Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 3-9, 2021

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers! It’s time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland presents the archetypal antagonists of the crone arc: death blight and tempter. Helping Writers Become Authors

Greer Macallister seeks success without self-promotion. Then Jeanne Kisacky is walking the line between insanity and perseverance. Donald Maass reveals the secret of passive protagonists: seeking vs. suffering. Nancy Johnson: the blessed curse of the second book. Then, David Corbett discusses the character in secret search of midnight. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup made armor. In a cave shed. From a box of scraps.

Karen DeBonis helps you navigate a story identity crisis. Then, Eldred Bird wonders, what (the heck) is a MacGuffin? Jenny Hansen: writing and the law of loss aversion. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin helps you edit your short story. Reedsy

Angela Ackerman says, if you want powerful conflict, you can’t forget the stakes. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Then, over on Jami Gold’s blog, Angela explains how to write conflict without “bad guys.”

Bethany Henry is making magic systems that work and wow. Fiction University

Why fat phobia is still a problem onscreen. The Take

E.J. Wenstrom presents book promotion graphics for newbies. Then, Sara Farmer looks at some modern girl detectives. Maan Gabriel shares hacks to combat writer’s block and develop discipline. Then, Jane Elizabeth Hughes offers five tips for writing a historical mystery. DIY MFA

Seth Harwood says, your writing matters; a coach can help. Jane Friedman

The Bond Girl, her secret, and her future. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to keep mysteries from looking like mistakes. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that break their worlds’ themes. Mythcreants

Lindsay Syhakhom: writing and the art of surrender. Nathan Bransford

Allison Flood celebrates Abdulrazak Gurnah’s 2021 Nobel Prize in literature win. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 12-18, 2021

It’s tipsday! That means you’ve made it through Monday 🙂 Celebrate with some informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson is cooking up great book buzz. Then, Jim Dempsey explains how to tap into your characters’ emotions. Barbara Linn Probst wants you to go beyond description with story-relevant aspects of setting. Then, Matthew Norman shares the best writing advice he’s ever gotten. Kelsey Allagood says, active protagonists are tools of the patriarchy. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland looks at the archetypal antagonists for the hero arc: the dragon and the sick king. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shang Chi: I can see clearly now … Jill Bearup

Jennie Nash asks, why write this book? Then, Anna David explains why and how she got her rights back from HarperCollins. Jane Friedman

Eldred Bird: everything has a story. Then, Piper Bayard explains how to bug a room (writing spies). Jenny Hansen: what if my [insert person] reads this? Writers in the Storm

John Kerr lists five story structures to use in your writing. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Kellie Doherty introduces us to some autumn deities. Fantasy Faction

How do we criticize our own? (Also, stop calling Lizzo a mammy.) Melina Pendulum

Jami Gold: if your story’s not behaving, try going deeper into structure. Then, Christina Kaye lists the three things you should consider before choosing your fiction genre. Writers Helping Writers

Olivia Fisher recounts her long road to becoming a freelance editor, part 1. And here’s my latest Speculations: one author’s journey on the autism spectrum. Sonia Hartl explains the importance of friendships in YA. Then, Kanh Ha shares five tips on writing fiction. DIY MFA

The Oedipus Complex: Film and TV’s Freudian obsession. The Take

Kristen Lamb considers types of plot twists and why they’re amazing for stories.

Christine Pride explains how a book goes from acquisitions to books store shelves. Nathan Bransford

Chris Winkle explains why you shouldn’t write a masterpiece. Then, Oren Ashkenazi scores WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki on engagement. Mythcreants

Susanna Clarke: I’d really ceased to think of myself as a writer. The Guardian

5X15 presents Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke.

