Showing posts with label john scalzi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label john scalzi. Show all posts

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Book Identity Crisis

This week John Scalzi turned his blog over to an Icelandic writer who wrote an article about the difficulties of translating his own work. You might think it is just a standard article on translation but Alexander Vilhajalmsson was translating from old Icelandic, made up Icelandic, and new Icelandic fantasy ideas. So why am I linking to it? I was thinking about the shrinking globe effect. Bestsellers get translated and have a whole new life. Publishing houses get swallowed up by global behemoths. How does a writer stand out in a global entertainment industry? By being your authentic self apparently. 


Kris Rusch has the second part of her post Writing in the 21st Century- Find your own voice… carve your own path. This is a great post about giving yourself the power to run your business your way


All we can know about the future of book publishing is that it won’t look the same as now.

The recession is starting to bite in publishing land. News is trickling out that Macmillan is closing their children’s imprint. Mike Shatzkin takes a look at the rumours of Penguin Random House buying Simon and Schuster- What does this mean for the shrinking trade market? How much power is in the back list? Is this the end of general trade publishing?


A few weeks ago, I had an article about Spotify possibly moving into the audiobook space. So here is another stealthy move by them… commentary on your playlists. I was thinking hmm how can authors use this as a marketing idea?


Written Word Media has a report on how reading has changed in the Covid months. (I was about to write Covid years- sigh-looking into the future) This is an interesting look at what genres got read the most. WWM run Free Booksy and Bargain Booksy Newsletters so they have a lot of data at their fingertips.


If you are worried about podcasts cannibalising your audiobooks – don’t be. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard tells why they are mutually reinforcing factors for good.


Paul Dinas has an interesting article on the worth of freelance editors… (Worth their weight in gold) however he ties this to the changing acquisition structures of the big publishers. Will an editor even edit your book if they accept it?


Ten essential tips to eliminate distractions from your writing. (A great checklist for organizing your writing time)


The fabulous duo of Angela and Becca have made their collection of images and tips available for NaNoWriMo so check out this fantastic resource. Don’t forget the Storybundle of Nano books. All the authors get paid and so does charity.


In The Craft Section,

Compassion fatigue is it relevant for your characters?- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

Writing Synopses and trimming words- Linda Clare- Bookmark

Learning from mistakes made by big writers- Bonnie Randall

Motivation and the writing life- Elizabeth S Craig

Writing Tools for NaNoWriMo- Angela Ackerman BOOKMARK

7 ways to disguise a didn’t see it coming plot twist- Cutsceneaddict


In The Marketing Section,

How Can I promote my book for free- David Kudler

Author platforms – Learn from the kids- Michelle Melton Cox- Bookmark

7 mistakes to avoid when promoting on Social Media - Shayla Raquel

Smash through creative blocks- Angela And Becca 

How to Write a killer Amazon bio and Seeing the good in a Goodreads giveaway- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark both

Consider translating your work- Angela Ackerman


To Finish,

Recently Netcredit decided to gather the most popular books from each country into a list so that while you were stuck at home you could read around the world. It is an interesting list full of country defining books- Thornbirds anyone? Not sure I agree with the NZ one tho. I’m happy to take suggestions for the book that defines our country. Overseas readers check out your country’s suggested books Do you agree?





It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter with the best of my bookmarked links. Why not subscribe and get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – Joe Shlabotnik


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Backwards and Forwards

This week I was sitting in a radio sound booth talking about what’s been happening in publishing over the year and it struck me that the same themes were being revisited.

Playing Nicely With Others.- That means...
No engaging with bad reviewers.
Treat ALL Social Media as searchable.
(this includes private messages and emails!)
Pay the writer/illustrator for their time. (Festivals and visits)

Research Everything.- That means...
Contracts- every clause!
Offers of publishing- (Know what you are getting into.)
Agents and competitions (The scams out there are amazing!)

Publishing is leveling out. That means...
Most publishers have either amalgamated or disappeared or are leaner.
Many authors are now hybrid. (mix of Trad and Indie publishing)

Kristine Rusch put together a nice post on writing what you want to write, this week -Following on from Thanksgiving.

Jane Friedman also asks Do you know what you are capable of? These are great food for thought posts going into the Christmas season.

Several writers I follow have Patreon accounts. An age old idea with a new twist. If you have ever wondered what they are about check out this article.

Book reviews – A new kid on the block is quietly changing children’s publishing in the UK and it is... a kid with a book review site.

Now that NaNoWriMo is finished.... December is NaNoEditMo and agents hate January because then those novels are sent out. Are you following all the right steps before you hit publish?

What is in every bestselling book? Sarah Juckes took a look and came up with 10 must haves.

