Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hot Button Writing

Just before I took a holiday from the Internet for Easter... the news came in that Amazon was acquiring Goodreads.
In the fast world of Publishing Now, you know the news is big when a week after the announcement the fur... still flying around the blogosphere.
Those that hate all things Amazon are cursing. Those that love all things Amazon are trying to be calm....

Hugh Howey jumped first with an interesting blog post, which canny Amazon immediately updated their press release to include. This is a good thing says Howey. He makes a compelling argument for the merger. (Buy Buttons on Goodreads)

 Others are not so sure. 
Amazon, with its review problems, (sock puppetry) became only a buy platform after readers found trustworthy reviews on Goodreads. So will Goodreads recommendations count for anything in the future?

Laura Hazard Owen of Paid Content put some compelling questions to Otis Chandler of Goodreads and Russ Grandinetti of Amazon. First Do No Harm....
If you look at the comments... people are still asking the questions...

AmazonGoodreads will be the hot topic for a while...

Last week I mentioned another hot button topic, which is still simmering away underneath the AmazonGoodreads marriage, Barnes and Noble dropping Simon and Schuster books. S&S weren’t going to pay the new fees B&N wanted from publishers to display their books in stores.

As more information filters out it is becoming clear that B&N changed their pricing to publishers to reflect the fact that they are being seen as a showroom.
Go to B&N. Look at the latest book by your favourite author. Jump onto wifi. Buy it, at a better price, from somewhere else.

This is the reality now...and how do bookstores compete with this?  And what happens to the author whose publisher won’t take part in the game? VQR has a great article on what S&S authors are doing and what authors and publishers should do when they find themselves in the same situation.

In New Zealand the Hot Button topic is who made it onto the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Who didn’t and should have been. And do we really agree with the Judges comment that there are no feisty girl heroines?

 Neal Pollack was riding a one way trip to Stardom when he got derailed by Hollywood. He talks about reinventing himself using Kindle serials.

In Craft,
Writer Unboxed have posted their 90 writing tools in a single post.

KillZone 8 ways to edit suspense and pace into your MS. (craftbook in a single post)

In Marketing,
Lindsay Buroker has been a canny marketer in the past on Amazon and as the algorithms change she has changed her marketing what works now.

To finish,
Following on from the Random House eBook contract debacle of early March, Dean Wesley Smith wrote one of the most definitive posts on rights reversal clauses in publishing contracts that I have seen. This is a must read. The comments are a must read. This post is being shared all around the place.

Writing, Publishing Contracts, Bookstores, Reviews, Marketing, Awards. All Hot Button issues. Wear gloves. Read at your own risk.


pic from

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Inspiration and Fiction

Some intriguing posts have got me thinking this week about writing and inspiration and the mixture of the two.

First up Fan Fiction. I remember explaining to an award winning Young Adult writer here what fan fiction was and how big it was. 
I started reading Harry Potter fan fiction with my daughter when we were desperately waiting for book five...and of course book six... book seven. Sometimes we would look at each other and say 'whoa that reads like J K Rowling wrote it.' 
Yes the writers were that good and some went on to have big writing careers of their own.
Jami Gold has a nice post on fan fiction and what it means to Authors. Do you want fans playing with your characters? Do you want restrictions? What can you do? Jami tells you the pro’s and con’s.

Publishing Perspectives takes a look at information gained from their one day mini conference on children’s publishing. Some interesting insights on what makes great children’s books.

You have to feel for the Russian Children’s writers. They have the same number of bookshops in Russia as in 1913. No awards for their work and no advertising of children’s books. Book Expo America has a Russian focus this year and Denis Abrams spotlights the struggles of their children’s publishing community. (and you thought you had it bad...)

Invent a Digital Reader then invent software for writers to create exclusive content. Apple did it with iBooks now Barnes and Nobel are doing it for the KOBO but with a difference...they want authors to play the KoboWriting Game.
Earn points and badges if you sell overseas...It is still being trialled at the moment...get the scoop here.

Kristen Lamb takes a look at Facebook and now that it is public what is happening to fan pages.. Facebook could potentially hold your page to ransom as they have to earn money for shareholders. How do you get around it. This applies to you if you have an author fan page.

Writers Digest have posted a list of seven things that will doom your novel...hopefully you are not guilty of any of these.

A standout post this week for me was this one. How I went from writing 2000 words a day to 10000. This is quite mind blowing in its simplicity and you will smack your forehead...

The WANA group/tribe, (We Are Not Alone) was started by Kristen Lamb a few years ago as an online twitter hangout for writers to share success etcetc. Kirsten is taking it up a notch and has created an online community social network site with classes... forums...resources and she has tapped into some great people to help her do this. Go and take a look.

