Showing posts with label victoria strauss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label victoria strauss. Show all posts

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Writing Good Stuff



In Publishing News This Week,


This week Publishers Weekly reported on the state of publishing in 2023 now that the numbers are in. The sales figures were slightly up on last year but only because of a strong showing in religious books. The other numbers were down slightly. Life is good if you are a theological university publisher. 


Publishing Perspectives looks at the 2023 Canadian book buying trends showing a snapshot of key buying trends. Are book buyers buying from physical stores or online? Are they embracing digital or print only? Are Canadian buying habits reflected around the world?


Mark Williams reports that on the other side of the world, Thailand is about to have its first rights fair. Publishing is a global business and often people forget that Asia and the Middle East have over half the world’s population. The western centric book fairs don’t reflect this huge demographic and a lot of them want English language books. Are publishers missing a market here?


Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware has a list of the agents, editors and publishers who are being impersonated at the moment. This kind of scam is on the rise so if you get a nibble from someone check out if its legit before celebrating.


The writing business can be a lonely one. Where would we be without our writer friends. If you are new or trying to figure out how to find your literary community read this great guest article on Jane Friedman’s blog from Star Wuerdemann.


Joanna Penn interviewed Matthew Holmes this week on how to advertise on Meta. (Facebook) Matthew shares what is working now and tips on Going Direct. 


The Alliance of Independent Authors had a well-attended panel event at the London Book Fair on the future of publishing and it was filmed. Check out the video if you want a little slice of bookfair hustle along with some great commentary.


Writer Unboxed has their craft guru Ray Rhamey examining first pages and wondering if they would be an instant buy. 


Suzanne Lakin has a great writing craft blog. Her latest excellent post,  How can you get a character to self describe themselves without it sounding like a shopping list. 


In The Craft Section,

Why rough drafts should never be perfect- E S Foster

How to build powerful character relationships- Angela Ackerman

Best books for editors- Bookmark

Using beat sheets for memoir- Lisa Cooper Ellison -Bookmark

9 types of personalities writers can use for characters- Ken Miyamoto- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

How to promote a self published book- Derek Haines

Indie book marketing plan- PublishDrive

Tips for growing a worldwide audience- Mark Lefebvre- Bookmark

8 best book marketing strategies- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Visual Branding- James Scott Bell - Bookmark


To Finish


Give a writer a long weekend and they will invariably be thinking about their Work In Progress and how to carve some time to work on the craft of writing. The letters W.I.P. act just like the homonym to lash the back of the writer. Get some proper words down! (All that is missing is the H word.) James Scott Bell is a great writing craft teacher. In this article he takes a first page and edits it explaining what he is doing. This may be the Help you need to get stuck into your own craft learning.





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pic Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Out There Doing The Business



In Publishing News This Week,


The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is on this week and the hot topic this year is AI and children’s books. Porter Anderson has a great overview of the various keynotes around this topic. He nails the constant chatter around AI as a chicken little syndrome. Remember when everyone thought publishing was doomed with Virtual Reality, enhanced eBooks and Kindle?


Penguin Random House is re-organising. This is a little shakeup which sees imprints spun off or repurposed and staff moving all over the place. Publishers Weekly has the details. picked up steam during the Covid lockdowns by providing a place where bookshops could link in their shops and sell books online. They started offering eBooks last week. Now they are offering print books and beginning to publish. It all feels like the early days of Amazon.


Meanwhile, Small Press Distributors a 50 year old distributor specializing in Indie Publishers has inked a deal with Ingram and will be offering their 400 clients Print On Demand, warehousing, and international printing. However, they need some money to transition all their warehouses to Ingram so they have a Go Fund Me campaign running.


The Alliance of Independent Authors is running an author income survey. If you spent 50% of your time writing and publishing they want to hear from you. Apparently, the data so far is amazing. You only have a few days to participate. 


Mark Leslie Lefebvre has a great post on the Insights blog 10 tips for growing a global audience of readers. I’ve had this open on my computer for a few days as I mull over the excellent tips in here. 


Book Riot has collected what they think are the 25 iconic covers of all time. Do You Agree?


Ruth Harris has an interesting post on charisma and how too much could be psychopathic. Are you writing a psychopathic hero?


Victoria Strauss has a great article on Writer Unboxed about red flags in contracts. Do you know how to spot one? Where to look? The cluses that are most problematic. She shows examples of real contracts that she has seen. Ouch!


