Showing posts with label sean platt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sean platt. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Fighting On

As the world struggles to deal with the pandemic, the publishing world is also struggling to survive in rapidly changing times. Like the musicians of the Titanic who bravely played jaunty tunes as the ship was sinking underneath them, so the publishing world is putting on a brave face while the ground rocks under their feet. We can have book fairs online said Bologna.

Around the world, publishers and booksellers are fighting to keep going. In Italy, the first of the European countries to really grapple with the pandemic, the cultural industry federation has called on their government to see their industry as essential. Preserving and supporting Italian culture and heritage is vital in this time they say so that something remains on the other side of the pandemic.

Today, here in New Zealand, we learned that all of our major magazines have been terminated effective immediately because of the lack of advertising. That is nearly three hundred journalists out of work not to mention art editors, designers, photographers, printers, distributors etc. The flow-on effects are huge and also the potential loss of cultural and historical print institutions.

Meanwhile, Amazon, the everything store, has slowed down their delivery of what they see as non-essential. Books apparently fit in this category. If they aren’t supporting us surely they could waive their fees – the publishers cry.

There are many calls to shop indie to keep the independent booksellers alive. Many of them have ramped up their online web stores and have become creative in how they deliver locally. When you are stuck inside with the kids a dedicated book store can still get your reading books, puzzles and colouring books to you. Many bookstores are resorting to GoFundMe campaigns to stay viable. 

In times of crisis, people turn to comfort foods and occupations, binge-watching movies, TV, online gaming and reading books, all created by storytellers in different mediums. We are an essential industry. However, there seems to be a gap in the understanding of the average person that the storytellers need to be paid for their work. This is their livelihood. 
Recently, the Internet Archive in the U S made their collection of IN COPYRIGHT books freely available and downloadable. (Who needs pirates when institutions do this.) This directly tramples all over the writer's income. The Authors Guild have sent an open letter of protest

Many authors have been attacked online for NOT supporting the free downloads of their work. In the culture of free content, the creator gets nothing. This is not sustainable. 
The creator works for free only in certain circumstances- when they can afford it.  Hopefully, the W.H.O. call to creatives to help in the Covid 19 response will also generate some paying work.

While we are in lockdown and staring down the barrel of a great recession Nathan Bransford decided to interview Mike Shatzkin about how he sees the publishing world on the other side. The pandemic will cause an acceleration of consolidation and the rivals to Amazon will start to move. Fascinating ideas here.

Kris Rusch brings her calm good sense to the fore in her most recent blog. Many of us have been feeling creatively lost, struggling to get the words out and wondering how to be creative in the face of such uncertainty. Kris says this is a normal reaction and offers some great advice for getting through the tough times. Chuck Wendig also has thoughtful advice on how to cope with creativity in this time.

Sharon Bially writes that there is a silver lining in not being able to have your book launch in an article on Writer Unboxed. Here is a great opportunity to have two book launches… the online one now and when everything gets back to normal, the real-life one. Check out her ideas for making the most of the extended promotion of your book.

In The Craft Section,

How to set tone and mood- Janice Hardy – Bookmark

How to rescue an endangered book- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

Character internalization- Jami Gold-Bookmark

500 writing prompts- Written Word Media

Write tight- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

7 expert tricks for author newsletters- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Book marketing during Covid 19- Judith Briles- Bookmark

Book Marketing and Covid 19-Frances Caballo- Bookmark

To Finish,

For some people, this will be a time when they commit to writing down the book they have always wanted to write. Writer Guru Jerry Jenkins has pulled together a comprehensive post on how to write a book. 

For the rest of us…
 Chin up- We can get through this.

(Day 7 LD)

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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.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

How To Take Care Of Your Writer

This week the fallout continued with The Romance Writers Association of America. Things have gone from bad to worse in just a week with the current board resigning yesterday and calling for elections for an interim board. Many writers have resigned their memberships and many chapters have also tried to distance themselves from the ongoing mess.
With the high level of angst, anger and frustration around Romance land it’s time to look at writer self-care. Do you make time for yourself and incorporate it in your writing routine?
Shelley Wilson has a great article on understanding what writer self-care looks like and building it into your writing day.

