Showing posts with label nz children's book awards.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nz children's book awards.. Show all posts

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Challenging Pages



In Publishing News this week,

The Guardian published two interesting articles based on sessions at the Literature festivals.

Author Rebecca Kuang spoke about authors writing about other races. She rejects the idea that authors must stay in their own racial lane. 

Meanwhile, French author Annie Ernaux awarded the Nobel prize for Literature last year declared it was an unwelcome surprise.


Publishing Perspectives reports on how Pen America is tracking educational gag orders which have risen very sharply in the last few years. This is of particular concern to universities who have mandates to allow free speech. I saw one statistic lately that showed out of 1000 book challenges the bulk of them were filed by just 11 people. 


The Association of American Publishers released their stat shot of all the numbers for the last publishing year. Paperbacks outsold hardbacks… online selling outsold physical. If you like deep dives into interesting stats on the health of American publishing, check out all the graphs.


NFT”s are quietly bubbling away in the background. Goodereader takes a dive into Literary Non Fungible Tokens and why they have some merit for authors. When you buy an ebook you actually buy the license to read it. NFT’s are a permanent buy of a digital product. If that is slightly hurting your head- The company behind Webtoon digital comics and Anime is investing in NFT avatars that will speak and move… tell your stories etc. (Ready Player One is almost here.)


The world is catching on to AI and calls to curb its influence are growing among tech founders. Many countries are only just starting to grapple with the impacts on copyright. Laws are being examined to see if they cover AI generated work. Because the publishing world is moving slowly on its response to AI, Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld Science Fiction magazine has put together a series of belief statements that publishing industry people can sign on to. It is still in draft mode but is getting quite a bit of attention.


Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard has eviscerated Markus Dohle ex CEO of PRH over his speech at Sharjah last month. Mark pulls out all the facts and figures and shows up Dohle’s errors to devastating effect. OUCH.


Ruth Harris writes about writer wannabes and authors who have literary cooties. Every writer has experienced one or the other or unfortunately both. How do you deal with these people who want to rain on your parade or you personally? Ruth has some sweet revenge.


Kris Rusch has an interesting blog post on facing the future. She states that the writers who face the future will be the ones to survive it. She has some pretty compelling arguments based on recent publishing history. 


Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur has some great free resources for writers so take the time to trawl around the site. If you are looking for writing inspiration check out the book ideas post.


In The Craft Section,

5 ways to use your character shadows- K M Weiland- Bookmark

How AI can help strengthen your writing- Keri Kruspe

The virtues of non linear writing- Scott Myers

Character tropes- The innocent- Angela Ackerman- Bookmark

How to manage a difficult book- Rachel Toalson- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Tips to improve newsletter design – Sue Coletta- Bookmark

5 things I wish I knew before publishing- Jenna Podjasek

Book marketing rundown (updated) Make sure you scroll down.-Rachel Thompson – Bookmark

Book Marketing truths- Angela Ackerman- Useful information 

How to create a Book Trailer- Elaine Dodge


To Finish,

Today the finalists of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults  were announced. Congratulations to all. As a previous judge of these awards I know just how hard it is to judge and many who missed out would have come achingly close.

Writer Unboxed has an article from Julianna Baggot about how hard this writing game is. 

If you finish writing a book you have already achieved what most aspire to but never do. 

As Julianna says, we have outer critics and we have inner critics, she offers ways to handle both.

"We need to protect our relationship with the page. Doing what we love is challenging but worth it."





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


Pic: Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash


Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Sinners And The Saints


In Publishing News this week,

The UK publishing industry is in turmoil this week over a controversial book that was called out by commentators, who then found themselves targets in a social media pile-on. The book has been pulled for a revision but the apology over the mess has created more controversy with well-known authors tweeting their support citing free speech without checking the facts. There is an open letter being circulated about the treatment of the commentators. 

N.B. If you hold an honoured position in the industry, be very sure of all the facts in the story before making public statements. No one will believe you made the statement as a private individual. As my journalist friends say, Nothing is ever off the record!


News broke this week of depths of parsimony attributed to one of the wealthiest entertainment companies on the planet. The comic book creators for the Marvel Movie franchise are being paid a flat fee of $5,000 and if they are lucky, a seat at the premier.

Yes – You did read that right. Check your contracts people and learn what all the terms mean.


Here in New Zealand, we celebrated the best children’s and young adult books of the past year. A fantastic night was had at the NZCYA awards by all as we gathered in person after last year’s virtual gathering. We are very mindful of the privilege here in NZ. In a nice touch, we applauded last year’s winners who were present. Congratulations to everyone who were finalists and winners on the night!