Grace Bialecki has an interesting post on the Acknowledgments page. How often do you look at it? It is actually full of great information… from editors who worked on the book and agents that repped it to writing awards and residences you might not have heard off. Grace shows how to put this information to good use. 


Kris Rusch has a super post on AI Audio and what she is finding out as she delves into whether AI Audio is worth pursuing. It is all about formats. Audio is expanding so much it will soon look like print.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you say you are a writer someone will always reply, I’ve always wanted to write a book. Angela Ackerman has a great post that you can share around – 13 Tips On How To Write A Book From Start to Finish.


In The Craft Section,

A great article on reader anticipation- Donald Maass

How to edit- StoryGrid- BOOKMARK

Tips on How to write a mystery-K M Weiland

The 5 turning points of the character arc- Janice Hardy- Bookmark

How to amp up your conflict- Angela Ackerman


In The Marketing Section,

A step by step guide to using Booktok

Bad book marketing advice- Shayla Raquel

2 Great posts from Penny Sansevieri-

The definitive guide to creating a reader magnet and 

How to get more Goodreads reviews- Bookmark both

Bookfunnels explained- Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


To Finish,

The Guardian has an article on the rise of older female writers with recent hits by debut authors over 70. And the authors are not writing cozy stories. They are edgy and angry. There are some great quotes in this article. More power to them I say.





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here.

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


Pic:  Brooke Lark on Unsplash


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Navigating the Author Life

In Publishing News this week,

The annual writing income surveys from the UK, the US, and Australia all hit the news, leaving authors hot and bothered. For many, it was proof that their unsettled feelings that icebergs were ahead was completely right. Writer incomes have dropped all around the world.

The Guardian published the UK findings and then Joanne Harris explained how this drop would impact the books being published in the future.

Australia had a more rigorous approach with Macquarie University publishing breakdowns over 8 key findings from their survey. The impact of the PLR and the ELR income saving the children’s writers particularly.

Written Word Media took a different approach and looked at the backlist and its impact on writer income. There it was a different story. The bigger the backlist you control the better for your income.

Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware has been looking at scam publishers who contact writers telling them that their backlist can be reissued with only a few changes … just sign here. Beware fishhooks. Victoria details how you can get out of these traps if you find yourself in one.

Kris Rusch has been looking at the judges’ comments on the PRH and Simon and Schuster court case and making some pithy comments of her own on bestsellers. This is an informative read, in light of the author income survey results which came out after Kris had written her article. 


Over in Europe, audiobook companies are scrambling to get a bigger share of the market and another audiobook company abandons the unlimited subscription model. Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard also casts a weather eye on Nextory’s venture into adding News and Magazines to its subscriptions.

With all the stress of the writers' income reports Beth Barany of Writing and Wellness suggests 7 different types of rest that writers need to restore their creativity. 


In The Craft Section,

The best places to write- K M Weiland

The importance of writing your thoughts down- Rachel Thompson

The ingredients for a successful story climax

The eighth element the author needs- Donald Maass- READ and BOOKMARK!

The 4 stages of writing a novel- Beth Barany

When to use a scene or a summary- Savannah Gilbo - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

The 2023 literary calendar for marketing ideas- Sandra Beckwith- BOOKMARK

6 things to know before publishing a book in 2023- Penny Sansevieri

The ultimate guide to Book Distribution tools – Bookbub- Bookmark

Pivoting Genres and Mindsets for Success- Joanna Penn Interview with Dan Padavona


To Finish,

Terry Odell has a great article on writer priorities… it’s all about finding out what are the big important things to you. 

Another week, another great list of writers’ gifts. This time Katie Weiland lists the best gifts she has received over the years. 

Meanwhile, a winning lottery ticket will be on every writers wish list.





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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 Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Publishing Icons



This week in Publishing News,


Reuters reported that Amazon is closing all its physical bookstores

I wonder what happened? Maybe customers didn’t like only seeing face out books of the top 100 in the store? Or perhaps customers didn’t like not taking the book away with them when they bought it, instead having to wait for it to be sent the next day. 

Or maybe it was the lack of book aware sales people or their experiences with the contactless physical shop. I wonder what they will experiment with next?


