Showing posts with label self publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label self publishing. Show all posts

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Deja Vu.

So will 2015 have the flavour of 2014 with the virtual book lockouts, impassioned pleas for support and authors being left the worse for wear in the battle of the publishing behemoths? One of the sobering takeouts for anyone watching is that it is not the publishers bank accounts that get hammered. It is the authors and their careers. For authors to have a book not visible online hurts sales... which means their next book becomes a harder sell, (despite what the publisher might say to the contrary.) This hurts their future earnings/career.

In the children’s publishing world Bologna is the rally cry. The biggest children’s book rights fair in the world and the news is all gelato and where the agents missing bathrooms are on Twitter.  Despite Bathroomgate, everyone is upbeat. The world wants middle grade. Yay. Even middle grade space! I have a drawer full of manuscripts...

Another class action suit has been registered against Author Solutions, which is OWNED by Penguin Random House. And still there is a deafening silence by publishing journalists to expose this company. Could it be that every big publisher has their fingers in this pie...

For the last three years I have been noticing the claim that Book Apps are just around the corner... not the next corner, the one after that. Here it gets stated again in several places this week. (Must be the Bologna effect.) If only we had partnerships... author/ illustrator/ app designer. Maybe the time has come.

The time has come to move on for self publishers says Porter Anderson. In his usual thought provoking way Porter looks at all the arguments around self publishing and how the mindset holds back the author. 
Elizabeth Spann Craig finds out her traditionally published series is at an end. When you know it is time to move on... whole new publishing life coming right up. Take some time to read the comments on these articles. There is lots of extra insight into how these decisions get made.

A couple of years ago... I talked in my blog about an interesting marketing concept; Downloadable e-books on those plastic gift cards as a point of sale display, just right for the impulse purchase at the bookstore counter.  There were several companies looking into producing nifty stands of these for publishers. Another company has joined in making this a marketing reality but with short run cards that will appeal to authors.  

In the Craft Section, (all of these are bookmark worthy)

In the Marketing Section, (Every one of these a book mark post)
Sam Messingham has the article on using Twitter effectively.

Crowdfunded publishing- Jane Friedman

Website of the Week
Not really a website more like a phenomenon!
The Creative Penn or Joanna Penn has made such an impact on sharing her journey in real time as she negotiates new publishing landscapes that it is hard to imagine the blogosphere without her. Her website is packed full of information. She has a popular podcast and her books are best sellers.
Bibliocrunch caught up with her to ask the five important questions  about her publishing journey. And if you check out her latest podcast interview she is talking with an audio marketing expert. It is, as usual, packed full of information and as Joanna acknowledges this is a must for writers to look at with so many car makers enabling in-car podcast radio as their latest feature. 
Bet you didn’t see that coming.

To Finish,
Getting books in libraries is a big thing for Authors. It means visibility, more people reading your work and sales down the track. Now authors are being encouraged to make their Indie e-books available to libraries. Check out the nifty infographic.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

What Are The Odds?

It is a funny old world...
This morning I read a Salon article on the echoes of the film Mockingjay with the real life events happening in Ferguson. The use of propaganda today to shape public opinion is held up as a mirror while scenes from the movie echo scenes from videos by extremist groups.

On Facebook, children’s authors are telling of publishers pulling out of signed publishing contracts. Projects, sometimes years in the production, just scrapped leaving the authors and illustrators frustrated and wondering what to do next. I look on Twitter and suddenly I’m seeing articles about self-publishing picture books and what it takes... Hugh Howey has dipped his toe into kids book publishing  and writes about it in his lucid way.

The guru Jane Friedman has also written about self-publishing kids books and the perils therein. Kids books are still firmly in the realm of print but with Amazon ramping up their sales of Kids Kindles and software to create kids books, you can see where they think the market is going.

Porter Anderson writes about the question he got asked at a London conference two weeks ago. Can I reasonably expect to succeed? The questioner was talking about both print and digital publishing. With digital publishing you are competing with every book that has every been published...