Beth Cato: shared pain. Nature

James Whitbrook: Marvel’s Eternals star, Lauren Ridloff, wants movie theatres to be more accessible for everyone. Gizmodo

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 8-14, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Ann Marie Nieves answers your book PR and marketing questions (part 4). Then, Jim Dempsey wants you to enhance your fantasies with a dose of reality. Kathryn Craft hopes you aim for the “extra” in ordinary. Then, Kathleen McCleary says, sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug. Gwen Hernandez helps you create a series bible in Scrivener. Later in the week, Dee Willson connects the dots between research, sex, and related remedies. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson is killing characters. Hello, Future Me

Lori Freeland is talking location, location, location! Bring your book to life, part 2. Then, Jenny Hansen says, it’s okay to fall down. Eldred Bird contemplates coming out of hibernation. Writers in the Storm

The messy meaning of zombie stories. Like Stories of Old

Janice Hardy says, if you want a tighter point of view, ditch the filter words in your novel. Then, E.J. Wenstrom is creating creatures for speculative worlds. Ann Harth offers a nine-step plotting path to a stronger novel. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland shares three things to know about the ending of a story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lindsay Ellis shares nine things she wished she knew before publishing her first novel.

Jane Friedman wonders, should MFA programs teach the business of writing? Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to know while you write dual point of view. Jane returns to show you how to harness community to build book sales and platform. Jane Friedman

Stefan Emunds examines eight elements that get readers invested in your story. Live, Write, Thrive

Shaelin Bishop explains why she’s a discovery writer. Shaelin Writes

Manuela Williams offers something for your poet’s toolbox: generate ideas and inspiration. Then, Kris Hill promotes worldbuilding using tabletop games. Tori Bovalino: genre-bending and The Devil Makes Three. Later in the week, Sarah R. Clayville shares five bad habits to quit like a champ. DIY MFA

Fire cat or fire cart? The history of Japan’s Kasha. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Marissa Graff says, don’t let excess baggage bring down your character’s plane. Then Angela Ackerman poses problems and solutions for describing a character’s emotions. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to come up with good comp titles for your book. Then, Christine Pride walks you through how an editor at a publisher acquires a book. Nathan Bransford

The “asexual” Asian man. The Take

Kellie Doherty introduces us to some of the mythological creatures of Alaska. Fantasy Faction

Chris Winkle: Project Hail Mary shows when flashbacks work, and when they don’t. Mythcreants

Joanna Penn offers a primer on the metaverse for authors and publishing: web 3.0, AR, VR, and the spatial web. The Creative Penn

Souvankham Thammavongsa shares her feelings about winning the Scotiabank Giller Prize. CBC’s The Next Chapter

What to call that weird thing your pet does. Merriam Webster

Megan McCluskey reveals how extortion scams and review bombing trolls turned Goodreads into many authors’ worst nightmare. Time

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 18-24, 2020

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance if you can’t. Get you flu shot. We have to take care of each other if we’re going to get through this.

Janice Hardy provides an easy way to find your protagonist’s goal. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi wonders, is compassion fatigue is relevant for your characters? Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers dead and undead darlings. Writers in the Storm

Just in time for Halloween, Jenna Moreci shares her favourite monster tropes in fiction.

And then, Emily Zarka looks at the influence of the Romero zombie. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Finally, The Take considers the final girl trope.

Laura Highcove helps you use your writer’s intuition intentionally. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood considers age categories and wonders who’s being served by them. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Carol VanDenHende about book marketing for busy writers. Savannah Cordova shares five bits of writing advice that actually work. DIY MFA

It has come to my attention that you don’t all love Birds of Prey. Cold Crash Pictures

Dave King says, don’t mess with Mama Nature. Then, Kathleen McCleary advises us about writing an ensemble: can we be a pod? Writer Unboxed

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what you can learn from rhetorical questions in your manuscript. Writer Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: your writing matters.

Elizabeth McGowan spent nearly two decades writing and revising her book. She finally found a publisher. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle has some advice for writers using incantations in their magic systems. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Red Rising flubs class conflict. Mythcreants

Freytag’s pyramid: the five-act structure, explained. Reedsy

Kathleen Rooney explains how Frank London Brown’s Trumbull Park exposed the brutal legacy of segregation. JSTOR Daily

Dustin Nelson: these are the words that were added to the dictionary the year you were born. Thrillist

Lydia Dishman shares six covid-19 terms that would have made no sense in January. Fast Company

Waubgeshig Rice explains how to engage online (as a writer). Open Book

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress (or your upcoming NaNoWriMo).