Dan Blank asks What do Publishers and agents want from authors? and the first thing is... that they know who their audience is and where to find them. This is an interesting Writer Unboxed article. Rachelle Gardner backs this up with a very detailed article about publishing readiness

Jane Friedman has a great guest post from Paula Munier on the importance of the first scene and what you should put into it. Lots of food for thought.

In The Craft Sectioon,

How to write scene outlines- KM Weiland – Bookmark

Red flags in editing- Meg Latorre Snyder- Bookmark

Deconstructing a Romance Novel-Tina Radcliffe- Bookmark

Rhythm and Pacing-Jennie Nash- Bookmark

Agent Janet Reid on Plotting

The emotional pinch point- Ann Greenwood Brown -Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

9 tips for your book launch- Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

December has crept up and pounced. The annual complaint of why do we have Northern Hemisphere snow songs when it’s climbing past 25 degrees in the shade is being heard. (Ronan Keating finds this out)
Thoughts turn to Writer Christmas presents. (You can never have too many pens...)  and what the writer might like to receive.


I’m having a Christmas draw for my Newsletter subscribers soon. If you want to catch up on the best of my bookmarked links every month make sure you subscribe.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Business Choices

It is cold and wet. June blasts from Antarctica have ensured that we know Winter has arrived. I spent a hopeful five minutes today looking at this publishing mini conference on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. It is in the northern hemisphere winter... and as I turn up the heating and work on the Tinderbox conference I’m wishing I could just transfer the whole thing onto a cruise ship.

This week Book Expo America (BEA) has been on. Online discussions have been on the business of publishing and reaction to Scalzi's $3.4m publishing deal. There are a whole lot of green eyed authors out there who have let their vitriol get away on them. Then there are the calm reasoned authors who talk about the business and what Scalzi’s deal might mean to authors going forward. Kris Rusch has an excellent analysis and I urge you to read the comments for the great discussion on contracts. Then there is John Scalzi himself who lays out what the deal means to him for the next decade.  This is a very generous set of posts for an author to do. Read and Learn and raise a glass to him. By the way he is a fantastic author!

The Nielson figures came out this week on e-book sales last year and Futurebook has a handy analytical break down of the figures. Overall the sales were down 6% but as Nielson was doing a five year comparison, in 2010 the number of e-books sold were 68 million and last year it was 240 million, I don’t think anyone is too worried. Among lots of interesting data was this nugget, juvenile fiction is on the rise.

Publishing Perspectives reported on BEA and the global rise of... adult colouring books. Invest now in Faber Castell.  Porter Anderson reported on the digital conference held at BEA. With the huge amount of books now we need curators more than ever... and that is where the reader has to step up. Interesting article.

Jane Friedman is one of the Go To people for a perspective on the publishing industry and here in her latest interview I think she nails how the publishing industry is now and where it might be going in the future. This is a bookmark post.

In the Craft Section,

How to write a brief synopsis- Janet Reid- (Bookmark)

In the Marketing Section,

A quick lesson on creating imprints- Joel Friedlander (Bookmark)

Formatting to print from MS Word – Jami Gold (Bookmark)

5 top apps for writers – Wendy Jones

To Finish,
Who can resist an Infographic? Here is a great one looking at the publishing process. Two years to a print book.
Choices abound in publishing 2015 but you can’t get away from this pithy piece of advice.

Writing is an Art and Publishing is a Business – Chuck Wendig


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas wishes

Today I was braving the hordes with my kids as they did their Christmas Shopping. This is a once a year activity where the kids get to budget and think creatively. (Sounds like publishing.) While they were engaging in creative accounting to make their dollars go further, I was wondering what I was going to write for the last blog post of the year. This was not a year I planned. I was going to have a go at writing a small series of junior fiction books because I wanted to challenge myself. I was going to finish tidying up my Mars book and send it out!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I ended up spending way too much time this year staring at hospital food and wondering how anyone was supposed to get well while eating it or whether it was all a psychological experiment to make you get well faster. (If so, it didn’t work as I kept going back.)
So next year... (God and Surgeon willing.) I will restart...

Joanna Penn was in Auckland recently and wowed authors at a meet-up. She was sponsored by Kiwi tech guys Booktrack. They’re the guys behind soundtracks for books. Joanna interviewed them to find out all about this nifty idea.

Chuck is curious about everybody’s experience with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Is it worth it to the author?

The Verge took a trip into the ‘Zon to find out what might be coming in 2015.

John Scalzi has called out a couple of digital magazines about their rights grab… and they listened. Always check the copyright clauses!

I’m in conference planning mode with a bunch of excellent, talented, goodlooking and creative Children’s Writers and Illustrators for the New Zealand National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators. October 2-5 2015 Wellington. (Start looking for those cheap flights.) Janice Hardy writes about the benefits of a small writers’ conference. She is right on the money with her thoughts. (and we have some interesting things planned...*grin* )

One of the tricky things about planning a conference is trying to predict what will be relevant in publishing a year into the future. The Bookseller is doing just that by asking a bunch of publishing tech people what they think will happen in 2015.

