when you go on a writing retreat. She has a list of very good advice to consider from planning to expectations to the type of experiences that could help or hinder the benefit you might get from it.


Christine Webb writes for Writers Digest about balancing humour and emotion in your books. Going too far one way or the other can wreck the reading experience.


So what does fear have to do with bad writing? Ruth Harris answers this question in her monthly column on Anne Allens blog. Is fear stopping you from what you really want to write?


Do you let your characters fill in backstory? John Kelley has an interesting article on Writer Unboxed about letting your minor characters fill in information. Stories within stories.


Suzanne Lakin has an interesting post on inner conflict. How well do you know your characters motivations? She has a series of questions to ask your character that reveals their inner conflicts and can give you great pointers on where to take the character in the story.



In The Craft Section,

How to use white space And How Did I Get Here - Sue Coletta- Bookmark

Crafting compelling backstory- Michelle Barker- Bookmark

Steadfast arcs vs flat arcs- September Fawkes

Introducing your characters- K M Weiland- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Using universal book links – Draft2Digital- Bookmark

Marketing forever mindset- Podcast- ALLI conference- Bookmark

Marketing to agents- Karen Whiting

5 tips for building superfans- Rachel Hanna- Bookmark

15 book promo ideas- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


To Finish,

It is always interesting to drop into Joanna Penn’s podcast. This week she has an interview with a former mental health nurse, Adam Beswick, about planning for success. Adam has a bestselling dark fantasy series using TikTok videos. He talks about going from being terrified to video himself to viral videos. It is an interesting interview on mindset and being open to new experiences. We send our characters on challenging journeys- shouldn’t we be challenging ourselves too?





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.


Photo by MichaΕ‚ Robak on Unsplash


Thursday, May 9, 2024

Imposters, Frauds, and Dodgy Dealings


In Publishing News this week,


The United Kingdom writers are not happy. This week the UK Publishers Association blasted the UK government over their response to their own governmental committee’s recommendations for dealing with copyright issues regarding AI and Large Language Models. Even the head of the governmental committee is using strong language about the government’s response.

Meanwhile, The UK Society of Authors held an extraordinary general meeting to put to the vote three issues, fossil fuels, AI, and Gaza. The results of the vote have caused an uproar in the wider author community. Many writers are publicly resigning their membership. Mark Williams offers his take on where it all went horribly wrong.


Over the pond in the United States, the dissenting authors from Pen America’s award ceremony (mentioned two weeks ago) have got together to hold their own show and a fundraiser.


Publisher’s Weekly reports that Simon and Schuster have been shopping and bought a large Dutch publishing company. Their private equity fund bosses have been promising expansion and with this purchase they have a subscription company, an audiobook company and a few other goodies.


Dan Holloway, news editor at The Alliance of Independent Authors, has been looking at the news that OpenAI is going to pay the creators of the content they have been using to train their AI. This is based around the financial arrangement they are making with publishers to use their content. But how will they do it? 


Kathy Steinemann is annoyed that she is being forced to lie when asked if she is using AI. Have you stopped and thought about how much you use AI in your writing? It might surprise you.


Anne R Allen received a dodgy complaint about her writing this week and discovered it was a bot. But why and how did the bot discover her writing? She writes about the reality of the trollbot inquisition.


This week, long time publishing commentator, Mike Shatzkin popped out of retirement to make some interesting observations after meeting with long time publishing professionals. The three stages of publishing, Gutenberg, Industrial and now Digital. Each one marking distinct times in human history.


Joanna Penn interviewed Chelle Honniker this week and it’s a great interview. Chelle talks about all sorts of tools to help automate your business. Chelle is also a programmer for Author Nation- the replacement conference for 20Books Vegas- she has a quick rundown on what’s on offer. Very exciting.


Podcast Review has a list of the best writing craft podcasts around. If you are a podcast listener, take a look at these. You will recognize familiar names from past weekly roundups. After sixteen years of weekly blogging about writing and publishing, I must have heard everybody.


Katie Weiland is looking at the Enneagram again but this time from the writers point of view. She has four numbers profiled this week and finishes next week. I can’t wait to see what she says about my number.


In The Craft Section,

Crafting fantasy characters- Prowriting Aid

Making scenes work- Karen Cioffi

3 signs you’re writing misplaced modifiers- Colleen Story- Bookmark

Stuck? Change your story- Janice Hardy

Ten tips for DIY editing- Debbie Burke- Bookmark

10 steps to writing a better novel- K M Weiland- Bookmark


In the Marketing Section,

What is a newsletter- Comprehensive

Embrace public speaking- Jim Acevedo

Why authors should be accessible- Katie McCoach- Bookmark

How to announce your book- Sandra Beckwith

How regular should your updates be- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

What to post beside writing content- Emily Enger- Bookmark


To Finish

Imposter syndrome hits us all. Sometimes it creeps up on us and does a number on your mental health. Sometimes you can recognize it as plain old envy. Either way it is important to understand it and do something about it before it cripples you. Rachel Toalson has a must read article on Writer Unboxed on how to overcome the feeling you are a fraud.





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.


pic Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

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