Showing posts with label thomas umstattd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thomas umstattd. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Little Gifts of Change.


In Publishing News this week,


Richard Charkin, commentator on the publishing industry, is walking the talk by having his press go to Print on Demand with Ingram Spark. With calls over the last three years or so for publishing companies to be more sustainable this is a move that will hopefully herald a lot of other publishing companies following suit. Along with POD, Richard is using the new kid on the block Shimmr to handle the book promotion. Shimmr uses AI to scan the book pull out the tropes and selling points and then crafts media ads to target ideal readers. Changes might be happening. 


Publishing Perspectives reports that Germany has taken the falling stats in reading skills among German youth to heart and they are going to embark on new strategies to help keep young people reading.


It’s time to wheel out the big lawyers. In litigation news, Democrat members of Congress (US) introduced a bill to stop the surge of book banning in schools. Their bill is for federal funding to fight the book bans.


Dan Holloway has an interesting news roundup for the Alliance of Independent Authors. This week he looks at all the news surrounding the various court cases being brought by authors against AI. There seems to be one law firm spearing the charge. Dan has some interesting things to say about whether these court cases are useful or not. 


Meanwhile, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) is sending strongly worded statements to the copyright office about the Tech companies use and abuse of Fair Use which is what the Tech companies are pinning their defense on. 


Jane Friedman has a very telling post on how publishing professionals can sometimes screw up a writer’s career. She has an interesting case study, that a lot of writers can probably empathise with. I have heard variations on this problem for years. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut.


Anne R Allen has a great post on query letters. If your manuscript hasn’t had any bites, it could be that you are screwing up your query letter. She has a run down on best practice.


Katie Weiland has compiled a lovely list of writer gifts that you can share around to your loved ones if you want something particular and they need ideas.


December is commonly referred to as NaNoEdMo or the time when writers who managed to write a novel in November take a step back and look at the editing of that novel. Michel Leah has a great article on what to do now. 


In The Craft Section,

Story Tropes to avoid or not to avoid- Jami Gold

The 10 most common editing mistakes- Natalie Hanemann- Bookmark

Brainstorming words of wisdom -Dale Ivan Smith- Bookmark

Why the protagonist must be a problem solver- September Fawkes- Bookmark

FBOBA The fragile beauty of being alive- Donald Maass- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Marketing Outside The Box- Terry Odell- Bookmark

20 ways to promote during holiday season- Thomas Umstattd- Bookmark

Publish as an audiobook with Scott Sigler- Thomas Umstattd-Bookmark

Parts of a book- Reedsy- Useful Info

It’s not about You- Kathy Steinemann- Bookmark

How to find time for book promo- Sandra Beckwith


To Finish,

As we head into December, many writers start thinking about their goals for the year. Have they been achieved? Are you thinking about next year? Are you setting goals?

Kay DiBianca has a great post on acknowledging your accomplishments and planning for the next year.


In personal news – I have ebooks on sale all over the place. If you are looking for kids books You can check out my maureencrispbooks website or hit this link for a group sale promo. 





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Pic: Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Garbage In. Garbage Out.


In Publishing News this week,

Around the world governments are trying to get to grips with laws that will regulate AI. The European Union is trying to draft a law reported by the New York Times as being the most far reaching attempt to regulate AI. The EU is particularly concerned over data that is being used to train AI and the intrusive nature of facial recognition software.

Meanwhile, in Japan they have stated that AI can only be used for educational purposes. No commercial use is allowed. At a recent copyright workshop I attended, New Zealand’s position is if you prompted the AI in some way to produce the work you may copyright it. 


Media Voices has a new report on Practical AI for publishers- They recently published an extract on how to get started with AI. Their advice is to start small and automate one thing at a time. 


Storytel, the Scandinavian audiobook company which has been expanding through Europe  and the rest of the world in the last few years has partnered with an AI voices lab specialising in multinational audio dubbing. Choose an audiobook in English and then ask the AI to read it to you in another language using the original voice. No problem.


In the courts it is déjà vu time. Amazon and the big five publishers are back in court over price fixing. A decade ago this was a hot topic and the publishers lost. Why did they think they could do it all again?


Germany is rolling out it Kulturpass card to eighteen year olds. They get 200 euro to spend and booksellers are lining up to take their money.