Yesterday I saw a plea from an experienced writer who was asked to comment on a contract. The writer ended up spelling out what the contract was asking for. 
The term of the contract was the term of the copyright of the book, which (in NZ) is the life of the author plus fifty years. Don’t do that. Give the publisher first printing rights in English in North America, or limit the terms to something reasonable like five years not the rest of your life plus fifty years. 
The contract gave the publisher first option on any future books by the author. Seriously. Do you want to go back to that publishing company every time you write or are thinking of writing another book to see if they want to publish it?
The contract was not just for first printing rights, but for all derivative rights. Everything. Not just ebook. All languages, all countries, all formats including print, ebook, audiobook, film rights, everything. Another paragraph said that he basically didn’t get any say in what other editions were prepared- additional printing, book club edition, library edition, abridgements, adaptations, etc. 
The author was expected to provide contact info for famous people who would give blurbs, provide cover images, have the manuscript professionally proved before submission, etc.
Contracts are negotiable. Many writers are so happy to get one they never think about what they are signing. Kris Rusch pointed out in this week’s business post the problem of an IP holder going back over their assets and making an anthology audio book, twenty years later, without looking at the contracts of the anthology contributors.- Would writers even know that they were owed money?

This week Jami Gold wrote about reading recently published books in your genre. Are you doing this as part of your research? It sparked a lively discussion on her FB page. How recent is recent asked one person… I have seen agents say (this week) comp books must be under two years old. You should keep an eye on what is getting published in your genre just so you know what is being overdone.

Jonny B Truant and Sean Platt are the mouths of Sterling and Stone an indie powerhouse story studio. Recently they were interviewed by Forbes Magazine about their writing model. Take 15 writers and 150 books… This is another twist on the collaboration model.

Have you come across the ten commandments of writing? This is a nice mantra to share around your writing groups.

In The Craft Section,

In The Marketing Section,

To Finish,

How are your New Years resolutions writing goals going? Did I see a wince?
Debra Eckerling has a great post on rebooting your writing goals. Remember every day is a new day to begin something.


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.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fake News

This week started with a hiss and a roar when the New York Times Best Seller list came out.  A book no one had heard of had hit number one! Then, in a fascinating real time take down by YA authors and literary detectives, the story came out through Twitter. And what a story! Read it as it happened and then read the wise advice of Kris Rusch who has seen it all before.

The USA today list is calculated purely on sales so it’s always interesting when an author keeps hitting it. What are they doing right? Here is how one author achieved it three times.

Last week I linked to Hugh Howey’s Part One and Two of his excellent mini series of posts on writing insights- written while aboard his boat floating in the Pacific with turtles.. (Not jealous not jealous not jea...)  Part Three and Part Four are just as good.

Ahh Canada... home to amazing wildlife, amazing syrup, amazing writers and ... Wattpad. But wait... Wattpad is introducing a new video storytelling app, Raccoon. Think video serial stories in real time...

Joanna Penn posted an interesting interview with Sarah Painter on how writers can overcome fear and self doubt. This is well worth a listen or read the transcript.

This week Hollywood Reporter looked at a case going to trial on who actually owns the name Jack Ryan. Was it the Tom Clancy’s estate or the film company or the widow or no one?  Can a character name be copyrighted?

Alli – or The Alliance of Independent Authors is gearing up for the next and last 24 hour online fringe conference. Each conference has a theme and the upcoming one is all about author business. This is well worth signing up for ... and its free!

Sean Platt has his fingers in many writing pies along with other creative endeavors like the Smarter Artists summit. Here is his ten point plan on how to make a living as an Indie author. Writing an amazing book is not at number one... (When I sit down to write I always hear Sean’s voice saying ... First Know Your Why!)

In The Craft Section,

Weaving back story into front story- James Scott Bell - Bookmark

Create an idea bank- Ruth Harris- Bookmark

How to slow time for more relaxed writing sessions – Elizabeth Spann Craig- Bookmark

2 great posts from Janice Hardy - Conflict – Why it isn’t about fighting and Creating Unique Characters. - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

The Visibility Gambit- David Gaughran- Bookmark

Ultimate guide to creating a media kit- Chris Well (This is part 4 but you should read all the other parts.)

To Finish,

Nathan Bransford has been cranking up his blog again on all things writerly. This week he asked Mike Shatzkin about the next horror nightmare for publishing... What if Barnes and Noble closed down....