Publishers Weekly reports on an Industry meeting where publishers were trying to figure out what to do about the paper shortage. I reported a couple of weeks ago that Italy was dropping art books from publishing lists. But the paper shortage is biting hard and now publishers might have to change their way of business (Outmoded, some would say.) Do we really need massive print runs to get the unit price down? Booksellers have to return unsold books which then get pulped or sold to Big Bad Wolf in a cut your losses deal. Will Print On Demand be the way of the future along with a big book price rise? There may be other ways out….


Brandon Sanderson decided that he would have another Kickstarter. He posted it on the 2nd . as a surprise. In 6 hours he surpassed his previous record and by the end of the day had passed $14 million and he has the rest of the month to go. 

How did this happen? Kickstarter author experts analysed his spectacular success. 

Give the fans what they want. Brandon has noted that his fans like book boxes. He is releasing 4 secret books next year. In the 8 months where there isn’t a book release, he will send a book box of swag related to one of his previous books. 

He gamified the launch. He is releasing the title of each book each week of the Kickstarter so that you have to keep coming back. The books are already finished and different tier rewards release different formats. Or you can go straight to premium and get everything for $500.

He has made a cool easy shared video and his fans are getting the word out. 

That’s all you need for Kickstarter success. (And being Brandon Sanderson, of course.)


Apparently, there is money to be made in NFT’s. Illustrators are being snapped up to produce limited-edition images for middle managers to market as NFT’s. But if the NFT bubble bursts, on the horizon lurk custom-made 3d avatars for the metaverse.


Victoria Strauss has joined Writer Unboxed. Her first article for them is a breakdown of the most common writing scam that gets authors every time. Surprise! We saw your little book and we want to take it to Big Publishers/ Film Directors… someone rich and famous our fee is… Victoria shares what the red flags are.


Who knew that Horror was the favourite of Latin America? Apparently, we like classics Down Under. 

Check out this reading infographic-What are people reading around the world?  Market your books accordingly.

And just in case you think that books are not selling, check out Book Riots reading statistics for the last two years.


Ruth Harris has a great article this month on how to get rejected. Before you think oh that’s easy… just check out the mistakes that authors are making that get them rejected before they send in the manuscript.


In The Craft Section,

 2 Great articles from Jami Gold-Nods, smiles, and frowns. How to avoid talking heads and Story focus- Character or plot?- Bookmark

18 tips on writing better sentences- Helen Bolam

Writing prompts with dream symbols- Kathy Steinemann

Cause and effect- 2 sentences to use when editing- Kahina Necaise- Bookmark

Breaking writing rules- September Fawkes


In The Marketing Section,

7 questions for your book marketing plan- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

What sells books in 2022- Kobo- Bookmark

Book marketing resources- Indie Book review

How to launch on a budget- Thomas Umstattd- Bookmark

Have you found your book marketing niche- Colleen Story


To Finish,

In the children’s writing world there are touchstone authors. The ones that create a genre niche so perfectly that their books are instantly iconic. So, it was a huge sadness when the news broke that Shirley Hughes has died. An extraordinary illustrator and storyteller.

Requiescant In Pace.





I’m late with the monthly newsletter (Aaargh.) So if you want the best of my bookmarked links go on and subscribe. (You will also get a nifty mini book 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: Illustration by Shirley Hughes. 


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Pick and Mix


What caught my eye in the Publishing World this week.

Reedsy has a very detailed look at Kindle Vella including how the money will work. This is going to be an eyes wide open enter at your own risk programme, which will only suit a few authors.


Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware shared a snapshot of a clause in a publishing contract that has everyone flabbergasted. Take a good long look- this is how royalties will be calculated at Cayelle Publishing. 


The Alliance of Independent Authors has a look at all the different ways you can make a living as an author these days. Take a look at this idea that came across my FB feed today. This is subscription serial writing on another level.


In the must have category…

AppSumo has one of the cheapest deals for stock photo’s around and this deal does not appear often. ($39 for 100 Depositphotos- limited time) I know writers and designers who jump fast on this when it comes up. So move quickly.


Kristine Rusch has compiled an excellent Storybundle of writing craft books. Available now. Storybundle is a pay what you want model. There are some fabulous books in this bundle!


Jane Friedman has an interesting guest post from Lisa Cooper Ellison on inconsistent voices in memoir. How do you keep them all in control when you are writing?