Kate Tilton is running a giveaway for Joel’s Friedlander’s book design templates (well worth looking at with 40% off, especially the new children’s book designs.)

This Saturday loads of authors in the US are heading to their local independent booksellers to sell books... in a sharing the love event. Great idea to take up here.

It’s getting towards the end of the year and thoughts of Christmas shopping fill everyone with dread. Jami Gold has updated her gifts for writers list.

In the Craft Section,

A NaNo timetable (remember you can use this on any month)

Stealing Without Shame – Stephen Pressfield

In the Marketing Section,
Timing for book launches (interesting article)

To Finish,

Next year will the odds be in our favor?


Pic from Hunger Games movie

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hugh and Cry Revolt

Last week, buried in the middle of my blog post were these lines.
Yesterday Icelandic author Baldur Bjarnason wrote a great piece on ethics in publishing. This is a great observation on what a lot of commentators are seeing as the great divide between the two different publishing communities.
Hands up those people who can tell me what the two communities are....hmmmm.

Today, in a breaking news bombshell, those communities just got wider with a new website launched and funded by Hugh Howey looking specifically at crunching the data on publishing stats and earnings for Self Publishing and Hybrid authors. 
For those of you who don’t understand what this means...
If you have a Traditional publishing contract. Your book gets may get an advance. You may get up to 10% net of print price or up to 25% ebook price. You may get a quarterly statement on how sales are going but no other information. The marketing window for your book is usually 6 months...that’s 2 months before publication and 4 months after. After that the publisher is onto the next book and any blip in sales comes from author promotion. In the fine print of your book contract there may be a non-compete clause, you can’t publish with anyone else or anything else except the publisher. Your rights may be held in perpetuity (US law is the lifetime of the author plus 70 years) with no rights reversal clauses.
If you choose to self publish you may get up to 70% of ebook price with Amazon and whatever you set the profit of the book, after your costs have been taken out, on print. You do all the marketing work for as long as you want to.

In both models the author doesn’t really know what they are doing right or wrong with marketing. Data on what works and how different publishing models are successful is very thin on the ground.

From time to time surveys come out with data that says how well self publishing is doing against traditional publishing. I have linked to a few over the last few years in my blog. 
The ebook market where most authors self publish has been on the up. 

Today Hugh Howey’s report was released looking at raw data that crunched the numbers of the biggest selling genres (romance, sci-fi/fantasy and thriller/suspense) on Amazon on one day. 92% of the top 100 genre bestsellers were ebooks. Indie authors were outselling Traditional Big 5 authors in these categories. 

There are many bombs in this report. Porter Anderson does a good job of looking at them and extrapolating ideas but you should read the report for yourself. Hugh is the leading voice in the Indie author community at the moment. He is advocating a change to fairer contracts for authors and a partnership model with publishers. Below is his mission statement for the AuthorEarnings website.

Welcome to AuthorEarnings, where our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.

Two weeks ago he made it very clear just exactly what he thinks author contracts should consist of and what he thinks author societies should be advocating.

So after a few hours digesting The Report, Digital BookWorld weighed in with their analysis and they took issue with the one day data and the extrapolation thereof... however they also agreed that there was something rotten in the state of ....

Now Hugh is the first to say that this is one day...on Amazon... in January... and he is keen to have that dialogue from other authors on their experiences (see the website for ways to contribute to the discussion.) Steve Moseby takes up the challenge, he looks at the figures from The Report and wonders whether they are true based on his UK print figures and annual income after only one days data.

In Other News
Passive Guy sends out a warning over a contractual clause where any future law changes in any territory in the world will be the problem of the author. This, after an author was accused of blasphemy, following the passing of a law in India after her book was published. It all hinges on the word ‘will.’ He follows that up with another post on contracts. (As he is a lawyer he doth know what he speaks of.)