So you may have noticed some changes on the blog. It’s Spring... Over the next few weeks there will be a few more changes... (I miss my space pics already.) I’m also the Fabo Judge for the next two weeks - the entries are flooding in already! Who wants a quiet life... umm.


I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces in my monthly newsletter. When you subscribe you get a nifty book crammed full of marketing notes.  Coffee fuels the blog so THANKS for your coffee button hits this week.

 Pic: Flickr Creative Commons – NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre- The false colour of Mercury using mineral and chemical imaging.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Being Mad Helps

This week has been financial reporting week for some of the big publishers. Oh the tangled web of eBooks and Print Books. Is one cannibalizing the other? Pundits pored over the statistics. The Financial Review looked at the state of the publishing industry.

Mike Shatzkin has a brilliant post on the state of play with publishers still sticking to their plan of high eBook prices. Mike shows why he thinks this is a short sighted idea. The comments on this article were fast and fascinating with people discussing buying habits. Do you wait for a sale or buy an $11.99 eBook?

Gladdening the heart of Publishing warriors everywhere was the nice little snapshot of Author Earnings ISBN acquisitions. They are in decline. So was this why PRH cut them loose?

How often do you write what you want to write? How often does your editor get cold feet or ask you to tone it down. Or you get cold feet and tone it down first. This week K.C Alexander took over Chuck’s blog to talk about how she was tired of having her characters toned down, as not fitting a perceived feminine model... and things were about to change. This is an excellent post on courage and truth to your writing.

Kris Kathryn Rusch has been putting together an anthology of the early women writers in SFF. She explains how she came to be involved in the project. It all stemmed from being told that women were discriminated against in Science Fiction. Women of a certain age are ignored and their work disappears... so what do you do. You get MAD and then you become a force...

Kris was about to post the last article in her Dealbreakers series when she heard about the demand by Hachette for the advance back from Seth Grahame-Smith over the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies series. It’s big money and the contract is murky. This is a must read post as Kris explains. The contract is available to read and it is scary. The author was not the most important party in this contract. They weren’t even second...

In The Craft Section,

Using contractions in dialogue- K M Weiland- Bookmark

How to create strong character arcs- Sean Platt and Jonny B Truant- Bookmark

Avoiding book publishing blunders – The Book Designer- A great all round article!

Writing setting descriptions – James Scott Bell – Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Book Marketing – The Good The Bad and The Ugly

10 tips to get book reviews- Anne R Allen- Bookmark

To Finish,
LitHub is an interesting website that publishes long form interviews and articles. Today they published an article on Nan Talese, an editor with her own imprint at Knopf Doubleday. It is a fascinating look through her life in publishing from editing Hemingway to working with Simon Tolkein.  

You have to be a little bit mad and passionate to write and work in publishing.


Pic: Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (1931)

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thoughtful Words

This week in publishing Twitter went wild over the Amazon/ Hachette settlement. The New Yorker gave it thumbs up for getting back to the new normal. 

Hugh Howey warned that things won’t change so fast... because of publishers shipping delays to Amazon warehouses. At least they have settled before the Christmas buying rush.

Mike Shatzkin had a few words to say about the behemoth that is Randy Penguin and what he thinks they should do... run their ownsubscription model. Hmmm they already publish half the books in the world... maybe they just need their own bookstores. Either way when it is their turn to negotiate with Amazon it will be watched with interest.

Authors have been asking for years why can’t publishers bundle print and eBooks together
Publishing Perspectives reports on a pre Christmas trial of bundling by HarperCollins in Australia. So if you are lucky enough to live in Australia.... I wonder if it extends to NZ as well?

Porter Anderson took a look at the journey to nearly superstardom by traditionally published author Emily St John Mandel. (Who missed out on the NB Award announced as I write this.) Emily did her own marketing being published by small presses until her 4th (breakout) novel and then the story changed when a big publisher put marketing muscle in. If you read that report I featured last month on blockbusters vs award winners you will see some familiar themes.

Janet Reid has a tell all post about what you should do whenyou get an agent...

The cartoon up top is from the wonderful Inky Elbows AKA Debbie Ridpath Ohi
I know people who would love that as framed merch!!!

In the Craft Section,

Janice Hardy tells you what to do when you have to kill a major part of your novel.