In The Craft Section,

What is an unsympathetic character- Anne R Allen – Bookmark

When you write Second Person Point Of View- Tal Valente

How to write faster- J D Edwin

The main  Hero character archetypes- Tami Nantz- Bookmark

Building the suspension of disbelief- Donal Maass- Bookmark



In The Marketing Section,

Unique promo ideas for May- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

How to pick a best selling title- Barbara Delinsky

Kindle Vella- Is it right for you?- Sandra Beckwith-Bookmark

Great ideas for Book Promotion Contests- Diana Urban

Social media mistakes that can damage your author brand- Penny Sansevieri


To Finish,

I try and keep things upbeat on the blog but I thought I would share with you something that has me muttering epithets. Disinformation campaigns around the Covid Vaccine. I know a few writers who have compromised immune systems, (including myself.) Covid is a nasty constantly mutating disease. Scientists are just beginning to understand that Long Covid symptoms are appearing in 50 % of patients that were hospitalised with Covid 19. The symptoms include organ damage that will last for the rest of their, now shortened, lives. This will be an ongoing burden to health systems worldwide. 

The vaccine is a lifeline to everyone to beat this disease and must have a worldwide take up if we are to stop it mutating into strains faster than we can cope with. (See India.) I do not know why there are people peddling anti-vaccine stories- but it is not based on proper science. There has been a significant breakthrough in the development of the Covid 19 vaccine that will change the way all future vaccines are made. It has nothing to do with your DNA. It is SAFE. (scroll down to @xolotl and @siousiewiles science cartoon on how it works

When you get the vaccine, You Will Be Saving Lives, especially the immune-compromised, (which includes every person who has had cancer for a start.) 

Put your Superhero cape on and get the Jab. 

Thanks for saving my life!





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 – Paul Wilkinson


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Good Villains

Ssssh You can’t tell anyone but someone with your name left a large amount of cash in a bank account and died with no heirs....
Straight away I knew the letter was a fake.
Several things tipped me off. No letterhead. The appeals to greed, tastefully alluded to, inside the letter. Some of the sentence structure was clunky. (Barclays Bank can afford to hire people who can write.) And my mother rung me up to say she had received a letter just like it earlier this week.

Can you always spot the scammers though? I have been watching Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss), co founder of Writer Beware pointing out  a series of questionable practices to a small publisher on Twitter. The publisher feels that they should be treated like a plumber and get paid by the writer to publish the work. (Hint: they have a license to publish your work under strict conditions... that’s only for fixing the leak... not the house and contents.)

After reading Kris Rusch’s latest blog post on dealing with editors who want to be paid to pass on information to the writer. Along with writers who don’t know what rights they have given up so are missing out on reprint rights because their agents can’t be bothered or don’t know what rights they sold either... I’m not surprised that Kris had a melt down. Know your business! Everybody should read this blog post and be educated.

Jami Gold has an excellent series of blog posts on Indie Publishing that I am working my way through. Her post on long term goals got me thinking. Do you have a master plan? (For world domination...)

Two weeks ago I linked to two important blogs discussing whether author newsletters were a good idea. (Anne R Allen’s blog post and Kris Rusch’s.) This topic has caused quite a stir in the online publishing world. Kris wrote a new blog post refining her thoughts on this. Anne’s blog post had 125 comments.

Writers Digest recently had a blog post about the importance of finding your tribe. That’s all your writing friends... and then Writer Unboxed had an interesting guest post from Kate Brandes about what a debut writers collective did for each other... (I keep saying this is the way of the future...)

Nate Hoffelder writes that Audible are dropping their credit gifting to the dismay of their fans.

Dean Wesley Smith has an interesting post on how to make money from short fiction pieces.

John Doppler has a must read post on the Alli blog about visualising the best sellers. Just how many Indies are in the top 100 by category.

Lit Reactor has a great article on 13 ways to support an author without spending a cent. (Spread the word and be a hero!)

Roz Morris has a fascinating blog post about opening up Book Reviewers to Indie published books. The discussion from book reviewers in the comments is well worth a read.

The fabulous K M Weiland has gathered up her recent series of blog posts based on Marvel movies. The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling according to Marvel. This is an excellent resource for every writer. (Her latest book on characterisation is amazing as well!) I Have been obsessively watching Avengers Civil War and seeing all the plot points!