In the Craft Section,

How to become a better writer – Rachelle Gardiner

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
I would like to thank all the writers and readers of this blog, the writing communities on Facebook and Twitter, and the Wellington writers who have had my back all year. Although most of you didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes your comments and thoughts encouraged me to keep going even when the going was tough.
Wishing you all a Happy and Safe Christmas. See you in 2015.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Amazon love/hate fuels a lot of debate in the publishing blogosphere. Each side of the argument has its passionate adherents. What you can’t do in publishing is ignore Amazon. If they are not bringing out a new device (described as a game changer by a kids lit agent this week) then they are changing the game in publishing with a new publishing innovation.
Rumours abound as Digital Book World reported chat from authors who are part of an Amazon focus group. Are crowd-sourcing manuscripts and covers the next move?

This week Mike Shatzkin looked at the use of Amazon exclusives in the battle to get market share at book launch time. His article specifically looked at Hugh Howey’s public worry about whether to take a hit in sales for publicity over the 90 day Amazon exclusive. Just how powerful is the Amazon exclusive brand?

Hugh Howey has focused his laser eye on the worst kept secret of rigged best selling lists. The big brands NYT bestseller and WSJ bestseller on a book guarantee branding for the authors life... but are they being gamed by their own brand?

Dave Gaughrin has written a searing post on Big Name publishers and their use of Author Solutions. Publishing Is Rotten To The Core.This is a must read post. When the brand becomes rotten...

Michelle Huneven has written an essay about Writing and thetrouble with it... one of those bookmark posts that you just have to share!

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,
Jane Friedman on Authors Social Media

Generating income by diversifying... great post from Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn on author entrepreneurship

Molly Greene on how Self-Publishers can improve the industry.

To Finish,
Writers are often asked what their brand is to distinguish them.

Chuck takes a look at Author Chuck style! (Warning Chuck is not for the faint of heart... and you will need to put down your drink!)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Breaking Down The System

Are we all sick of Amazon vs Hachette in the publishing blogosphere? As the issue between them drags on... a lot of authors feel compelled to voice their support for one side or the other and it is starting to get very ugly. Huffington Post reports on the standoff... that one of them may have blinked.

Publishing pundit Mike Shatzkin finally came out and voiced his opinion this week. I was surprised at his tone usually he is more measured in his response. Passive Guy highlighted the problems with Mike’s assessment and the comments are going thick and fast between the blogs.

If you are still interested in how this is all playing out, Barry Eisler has an opinion piece in The Guardian and Stephen Colbert weighs in on Comedy Central.

Earlier this week in London there was a Literary Festival featuring Australian and New Zealand writers.
The New Zealand Listener covered it for Kiwi’s as more of an underwhelming experience.
I wonder if they weren’t just giving in to the cultural cringe factor. We have some great writers here who should be ‘world famous in New Zealand,’ and promoted like All Blacks. Let’s celebrate them and not give into cultural cringe.

The lovely Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware highlights a new scam targeting indie authors. Editors who highlight ‘errors’ and offer to fix them.... After she wrote her blog post she was contacted by an editor....

On a lighter note... This week (prominent Sci Fi publishers) got together with a couple of great writers, Maureen Johnson and John Scalzi, to talk about Social Media advice for writers. Much hilarity ensued. Be entertained. If you don’t know anything about these great writers...go out and read their books! Just don’t take their social media advice.

B.E.A (America’s biggest Book Expo) has just wrapped up. And Author Hub seems to be the biggest winner at the Expo. This was a new initiative where Authors were given an area to conduct business on their own account.  Bob Mayer talks about the ten things that he learned at BEA this year.

In the Craft Section,

15 secrets to writing from George R R Martin

Lessons from James Scott Bell – Excellent post from Angela 

Catalyst and Catharsis – Donald Maass

In the Marketing Section,
Marketing Lessons from Mad Men

What to do when sales slow- Great post from Roz Morris

from Elisabeth S Craig.

The Myths that Printers are Distributors... One of Dean Wesley Smith’s excellent posts.

Publishers Weekly is integrating reviews- good news for Indie Authors

To Finish,
Two publishing interns, who walked away from publishing, talk about why they feel the system is broken. This is a close up look at the lack of diversity in publishing. If it is all white bread making the decisions...then white bread is what you will get.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Moves

The weather scientists this week said that Winter has been so warm that Spring has come a month early. And this is a symptom of climate change. At the moment we have a late blast of winter going through and it is bleak and wet out there. (So breaking Elmore’s sacred rule never start with the weather....)

In the publishing blogosphere this week...