Talli Rowland has a great post on dreams and the shifting goalposts of publishing. Have your publishing dreams changed in the last few years...are you having trouble just finding the goalposts.... Tali will help you make sense of it all.

Today the news came through of Ray Bradbury’s death. All those in the Sci Fi community mourn the loss of one of the giants of the genre. Neil Gaimen wrote a piece of what Ray Bradbury meant to him and it sums up what the sci fi community are feeling. One of the great legacies of Ray Bradbury is that tech he dreamed up became inspirations for the science community to if you are reading this on a flat touch screen...Ray thought it up first!

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Catching The Speeding Train in the Writing Journey

This week I have been thinking of added content....following on from ideas sparked by the 1000 true fans post and talking to various friends about the widening fields of being a content provider(author)

On Monday I was at Te Papa for the Institute of Modern letters Monday lunchtime talk series which featured Kate de Goldi talking to Vic. Writer In Residence, Paula Boock. Paula’s journey from editor to YA writer to script writer to TV Film producing to writing her first adult novel which we were privileged to listen to a bit of...(main character is a child tho, so she hasn’t strayed far away from us) and it got me thinking about the writing journey.

A long time ago I scribbled stories for myself then I thought I‘d better learn how to write so I went looking for the magic formula.(guess what... there isn’t one) Along the way I collected rejections...then I got an acceptance...I’ve made it, I thought...No I hadn’t.
Lots more rejections later then writing took a back seat to life...I got involved in the writing community, so I wrote by association with some of the best in the world at writers talks etc. Then back to collecting rejections, trying my hand at new styles of writing but always, always learning.

Our writing journeys take us into many lands where the language is different and the culture is foreign and obstacles look insurmountable...and so it is with the new ideas of writing content and digital media to the children’s author. But in essence it is applying your skills in a different way using a different medium or media. (I joked to Fifi on Monday that Paula could be a poster child for the Spinning Gold Conference as she has applied her skills across two or three medias. Fifi is a poster child...Martin Baynton is the poster child, Janice Marriot who is writing scripts for the Wot Wots is a poster child... (they are all marvelous New Zealand children's authors trying their hand at new media.)

They are leading the way for the rest of us...and I will learn from them by osmosis and posting little snippets of interest to you all, who are struggling, like I am, to make sense of the speeding train called ‘Social and Digital media as it applies to our craft.

So onto the Future....Eeeeek I’m not ready.....

Fourth Story Media a new publishing company in the ‘states’ are ready to launch The Amanda Project. CEO Mike Smith describes the company this way on their website.

Traditonally, stories would be told through one medium. A film would exist as a film. A book would exist as a book. Now, the internet and new forms of technology are enabling storytellers to tell their stories not through one medium, but through every conceivable form of media.
— Michael Smith, CEO & Owner, Mind Candy and Perplex City

To have a look at what they are doing with The Amanda Project go here or just look at the video below.

Chorion based in the United Kingdom is working with a range of writers and literary estates to add media content to enhance the book presence. Here’s what they have done for Agatha Christie but their flagship is Children’s lit....(their slide show is really cool)go take a look at their website.

Merchandising: PC games, jigsaw puzzles, mugs, pencils, cushions, deckchairs and more are available at retail and online.
Stage: We license first class productions worldwide and actively oversee the hugely successful Agatha Christie Theatre Company's ongoing professional tours in the UK.
Online: The official website at features blogs, games, downloadable content, information on Agatha Christie and every story she wrote, newsletters and a very popular forum for her fans.

The world is getting bigger and bigger for the author(content provider)...but seriously have you thought about turning some of your writing into added content slogans for merchandise????

And finally as a present to Tania Hutley...(stat counter says her site sends the most people over to read my blog...I’m awed...) the following video because she loved the Buffy staked Edward post.


pic is the Ave Solar train in Spain and the new way to travel without carbon emmissions... it's as fast as a jet...the way of the future????

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Doing The Numbers By The Book...

This week I have been thinking about books...writing them... collecting them...reading reading them...analysing them...stacking them...searching for them...paying library fines.

It started when I had to accept and face my fears as a writer of midgrade fiction.
I have a huge block when writing any scene which might get anywhere near a wallow in emotion. So having faced up to my fear, I have been reworking scenes in my Craic MS and trying to let myself go a bit....(thanks Fleur for the verbal beating around the head...honestly...apparently it’s because I’m a nine...we are the peacemakers.)

I talked to my brother a few days ago about wonderful childhood books that we both want to collect, (The Martin Falconer series By John Harris) but they are out of print...I found a link to abebooks and $60 later I have ordered four (only one in the series tho. Dang.) They are a treat for me which I won’t get until close to the conference (taking my mind off it as we go to the wire) but never mind....maybe I will have sold something by then to pay for them. (haha)

While I have been delving into the world of revision I came across this Susan Meier short version of what looks like a brilliant (online) writing revision course.

