Thursday, May 8, 2014


It is a long time to have such dedicated sponsors for Children’s Books and although we in the New Zealand children’s writing community are very sad that the sponsorship has come to an end we are also very mindful that we have been so lucky to have such a wonderful sponsor promoting and encouraging children’s books. Thank you New Zealand Post for being our champion!

Book Awards and their publicity are an easy way for the general public to find out what is being published every year. NZ Post also sponsored the traveling road show of finalists visiting schools in far flung areas of the country in the lead up to the awards. Schools enjoyed the visits...authors enjoyed the schools... positive publicity all round for literacy. Book discovery did not have to rest on a chance encounter with a book on a back shelf in a small chain store, the harassed book rep at school or book club flyers. We may have to get more creative in our visibility in future.

Barnes and Noble (very big chain store in the US) is having some problems and Agent Rachel Gardner looks at what might happen if they follow Borders into liquidation.... It is not all doom and gloom.

Mark Coker, of Smashwords, shares an interesting publishing project that librarians, teachers and students have been working on with him. The poetry book the students wrote designed and uploaded with Smashwords has become a best seller. Mark would like to encourage other schools to try out this form of publishing with their students.

Jane Friedman was the Keynote Speaker at the Boston Muse and the Marketplace writers event which was held last week. A lot of erudite people came together to look at the changing nature of the marketplace for writers. Jane shares the reactions and expands on her very good keynote address -Be Optimistic About Publishing. Take some time to read this.

Last month I linked to an article about writers and game developers meeting at the London Book Fair. Publishing Perspectives talks to a UK publisher who is exploring this new path of collaboration.

Porter Anderson takes a look at the cost of ISBN’s (they’ve gone up in the US) and why you need them (it’s all about metadata visibility.) Just a reminder if you are a Kiwi author you can get them free from National Library... but you have to lodge copies with them for reference.

In the Craft Section,

Janice Hardy – on fixing episodic mistakes

Story-a-day – creative writing prompts

from the fab team of Ackerman and Puglisi

Agent Donald Mass on Plot vs Heart

Jami Gold - Raising the stakes

In Between...


In the Marketing Section,

When the agent rejects a MS (which was subbed for their MSWL) Why?

To Finish,
Interviews with two writers which may be of interest Jo Nesbo who talks about his children’s books...the ones he writes when he is not writing hard boiled detective stories... and Scott Nicholson whom KOBO recently profiled as one of their self publishing success stories.

I have been thinking about Keynote Speakers for our conference next year and the criteria I need to evaluate who would be of most value to the average attendee. (KSWL) On my Wish List. Children’s author... who is doing new and exciting stuff... is available... can inspire and teach across the newbie and professional spectrum... is cheap... (factor in flights to NZ etcetcetc) Or can get up in the middle of the night for Skype.... Susan Kaye Quinn ticks a lot of these boxes. Check out this little webinar… drop me a line and tell me what you think (and she is a rocket scientist... of course that wasn’t a deciding factor…:)


Pic: Discovery Shuttle

Photo Credit: NASA/GSFC/ Rebecca Roth

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Being Diverse.

This week I have been reflecting on the rise of self publishing and small press in our small pool of children’s books published in New Zealand. I popped into The (Award Winning and Independent) Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie and had a chat with co-owner Ruth about how many books were now being author published. We then had a look at the finalists of the New Zealand Children’s Book you can’t pick the self published books on this list. The strength and depth of the stories from the finalists*, the production values and attention to detail of all the books and that half of them are from small press.’ shows a very good snapshot of what is happening in our publishing industry.

(*and boy was that hard to pick as several phenomenal books I thought would be automatically on the list were left off.)

Last week I highlighted the hot button issues exercising the minds of the publishing industry. These issues are still being talked about. Porter has a roundup over the boys and books debate and Jonathan Emmett which was the subject of last weeks Ether Issue chat.
The Diversity button continues to be pushed as the panelists for BookCon for the KidsLit were announced, (4 white dudes) and then this was followed up by John Green (white dude) being named as a Y. A. prophet in The Times 100 most influential people (much to John’s discomfit) and this caused howls about how JG should be using his influence to highlight...Diversity.  Book Riot have started a campaign asking people to highlight #WeNeedDiverseBooks in various ways. Librarians and authors across the spectrum have jumped into highlighting this issue, including Chuck Wendig (the no holds barred version.)

In the Grab A Big Cup of your favourite beverage and hunker down to read...
Chip McGregor answers author’s questions on his Lit Agent blog... a good resource here.
Jane Friedman asks questions about issues I covered last week, including Mike Shatzkins big change of tack.
Joanna Penn on productivity for authors and fighting overwhelm. (Great article)

In the Craft Section,
5 common problems I see in your stories...(great post by Chuck!)
What killed it for me...#8 in this list of when the reader stops reading.
Using macros to show vs tell...amazing post from Jami Gold

In the Marketing Section,
Author website checklist from Darcy Pattison
Running a business as an author – excellent article from Joanna Penn

To Finish,
Elisabeth Spann Craig is one of my favourite Go To writers for practical help around all things publishing. She is one of the duo behind Writers Knowledge Base but also she is not afraid to show how she is coping with the Hybrid publishing journey. In this excellent post she looks at her mistakes and procrastinations and so of course you can’t help loving her more as she reveals the very human side of being a writer.


Pic from Oakland Library for the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.
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