Showing posts with label metadata. Show all posts
Showing posts with label metadata. Show all posts

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Book Battles

In publishing news this week …
Oh, the excitement… Dean Koontz has taken a deal with Amazon Publishing. Industry pundits are interested in Mr Koontz comments about the new and exciting times ahead for him. They are also interested to see whether the bookseller chains who would not stock any books from Amazon are now going to change their tune.

Also in bookseller news is the Green Manifesto created by the UK Booksellers Association which seems to be getting traction in other countries. The booksellers are to commit to recycled paper and less wasteful packaging and returns. The big word in that sentence is RETURNS. Booksellers have always sent back stock to the publishers. Is this the end of the Return system?

While Booksellers are wrestling with these questions, Macmillan has fired a shot at libraries with a change in their ebook lending terms. They join other big publishers who are upping the ebook price, delaying the availability and limiting how many borrows before the library has to buy another copy. I can’t help thinking that we are supposed to nurture our readers in this multimedia entertainment marketplace. I‘m not sure if the publishers have thought this through.

Kris Rusch continues her look into licensing options for authors. This week she realises that art that is commissioned for books can also be licensed. This opens up another potential marketing stream. Interior art branded products… cover pictures… posters.

Ruth Harris has a great blog post on the art and craft of the elevator pitch. That moment when you have to say what your book is about. Give them the old razzle-dazzle… Ruth points out how to construct a good pitch. This is a must-read.

How is your self-care as a writer? Could it be better? Are you looking after yourself? Elizabeth Spann Craig has a good post on keeping on top of your writer health.

Jami Gold has the quintessential master publishing plan. This was published on Janice Hardy’s blog two years ago and is still relevant so take a look.
While you are thinking about master publishing plans take a look at this excellent post on the Alli blog on Book Metadata. All the things you should know about your book. Grab this useful template to help you understand it. Great Resource!

David Gaughran has a great post on understanding how to craft a Bookbub ad. David has written a book on the subject but here he shares some great tips. (His book is great too.)

In The Craft Section,

Story Tropes- make them resonate – Jami Gold- Bookmark

So-called screenwriting rules – Scott Myers – Bookmark

7 tips to write funnier fiction- The Creative Penn blog

Writing captivating characters- Shaunta Grimes- Bookmark

Three lesser-known archetypes- Angela Ackerman

In The Marketing Section,

How authors use Instagram- Bookbub- Bookmark

Convert readers to subscribers- Bookworks- Bookmark

Book launch- party if you want to- 

3 ways to use language to sell more books-Rob Eagar- Bookmark

How to reach influencers- Jane Friedman

To Finish,

The Guardian books page recently had an article on the top ten fictional libraries… and I was shocked that Unseen University library did not make the list. Hmmm. The librarian must be jumping up and down with rage. The omission is as bad as calling him a monkey. Check out which libraries did make the list…

If you want to travel the literary tube in London check out this version of the famous London Underground Map

And finally, feast your eyes on the top 5000 bestselling book covers…. You can filter the search by genre, gender, mood…. Go down that rabbit hole… into L space.


Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter?When you subscribe you will also 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: Ook by Paul Kidby – Discworld Librarian.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Visibility Fog

As I write this I am sitting in a car looking out on Cook Strait. On a good day you can see the South Island. Today I just see an empty expanse of white coming down on the rolling sea about 500 meters away. Visibility limited.

Somewhere out in the white are big inter–island ferries coming through the strait, along with smaller fishing boats and huge cargo ships. Modern boats have radar so there won’t be collisions.

Book visibility seems to be a theme running through my roundup today. Somewhere in the white noise of Amazon your book is floundering around. How can you make the book visible so it has less chance of sinking without a trace.

Book Radar

Your Cover. 
The Book Designer (AKA Joel Friedlander) has a good post on what a cover should have. Alan Rinzler also has talked to one of the best cover artists in the business about what is iconic and important.

This is how your book is described on any digital platform. Penny Sansevieri describes in detail how to do this for Amazon. You will learn things about search that will blow your mind.

Getting Endorsements and Reviews.
All book marketing comes down to word of mouth in the end. Either the book is being hand sold in the bookstore, Indie bookstores do this amazingly well, or you found a great book because someone told you about it.
Writer platform goes into fine detail about how to target and get reviews. Training Authors has an interesting post on getting endorsements. These are cover pull quotes.
Joanna Penn talks about little tweaks that increase your email subscriber list which increases your reader reach and your visibility.

Small publishers are just as keen on visibility. BAP books is shaking things up with a pay what you want publishing model for a poetry book. They have had great success. It is daring... innovative... would it work for any book? Not sure... but I’m talking about it on my blog at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere so it’s definitely visible.

