Showing posts with label melinda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label melinda. Show all posts

Thursday, March 31, 2011

What To Put In The Bag...

This afternoon I pack my bags and head on up to Auckland for the Spinning Tales gathering, The second National Conference for New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators.

One of the conference organisers, Melinda Syzmanik, has posted a lovely post which fits my thoughts exactly about why you should try to attend conferences.

I have been beavering away (interesting word to use as NZ doesn’t have beavers) on tightening a manuscript using today as the deadline.
 Laura Pauling has given me great advice in her article on making a revision list from your weakness and Publetariat has a fabulous article with 4 links to help you overcome publishing despair.

Fictiongroupie has a good article on motto’s for yourself and your character. I probably need one for conference as well...Relax could be a good one!

As I sat down to begin this blog post into my inbox popped an email from Mandy Hager...letting all her writer friends know of what not to do when your book is reviewed online.

The Book Reviewer, Big Al, gave a fairly balanced review to a book called The Greek Seaman and then the Author disputed the review.... The comments are a lesson to us all. (warning don’t drink coffee when reading....) It could be a reverse marketing ploy...

What that author should have done before responding so badly was read this...Avoid the Poison Apple. This is a great article on keeping your perspective.

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

The 50 Books Kids must read? (The Independent left out a whole heap)

The Top 5 Children’s Books For Adults (winnie the pooh...)

Writing Effective Dialogue

50 Iconic Writers Who were Rejected...there is hope....

Protect Your Blog From Being Hacked

The Top Selling Kids Books Of 2010 (with Stats on ebooks sales as well...Rick is on a roll...)

To finish 
 The wonderful words of Tahereh Mafi. 9 Things Everyone Needs To Know About Writers...

Maureen...(Catch you at the conference...)

RIP Diana Wynne Jones....Writer, World Builder and Muse....You are sadly missed! conference and chocolate all wrapped up in one easily digested form.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Memorable ideas

We came back from holiday late on Tuesday and I opened my in box on Wednesday and it spilleth over with emails...
It is funny when you take a break from the internet. You might be going through minor withdrawal symptoms...but it is not! Working my way through the inbox has taken a few hours and I don’t get anywhere near the amount my husband gets at work on a daily basis. Needless to say he is not looking forward to opening up his inbox when he gets back.

The holiday had some memorable moments...
The major car breakdown on the way up the country. Ending up in a motel which did not have chocolates on the pillows...(Mum! Fifi Colston said in her book, Glory, that motels have chocolates on the pillows...Thanks Fi! Beer and chips are Taihape’s chocolates...not the same!)
Seeing the whole family altogether (first time in 6 years and very new niece)
Having coffee with Melinda Szymanik. This was interesting as Melinda and I know each other primarily through blogging. At Spinning Gold I talked with her for about 30 seconds and wished ever after that I had had more time...(actually I wished that all the time at Spinning Gold, not enough hours in the day...) Melinda is as engaging in person as she is on her blog.
The snowball fight on the desert road on the way back down country. The impossible perfectness of the weather and the scenery, blue, blue sky, warm sun and snow right to the bottom of Ruapehu.

Enough rambling, onto the blog post for the week.

Last night I had the privilege of attending the Fifth birthday of Gecko Press. Julia Marshall has done wonders with her crazy idea of starting a publishing company with no money and one book about two geriatric donkeys with relationship problems written in German. John McIntyre beautifully illustrated his speech about Gecko’s five years in successful business with the plot lines of Julia’s publishing triumphs.

A couple of times I have linked to posts by Mike Shatzkin on where he feels the future of publishing lies. As a publishing futurist who doesn’t pull his punches, Mike is a widely followed commentator on the industry. His message of niche will survive over chain is an important one in children’s publishing.  Children’s publishers and the independent children’s bookstores are the best placed to follow up on his advice. John and Ruth McIntyre of The Children’s Bookshop and Julia Marshall of Gecko Press are doing all the right things according to Mike.

This week Mike posted an article on the future of the brick and mortar store as it applies to ebooks, which has had over a hundred comments, including many from children’s bookstore owners and publishers. It is well worth a read.