School Librarians in the US are sick of the book banning culture they have to navigate. Their national organisations are now forming rapid response strike teams to support beleaguered librarians. Among the most challenged books are graphic novels- it only takes one drawn panel and one overzealous parent to ban the book. Apparently the librarians specialist degree in the field has to give way to uninformed opinion.


Joanna Penn has a great interview with Thomas Umstattd on novel marketing and Christian publishing.

Kris Rusch explores the history of discoverability in publishing and how it's changing now.


Jane Friedman has a great guest column from an editor showing the reasons why a manuscript which has been edited and workshopped by professionals still can’t get picked up.

Some hard but necessary lessons to learn here.


The Alliance of Independent Authors has a deep dive article on using calls to action in the backs of books on website in emails…. This is a must read article for marketing.


Two great articles from Writer Unboxed caught my eye this week- Kathryn Craft on how cliché’s can help your writing and from Densie Webb to agent or not to agent – that is the question.


In The Craft Section,

2 great posts from September Fawkes- How to write strong characters and 100 questions to help evaluate your story- Bookmark Both

Eight ways not to start a novel- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

Know your 5w’s and 1H- Jami Gold – Bookmark

8 laws for foreshadowing- NowNovel- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Business cards and Job titles- John Gilstrap

The latest changes to book categories- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Promoting a new book- Bookbub- Bookmark

Creative and cost effective marketing for authors- Indiereader

3 Amazon review reader myths- Sandra Beckwith

Selling books- a booksellers perspective- Bookbaby - Bookmark 


To Finish,

If you are a content writer you may be sympathetic with Litreactor’s latest column ChatGPT is a menace. They take issue with the amount of people that think getting ChatGPT to write a children’s story is the holy grail to earning passive income. As a children’s writer it shrivels my soul. Why does everybody think that writing a children’s book is so easy any celebrity can do it or just get an AI to write something – the kids will never know? 

We take pride in our work and we work hard at it. An adult reader will let you have a couple of pages of story introduction, a child maybe one paragraph, two at most, and it had better be using the child’s worldview and entertaining. The shorter the story the more important every word is. The younger the reader the more important the story craft is. 

AI is a tool that you can use but it is not human and can never replace human wisdom and experience. It can only regurgitate the data it has scraped. 

Garbage in. Garbage Out 





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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 Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Where Will You Find Your Next Read?

This Week In Publishing News,


Authors behaving badly can be a career killer. This week an author called out a reviewer for only giving her 4 stars. The backlash over the author's vitriolic comments to a hapless newbie reviewer had a slew of 1 stars being attached to the book. Then the publisher dropped her.

Note to all authors- Never comment on reviews. It’s the safer way. Read Anne R Allen’s excellent article from a few years back for a refresher on not taking reviews personally.

Anne’s latest post is on readers pet peeves- They are not the same as writers pet peeves. You shouldn’t ignore them.


Publishing Perspectives had an exclusive article this week. Elsevier’s director of sustainability, Rachel Martin, recently spoke at an international congress on sustainability and announced that within a few years all mainstream printed books would be displaying labels specifying their environmental credentials. 


The Audio Publishers Association in America reported that their annual earnings were up by 10% to $1.8 Billion. More than half of the population had listened to an audiobook. 

This fits in well with the report from Publishers Weekly over the latest trends in children’s publishing. Audio is the hot trend across all age groups. Paper is driving midgrade and everyone is looking for graphic novels and Webtoon stories.


Business Insider reports that tropes are where its at if you want to go viral on TikTok. This speaks to the importance of knowing and using tropes in your books. (It’s how you use or twist the tropes that make you stand out.)


Grace Bialecki has a guest post on Jane Friedman’s site about when an author needs a website. These days a website can be many different things and on many different platforms.


Two big AI articles came out this week.

Publishers Weekly had a widely read post on how AI is about to turn the publishing world upside down. This huge post from Thad McIlroy talks about whose jobs are under threat.  Thad also takes a positive view that being human will be the biggest advantage. 

You can only understand the perils surrounding a new technology after you fully appreciate the opportunities that it affords.”


The other big AI article comes from Peter Houston and the way AI search is set to upend online publishers who rely on ad sales on their websites to generate income. AI is just going to scrape the content and not refer the user to a website. This could be problematic if you rely on your website to sell books.


Katie Weiland is always a must read for me. She usually puts her finger on what might be troubling me writing craft wise. This week however she took a different tack and looked at Imposter Syndrome. This is a stand out post on how writers can deal with that inner critic. A must read.


