Thursday, April 11, 2013

Talking About The Revolution

This week has seen wide ranging discussions on where authors and publishing are positioning themselves.

Hugh Howey kicked it off with a piece in Salon where he said None of this is meant to say that everyone who self-publishes — even those who study the craft, take their work seriously, and produce a constant stream of material — will find material success. There is also luck involved and the fickle tastes of readers. But what is becoming more apparent with every passing day is that you have a better chance of paying a bill or two through self-publishing than you do through any other means of publication.

Chuck Wendig countered with a piece on his blog warning readers that only going down the self publishing route was courting disaster. I traditionally-publish. I do pretty well at that, too, I think, and actually over the last two years have well-eclipsed anything I made self-publishing. Just the same, I don’t think one is better than the other.
Both make important points which have been debated all over the blogosphere this week. Hugh agrees with Chuck...and compared with diatribes from last year on these different perspectives of Publishing Now, these guys are politeness personified (yes, I said that about Chuck...)

Susan Kaye Quin, an Indie midgrade writer, has also been engaging in this topical debate and she has some good points to make. She looks at both positions coming down firmly on the Indie she would. Take the time to read the debate. Mostly everyone agrees Hybrid is the way to go if you can and different types of publishing for separate projects.

However what everyone is saying on both sides is that quality of content matters. You cannot knock off an ebook in a weekend and make thousands of dollars. This week I was invited to speak to a tertiary Creative Writing Programme. I was blunt because sugar coating reality helps no one. However one very important point I hoped they got was they are already on the right track, by being in a course that will teach them to write to their best ability. There after, it is as Chuck says,...’Art Harder’.

Jane Friedman in her new role as VQR guru brought together a high powered think tank to look at where digital is going in literary publishing. Get a big cup of coffee, the ideas fly thick and fast in the middle with multi media, freelancing and earning income. Porter Anderson, covering the HUGE Writers Digest conference last week, also looks at these ideas including the move of agents to become managers. This is an interesting idea and a way forward for agents.

Another big topic getting lots of talk time is Author’s Guild president Scott Turow’s opinion piece on Amazon buying Goodreads. Unfortunately Scott’s anti digital tirade did not go down well in the blogosphere. Dave Gaughren talks about what went wrong for Scott. He is mostly polite (not like other tirades.) In my humble opinion someone who slams Amazon as much as Scott shouldn’t have his books for sale on it.

Futurebook is asking Can Publishers Disintermediate Amazon...should publishers become then....(Check out the article, discuss amongst yourselves.)

Elizabeth Spann Craig has a great blog and this week she is looking at making your comtent work harder for you...I know how she is feeling and have been doing my own investigations down this route...

Anne R Allen says there is a time and place to blog your book...Have you got the right time and place?

PaidContent has looked at Flipboard’s new moves and warns...publishers have not seen this coming and maybe they should be a little bit afraid....The video will knock your socks off (This is a must read!) Your own magazine in 30 seconds...

And to help you with graphics content, new kid on the block, Imgembed, which is revolutionising image capture for blogs, websites more dodgy steals...and it looks great from the photographers side too. That’s where the blog pic came from.

In Craft,

When there is no time...How do you write on the GO

In Marketing,
Joanna Penn on Keywords Metadata and Discoverability and Paid Promotion - is it worth it?

Video Book Trailers...putting one together.

Book Signings that WOW (great ideas from Bookshelf Muse blog)

Author Platform - Are You Being Cautious or Lazy (Catherine Ryan Howard takes you to task.)

 To Finish,
In our biggest daily paper was a great article on a Pacific Writer, Lani Wendt-Young who looked at the gap in pacific islands fiction and started writing a Spec Fic series which has taken off among her target audience, Pacific Island youth and then into the wider world. It is a great project and shows what you can do when you stop talking and just write.


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.


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