Becca Puglisi has an excerpt from the new Talents and Skills thesaurus... Strategic Thinking. This is a great writer resource.

In the Marketing Section,

Sterling and Stone (better known as Sean, Johnny and Dave) have a guest post on getting 50 reviews a month

To Finish,
K M Weiland, author of some very good craft novels has responded to requests to produce a workbook for her excellent Structuring Your Novel book.
This is a great book on structure so her workbook will be the bee’s knees if you are looking for Christmas presents for yourself...  

The National Book Awards in the US were announced overnight and everyone is talking about Ursula Le Guin’s speech. It is not long but it is as masterful and inspiring as she is herself.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Have I got a deal for you!

This week the Seattle Weekly took a close look at the world of Bezos. Is Amazon publishing over?

Hugh Howey is trying to understand digital disruption. Could the author become obsolete?

Script Mag has a post on author’s estates if the worst happens… 


November is all about NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month) This is where the writer commits to writing a 50,000-word novel in a month. Just to let you know 50,000 words is on the light side for a novel unless it’s a children’s one. Agent Janet Reid has the genre word count lists... so you might want to rethink your 50,000-word picture book.

If you are diving into NaNoWriMo there are always lots of cool deals around for writers...
Scrivener (MS software) always has a free download trial and there are various writing craft book deals around.

Last week I urged you to pick up Joanna Penn, David Gaughran, Sean Platt and Johnny B Truent’s book bundle for 99c. Each day Joanna, Dave, Sean and Johnny are writing great articles and linking to their 99c deal, which is available for the rest of this week!

Kevin J Anderson has chosen 12 books to go into a mega NaNoWriMo bundle for the month of November. You pay $15 or more and you get all 12 including the writer craft books from Kris Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Chuck Wendig... whom regular readers will recognize as often being referenced in this blog. (Christmas came early...Yeah!)

Live Write Thrive has a list of inspiring books that aspiring writers should read. Have you read them all? (4...)

Helen Sedwick recently got the chance to hear someone from Author Solutions speak -  Welcome to the Hotel California...
Author Solutions has some dodgy clauses in their contracts... and they are the behind the scenes company for many SP options being run by the big 4...(this is a Writer Beware situation.)

Murderby4 is a group blog of Thriller writers. They have a nice post about helping budding authors without killing their spirits.
Long time readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of group blogs... Romance University has a great post on how to set one up.

James Scott Bell has a post on Killzone about writing what you love and earning money from it.

BooksellersNZ have an interview with Julia Marshall of Gecko Press. (She’s looking for junior novels at the moment...)

In the Craft Section,
Creativity on demand... The BICHOK solution.

Chuck Wendig on NaNoWriMo writing tips...

In the Marketing Section,

How to help your books sell themselves – Sean Platt (Don’t forget the 99c bargain)

How to kick start your sales – Dave Gaughran (Don’t forget the 99c bargain)

To Finish,
Last week I hinted that Joanna Penn was coming to Auckland. 
IT’S TRUE and she wants a meet up with any Kiwi Authors who would like to meet her. 16/18th December.
Go here and fill out a form for her... so she can figure out how best to cater for everyone!

Sadly I won’t be there... but you guys can party with Joanna on my behalf!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Flying Past The Trolls

This week in the publishing blogosphere, there was lots of discussion around the article published in The Guardian about author Kathleen Hale (gleefully) stalking a reader/book reviewer because her book didn’t rate a 5* review. The ethics around this and the fact that The Guardian published this and effectively implied that book reviewers/bloggers could be called out for giving a less than brilliant review has riled a lot of people. The Dear Author site and The Passive Guy have got very strong opinions on this. Yes, book reviews are subjective. Yes, you might get a lukewarm review... but you don’t engage in troll behaviour. You suck it up and move on.
Published to Death has a list of online reviewers who will look at your book. Obviously they won’t want any troll behaviour.
We want book reviewers. They benefit the whole industry. Do we want to have a reading public who won’t read anything new because they can’t be sure the review was paid for?(sock puppetry)

Hugh Howey is on a roll with some more examination of publishers and book stores.... should we really feel sorry for them? Possibly not when you see what earnings the big 5 (4) racked up in the last few years.

At a recent conference in the US... a comment was made about authors having all their eggs in the Amazon basket.  Porter looks at the use and abuse Amazon may be wielding with Kindle Unlimited.