Cassandra Clare is tired of the constant carping of some who keep asking why she is still writing her book series ... she notes that male authors don’t get asked this. A thoughtful restrained response from a YA author.

In the Craft Section,

5 big screenwriting mistakes and 5 fixes...(this is a bookmark post!)

In the Marketing Section,

To Finish,
Hugh Howey again... He responds to a writer who has decided not to be tainted with self publishing because the goal is to emulate his heroes and publish the same way. A very interesting read and response by Hugh.


 Pic is from Passive Voices new range of tee shirts...check them out and chuckle... and maybe buy one or two.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Becoming A Phenomenon

Today I am one day late in posting this roundup. 
The end of January creeps up and suddenly the family realises that the summer holiday is over and school is nearly upon them. Cue plaintive cries for new stationery... uniforms... and other essential items that earlier in the year they denied they needed. How did they grow so fast over the last week? Why has one child lost their school pens before they even got to school? And whoever invented book covering plastic adhedsive should have a special hell reserved for them with a stack of schoolbooks, a tearful child and book coverings that never go on smoothly!

This week in the publishing blogosphere, Chuck and Mike ruffled feathers over their different takes of the self publishing phenomenon and the future of bookstores and publishing.

Mike Shatzkin started the week with a blog post on the future of bookstores and the decreasing shelf space for print books. Bookstores are increasingly going into non-book ‘things’, how will this impact on publishers and writers in the future. This is interesting reading and there was a lot of discussion about ebooks and whether selfpublishing print was sustainable...cue impassioned posts. Mike continued his examination of bookstores and the loss leader of selling cheap books to get consumers into the store...can this be sustained?

Chuck Wendig was in the gun for daring to state that selfpublishers should do the best writing they can as a service to the readers. He sees the increasing avalanche of badly published books as bringing down the status of the industry. He has had an avalanche of comments but some interesting ideas have come out of it. There was a mini thread looking at author collectives and the buying power of a group employing editing, cover and marketing services.

Andrea Phillips wrote a great follow up blog looking at different models of author collectives. Have a read then take a trawl around her website...WOW
I think an author collective model is where we may be heading in the future. (I’ve been saying it for years.) It maybe time for the best parts of the Bloomsbury model to be ressurected...

Porter Anderson has expanded the Ether to a live Twitter chat called #EtherIssue and this weeks topic was on self publishing where everyone has a % stake in the book. A lively chat ensued with all sorts of ideas and facts springing out. This was springboarded from the winning essay in December on the future of Bookselling. It is a brilliant read and was anonymously done by a publisher from Faber and Faber... a must read.

Another writer springboarding off Chucks blog posts this week is Ian Rodgers, a music critic, who looked at all the comments comparing the music industry and the publishing industry and decided to set the record straight. This is also a pointer to the way things also might be heading. A thought provoking read.

The phenomenon, Joanna Penn, was interviewed on her writing life balance and what she would do now if she were just starting out. It makes interesting reading.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are a phenomenal twosome. Angela is interviewed on how to co write with another author, across countries...

In the Craft Section,
Revision is on everyones mind...

Kate Walker from Romance University on cutting for pace...this is a bookmark post.

In the Marketing Section,

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting discussion on Book trailers. Do you need them?

Website of the week.
Life Hacker and Google tips for the student...Some great tips in here for the writer!

To Finish,
Leaving a literacy legacy... This is an important issue and one that is not really talked about but what happens to your literary work after you are dead. Do you have a literary Power of Attorney? This is a timely read because your work hopefully will last longer than you will. How do you want your writing to be treated... and that means your good name as well.

My publishing advice - Do your homework in all facets of the game. Weigh up which path is right for you and your energy levels. Work on your writing to make it the best you can. Get it edited by a professional editor. Whichever publishing path you choose make sure your work is as good as it can be. Your name is on it and it is your legacy.

Writing is a Craft. Storytelling is an Art. Publishing is a Business. –Chuck Wendig


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Genre Fiction; Up, Down, Sideways...

