Publishers Think of You as Customers I SWEAR (via @scalzi)

John Scalzi discusses the assertion that publishers don’t consider readers as customers. His experience is different:

[H]aving worked with a number of publishers in a professional capacity for a dozen years now, in both non-fiction and fiction, at no time was it suggested to me, either by words or by how my books were sold, that my publishers don’t consider readers to be their customers. To be certain, they are not the only customers; publishers work directly with retailers, who are often but not always the middlemen in the relationship with publishers and readers, and they also work with libraries and schools. But only a foolish publisher is not aware of and solicitous toward its relationship with the reader, who is, after all the ultimate consumer of the product.

John digs deeper into his own experience with traditional publishing, and you’ll also find additional feedback in the comments from Teresa Nielsen Hayden, which makes for a good read.

Explore more here: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/12/27/dear-readers-publishers-think-of-you-as-customers-i-swear/

Oh my God, my friend is a writer! What do I do? (via @npbooks)

Rebecca Rosenblum writes a fun article to help you cope with a new found writer in your life:

Don’t panic—this is something most adults will eventually have to deal with, if only until they can find a way to leave the bar. Maybe it’s a new friend, that great guy or gal from work or the gym, who suddenly blurts it out as if you should have somehow known from his or her lack of dress sense and unfocused stare. Or maybe it’s a friend you’ve known for years, a trusted confidante who you’d never have suspected harboured such a secret.

[...]

Ok, so calm down, take a deep breath and think. Is this a friend you want to keep? Because if you’ve been dreaming of ditching him/her, now is your chance; writers are used to rejection.

She addresses this crisis by answering a few frequently asked questions, such as:

Will my writing friend drink during the day/be surly at dinner parties/refuse to hold down a job?

These are important things to know if you are a non-writer who finally finds themselves with a writer in your life, so check out the information you’ll need to survive here: http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/12/08/rebecca-rosenblum-oh-my-god-my-friend-is-a-writer-what-do-i-do/

Your Guide to Apostrophes (via @SydneyWriters)

Today the Writing Bar brings you hot-off-the-digital-presses important information for writers. And apologies to all who already know these rules.

I know how you feel. I have been reading and writing enthusiastically all my life. I thought after all that exposure to well-constructed sentences that apostrophes and I were like kindred spirits. But it turns out that while we are very good friends, there’s a conversation or two we forgot to have, and a few things at least that I don’t know about them.

Read and commit it to memory (or a bookmark folder) here: http://www.writingbar.com/2011/12/interviews-with-writers/your-guide-to-apostrophes/

Invisible Mothers in Victorian Photography (via @lisabrowndraws)

This isn’t a writing related post, but it’s so evocative and bizarre that it serves as a writing prompt:

‘This was a practice where the mother, often disguised or hiding, often under a spread, holds her baby tightly for the photographer to insure a sharply focused image.’

Check out the bizarre images here (takes a while to load): http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/the-invisible-mother/

Tell it Like a Trickster: How to Write a Good Twist (via @susanjmorris)

Time for another great writing post by Susan J. Morris on the Omnivoracious blog:

When you tell a story with a twist, you are taking on the role of the Trickster. As the reader’s sole experience of your story is in your authorial hands, we readers kind of expect you to tell it to us straight. So when you take that trust, then give the story a twist, you’re tricking us! [...] But, of course, as many a Trickster has learned the hard way, you have to be careful when playing the Trickster, because while we may love to be tricked, we hate being made to look foolish.

Susan describes a few archetypical twist styles with examples, so click through to read the rest: http://www.omnivoracious.com/2011/12/tell-it-like-a-trickster-how-to-write-a-good-twist.html

Monday Market – Day of Demons Anthology – 1st Mar 2012 (via @BeasBookNook)

I spotted this via Bea’s Book Nook and Anachron Press, a new fantasy anthology titled, ‘Day of Demons’. The rough outline sounds quite interesting, and focussed enough to inspire some cool ideas:

Day of Demons will be a collection of dark fantasy stories that deal with the effects of ‘demons’ over the course of a single day. This could be literally a large, flaming demon wreaking havoc upon a city/town/village, or it could be an internal ‘demon’ that is troubling your character. The key thing is that your story should take place over the time span of a single day.