Audible (the audio book publishing outlet) is owned by Amazon. Recently Jane Friedman had a guest post on her site comparing what CD Baby has to offer... and it’s all good! (starting with 90% royalties vs 30%)

The Plot Whisperer takes a look at NaNoWriMo. What is your goal and how are you going to achieve it. November is always quiet in the publishing blogosphere. Authors are writing and editors are quaking awaiting the December onslaught.

Brain Pickings has the article that explains that Einstein quote that reading Fairy Tales is the best way to improve children’s intelligence.

The 50th Anniversary of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has arrived this week... The only children’s book written by Ian Fleming.  It is being re-released with new covers etc and the original illustrations by a much loved illustrator now. (Chitty was his second book.)
Also in the news this week a Slovakian company has made the flying car a reality. This is a seriously up market Chitty!

In the Craft Section,

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Joanna Penn has joined together with Dave Gaughran, Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant to bring you a deal that I urge you to get. They have combined their 3 magnificent writing and marketing craft books into an Indie Ebook bundle for 99c (no that is not a typo) I already have one of these books (eye poppingly good) and had put the other two on my Christmas list... but I snapped up this deal and you should too. Fly Fly Fly to Joanna’s site and learn more (and get your preorder in on your favourite reading platform.)
The deal is for a limited time. Release date is 3rd November.
(secret news: Joanna will be in Auckland over summer... )


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Deals and Demigods

This week around the publishing blogosphere the news was all Simon and Schuster. While Hachette and Amazon are still embroiled in their contract war, Simon and Schuster quietly went about negotiating new contract terms with Amazon. And everyone wants to know just what those contract terms are.... Hugh Howey has a pretty good idea... it is probably very close to what the Indie authors are getting.

Hugh has been busy this week. His latest quarterly report Author Earnings is out. And it is the first one that looks at the impact of Kindle Unlimited on author income. Porter Anderson has a very detailed look at what Hugh found out. Subscription models look here to stay and authors need to keep a weather eye on their impact.

Australian Author Patty Jansen has been looking at her Indie income with a fine toothcomb. A very interesting analysis.

Articles about the Frankfurt Book Fair are still coming out. Reedsy has one looking at a panel discussion on when publishers get it right... with sales and content. Great read!

In our neck of the woods Walker seems to be going through a tough time. A long time popular editor has been let go and some Picture Book contracts have been cancelled. This is devastating news to the authors concerned as the illustrations were nearly finished. Picture Books can be anywhere from 18 months to four years in production and to pull them at such a late stage in the process sends alarm bells. Time to pore over those contracts... with a lawyer.

The huge success of the Percy Jackson series has the New Yorker looking hard at the quality of the books children choose to read. They draw on Neil Gaiman’s famous address which was in the “Just–so-long-as-they-are–reading” camp and contrast it with Tim Parks essay on reading habits where he suggests there is little evidence of reading upwards from Pulp to Proust. Having a Percy Jackson fan in my house I was treated to a diatribe this week about the important characters in the Greek demigod world. I don’t have a problem with that at all. Where else is the average Kiwi kid going to find out about thirty centuries old myth and legends?

In the news this week Disney has turned its sights on the South Pacific and their newest ‘Princess’ movie is in the works. Moana... ably supported by the demigod Maui. (Please Disney, don’t make it a white bread yawn!) Taika Waititi has written the original screenplay.

In the Craft Section,

How to get around using Trademark in novels from a Trademark lawyer. This is a Must Read post!

In the Marketing Section,

Julie Muesil has a list of podcasts that are required viewing/listening. In the list are two people whom I have referred to before, Joanna Penn and Sean Platt. This week Joanna interviewed Sean so it’s a two for one deal in excellence!

K M Wieland has a guest post on Book Cover design.

To Finish,

Every year Scrivener writing software do a free trial for the month… Go here to find out about it.

The Book Designer has a wonderful bundle discount on book interior designs. Well worth a visit and to grab an absolute bargain!

Huge Congratulations to Jack Lasenby who is receiving a Prime Ministers Award for literature tonight. Jack is one of New Zealand's finest writers for children. I am lucky to be attending this event… where we celebrate NZ demigods of literature.

Unleash your Demigod!


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