The New Publishing Standard takes a look at how the first year of subscription with Kobo+ shaped up. Every week there seems to be something about subscription plans as big players and not so big players jostle for room. This is our publishing future, as Mark Williams points out. You can’t ignore it you have to learn to work within it.


If you create comics you might need to look at a rapidly growing comic distributor platform which has just raised a substantial chunk of cash to expand with AI.


The stellar human being, Dolly Parton, is writing her first fiction book with James Patterson.

In an interesting creative addition, Dolly is also writing a companion album of songs that explores the themes in the book. 


This week Time magazine published the 100 best Young Adult books of all time. It made for interesting reading and a lot of Twitter congratulations to living authors. How many books have you read?


Nathan Bransford has a guest post from an acquisitions editor detailing all the steps that go into acquiring a book. Interesting reading.


In The Craft Section,

Don’t let excess baggage bring down your characters- Marissa Graff- Bookmark

Write like you are in love- edit like you are in charge- James Scott Bell 

Dual points of view- E J Wenstrom- Bookmark

Every hack needs an ideas file- Bill Ferris

Which story structure is right for your book- Savannah Cordova- Bookmark

The flat archetype of the child- K M Weiland- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How to give readers a direct amazon review link- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

10 ways to handle bad reviews- Indie Author News

Book marketing success and 5 top Twitter tips for authors- Rachel Thompson- Bookmark

Personal branding for authors- Kimberly Grabas- Bookmark

Book Release Checklist – Elizabeth S Craig- BOOKMARK


To Finish,

When chatting to the supreme winner at the New Zealand Children and Young Adults Book Awards, Tania Roxborogh, she recounted a familiar story of feeling utterly demoralised as a young writer. James Scott Bell has a great article on advice for the demoralised writer. 

Success is sweeter after a long agonising climb to the top.





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: Flickr Creative Commons – Steve Snodgrass


Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Publishing Playground

Throughout the week I have been watching the same old issues make the publishing news... I thought we would be over #cockygate by now but NO we got #tiffanygate. A judge heard the opening arguments over why the trademarked word  cocky should stand... and ruled against but it doesn't stop there.
Jami Gold writes why every author and reader should care about this case and it does make sobering reading. You do need to read what she says.

While we are in the realms of people not playing nice with others, David Gaughran, (tireless justice warrior of the oppressed author) has taken a look at the new rules that Amazon has just rolled out over how much promotional material should be allowed in books. To save you scratching your head... promotional materials are extras outside of your actual story. If you include a chapter from your next book... sign up pages, pictures of all your other books... bonus chapters... whole complete other books the reader wasn't expecting.
The new rules are an attempt to stop story stuffing- where savvy or unscrupulous authors stuff hundreds of pages into their books to gain more page reads and game the page read payout system. However Dave points out some scams that Amazon seems to have overlooked.

Anne R Allen has highlighted a few more scams that are targeting authors so take a look and be prepared to warn newbies about them. Because we are all nice supportive members of the publishing community aren't we....

This leads on to something I have been closely involved with... the announcing of the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. I am one of the five judges this year who have been reading all the books submitted since December. And it was really tough. The two authors on the panel of five were left in awe of just how good the writers are in New Zealand. When you see book after book at such a high standard it makes you look at your own work with a more critical eye. Which is only a good thing. Settling on the shortlist was not easy. It is an experience I think all writers should do at least once. Either that or make it a priority to read the shortlist books and a few extra in your genre to see what I'm talking about. It is an education in the craft.

Over the years of the Indie publishing rise and rise, Traditional publishers have hung onto their flagship authors almost as a last bastion of their castle walls. Indie authors who have had great success, after being dumped in the great contraction of publishing houses earlier this decade, have warned that it was only a matter of time before Amazon snagged a big writer. So Patricia Cornwell's move to Amazon took some people by surprise but not the Indie community- A new flagship series is on the cards for her fans.

Debbie Young of The Alliance of Independent Authors blog has a plea for all the writers out there. Don't neglect to learn your craft. Marketing won't save a bad book. She details what you should be looking at in your own writing to work out how to improve.

