Thursday, January 25, 2024

Writing or Reading - There’s a cruise for that.


In Publishing News this week


There has been head scratching and disbelief in the Science Fiction community over the Hugo awards being held this week in China. Prominent names inexplicably didn’t get recognition for their work. Then the rumours started - Did China ban these books from the ballot? The Guardian tries to find out.


Staying in the East, Japan awarded a prestigious literary award and then the author confessed to using AI. Consternation. The book was described as flawless. How much AI is too much? Mark Williams adds his acerbic take on the situation.


Mark also writes about the huge take up of the ad supported Netflix streaming platform. If people are comfortable with ads then they shouldn’t have a problem with ads in books on streaming subscriptions. Any takers?


Booktok was surprised when an influencer who doesn’t read was sponsored by a publisher to go on a cruise and … read. Publishers Weekly reports how that worked out. (Pick Me for reading on an all expenses paid cruise.)


Publishing Perspectives reports on the Kids Media trade fair that is happening alongside the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. It’s not just the books getting deals- think Merch!


The Ghostwriters met in New York for their conference. Josh Bernoff reported in Jane Friedman’s blog on the main talking points. They are anxious about AI and the fees that some ghostwriters are charging. $50,000 is too little. 


Lithub reports why all the publishing firms see March as the best time to publish books this year. It’s all about when elections are happening. They also have an interesting article by Laurie Frankel on why she threw away over half her book in revisions. It has to do with Re- Vision.


Colleen Story has an interesting post on 7 things you should give yourself permission to do if you are a writer. Angela Ackerman has the one rule you shouldn’t break!


If you would like to try listening to podcasts on writing, AJ Yee has rounded up 25 of the best podcasts around. I listen to at least half on this list and they are very worthwhile. (Shoutout to the fabulous SPA Girls!)


Katie Weiland has a great post on writing multiple storylines- everything you need to know. I have done this with points of view and it was a great exercise in creativity at the same time as a great headache. Multiple plots is lifting the bar again. 

In The Craft Section,

How to use internal and external conflict- Ali Bumbarger- Bookmark

6 tips for writing a compelling first sentence- Deanna Martinez-Bey

Finessing dialogue- Stephen Geez 

How to write a short story- Hannah Yang- Bookmark

Failure in Fiction- Sue Coletta - Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

A guide to the avatar target reader- Bookmark

2 Great posts from the Alliance of Independent Authors -Successful rapid release strategies and Money basics for authors.

How to sell books to bookstores- Penny Sansevieri

A super easy way to add amazon reviews to your website- Cori Ramos- Bookmark


To Finish

January is often the month where you get to grips with new projects. Sometimes taking yourself on a writing retreat can get your creative juice moving. Take a look at the Writing Retreat Directory for fancy retreats all over the world. You can check out free or low cost residency programmes for writers as well. Why not grab some writing friends and make a weekend of it. It could be just the boost you need to get into your new project. Or you could see if a publisher will sponsor you to read books on a cruise. 

Combine all three and go on a cruising writers retreat. Yes Writer – there is a cruise for that.





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If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash


Thursday, January 18, 2024

Trends, Predictions, and More of the Same


And we are back… sweltering in the sun and through hot nights wondering if we can avoid the plague of jellyfish at the beach to go for a swim.


2024 – Where the predictions for writers and publishing are more of the same with bells on.

Lucy Hay has a THE post on what your writing resolutions for 2024 should be.

Anne R Allen has her regular publishing predictions post from Agent Laurie McLean. She talks about the trends she is seeing and the AI specter that looms over the industry. Let’s be Human out there.

Orna Ross backs this up with her predictions for the Indie Publishing community for this year. A great read from the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Written Word Media takes a look at the marketing predictions for authors in 2024. This is a comprehensive post looking at the 10 trends that they predict will be ones to watch this year.


In Publishing News this week

Ex Children’s Laureate and all round good bloke, Michael Morpurgo has gathered his fellow laureates together to demand a greater investment in early childhood reading. Every writer should be saying the same. If we don’t create readers we won’t have book buyers.


Publishers Weekly reports the creation of a nonprofit aimed at giving certificates to AI Copyright friendly entities. So far a lot of associations have signed up in support. I’m not sure whether they will eventually manage payments for licensing content to AI which some industry commentators think is where the AI trainers need to go.


Mark Williams reports on the landmark ruling of AI copyright law in China. If a human gave the AI a prompt then the human has copyright. This law only applies to China but as countries start to grapple with making laws everybody is watching to see how other countries are handling AI. New Zealand has a similar understanding according to a recent copyright workshop that I attended.


However, if you prompt your AI tool using known copyright and trademarked examples be prepared for the lawsuits. Spectrum has an eye-opening post on Midjourney and the Marvel movies it has scraped using very easy prompts. 


Jane Friedman has an excellent excerpt from Stephanie Chandler’s book, The Nonfiction Book Marketing and Launch Plan. Avoid random acts of content.


Dave Chesson has updated his comprehensive keyword strategy article again - ready for 2024. (Dave seems to be doing this every 6 months.)


This is the month for fresh beginnings so check out this article on productivity with a writing space make over.

Sharon Woodhouse has an interesting article on making every activity you do in your author business fall into the 3:1 ratio. It must do a minimum of three jobs for you.

Katie Weiland has an interesting post on 2023 and how it mirrored the flat arc for her.


Kathryn Craft has a great article on Writer Unboxed about fresh perspectives that sell. If your idea for the next novel seems far out that might be just what they are looking for.


In The Craft Section,

Smooth scene openings- Lisa Poisso

Words of wisdom on Short Story writing- Dale Smith-Bookmark

The moment of truth- K M Weiland

7 steps to writing a smart mystery- John Fox- Bookmark

Turn your readers into detectives- Marissa Graff- Bookmark

8 ways to hook readers at the end of chapters- Becca Puglisi- Bookmark


In The Marketing Section,

Two great posts from Rachel Thompson- How to market a book that doesn’t exist yet and Boost your marketing success-Bookmark

15 smart author marketing strategies for 2024- Penny Sansevieri- Bookmark

Does your newsletter live up to expectations?- Collen Story - Bookmark

Where should I sell my book – Sandra Beckwith- Bookmark


To Finish,

As we start another year in the publishing trenches the old noggin stares at the proliferation of Social Media sites that sprang up after the dumpster fire of Twitter/X and wonders if it is all worth it. I waited to see where the publishing people I follow went and they scattered like pigeons surprised by a cat. So, I picked two new alternatives and stuck with them. I didn’t close down my Twitter account because I wanted to keep control of my (hopefully,) trusted name in that boiling pot. Roland Denzel has a great post about not quitting Social Media but quit using it. And he’s right. You don’t have to spread yourself thin, just use it strategically. 





Do you want the best of my bookmarked links in a handy monthly newsletter? You can subscribe here to join our happy band.

If you want the weekly blog in your inbox subscribe to the Substack version.

If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Pic:Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash

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