Stroppy Author has a no nonsense article up on her blog today. The publishing world has changed...get over it!

The L A Times has posted a fabulous article about Janet Fitches 10 Rules for writers. This is great advice. 10 pithy rules that will sharpen up your writing and your attitude, (I like number 10 even tho I have a hard time doing it...I may be too nice....)

 On Marketing

Hope Clarke has reprinted Chris Brogan’s should do social media list if you are an author. It is good to have a look down it and see how you are doing and maybe jog some ideas loose about things you could do.

Harold Underdown one of the leading lights in American Children’s publishing is doing something new in Social Media. He is tweeting parts of the 3rd Edition of his book The Complete Idiots Guide to Publishing Children’s Books. Greg Pincus interviews Harold about the ongoing project.

Often I come across marketing strategies that are just perfect for the non fiction writer. Some can be adapted for the fiction writer, even fewer for the children’s writer. Today I found a great article on what one fiction writer did to market her book by Author Marketing Experts, who have some great ideas about getting noticed.

Our FaBo project is also getting noticed which is gratifying. The general comments from teachers seem to be 'what a great idea...'
It all starts next week...We’re nearly ready! We have some great prizes and giveaways lined up....oooooooooh.

Over on Craicerplus (my Amplify page) I have articles on

The Art Of Query Wars...(the rules of engagement)

Nathan Bransford - You Tell Me Why Is It So Hard To Tell If Our Writing Is Any Good?

Rachelle Gardener-How Do Agents And Publishers Make Decisions (what you always wanted to know)

Twitters #dearpublisher  hashtag takes off...(a very interesting idea)

 I am a sucker for creativity sites and I found one today listing five sites that are tops in sparking creativity. After all I have to get in training for the FaBo project. Only 1 week to go....


Gecko Press have put together a cute little video about themselves...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Golden Germination

I have been jumping around this week never quite settling down and definitely needing some quality time to get my head together...however that is in short supply...what with school holidays...tsunamis etc... In my jumping around I found this on Editorial Anonymous.

So, I follow quite a few authors (and wannabe authors) on Twitter. One of them just Tweeted a link to her new web site, which is from the POV of her main character (of an unpublished book for which she is unagented). The site is professionally done and looks great, but I'm wondering how smart it is to have (and promote) a site for something that a. readers can't even buy yet, b. readers may never be able to buy, and c. potential agents might see.

Editorial anonymous responded to this query this week. It is an interesting read and the discussions that follow her post are insightful...whether you should have a website before you are published, whether you should post any of your work in progress on it or post by your main character....the jury is still out and debating.

Gone are the days when the publishers marketing team swung into action for you. The marketing of your work is increasingly up to you. You generate interest as the author and you have to find out what works for you. Melinda has posted some interesting thoughts on this.

A cool spin off from Spinning Gold is the opportunity to skype the author. Derek Wenmoth of CORE, who was on the educational publishers panel, is right into added value for kids in an educational setting. He has some amazing ideas and one of them is to have a New Zealand version of skype the author. If you want to learn more jump on over to the Spinning Gold Blog, which is still going and read all about it. Derek has also posted his thoughts on Spinning Gold.

A big thankyou to all the people who have contacted us with emails of congratulations.

We have been overwhelmed with your generosity. This was also a feature of the conference for me. Everybody’s willingness to help out and make it work.

A long time ago a friend said you need to get involved to learn the most about your chosen path and boy were they right.

I have learned and am learning constantly from you all. The variety of business cards out there (I got 17...nowhere near Frances Cherry...) the range of websites, the skills of the multi talented Children’s Writers and Illustrators who give of their time to made the conference for me. There is still so much to process...and I am mulling over and chewing the bones of learning.

I think we all are.

I will be interested to see what germinates from Spinning Gold.


blogger having difficulty with posting pics...just imagine a germinating seedling....

Friday, May 22, 2009


After the excitement of Monday Night, I have spent the week immersed in tracking registrations answering queries and emails and responding to begging emails.

Right at the beginning of this Conference Ride, a year ago last month, we thought ‘ok let’s aim for 80 people.’ That’s a reasonable number, (double the previous conference 16 years ago.) It is affordable at the venue. The next biggest venue would double our costs....(Would anyone in NZ pay $700 to go to the same conference given the current economic climate...)