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 17-23, 2020

Another week of #pandemiclife, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Before we get to those, though, here is my weekly update:

Though Ontario’s efforts at “reopening” have been cautious, numbers of confirmed cases have increased. Some of this is to be expected, but testing has not kept up. The federal government is trying to get the tech companies on board to have 1 tracing app across platforms (Android and Apple). While Phil and I did take my mom and Torvi out for an afternoon of physically distanced fun at his sister’s (she’s worked hard on her back yard this year, increasing the size of her patio to accommodate a gazebo, making a proper fire pit, and various planter boxes) we were careful to stay two metres apart.

Phil made a couple of yard games, a set of lawn dice for outdoor Yahtzee and a Finnish game called mölkky. I’ll let you look the latter up on the interwebz 🙂 We played a couple games and had an enjoyable afternoon.

Onto the curation!

K.M. Weiland strikes a balance between creativity and distraction: 13 tips for writers in the age of the internet. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy is clarifying ambiguous pronouns. Then, Orly Konig wants you to organize the chaos using these five revision tips for pantsers. Fiction University

Gabe lists the four questions every pitch must answer. Bookish Pixie

Marjorie Simmins offers an excerpt of her Q&A with Lawrence Hill: memoir beyond the self. Then, Susan DeFreitas returns with part seven of her developing a writing practice series: engrained. Jane Friedman

Shaelin finishes her series on developing a novel: creating a writing plan. Reedsy

E.J. Wenstrom lists ten ways to connect with readers while physically distancing. And here’s my latest column: mythic storytelling with the tarot, part three. In which I create an outline for a fantasy story using the tarot. Jason Jones shares five tips to get your book on local media. DIY MFA

Dave King goes into the woods. Barbara Linn Probst is learning from Pinoccio how to create a character who’s fully alive. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay thinks you might as well jump—into the third act. Writers Helping Writers

Ellen Buikema takes a look at body language in writing. Writers in the Storm

The Take looks at the girl next door.

Jami Gold explores the spectrum of third person point of view. Then, she helps you develop a powerful point of view.

Chris Winkle explains how to plot a series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers the world building of The Expanse. Mythcreants

Kelly Grovier: the women who created a new language. BBC

Deborah Dundas: Amazon hurt them. The lockdown hurt them. Now there’s a painful loss in court. Canada’s book biz — authors, publishers, retailers — is hunting for a new business model. The Toronto Star

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ve found something to support you with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 6-12, 2019

This week’s curation of informal writerly learnings for your consideration.

Julie Glover talks plotting, pantsing, and personality type. [Hehe! I was one of the 87 people on FB who responded to Julie’s question 🙂 ] Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four pro tips for writing the emotional journey in deep POV. [I’m participating in Lisa’s five day deep POV challenge!] Writers in the Storm

Jael McHenry considers the novelist’s necessary evils. Jim Dempsey says, writing is a labyrinth of choices. Sarah Callender forgets to remember that writing can be uncomfortable. Kathryn Craft lists 12 signs that you’re afraid of your work in progress. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy explains how to ground (and hook) your reader in your opening scene. Then, Janice shares lessons learned from a decade in publishing. Fiction University

Meg La Torre visits Jenna Moreci and explains everything you ever wanted to know about literary agents.

K.M. Weiland issues a challenge to write life-changing fiction. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sacha Black helps you embrace diversity by writing the character you’re afraid to write. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains how to scare your readers using deep point of view. Writers Helping Writers

Emily Wenstrom explains how (and why) to market yourself. Savannah Cordova shares five highly effective ways to reboot your creative system. DIY MFA

Macy Thornhill shares six ways to stay productive in a creative slump. The Creative Penn

Chris Winkle offers some thoughts on reconciling your character’s choices with your plot. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five more underutilized settings in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Sabrina Imbler reports that the Merriam-Webster of medieval Irish has just got a major update. Atlas Obscura

Mental Floss presents 30 Harry Potter word origins 🙂

Joolz looks at English idioms and where they come from. ‘Cause language!

And that was tipsday. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found something useful for your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 12-18, 2018

Ah! It’s Tuesday again. You know what that means. Another batch of informal writerly learnings. Here’s tipsday!