This week in the publishing blogosphere has been focussed on the continuing fallout over KOBO pulling self-published books featuring erotica... which caused booksellers sites to fall over including Whitcoulls our biggest chain bookseller which made news around the world.
The Alliance of Independent Authors comments about the damage done to authors and publishers on this... as a lot of the books pulled weren’t erotica... leaving 50 shades and Lolita untouched.
David Gaughren also asks who do we want making our moral decisions... as this all happened as a knee jerk reaction to an article in The Daily Mail. Lots of comments on this.

Porter Anderson continued his Ether this week with more snippets from Frankfurt and predictions for content (read stories) in the gaming industry ... the books of the future.

Writer Beware is highlighting Kill Clauses in contracts and the underhanded ways these are being used now... Check it out and be aware!

The great Brainpickings, Maria Popova’s site is 7 years old today and she looks back at 7 years since her idea and 7 things she has learned... a great little inspirational piece.

Jane Friedman has started up a magazine dedicated to writers. Scratch.  Her first issue is free so you can take a look at what she is doing and hoping for. If you don’t know Jane Friedman... she is consistently voted as one of the best writers advice/publishing commentators on the web.

McDonalds (New Publisher Alert) are giving out books to kids with their order... or you can go and download them yourselves. Yes...I told you it was coming ad now it is here... just not in NZ yet.

If you are thinking about getting into China you need to think about censorship...The NY Times details the hoops writers are prepared to go through.

Agents doing different things....
Lit Agent Mandy Hubbard is calling for a different kind of submission...She’s got a project in mind but she needs the writing voices...

Jill Corcoran is working with one of her writers using Kindle Singles and episode publishing a YA novel. 

Curtis Brown agent, Gordon Wise, has written an article on whether you need a print publisher now and ‘curated publishing services’ for authors that some agents are now doing....

In Craft,
NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us and the blogosphere is gearing up with articles on how to tackle the event. Here are two of the best this week.

In Marketing,
Joanna Penn talks about sharing your research with your readers... (Great article, something I have been mulling over.)

Ebook pricing is always a hot topic... Molly Greene talks about her experiences and what she has learned around this.

If you are self publishing, you need a team...Bob Mayer tells you why and how to choose them.

Website to check out,
Blake Snyder of Save The Cat (Screenwriting Bible) has a great website. This week a guest novelist shows how he used Save The Cat Beats to structure his novel...A great insight into plotting...while still leaving room for ‘as you write’ inspiration...Bookmark this one.

To Finish,
Chuck Wendig was recently in this part of the world... he left just as the fires started in OZ....hmmm. Chuck was a guest of GenreCon in Brisbane where he delivered a speech on 25 things he loves about Genre fiction.... Chuck is not for the faint hearted so warnings apply. You will laugh and maybe fall off your chair...



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Changing The Game

So nothing much has happened in the writing blogosphere this week....


New Zealand writers were gripped with Man Booker fever as they followed Twitter streams, news reports and rumours to find out if our own Eleanor Catton had won. At 11am Thursday morning, writers around NZ were cheering. This was a nice patch of bright news in an otherwise depressing publishing landscape here in NZ. (Not sure about Publishing Perspectives calling it a Kiwi Twin Peaks tho.)
Victoria University Press published her conjunction with a larger press in the UK.
With the race to leave NZ by the bigger publishing firms, this does leave the field open to small nimble presses. They and NZ writers need to think global and Eleanor’s success may be the kick we all need. In other comments about the win here...NZ writers were saying to the NZ public - See we have great writers...why don’t you get behind us instead of thinking that all good writing comes from overseas. Cultural cringe is alive and well here.

Before the Man Booker award took over the blogosphere what was everyone talking about..?
Frankfurt. (Implications and analysis ongoing)
Bloomsbury and Author Solutions (scary but true)
Book Discovery problems (when a booksellers website goes down over erotica.)