When we began to realise the public interest in what we were doing we started to let everyone know that interest was high. The speed of the take up surprised us and baffled some who thought Oh I’ll register tomorrow or next week. So now we have a waiting list...growing by the hour....

I did take a little break on Wednesday night to update our WCBA blog about the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Fifi was texting them through from the award ceremony so I had to post them. Go Here if you want to read what I wrote.

Hats off and a wave to Melinda, fellow blogger, who won The Children’s Choice Award with The Were-Nana.

It has been a busy week...but I took another break this morning to catch up on blog reading.
So here are some little gems for you to take you into the weekend....

Every now and again I hop onto The Buried Editor site and have a look at what Madeline is talking about. Recently she posted the handout of the workshop she took at a regional conference in Texas. Madeline took a session looking at Online Marketing. It is very informative and covers a lot of ground. So go take a look.

The team at Writers Digest have put together a conference in New York that touches on some of the themes at our own conference. So worldwide, everyone seems to be asking the same questions. There is a great line up of speakers and sessions...

The great Jane has posted a MUST READ article on Five Ways Writers and Book Publishers Need To Embrace Change NOW.
Jane is an amazing resource in what’s coming and trends in the publishing world in America. Keep an eye on her....

When you take these 5 things together, I think authors will partner with publishers who offer a community of other like-minded authors (networking/growth potential), who offer diverse opportunities and methods of support, across all types of media, and who share the same values.

So it's been a busy week...

Maybe this weekend I'll get my tax done, paint that wall, write something on Mars....


pic says it all really

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Honour and The Glory

The short list is out!....and to all those who made it WELL DONE...and wonderful how you managed to keep your lips sealed for three weeks....

The amount of Wellingtonians on this list is incredible! (so what were those muttering s last year about Wellington being overrepresented in the judging panel....Just look at the short list this year!- it would be cheaper to fly the finalists down to Wellington...than the huge bill to fly all the Wellington people north...)

For the Spinning Gold Conference Team....hats off to the two finalists!!! And look how many of our speakers there are on that great list...Not to mention our own dear Patron of the Wellington Children’s Book Association-Jack Lasenby.

Judging the winners is going to be a tough job!

Go Here to see the New Zealand Post Children's Book Award shortlist for 2009

Congratulations Melinda (waving madly over the blogosphere)

My fingers are wearing out from the congratulations emails that I have been sending....

New Zealand should be celebrating the brilliance!!!


Pic is the Rugby World Cup Trophy....the William Webb Ellis trophy...ah if only the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards were as well known.....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Down the rabbit hole

When I’m on the net, as well as researching for my book, I look at a few blogs. Every couple of days I check in with Jane Friedman, a managing director of Writers Digest, an American publisher.

Writers Digest has been around for nearly 90 years...they specialise in publishing books and magazines for writers and all the ephemera that goes with publishing in today’s digital world.

Jane has recently been promoted at F and W media (new name for the company in the shuffle last month) and is in charge of the whole Brand of Writers Digest as Publisher & Editorial Director of the F+W writing communities, that’s the books, the annuals(marketplace books) the magazine and the online TV, website, workshops etc.

Of course I’m mostly interested in children’s writing so I read Alice’s blog a lot but Jane is her boss and as all the editors at Writers Digest blog as part of their job...Jane is always a good read for giving an overview of publishing and the trends in it.

As I have been doing a small series on online marketing tips for authors I thought I’d share what Jane is doing with a new book that is coming out. I think this illustrates what I have been blogging about - the changes in the promotion and marketing strategies of publishers, and how authors can improve their marketing and self promotion.

Go to Jane’s blog and read the whole post but here is the pertinent bit for authors out there to contemplate...especially if you have access to any of this technology.

I think one of the best examples of our brave new world is how we plan to launch Donald Maass's new fiction-writing book next spring, Fire in Fiction. If this book had released a year ago, we would've run a couple ads, maybe scored an excerpt in the magazine, and that would be it.