In The Craft Section,

Writing to gaming music. (This is really interesting.)

How do you know if your concept is right? Larry Brooks with two video tutorials on nailing your concept. (Bookmark)

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing your series- Lindsay Buroker (bookmark)

Website of the Week
Actually it is a roundup of websites… on self publishing some of which will be familiar. But you may find a new one to try out.

To Finish,
Ryan Holiday has an interesting article on Growth Hacking for Creatives... This is thinking outside the box for visibility.

Pic: Cook Strait... what you see on a good day.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What goes in...

This week I sat down with a bunch of committed writing friends to start to pull together four months of creative ideas of what to include in our National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators 2015. Planning a good conference takes time and much thought. My guiding principal is IT IS A WORKING CONFERENCE. Attendees must get knowledge out of it for their money. It is a big chunk of cash and writing time that poorly paid writers and illustrators have to give up so every dollar needs to really be worth it.
Kameron Hurley has a guest post on Terribleminds which is the must read post of the week. (year) Kameron outlines the need for writers to think business. These are some of the issues I would like to explore at the conference.

Hugh Howey takes a hard look at Barnes and Nobel booksellers. What they are doing wrong and will it destroy them. This was echoed yesterday in a comment from one of my writing friends about New Zealand’s biggest book seller chain.

Passive Guy takes a look at agency clauses in contracts. This is an interesting post about tricky legalese in contracts.

The Futurebook team have a twitter chat every week and this last week they were looking at Metadata. How can you find out what you need to find out... and why is it so important. 

Jon Bard takes a look at the KDP Kids Books app that Amazon released last week.

In the Craft Section,

How to write for the 21st century (pet peeves from an agent)

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Six years on from the first conference we organized and issues we never thought of then are now on the table. Storytelling has different wrappers now.
Gaming companies need story content too. This week one of my writing friends was asking for some help with a project her company was working on. They had the idea, they had the graphics, they just needed the story to go with them. Kevin Spacey looks at how storytelling has changed in the shows he has been in.


Sorry late again… Recovery one step forward two steps back...

Wouldn’t this be a cool conference bag?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Her Majesty's Voice

I’ve been thinking about Voice lately. 

Voice is that ‘something’ that informs the reader about the style and motivations of the characters without actually being visible on the page.

There is nothing superficial, however, about voice when used in the context of writing. Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.

This is the ‘something’ that writers struggle with. 
Do they have the same voice for every protagonist? Is every book they write in some way autobiographical from their deepest being?  
Ah the big questions. 
If somehow this is come nobody picked the distinctive voice of J K Rowling...after all we have been told by literary critics that she is not much of a writer, using all those adjectives and not writing tightly enough...or did the fact that she had a male pseudonym fudge the fact that it was quite a good story...moved along ok... did everything a detective novel should. The cynics are out saying great PR by her team and now you can only buy the hardcover on eBay at hugely inflated prices. The Passive Guy has a look at the Robert Galbraith (aka JKR)saga.

Porter Anderson has been looking at agent relationships this week. In two articles for Publishing Perspectives he examines the agent/writer relationship now in this Hybrid/Indie revolution. How close can it be? The Agents who have cannily enrolled best selling Indies to manage print deals and the Agents who-have-become -Publishers...He takes a close look at Rogue Reader...and very interesting it is too. 

David Gaughran has sharply criticized particular the RandomPenguin washing of Author Solutions. Author Solutions began as a vanity press that did everything for you at a huge cost. They are facing a class action lawsuit because of some of their questionable practices and you would think that maybe they would pull back...but no. This is a Writer Beware story that will make your writer heart shrivel a little.

The New Yorker has an opinion piece on the decline and fall of the book cover...and Bibliocrunch checks out virtual writing group hangouts using Google and Skype

Chuck Wendig has a distinctive voice...and a distinctive turn of phrase that occasionally makes your hair curl up and spontaneously combust. His latest 25 things post looks at Story Stakes...very good. And a superb little post on ten stupid writer tricks that might actually work.

In Craft,
The character therapist examines an archetype on the therapists couch. These are always interesting.

In Marketing,
From The Book Designer, two great articles, 7 strategies of Blog Marketing and

Amazon Algorithms (this is all the latest on metadata Amazon style - a must read.)

Another Must Read is what this author is doing right across the tech spectrum...his character has taken this the future?

Website to check out,
This list has a solid helpful link for every creative you know...There is literally something for everyone working in the publishing industry here.