Joanna Penn recently Interviewed John Fox on crafting the linchpin moments of your novel. This is a deep dive into why we need these plot points to work and how to strengthen scenes.


In the Craft Section,

2 Great posts from Sue Coletta- How critical distance improves writing and Why readers love anti-heroes. Bookmark Both

The nemesis as the protagonists shadow- Scott Myers – Bookmark

Connection Love Loss Hope- Donald Maass- Bookmark

7 ways to ensure you reach your writing goals- Jordan Kantey


In The Marketing Section,

Choosing a title that hooks your reader- Draft2Digital- Bookmark

8 ways to market your book- Brian Feinblum

Using drip marketing- Thomas Umstattd- Bookmark

Working effectively with your book designer- Andrea Reider- Bookmark

5 things I tell authors that really annoy them- Sandra Beckwith

Successful self promotion- Penny Sansevieri


To Finish,

This week Kris Rusch talks about curation and how over the years the places and people you used to be able to rely upon to tell you what to read or listen to have changed. Combined with this recent article from the UK Booktrust on how many parents feel they lack the skill to help their children to read, I asked my teen how she discovers books and music. Spotify was her answer to the music one but she surprised me when she said the School Library. With all the published angst about book influencers on TikTok – the humble school library is still in there. This makes the survival of the school library so important. They are shaping readers of today and tomorrow- if we don’t support them we won’t have a publishing industry.





If you want the best of my bookmarked links in a monthly newsletter you can subscribe here to join our happy band.

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.



Photo by Shunya Koide on Unsplash

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Reality Bites



In Publishing News this week,


The fight by the big 5 publishers against the Internet Archive has passed the two year mark in the courts. The publishers are filing for a summary judgement- AKA Hurry up and decide on this will you. At stake… whether the Internet Archive is ‘masquerading as a not-for-profit library…digitising in-copyright print books on an industrial scale and distributes full-text digital bootlegs for free’ or not. 


Publishing Perspectives reports that Ingram Spark has set up their Lightning Sources Print On Demand installation at Publishing City Sharjah and they are open for business. They are sparing no expense because they expect to make pots of money from their 24-hour/a day printing business in the Middle East. 


Meanwhile, Mark Williams is looking at the moves in audio in Europe. He has some sharp observations to make about the constant buying and selling of audio producers and audiobook retailers. It’s a scrap for unlimited streaming.


In the You Have To Be Kidding files- Publisher Weekly reports on the new reality TV show coming to you soon- America’s Next Great Author. A big brother style show where 6 charismatic would-be authors live together and try to write a novel in a month… DRAMA.

Do they really want to film NaNoWriMo realistically?


Thomas Umstattd takes a critical look at Hybrid Publishers and where they can be a useful publishing partner. I agree with one of his main points, you should familiarise yourself with how publishing works before spending any money. It will save you money in the end- especially when the offer is too good to be true.


Writer Beware has an article on a copyright clause that raised my eyebrows past the hairline. This clause is beginning to show up more and more. Publisher content- or the right to make up extra content for your work. Read and take note!


Kris Rusch continues her How Writers Fail series – This week she is looking at words and how they can trip up a writer so badly they can’t finish their work.


Lithub recently had an article about the weird shame writers have when they publish a book. If this is you, you aren’t alone. Lithub talks to 5 writers who really struggled with this feeling on book publication day.


Anne R Allen recently wrote the 10 things a beginning writer should do before trying to publish a book. This should be required reading for every writer. Those of us who have been around the block a few times will be nodding emphatically to this list.



In The Craft Section,

How Theme and false theme affect your character- September Fawkes

Character talents beyond the superficial- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark

Beginnings and endings – Scott Myers- Video- Bookmark

How to write a sequel- Now Novel

What is high concept- Robin Currie- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Author bio mistakes- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark

6 tips for a successful marketing plan- Masterclass

What does your amazon book detail page look like- Barb Drozdowich- Bookmark

How to promote your book- Reedsy

Tofu for novelists- Randy Ingermanson- Bookmark


To Finish,

DIYMFA has an interesting post on writing goals that fit your enneagram number. At first, I was skeptical but the more I read the more I thought, hmm that fits with me. So if you are a student of personality types and trying to figure out how to effectively work with your writing goals, take a look. You could start a positive writing reality show for one.  





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 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 or here. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash



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