Showing posts with label rant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rant. Show all posts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ranting On

This week I have been working hard on a funding application for our national conference to our national arts funder, Creative New Zealand.
When you work on a funding application, it gets you thinking about what you really really wish for and how limited the funds actually are out there in the arts world.
While I was finalising the last bit of number crunching our Man Booker winner Eleanor Catton was being interviewed live on Indian TV. She was voicing some of my thoughts about arts funding... we could do with more of it here. Unfortunately her comments annoyed a talkback radio host here and suddenly he was off on a rant calling her a traitor... to New Zealand. 
I found this very hard to swallow coming less than two weeks after the Paris attacks on free speech. Yes I disagreed with a lot of the religious attacks in the Charlie Hebdo comics but we live in a free speech democracy. The radio host has his right to free speech too. But can’t we be grown up and debate the issue of whether our arts funding is adequate. Of course, we in the arts community will say it isn’t. It would be nice to have the forum where we could show the rest of New Zealand exactly why we think it isn’t adequate and not be penalised for speaking our minds. We need to have a healthy forum for debate instead of having the whole thing reduced to competing soundbytes, as our NZ Society of Authors president Kyle Mewburn so ably said this morning on Breakfast TV.

The cartoonists have had a great time this morning illustrating the backlash.

Due to my week being spent crunching numbers... I haven’t got my usual 30ish links or so.
This morning Author Earnings released another report... and it makes interesting reading. Passive Guy highlights main points but a stunning revelation is the high percentage of books that don’t have ISBNs. These ‘shadow’ books aren’t counted in any official book statistics.

Jane Friedman comments on stats from DBW conference (which may be in doubt now that the new Author Earnings report is out) and she lists the best bits of Seth Godin’s session. This makes interesting reading for authors about where you should be aiming for in marketing.

The wonderful Kris Rusch was interviewed on her new book –Discoverability, This is all about passive marketing which authors need to understand. Worth taking the time to listen!

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing section,

Daily Dahlia has a post on Agent red flags... with examples... must read if you are looking for one.

Jane Friedman on platform building for authors. This one is a must read/listen. I am always saying that groups of authors getting together to market themselves, and talk about writing, is the way forward. And here Jane is saying the same. Can’t argue with that!

To Finish,
One of my illustrator friends commented that she was sick of ignorant writers thinking that illustrators would illustrate their manuscripts for royalty splits when they hadn’t even got a publishing contract. Illustrators have to pay mortgages too. Picture Book illustrations can take up to a years full time work. Publishers pick the illustrators and most are paid flat fee and/or royalty. Please share this information around with your writing friends or you might encounter illustrators going off in Wendig inspired rants.

and on another note...
Terri Ponce has a nice little article on success and failure... worth printing and sticking above your writing desk  (especially this week...)


P.S. When I have more details to share with you about the National Conference of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (A.K.A Tinderbox 2015 - Wellington October 2-5) I will share them.

(hugs self and chuckles gleefully)

pic from Todays New Zealand Herald

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Under The Spotlight

Around the world governments are pulling in their belts and trying to budget better to cope with the depression following the banking crisis. Sadly Educational publishing, which provides resources into schools, has taken a hit with money shaved off here and there or dropped altogether. 
Children learn to read on specially designed books and discover an amazing world of knowledge, adventure and dreams that enthuse, delight and challenge them. The best days as a teacher are when you can see the light bulbs switch on over kid’s heads. They can make sense of the squiggles on the page. They can read words!
The people who produce these books are often paid peanuts and still turn out top quality work because they have a passion to create life long learners, to start a child on the road to finding out knowledge for themselves. It is a great gift to give and children’s writers and illustrators know they are privileged to do it. They demand the best of themselves, to give the best to their young readers.

For some reason writing for children is seen as adults not directly involved in it. Simple words on a page... anyone can do it.  In fact it is a very specialised skill...the smaller the book the more specialised. 
When I first sat down to write for children, I brought home 20 readers from my school and analyzed them. On average they had 50 words. They told a funny story with a pay off at the end. The funniest one I analyzed had 47 words. There were only 11 different words used in the story. Margaret Many, the genius, became my benchmark. My ambition to write a funny 50-word reader (and boy was it hard,) became by default my writing school. There was huge jubilation when my work was accepted two years later on the 30th submission to the School Journal. I felt like the child in my classroom... the squiggles finally made sense! I was flying. I could do anything. Of course after that it got harder.

This week the NZ children’s writing community has been standing up and asking what is happening with the School Journal? Is it going to be a victim of a budget cut? 
This iconic part of NZ school life provides the major resource of our literacy teaching. It is provided free to schools, four times a year, at four levels throughout the school and is the envy of many countries. New Zealand children’s writers earn a good portion of their income from the Journal, which with its 105 years of history is the longest serial publication for children in the world. The illustrators, many of whom work exclusively for the journal and related resources are world famous in the NZ classroom and unknown outside of it. Our best and brightest talents have started with the School Journal, often continuing to contribute work long after they ‘made it big’ in trade.

We are pleased to say it is still here with us after the uncertainty of the last week. The loud voices, letters to ministers and media attention have hopefully shown the government that even the rumour of a threat to the School Journal will bring a swift response. Educational publishing should not be a victim of a short sighted budget cut. The children will lose out. New Zealand writers, illustrators, designers and editors will lose out and the Government will lose out. 
No government will want to be known as the One That Cut The Journal. It would be like banning Pineapple Lumps or Jaffas.

In the rest of the world...Children’s and YA publishing is holding up the rest of the publishing industry with the latest figures out.

DigitalBook World looks at Mike Shatzkin's predictions that soon most people working in publishing won’t be working for publishing companies...

Is it time for writers to stop blogging? Jane Friedman asks if it is really worth it. And she also spotlights five industry trends that every writer should be aware of.

Is Hybrid the new buzzword for agents...This article looks at the rise of expanded literary agencies.

On Craft,
Story Openings: Hook or Seduction

On Marketing,
Writing and making a Success of Serial Fiction...this is a podcast...and it is really interesting. Iain Broome talks to Sean Platt about writing episodic serials... every week a new Episode up on Amazon.

To Finish,
Rachelle Gardner takes a look at what writers have to do to earn some money.... It’s a simple list but shines a small bright light....


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