Thursday, March 26, 2015

Messy Details

Twitter is always interesting for the pithy quote on a current news situation.

This Tweet comes from the Editor of the UK based Bookseller magazine. On one hand it acknowledges the celebrity nature of publishing current trends, (this enables those other books to be published.) On the other it shows when events/people get messy in public, sales of books plummet.

In other messy publishing news, my Twitter feed is filling with comments about the new censorship app, Cleanreader, which you may download to your reader of choice and run those pesky books through. It will take out and replace all those horrible naughty words that authors unwisely decided to use in their stories.

Equally messy is the position of a large Book Festival who have trade space being used by a predator concierge company owned by Penguin Random House. The festival report that they can’t get out of it because then PRH may withdraw their support. It is not a new position in publishing as Dave Gaughran points out.

Publishing is always looking for what the next big trend is, so one eye is always being kept on the tech sector. This week, Joanna Penn gave a guest article on Virtual Reality becoming the next big thing in publishing. Heady stuff. 
As I was trying to imagine it, up popped these two articles. Picture Book Apps and the vanishing author... with some timely comment and then Publishers Weekly highlighted what Mary Hoffman (author of Stravaganza series) is doing with a multiplatform VR App for kids. Definitely a trend to watch.

Jane Friedman has a guest post from an author who has partnered with a small press. He extols the virtues of working this way.

Mike Shatzkin has some starter thoughts for publishers to be thinking about on their author websites. (Authors might be thinking somewhat differently tho.)

In the Craft Section,

Character Talents and Skills (from the Angela and Becca’s new Thesaurus)

Critique Etiquette - (Bookmark)

In The Marketing Section,
Two interesting articles from the Book Designer blog - The ultimate guide to Twitter for writers and Quick Book Marketing tips.

In the spoken word realm, Audible wants writers to work exclusively for them... think radio serial style.

Jane Friedman has distilled her Social Media philosophy and it makes for interesting reading. Are you being genuine in your outreach?

Website of the Week
I enjoy dropping into Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog. She writes with passion about the need for authors to keep educating themselves in the industry. This week she highlights how your attitude to writing and publishing can see you have a short career or a long one.

To Finish,
If you are on Twitter you will sometimes see conference takeaways being tweeted. This week the Pubsense conference looked at publishing in the future. The #pubsense15 Twitter stream was full of good comments.

Bookbaby decided to put up a nifty video using Neil Gaiman’swriting advice... Lets take it right back to the reason we write in the first place.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Living Virtually

Last week I had to come to terms with the fact that writers are mortal, that the world you loved to visit in a new book by a favourite author would be forever frozen. There would be no more adventures in Discworld. I enjoy Fantasy and SciFi or as they are increasingly being called SPECulative FICtion.* When you have read every children’s book in your rural town library by the time you are 11 then the only thing left is adult books (boring) or wild imaginary stories set in far away places. I didn’t come to Discworld until my 30’s when I discovered he wrote Satire... and I was hooked. So I thank Sir Terry Pratchett for the immense pleasure and laugh out loud funny lines and his headology – the gentle wry take on the human condition. The Guardian has a wonderful tribute article on Terry’s legacy and there is a nice bit of news about the last Discworld book.

If writer’s for adults know that it is challenging to independently publish a book then children’s writers know the hoops that you jump through are ten times more challenging. We are always on the lookout to find outliers who have taken the plunge to find out what works and what doesn’t. Jane Friedman has an article that looks like the definitive 101 guide to self publishing achildren’s book.

Jane is also conducting the Author Say survey and Phillip Jones of The Bookseller takes a close look at the midway results on what authors are saying about traditional /indie support and attitudes. It is a great snapshot with some surprising twists.

Some projects will fit better in different forms of publishing. Janice Hardy examines the Pro’s and Con’s of Traditional vs Indie for a good project fit.

The trolls were out ready to march on Koom Valley again when Neil Gaiman pointed out the author had a valid point.

The enemy isn’t men, or women, it’s bloody stupid people and nobody has the right to be stupid. Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett

In the Craft Section,
Angela Ackerman has two posts that are her usual nuggets of excellence, tips when writing multiple POV’s in your novel and using the excellent Emotion Thesaurus to help you find mirror midpoints in the middle of your novel.

The role of desire in your plot... You had better be having some or the reader will disengage. (bookmark)

Two great posts from the Killzone blog - Crafting subplots and How to write a Young Adult novel.

K M Weiland has wowed everybody again with a story structure database... Drop in and check out all the books and movies she has analysed for structure. You will learn so much. (bookmark)

It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done. A Hat Full of Sky- Terry Pratchett

In the Marketing Section,

Jane Friedman interviews a group of literary authors about how they put a box set together of their self published work.

There is a new kid on the block in terms of marketing and it looks really interesting. Thunderclap. If you harnessed all those people who would come to your book launch from all around the world in one place at one time...

Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.  Jingo - Terry Pratchett

Website of the Week
Anne R Allen has a great blog of tips and advice. Here she has the definitive guide for writers on how NOT to sell books. Spend some time on her blog trawling around she has lots of great stuff.

Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness. Men At Arms - Terry Pratchett

To Finish,
Our National Conference committee is tying down some great stuff for conference and around conference... yes we are going to make you work... but it will be amazing... promise.
In the mean time you can virtually attend Indie ReCon which is going to be bigger than before. The Indie Recon conference is a free online conference that is just packed full of awesomeness. This years program had me seriously thinking about running away from home to a motel for 3 days by myself so I could attend virtually every one of the sessions. (If the motel was in London I could also join the meet up day.) I am also pleased to find how many themes in Indie Recon are similar to what we have planned for Tinderbox in October.  We will be meeting in real time, (with wine) and having a great collaborative working time.

*Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one. - Terry Pratchett


PIC The Master Storyteller who will live on virtually… and isn't that just the best tribute….R.I.P.
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