To Finish,
One of my favourite adult fiction authors Jenny Crusie (who has a fantastic voice) has written a great post on Sharknado. This film, shown on US cable this week, had my twitter feed fill up with writer reactions. The premise is so off the wall that there are very jealous writers out there wishing they had thought of a tornado that sucks up sharks and dumps them on a town in a hungry and vengeful mood. Jenny writes about high concept, going with your gut, ideas that are so off the wall and the courage a writer has to have to grab something like this and make it work.

I’m out and about around the country next there won’t be a blog post...but by then Twitter will be filled with Royal Baby news and the cynics who don’t just as well I’m taking a break...heheheheh.


Tweet from Agent Jennifer Laughran...talking about MG this week on Twitter. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rabble Rousers

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

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

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

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

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

I Hope Not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Marketing,

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

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

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

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

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

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


pic from Flickr/JvL 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Passionate about Data...

Today I popped into The Children’s Bookshop and noticed a new series being promoted...what was so interesting to me was this contemporary thriller Y A series had photos of all the books in the series on the inside cover and when they were coming out... 2 months apart! The whole 6 book series in a year. This year Indie Authors have been talking about publishing two or more books in a series in a year to capture readers...and feeling quite happy that they weren’t being restricted to one book contracts from traditional publishing houses. This is the first time I have seen a traditional publishing house run with this idea.
There are so many risks to writing a full series when you don’t know if there will be an audience for it. A respected Editor looked at my Book One of a series and said...make it bigger...The first book has to sell the whole series. For a publisher to commit to a full year publishing schedule of six books is taking a punt on the reader when they don’t know if the book will take off. So how do you find these do you know what they want and what they will buy? It is all in the DATA.

Cory Doctorow has been stirring the pot this week with his article on the importance of metadata andhow publishers don’t actually know who their readers are...and they definitely aren’t telling the writers. So who does know? Cory has the answer and he has a warning that this is going to be a very important issue for publishing in the future.

But what metadata are Readers concerned with? Front matter and End matter and Authors had better have a handle on all of this.

Of all the data coming out, authors do like to keep an eye on trends and what editors might be looking for. Publishers Weekly report of a panel discussion with children’s editorstalking about exactly this is required reading.

James Patterson (mega author) is passionate about children reading and wants America to wake up to the demise of the publishing industry and libraries...So this week he took out front page ads in The New York Times to tell everyone of his concerns. He wanted to plant the issue right in front of Readers...reaction to his ads have been mixed from the literary community.

Kickstarter looks likeit could be replacing the publishing interesting article for mid career writers to chew over.

Rachelle Gardner had the horrible experience of nursing a writer through a complete computer meltdown just before the MS was due at the publishers. She talks about all the different ways you should be ensuring this does not happen to you.

Author Solutions is off to court.
A class action is being taken against them. When you read Dave Gaughren’s article about how many publishers are involved in some way or other with Author Solutions, this court case looks very serious for everyone. Reputations...and profits...all on the line.

Today a twitter discussion between agents about New Adult became a blog post on how agents should treat each other and what to be aware of in their public pronouncements. Do you really want an agent who doesn’t know anything about your genre?

In Craft,

For those writers wrestling with screenplays...Tell the story in visual beats.

In Marketing,

To Finish,
Concert Pianist James Rhodes has written in the Guardian a thought provoking post on creative passion. Find what you love and let it kill you.... Read it and see whether you agree with him...How passionate are you to get that novel written? What are you doing about it?

Sorry about the huge URL's that appear this week. Bloggers highlight link broke in the middle of preparing this post.

PIC from

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Conversation Starters

I’m always up for a good conversation and there are many happening in the publishing blogosphere this week.

Publishing Perspectives' recent one day conference had people talking about what’s happening next in YA.

Quite a few people are talking about Amazon’s latest initiative, a subscription service targeting... KIDS?

Curtis Brown (respected literary agency) are partnering with Amazon in a new initiative...the conversations are just getting started on this breaking news. Are we getting into the murky waters of agent publishers?

Anne R Allen has had some big conversations about her blog post this last week on the changes in the publishing industry due to the Kindle and how the algorithms, to become a best seller, on Amazon have changed Indie Publishing.

Artistsroad is having a conversation on Kickstarter for it worth it?

Bubblecow has an interesting conversation on giving your book away for free. Why would you do it?

Publishing Perspectives has a conversation going on e-serials and how they are turning into the next big thing!

In Craft
Agents are telling anyone who will listen what to do at revision time...listen up all you NaNoWriMo-ers...

Roz Morris always a great conversationalist has a pursuasive argument on how to be original in your writing.