K.M. Weiland explains how to market your book when you hate marketing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Roz Morris leads a quiet rebellion against three pieces of conventional marketing wisdom. Nail Your Novel

Kathleen McCleary explains why the books we read when we’re young stick with us forever. Writer Unboxed

Vaughn Roycroft: finding my voice. So easy. So Hard. Writer Unboxed

September C. Fawkes is crafting a “body language voice.” Writers Helping Writers

Colleen M. Story tells us why writers need confidence and gives us five ways to boost ours. Writers in the Storm

Margie Lawson sets writing craft to the side in her latest Writers in the Storm post: are you riding the horse, or is the horse riding you?

Jenny Hansen wants you to focus on your story’s DNA. Writers in the Storm

Pamela Taylor writes about the perils of linguistic anachronisms. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira presents strong female protagonists from Thrillerfest 2018. DIY MFA

Jacquelin Cangro lists five ways to develop your close reading skills. DIY MFA

Jami Gold invites you to go beyond the limits of visual cues.

Chris Winkle shares some lessons from the hyped writing of Dawn of Wonder. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists five stories that don’t understand power and privilege. Mythcreants

“In search of doors.” V.E. Schwab’s 2018 J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature. Tor.com

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you got something you needed to progress in your creative endeavors.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

Ad Astra 2015 day 2: Cutting contracts and shaking hands

The business basics of writing

Panellists: Greg Wilson, Monica Pacheco, Gail Z. Martin, Leah Bobet

Cutting Contracts Panel

Q: Do I need an agent?

LB: First, you have to ask yourself what you want. What will your career look like?

MP: If you want a Big 5 publishing deal, film rights, foreign rights, etc., you need an agent.

GZM: Can you do your own taxes or do you have an accountant? An agent has specialized knowledge that’s critical in the publishing industry. Their 15% commission is well worth it.

LB: I have to clarify my response: if you want to self-publish, no, you don’t need an agent. If you focus on short fiction, you don’t need an agent.

MP: Short fiction is excluded in publishing contracts.

GW: The stuff that used to be done by acquisition editors in the publishing houses has shifted to agents. There are many ways to achieve the same result. Having an agent can free up more time to write.

GZM: I don’t need an agent for short fiction, but if I notice something hinky with the contract, I can run it by my agent. He gets paid if I get paid, so he’s invested in my success.

LB: Agents aren’t interchangeable. It’s like a marriage. Fortunately, break-ups are rarely acrimonious.

MP: Your agent is also a buffer between you and the editor, you and marketing, etc.

GZM: My agent can play the bad cop.

MP: There’s an imbalance of power.

GW: A bad agent can be worse than no agent at all. You have to believe in what you do. Get the right agent for you.

GZM: I recommend the Guide to Literary Agents.

LB: Don’t take the boiler plate! [Mel’s note: a boiler plate is a standardized contract that frequently offers the worst possible terms for the author.] When it comes to long form contracts, it depends on the publisher, the genre, and the specific rights asked for.

MP: An agent will get a different boiler plate as a starting point for negotiation. Sub-rights depend on whether the agency has a strong film/foreign rights department.

GW: Also look out for audio rights and gaming rights.

GZM: Ebook rights are now a part of the non-negotiable rights a publisher can ask for. It will differ by house. A lot of authors are doing more hybrid work as their careers progress. Your contract determines what you can do (e.g. when rights revert to the author).

LB: Non-compete clauses are something to examine carefully. Looking at the big picture, publishing houses are figuring out how to proceed in the world of epublishing and publishing on demand (POD).

GW: Distribution wars can have an affect on your novel. When Amazon and Hachette were fighting it out, some authors lost out because their books were getting into the stores.

GZM: The sales of your current book will determine how many copies of your next book stores will order.

GW: Titans fight and the peons pay. I self-published and then I got a traditional deal. Publishing and writers are both more flexible. Hybrid will become the norm. You have to have more awareness of the “shape” of the industry.

MP: We used to search WattPad to find the next author. Now, established authors are publishing on WattPad.

LB: I’m interested to see if WattPad will be monetized.