In The Craft Section,

Examples of foreshadowing- Harvey Chapman- Bookmark

The Writers Spice cabinet - James Scott Bell

Use Theme to determine subplots- Amanda Rawson Hill-Bookmark

Two great posts from Reedsy How to recognise Chekovs Gun and a Character profile template.- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Creative ways to use images- Bookbub- Bookmark

When and how to change your title- Dave Chesson (Dave has a great podcast too)

To Finish,

Sometimes you just need to get back to why you are writing in the first place. An inspirational quote can put things in perspective and help you refocus away from negativity. Now Novel has collected some wonderful quotes to challenge and inspire you.
Go forth and conquer....

 In my monthly newsletter, coming this weekend, I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you just want to say thanks for the blog you can hit the coffee button up top... Thanks.

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- Elliot Brown

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Waiting For The Sun

This week I attended the NZ Children’s Book Awards. As in recent years Indie publishers were 25% of the finalists and winners. Some of the small publishers from a few years ago are growing, which is good news. This year’s winners came from a group of writers who have consistently produced great work but have never won big awards. We all celebrate their moment in the sun.

I have been thinking about stickability, especially from the writers that keep producing good work year after year. They barely make a living yet they still keep writing and contributing their time to the writing community. All of the winners of the children’s book awards this year exemplify this. Finalists have to take unpaid time off work to visit schools and libraries as part of an awards roadshow. Kristen Lamb has a great article on embracing the grind. Ann Kroeker also has a wonderful article about writers seeing the 3D sound effects movie in their heads and the feelings when this translates as 2D flatness of their writing.
We’ve all been there. We are there still. Someday we will crack it!

Chuck Wendig wrote an interesting blog post this week, 25 reasons why I put down your book. This is a great list to remind authors that first and foremost you have to entertain the reader. (Warning it is Chuck so be prepared!)

From the writers point of view sometimes things can get a little dicey in your head. Stuart Nadler has written a moving tribute to all the characters he has killed off who haunt him still. Every writer has struggled with their conscience as they killed off a character... but sometimes the ghosts live on....

Writer Unboxed had an interesting article from Jo Eberhardt that garnered over 290 comments. The problem of female protagonists. If you look at your bookshelves how many of your books have Female protagonists or are written by women? Jo highlights recent research into the myth that we are writing gender balanced books. A very interesting read.

Jane Friedman has an interview with two literary agents on hybrid authors and how they can navigate their way in the publishing world.
David Gaughran reminds all authors to research who you are working with and go in eyes wide open.

In The Craft Section, (A fabulous list today)
13 ways to add depth to your novel- Victoria Mixon- Bookmark

Choosing your antagonist- Blood Red Pencil- Bookmark

When Theme smothers premise- Larry Brooks- Bookmark

Sequel scenes- K M Weiland - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section

7 tips for blog traffic- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

Tips for branding your book series- Book marketing tools – Bookmark

2 Goodreads features – Frances Caballo

To Finish
Angela Ackerman has written a fabulous article on influencers. How to find them, what they can do for you and more importantly what you can do for them. This is a must read! All authors need that helping hand... and big mouth to spread the news about your latest book.

You can’t rely on winning an award right off the bat. It takes years of crafting relationships and being prepared for the long haul before  the sun comes out. Then it will feel absolutely blinding if the reaction from one of my friends who won this week is anything to go by.

Get a selection of the months best links and other interesting extras when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

 Pic From Flickr/ Creative Commons/ John Taylor

You thought I was going to post a picture of the sun.... hehehe. TA DA!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Where Is The Money?

Yesterday the big news in New Zealand, the finalists of the new combined NZ Children’s and Young Adult Books And NZ Librarian and Information Services Children’s Book Awards were announced. This combines the Elsie Locke Medal for Non Fiction and the Russel Clarke Award for Illustration with the annual National Book Awards. It is a big deal. Along with the standard categories there is a children’s voting component sponsored by a Pizza Chain. Voting is now open for those schools selected as judging schools. The finalists have a nice mix of established practitioners and newbies. And I notice that we are continuing the 20% mark of finalists being Indie or Boutique published books.

This week the latest Author Earnings snap shot was being digested. And it has some interesting information. Around 50% of all publishing sales in the US are on Amazon. The Author Earnings team are looking across all publishing formats now. There is a significant difference in earning capacities if you debuted traditionally or Indie in the last three years. Porter Anderson looks at some of the stand out claims and compares them with Joanna Penn’s publishing disclosure.

While you are digesting that have a look at Jane Friedman’s article on the myth of the print revival. Yes, children’s authors have been saying for years that it’s only the Young Adult franchises propping up print publishing... With no big YA blockbuster what’s holding up print at the moment...