Steve Laube wants to tell you about fair use and permissions to copy another authors work. When do you need them?

The wonderful Children’s Publishing Blog is having a great conversation on making your characters totally loved.

The superb K M Weiland talks about the 10 lessons she learned while writing her novel Dreamlander (which took 12 years) and each lesson is a conversation in itself.

In Marketing,
Bob Mayer has a great post on using your storyboard to market your book...This is one of those lightbulb learning conversations.

Metadata is a scary conversation but necessary for all publishers (that’s you, Indie author) to understand so get yourself over to 

The Book Designer wants to tell you about 5 things to consider in Book Cover Design...first up Genre!

Have you wondered about selling books off your own site? The Passive Guy has a great conversation about the pitfalls and plums of doing it all yourself.

The Bookshelfmuse is doing more than talking they are having a huge Be Nice To Others Promotion on their blog where you can nominate people to get a present from the Christmas Elf. Go and check it out.

Ebookfriendly is NOT talking. They are showing! They have a cool infographic showing the biggest themes in bestsellers.

So what issue on this list gets you talking?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Looking Sideways

This week I have spent a lot of time staring out through car windows as we have traveled the length of the North Island. We don’t usually travel this trip in mid winter and the familiar summer landscape morphed into unfamiliar with ice and snow touches which generated lots of interest inside the car. The volcanoes looked spectacular and we detoured to give the kids an hour playing in the snow.

My reward for driving the tricky mountain icy road and taking lots of pictures of my snow loving family was to spend a good hour chatting with my fellow FaBo writing team member Kathy White as we plotted dastardly twists that we could put into the next FaBo story...heheheheh.

Fabo 3 gets underway next week, so tell a child near you to check it out. Nine writers...a story that twists and turns...and a challenge to KIWI KIDS to try an outwrite us every week for prizes and fame...and coz we might need some ringers when we need a break....

Today I have been thinking about the marketing options writers have with movies....I hear you all saying WELL DUH! but it is bigger than that. Popular teen authors have this whole movie buy in sorted. They get their fans to come up with dream casting of their favourite characters... promote and discuss these...and if they have a film option generate hype for every little piece of news...this of course feeds into the books...with competitions for best fan book cover, best fan book cover for movie tie poster art with your dream cast...etcetc. What makes this a marketing mania tour de force is that the books titles are constantly being talked about in a sort of sideways move.

Today Cassandra Clare, having a keen finger on the fan pulse, had a pivotal piece of news to share with her fans on the casting of a major character in the City Of Bones movie. She told her fans she wouldn’t reveal it until they made it a trending topic in Twitter. One hour later it was the worldwide trending topic and she had to spill the beans. Cassandra is generating huge hype for the movie but at the same time those books are getting pushed in front of everyone. Not bad when she has two more books to go to wrap up two series and launch a third.

Catherine Ryan Hyde, she of Pay It Forward fame, talks about what happens when Hollywood gets hold of your book and then rewrites does an author cope...

Both of these posts look at author marketing in a slightly different way. The next two links help you to understand what is going on. Betty Ming Liu teaches social media in her journalism class and she has put together the guide to the best way to use Twitter. This is how I use Twitter and how I tell others to use this tool.

Catherine Ryan Howard talks Google and SEO which is something that authors need to understand...especially Metadata. How does a search engine even find your book?

LJN Dawson reminds us that this whole book explosion thing is recent and nobody has a handle on Metadata...but we should.

Chuck takes a look at 25 Bad writing behaviours....(warning It’s be prepared to have your hair stand up! You will nod and laugh sheepishly at the same time tho.)

Laura Hazard Owen talks about the new publishing kid on the block for women pay but they interesting model that may well point to the way of the future!

Agent Rachelle Gardner talks about 7 ways that writers give up their power and why this is not a good thing.

For the illustrators out there Debbie Ridpath Ohi has the most magnificent helpful collection of blogs for writers...but she is a talented kids book illustrator. She has started a blog just for kids book illustrators...which you should check out!

In the craft section
K M Weiland talks about you struggle with it?

Janice Hardy talks about filtering...that is words that distance the reader from the POV character.

Agent Mary Kole talks about a common problem she sees often in manuscripts...when the problem is too difficult...the characters become unbelievable...

Writer Unboxed has a stand out post on the curse of the middle book..that is the one in the middle of a trilogy...How do you get it to stand on its own when everybody knows it’s the middle book!!!

To finish,
Ollin Morales always has an interesting blog and this piece on the ten rules of grammar all writers need is an inspiring reminder to look at rules sideways.

pic is from this cool tee shirt on line shop

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