[...]

The stories must be about the characters first and foremost. World building, magic systems and other fantasy widgets are encouraged, but not as a priority over great, memorable characters.

The publisher is looking for:

…10 stories between 4ooo and 6ooo words. We will pay £10 + paperback copy for each contributer. We will also setup an author profile page on our site and feature you in blog posts leading up to the launch of the anthology.

So a nominal payment and a little bit of exposure? Surely worth a look.

Check the submissions guidelines here: http://www.anachronpress.com/blog/2011/11/new-fantasy-anthology-open-for-submissions-day-of-demons/

What To Do When Your Book Gets a Bad Review (via @epublishabook)

Along with a form rejection, a bad review is up there on the list of soul- and ego-crushing things that can happen to a writer in the course of their daily working life.

Patricia from http://www.epublishabook.com/ has a two part article discussing some prevention and coping strategies for bad reviews.

There are different kinds of bad reviews, and each should receive a tailor made treatment. Bad reviews can be divided according to their source or to their content.

Patricia provides a very nice, detailed breakdown of how to respond. The core message, as you should already know, is that an author should always be polite and courteous. Your image is your brand, and your public behaviour is your image.

I particularly liked how to avoid (not cope with!) criticism of your style:

Critics about the style
These are best avoided by offering free sample chapters.  A reader who does not like your style will simply not buy the book and have no reason to complain. If it happens nevertheless, most of the time, it is best to ignore it, or to hope that other readers will comment on that critic.

Note that doesn’t help you if you’ve already received the bad review, but it’s a healthy and supportive mitigation strategy.

Do check out the rest. You can read part 1 here: What to do with a bad review – Part 1 – Looking at the source of the review

…and part 2 here: What to do with a bad review – Part 2 – Looking at the content of the review

Discussion on Ebook pricing using the Starbucks pricing model (via @sydneywriters)

The Sydney Writers centre reposted a great article by Elle Lothlorien about how she adjusted her ebooks prices upwards and increased sales. She postulates that a few different reasons account for the behaviour, and compares this to expensive coffee at Starbucks. There are a couple of insights into reader approaches to pricing. Having started at $2.99 she says:

The first revelation took place at the beginning of October. While skimming various Kindle reader forums, I ran across a thread on the topic of pricing. One reader wrote that she never bought a book that was $2.99 or less because it was sure to be self-published “indie crap” riddled with typos.

This reader perception doesn’t even have to be true; the simple fact that it exists needs to be taken into account.

Consider this: In mid-October I raised the price of The Frog Prince to $3.99. I immediately saw a jump in sales. And when I say immediate, I mean overnight. Within a few days the book had leap-frogged for the first time onto two Amazon Top 100 lists.

The article is fascinating and pretty detailed. But if you are feeling a glimmer of excitement, read what happened next:

At the beginning of November, I raised the price to $4.99. In November I sold 224 copies. I raised it again to $5.99 at the beginning of December, and that’s when the whole thing began to pick up steam.

Even more excitement! If you’re interested in managing pricing on your self-published books you could do worse than read it: http://www.writingbar.com/2011/12/interviews-with-writers/one-author-shares-what-she-learned-from-starbucks-pick-an-ebook-higher-price-and-turbocharge-her-sales/

A Book in You – how one literary agent finds new authors

This article in the New Yorker describes how literary agent-to-be Kate Lee finds new authors through their blogs.

Lee spends the majority of her workday in the manner of any agent-to-be: reading manuscripts from the slush pile, vetting contracts, negotiating rights, checking her boss’s voice mail. But she spends approximately an hour each day reading blogs. She scans a dozen first thing in the morning and keeps tabs on another twenty-seven throughout the day, though any of these may lead her to countless others.

As if there weren’t enough distractions for writers or additional skills to learn, now you have to remember that a healthy and engaging blog might feature as a possible avenue to publication.

Having said that, though:

[Kate] said she wanted to make it clear that, while she loves her bloggers, and has faith in them, it can be difficult to get them to be productive. “They all have day jobs,” she pointed out. Writing anything longer than a blog post is a commitment they don’t always seem up for.

Read the rest here: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/05/31/040531ta_talk_radosh