With Amazon striding like a behemoth across the publishing landscape what are its competitors doing? If you are watching Apple then this news for publishers may be what you have been waiting for. Just remember writers you are content creators. You choose what medium your content will be delivered in. This makes more sense if you publish Serials on Apps or by subscription or Picture Book Apps etc etc. Apple may be quietly game changing your future here.

While you are thinking about content creation spare a thought for podcasting and audio books. Podcasting is another sort of content creation and this article looks at where it might be going and who might be poised to make an awful lot of money.... If you have been flirting with the idea of audio books, Jane Friedman has an interesting interview with a rising competitor for ACX.

In The Craft Section,

Character development –credibility- Michael Hauge (who is at NZRWA this year)

Turn your setting into an obstacle course- Angela and Becca -Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Website of the Week
Taking a trawl around Katie Weiland’s website is always a rewarding experience. Whether it is a great blog post like this one -How to write faster and why you shouldn’t to her fantastic video writing craft tips to finding out she has written helpful workbooks to go with her Craft Books on Structure and Outlining. Check it out!

To Finish,
Molly Greene hosted an Estate attorney on her blog. This blog post looks at estate planning basics for the Self Published writer. However Traditionally published writers should be eyeballing this as well. There is lots of information to think about. (As an aside NZ has free ISBN numbers – which works like a US Copyright office- you should use them.)

Slipping under the wire is a standout post on Non Compete clauses from Kris Rusch. This is a must read! (Yes these clauses appear in NZ. Especially from foreign owned publishing companies.) 

Being aware might just save you money. 

(P.S. The Write Stuff Story Bundle has only one week left to run. You can get to it from Kris 
 Rusch's site. I've filled up my kindle with writing craft books... and saved money!)


Thursday, June 11, 2015

This Diverse Business

This week the NZ children and Young Adult Book Awards finalists were announced and in a new move The Children’s Choice finalists, voted on by NZ kids, were added. The kids choice and the official judges marched in step for about half the time and then diverged so altogether there is a much wider sampling of books. This is great because it shows the depth and the breadth of the amazing writers and illustrators in our country. They are still looking for sponsors. So if you know of anyone....

Publishers Weekly have taken a close look at the figures from AAP and sales were ... up. Leading the charge, Kids books at a wopping 20%. Yes they could be said to be saving the publishers bacon.

This year there have been several campaigns about publishing diverse books. Leading Agent Sarah Davis talks about what books are crossing her desk and how the publishers are now calling for diverse books.

Porter Anderson follows along on this theme with a look at gender in publishing. What’s fairness got to do with it. There seems to be a lot of women in publishing until you get to the board room.

Kristen Nelson talks about whether subscription services are good for authors ... and the rise of the author space in offices. (Fantasy... the New York office loft with some writing buddies.)

Which brings me to... Author collaboration. How to go about it. Triskele books has a tool kit you need to Bookmark! I’ve said it for years, Authors need to look at this model to make an impact!

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are going from strength to strength. Here they announce their new venture to go with all those cool writing thesauri ... Software. They are such cool and savvy writers!

Kris Rusch has a new project- Women in Sci Fi especially the forgotten women. I fell in love with Sci Fi when I was a teen and discovered Andre Norton. And it blew my mind to find out she was a woman. Kris looks at her legacy and the history of how these writers became forgotten. This is an amazing post!

In the Craft Section,

7 mistakes to avoid when writing about the military.-2 Navy guys (Military mistakes always causes the book to be thrown out in my family.)

Theme and Intent- getting these right. –Bob Mayer

Fun literary devices- Janice Hardy

In the Marketing Section,
Are you using pinned tweets- (this opened up a whole new world for me.)

Molly Greene has two great posts- collaboration with authors on boxed sets and
How to make an author video. (Bookmark both)

The Creative Penn interviews Mark Dawson- On writing fast. This is a great interview.

How to find the right critique group-Jane Friedman (Bookmark)

Website of the Week
Chuck Wendig has made the occasional appearance on my blog for a few years now. He is a best selling children’s and adult Sci Fi writer. He is NSFW and some of his metaphors will stay with you all day. He is entertaining but also tells important truths on writing. Here are his most frequently asked writing questions and his very truthful answers-Be Warned.

To Finish,
Planning conferences is hard work. I’m happy to say we have finally reached the important programme day a week after we wanted to. It’s tricky juggling the right speakers who will inspire, challenge, teach, and up-skill writers and illustrators across all stages of the profession. I think our team have done a fantastic job. I wish I could split myself into three because I want to attend everything.



Pic: The Grand Dame of Sci Fi- Andre Norton 1912-2005
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