Frankfurt threw up some interesting statistics. This years Book Fair saw the impact of Self Publishing, both to the sales part of the industry and the traditional model of publishing, cease to be the elephant in the room.   
Jane Friedman has fully examined these implications and they make interesting reading. Take some time to look at her series of reports.... it’s a weekend workshops worth of information.
Laura Hazard Owen also brings her considerable analysis skills to she looks at the eBook marketing battles from Frankfurt.
Porter Anderson’s Ether at Jane Friedman’s site and his Ether at Publishing Perspectives gives you more information if you want to pretend that you went to Frankfurt. Always a comprehensive overview.

David Gaughren, champion of the small guy (self published writer) and defender of the newbie writer, continues to rage about the insidious ways that big traditional publishers are trying to jump on the self publishing bandwagon by telling writers that they can publish with their special imprint if they pay all the costs (exorbitant.) The imprints are fronts of Author Solutions, which is being taken to court, over questionable dealings with writers...The latest reputable publisher to engage Author Solutions to run a self-publishing imprint for them is Bloomsbury. If you are not aware of this please read and share with other writers...Eyes Wide Open People!

Mike Shatzkin takes a look at book discovery in the new world, in light of Frankfurt and also comments on the unfortunate nature of a major bookseller coming afoul of a publishers drive to clean up all mention of erotica. The publisher using a filter pulled all mention of erotica and the Bookseller, who had linked all their eBooks into their website found the website disabled. A bit of a problem for the biggest Bookseller in the UK. * Update* Writer Beware takes a look at the impact of this on authors.

Joanna Penn is always good value and in this blog post she looks at her writing business two years on...what she has learned and where to next. Very good reading.

Romance University (always a great go to site) interviews an ex Harlequin editor going freelance and what she found out about self publishing quality and no it’s the opposite of what you think...great read.

In Craft, (all must read posts)
Jody Hedlund on how to know which scenes you need in the book.

In Marketing,
Novel Rocket on Studying the market! (agent rant that is a must read)
Anne R Allen Social Media secrets for authors (Anne is a must read anytime) Agents vs Editors and why they all have a different focus.

Website to check out,
The Bookshelf Muse team of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have changed their great website into an even spiffier one which celebrates what they do best... Writers Helping Writers. They have launched it this week with two more companion Writer Thesauri.... Positive and Negative Traits. If you have not had a chance to check out the phenomenally successful  Emotion Thesaurus For Writers...YOU MUST.

To Finish,
Indie Reader has looked at the growth of Self Publishing and has refined it down to five books and their impact on the publishingworld...see if the book that you immediately thought of is in the may be very surprised. Every one on the list has been a game changer much like the predictions from Frankfurt...London and maybe the Man Booker on New Zealand Publishing.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not A Bear Market

This week the news in the publishing blogosphere is... FRANKFURT.

This German Book Fair is amongst the biggest in the world and it was a big deal when New Zealand went as Guest Of Honour last year. This is where foreign rights deals are made so it is big business and fueling this big business is ebooks.

Every year the continuing growth of self publishing gets talked about at the big book fairs...which are required attendance for agents and publishers. This year, in a Frankfurt debut, CONTEC an industry forum to specifically discuss Digital Publishing was launched and started making waves. The news right off the bat... 60% of Self Published authors would not take a Trad deal if it was offered to them. Publishing professionals were asked how this would impact the industry...

In an off the wall moment a respected agent demanded that all publishers pull their books from Amazon...annoying Penguin Random House in the process. The Passive Guy looks at the fall out.

Discussions about Author Collectives are everywhere I look as more writers find this is a model that makes sense to help them cope with the fast changing world of Publishing Now. From small press collectives to nationwide collectives for small countries... Catherine Stine looks at starting an Indie Collective.

The wonderful Anne R Allen has a brilliant blog and this week she lays out the rules of the Amazon Jungle...This is all about the changing nature of reviewing...a must read.