Kobo launched three new e-reading devices this week in NewYork...and got the publishing blogosphere talking...because along with the hardware...Kobo has new content to go on the hardware. Kobo Kids a dedicated e-bookstore for children...Beyond The Book for all stuff beyond the book including a special Font for dyslexics... and other nifty things. So another shift in the publishing world has happened.

Also in a quietly heralded move...The Alliance of Independent Authors has done a deal with PubMatch. If you are a member of Alli you can get a 90% discount on getting all your overseas rights sold...Read all about it...It is an interesting move.

Dave Gaughren has been comparing distributors...Smashwords and new kids on the block Draft2Digital.

Long Time readers of this blog will know that I have a bit of a geek thing with space etc etc and that this year the prominent writers in the SFF Geek community have been calling out misogynist and threatening behaviour towards women in the community. John Scalzi (just stepped down as Pres. SFF) has been targeted for his very vocal support by troll lowlifes. This week around Social Media a picture of John in a dress went viral calling John a feminist. John’s beautiful reply will have you chuckling. Way To Go John...also if you haven’t read any of his are really missing something, he is a great writer!

Bob Mayer has 53 books under his belt and has decided to write a quick article about ten things he has learned as a writer...This is a good checklist for yourself.

The fabulous Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her comics on rejections...This will put it all in perspective.

Roz Morris runs a few blogs which I have referred to over the years in this blog...however I haven’t ever profiled her Undercover Soundtrack blog. Writers who write with soundtracks in their ears, talk about why they write to music and what sort of soundtracks they use.

In Craft,

In Marketing, There are some very fine articles this week.

Website to check out.
If you write Midgrade...Check out Emblazoners. This is another example of an author collective that niche market themselves. Roam around and get a feel for what they are doing and read the excellent article on writing midgrade series.

To Finish,
Be Surprised.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bookmark It

This last week I’ve been meeting up with writers in various venues discussing writery things.... Sometimes it was what we thought the librarians would pick as their top books for 2012 in the Librarian and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa or the LIANZA’s as they are most commonly referred to. The awards are out...and I have great pleasure in saying to various writers.... including award winners...I told you so!

In other publishing blogosphere news... LA SCBWI conference wrapped up this week. This conference is the one everyone in children’s writing wants to go to, (or the NY Winter conference.) A few years ago they got a team of writer bloggers together who blog the conference for all of us who live around the world and can’t get to LA. Go to the blog and scroll down on the right for all the topics covered... Take your time and dip into the conference panels, keynotes, interviews....aaaaah. There is even a sampling of fabulous tweets from #LA13SCBWI throughout the four days.

When you finish that...breathe deeply. Squash down that green imp of jealousy and register for WriteOnCon...a free two day online conference for children’s writers, now in its fourth year, happening next week. With another brilliant line up of speakers again. WriteOnCon 2012 is still being referenced around the blogosphere now. IT WAS THAT GOOD.

When you have done that...
Make the time to watch this fabulous video where Joanna Penn interviews James Scott Bell on writing, self publishing and the business of being a prowriter. It is top notch brilliant. I have two of James Scott Bell’s books and they are amazing!

And after that...
You must read this blog post.

If you are interested in gatekeepers...(you want more of them) copyright protections...(you want less of it) then you need to take a look at Porter’s Ether for the week and that will bring you up to speed on what has been talked about this week around the water coolers in New York.

If you want to get right to the craft bit.

Ginger Clark...(Uber Kid’s Lit Agent) answers questions from writers...great round up including is there an optimum time to send that query?

In Marketing

So there you have it every one a bookmark post!

To Finish,
I have been following the misogynist pull up in Sci Fi for the last month. It is Con season in the states...and the trolls are out in force. Sci Fi writers are often at Con’s as part of their publishing contracts and it has been sad to see them having to defend their right to be there if they are women. However there are quite a few male Sci Fi writers pushing the misogynists right back, as John Scalzi beautifully says in ‘A Creator’s Note To Gatekeepers’ it’s an economic argument. Women read and play these cool games too.

So around the blogosphere there has been general high fives when one writer called the police over the 50 rape and murder threats she received in two hours...ongoing. And there was an arrest. When a writer commented on this in her BBC radio programme she was inundated with the same kind of troll calls. So she asked to talk to a couple of trolls. It was enlightening for everybody!

Along with this was Cassandra Clare’s experience as a YA novelist at Comic Con this week with the City Of Bones movie set to come out very soon. Interviewers questions were inane because they saw the movie as being for teenage girls and they weren’t worth wasting time on.
Anyone seeing red yet?
Read the great slap back which is being tweeted around the blogosphere today.

"We write by the light of every book we've ever read." Richard Peck


pic from Flickr/creative commons- The Laird of Oldham The flag of Greater Manchester City.

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