Susan Meier is a top notch Harlequin writer and Five Scribes Blog is a great reading resource. Here is a little taste of the interview with Susan....(yep My poor MS suffered from not enough No.2...however it is a great story...apparently.)

There are seven common reasons books get rejected:

1. Doesn’t fit our line/Isn’t right for the publisher to which it was submitted
2. Not enough emotion (too much emotion/romance if it’s going mainstream or single title)
3. Pacing off/bad
4. Tone wrong
6. No conflict/weak conflict
7. Weak story

Unfortunately, those are only symptoms of what’s wrong with your book. Think of going to the doctor. You go in. You say, I have a fever, body aches and I’m throwing up. He doesn’t say, “Oh! You have fever, body-aches and puke disease.” He says, “You have a virus.”

That’s one of the most important things about figuring out what’s wrong with your book. Most of us deal in symptoms and forget the disease. So what does a book “disease” look like?

So jumping back from the seven reasons to rejection I came across an article by Jonathan Crossfield on the power of three (set up, repeat, payoff)...which I have always believed - fairytales are stuffed full of this. This article looks at rhythm in writing and although it’s familiar territory you can always reread it and get something out of it for your own work in progress...or even the revision...

Finally Maria Schnieder has a great post on painless self promotion...

Baaaaawwwwwwkkkk. Why Are Kiwis so self effacing...It’s not like it’s a bad thing... Maureen, slightly freaking out at the thought of it. So... I’m supposed to show people a sample of my goes....

New revised opening paragraph of Craic...

Tressa crumpled up the shrinks latest letter of positivity. La. La. Heard it all before. Tried it all before. Got the tee shirt....
Yeah, shrieked her inner voice, it has trouble magnet coward printed all over it.
Tressa pushed down the voice and counted to ten and then twenty slowly while thinking about books (not hard) beautiful colours (shades of happy red and yellow) and yummy food (peanut butter with cheese on toast.) She turned on the computer and looked at her in-box.
Sonnie. She opened that email first.
Her fantasy life with her overseas email pen friend was always better than school.


This post didn't start out about numbers but as I read through it I have only missed out two numbers...

pic is a set of funky numbers

Thursday, September 11, 2008

what to write...

It’s Thursday, Blog day...
Toss the baby into bed after an exhausting time being social at playgroup (which is on at her usual sleep time.) Mum potters around tidying breakfast dishes still on the table, folding laundry and thinking...Eeek Blog...what to write... what to write...
Should I write about Lloyd’s comment when accepting very generous PMs shouldn’t give beginning writers any money- they have to find their own time to write, if they want to write...
(huh! finding time... to be that lucky...)
Behind every successful male writer there is either a bloody amazing woman or
NO ONE....Who could stand the slog deep into the night...juggling work and family. The anti-socialness of the committed writer to their craft...(or just needs committing...)
I Liked Elizabeth’s comment much better... Writers are grateful for any money at any stage of their career.
Yup! The advance I got for Bones (small that it was) paid for two terms gym, one terms Irish dancing, the book launch and $100 went to three nights away so I could write my Mars story-oh and there was tax. So let’s see children... promotion... tax and a little writing time for me...Is that ok Lloyd? Of course I can see that you would use the $60,000 so much better than I.

I could write about meeting the editor of the Horn Book Guide who was here in NZ on vacation, at an exclusive (sorry librarians) pot luck dinner. Those gathered enjoyed the evening and she recorded it for a podcast on their website. That was interesting. What she wanted to say and what she did say depended on whether the recorder was switched on or not. Her big question of the night “Why don’t we (America) know more New Zealand children’s writer’s?
Sadly we had to tell her that the publishers don’t think NZ stories will travel overseas...We are often more vigorous in our writing and it gets translated into American and the guts ripped out of it...(was one famous NZ writer’s comment.)

I could write that I got to Mars twice this week and did some research on radiation. I feel good about my writing week if I get to Mars. Of course my usual writing week consists of lots of emails trying to tee up a conference group meeting time...and other must reply to get to Mars is a bonus. (funny I am trying to get this writing career off the emails count Lloyd?)

I could write about finding out that my mother in law was too sick overseas to get the market book I I had to order it myself... which was really bad because then I saw lots of other books that might be useful (but I restrained myself... sort of) racking up nearly $90 on the credit card.
Sorry Honey!
For the writers out there who may read this...
What is the one indispensible craft book on your bookshelf?
Let’s start a list....

In the meantime I'll figure out what to write on the blog...

Postcard 5. Up from the ashes and into the dust.
Soil samples from Martian Arctic.
Another cool image from Jacob Egan.
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