Today, with WD run as a community-category, here's what's slated:
WD Magazine
Original article on fiction writing from Don to run in spring/summer 2009

Original online courses (regular courses plus brief webinars) built around the book, offered in the months prior to and following the book's release

Digital Products
Simultaneous Kindle and other e-book editions

Online at
Sneak preview chapter posted before publication
E-launch party on blogs/forums, featuring exclusive live chat with Don

WD Newsletters
Free chapter download and advance purchase incentive (buy book early, get access to exclusive online chat)

Feature Don as a speaker for at least one event in 2009
Of course, all this change doesn't come without its challenges, and you'll no doubt get to experience a little of that rough road with us, as we figure everything out. As we boldly move forward, I hope you will come to our aid with ideas and suggestions (and perhaps a sprinkling of patience).


‘Down the rabbit hole’ phrase, as it applies to blog links, courtesy of Melinda by way of Lewis Carroll.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Marketing 101a

I’ve been reading Non Fiction again!
Every month or so I pick up new marketing books from the library. I’m not that into marketing but what I am interested in, is the way marketers use psychology on their target audience. Since Fifi got me started on Blogging, I have been especially interested in online marketing.
This week I have been reading a ‘hot of the press’ book called Online Marketing Heroes- Interviews with 25 successful online marketing gurus- Michael Miller(Wiley2008)
Here, I’m going to do what one of the heroes Greg Jarboe encourages sellers to do - Get bloggers to recommend the product in their posts.
What an interesting read this book is.
As I was reading I started wondering... how can authors benefit from this book? They have a product...their can you generate interest in your work so that people want to go out there and buy it... so you can make a living wage...or even a small pittance?

Greg Jarboe (one of the heroes ) is an expert in SEO-Search Engine Optimisation.
Huh? You ask.
Apparently Search Engines look for keywords or slogans.

However if you stuff your site with lots of key words the Engines will pass you by because they are more sophisticated now...(I learn something new everyday...) They are looking for reputable sites and overloading the key words screams try hard slacker to them .

Two or three keywords or slogans are best.

And here is the next gem of information. The search engines search and rate press releases as part of news gathering.

So If you have a new book coming out. Write a PRESS RELEASE! Put in a hot slogan describing your epic and where to get it.
Make sure you have your web links in the release and post it on your site/blog internet press release site etc.

If your link buddies post your press release as well... that is Excellent news for you. Search Engines also look at how many times these hot words or slogans get mentioned in other sites. It establishes the press release as Bone Fide. And the engines are keen on Bone Fide as their reputation depends on it.

Press releases and book reviews...and word of words... blog words...It all helps...

Jumping as I do from blog to blog...(yes I know what about the WIP...I’m writing I’m writing...)Melinda to Kristin to Ally Carters blog and Ally Carters blog is a gem! (so are Melinda’s and Kristin’s)

Ally is the author of the Gallagher girls books. She writes ‘Clean Teen’(her hot slogan) YA spy books. She recently attended a writer’s conference where she felt that the questions being asked of YA authors were all wrong.
On her blog she points out what questions writers should have asked the YA authors.

She has also written a post on question’s that aren’t getting asked.

Go and read ....especially read the comments to it from the teenage fans.

Here is a taste of Ally Carter.

One of the sessions that I attended was a session on the differences in writing for teen and adult audiences. But two minutes into the session I wanted to stand up and tell everyone in the audience that they were asking the wrong questions.

Now don't get me wrong, they were no doubt very common questions, but in my opinion if you want to be successful in the YA market, they were the wrong questions.
WRONG QUESTION: How do I develop an authentic teen voice?

THE RIGHT QUESTION: Do I have a voice that's appealing to teens?

After all, would you ask "how do I write in a voice that mystery readers would respond to?" Or "how do I sound like a science fiction reader?" No. You wouldn't.

Your voice is your voice is your voice. Period. And frankly, either you've got a voice that teens will enjoy or you don't.

Furthermore, all teens don't sound the same and neither do all teen novels.

Thanks Melinda for the great links!-Thanks Fifi who linked to Melinda so I could find her blog and go same... same... same...


pic from book launch... I have all these photos...I have to use them the obscure marketing link...
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