GZM: How does free translate to readers (which translates to income)? Some people read a book a day. They can’t afford their book habit, but if they read and review, they become influencers.

GW: We now have multiple avenues to get our work out there. You can leverage multiple fan bases. The more each author is successful, the more all authors are successful. The rising tide floats all boats.

LB: YA rules are a little different. It’s flush with money. It’s a gold rush. I’m aware of my limits as a writer, though. 18 hour days on an ongoing basis would kill me. Publishing is built on interns. Books are great, but they’re not everything. You have a life outside of books. Your career is your choice.

GZM: Precarious is in the eye of the beholder. I have a life and I do work long days.

GW: Being a college professor is precarious. You have to learn how to work smarter, not harder.

LB: No one knows what the magic button is.

And that was time.

Next week: We move on to DAY 3 (!) and making a living as a writer.

WWC 2014, Day 3: Marketing your book with Jodi McIsaac

Jodi MacIsaacJodi McIsaac grew up in New Brunswick, Canada. After stints as a short-track speed skater, a speechwriter, and fundraising and marketing executive in the nonprofit sector, she started a boutique copywriting agency and began writing novels in the wee hours of the morning. She currently lives with her husband and two feisty daughters in Calgary, Alberta.


 

There’s a lot of competition out there, so you have to distinguish yourself.

In 2012:

  • 1.5 million print books were published
  • 347,000 traditional books deals were made
  • 391,000 ISBNs were assigned

There are currently 30 million books on the market. Only 500 of those will sell 100,000 or more copies.

There’s not much difference between the Big 5, small publishers, micro publishers, and self-publishers with respect to how much work the author will have to devote to marketing.

Ten authors per year might get marketing support.

Word of mouth is still the best way to sell anything.

  1. Write another book. Nothing sells backlist like a new book.
  2. Be professional. This is your livelihood. Treat it as such.
  3. Understand your audience. You’re a match-maker between your book and its readers.
  4. You need a web site. Also set up shop on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, etc.
  5. Mobilize your existing network. Never underestimate the value of family and friends.
  6. Build an email list. Mailchimp is great for this and easy to learn.
    6.5 (inserted for this presentation): Create a “street team” or “launch team.” These are people in your existing network who can be depended upon to help you make creative decisions like your title and cover and who will promote your book across their networks. As a perk, they get a copy of your advanced reader copy (ARC) so they can post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
    Obtain reviews outside your street team.
  7. Contact book bloggers. My personal opinion is that blog tours are a waste of time. You have to produce so much content, it’s rarely worth the effort. There’s no dependable way to measure the marketing value (i.e. how many sales resulted from the tour). If you feel you would like to do one, however, I won’t discourage you. You may get different results.
  8. Giveaways. Always budget for this, especially if you are self-publishing. You need to have enough copies set aside so you can give them away on Goodreads, or on Facebook using Rafflecopter, or during your in person events.
  9. Goodreads. Not only can you participate in giveaways, but you can also have book chats, groups, and other online events to support your launch.
  10. Paid advertising. This has not been proven to sell books. Usually not cost-effective. BookBub may be the exception.
  11. Social media. Focus on one and try not to get spammy. Asking your followers to buy your book continually can come off as desperate. You might actually lose followers this way.
  12. Traditional media and promotion. Have a press release and a media package ready to go. If you’re not sure what should be in your media package, Google it. There are a lot of great resources out there.

So when do you do all of this? You have to make the time. It’s not so much work/life balance as it is work/life blend. You have to find what works for you.

We then went through a brief example with the time we had remaining.


 

This is the last of the formal posts I will have on the When Words Collide sessions I attended. Do to my entry into the In Places Between contest, I attended the reading and judging sessions on Sunday morning and it limited the sessions I could get to.

Next week: I’ll post about Brandon Sanderson. I attended three of his sessions altogether and I didn’t take notes at one. I just soaked up the wisdom 😀 So this will be a kind of summary post with links to resources.

That will leave the wrap post for the first weekend in December.

See you again on Tipsday!

CanWrite! 2013: Day 1 publicity and marketing sessions

As promised yesterday, I’m going to talk about the good, bad, and downright ugly.