In The Craft Section,

Checklist to improve your writing- Writers Write- Bookmark

How to Refine your novel- Martha Alderson

Creating your remarkable villain- David Villalva- Bookmark

How to use writers intuition- Colleen M Story- Bookmark

5 qualities of a brilliant story- Roz Morris- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Marketing a new book in a series- Julianne MacLean - Bookmark

International author central on Amazon- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

To Finish,

Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy knows that I am a sucker for a fabulous infographic so he takes the time to email me and send their latest one. Everything you wanted to know about dynamic characters... in a handy chart!
Sara Letourneau has been taking a break from blogging recently. Here she explains why in a great article, Seven Steps to Honoring Your Reality. This is how you become a writing hero...


I have a monthly newsletter. It is a collection of the best of my bookmarked links plus other news about my writing and what I am personally learning about book marketing and publishing. I don’t spam or push any products. You can virtually meet me for coffee every month if you subscribe. (Thanks to everyone who has bought me a coffee by hitting the Kofi button.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Exploding Heads...

December is the craziest month of the year in New Zealand. 
It is the month when you juggle end of school year events at schools. Christmas celebrations with all the organisations you are involved with, as well as your children’s and your spouse’s. It is the start of the summer holidays. 
While you are rushing around trying to prepare for Christmas, you are also trying to juggle the holiday timetable, travel, destination etc etc.
Throw in a few unexpected events and life gets more than complicated. In December I find myself just concentrating on each day at a time because otherwise my head will explode.

This week around the publishing blogosphere there is a lot of head exploding about this article. Ebook readers to go the way of the dinosaurs. Of course writers publishing ebooks are worried...Do we need to be?

In the last week Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware (an excellent site) has dealt with sock puppetry of a different kind...where a small publisher has had writers extolling their virtues...unfortunately the writers in question didn’t know they were. The twitter feed exploded when Chuck Wendig found his name had been used. Victoria does a great job bringing scams to writer's attention and her latest find is on International out if you are contracting for or to services overseas.

James Scott Bell has written a great post on 10 ways to sabotage your writing. Hopefully you are doing none of these...I could be guilty of letting the Zombies in...

Zoe Winters drops in from her Social Media Blackout to say what she has learned and achieved. Do you remember life before Social Media? How was your writing then? (a safe sane existence?)

While I was away from Social Media a few weeks ago on my travels, Kassia Krozser from Booksquare was interviewed by 40K Books. I have seen snippets of this great interview all over the place and the whole thing makes VERY INTERESTING reading. Kassia is in demand as a speaker at big publishing industry conferences where she regularly explodes heads with her presentations. In this interview she has the heads up for publishers and what they should be doing now and also for authors. Flexibility is the ultimate key!

Porter Anderson in his new Ether for Authors round up talks about the rise of publishing industry conferences targeting Authors...join the dots... Authors increasing interest in Indie publishing...ergo they need tools and skills... and as Porter says Krozser’s interview works as a useful position paper, and it’s the kind of thing I hope more authors are taking the time to read these days. Craft work is grand, but when it comes to understanding the business in which that craft must be published, authors can no longer “stick to the writing blogs.” Knowing what publishers face in today’s market is the only way for an author to find a place for him- or herself.

Check out their speakers...many of whom have been featured in this blog over the years.
I note that the cost of a publishing industry conference is nearly $2000 NZ so maybe a 3 day holiday away around the 12-14th February where you can drop in to this makes good economic sense.

The FutureBook Conference held last month in the UK goes under the microscope in Nick Harkaways blog. How broken is the old publishing system when the accountants are running the asylum... (cue zombie music)

Passive Guy highlights the wonderful Indie author Hugh Howey (author of mega selling Wool) and his new contract whith S&S which breaks new contract ground. I know this has been a hot topic here in NZ among authors so take a look at this. (Is this the contract of the future...please please please...) 

In Craft,
A nice round up for this week.
From J R R  Tolkein. 6  writing tips.

From K M Weiland. Structuring scenes and also Why stupid characters make stupid books (must read)

From Gina Conroy. Cutting fat from your WIP

From Elisabeth S Craig. Writing in small chunks of time

From MythicScribes 9 Amazing Blogs for Writers...and yes there are familiar names here for you.

In Marketing,

To finish,
Scholastic Editors have forecast their top 10 trends for 2013 (remember people that it usually takes a year to publish a book...)

Hold Your Head NOW


P.S. As always I urge you to read the comments on the links I put up each week.
Conversations I highlighted in last weeks round up are still going so if something from last week caught your eye, check in again... there is still plenty to talk about.

Pic from Grmisiti who has a whole lot of scary pictures from the Zombie Walk in Sao Paulo. This is not the scariest!
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