Thursday, February 25, 2021

Changing Worlds



In the publishing world this week,

If you are on any social media as a writer you will come across the Masterclass ads. These are video classes that you can take with Masters's in any field, but writers get shown ads for classes with famous writers. Recently I saw a Masterclass being offered by Roxane Gay- Writing for Social Change. Bustle interviewed Roxane and found out the background which was the #publishingpaidme Twitter storm from last year.


The Audiblegate fight isn’t going away. Recently some canny authors who also hold accounting degrees started taking a hard look at Audible’s figures. Audible book earnings are supposed to fluctuate but Audible kindly smooths them out, so month in month out your books earns the same. Except their numbers are faulty and it looks like they are skimming a lot off the top.

Staying with Audio for a moment, Mark Williams from The New Publishing Standard reports that Spotify is rapidly expanding. Isn’t that music I hear you mutter? Spotify and the digital subscription model are moving into podcasts and audiobooks.


Have you seen a cozy mystery lately in the bookstores? I had heard that it was almost impossible to sell one to traditional publishers, but cozies are making a quiet killing in the Kindle store.


Writers who have been in a prolonged lockdown are struggling to find creativity, said The Guardian. If this is you – you are not alone, some of the UK’s most famous writers are struggling here. Kris Rusch has a 'grit your teeth and get through this' blog this week. We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. She unpacks the famous JFK speech and applies it to writing.


Cory Doctorow keeps one eye on the tech world, but he is a fiction writer. Recently his local bookstore contacted him. They can no longer send out his books because of Brexit. It sounds odd until you read what is happening in the UK to booksellers. (I am old enough to remember the screams from the UK about the paperwork going into the EU-)


Recently I read two great craft articles that really got me thinking about plot. Susan De Freitas on how to integrate exposition and backstory and Katie Weiland’s hierarchy of character needs. This is an excellent article on how character goals and needs must drive the story.


In The Craft Section,

Sneaky ways to world build- William Hahn- Bookmark

Archetypical character arcs- The maiden arc-K M Weiland – Bookmark

On Pace- Janice Hardy -Bookmark

Using Indirect dialogue- Anne R Allen

10 surefire secrets of torturing fictional characters- Charlie Jane Anders


In The Marketing Section,

22 book marketing tips- Frances Caballo

3 book marketing tips you can ignore – Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

7 expert tricks to improve your author newsletters-David Gaughran- Bookmark

How to tell if your author photo sends the right message- K M Weiland-  Bookmark

19 lessons to grow your email list


To Finish,

How often do you get to the last page of the book and you dread turning the page? Mastering the Happy Sad ending of a story is a powerful tool for the writer. Gilbert Bassey writes about this in a guest post on Writers Helping Writers. It is said that the first sentence sells the book and the last page sells the next book. A happy-sad ending stays with the reader a long time.  




It’s nearly time for my monthly newsletter, Get the best of my bookmarked links and other assorted tips when you subscribe. You also get a nifty mini book crammed 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 virtual coffee love. Thanks.


Pic: Perseverance drop to Mars- courtesy of NASA 



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Life Vs Fiction


Articles that caught my eye this week,

Mark Williams from The New Publishing Standard wrote a personal note to his readers this week. Mark lives in The Gambia and gathers up all the publishing news from the rest of the world. His internet has been down for a month and he shared where he works, a nursery school for the poorest children, and the importance of books. Amazing and inspirational. 


Why we need tragic stories now more than ever, an article by Vaughn Roycroft got me thinking about tragedy. I try to run from these stories and films but maybe I am doing myself a disservice. These could be an important release valve.


Publishing Perspectives has an article on a new and improved ordering system for booksellers that promises sparkles all around. Meanwhile, they also published an article detailing the ups and downs of The Hay on Wye Literary Festival. I wasn’t aware that the festival had pop-ups in other countries. This might not be so good when your brand gets tainted by bad actors, including the founder.


Kris Rusch has an interesting blog post on writing deadlines and how having them gives her life focus and energy and measurable productivity. Do you schedule your life around deadlines? How often? Yearly? Quarterly? By the project? 


David Gaughran is a fount of information. He has a great YouTube channel as well as great articles on publishing and marketing books. Recently he posted an article on 9 ways to unleash the power of free in 2021. He is well worth reading and keeping an eye on.


If you are nibbling away at book marketing trying to make sense of it (and who isn’t these days…) Bookbub published an article showcasing the best ads that came across their platform last year and how the authors used them.


Reedsy has a comprehensive article on how to be a better writer- 20 hacks and tips… 


In The Craft Section,

Avoiding Change -What’s stopping our characters- Jami Gold - Bookmark

Writing Sprints -  Joan Hall -Bookmark

Keeping it real when writing descriptively- Dave King- Bookmark

2 Great posts from Janice Hardy 5 minute fix to jumpstart your scene and 

4 mistakes that doom your first page Bookmark Both


In The Marketing Section.

Two interesting posts on Authors using Twitter- Writing Twitter Bio’s from Belinda Pollard and How I landed a book deal using Twitter- Pam Mandel

5 reasons you should speak for free- Sandra Beckwith - Bookmark

Why hiring a freelance publicist is a good idea- Patricia Smiley

Identifying your reader- Christina Delay- Bookmark

Amazon book promotion preorder infographic- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark


To Finish,

Valentine’s day was celebrated this week with interesting posts from Romance writers everywhere on the subject of… romance. And then there was this hilarious post from Tara Sparling on why you should never live with a fictional romantic hero during a pandemic.





Star Light will be reverting to its usual price soon, so pick up a copy while it's still cheap. A review would be awesome, thank you.


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 – Lore Sjoberg


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