To start with …

The Good

I’ll start with Vikki Vansickle’s Mapping your Market presentation.

Vikki was enthusiastic, energetic, and clearly loves what she does, on both sides of the board.  Vikki is an author and a marketer, recently moving to Penguin Books (congratulations!).

Vikki has published four middle-grade (MG) novels since 2010.

  • So what do you do when you get published?
  • Celebrate!  Tell EVERYONE.  You never know who your champion will be.  Word of mouth is still king.
  • Do some research (yes, it’s important in marketing too).  How do you find the books you like?  Work outward: How does someone like you in Houston, Whitehorse, or Harrison Hot Springs find the books she likes to read?  That’s where you want to go, to get in front of the wave.
  • Who wants to read your book?  Who needs to read your book?
  • Comparative novels (comps) are critical.  It doesn’t even need to be a novel, as long as it’s in popular culture.  “If you like X, you’ll love XXX!”  “It’s Dirty Dancing without the dirty :)”  “It’s Looking at the Moon meets The Summer I Turned Pretty.”
  • Who is your ideal reader?  Define her in every detail.  Who are your potential readers (again work outward)?
  • Your elevator pitch should be about the length of a Tweet.  You have to tell people what your novel is about in pithy, taut, engaging sentences.
  • Be prepared to wear different hats.
  • Instagram is big with kids.  Facebook’s where their parents are (ew!).
  • Goodreads is great for more mature readers.
  • Writers Cafe (dot) org can help you with critique, beta readers, contests, conferences, etc.
  • Find your niche and identify specialized groups that will help you reach your readers.
  • The Ontario Blog Squad will set up blog tours.  6 blogs.  You create the content.
  • Twitter giveaways.  People love free stuff!  Specify Canada only.  Make sure they enter using a Retweet (RT) and including a hashtag specific to you, your book, or blog.  This helps to spread the word to all of your participant’s followers (and so on, and so on).

The Bad

I won’t tell you the guy’s name, or who he works for, but he’s a publicist.  I thought a publicist would be better spoken, honestly.

His session had some good information, but he was almost too relaxed, too casual.  At times I thought he was bored with the topic.  At times he went off on tangents or mumbled.  He decided to wing it.  He didn’t have a plan.

  • Print ads are not an effective use of funds.
  • Look for web magazines that have “up fronts” (= previews) especially if they have a print tie in.
  • A platform is not essential for fiction writers, but is absolutely key for non-fiction.
  • In fiction, the publisher may work with the writer to build the platform.
  • Build your relationship with your publisher.
  • A P/L or profit /loss sheet may determine what will be expected.  Analysis determines what the most appropriate action or angle may be.
  • Do you have a business or profession related to your book?
  • Books = cultural entertainment product.
  • You have to engage your readership on social media (SoMe).
  • Some publishers spend more $$ on authors than others.  This will be different in the States.
  • If a publicist is assigned, it’s usually for 3 months.  On-shelf promotion (during the initial sales period of the book).
  • Marketing is different for every book.
  • Book trailers are too expensive to be effective.
  • Applications (apps) are even more inefficient and more expensive.

The Downright Ugly

One thing that emerged early on in the session and coloured the remainder of it was that this publicist works for a small imprint of a larger publisher and in non-fiction (politics, sports, world events).  His clients are men and of the imprints authors only a third were women.

He made an off-hand remark about the ladies liking their beach reads.  Fatal mistake when speaking to an audience of 90% women.

To be fair, I have to say that I don’t think the young man realized that he’d just insulted his audience unforgivably.  Even after several women from the audience spoke up and made some very salient points, I’m not sure our publicist got it, or if he did, he was so scared, he didn’t know how to save himself with any grace.

I think it has to do with the publishing environment he works in every day, his mentors, his colleagues.  I think the sexism is so ingrained, so rampant in his sector of the industry, that he wasn’t fully conscious of the prejudices he promoted.

For the remainder of the conference, our publicist was the topic of conversation, and not in a good way.

It immediately brought to mind Chuck Wendig’s posts on sexism and misogyny in publishing.

It’s not a problem that has an easy answer.

Tomorrow: I’ll be moving onto the Day 2 panel and session.