In the Craft Section,

In Marketing,

Website to check out,
K M Weiland has a new website and it is beautiful...check it out and her latest post on when characters lack solid story goals.

To Finish,
Over the last few years there have been rumblings of discontent in the text book world. First from the students...the high prices...then from the professors who have to pay for their work to be published in the text book publishers have a cash cow... but check out this latest from Harvard Business School....and read the comments!
Enough to make me reach for a ....


* High Five to anyone who gets the reference in the title...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Heading To Mt Doom.

Last week I started to write my blog post but ended up writing a 2 page letter of complaint to the government MP’s who decided that closing down Learning Media was a good thing.

From a teaching point of view my first Go To Resource was the School Journal Index book, 5 years of Journals indexed by subject and age level and theme.  With four levels of journal coming out three to four times a year, there was a lot of fiction, non fiction, plays, poems and craft activities to form the core resource component in literacy, science and numeracy  programmes.

Learning Media, who produced these resources, are a dedicated bunch with a commitment to high production standards... because they know that their work is what New Zealand children learn to read on. They used to work inside the Education Ministry producing not only free core resources in English but also in Maori and Pacific Island languages. The Ready to Read series was one of the first graded reading series for teaching reading in the world with stories by Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley and Dorothy Butler among the first to be published.

My school was part of a group of schools that regularly hosted overseas teachers to show them best teaching practice because New Zealand consistently placed in the top tier of OECD literacy achievement. Every teacher who came through my class looked at the quality of the School Journal and sighed with envy. ‘How can we get something like this?’ was the most common refrain. From a writing point of view I, like so many New Zealand children's writers and illustrators, got my start in the School Journal. They happily provided feedback so you became a much stronger writer. Now New Zealand's common refrain is 'How can our government wreck something like this?'

New Zealand’s current publishing landscape has made international news...and not in a good way although NZ’s children’s books seem to be holding up. Because of our small size (4 ½ million) the publishing struggles going on overseas are played out here in a much more dramatic fashion. Porter Anderson covers the recent collection of articles about The Death Of Publishing In New Zealand in Publishing Perspectives along with news that The MAN BOOKER Prize will be open to all English language novels from next year...not just the ones published in the UK. This change is not being celebrated by everyone....

We Kiwi’s have an interest in the MAN BOOKER as we have a young writer in the shortlist for the prize...proving that even tho we don’t have a publishing industry we do have great writers.

So what is a kiwi writer to do when faced with the one way journey to Mt Doom.
Self publishing or working with small Indie publishers seem the only way to go... many commentators are saying that thinking outside New Zealand is the only way to survive. But do we then write generic Northern Hemisphere stories or do we really celebrate New Zealand cultural style and promote our stories (choice eh!) unashamedly? It means a cultural shift because Kiwi writers are like Kiwi birds... happy to be running around in secret, in the dark...we’re not flashy!
So if you are thinking Self Publishing... Publishers Weekly is now behind you...

Passive Guy talks about the rise and rise of audio books and Publishing Perspectives warns about 10 counter intuitive tips that Self Publishers try.

In the Craft Section,

Jody Hedlund with another brilliant post on getting to know your characters and plot.

K M Weiland on most common mistakes.

Chuck Wendig on 25 steps to edit the unmerciful suck from your stories. (usual Chuck warnings apply)

In the Marketing Section,

Publishing Crawl on Researching Literary Agents

Writer Unboxed on the Query Detox

Joel Friedlander has a guest post from Anne Hill on How toSell Books from your Website.

Website to Check Out,
Lydia Sharp has a timely blog post on Posture and tips forwriters from the Physio...(I’m sitting straighter already.)

To Finish,
This week I ventured into The Children’s Bookshop for one book (yeah right!) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. If you haven’t come across John Green, take some time to look at this explanation of the John Green and Vlogbrothers phenomenon. I have been following John Green for a while...and admire what he is doing to connect into his tribe of Nerdfighters. And by the way the book is excellent!

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